There's lots of excitement right now around the Canon 5D Mark II Digital SLR. It's the first DSLR to shoot full-res 1920x1080 HD video and it sports a full size 35mm (36mm x 24mm) CMOS imaging sensor. Essentially, you've now got the look of the RED camera in an SLR format — with a larger format to boot. There are some things to keep in mind when imagining your film being shot this way, though.
First off, it's a CMOS sensor in a camera who's first job is to shoot still photos. What does this mean? Namely, you'll have serious issues with skew in any horizontal movement. This is already an issue bugging some Sony EX1 users. There's a good explanation of this issue on DVXuser. However, this has also always been an issue with anyone shooting 16mm film. So, as long as you know that it can happen, you'll need to take steps to prevent it.
You also cannot view the scene through the optical viewfinder when shooting. Since it is an SLR, the mirrored shutter is closed when viewing. That means you'll have to shoot on the relatively small screen on the rear of the camera. You can connect an external monitor to the HDMI output, but the connectors are tiny so you'll be at the mercy of cable makers with regards to cable length and connector quality. There are already some companies making accessories for this kind of setup, though it's a dicey affair when compared to a video viewfinder. Also, you can currently only shoot at 29.97 fps.
Finally, you're stuck with the SLR layout. There are no pro quality connectors, hard mounts, or controls built into this camera. This may seem persnickety, but the last thing you want is to be battling your camera when you're shooting.
The concept is strong, execution isn't perfect. I think for owner/operators, this camera makes plenty of sense. I wouldn't be surprised if we see a video-specific version of this from Canon in the next few years.
Posted by SVA Film/Video Production Office at 6/10/2009