Our good friends over at Backscatter have just published an incredibly comprehensive review of the Canon 5D Mark II digital SLR’s performance as an underwater video rig. The article opens with a sample video presented in 720p, followed by comparisons of the 5D Mark II to other professional / prosumer video cameras, a discussion of pros and cons, underwater housings, use when mounted on a scooter, color correction filters, tripods, and more. If you are even remotely interested in using any SLR to shoot video underwater, you should click over there and read it now.
Excerpts from article:
The Canon 5D Mark II… A Swiss Army Knife for Underwater Image Makers
Every now and then a camera comes along that makes you rethink possibilities. Like many fellow still photographers, the 1080p video of the Canon 5D Mark II forced me to reconsider a personal interest in moving pictures. The more I played with 5D Mark II shooting video, the more I kept leaving my Nikon D3 and D3x on the boat.
The first obvious thing is that the 5D Mark II sensor is the largest. Larger sensors can gather more light, and thus can produce images with lower noise when compared to smaller sensors. While it may seem limiting to only have a frame rate choice of 30p, this is by far the most popular frame rate and will satisfy almost all users needs. The H.264 compression format is more efficient than HDV or MPEG and results in a better quality image at the same file size. This combined with a higher bit rate than the FX1 or EX1 results in less compression being applied, and therefore a higher quality image.
The 5D Mark II is producing video that is cleaner and higher quality than either FX1 or EX1. With a top bit rate of 42 mbps at full 1080p, this is slightly higher than the 40 mbps quality of Blu-Ray, and much higher quality than over the air broadcast HD at 19.39 mbps. For cameras that have housings available for underwater shooting, the next step up in quality from the 5D Mark II is the RED camera. This is quite an expensive leap as a full RED system can top $50,000 or more. Plus you need an army of hard drives and the latest Mac Pro to be able to edit the large file sizes of the REDCODE RAW footage. A full EX1 system can easily top $20,000, while a full 5D Mark II system can be set up for less than half of that, depending on housing brand and lens choices.
Continue to Backscatter to read the entire article…