View Full Version : Canon 550D or Olympus PEN camera?

07 July 2012, 03:16 PM
Hi there,

I am after some advice on which camera to buy for VFX work (mainly shooting video). I notice a lot of freelance guys (like myself) in the business use the Canon 550D as a great camera for VFX work and is under 500. I have however been advised that the Olympus PEN cameras are a superb little camera which is much cheaper than the Canon. I don't really want to be spending over 450 if possible but want the best possible camera for this price. If anyone has any tips or advise it would much appreciated? As I mentioned the camera will be used mainly for shooting video for VFX work....



07 July 2012, 07:04 PM
I have a 550D, so I may be a bit biased, but this is the camera I can really recommend.

It does 1080p, as opposed to 720p of the other camera, which has a few benefits, one of the ones for Visual Effects work is that you'll probably pull off better tracks as you'll have higher resolution for your footage, you'll also be able to stabilize shots and keep full 720p frames if desired.

Also you can put Magic Lantern on the camera which opens up a whole new level of possibilities - Some of the features I use heavily are the histogram, waveform, false colours (Good for green screening), compositing grids / images, and a whole host of other little bits-and-pieces that don't come as standard.

It also improves audio performance massively.

Another thing is lenses, you can get cheap Canon glass, or even cheaper manual lenses + adapters and really experiment with different types of lenses, focal lengths, F/stops etcetera. I am not sure what the lens status is like for the other camera but I am assuming that it's a little less 'open' in terms of what you can use with the camera body.

EDIT: A word on the compression with the 550D! You may want to test out the camera, if possible, with some green screen footage as the 4:2:0 compression can, sometimes, give you small compression errors. This can usually be remedy to some degree with 5DtoRGB, but it won't bring bad all of the information that the camera binned while recording.

07 July 2012, 08:29 PM
Love my 550D - Oh and there's lots more support/tutorials and firmware changes for the Canon 550D - nice online community trying to squeeze its potential out. ;)

07 July 2012, 09:08 PM
If you want it for video you'd be advised to look at the panasonic gh2 over the oly pen, same format and mount but a much better video option.

07 July 2012, 12:22 PM
Hi Guys,

Thanks very much for the great advise - looks like ill be going for the 550D then. This was my original intention but had spoke to somebody recently and they recommended the PEN and completely through a spanner in the works....

Thanks again much appreciated!

07 July 2012, 09:54 AM
Aaand theyve just announced the G5 which will do full 1080p at 60 fps

07 July 2012, 01:47 PM
I'd second the GH2 or wait for the upcoming GH3. This article is an eyeopener:

APS-C DSLRS as the Canon 550-600 offer gr8 value and the advantage of a wide variety of lenses.
If mirrorless was the choice I'd go for a Sony Nex 5 or 7 due to their better video capabilities in compact form.

08 August 2012, 03:49 PM
Brilliant, thanks very much guys. I'm going with the to find a good deal online. I suppose recommendations for this is against form rules?

08 August 2012, 04:05 PM

08 August 2012, 04:07 PM
Canon official repair / refurbished cameras. ;)

Amazing prices.

08 August 2012, 04:25 PM

Amazing prices indeed! This is a Canon EOS Rebel T2i 550D - how does this compare to the regular 550D OR is this the same camera....

Pardon my ignorance, I'm no expert on this....

Thanks again,


08 August 2012, 04:35 PM
don't my answer here....

08 August 2012, 04:07 AM
I got the EOS 650D T4I and so far love it- AF has been working with my kids too unlike sooo many online vids ive seen.

08 August 2012, 03:49 PM
I have the 550 and love it. I don't use video functions but do like the fact that I can borrow my Dads Canon lenses and use them.

08 August 2012, 01:45 PM
my 550D had arrived today. joy! ive got a this steadycam on order too

i'll be downloading magic lantern now and getting it all setup.

thanks :applause:

08 August 2012, 05:38 PM
Congratulations and all the best with it.

08 August 2012, 03:29 PM
Well so much for my T4I LMAO- Bestbuy called to inform me that my new purchase was recalled- I brought it in and they showed me the documents- told me that I could either send it in for repairs or return it- I returned it- going to just save some more dough and go full frame- but having used the T4i a bit for a few vids and some pics it was nice- just lacked the DOF the fullframes possess- also seem like they get so much more detail.

08 August 2012, 03:31 PM
Full frames I am considering: MARK II or MARK III

Any advise or suggestions- got to test the Mark II at BB but they didn't have the III- Mark II with lens kit on Newegg is under $3k (good considering no tax?!?) $ 2,100 for just the body

08 August 2012, 04:16 PM
You can wait for a full array of new FF cameras being announced very soon in PhotoKina or even earlier.
Canon 6D is supposed to to compete with the upcoming "cheap" FF Nikon D600, as well as the rumoured FF nex and the new Sony A99 all of which (Sony's) will support 1080 60p.

08 August 2012, 09:18 PM
any idea on how these will compare to mark ii
Linked to that 6d and it will hopefully keep mark IIS better attributes and add some video features...

08 August 2012, 12:34 PM
The MarkII is good value now. My Dad has one, he says it's too slow for sports work but fine for everything else. Clean high ISO up to about 2000, the MarkIII is about one stop better.

