The pro video kit Canon ambassadors can't work without

Camilla Ferrari and Stéphane Granzotto discuss the Canon kit that brought two special projects to life.
Canon Ambassador Stéphane Granzotto half-submerged in the sea, wearing a wetsuit and snorkel and holding out his hands to take a selfie with his Canon EOS R5 using underwater housing.

Canon Ambassador Stéphane Granzotto takes a selfie in the water with the gorgeous half-light skies of winter in the High North. "The water is around 4°C but with the wind chill factor on the boat can feel as low as -10°C or -20°C," says Stéphane. Taken on a Canon EOS R5 with a Canon RF 15-35mm F2.8L IS USM lens at 20mm, 1/125 sec, f/4 and ISO 3200. © Stéphane Granzotto

From dark and icy Arctic waters to the baking Sudanese desert, two filmmakers have put Canon's video offerings to the test covering the natural world and its inhabitants in all its vibrancy. Canon Ambassadors Camilla Ferrari and Stéphane Granzotto not only turned their lenses on very different landscapes, but also very different assignments.

Italian visual artist Camilla is known for merging still and moving vertical images in impactful diptychs or triptychs. Her visuals have been published in National Geographic, The New York Times, US News and la Repubblica. But for one special project, she headed to Sudan for an Italian travel agency seeking a fresh portrayal of the country.

"We wanted to highlight the in-between places that you find when you travel," says Camilla. "My aim was to highlight Sudan's enchanted beauty and multifaceted complexity – suspended between reality and dream, presence and absence. And create an emotional journey across its history, as well as the natural and human landscapes." Captured just six weeks before conflict broke out in April 2023, Camilla's images now speak to the humanity at the heart of a nation in turmoil.

On the other end of the spectrum, award-winning French photographer and filmmaker Stéphane is famed for his exploration of underwater worlds. Shooting stills for the likes of National Geographic, he has also produced more than 40 documentaries for French and international channels. Since 2018, he has documented orcas in the Norwegian fjords, 400km north of the Arctic Circle, including witnessing them hunt vast shoals of herring.

"With the low light conditions, extreme cold and moisture, these are tough conditions for the gear," says Stéphane, who films both above and below water. For the latter, he adopts a specially designed underwater housing unit to protect his kit from the elements. "It's a very big test, but one where my Canon gear performs incredibly well." After publishing a photographic book on these apex predators, he's now working on a documentary.

Together, across these two diverse shooting environments, Camilla and Stéphane both leant on the Canon EOS R5, the EOS R System powerhouse allowing them to keep up with the action thanks to fast autofocus, as well as work in extreme lighting conditions. Combined with RF lenses, the kit enhances their storytelling through market-leading stabilisation and wide apertures.

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Canon Ambassador Camilla Ferrari stands amid sand dunes in Sudan, a pyramid with a broken top nearby.

Out with the golden light hitting the sand dunes and pyramids, Camilla stands with her Canon EOS R5 in hand, paired with her Canon RF 24-70mm F2.8L IS USM lens. There are 41 known tombs at the Meroë Northern Cemetery archaeological site in Sudan. Italian explorer Giuseppe Ferlini excavated wildly here, which included dynamiting pyramids in his pursuit of treasure – his legacy seen in this blunt top today. © Valentina Rubbi

Orcas breaching the ocean surface, snowy mountains behind them, in a photo taken by Stéphane Granzotto on a Canon EOS R5.

When he's photographing wildlife above the water, Stéphane uses the Canon EOS R5's eye detection autofocus to hone in on his subjects in crisp detail. "I was so impressed by the EOS R5's AF which focused so fast and well in eye detection, even on orcas," he says. Taken on a Canon EOS R5 and a Canon RF 70-200mm F2.8L IS USM lens at 200mm, 1/500 sec, f/2.8 and ISO 4000. © Stéphane Granzotto

The EOS R5: a versatile partner with professional video capabilities

Having always shot video alongside stills, Stéphane has found a truly hybrid partner in the Canon EOS R5. "I've been waiting for this camera for a long time," he says. "As a documentary director, it was a dream to have a very good camera for photography which also shoots cinematic footage, in 8K, with Canon Log, RAW and picture profiles. It's a professional video camera which shoots very high-quality footage you could use in a documentary for National Geographic."

When he's out on the water, contending with biting winds and splashback, Stéphane needs a hardy body. Under the hood, he toggles between 4K for slow-mo or lighter capture, and 8K for higher quality or for the possibility of cropping in. When it comes to codecs, he often uses RAW Light, which makes RAW more accessible through smaller file sizes.

Camilla began working in stills before getting her start in filmmaking by shooting for social media. She now films in 4K, mostly at 60fps, or 120fps if she knows she will use slow-mo on a specific clip. "I usually film in Canon Log 3 because of its dynamic range in the shadows which gives me a lot of freedom when working in post-production," she says. Having a hybrid camera means that both filmmakers can switch to photography when the moment requires it, continuing their multimedia capture seamlessly in the field.

