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Canon 5D Mark II - Mosaic Engineering VAF-5D2 anti-aliasing filter review


Andrew Reid
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A great many have forgotten what an absolute beast the 5D Mark II is.

A power house of image quality with a massive sensor, Hollywood film sequences and entire episodes of prime time network TV have been shot on it purely for the way it looks. But it does have one big flaw.

This is now much reduced with the VAF-5D2.

[url="http://www.eoshd.com/content/7120/canon-5d-mark-ii-mosaic-engineering-vaf-5d2-anti-aliasing-filter-review/"]Read full article[/url]

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I guess I'm just the only person in the world who prefer's the 5DII's videos with the sharpness turned off. It's not like they don't need sharpening - they do - but Canon has this outdated coarse, harsh way of sharpening its video image that is a turn-off for me. Panasonic is, among other things, handling its sharpening a bit better though I think it has a little more information there to begin with. Can't wait to see what the 5DIII brings, it will be disappointing if it doesn't have the same IQ as the upcoming 1Dx
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I've been using the ME AA filter for a few months now. It really that it has given the 5DMKII better picture quality and a longer life.
I originally bought the 5DMKII for stills and ignored the video because wide, deep depth of field shots looked so awful. Now with this filter I'm happier to shoot paid video jobs with the 5DMKII.
One thing I've found is that focussing is a bit of a pain as each lens behaves slightly differently with the filter installed. Also, I normally use one-push "Quick mode" auto focus before I hit record - I can't do this with the AA filter installed. My Canon HF G10 still resolves more detail than the 5DMKII (with the AA installed and sharpening turned up to your suggested level) - so for those troublesome wide angle deep depth of field shots with fine detail, sometimes I opt to shoot on a real video camera.
Overall I agree that it's a good product for the price.
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isn`t this a bit like resuscitating a dead horse that by the way has already been hacked with a fifth leg etc..

i love my 5d with it`s full fledged sensor etc.. but it`s clearly outdated.

not a single image in the article shows advantages over the gh2 and the heavily sharpened ones look really disgusting for my taste....

the gh2 has become so cheap, so why spend 400$ plus vast shipping and customs cost on this?
and the 5d III is imminent also.

this would have been great one or two years ago, sorry but time flies...

these days the "film stock" is build into the cameras, so we will have to get used to throwing them away every now and then.
stick to lenses and invest in them and love them but don`t shed a tear over a dead camera body :-)
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It may be a dead horse or "a one trick pony" but it's still the cheapest and best full frame body around if only just for stills. I assume that many can't justify retiring camera bodies every two or three years just because something newer with incrementally better image quality comes along. I'll continue to enjoy riding my dead horse into the sunset.
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If you want sell your work, try to make a living with it, and you own a Canon 5DII, the VAF-5D2 is the best investment you can make. I like the GH2 but not as much as the 5D for the kind of pictures I can take, still learning thou.

It is tempting going only with Panny, more flexible camera, but I don't want give up to all my EF lenses. 
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Hi everyone!

First post here. I've been a hacked GH2 user and i'm pretty happy with the extreme quaility overall; i think it's truly impressive for a 800$ camera.

Sadly i found it more and more useless everyday for my purposes due to it's poor Dynamic Range as i need true "gradable" footage but still in love with GH2 output quality.

I'm thinking now to switch to this 5Dmk II ME filter option. Question is: Andrew, do you think is a good choice switching in terms to match GH2 quality with this filter? Cinestyle profile and fullframe sensor are seriously make me think of it...

Thanks a lot!

Ps. if only GH2 hack would have a ML-like two ISO streams for HDR...  :(

EDIT: Does anybody know if this ML-like HDR 2 streams is planned or even doable for GH2 hack BTW??
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Hi, Alex,

If you are considering the Mk2 solution you might as well wait to see what the Mk3 will have to offer! (Announcement tomorrow?)

Does Mk2 footage really stand up to grading better than then hacked GH2 footage? I know it uses less efficient compression resulting in higher bitrate footage, and I have seen some INCREDIBLE footage from it (Act of Valor), but the same goes for the GH2. I don't think you would want to do a really hard grade with either one, though.

As far as 2 streams for HDR, I am going to go out on a limb and say not possible. That would require DOUBLE the processing power. And double the bitrate. And double the size of the recording medium. And frankly doesn't seem to be in demand at this time. Though I could see rigging up a 2 camera system with a mirror system to shoot the same image and set each for different ISOs. With the GH2, this would be a pretty inexpensive option! Hmmmm...
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Andrew and everyone...

As the person who's been involved shooting all the initial and final tests of the VAF-5D2 filter with Dr. Cubanski of Mosaic Engineering, here's the settings that I use...

With the filter in-place, I still keep the in-camera sharpness at its lowest setting. I do this because the 5D's internal sharpness settings are more like adding "contours" or edge enhancement rather than increasing true, high frequency sharpness.  On a Final Cut 7 timeline, I'll typically add about a 12 to 15 setting on Final Cut's "sharpness" filter. (This is a simple filter that's part of Final Cut.)  The result is a sharp image that cuts well with RED and other full-resolution 1080P footage.

I also use the "5D to RGB Batch" program to convert the 8 bit 4:2:0 camera files to 10 bit ProRes422HQ. I feel that this inexpensive program, although slower, does a better job of converting the H.264 camera files than Final Cut's log & transfer function.

My favorite 2 lenses to use with the VAF-5D2 filter in place is the 24-70mm F2.8L and the 70-200mm F2.8 L IS. Zoom lenses won't track focus with the filter in-place. That means you have to zoom to a desired scene composition, then focus. Both of these lenses appear to be very sharp from edge-to-edge at any focal length. 

All the comments that Andrew has indicated in his review are correct regarding loss of edge sharpness with fixed wide angles of less than 35mm. For some reason, the design of the 2 above mentioned zoom lenses reacts differently than fixed lenses.

FYI, the 16-35mm zoom does not work well with the anti-aliasing filter in-place.  Also, don't use the filter with Nikon lenses that have the long iris close-down actuator pin on the rear of the lens. This lever can come in contact with the VAF-5D2 filter assembly.    Hope that helps...  Glenn
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  • 1 month later...
Hello everyone,
this is my first post on the forum.
I was just wandering if anyone had the opportunity to try a Canon Mark II with the VAF-5D2 filter and magic lantern against the new Canon 5D Mark III.
It would be interesting to have comments on image quality (aliasing, moire..)
Anyone had this chance.
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