Canon Chronicles with the 7D

IMG_4606The wide-eyed enthusiasm of a cinematographer relearning still photography: I’m reliving long-forgotten techniques of traveling light on location in this new hybrid world of HDSLR with the new Canon 7D. Canon USA kindly lent us a case of EF (full frame 35mm still) and EF-S (APS-C size) lenses–to help wean us off, or keep us from obsessing about, PL lenses. Although we’ve worn out the “lens is the brush” concept, there is no doubt that one of the appeals of the Canon 7D is being able to use a whole bunch of “native” Canon lenses that we previously knew only when remounted or rebarreled at great expense by the lens wizards or Century, Optex, Clairmont or Nemenz, among others. Optical image stabilization and auto focus in 35mm format lenses, long a staple of still photographers, can now be available to cinematographers. Douglas Kirkland is surely reading this and wondering, “where’s he been?” I’m still learning how to set the autofocus zone, and still appreciating the skill of the camera assistant, because no matter how good the autofocus, inevitably it influences my framing–to keep the autofocus zone dead center or wherever the menu setting dictates. I’m also still not used to mounting the lens on the tripod, shown above (28-300mm f/3.5-5.6L IS USM) with camera dangling behind. The Manfrotto 503 head worked well with Manfrotto carbon fiber 4-stage tripod. It was good to have sticks that folded up into the same Kata backpack that can hold camera, all the lenses, batteries and lunch–an entire camera truck shrunk to fit in a bag on my back.

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