May 13, 2016 at 3:53PM

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4K DSLR/Mirrorless Options

Recently sold my Sony a6000, which I loved for photography.

So, I'm looking to upgrade to a camera that can shoot both nice stills as well as 4K video. Preferably one with a LOG option. Budget is under $2,000. I currently own a Blackmagic Pocket as well, with a Panasonic 12-35 2.8 lens. I love that camera, but I would love another camera to provide me some other video options as well as the ability to do photography (which I obviously cannot with a BMPCC).

What I'm considering at the moment:

1) GH4 with V-Log upgrade. Advantages here include compatibility with the 12-35 lens I already own, as well as the ability to do 10 bit 4:2:2 externally (I plan to purchase a Shogun down the line, or something similar). Disadvantages include: reduced field of view (or "crop factor"), though it is not as extreme as my BMPCC. However, I do plan to purchase a Speedbooster before long - one question I do have, would that Speedbooster be compatible with both the GH4 and BMPCC? Same mount, same lenses. But I've seen BMPCC-specific speedboosters on B&H, and am wondering if there is somehow a difference. Also, it is a 16MP camera, as opposed to my a6000 which was 24 (this is a photography aspect). It also does not perform as well in low-light compared to my #2 option.

Number 2 option: Sony a6300. This was the first camera I figured I would get to replace the a6000. Pretty much an identical camera, with more functions, 4K video, S-Log, etc. However, the rolling shutter when shooting 4K is literally the worst I have ever seen on a camera. This is fixable to a degree, with Premiere. I did a test and the results were not awful (I didn't shoot the footage, just took it and ran it through Premiere's rolling shutter repair - took all of 5 minutes): https://vimeo.com/165807468

So rolling shutter is certainly one issue with the 6300. Ergonomics are another. I love the way a GH4 feels in my hands. I liked the portability and compact size of the a6000, but it was a much better photography camera than video camera. I more want a happy medium. And I've never shot photos with the GH4. Obviously, another disadvantage to the 6300 is that I don't have a nice lens for it, though plenty of adapters are available. Furthermore, it is limited to 4:2:2 8 bit externally, opposed to the GH4's 10 bit. Advantages: low-light, APS-C sensor, 2 stops more DR, 120fps in HD, and what I'm assuming is superior photos.

Those are the two cameras I'm really considering right now. I was just looking for thoughts on these two, as well as other suggestions. While 4K is highly preferred, I'm not married to the idea. I'd prefer a camera that shoots excellent stills and 1080p video that is very gradable and can be pushed in post to a camera that shoots 4K video but you can't do much with in post (one reason I lean toward the GH4's 10 bit external vs 6300's 8 bit internal or external). Log recording highly preferred.

Thanks for any suggestions and opinions. Also, if anyone can tell me if a Speedbooster for the GH4 would also work on my BMPCC, that'd be very helpful and a sizable factor in my decision.

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Also to add:

-Budget is flexible a little bit
-Easier to get deals on GH4 given that it's been around for a while, and the 6300 is new. So that price is that price. Same deal with any other suggestions anyone has.
-If anyone knows of any cameras coming out soon that fit that bill, please let me know. I can't go too long without a stills camera, but I can wait for a bit.
-If it matters in terms of suggestions, just so everyone has all the info: I also own a Manfrotto 502 tripod, a smaller Manfrotto tripod for quicker set-ups/B-cam, a Tascam DR-70, a couple lav mics (eventually want to get a shotgun), several lights/lighting kits (and gels, grip accessories, etc). So, I do have a decent amount of basic equipment/support.

May 13, 2016 at 4:00PM

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MattyMustng
Director of Photography
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Go with a G7 and use the money saved to get a great prime like the 25mm Summilux.

