December 15, 2016

This Camera Comparison Chart Summarizes All of Your Camera Choices

Thomas Fletcher and Gary Adcock's thorough camera comparison chart can help you choose what format to use for your production, whatever the size.

The internet is a wonderful place of nearly infinite information. But sometimes you just need a quick answer, and there's too much information out there to sort through. Maybe you are prepping a job with a lot of Steadicam and you want to know the weights of the cameras you are choosing between quickly. Or you have a big slow motion job coming up and you want to see what all of your options are. You used to be able to go to the American Cinematographers Guide, but unfortunately, camera technology has outpaced a single reference book.

Luckily, Chicago-based Thomas Fletcher and Gary Adcock have taken the time to put together a master comparison chart of all the commonly used cameras. It includes not only the objective facts but also a brief summary of common real-world user feedback. The duo researched by talking to manufacturers, cinematographers, colorists, and rental house techs. Of note: they chose to include 35mm, as it is still a viable format used on a wide variety of projects. It's good to keep 35mm technical specifications in mind when comparing options.

This is a handy guide that all filmmakers should keep around for easy reference.

This is a handy guide that all filmmakers should keep around for easy reference, whether you are considering a new purchase, an upcoming rental, or just like to have a handle on the current camera specs. 

Camera ComparisonCredit: Fletcher Marketing
Spherical Zoom ComparisonCredit: Fletcher Marketing

Fletcher has done these charts in years past, though for cameras only; this year comes with the welcome addition of cinema zooms. It's been a huge year for lens releases, and, frankly, it's been difficult for many of us to keep track of all the options available when you take both new and vintage glass into account.

The Anamorphic comparison is great for when you want to remind yourself quickly of the technical limitations of a particular set of vintage glass. Frustratingly, the chart lumps "Lomo" into one set and doesn't break them out into the Square Front and Round Front—though since the square front is such an oddball set, it isn't too surprising to see it not make the list.

Here are links to the full charts:

Your Comment

20 Comments

Only problem with this chart is that the Canon C300mk2 and BM Ursa don't have 15 stops of dynamic range.

From Cinema 5D... "Our software measured about 12 stops of usable dynamic range on the Blackmagic URSA Mini 4.6K (RAW). This is very similar to the rating of the a7S II and C300 mark II."

December 15, 2016 at 11:04AM, Edited December 15, 11:15AM

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Richard Krall
richardkrall.com
423

They should also make it clear that the Canon C500 is a low data-rate HD camera when used without an external recorder. ( almost all of the other cameras can shoot high data-rate 4K+ formats internally )

December 15, 2016 at 11:13AM, Edited December 15, 11:14AM

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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
31622

Check my latest instagram posts where I posted a photo comparison between Ursa mini 4.6k, Sony a6300 ( which has simillar dr with Sony a7sii) and Gh4. Ig ursermane: alexandrudon

The Ursa mini 4.6k is an incredible camera, but you have to know how to use it, in order to achieve the best result possible.

December 15, 2016 at 1:14PM

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Alexandru Don
Dp, Editor, Colorist
94

Thank you, Alexandru, for letting us know that for best results, 'know how to use the camera'.

December 16, 2016 at 9:42AM, Edited December 16, 9:42AM

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Richard Krall
richardkrall.com
423

I've seen some of these posts claiming the BMCC DR is not accurate, but I must strongly disagree. If you look at footage between the a7SII and Ursa 4.6k, you can SEE the massive DR advantage the Ursa has. I've got an a7S (1) and BMCC and with custom profile tweaks, the a7S supposedly has around the same amount of DR as the BMCC, and maybe it does until you shoot raw. The difference in sky and shadow retention is so vast. From all the videos I've watched of the Ursa 4.6k, I've never seen so much DR so plainly visible in a camera of that price range.

December 15, 2016 at 2:29PM

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Sean Pettis
Filmmaker
392

It has been proven that the hilariously arrogant Cinema 5D's testing methods are completely flawed. And still people eat it up! For starters, the Canon C300MKII achieves 15 stops of dynamic range using Log 2. Cinema 5D are Arri fanboys and really have no real objectivity or present findings from real life/working situations/environments. For a wonderful, non slanted, non fanboy, non Canon hating test - just the facts https://joachimhedenworkblog.wordpress.com/2015/10/22/some-dynamic-range...

December 15, 2016 at 5:59PM, Edited December 15, 5:59PM

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James Manson
Photographer
246

Useable Dynamic Range.
BMCC doesn't have 15 stops in any camera they make and Canon doesn't have 15 stops in any camera they make.

Arri doesn't even claim 15 stops for the Alexa.

Get real.

December 15, 2016 at 6:48PM

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Richard Krall
richardkrall.com
423

People say their results that don't favor Canon, they're automatically Canon haters?

December 15, 2016 at 7:20PM

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Since when is the Sony FS7 priced 13.199$?
It's going for 8,499$ on BHPhoto right now.
Even the yet to be released FS7 MkII is 9,999$.

December 15, 2016 at 12:25PM

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Probably because they're accounting for the prores expansion unit and external recorder.

December 15, 2016 at 3:18PM

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Ok but following that logic why isn't the price of the Canon C300MkII or C500 also higher taking into account the price of an external recorder as well? Specially the C500 that can't even do 4K internal. Feels more like a mistake to me, it happens though.

December 15, 2016 at 7:26PM

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That would pretty much be the only reason i would buy an fs7.

July 5, 2017 at 1:09AM

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kevin barton
editor and photographer
109

funny how none of these cameras fit the budget of an average middle class storyteller attempting to tell stories.... but i guess industry focuses more on tools nowadays than stories !

December 15, 2016 at 2:16PM

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Jas Singh
Cinematographer, Editor, Producer
33

registered only to like this comment!

December 21, 2016 at 9:16AM

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Where did the article or chart claim to serve the needs of the "middle-class storyteller?"

There are lots of video-shooting cameras out there that don't cost anywhere near as much as these.

December 31, 2016 at 10:02PM

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David Gurney
DP
1395

Just so everyone knows it says camera manufactured specs. That does not mean at all that those are the real world specs. Many of the cameras don't reach those stops. The Alexa still beats everyone in DR except for film.

December 15, 2016 at 7:18PM

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I'm glad they're trying to provide this resource but beware the RED Epic-W specs are wrong as well and need to be corrected. I would be wary of using these as a comprehensive resource until v2. Hopefully, they will correct and issue an updated guide.

December 16, 2016 at 8:03AM

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I'm glad they're trying to be helpful but beware: on the Camera Comparison sheet the RED Epic-W specs are wrong. This makes me a little wary of trusting these as an on-set resource until there is a v2. Hopefully, they can correct.

December 16, 2016 at 8:11AM

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You need to say HOW they're wrong if you want to be taken seriously.

December 31, 2016 at 10:01PM

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David Gurney
DP
1395

I'd say that filmmakers have to do their own testing with any camera-and-lens combination. For example, DPs have always tested film stocks to determine the true ASA rating, especially as it pertains to the lab processing the footage.

December 16, 2016 at 3:15PM

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Glenn Bossik
Videographer
418

This chart suffers from a glaring omission: SENSOR RESOLUTION.

The Arris blow lower-resolution images up to UHD or 4K, which isn't revealed by this chart.

December 31, 2016 at 10:00PM

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David Gurney
DP
1395