October 8, 2017 at 11:30AM

13

Thousand bucks. Need a Camera.

Hey folks, I'm new here so hi.

My question is simple, if you had a grand to spend on a body and a lens, new or used, what DSLR would you buy?

A friend and I just recently got into video production. Our first project we shot on a Galaxy 7 phone and actually we were surprised by the results. It was for a contest and we won the $1000 prize. Time to upgrade.

I really would like a Canon 5D MIII but as everyone here knows a grand isn't even close, forget about lenses.

So What would you buy? Again, new or used is fine and at least one lens in that price. We are all set up for sound and light already.

Thanks!

21 Comments

A used T3i ($300) and a 24mm Rokinon cine DS lens ($700).

I can tell you from personal experience that my t2i can go toe-to-toe (in good lighting situations) to a 5d Mk III just with the kit lens. It's going to be hard to find good low-light for under $1k anyway, so If I had that money I would find an inexpensive t3i body on ebay and buy a decent cine lens to really elevate the image quality. I'm a relative novice to the world of filmmaking, so I don't have the knowledge base of some other NFS members, but as one first-time filmmaker to another I can tell you that would be an ideal set up for me.

October 8, 2017 at 1:33PM

0
Reply
avatar
David Jordan
(Aspiring) Cinematographer
141

Thanks so much for your insights David. I'm looking into this asap. I'll get back with questions if I have any.

October 9, 2017 at 6:01PM

0
Reply
avatar
George Matta
Auteur
74

I too would probably recommend a Canon T3i. The T3i is a pretty solid piece of equipment when you are not shooting in low light. With the addition of Magic Lantern, it basically blows anything in the $300-$500 range out of the water. I still use my T3i as a B or C cam for the weddings I shoot.

I would highly recommend getting a zoom lens instead of a single prime because I would hate to be limited by focal length. I use the Tamron 28-75 f/2.8 on my Canon C100 exclusively when I shoot weddings. That lens never leaves the camera because it never has to. According to DxOMark it is sharper then Canon 24-105 f/4L and has less vignetting. It has a tad bit more chromatic aberration however it is still less than the 24-70 F/2.8L II. I picked it up for about $330 used. That leaves you with a bit of money left over in case you wanted to purchase another lens, maybe a Canon 50mm 1.4 ($350) or a Rokinon 85 1.4 ($300).

I would check out the used department at B&H and LensAuthority before buying on ebay or craigslist. At B&H and LensAuthority you can trust that whatever you get will be in the quality they say it will. They both have excellent reputations and excellent stock of used filmmaking gear.

October 9, 2017 at 12:19AM, Edited October 9, 12:25AM

0
Reply
avatar
Matthias Claflin
Videographer
97

Thanks so much for your insights Matthias. I'm looking into this asap. I'll get back with questions if I have any.

October 9, 2017 at 6:01PM

1
Reply
avatar
George Matta
Auteur
74

Take a peek at the Panasonic Lumix line of cameras. You can get a Panasonic GH2 for around $250. It can be hacked to increase the bit rate. If you want 4K, you can get the Panasonic G7, or the G85. Both can be had for under $1000. With the money you save on the camera, you can pick up a Panasonic 25mm 1.7. B&H has them for $147. It's micro four thirds format so you might want to consider a focal reducer to increase the performance in low light. If so, I might recommend a few vintage Canon, or Nikon primes and the Mitakon Lens Turbo with whatever mount you decide to go with.

October 9, 2017 at 11:36AM

1
Reply

Thanks so much for your insights Adrian. I'm looking into this asap. I'll get back with questions if I have any.

October 9, 2017 at 5:59PM, Edited October 9, 5:59PM

2
Reply
avatar
George Matta
Auteur
74

Hey again Adrian,

I looked into it and I'm pretty hot on the G85. My only concern before I go and seek one out is that there's no headphone jack. Do you know, does the display have some sort of visual peak meter? Most of what we shoot will be in a controlled environment but some will be on location, I'd need a way to check for sound in the field. I'd loose my mind if I lost a great take to microphone distortion or hot levels but only find out about it after the fact.

Thanks man

October 10, 2017 at 8:29AM

0
Reply
avatar
George Matta
Auteur
74

Yes. The G85 does have a visual sound meter. ;)

October 13, 2017 at 8:14AM, Edited October 13, 8:14AM

1
Reply
Herman Delgado
Filmmaker, Editor
476

You can use a micro-HDMI to VGA adapter to monitor the sound on headphones. The G85 is more convenient than the Canons, but it has a smaller sensor and the colours aren't as good - the Canons will look more 'cinematic' (I own a Canon SLR and the European version of the G85).

October 19, 2017 at 3:37AM, Edited October 19, 3:37AM

0
Reply
Tom Barrance
Film educator
132

I say hit ebay and pick up a GH4 with vlog for under $1000 depending on which one you come across and then invest a tad more into a rokinon lens and be good to go

October 10, 2017 at 3:22PM

0
Reply
avatar
Jahi Khalfani
Producer/Editor
86

This looks like a good fit for us. A solid all-rounder. Thanks for the advice.

