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Old December 20th, 2012, 01:41 PM   #1
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2nd Camera Decision Time

I need to pick a camera to go with my Sony A77 kit. (I relied most on an NX5U prior to the A77, fwiw.)

Here's a sample of a series I'm working on right now. The new camera will be used to film this type of stuff.


I often have to shoot in rough, wet, dry, frozen conditions. I can't afford an FS700, so that's out. I can barely afford an FS100, but will have to use my existing lenses (limited). I also need to buy it this month for a project that is already in process.

I've narrowed it down to the FS100 or the Sony A99. I love that the A99 is inconspicuous to shoot with and that it's weather sealed. Not sure about the aliasing... that has been an issue with the A77. I know aliasing won't be an issue with the FS100, but I'm not a fan of it's design (in theory, yes, in use, no.) and I'd rather not have to wrap it in a weather bag all the time. It's also larger than the A99 and if I'm packing two camera bodies into the woods, I'd like to be as light as possible.

Before making a recommendation on any other cameras, please keep in mind, I really want to buy as few new accessories as possible (the A99 and A77 use the same batteries, for example) and I absolutely need 1080/60p as a minimum since slow-motion is a staple for my work.

I've toyed with the idea of getting the VG30, since I could also afford some nice new lenses with it, but I'd rather take a step up if possible. And, likely, this will be my only camera purchase for 2013 (with an occasional rental of an FS700 for specialty shots.)

Thanks in advance!

Last edited by Ryan Douthit; December 20th, 2012 at 02:17 PM.
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Old December 20th, 2012, 04:02 PM   #2
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Re: 2nd Camera Decision Time

Hmmmm... while going "upscale" is good, and shared accessories are always a bonus... I'm guessing you're feeling the need for a more dedicated video camera? As a fan of the "low budget" approach, what about one of the top end Sony handycams and a sports pack?

All of them do 60p, the "magic eyeball" stabilization is amazing (2012 models, CX or PJ760 or PJ710), and it would give you an effective deep DoF option when needed. Not necessarily "impressive" to the observer, but easy to cart around for second angle when needed. Sports packs are good for protection against adverse conditions, and you can use any of the ones produced over the last few years with a bit of adapting.

Another crazy option might be the little DSC-RX100 - pocketable, and does 60p, capable of manual control... and for it's size, it keeps up with A65 and CX700 in their respective disciplines - stills and video are quite good, I'm still scratching my head at how good it is. Sony crammed some serious quality into this tiny thing (good thing, since it's kinda expensive for a "pocket" cam!).
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Old December 20th, 2012, 04:18 PM   #3
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Re: 2nd Camera Decision Time

I may also get a RX100 for a "C", but it's not what I'm looking for immediately - in fact, considering the NEX6 for my C... I had the NEX 7 and loved it but the overheating made it useless for me. I've heard the 6 doesn't have that problem.

Having shot with the NX5U for a couple years, that's not a look I have any interest in going back to - right now - or I'd likely be shopping for a used EX1.
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Old December 20th, 2012, 10:36 PM   #4
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Re: 2nd Camera Decision Time

Have you looked at the Sony NEX-EA50UH?

It can do 60p, and is only about $3.5K with an 18-200mm lens. With the E-mount you can also adapt your A-mount lenses. Much cheaper than an FS100, and almost as good.
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Old December 20th, 2012, 10:51 PM   #5
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Re: 2nd Camera Decision Time

I have looked at the EA50. The three issues I have with it is that it appears to be larger than the FS100, it apparently uses the same sensor as the much cheaper VG30 (but I can't find any reviews of the VG30 to really confirm anything about its video quality) putting the video in roughly the same class as my current A77 - though maybe with a better compression chip and, lastly, I don't want to have to pay for the 18-200 it comes bundled with. That lens is simply too slow to be worth carrying. I can see "event" shooters liking it, but it really doesn't fit my needs right now.
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Old December 21st, 2012, 06:57 AM   #6
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Re: 2nd Camera Decision Time

I know the "R" word isn't usually welcome but.. Why not rent some gear for your current project and see what works best?

Do these videos generate revenue?
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Old December 21st, 2012, 09:27 AM   #7
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Re: 2nd Camera Decision Time

Consider the Sony NX70.
It is completely weather and dust sealed, assuming you don't attach audio (it has a built in mike for nat sound). It shoots 28mbps 1080/60P AVCHD. It's comparable to the A99 in price.

