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Canon DSLR’s & Lenses Popular Choices By Sundance Filmmakers

By Anthony Thurston on January 29th 2014

The Sundance Film Festival is one of the biggest showcases for independent films in the world. It seems like every year, one or two really great films come out of Sundance that I really enjoy. Being as I also like to dabble in video production, I am always curious to see what sort of gear is going towards producing some of the incredible films coming out of Sundance.

Luckily for me, the guys over at nofilmschool have a nice listing up of all the cameras and lenses used by this year’s crop of Sundance films. I suppose that it may not be surprising to many of you, that 5 of the 16 cameras used by filmmakers this year were made by Canon and 4 of those were DSLR bodies.


The Canon 5D Mark II, Canon 5D Mark III, Canon 7D, and Canon T2i were all popular choices by filmmakers who had their films featured at the Sundance Festival this year. The one Canon entry not a DSLR was the C300 cinema camera.

Also according to the nofilmschool report Canon lenses, as you would expect given the use of Canon DSLRs, were also popular choices by filmmakers. The Canon 24-105mm F/4L , Canon 70-200mm F/2.8L , Canon 24mm F/1.4L, and Canon 16-35mm f/2.8L II were named specifically with other “Canon Zoom Lenses” also referred to in a general sense.


If you needed anymore proof that Canon is becoming the king of low budget filmmaking, I think that this offers a solid case that it’s a favorite. Note the absence of the popular Panasonic GH3, very highly regarded ILCs (Interchangeable Lens Cameras) for video.

[REWIND: What Cameras Dominated the Academy Awards?]

Other noteable additions to the list included the GoPro Hero and iPhone. Yes, filmmakers used the iPhone over GH3‘s or any Nikon DSLR with video feature.

What are your thoughts on this? Do you agree with the assessment that Canon is becoming the King – or at least a leader – in lowbudget filmmaking? Share your opinion in a comment below to join the discussion.

[via No Film School]

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Anthony Thurston is a photographer based in the Salem, Oregon area specializing in Boudoir. He recently started a new project, Fiercely Boudoir to help support the growing boudoir community. Find him over on Instagram. You may also connect with him via Email.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Martin

    One thing to consider is that movies that are premiering now started their production maybe 2 years ago,
    I am sure that next year we’ll GH3 and Blackmagics.

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  2. Will Anlezark

    Canon have many functions that Film makers crave.

    They are known to be for video so once you invest with gear it is hard to move onto other systems.

    Also the fact the Magic lantern turns these cameras into a workhorse allowing Raw,Peaking,Expanded focus and about 1 million other features that Nikon users don’t get there is no wonder why people continue to venture to Canon.

    The problem is canon refuse to put these features forward for filmmakers and in turn has caused most users serious about film to hack their cameras with 3rd party firmware.

    Hope this helps @HANSSIE

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  3. Scott Brumfield

    I guess you all have been asleep since 2009 when the season finally of House was filmed exclusively with the 5d markii. DSLR cameras are becoming a big part of video for many reasons and the cact that Canon embraced it early makes the a front runner. Canon lenses are even used on pricey video camera like the Red series of cameras among others. Canon is the leader in video and lenses but Panasonic and Sony will surely answer back. I dont believe any videovrapher is looking for a Nikon.

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  4. Hanssie

    Why do you think that they picked Canons? Are they better filmmaking cameras? (Spoken from a totally non filmmaker)

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    • Francesco Meloni

      I guess introductory price of entry level models like the T2i (which has similar video capabilities as the 60D for example) could be one reason, but I think the main one could be the MagicLantern firmware

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    • Chuck Eggen

      Ok I know I’ll get beat up for this but I think it’s because of the bandwagon trend. Articles like this do more to promote the use of canon than canon itself. Without any research most people just ask someone and then take that to be the gospel. This why it’s best to be first to offer something useable and take the market share. Yes, Nikon beat canon to the punch on video in DSLR but didn’t capitalize on that. JMO.

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