May 13, 2016 at 6:34PM

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Cary Knoop
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Thanks for the suggestion. I can understand why one would lean that way. For me, there are a couple factors that sway me back toward the GH4 instead G7. These being:

1) As far as I know, there is no v-log for G7
2) Only UHD, no DCI 4K
3) No 200mbps All-Intra for 1080p
4) Unsure about anamorphic capabilities for G7

May 13, 2016 at 8:17PM

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MattyMustng
Director of Photography
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By the way the 6300 having two more stops of DR compared to the GH4?
I seriously doubt that!

May 13, 2016 at 11:07PM

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Cary Knoop
Member
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Everything I've read has pegged the GH4 at 12 stops (in V-Log). I can't find extensive DR tests with the a6300, so I'm not sure what its actual tested results end up being. But Sony claims 14 stops. Obviously, rarely does any camera stack up exactly with the manufacturer's stated DR. But that's all I had to go on, that I can find.

May 14, 2016 at 5:47PM

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MattyMustng
Director of Photography
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The 6300 has 2-3 stops more sensitivity than GH4, not 2-3 stops more dynamic range.

Metabones make several different speedboosters that each cover the various sizes of m43-ish sensors. They make one just for BMPCC and one just for GH4.

The GH4 was an incredible value when it first came out. As the price has dropped, it's even more value. I would judge it the best value for all but one thing: if you absolutely need the 2-3 extra stops of sensitivity before noise sets in (because you can't or won't light your scenes, ever).

May 14, 2016 at 6:49AM

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Thanks! So, if I bought a Speedbooster for the GH4, it would not also be compatible with the BMPCC? Or is the name the only difference? I've never used a Speedbooster before, so I don't quite understand why it wouldn't be compatible with both (if that's the case). Other than the fact that the sensors are slightly different sizes, and the Speedboosters are manufactured to that specific size.

As for the extra sensitivity - I'm one who prefers to light a scene properly and shoot it that way. Most of the personal work I've done has been with my BMPCC at 800 ISO, and I have more than managed with that. I don't need something that will be amazing even if I light a scene with a glowstick or some shit.

Thanks for the input! I've pretty much made up my mind that I'm getting the GH4 over the 6300. Too many good deals out there for it (unlike a6300 since it just came out), plus I already have one nice lens for it, 10-bit output, etc, etc.

So, at this point - if anyone has any suggestions outside of these two cameras, I'd love to hear them! Thanks!

May 14, 2016 at 5:07PM

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MattyMustng
Director of Photography
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Also, not to double comment here (as I posted this to Cary above, but wanted to reply to you directly), everything I've read has pegged the GH4 at 12 stops (in V-Log). I can't find extensive DR tests with the a6300, so I'm not sure what its actual tested results end up being. But Sony claims 14 stops. Obviously, rarely does any camera stack up exactly with the manufacturer's stated DR. But that's all I had to go on, that I can find.

But, also as I said, I've made up my mind, at least when it comes to GH4 vs 6300. If there's another camera I should be considering, I'd love to have suggestions.

It seems like, at least when it comes strictly to DR, the GH4 might be capable of stacking up pretty closely to my BMPCC. However, the BMPCC will always win out on color bit depth (especially if you only compare internal recording on both) and gradability. And if you shoot in RAW, there's no comparison. But, if I wanted another BMPCC, I'd buy another BMPCC. The GH4 seems like, at least to me, a good camera that can do some things video-wise that the BMPCC cannot (4K, slightly better low light performance), and it will also be a good stills camera. I also feel like the GH4 could be a nice B-cam to my BMPCC, though I'll confirm that once I have one and do some extensive side-by-side tests and color grading.

If I'm wrong about any of this, please correct me.

May 14, 2016 at 5:54PM

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MattyMustng
Director of Photography
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I've locked in on the GH4 over the a6300. Too many advantages and there are so many good deals on GH4 bodies/packages on Craigslist and eBay that I can't really justify choosing the 6300.

HOWEVER, I am still very much open to other suggestions. Like I mentioned, despite the title of this post, I am not wholly married to 4K. If there's a camera in my price range that doesn't shoot 4K but *does* shoot great, highly grade-able 1080 footage, as well as excellent stills, I'd love to consider it. I guess you could say I'd love it if there were a camera that was basically a Blackmagic that also took amazing still photos.

