Major web buzz now for Canon’s newly-announced 5D Mark II, the 21MP, 1080i HD video- and stills-shooting machine.

This thing will shoot 12 minutes of HD video that’s stored as .mov files. The website NRK Beta reports the resulting files can be dropped into Final Cut Pro with no conversion for right-away editing.

The most complete look at the new 5D is from photographer Vincent Laforet, who has a a long report based on a weekend of shooting with a prototype. It has drawn huge traffic, and a large number of comments. From his post:

Here is the story behind the short video that I produced with what I believe to be a “game changer”of a camera for the following reasons:

1. The 5D MKII camera produces the best stills in low light that I’ve ever seen – what you can see with you eye in the worst light (such as sodium-vapor street lights at 3 a.m. in Brooklyn) – this camera can capture it with ease.

2. It produces the best video in low light that I’ve ever seen – at 1080p. A top commercial film editor who who regularly edits RED camera footage – and has seen the raw footage from the 5D MKII – says the 5D MKII is “far superior to the RED camera” in terms of low light performance…

3. You can use your prime and zoom lenses from your Canon still cameras with it – and shoot wide open… so you can shoot films with fisheye lenses, 50mm 1.2 as well as the 200mm f2 or 400mm 2.8 that you may already own…

4. This camera is so easy to use – that you can work incredibly quickly, mostly handheld – without a huge production – and using natural light – ergo you don’t need a huge budget and tons of preparation anymore… forget the lighting trucks and generators that take up entire city blocks…

5. This camera will sell for approx. $2,700 – and perform better than many $100K plus video cameras out there…

6. Photojournalists in particular – will be able to take full advantage of this camera’s strengths – because they are used to walking into any room, and finding the best natural “available light” in the room – or knowing how to add a single light source to make it pop… they are used to working quickly and with small or no budgets… which is something this camera is begging you to do…

It has the potential to change our industry.

(There are plenty of links, particularly in the comments, to some online video samples. His report and the comments are really, really worth reading.)

Nikon released its stills-video composite a few weeks back, signalling the start of yet another technological revolution. I thought, at that time, the Nikon was an interesting transitional tool in the coming together of stills and video at a professional level. Canon appears to have given that revolution a major bump.

The question now is whether to spend $2,700 (body only), or to wait to see what happens next.

Update: Multimedia Evangelist has many Canon 5D-related links.

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