Canon 7D DSLR Video Buyers Guide: The Ideal Set Up

by Harlan Yee on June 7th, 2011

I bought my Canon EOS 7D about a year ago and it has been a great addition to my camera bag. However, I believe the decision to buy the Canon 7D package I ended up with was made too quickly. When I first learned about DSLR video, I was blown away with all the great video examples I found online. I then wanted a Canon 7D mainly for video production.

Canon EOS 7D with 28-135mm f3.5

Following some initial online research, I quickly bought my 7D a couple of weeks later after my first exposure with the camera. Here’s what I got which I’ll categorize as Camera Package #1:

Camera Package #1

The items listed above made for a great set up but after using the camera for a few months, I realized I could’ve made a smarter purchase decision. See my suggestions below and for advice that could help you make a purchase that you’ll be happy with right from the start!

With that said, Here’s what I would’ve purchased if I knew what I know now:

Camera Package #2

Why Camera Package #2 is Better

Don’t get me wrong, Camera Package #1 is also excellent for video producers starting out with DSLR video, but here’s why I should’ve chosen the equipment in Camera Package #2 for video production… I’ll go through each product starting with the Canon EOS 7D.

Canon EOS 7D (Body Only)

Canon EOS 7D Body OnlyBuying the Canon EOS 7D with a kit lens is a fine choice that’ll get you up and running immediately but I’ve found that while the kit lens is a good starting point, after time, you might end up realizing there’s actually a need for more specialized lenses to really achieve what you want to do. The great thing about DSLR video is that you can start with a camera body only and add the lenses you want to it. Getting great hardware like the 7D body is a great start and could save you a bit of money on a kit lens you might not use much. In the future, you can always upgrade and sell your camera body but keep the great lenses you own.

Canon EOS 7D (Body Only) Price: $1699.00

Tokina 11-16mm f2.8 Wide Angle Lens For Canon Cameras

Tokina 11-16mm for CanonThe Tokina 11-16mm f2.8 has gotten some great reviews from many users and is one of the most desired wide angle lenses on the market. It is so popular that it is hard to find in stock anywhere! People get on waiting lists to get their hands on this lens. The wide angle provides some great effects and allows you to shoot indoors in tight spaces. The f2.8 means you have great low light ability as well. If you can find one in stock, get it! In contrast, the lenses in Camera Package #1 are f3.5 for the 28-135mm and f4.0 for the 70-300mm. The lower the f-number, the better it is in low light.

The Tokina 11-16mm is in high demand because of it’s constant aperture. That means it stays open at f2.8 whether you’re at 11mm all the way to 16mm for awesome low light performance.

Tokina 11-16mm f2.8 Wide Angle Lens Price: $799.00

Canon 50mm f1.8 II Prime Lens

Canon 50mm f1.8 IIA 50mm lens should be in everyone’s camera bag. This Canon 50mm f1.8 is inexpensive and is great in low light with an f1.8 aperture. For those who want to get those great depth of field shots like you see in movies, this is the lens to get! People have criticized this lens for being cheap and made of plastic but it works. It’s really affordable!

Canon 50mm f1.8 II Prime Lens Price: $125.20 

Transcend 32GB UDMA 400x Compact Flash Card

Transcend 32GB UDMA 400x compact=I made a mistake when I chose the compact flash card for my Canon 7D. Against all the recommendations I read about, I bought a card that wasn’t fast enough. The Kingston Elite Pro 133x 32GB card I have works but not all the time. About 25% of the time, I get the buffer error on my 7D and the video recording stops. I knew I should’ve bought a UDMA card but didn’t. I wanted to save money at the time but now you can get a 32GB UDMA compact flash card for the same price as the slower Kingston card I have. The 32GB capacity is great but if you need more memory, I’d recommend getting a second 32GB card rather than one single 64GB card.

Transcend 32GB UDMA 400x Compact Flash Card Price: $74.49

Canon 7D 1920x1080 Full HD

Hopefully the suggestions above will help in your decision of buying a Canon 7D for shooting video. In both camera packages, you get the 7D with 2 lenses and a 32GB compact flash card. You might be thinking, “What is the price difference?”. I’ve broken it down below so you can see that camera package #2 really isn’t that much more plus you get better video gear.

What Is The Price Difference?

Camera Package #1

  • Camera with kit lens…………$1899.00
  • Telephoto zoom lens………..$499.00
  • 32GB memory card………….$73.99

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Total………………………$2471.99

Camera Package #2

  • Camera body only…………….$1699.00
  • Wide angle lens………………..$779.00
  • 50mm lens……………………..$125.20
  • 32GB memory card…………..$74.49

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Total………………………$2677.69

So the totals are pretty close as you can see. The exact price difference is $205.70 more for Camera Package #2 but you get much better equipment as I said before. Of course those are the prices I found at the time I am writing this article. I did my research at Amazon.com and you can get great deals there with free shipping on most items and they often have special deals on their cameras. Just make sure you read through their descriptions! At different times of the year, you might be able to get Camera Package #2 for less.

If you know someone that wants to get into DSLR video and looking for camera/lens suggestions, send them a link to this article. Or better yet, use one of the sharing buttons on the left of the screen to let your friends know about this guide!

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