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Old March 5th, 2015, 08:05 AM   #1
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Camera advise

I currently own a Sony EX-1. Been a great camera and I'm going to keep it but I need to upgrade. I bought a DJI Ronin and it's been great. I've been borrowing low end DSLR's from friends but I need to buy something higher end or full frame. I rented a Canon C-100 to shoot from a tripod and fly on the ronin. It barely fit on the ronin and I had no audio due to not being able to have the handle installed on the c-100. It was a huge pain switching from tripod shooting to Ronin shooting with one camera. I'm in the market for two cameras. One I can set up and leave on the gimbal the other for interviews and other b-roll. I'm looking at the 5D mark iii, the panasonic GH4 or the Sony A7S. I also hear rumor the A7S is getting an upgrade next month. I would put these cameras on the ronin.... Then do I save the money and go for the Sony FS7 or the Canon C-100 Markii?? Do I buy the audio attachment for the A7S for interviews until I can afford the higher end ENG cameras?? I've been in news for 20 years and like the ENG style cameras.
Yes the FS-7 is a 4K camera and from the look and specs. way better then the C-100 line ..... but also 3 grand-ish more with a lenses. I hate spending thousands of dollars and buy the wrong camera. What have your experiences been with these cameras?? I'm heading to NAB next month to see touch and feel cameras but wanted to ask first. thanks for the input.
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Old March 6th, 2015, 12:35 PM   #2
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Re: Camera advise

To me, the super-power of the FS7 is slow motion. I'm not sure why, but I'm not in love with it's look. Given more time with it, I might be able to optimize the settings and post process to nail it. Note that it's fairly large and heavy compared to a DSLR, though it's much smaller than an ENG cam. If you use Canon lenses with it, you need an adapter, which adds size, weight, and another failure point.

I still shoot with a 5D2 and have added the Mosaic Engineering filter to remove aliasing. I love the look, but there are some issues. The filter doesn't work with wider lenses. It makes lenses VERY non-parfocal, so zooming is not an option. The remaining weak point is the compression. I can shoot RAW with Magic Lantern (which looks fantastic), but it's a pain in the rear.

The 5D3's main issue is image softness. You can sharpen in post. I'd love to see an upgrade with better filtering as I like having a camera and camcorder in one unit.

The GH4 is very nice but has a smaller sensor.

The right decision depends on your projects. Want slow motion B-roll? The FS7 kills it. The C100 is a great step up for Canon DSLR users - and really rocks with an external recorder/monitor. The 5D3 is soft, but that could be perfect for certain styles. The GH4 could be great if you don't need super-shallow DOF...

But without knowing your projects and target style, it's hard to know the best fit.

I'll say this though... if you do interviews that need lots of splices, need extensive b-roll to cover up the flaws, and there's not much eye candy for b-roll shots, having slow motion is awesome. Stretching that 2 second shot to 10 seconds (like a turn of the head or going from neutral to a smile) can be a real boon.
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Old March 6th, 2015, 02:46 PM   #3
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Re: Camera advise

Ask this question again in 45 days. NAB will likely reveal a handful more options for you to look at.
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Old March 6th, 2015, 04:10 PM   #4
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Re: Camera advise

Then again, you might want to answer the questions about your projects and style right away. That can help determine the features that are top requirements.
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Old March 6th, 2015, 05:33 PM   #5
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Re: Camera advise

Always a great question because our experiences and needs vary.

If you really want to do video, buy a video camera designed to do video. There is certainly a place for DSLR's and their progeny, but getting a camera that is meant to do one job can make things a LOT easier for you.

Many people will disagree with me and that diversity of opinion is what makes this board strong. DSLR's require a lot of work arounds to do what a video camera would have done easily. You can put the extra money into supporting the special needs of that camera, or use the funds to buy more camera.

I agree with the others, though. If you were confused about your buying options now, wait until NAB and you will have even more options as the manufacturers struggle themselves to fit the niche DSLR turned video camera you are talking about.
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Old March 9th, 2015, 02:11 AM   #6
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Re: Camera advise

Regarding DSLRs, they're a double-edged sword.

On one hand, they're small, light, inconspicuous, and offer great value if you also shoot stills. On the other hand, each extra bolt-on and work-around can burn time. Some items, like the Video-Mic Pro are pretty much plug and play. If you shoot double-system sound, just use the internal mic on auto-gain and sync later (possibly automatically), in which case, there's no extra burden.

If you shoot on your own time, this is no big deal. Assemble a rig, connect bits and pieces, and dig deeply into Magic Lantern. If you have a crew and talent waiting around, get a dedicated camcorder and don't waste others' time.

For me, a DSLR works well. I know what extras I need and what I can skip. It feels pretty natural for my projects. But if I were to do true run-n-gun or was on larger paid shoots, I'd want a dedicated video camera. Now that we can get a C100 and other big sensor camcorders at an affordable price, we have many more options than a DLSR for a cinematic look.
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