The silhouette of Stéphane Granzotto, wearing a wetsuit and snorkel, as he prepares to jump into the Arctic Ocean.

Sitting on the edge of an inflatable boat, Stéphane prepares to jump into the Arctic waters in search of orcas, taking his Canon EOS R5 in his underwater housing. "I really trust in this camera," he says. "It's the best camera I've ever used, because now we can have a very good camera for photography and also a cinematic way to shoot footage, in the same body." Taken on a Canon EOS R5 with a Canon RF 15-35mm F2.8L IS USM lens at 20mm, 1/125 sec, f/2.8 and ISO 400. © Stéphane Granzotto

Canon Ambassador Camilla Ferrari sits on a rocky ledge in Sudan, using her Canon EOS R5 to take photographs of people descending the rock to the beach.

In Of Light and Sand, Camilla wanted to step away from the historic, archaeological narration of Sudan or seeing it only through a prism of war. Instead, she wanted to retrace touristic paths but in a way which drew attention to the everyday lives of the Sudanese people and their traditions. Here, Camilla is pictured documenting people descending a rock face onto the sand below. © Valentina Rubbi

Autofocus that gets it right in difficult lighting conditions

As well as filming killer whales from above the surface, avid diver Stéphane also swims with specialised carbon fins to keep up with them. "They go very quick, so I have to swim quickly too," he says. When he's alongside the orcas, Stéphane freedives, capturing moments of their high-speed underwater world. "I trust in the autofocus," he says. "The water is often not clear, there can be jellyfish in it – so, bad conditions – and it will usually still focus on the right place."

The months which Stéphane spends diving with orcas are challenging for reasons beyond the cold. They are also some of the darkest, when Polar Night brings just a few hours of daylight, often further obscured by clouds. "You don't have a lot of light, and it's a big difficulty," he says, searching for dark shapes in dark waters. "I try to use a wide aperture lens and I am used to working with very high ISO. I want to manage good results, with no noise – and it's a showcase for the new cameras."

ISO capabilities were what drew Camilla towards mirrorless cameras while she was still working with the EOS 5D series. "The first time I tried a camera from the Canon EOS R System was the Canon EOS R, in 2019, and right there I noticed how the camera was able to handle high ISO settings beautifully," she says. "I shot a photograph at ISO 16,000 and was able to tone it without a problem, and the noise had this grain look which helped in the post production process. The same thing now applies to my Canon EOS R5 while filming."

While on the road capturing stories for her Sudanese project Of Light and Sand, Camilla had her control ring on her RF lens set to ISO, so that it was "incredibly fast and accessible to change ISO while filming a scene, without needing to change the framing and without affecting the smoothness of the clip."

She also relied on her camera's autofocus when in video mode. "Autofocus is very important to me because it allows me to put all my attention, feeling and mind on composition and observation of reality unfolding in front of the camera, without taking too much time to put a specific scene and subject manually in focus," she explains. "While filming, sometimes I keep the AI Servo setting on, allowing the autofocus to be constant even if I slightly change the composition or pan."

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A triptych of birds flying around a bright blue sky; a man in long white robes standing by a worktop, photographed through a window in a white wall; and a reflection of a car driver in a car window, through which can be seen a bright blue sky and land. Shot by Camilla Ferrari.

Enhancing storytelling with lens stabilisation and IBIS

In Sudan, Camilla sought to document travel routes but beyond the typical representation of the country, often centred on conflict or archaeology. "We wanted to deviate from this dualism and explore what was in between," she says. "The idea was to retrace the touristic path, but in a way which drew attention to everyday rituals, like preparing coffee or stopping at truck stops where there's nothing but sand, and then suddenly you find these islands of life."

For this trip, Camilla upgraded from her EF version to the Canon RF 24-70mm F2.8L IS USM lens, adding 5-stops of image stabilisation which she says "dramatically changed" her shooting experience, especially in combination with the Canon EOS R5's 5-axis In-Body Image Stabilisation (IBIS). "I usually film from a fixed point of view and I let reality unfold before the camera, but in Sudan I wanted to also capture 'on the road' atmospheric scenes and more dynamic clips," says Camilla. "When we were travelling by car, I found myself capturing the landscape changing outside the window or recording market scenes while moving across them, and I wanted to do that without losing the stillness and smoothness that the other pieces of the work have."

As well as ironing out the bumpiness of car movements, stabilisation also allowed her to film handheld, free of additional gear. "I was filming in the desert at a well where people would collect water," says Camilla. "Just holding the camera, I was able to turn from left to right, slowly panning from one side to the other, with perfect stabilisation, without a gimbal, without any bumps." The Canon EOS R5 C, Canon's smallest Cinema EOS camera, is another great tool for handheld work, along with the Canon EOS C70, and these cameras work differently with Electronic IS.

An orca dives and swims below the ocean surface in a video shot by Stéphane Granzotto on a Canon EOS R5.