October 15, 2017 at 7:28AM

1
Reply
avatar
George Matta
Auteur
74

my suggestion is 77D/80D + 24-105mm

October 10, 2017 at 7:36PM

0
Reply
avatar
Rh Oudom
Director / DoP / VFX
194

Hey George,
Sorry I took so long to get back. I don't know what kind of projects you'll be working on, but the G85 does have audio levels. However, I would advise that you not record directly into camera (except to maybe get scratch audio) but get a good mic and a separate recorder. I use the Tascam DR 60D Mark 2. I'm sure there are some good recorders within your price range.

October 11, 2017 at 8:07PM

0
Reply

Yup, I was avoiding getting into external sound capture just yet but it looks like I should just bite the bullet and do it.

October 15, 2017 at 7:31AM

0
Reply
avatar
George Matta
Auteur
74

Panasonic G7 with a Panasonic 20mm f1.7 pancake lens

October 12, 2017 at 12:47AM, Edited October 12, 12:47AM

0
Reply

This isn't a popular option, but I'm going to suggest the Panasonic GX85. We shot a feature on it last year, I shot a few shorts on it as well. Same in-body stabilization as the GH5. The Natural picture profile is really nice, so you don't need to drop money on v-log. For $700, you get it brand new with a 12-32mm lens, which isn't a great lens, but it's a start. You can get the camera for $500 used.

For $20 you buy a m42 to micro4/3 adapter and pick up a couple of cheap Russian lenses like the Helios 44-2 58mm and a Panacor 29mm. Together those will cost you about $150. You can get a nice 135mm like the Jupiter 37 for $50. The onboard stabilization of the camera's chip means you can shoot handheld with these and still get a pretty smooth video.

The GX85 has a built-in mic that's pretty lousy but fine for getting audio to sync with a recorder. For $159, grab a Zoom H4N to record audio. Or, cheaper and easier, a $70 Zoom H1, mount it under the camera, and put a shotgun mic like the Rode VideoMic Compact on top and run it down to the Zoom H1.

I have bigger, better cameras (a DVX200, GH4 and GH5), but in certain situations I'll still use the GX85. Its picture holds up to any modern camera and it shoots 4k.

October 12, 2017 at 9:23AM, Edited October 12, 9:23AM

0
Reply
avatar
Elvis Deane
Creative Director
8

Amazing insights Elvis. Thanks for lending your experience. I'm on the fence now between this and a GH4. It'll just come down to what we can afford now.

October 15, 2017 at 7:36AM

0
Reply
avatar
George Matta
Auteur
74

I wouldn't buy a camera on that budget. Save your money and rent an FS5 or a7Sii, or an older Alexa, or whatever and good lenses for your next shoot. Whatever you buy will be out of date, or already is.

October 12, 2017 at 3:07PM

0
Reply
Charlie Fonville
Producer
1

I understand that train of thought Charlie but we consider this purchase as a stop gap. It will alow us to capture higher quality images in the meantime and when we do buy something higher end it will serve as a back up or second camera. Thanks for your opinion though.

October 15, 2017 at 7:40AM

0
Reply
avatar
George Matta
Auteur
74

You've already gotten a lot of good feedback but I wanted to second the idea of getting a cheaper camera and spending money on lenses (old, cheap primes).

I'd advice against a zoom lens on your budget. If you spend almost your entire budget you could get a really decent Sigma Art zoom lens. those things are great, though heavy.

But cheap zooms aren't really worth it in my opinion. I'd go for a T2i, T3i, or some of the Panasonic cams people have suggested. The canons are good because you can easily find a ton of cheap older FD lenses you can adapt as well. Basically, any camera system that gets a decent image that you can get a ton of cheap, older primes for is a good way to go.

I used to have a takumar 50m 1.4 and it was an amazing lens in low-light and in general.

This is a pretty old short I made when I'd just bought a used t2i and wanted to test out the video feature one weekend on a trip. I believe it was shot on the kit lens (not even a great lens) and with sound recorded internally (don't do that! haha). In general I still really like the way this looks for many reasons and it kind of feels the most "filmic" of a lot of stuff I've shot sense, if that's your thing too.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FnWZIQBoeN0

Anyway, good luck! Get the camera and lenses you can afford, and shoot as much as you can and have fun!

October 17, 2017 at 8:05AM

1
Reply

Panasonic G7 has amazing 4k quality at about 500.00 and you would still have options for a decent lens. I owned one before upgrading to the gh5 but I was not disappointed at all with the images coming out of the G7. Also, go G85 if you need in camera stabilization. Good luck!

October 18, 2017 at 6:18PM, Edited October 18, 6:18PM

0
Reply
Donnie King
DOP
13

Your Comment