With the 7D You Might Just Be Forced to Use Your Filmmaking

In my announcement day post I made an argument in favor of the new Canon 7D, a camera I haven’t even seen or used, and for which there is no Reverie video to erase all doubts about its capabilities. For balance, here’s the real quick case against the 7D.

I said of the 5D Mark II that “Buttons and features and resolution charts just had their asses handed to them by sex appeal.” In other words, the video that comes out of the 5D Mark II can be so emotionally stimulating that we forgive its rather egregious shortcomings.

The 7D has many, but not all of the same shortcomings as the 5D Mark II. And while an APS-C sensor is lovely for filmmaking, in that it is so similar to a Super 35 film frame, another way of looking at the 7D sensor is that it is an adequate size for filmmaking, where the 5D’s is excessive.

The 5D Mark II’s excessive sensor size allows excessive sex appeal (in the form of shallow DOF). Enough, for some, to outweigh its downsides.

The 7D’s about-right sensor size means that its shortcomings, such as rolling shutter, poor resolution, excessive compression, and video-as-afterthought features and ergonomics, will stand out much more than they have with the 5D.

You can’t drench your 7D shots in sultry shallow DOF delight quite as easily as you can with the 5D.

So you might actually have to start doing some filmmaking.

The 5D has prompted a ton of “beauty reels,” but not many narrative films. I’m guilty of this too, calling my first 5D short a “camera test” to let myself off the hook for not telling a story. Maybe the 7D, with its more conservative sensor size, will make it less tempting to create another seven-minute boke-porn reel (bokake?), and remind people that audiences want to know what happens next, not what’s going to be marvelously out of focus in the background next.