Monday, July 9, 2012

Canon Rebel T4i and EF 40mm f/2.8 STM Video: Monarch Menagerie

There is nothing better than a captive audience for my next Canon Rebel T4i/650D and EF 40mm f/2.8 STM pancake lens video. The beautiful Monarch butterflies located at the BioWorks Butterfly Garden at MOSI gave me great opportunity to review the macro capabilities of the "shorty forty".

A 1080p video shot with the Canon Rebel T4i/650D paired with the Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 STM pancake lens at 29.97fps. Edited with Final Cut Pro 6.0.6 and used a modified Canon E-1 Movie Plugin to transcode AppleProRes422. I also used the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L IS lens for extreme macro closeups in the video. For support, I used the Benro 3580 tripod legs with a Manfrotto 701 HDV video head. For audio capture, I used a Senneheiser MKE400 shotgun microphone. To control incoming light to maintain the proper aperture, shutter and ISO, I used a FADER ND Mark II Variable ND filter.

The macro capability of the Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 STM pancake lens has a practical closeup range of 11.76 inches. Although, the "shorty forty" is not capable of capturing the 17,000 eyeballs of the Monarch butterfly, the 11.76 inch minimum focusing distance is good enough for me. The almost one foot gap between lens and subject prevents those unsightly shadows of oneself in the image as well as scaring off the tiny critters. Sometimes close is too close for a change...

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  1. Looks great and I don't hear the focusing sound I heard in other review videos for the 40mm STM. Is your Sennheiser the secret sauce here? :)

    1. The Hybrid Servo AF during video capture is actually turned off in this video. Since the T4i's continuous focus during video recording was such a disappointment, I only used manual focus for my shots. The microphone in this case just recorded ambient sound.

  2. Chad
    congratulation for your work!
    really amazing videos and useful informations.
    I want to step up from my crummy old Sony camcorder and get a camera for videos and still without get bankrupt.. :-)
    I need something for pro use since I'm a multimedia artist and I use videos in my concerts.
    You seems the right person to get an advice from...
    if you can kindly let me have a rough idea...
    I was looking few days ago to the Nikon D3200 as well to the T4i...
    Then I saw the new Black Magic Cinema compact with super 16 sensor..
    Really difficult to decide...
    So a suggestion from a Master is very welcome!
    Thanks a lot!
    Andrea Centazzo



    1. Andrea,

      Thanks for the compliments. The least expensive route for DSLR video is the Canon Rebel T3i with a good set of lenses. The T4i is a great upgrade for still photography but the video quality is the same. Depending on your video content, the T4i can record continuously for up to 29 minutes while the T3i can record only around 12 minutes. At that point for both cameras, you have to hit the record button again to continue. The money you save with the T3i, you can invest in better glass. The Nikon D3200 is nice but I am already invested in Canon glass, so that is not a viable option for me. Nikon glass is great but I am biased with Canon DSLR's. The new Black Magic Cinema compact announced at NAB 2013 looks great but I question the low light capability and large video files from the AppleProRes output of this new camera. I also question the availability of the new camera because of the previous demand issues of the last Black Magic product. If you are looking for something small, the Canon EOS M with the APS-C sensor is a good candidate for you. The Canon EOS M had a big price drop lately and the mirrorless camera has full manual audio and video control.
      Depending on your total budget, I would get a Canon Rebel T3i with as much fast primes that you can afford. Primes such as the Rokinon 35mm f/1.4 lens. It is a great manual focus and aperture video lens with great color and sharpness.

      Sincerely, chad soriano