Whilst acting as DSLR DP for the re-shoots for Lucasfilm’s Red Tails for the Prague sectionsI used the Schmidle modified 7D. It was very impressive. The workmanship and conversion were incredible and it included impressive features like a 3-pin Fischer socket where the viewfinder was to remote start the camera using a LCS or RS-4 and the removal of the mirror and the new PL mount are incredible well done and their base plate and rods offer the proper offset for cine-gear. Using the Arri remote follow focus we could start and stop recording and activate live view mode without touching the camera so my first AC could do all that for me.
Here are some photos by Sebastian Wiegärtner from the Red Tails set of that 7D that I was using….
The only downside is it was done to the 7D. The image out of it is very good but doesn’t touch the 5Dmk2 for me. The image out of the 5DmkII is my favourite but the sensor is too big to accept Cine 35mm lenses as they simply will vignette enormously. The 1DmkiV is the current top of the range Canon DSLR and has an APS-H sensor which is a 1.3x crop of the full frame rather than the 1.6x of the 7D. It has an image aesthetically closer to the 5DmkII and is the best of all of them when it comes to low light. Dynamic range is around the same as the 5DmkII and better than the 7D, by a small margin though. The best thing is this a real beast of a camera, incredibly robust and uses proper chunky batteries. Much more suited to the rigours of a film set.
FGV-Schmidle, who modified the 7D we used and also supplied just about all our gear for the Prague shoot. They are based out of Munich and specialise in proper film gear, both actual film and digital cinema. They have just announced they have done the same thing to the 1Dmkiv and it looks superb. One of the cool things they have added is an HDMI socket protector. One of the weakest links in the Canon DSLR.
This is a serious cinema camera, it obviously costs more due to the modification and you lose the ability to use Canon lenses and the ability to take stills other than through live view, but that’s not what this camera is about. This camera is about fitting into a production that can afford PL glass or are already using others cameras like the F35 or the RED or even a 35mm film camera and need a second or third camera. I wish we had this one when we shot RED TAILS. The 1DmkiV is a remarkable camera. I am hopefully getting one to try out in a few weeks. Shame I have no PL lenses, I guess I will need to get some from a rental house…really looking forward to it.
The 1Dmkiv in Germany costs around €4300…the modified one by FGV Schmidle is €8850. So it does cost twice the price of the retail one…
This from FGV-SCHMIDLE…
We turned Canon´s new professional EOS 1D MKIV into the most
wanted HD-DSLR PL-Mount camera – the FGV PL1D. With a pixel
count only slightly lower than the one of the 7D and an even
bigger sensor area, the 1D MKIV offers decisive advantages in
low light situation, a high dynamic range and a professionally
robust camera housing with an extended battery capacity.
The originally used mirror cage is replaced by a new FGV custom
made stainless steel sensor carrier for minimum temperature ex-
pansion. The rock solid new sensor carrier, the PL-Mount and the
base plate including a 15mm Lightweight support allows for all
kind of classic film accessories like lens control systems, follow
focuses or matte boxes.
The entire range of 35mm professional Cine Lenses can be
used, which would normally fit on an Arriflex 35mm camera
including the Angènieux Rouge Zooms. Please be aware that
with some lenses you will recognise a vignetting on the edges
due to the bigger sensor area – especially in the still-photo-
graphy Mode but also in the movie Mode.
A push button on the back of the camera and a 3Pin Fischer RS
socket (Arri style – no power supply) turns the camera into the
Live View Mode, starts or stops the on board recording. Through
the 3Pin Fischer RS socket you can remote start/stop the camera
by using the well known film accessories. Even when the camera
falls into Standby Mode it can be directly switched back in the Live
View Mode just like on the FGV PL7D.
With the package comes a riser plate, which centers the lens and
provides the proper height and offset to use a standard 35mm
Still-photography is also still possible by using the Live View Mode
and manual focus in automatic or manual Exposure Mode, since the
shutter unit remains in the camera.
The FGV PL1D package includes the Canon EOS camera body with a
PL-Mount, a 15mm Light Weight Support, including two pairs of rods
(120mm / 240mm), a riser plate to fit a 35mm bridge plate, the
standard Canon battery and charger as well as the new FGV cable
protector with one HDMI interface cable and an AV cable.