08 August 2012, 02:14 PM
Thanks- that kinda sucks because I imagine that means it'll be too slow for pics of my kids too?!? Frustrating because I had planned to use the 650, had no idea it was getting recalled. guess I'll wait to see what the 6d delivers in OCT.

08 August 2012, 11:39 PM
Incase you'll be capturing HDRs anytime soon. The mk3 has built in exposure bracketing up to 7 shots for fast HDR use. Saying that, the Mk2 can have this using magic lantern firmware but it doesn't shoot as fast. The latter will allow more exposures or you can just buy a Promote Control, however I've had reliability issues with the Promote on some occasions.

08 August 2012, 01:09 AM
I do plan on some HDR- a lot of timelapse and a mix of stills and video.

I have been eyeing the Mark III for some time- I just can afford a Mark II ATM otherwise I'd have to do some more saving for the III.

What do you take with you during shoots to review or do you just use the view finder? (laptop?)

currently I could afford a sub 2k body and a lens then add more later-

This will be my first "real" camera but I am very familiar with shooting on pro cameras from friends.

08 August 2012, 01:34 AM
With HDR, just myself, card and batteries. I'm usually carrying my gear though so weight is an issue. Not working on film sets so others could prob add more if that's what you're aiming for.

Promote control is prob the best HDR remote on the market though and you usually know when it screws up. Will cater for your HDR timelapse needs too but then so will Magic Lantern.

Not tried ML myself, not sure how battery time is affected. Promote uses AAs which last for ages which is why it's so popular.

08 August 2012, 04:16 AM
honestly I am Leary of using ml because this is a sizeable personal investment for me. Will not be using on set but will use dollies and tripods etc.

So torn now. I've seen some excellent crop footage on vimeo but really love the full frame details in mark II and III footage. But there is definitely a difference in size and weight. But the full frames do feel better built.

08 August 2012, 08:18 AM
That's understandable, I think they're pretty well established though, I will use it when the need comes. Still not ventured into video yet but I plan to. I want one of those dynamic perception dollies, looks sweet for timelapse.

08 August 2012, 08:58 PM
Well- I did it- I got a camera-

LOL went to BB and actually had a rep worth a dam (didn't hassle me or pretend to be a camera expert) that let me try the various cameras and lens- after heading there to get the T3I and save from the difference of the T4i I ended up leaving with a 60D and LOVE IT

The burst shots were amazing (permagrin amazing), the video qualities were amazing and got the 18-135 IS lens.

No AF in video mode but I actually feel it is better either Focusing before shooting then mF afterwards- seems faster that way.

The camera feels sturdy and better built- cost about the same as a t4i (slightly more maybe) but got a great deal- they gave me a free Canon Bag, Free 8x8 book coupon for shutterfly, and added a 32GB memory card for 29.

I will now be busy shooting!

Any other lens to add that yall can think of= I love doing all types of shooting so figured the 18-135 would be a great start.

08 August 2012, 09:37 PM
Hehe I know the feeling, happy shooting!

08 August 2012, 12:43 PM
Man- Cameras don't like me LMAO- I got a dud

Battery full charge and wouldn't power on- took batteries out and after a while it powered on then suddenly died and hasn't come back on- checked and rechecked the battery and it's full.

Good thing I bought it locally- just going to swap it out. :(

SD 32GB Class 10 is definitely supported but even with card out was not powering on-

then this AM it came on- even tho it's on now I am still returning it. Getting the same camera again tho. Ever heard of this behavior?

We got it exchanged with no issues- will let you know if the new new one works fine.

took alot of shoots at work and definitely better. Had a dud, at least bb got me taken care of without issue

08 August 2012, 10:13 AM
That's a bugger, oh well at least you bought it locally. My friend has the 60D and loves it, he takes good pics too. And incase you're after a HDR remote, I tried the promote with the 60D too and it works, I'd probably hack it with ML first though to see if that does the trick.

08 August 2012, 02:56 PM
I am but I am cautious of firmware- I know ML has a great reputation but just nervous because I've never had a camera worth more than a few hundred. I like the HDR Video though- very cool. Especially when you shoot someone with graying hair because the silver streaks are striking in HDR.

08 August 2012, 03:29 PM
A while ago we had tested all three APC-S Canon's for a project and indeed the 60D produced better video quality than either the 600 or 550.
Have in mind that in order to be able to use Magic Lanterns high bit rate, only expensive SanDisk extreme pro with over 95Mb/s write speed cards are supported. Most others (Kingston etc) that claim class 10 will not work, the camera will shut down.
Of course using ML you can still have default bitrates and just use the other features, for audio, metering etc.

08 August 2012, 05:24 PM
Didn't think about write speed- usually the camera is the bootkneck but I have no clue write speeds 60d is capable of. just that I have taken 50 Jpeg Burst shoots consecutively and that blew my mind compared to the rebels.

For now I'll probably get my feel with the camera and do some shooting/videography without ML until I get bored or comfortable. I do like the HDR capabilities of ML

08 August 2012, 01:15 AM
Especially when you shoot someone with graying hair because the silver streaks are striking in HDR.

Hehe, just make sure you don't HDR your mother's hair.

08 August 2012, 02:18 PM
LMFAO- TRUE THAT!!! Although hers would be extremely cool because she has black hair with a silvery white streak in the front side.

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