Time to upgrade camera/software - Canon EOS 40 DSLR best camera ?

 

Hello there

Have been reading the other threads on the issue of cameras and this camera does seem well regarded ! Could I just doublecheck with all you gurus that it is the best choice ? I have been animating for about a year, using Logitech webcams (thank you this website for the recommendations !) and the free version of AnimatorDV+.  Am now ready to upgrade both camera and software but really not sure what to do next. Re cameras -  I know I need 'Live view' and also a camera that can be manually adjusted (not 'auto' everything). Should I go for the Canon 40D? Also, I think I will need special lenses too ?

Second question - Re upgrading framegrabbing software...  any views on Dragonframe vs SMP ? (I work on a pc). I think both work with the 40D. Anything to be aware of ?

Thankyouthankyouthankyouthankyou. I don't know what I would do without this website.

Renata

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First thing to be aware of is almost any canon DSLR will work just fine for you. I would just look for the best price (used or new) that you can find for a canon DSLR with live view. Build quality on such a camera (like the slightly better build on the 40D/50D) doesn't really factor in, and that's really the only major difference between the 40D and it's lower grade siblings. But whatever camera you buy, make sure to also get an AC adapter/ power source made for that camera. Those batteries won't last very long and you don't want to have to fiddle with your camera in the middle of a shot just to switch batteries.

As for software, I would recommend Dragon. I don't have much experience with SMP but I can tell you every where I work favors Dragonframe for production.

As for "special lenses" this is a tricky question. The fact is, any lens you can fit onto the canon will do. Now yes, some will tell you that the EF canon lenses will cause flicker issues (like all modern electronic lenses) and that have a valid point but de-flicker software and plugins are pretty common these days. If you don't have access to such software, then yes, it would be easier on you to go with certain older, non-electronic lenses.

Now for lens recommendation, when you get said DSLR, IF you get it with a "kit" zoom lens and are not concerned with the flicker (whether you are just unconcerned or have the means to fix it) then just stick with that. It will give some more wiggle room because of the zoom and will probably be your cheapest option (if it comes with the camera).

If you want to avoid the flicker from lens all-together, then you will have to go with a lens with manual aperture control. The most common, and recommended, set up is an older nikon/nikkor lens with a camera mount adapter so you can put it on your canon EOS DSLR. I can recommend a lot of different lenses but really whatever you find for the price you can pay will at least get you started and still be a large bump in quality from the webcam set up. If you don't have access to a local camera store that sells older, used lenses then I would suggest taking a look at this site. They have a lot of used, still in good order equipment for pretty reasonable prices. My two top recommendations would be this nikkor 35mm or this nikkor 35-105mm. And you will also need a nikon to canon adapter, which can be found here

Hope this all helps and good luck shooting.

 

I got the 40d for it's live view and solid build quality, and it's worked well for me for the last 6 years or so. But it got some dust on the sensor, and when I had it cleaned they said there were some marks that wouldn't completely come off. There are also a few hot pixels now, that I can't get rid of. So long before the shutter is anywhere near wearing out, I'm having to consider some very expensive repairs, or a replacement that may cost about the same. That means for a camera only used on a tripod in the studio, the build quality really wasn't worth paying more for. The faults are minimal and I'm using the 40d for an unpaid project at the moment, but it may not be acceptable for a paid job.
I'm leaning towards the 7d, which is itself an older camera by now, and is being discounted in some shops. It also has a metal body, and maybe I should be looking at a lower end model.
Later today I will be setting up 2 computers and 2 cameras in the studio to film side by side. My 40d will be connected to Stop Motion Pro Studio on my 12 year old PC. Alex will be shooting with his 60d, connected to Dragonframe on my Mac Pro. We will be shooting closeups of 2 different puppets, with the same lighting and green screen behind, so it will be an interesting comparison. The 60d is not exactly a replacement for the 40/50d, it has a plastic body and is more compact - despite the numbering, the 7d seems to be more like an update of the 40d.
Both the 60d and 7d can do HD video, if that is of use to you. The 40d came out before they started adding video to DSLRs. Lower end models like the 600d also have live view and video and might make more sense. I worked on a film that was shot with the 600d and the image quality was the same.

Hi Warren and StopmoNick, that is very useful, thanks for taking the time to write such detailed and informative replies.  I'll digest this and see how to go forward. Price is tricky for me as animation is a hobby, but at the same time I am getting more ambitious in what I'm trying to do and want to get the best kit I can get, will check out the cheaper alternatives (like the 7d you mentioned Nick)...Thanks for info about the adapter, it's stuff like that  I need to know.

 

I've used stopmotion pro and Dragonframe and there both great.  In my opion Dragonframe looks slicker, has got a better DOP section and it has the benefit of a being able to use it with motion control rigs.  Stopmtion pro's got a nice editor page which make it easier to add and remove frames (although I haven't used the new version 8), a useful rig removal tool and if you get the Action HD version (which is all you should need) it's cheaper.

Most people do tend to go for dragonframe though.



Steve Boot said:

I've used stopmotion pro and Dragonframe and there both great.  In my opion Dragonframe looks slicker, has got a better DOP section and it has the benefit of a being able to use it with motion control rigs.  Stopmtion pro's got a nice editor page which make it easier to add and remove frames (although I haven't used the new version 8), a useful rig removal tool and if you get the Action HD version (which is all you should need) it's cheaper.

Most people do tend to go for dragonframe though.



Renata said:

Cheers Steve, that is really helpful, looks like Dragonframe is the best bet ! 



Steve Boot said:

I've used stopmotion pro and Dragonframe and there both great.  In my opion Dragonframe looks slicker, has got a better DOP section and it has the benefit of a being able to use it with motion control rigs.  Stopmtion pro's got a nice editor page which make it easier to add and remove frames (although I haven't used the new version 8), a useful rig removal tool and if you get the Action HD version (which is all you should need) it's cheaper.

Most people do tend to go for dragonframe though.

Get a cheap Canon DSLR and a good Nikon adapter + manual Nikon lenses.

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