Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Canon 5d Mark 2 with the Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 HSM Macro lens

Just before Xmas I managed to get to have a good trial with the Canon 5d Mark 2 and the Sigma
70-200mm f/2.8

I was shooting rehersal footage for a burlesque dancer in Edinburgh at a very dark night club venue (during the day) and shot it from two angles, one straight on with my Canon 550d and Nikon 20mm f/2.8 ais lens and from further back and at an angle with the Canon 5D Mark 2 and the Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 lens both shooting at f/2.8 and at around 800 or 1000 iso.
more details below

The ease of use from going from the Canon 550d to the 5D was very simple, I was quickly able to set a custom white blance on both cameras with very little confusion (something that the owner of the 5D did not even know how to do)
The video was very very nice even at iso 1000 on the 5D, and when looking at the footage on the computer afterwards you can see a bit of improvement over the 550D


One thing I did not have was the ability to shoot at 720p and at 60/50fps which you can with the canon 7d and 60d and 550d. This is handy for slow motion or even just the ability to slow down by 20-30% with the footage still being sharp and smooth.  It may be something to do with sensor size and having a refresh rate of a full frame sensor of 60fps may be too much at this stage, this may very well be something that goes into the canon 5D mark 3 or 6D mark 1.  You never know thay may go the whole hog and give us 1080p at 60fps, but that would eat up a lot of memory very fast. would be good to see though, considering you can get full hd and 60p 720p on the Go Pro HDhero camera.

Now if it is just for some video you are wanting a camera then go for the canon 550D it has brilliant video including full HD at 30fps, Pal and NTSC settings, and 720 HD at 50fps(Pal) or 60fps(NTSC) and it also has 24fps for a more "cinematic feel" which I dont like very much, oh and it has a cropped video function where it can shoot at 640x480 and again but only useing the central pixels effectively giving it a 7x digital zoom function.  You can focus when filming although any person who actually wants to film will never auto focus and will always do it manually any way.  
The Canon 5d Mark 2, has a stonking 21 Mega pixels, making it just behind the Nikon and Sony top dogs for pixel stats. Its FPS in photo mode is only around 3-4fps so it may not be that powerful a camera for sports or paparazzi photographers.

Flash wise I am still in the dark with Canon, and how it communicates with its flashes and I also find its menu settings for controling flash just not as straight forward as Nikons but I am sure that with time it will become clearer.

Now onto the lens

Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 HSM Macro lens  So this lens has the motor inside it and it is a very fast focusing motor, I was very surprised how quickly it locked focus in the dark club location  when testing the focusing speed.  Its close focusing distance of 1m is about half a metre closer than what Nikon does with its 70-200mm, This I think is something that will be handy.

Its brightness was good but the Canon 5D had to be at iso 1000 where the 550D was at iso 800, so there may be a little bit of difference in actual brightness coming into the camera or its just that the owner had not cleaned it very well and it was a bit dirty and stopping some of the light getting in, easy mistake.  It is a full frame lens so there was no problem and I couldnt see any obvious vignetting in the images but again this was a dark location and that wouldnt come up that obviously.  Its zoom and focus was smooth and seemed acurate with little in the way of lens breathing reducing focal length when focusing.  This lens seems to do much much better than the older version the APO HSM which had very bad CA at 70mm (as mentioned in the video below at 5m)

Sport in waves

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  1. Glad I choose this lens. Thanks for the vid Dom :D

  2. Good stuff! But are you really testing the focusing performance of the lens when focusing while filming a video? After all the mirror is retracted and the camera's "real" autofocus is not operating. Are you not just measuring the speed at which the body does its contrast based focusing? Surely the camera could focus MUCH faster? (Then again, maybe it was the camera focusing speed you were going for?)

    Oh and I'm trying to decide whether to get that Sigma or the one with image stabilization (OS) for my Canon 7D. Many say "go with Canon if you want image stabilization", but the Sigma 70-200 OS, even though pretty pricy, is still a lot cheaper than the Canon equivalents. Especially since I don't use full frame, which might need that little extra from the lens. Are you planning on taking the Sigma 70-200 OS for a spin any time soon?? I've never seen a video review of it.

  3. you can now record 60fps on the canon 5D mk ii, its on the firmware update.

  4. You said there are two versions of the Sigma 70-200, which one should we try to avoid? The APO?

  5. yeah the apo one (the older one had some issues with it ill attach that video soon

  6. Dom

    which of the following is your sigma copy ?

    70-200mm F2.8 EX DG - Adds 'digitally optimized' lens coatings to reduce flare (2005)

    70-200mm F2.8 EX DG Macro (HSM) - Minimum focus distance reduced to 1m (2006)

    70-200mm F2.8 EX DG Macro HSM II - Improved optical performance (2007)

  7. Thanks for review, it was excellent and very informative.
    as a first time visitor to your blog I am very impressed.
    thank you :)