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Old December 7th, 2016, 04:11 PM   #16
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Re: $4000 Challenge: Help Me Assemble a DSLR/GoPro Kit

@Steven Digges - Good point about the camera backpack—I hadn't thought of that. It's hard to say at this point how often I'll be hiking for miles into the wilderness to shoot versus just meeting someone at a trailhead by the road to do a standup interview? (Either is possible.)

I suspect that if I have to hike into the wilderness, I'll need to bring more than camera gear (extra clothing, rain gear, food, water, etc.)...so even the Lowepro backpack might not work for that—I might have to use a full-on long-distance hiking backpacking. But if i'm just out for a few hours which involve a lot of hiking, I can definitely see where the Lowepro backpack would be great to have.

@Adam Grunseth - I did think about the 2-camera approach; I've used dedicated video cameras a lot in the past, so I appreciate how they're more convenient in some ways.

At the same time, I'm somewhat obsessed with trying to evolve my kit as much toward "lighter and smaller" as possible. (That's why at one point I was pondering whether I could go with nothing but GoPro's!)

For my non-broadcast, non-paying-client, non-top-of-the-line production needs, I think the new Lumix FZ2500 will work well. It has what I consider to be advantages over a traditional DSLR—including an OLED electronic viewfinder (which eliminates the need for a Zacuto-style viewfinder) and it even has a built-in ND filter! (It may be the first DSLR-form-factor camera to actually have ND filters built in?)

And the single Leica lens with the range of 18-480mm (f2.8 the whole way) will eliminate the need for hauling extra lenses around.

It doesn't have XLR inputs of course, but I'm okay sticking to 3.5mm audio gear—which is "good enough" for my purposes.

I realize none of the gear in my list is what serious pros would call "professional." But I've also been in this game for decades—and I've seen the consumer and prosumer side improve in leaps and bounds...while the top-of-the-line improvement curve has been much flatter, with only incremental improvements.

And when you're shooting exclusively for YouTube (where at least half your audience is watching your video on a smartphone), the whole concept of "what is good enough?" undergoes some radical tweaking. LOL

Scott
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Old December 7th, 2016, 04:42 PM   #17
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Re: $4000 Challenge: Help Me Assemble a DSLR/GoPro Kit

I'll have a go, although its over 4k and is missing lapel mics.

I have an A7S and use everything below, excluding of course the a6500 and cage.

Sony A6500: 1400
Sony E-Mount Lens/APS-C Format 18-200mm: 700
Sony E-Mount Lens/APS-C Format 10-18mm F4: 650
Sony XLR-K1M Adapter and Microphone Kit: 800
Cage for a6500: 300
Batteries x 5: 53 each
ND Filters and lens adaptors: 500
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Old December 7th, 2016, 05:55 PM   #18
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Re: $4000 Challenge: Help Me Assemble a DSLR/GoPro Kit

I think that the biggest decision is "office vs. field." If the focus is on organizations, fundraising, etc., the office environment might be right. If the focus is on the land, field interviews are right. Sometimes, you can take a walk from the office to a park or treed area - or to a blighted area. That would allow more natural light shots and reduce the need for lights. In that case, camera sensitivity is important.

But it depends on the client.

Personally, I like the field idea. Showing people with their shirtsleeves rolled up gets us away from the bureaucratic image. But it's not my show. And the weather doesn't always cooperate.
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Old December 7th, 2016, 06:09 PM   #19
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Re: $4000 Challenge: Help Me Assemble a DSLR/GoPro Kit

That's a good point Jon,
I used to carry a lot of lighting with my Sony PMW500, I have since sold this an moved on to a Sony A7S for this vey reason. I don't need lights really... well I carry one LED panel, that's it and use available light all the time. The Sony A7S, A6300 A6500 cameras in my opinion are fantastic for doco style work and this is all I use now.
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Old December 21st, 2016, 08:06 AM   #20
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Re: $4000 Challenge: Help Me Assemble a DSLR/GoPro Kit

UPDATE: I've moved forward with ordering a Panasonic Lumix FZ2500 and a GoPro Hero 5.

When I started this thread, there wasn't much info on the FZ2500 as it's so new, but now there's a good review here:
Panasonic FZ2500 Review: Now Shooting!

Even after shooting with a Canon 70D for the past few years, I have high hopes for the FZ2500. As I may have mentioned earlier, I owned one of the first superzoom prosumer cameras many years ago (the Canon PowerShot S2). For my purposes, it was the best camera I've ever had. I found the articulating LCD, electronic viewfinder, and enormous optical zoom range to be the "Killer Trio" of features, and no DSLR I've ever had even comes close in terms of convenience and versatility.

That's certainly not to say that its image quality beat a DSLR. But for on-screen images only (90% of my work) the quality was more than good enough. The EVF was invaluable for shooting in bright sunlight, where an LCD is useless without a big viewfinder. And not having to lug around several lenses is, well, fantastic.

