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-   -   What matters to you? - Camera Selection (https://www.dvinfo.net/forum/wedding-event-videography-techniques/531256-what-matters-you-camera-selection.html)

Matthias Claflin February 26th, 2016 01:33 PM

What matters to you? - Camera Selection
I've thought about this for the last couple months. I don't have any friends who have knowledge or experience in this area, so I wanted to bring the question here.

What matters to you when you when you are selecting what camera you are going to use?

To elaborate; for me it is more than just "picture quality" because "picture quality" is too vague. For me, personally, I would rank it this way:

1) Interchangeable Lenses
2) Color Reproduction
3) Sensor Noise (at my most commonly used ISO's; 100, 400, 800, 1600, 6400)
4) Sharpness (with equivalent lens choices)
5) Codec (and the way it relates to grading, color information, compression artifcats, etc.)
6) Ergonomics
7) Neutral Density Filters
8) Price
9) Other Features (such as XLR inputs, HD-SDI, native lens options, auto focus, image stabilization, 4k etc.)

So I'm curious, what is important to you when picking a camera? Do you have loyalty to any specific brands?

PS: Let's keep it clean. I don't want to start a "Camera A is better than Camera B" thread. I'm simply interested in how you decide on which camera you choose.

Steve Burkett February 26th, 2016 03:20 PM

Re: What matters to you? - Camera Selection
My experience was quite simple that led me to my current cameras. I started out with a standard camcorder, then seeing how good the low light footage was from a Canon 7D used by another guy, went out and purchased the Canon 60D. However I obviously needed to expand, and it was a choice between the 5d Mark iii or the GH2; there wasn't so much around 4 years back and the 5d Mark iii didn't get great early reviews, so I went for the GH2 as it was also considerably cheaper. This led me to the GH3 and then onto the GH4. Having now heavily invested in micro 4/3's lenses, I am somewhat tied to the brand. Whilst Sony have made great strides, I can't justify the switch and the GH4 delivers great results as long as its weaknesses, more in low light are considered in the use of fast primes.

So my choice of camera is determined by the 4/3's format. There's strong rumours of a GH5 by the years end. If released, I would expect to buy 1 before the year is out. I prefer to stick to 1 brand as the camera matches better with minimum fuss in the edit. I'm hoping to phase out the GH2 and GH3 I have by the end of the year, but that is as much as my plans and thoughts extend to camera purchase.

Noa Put February 26th, 2016 03:33 PM

Re: What matters to you? - Camera Selection
I don't care what brand I shoot with, I just need an easy to use camera that gives me a bit of shallow dof (m4/3 sensor size is what I prefer as it's easier to nail focus), is small and light enough to carry around, has very good IS and good autofocus if needed and ofcourse lots of manual control as well without having to dive into menu systems.

Adam Grunseth February 26th, 2016 03:57 PM

Re: What matters to you? - Camera Selection
For me, there are two primary considerations-

First, will the camera do the job you need it to do? Nothing else about the camera matters if it won't do the job you are buying it for. Maybe you routinely shoot in low light, so only a camera with excellent low light performance will do. Or, perhaps you are required to provide a live SDI feed from the camera. In that case purchasing a camera without SDI out isn't an option.

After knowing the camera is capable of doing the job, the next consideration is ergonomics. Hopefully when people hire you, they aren't hiring you for what gear you own, but for your skill as a shooter. It is important to have a camera that fits your working style. For me, having a camera that I can work with, not work against, is of tremendous importance.

It is my opinion that almost any prosumer or pro camera that has come out in the last few years is capable of producing great results. Sure, there are differences between them, and in side by side comparisons some cameras might just look plain better. However, none of that is probably going to matter to your clients. As long as it looks good, your clients probably aren't going to care that the blue channel on your camera has a bit more noise than some other camera. And there is so much more that goes into making a video look good, there is lighting, how well you are building visual sequences, your editing and pacing, not to mention color grading.