The best lenses for video

For Stéphane's specialism, a different RF lens particularly shines. The vast majority of his diving is done using his Canon RF 15-35mm F2.8L IS USM lens, which allows him to best deal with underwater quirks. "At the surface, we can see something that is a kilometre away, but in water, you can't see something which is 15m away," he says. "So you have to be very close. Due to the poor visibility and some physical diffraction of light in water, we generally have to use wide angles underwater."

The RF 15-35mm F2.8L IS USM is Stéphane's favourite lens for underwater work, although he sometimes still turns to his older Canon EF 15mm f/2.8 Fisheye. When filming for his documentaries, the RF lens' wide angle is also useful to capture scientists and crew at sea where there isn't much space on the boat to film. "This lens has a very high level of sharpness, fast AF and its big f/2.8 aperture allows me to work in low light conditions," he says. "To have a wide-angle zoom like this is a very good deal for me."

His "good-for-all" lens is his lightweight Canon RF 24-105mm F4L IS USM which covers wide-angle, standard and telephoto focal lengths, with a 5-stop image stabiliser. "When I am on the boat, changing a lens can be difficult so I try to do everything with one," he says. "With this, I can shoot a whole documentary." Stéphane and Camilla both look forward to working with Canon's latest hybrid RF lens, the Canon RF 24-105mm F2.8L IS USM Z. Perfect for shooting video and stills alike, it brings even lower light capabilities with its f/2.8 aperture. "It will be interesting, because it has the same aperture that I love in the Canon RF 24-70mm F2.8L IS USM lens, with the added range," says Camilla.

When it comes to producing video content, Canon's wide range of cameras – from hybrid winners through to Cinema EOS classics – and RF and cinema lenses cater to a huge range of filmmaking needs. The Canon EOS R5 is among the best Canon cameras for shooting video, perfect for hybrid shooters, with the Canon EOS R5 C offering a dedicated cinema camera space within the family, as it's a video-first hybrid providing further professional filmmaking tools including long duration recording. The weather-sealed Canon EOS R3 is a rugged video companion with professional burst-mode speeds, while solo shooters might also like to consider the more lightweight and compact Canon EOS R6 Mark II or the Canon EOS R7.

Within the Cinema EOS range, the Canon EOS C70 and Canon EOS C300 Mark III both offer DGO sensors for improved ISO performance, and built-in NF Filters/XLR terminals. As the RF range expands, so does the options when it comes to the best RF lenses for shooting video.

"I put everything on my gear," says Stéphane, describing some of his most challenging underwater Nordic cinematography. "The light is low, the water has bad visibility, the animals are going fast – we are not 100% sure we will get the shot. My part of the job is to be very close, to know what's happening and to feel it. But I trust my equipment and it performs very, very well."

Lucy Fulford

Camilla Ferrari and Stéphane Granzotto's kitbags

The key kit pros use to take their photographs

Stéphane Granzotto's kitbag containing Canon cameras, lenses and accessories.


Canon EOS R5

Offering 45 megapixel photos at up to 20fps, or cinematic 12 bit 8K RAW video at a flick of a switch. "This is an incredible camera for video," says Stéphane. "I love this camera because of its high-definition sensor, its very powerful autofocus and its capacities in high ISO. It produces very high-level footage, in 4K 120fps or in 8K, for documentaries." Camilla adds, "The EOS R5 was the obvious choice for me, not only for the in-body stabilisation and up to 8K video, but also for the fast autofocus, even in low light situations. I love to film where light conditions are challenging and complex, and the quick autofocus and tolerance at high ISO are crucial elements to have in a camera for me."


Canon RF 15-35mm F2.8L IS USM

Canon's fastest ultra-wide-angle zoom and part of a trinity of essential pro lenses. "It is great in low light with its f/2.8 aperture and it's got very good optical quality," says Stéphane. "This lens is a game changer for me and perfect for video."

Canon RF 24-70mm F2.8L IS USM

Superb optical engineering, a fast f/2.8 maximum aperture and 5-stop image stabilisation help you stay creative in all conditions. "This was a game changer for me because its stabilisation combined with the in-body stabilisation allows me to film without any external gear, just holding the camera vertically in my hands," says Camilla.

Canon RF 24-105mm F4L IS USM

The perfect partner of EOS R System full-frame mirrorless cameras, a flexible and agile L-series zoom and Stéphane's all-rounder. "I have to be very quick when I'm shooting video," he says. "I can do wide-angle pictures and I can zoom to make close-ups with this lens."

Canon RF 70-200mm F2.8L IS USM

An f/2.8 telephoto zoom lens with exceptional image quality. "Lighter and more compact than previous EF versions, the sharpness of this lens is enormous," says Stéphane. "When light conditions are low like in the Arctic with orcas, this is the ideal lens."

Canon RF 600mm F4L IS USM

A high performance super telephoto lens with class-leading portability and ultra-fast focusing. "The nature images it allows you to create are simply fantastic," says Stéphane. "Using it is a real pleasure."


Seacam housing for Canon EOS R5

Custom housing for the EOS R5 enables Stéphane to bring his camera into the world of the orcas. "This housing allows you to submerge an EOS R5 in complete safety, while offering all the camera control reports on the housing," he says.

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