(in case it's not been obvious, I love Blackmagics, I've shot on all their cameras aside from the new Micro and Ursa Mini - and while they have their numerous limitations and probably aren't what you'd consider the best run-and-gun cameras, I don't give a single shit when it comes to the narrative filmmaking I do, because I love their images so much. And I love how much I can push the footage in post without the image going to shit.)

May 14, 2016 at 6:02PM

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MattyMustng
Director of Photography
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One other GH4 bonus is very good audio. Properly set-up you can record PCM internal audio with a noise floor of -72 dB RMS. ( 6 dB better than a Zoom H4n audio recorder )

May 14, 2016 at 8:59PM, Edited May 14, 8:59PM

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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
30325

Good choice. I bought a GH4 a few weeks ago in LN condition at a pretty good discount. The things I like about the GH line (GH2 owner also) is that they can shoot forever without overheating... they just work.

Sony... not so much on the smaller mirrorless bodies. Overheating is a horrible thing to have. You just can't totally trust the camera. (Previous Nex5n owner).

On the speed booster, I believe you can get the GH4 specific speed booster and it will work on the BMPCC. (I also own the BMPCC). I have the BMPCC to Nikon speed booster and don't dare try it on the GH4. The BMPCC speed booster sticks further out the back then the GH4 is made to handle... it would get too close to the sensor. But, because of this, I would guess that the GH4 speed booster would be fine on the BMPCC although I haven't seen any tests to prove such. The specific speed boosters basically give you better magnification for whatever camera you're using. So, you get approximately a 1.8 crop on the BMPCC with the specific one... or thereabouts.

Just look on the metabones site for more info.

Your 12-35 will be great on the GH4, although I hate the flicker when zooming. (I sometimes use snap zooms for content shot for television and that lens is a bummer in that department.) I'm about to buy the Olympus 12-40 2.8.

I don't think you'll find yourself using the 1080p All-I 200Mbps however... Unless you're shooting a lot of motion. The 100Mbps 4k is actually a better compression because it is compressing a lot less whole frames, even though they are larger frames. Also, in 1080 you're more likely to see moiree. 4k is virtually moiree free, at least in my experience.

My only other camera suggestion to you would actually be a C100. (Even though it doesn't really do usable stills.) New they are $2500 now. (Used around $2k maybe?) I've shot hundreds of hours on one and love it for ease of use and great image quality. It's just one of the best cameras I've shot on. (Even better than the C300 because it's a heavy beast). It just fits great in the hand, shoots great footage, has waveform, can output prores etc. etc. I bought a GH4 because it's cheap and could use all my lenses. But, the C100 image is better IMO. You don't get slow-mo or 4k... but 4k isn't needed... slow-mo, maybe. No question I would buy that before a a6300 any-day. But the value of the GH4 is pretty great.

There's my Kanye-esque stream of consciousness rant for you. Have fun!

May 15, 2016 at 6:57PM, Edited May 15, 7:01PM

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Lane McCall
Producer/Director
320

Thanks! That's all great information.

I had the Olympus 12-40 and loved it, but unfortunately mine was defective (I had bought it used on Amazon, and after about 20 minutes of use, it stopped communicating with the camera). So I had to return it, and ended up buying the 12-35 on craigslist. I definitely like the 12-40 more (I had used it a lot previously via renting). The build quality of the Olympus seems better, the focus clutch is extremely nice for repeatable manual focus when it comes to video, and of course the little bit of extra zoom can always be helpful. You should definitely like it, it's a great lens!

May 15, 2016 at 9:46PM

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MattyMustng
Director of Photography
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what value is 4k to you?

May 16, 2016 at 1:15AM

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4k has much more detail compared to SD and HD video.

May 17, 2016 at 10:30AM

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Cary Knoop
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