Robert Benda February 26th, 2016 04:04 PM

Re: What matters to you? - Camera Selection
My list is easy:

Good enough low light performance
Touch screen focusing

That's about it. Shooting only weddings, I probably have 1-3 years before 4K is needed, and by the looks of how things are going with Canon, I'll have to change kits entirely, but not yet.

Jeff Harper February 26th, 2016 04:23 PM

Re: What matters to you? - Camera Selection
How one chooses a camera will depend on the job it's required for. Run n' gun wedding filmmakers have different needs than say, a high-end corporate videographer.

So, Matthias, if you get three responses from three shooters that do completely different types of work, their answers will likely all be different.

If you are shooting for a high-end ad company, you might need the image quality that a $118K Phantom Gold provides, whereas if you shoot primarily dance recitals then your budget and needs will be radically different.

Chris Harding February 26th, 2016 04:41 PM

Re: What matters to you? - Camera Selection
It's much like buying a car ..so many models and so many choices and also so many different reasons to buy what you buy so it's hard to give advice because it's a personal choice.

I have always loved big shoulder mount camcorders but as the years drag on, hoisting a 5kg camera onto your shoulder becomes an issue and you look for something lighter.

Probably the cameras you use or buy are not your ideal but the closest compromise you can find to satisfy the main purchase reasons. I needed lighter cameras but they had no XLR inputs which means already a compromise and lugging along an XLR adapter for my main camera. So I think the answer here is get what you like and then work on sorting out the extras you need to make it work as there are no specific critical factors you need to consider, there are probably many which makes choosing a specific model tough!!

Roger Gunkel February 26th, 2016 07:10 PM

Re: What matters to you? - Camera Selection
Adam summed it up pretty well, the only thing that matters is getting a camera that does the job well for you.

Nobody can really tell you what camera you need, only what works for them. If you buy a camera based on the recommendations of other users, it may be great on paper but not suitable for your own style of working. I shoot weddings as my main business and cover video and photography. I work very quickly and don't want to be lugging heavy cameras and lenses around. Picture quality is important of course, but if you are mainly a solo shooter like me, then using a camera and appropriate lens to get the highest quality achievable shot is not always the best choice if you miss the shot tinkering with the setup. Having another camera that can take quick shots when no time is available can be a very useful backup.

I need manual control for when time allows but I also need excellent auto focus, follow focus, exposure and white balance for the frequent fast moving scenes. and changing light conditions that are part and parcel of just about every wedding. I want to know that if something happens unexpectedly at the other end of the room, that I can get an instant well balanced shot on auto without frantically trying to change manual settings.

I also find that although my delivery is always HD on usb, or SD on dvd, 4k gives me very useful shooting options that can be advantageous at the editing stage. I can also lift very usable quality stills from 4k footage to add to those stills taken conventionally.


Matthias Claflin February 26th, 2016 07:15 PM

Re: What matters to you? - Camera Selection
I think my question is getting misunderstood a bit here. I chose a camera a couple months ago, (Canon C100 with Atomos Ninja 2) and was wondering how you all decide on the camera you want to use for a given gig. It seems people find ergonomics to be much more important than I do, typically. So I just wanted to know what matters to you in camera decisions.

That being said, a lot of people seem to have the "if the client doesn't notice, it doesn't matter" attitude. After the very complicated summer I had, I decided to shoot all my weddings this year in C-Log with ProRes and take some extra time for color correction and grading because I don't want to compromise simply because they wouldn't notice the difference if I shot with a 5D mkiii with a neutral or even portrait profile. That's just my opinion though. Everyone is entitled to their opinion.

Roger Gunkel February 26th, 2016 07:30 PM

Re: What matters to you? - Camera Selection
That backs up what I said though, that it doesn't matter what others do as everybody has different priorities. If it works for you then it's right.

Working solo, I usually use 2 and sometimes 3 cameras plus sound recorders at different parts of the day. I would find it restrictive using 3 camera setups like yours, but you almost certainly work differently to me so I'm sure it works fine for you.


