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Old October 9th, 2014, 07:52 AM   #1
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Need Camera Advice

Currently I am an amateur videographer and have only done small videos for my church and for some small little businesses in the area, but I am looking to get into it pretty heavy but I'm in a weird spot and not sure which direction I should take.

I take a decent amount of stills so I want a DSLR or mirrorless camera.

I currently have a T3i with a kit lens, 50mm 1.8, Tokina 11-16mm and a Canon 70-300mm.

I also have a steadicam and a slider

My question is whether I should purchase a new camera (I'm leaning toward the GH4) with the speed booster (so my lenses will fit) and a nice lens for it or if I should just some nice lenses for my T3i and stick with it for awhile. I love the detail on the GH4 and the 4k capabilities (I also love the a7s and am considering that) but I'm not sure if it's silly to go that way. I always heard people say to "invest in glass" which I understand completely.

What suggestions do you have?
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Old October 9th, 2014, 09:55 AM   #2
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Re: Need Camera Advice

This really depends on your creative goals. For instance, do you want to make:
* Soft, romantic images with shallow DOF
* Gritty documentaries, possibly in remote areas
* Extreme sports videos with super slowmo
* Timelapses
* Features with heavy grading
* Effects work with green screen capture
* Videos of corporate meetings and events

Define the application first, then choose the tools. Choosing the application is also really important for knowing your business plan, finding stories, writing scripts, finding clients, and defining projects.

I find that it's the excitement over the project that gets me out the door and shooting. The tools can enable projects (or encumber them), but when I lack focus on a project, my equipment tends to gather dust.

BTW, you might find that a cheap, mirrorless camera like the EOS-M will meet your stills needs. That could free up cash for a more-dedicated video camera. And with the right adapter(s), the same lenses could work for both setups. Of course, the budget (and whether you rent) depends again on the projects and business.

Also, know the difference between one project and ongoing projects. My son and his friend shot a wedding thinking that they would make a business out of it. When I saw the friend and asked about the shooting the wedding, he immediately said, "I'm never doing that again!" The video turned out great, but the friend didn't like working a wedding all day and didn't like combing through tons of footage in editing.

I have a similar relationship with street photography. I love the potential, but I hate confronting strangers with a lens.

So really think about the work that you will enjoy and do on an ongoing basis. Define that, and the equipment will define itself. :)
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Old October 9th, 2014, 10:01 AM   #3
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Re: Need Camera Advice

Good advice!

Basically what I've been doing is short promo videos. I've done a few of those for the church with some "talking head" videos.

I also just made a short promo video for a photographer in the area.

I guess you could say I'm more into the "corporate" side of things, which I enjoy.

You can see what I have done below

https://vimeo.com/home/myvideos
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Old October 9th, 2014, 12:04 PM   #4
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Re: Need Camera Advice

Without knowing your budget it's difficult, but were I you I'd get the GH4 and speedbooster, as well as pick up the Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 and upgrade your 50mm to the f/1.4 version. I have a friend shooting this setup, and he loves it. (And he converted to the GH4 after shooting full frame DSLR for a few years first)

And maybe grab an EOS M as a second/backup camera. I have two, and using Tragic Lantern (Magic Lantern knockoff, but it's still actually being updated for the EOS M. Live histogram, focus peaking, among other features are added) they're powerful little cameras.

Also, you need to link specific videos on Vimeo. Linking to "my videos" just takes me to the "my videos" section of my account, not yours!
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Old October 9th, 2014, 12:47 PM   #5
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Re: Need Camera Advice

Oh that makes sense. My most recent video is linked below

Is the 50 1.4 that much better than the 1.8? I've heard the build quality is a lot higher, but I don't know much about the image quality.

If I got the gh4, i had planned on getting the 12-35 2.8, which i hear is a fantastic little lens.

I most likely will stick with the T3i as my backup camera at the moment, but I will look into the EOS M.

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Old October 9th, 2014, 03:44 PM   #6
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Re: Need Camera Advice

I would go with the 50mm f/1.4 over the f/1.8 for the build quality, personally. The f/1.8 is great optically, but I like a little more metal in my gear, that's all.

The 12-35mm f/2.8 would be a wonderful lens to have on the GH4, no question. Good choice.

And there's no reason not to keep the T3i as a backup! Do you have Magic Lantern installed? As for the EOS M, keep an eye on prices, they can fluctuate.
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Old October 9th, 2014, 03:54 PM   #7
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Re: Need Camera Advice

I have installed ML on a few different cards of the course of shooting but I always end up just taking it off. I like the features, but I just feel more comfortable shooting without it, which is why I like the GH4. It gives you most of those features out of the box.
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Old October 11th, 2014, 12:56 PM   #8
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Re: Need Camera Advice

If you shoot talking heads the crop possibilities of a 4k camera in a 1080p project are also a great advantage as you get a extra camera angle.
Whatever you buy, your lens choice will be most important as it will determine if you will be able to switch brands, the lenses you normally always keep but camerabodies get replaced, when you want to switch from Canon to Panasonic or maybe back to Sony aps-c or full frame, you need to be sure your expensive lens investment will fit.

Buying a (rather expensive but good) 12-35mm panasonic lens means you only can use it on m4/3 camera such as the Panasonic and Olympus so once you go that route you are stuck. That is not necessarily a bad thing as I do have several m4/3 lenses and I don't mind to stay in that system as it works for me.

Also a big advantage of m4/3 camera's is size and wheight if that would be important for you, just place a 5DIII with a 70-200 f2.8 next to a panasonic gh4 with a 35-100 f2.8 and you will know what I mean.

If you shoot under controlled situations you could get full manual lenses like Samyang/Rokinon cinelenses which fit on any system with the appropriate adapter so you are not locking yourself to one brand. These lenses have a clickless iris ring which I find a big deal when setting exposure, it's something I miss with my current lenses I own.
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Old October 14th, 2014, 07:35 AM   #9
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Re: Need Camera Advice

I didn't even think about that with the 12-35mm. I guess I would be stuck if I decided to go that route. I had planned on purchasing a metabones adapter to fit all my canon gear on it, so would it make more sense to get a the nice 24-70 canon lens instead?
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