It’s ironic that although we’ve been whining about PL mounts for Canon cameras, most of the time, our crash cameras and Eyemos have been fitted with Nikon or Canon Mounts. Since continuous follow focus is usually not an issue (or safe, or wise), great still lenses have been perfect for the job.
So, could the Canon EOS 7D be the Eyemo for the Digital Age of Film? Plop the self-contained 7D onto a sandbag, padded pouch, or backback and you’re ready to roll. Although not quite disposable, you can position multiple cameras around stunts, car chases, or greatest shots the world has ever seen. Here are some things I learned. Use a manual focus lens, like the Zeiss ZE, above. Or use the premium, fast Canon EF L still lenses set to manual focus.
Be sure to turn the Camera’s Mode Dial to M, for Manual Exposure. Set the shutter speed to 1/50 second (small dial by shutter button).
Set your aperture. (Canon EF and EF-S lenses don’t have iris rings: you control the aperture via the camera’s large control dial. There’s a “match needle” display in the viewfinder that is quite accurate.
Next, check your video settings: push MENU, turn the Main Control Dial (small dial by shutter button) to view the different “pages” of menu choices, and especially note the 4th page from the left, where you’ll see whether Sound has been turned on.
Check that you have selected 1920×1080 24p (or 25p). Make changes by turning the large control dial that’s to the right of the LCD screen, and select with the SET button in its center.
Now, set the Live View switch to Movie mode (red icon of a movie camera).
To shoot, press the START/STOP switch below the red movie camera icon. Do not press the camera’s shutter release button: it will forever freeze the action while taking the still.
Finally, be sure to use some kind of screw-on filter (clear or otherwise) to protect your front lens element from flying gravel and debris from all the mayhem unfolding in the action before you. It’s a lot cheaper to replace the filter than send the lens in for repair.