Steve Burkett February 27th, 2016 12:48 AM

Re: What matters to you? - Camera Selection
My choice of camera has been dictated by my service of offering a 4 camera setup, so each camera needs to be small and light to fit in 1 bag along with lenses. Specialising in Weddings I have favoured interchangeable lenses for their lowlight benefits and also because I'm aiming for a more cinematic style of video rather than documentary. However I prefer the micro 4/3s for the small and light lenses they offer that allow some dof, without going quite so overboard with it.

I did purchase an af101a for Corporate work. Feeling a more all in 1 camera was needed with xlr inputs and better battery life and manual controls. However I've phased it out as I never was happy with the image I got from it and I have found my 2 GH4s, 1 of which offers continuous recording to be more than equal to such jobs that I have been getting.

So for me size, interchangeable lenses, image quality outweighs other considerations like better manual controls, xlr inputs and how professional the camera may look. I don't subscribe to the notion that if the client doesn't notice, it doesn't matter. The fact is I always get a few clients a year who do notice. Such an attitude only excuses poor work in my opinion.

Noa Put February 27th, 2016 02:02 AM

Re: What matters to you? - Camera Selection

I don't subscribe to the notion that if the client doesn't notice, it doesn't matter. The fact is I always get a few clients a year who do notice. Such an attitude only excuses poor work in my opinion.
Much depends on how you mix your camera's, if I would mix a cx730 with my gh4 all day long you will see a difference in how the image looks when you switch between camera's, you just can't say "the client won't notice" in this case, some will, because it is so obvious.

I could however shoot an entire wedding on a couple of cx730's and then the client won't notice, if it would get too dark I would just use a cameralight, like in the old days. If that is the image you promote on your website and if you have shown them a longer version shot with those camera's when they visited you your client will be happy, regardless on what camera you use.

I got myself that jvc gy ls300 a while back, not for the clients sake, but because I wanted a all-round easier to operate camera (much like your af101) that could produce a more dslr kind of look, and that was only because I wanted that, I like the look this camera produces and that is how I sell it to my clients.

Andrew Maclaurin February 28th, 2016 09:12 AM

Re: What matters to you? - Camera Selection
I use a Canon C100 as well. In general it's great, I love being able to control most things with the joystick in the grip. The only downsides are the VF, LCD screen and no 50p although I like shooting in 25p anyway.
I use WDR recorded in camera because it seems to work well in most situations and requires very little tweaking if it's exposed well and leaves room for a light grade. How do you find shooting with C-Log? Doesn't it and a level of complication in a run 'n' gun situation?
I found the C100 was the best balance between all the options available at the time I bought it, picture quality and ergonomics being most important to me. I essentially use 1 camera with a DSLR as back up or wide shot if necessary so I also love 2 slot recording.

Noa Put February 28th, 2016 12:32 PM

Re: What matters to you? - Camera Selection

How do you find shooting with C-Log
My JVC has also a log mode but would not never use it for a wedding, I think the little advantage it would give me over a in camera look is not worth the extra time I would be spending in colorcorrecting, I can't charge more to my client for the extra time it will cost to grade and it's not like it's night and day difference, my client (if we are talking about weddingclients) will never know or care what mode their film was shot in, I can understand that as a videographer you would see the difference and find it important enough not to compromise and deliver only the best a camera is capable off but you always should question if it's worth the extra time if you can't charge a premium for it. Also as I understand a log mode is mainly to preserve highlights but becomes a less obvious choice when shooting in low light.

Steve Burkett February 28th, 2016 01:02 PM

Re: What matters to you? - Camera Selection
I think shooting in 8 bit 4:2:0, I find vLog on my GH4 to be an option only when dynamic range clearly exceeds the other profiles. So I employ it on a case by case merit and never indoors. I think if using an external recorder, then a Log profile can be useful. Obviously you have to look at time you spend grading and feel you're charging enough to warrant it. I had one client this year ask me if I colour graded my footage, so interest can be there.

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