Photo by Robert ScottThe Canon EOS 7D has really changed the way I approach video projects. This camera continues to amaze me shoot after shoot. I can't say enough good things about it. I guess that's why I continually write about it on this blog. You can say what you want about the h.264 codec and the image quality, but the final product is all that matters to me. The video from this camera is absolutely stunning. 


Towards the end of the summer, I really Photo by Robert Scot.put the camera to work on a shoot in the Outer Banks in North Carolina. I traveled there to shoot some footage for a documentary that my friend, Robert Scott, and I are producing.  I can't get into the details of the topic, but the film stems from our love of fishing. It is my labor of love because it combines my my two passions, filmmaking and fishing. 

Rob is a freelance writer. For one of his clients, he writes about new technology related to the film and entertainment industry, so he had heard of the camera, but had never experienced it first hand. I have to say, that after seeing it in action, he was impressed.  

We arrived in the afternoon and shot a couple of beauty shots around sunset with a 70-200 f/2.8l and my Zacuto Z-finder.  As soon as the shots were done, I immediately plugged in my Marshall monitor to show Rob the footage. He was instantly sold on the image. We used the camera all week.


Me up on the bridge with the captain's dog, Bella. Notice the Z1U rigged to the boat. It lived there most of the trip locked off on a shot of the cockpit. Photo by Robert Scott.


The sunset shots. Photo by Robert Scott.A lot of the shooting we do is on ocean. Shooting from a boat can be very demanding so I was nervous about bringing the 7D to North Carolina because it does have its problems. My biggest concerns were possibility of aliasing problems with the rippling on the surface of the water, and that it has overheated for me twice before during interviews. 

My goal for this trip was to travel light and the 7D allows that. As a person who travels with gear, I'm constantly cutting personal

items from my packing list in order to accommodate an extra light or lens. At the last minute, I panicked and packed my almost obsolete, but trusty Sony HVR-Z1U as a back up camera. 


The business end of the interview rig.Interview rig from my point of view.The camera performed flawlessly. We went offshore one day and I shot for hours.  The old overheating problems that I used to have were not an issue. (I think that has to do with a firmware update from Canon.)  Also, the weather sealing in conduction with Canon L glass made me less worried about spray than I would have been if I shot with my Z1U.  I stuck the camera on a Red Rock Micro rig with a Zacuto Z-finder, and I was comfortable and stable all day. Most of the handheld footage from at the boat was shot at 24mm at f/5.6 at this aperture, the water never aliased. I didn't even need the Z1U.

I am so proud of this little camera. It's such work horse. I've started using it on another documentary, and I've just begun shooting another film with it using old Nikon AI glass. I feel like now I have the formula down and I'll shoot anywhere with it.

So what did I bring?  Well, besides a three light Arri kit, and the Z1U, here is a summary of DSLR kit list:


The gear spread out on my living room floor.Canon EOS 7D body with batteries and a charger


Everything in cases. The large Pelican is my Z1U. Think how much easier I could have traveled without it.Canon 24-70 f/2.8l Lens

Canon 70-200 f/2.8l Lens

Canon 1.4 Extender

Polarizing filters for each lens

ND filters from .3-1.2

Zacuto Z-finder

Light Meter

Rode Video Mic

Red Rock Micro shoulder support

2 Lite Panel Led sun guns

7" Marshall Monitor

Zoom H4N

Boom and wireless lavs

Miller DS10 tripod

I also had a laptop, CF and SD cards, and a card reader.