Flash forward to the FZ2500, and I'll have 24mm-480mm equivalent (f2.8-4.5), a 67mm thread for filters, a 1" sensor, an OLED EVF, and 4K video with what I believe is the first DSLR-form-factor camera with a truly smooth, professional camcorder-like zoom. And built-in ND filters!

For non-broadcast, mostly web-based video and photography, this camera seems hard to beat. It's not weather-sealed...but then neither was any other camera I've ever had, and it's never been a problem. I don't normally shoot in the rain or snow anyway, and when I do, I don't just stand there getting wet with the camera out in the open. (And if I have to shoot in lousy weather, I'll use the GoPro!)

For audio, I decided to go with the simple-but-reliable Zoom H1. It's a hugely popular recorder, and (like the FZ2500) is ultra-versatile: I can use it handheld, use it as a 2nd wireless lav (with a Rode lav mic), or mount it on the camera with a dead mouse (it's small/light enough to barely be noticed).

For lighting, a single daylight LED panel will handle 90% of my needs. I do already have a big incandescent softbox just in case, but I've never needed more than the single LED for one-person interviews. (I also got a 5-in-1 flexfill and holder for daytime interviews.)

If anyone's interested, I can post my final "$4K for 4K Gear List." :-) And I'll post a review of the gear in a few months when I've had some time to use it.

Scott
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Old December 21st, 2016, 09:14 AM   #21
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Re: $4000 Challenge: Help Me Assemble a DSLR/GoPro Kit

I think you have made excellent choices Scott, keeping it simple and efficient. Having used the FZ1000 since it first came out, it has been fantastic for me and a lot of doubters have been converted. I think the FZ2000/2500 is going to corner a large slice of the market in that price range. Certainly for someone like me doing both video and stills solo, it is going to be the go to camera and with the adding at long last of unlimited video recording in 4K and HD, likely to set a precedent for the final demise of the seperate video camera.

Look forward to hearing how you get on with your new kit :-)

Roger
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Old December 21st, 2016, 06:58 PM   #22
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Re: $4000 Challenge: Help Me Assemble a DSLR/GoPro Kit

My setup for 2017 is an FZ2500 as the main camera and two FZ1000's as B and C cameras. The 2500 has awesome slow zoom buttons as well as touch screen focussing and even touch screen exposure for backlit situations .. I used to use a GoPro as a semi-aerial 4th view camera but nowdays the Chinese SJ4000's also do a good job. Delighted with the FZ2500 so far it has all the things that were missing from the FZ1000's .... I honestly think for the price they are the best value for money in the market. The Leica optics are very hard to beat. I'm sure Roger will be looking at the 2500 pretty soon too !!
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Old December 22nd, 2016, 04:19 AM   #23
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Re: $4000 Challenge: Help Me Assemble a DSLR/GoPro Kit

Weddings will be quiet for the Winter here, but I will definitely be getting an FZ2000/2500 in the Spring. Can't wait, the only drawback being that Claire will need one aswell!

Roger
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Old December 31st, 2016, 05:40 AM   #24
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Re: $4000 Challenge: Help Me Assemble a DSLR/GoPro Kit

I just crossed the Northwestern part of the country on a bicycle with a GH4 on my chest. I had a small Lowepro backpack with a rain cover for when the weather really turned bad. Sometimes that is the time to get the best shots as all the colors really come out with a little rain.

The go-pro is a perfect addition. We had the go-pro out in all conditions and ready to shoot when the wildlife ran across the trail. They were gone before I could get the GH4 off of it's clip so the go-pro gave us a better chance to shoot. We carried 3 batteries and still lost shots because of dead batteries. I carried 3 batteries for the GH4 and never ran out of power, but came close. The bear that ran right in front of us was so fast we were not able to get a shot with any cam.

You have the right idea to make your kit as small as possible. Your camera choice will work. If you are really shooting outside, you won't need the lights and hauling all that kit would be a killer. The prior suggestion for a large backpack makes a lot of sense. We had panniers to hold a lot of that stuff. We sent 20 pounds home because we didn't use many things and we didn't want the weight. My tripod was in that first shipment home.

We found most people, including CDT walkers, had a schedule to keep so they were not willing to wait for me to set up tripods and fancy shooting kit. Considering who you work for, you may get more cooperation, but these guys see their mileage quota as vital.

You will want a pack that allows fast access to the camera, but will offer plenty of padding in the event of a fall. Some people think they will never fall, and those are the guys who usually go down first. You might want to think about a capture pro clip. I bought 2, one for my backpack, and half of the second one for my monopod.

You have a dream job with a wonderful organization. We interviewed several CDT walkers during our ride. Doing it on a bike is one thing. Doing it by foot gets my respect. I wish you the best of luck.

Last edited by Tim Paynter; December 31st, 2016 at 06:02 AM. Reason: added info and bear story
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