For a completely weather/dust proof video camera, the NX70 is pretty much the only option.

I know it won't have great depth of field, but not every shot requires that.
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Old December 21st, 2012, 11:05 AM   #8
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Re: 2nd Camera Decision Time

FS100. If you can afford it I'd jump all over it. Maybe look at a used one, they are going for $3300
or so over at the 'other' board. That is a steal.
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Old December 22nd, 2012, 12:01 AM   #9
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Re: 2nd Camera Decision Time

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Medico View Post
I know the "R" word isn't usually welcome but.. Why not rent some gear for your current project and see what works best?

Do these videos generate revenue?
Yes, I make a living off my productions and client work. Sometime I have to bid against guys running REDs.

I'm not of fan of renting when I can avoid it, especially for something I'll be buying anyhow.

Regarding the FS100 -- it would be a matter of blowing my entire equipment budget for a while. Is it worth it? I guess that's what I really need to decide. Then there's he ergonomics. Ugh. Why couldn't they just put the S35 sensor into the A99 body?
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Old December 22nd, 2012, 12:13 AM   #10
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Re: 2nd Camera Decision Time

Samples of some client work I've done, maybe helpful.

A77 for Ken Block

My last shoot with the NX5U for Mazda, a piece of this was also licensed by Apple

One last one. This has a bunch of events and interviews I shot in 2011 compiled together for Ford's Octane Academy launch (had 6 hours notice to edit this one together... Good times!) side note: there are a few low-res clips they supplied me for their drift guy - I don't claim those ;)
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Old December 23rd, 2012, 10:51 AM   #11
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Re: 2nd Camera Decision Time

Now gravitating towards the VG900... Possibly. I suspect it has better dynamic range than the FS100. Due to the lack of any real reviews of it, I may have to rent (or buy and keep an eye on the return window) to see if it suffers the same aliasing as the A77. There simply isn't enough test footage out there. And though it may an image similar to the A99, it's likely not exact.

With the XLR kit the FS and VG are roughly the same price. I know the FS100 can produce some stunning work. But so far the jury is out on the VG900. Though yes, being inside the "pro" video ecosystem does have some exra value. I also suspect the AVCHD compression may be better on the pro line cameras. Anyone here with a VG900?
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Old December 23rd, 2012, 04:38 PM   #12
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Re: 2nd Camera Decision Time

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryan Douthit View Post
Now gravitating towards the VG900... Possibly. I suspect it has better dynamic range than the FS100.
Why do you suspect that? Just curious here. From what I know, the FS100 has fewer (and larger)
'photosites' than the still chips which the VG900 has, which 'should' result in better dynamic
range, all else being equal. Obviously, all else is NOT equal as the VG900 has a larger full
frame chip, but I don't know that I would be thinking it has better dynamic range than the FS100.
I'd say either way is possible, if I was forced to guess, I'd guess the FS100 would have better dynamic
range, but I wouldn't be betting much either way until I see more from the VG900. The VG900 IS cheaper
than the FS100 which is a plus though........also if you already have some full frame lenses that might be nice.
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Old December 23rd, 2012, 06:30 PM   #13
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Re: 2nd Camera Decision Time

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Originally Posted by Ryan Douthit View Post
I saw that comparison, but I can't take that site seriously.
I know they are pretty biased over there but merely judging on the images presented the vg900 looks quite soft, especially compared to the gh2 or 3, do you think the full frame sensor will give the camera any other advantages over other smaller sensor camera's? I think that a vg30 would be fine as well then.
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Old December 23rd, 2012, 07:36 PM   #14
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Re: 2nd Camera Decision Time

Here's some raw footage I shot with a VG900 at the local mall this evening. Aliasing is still there but not nearly as bad as the A77. I'll take a closer look at the raw in my studio later tonight.

Shot with a Canon FD 135mm 3.5 on an adaptor. Handheld, no sound.


Update: I didn't verify settings, as I was in a big hurry when I shot this. Based on Inspector information it seems I only recorded in FH 17mbps mode (1140x1080/60i). I should have more time to do a proper test on Monday. I'll bring a couple more lenses next time, too, maybe see if that wide angle mush a couple folks are so vocal about holds up.

Last edited by Ryan Douthit; December 23rd, 2012 at 10:56 PM.
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Old December 23rd, 2012, 07:38 PM   #15
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Re: 2nd Camera Decision Time

Oh and a quick comment before I make my family dinner here... The EVF on the VG900. Oh my god -- incredible!
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