September 23, 2014 at 3:15PM

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Sony a7s with accessories or Canon C100

I'm a DSLR shooter looking to upgrade my kit to the next level as the limitations of my existing bodies is now hindering my further development. Currently, I'm using a Canon 650D and Sony NEX-5n. So I've already got Canon EF primes as well some E-mount glass.

I know they are very different propositions, but having read & watched loads of reviews I can't decide which way to go as I don't want to get caught out with the wrong camera for the next few years. I'm looking at either the Sony a7s with accessories that take it up to the same price roughly, as the Canon C100 + Ninja Blade.

Help!!!

Any help from existing users would be very welcome.

I'm not likely to be shooting 4k anytime some

21 Comments

I've never met anyone who doesn't absolutely love the C100. It's a great image. The only problem is that it's almost at the end of its product-life-cycle. The A7s is a lot more future-proof and feature-loaded. We recently rented one and used the Metabones Canon EF adapter and it worked great.

We'll probably purchase two A7s cameras and use them alongside the upcoming FS7. Sony seems to be showing a promising future for video guys.

September 23, 2014 at 4:57PM

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Josh Paul
Most often DP, Direct or Gaff
1099

Thx Josh - Canon seem very slow to react to the threat from Sony.

September 24, 2014 at 5:41AM

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Neil Asher
Filmmaker
185

Of course. Either way you go, you have a great set of options to choose from. Several years ago, it was slim-pickings.

I think Canon may still operate in a mindset from back then.

September 26, 2014 at 3:08PM

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Josh Paul
Most often DP, Direct or Gaff
1099

Didn't they always do so?
Sony seems to spit out a new camera every few months. Canon takes a few years to bring a few cameras to the market.

Years ago I when my XM-2 (finally) died I moved to a EX1R, because Canon was still in HDV-tape-land, while I wanted to migrate to a full-HD-solid-state-state.

With the 5D mkII they were ahead of the curve, but that seemed to be like a happy accident, because since then they are mostly behind the curve.

Although I love shooting with a C300: lovely images :-)

January 2, 2015 at 5:30AM

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WalterBrokx
Director, DOP, Writer, Editor, Producer
8965

As with any purchase, the most important thing is to take a step back and assess the kind of work you do. If ergonomics, speed of use, compact set-up (as in, no auxilary parts or audio recorder), weather-sealing, and a great HD image are what you're after, the C100+ninja star or blade might very well be the best option. The signal you can record through the HDMI of the C100 blows anything the a7s can do out of the water, in my opinion.

If low-light, shooting stills, and overcranking, then maybe the a7s. Also, a significantly better EVF and much more compact if it's not rigged out!

I totally agree with Josh on a lot of what he said, although I'm not convinced that the C100 is near the end of its product-life-cycle - not unlike Sony's EX1 or EX3, I can see that camera and the C300 both being used for HD work for several years to come, so if it makes sense for you now, I think it's still a sound investment. I don't know a C100 owner who regrets buying it. Everyone I have personally met loves their camera (but not the EVF!)

Even so, I think it's about $1500-$2000 overpriced by today's standards.

As far as getting an a7s instead, well.. it's what I decided to get, so I'm a fan. But it also depends on what "accessories" you have in mind. Keep in mind that just about anything you get is probably going to be replaced in a few years, so I wouldn't invest too heavily in accessories that are too system-specific.

Just some things for you to consider. I hope it helps!

September 24, 2014 at 11:12PM

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David S.
2852

Thanks David, Some great advice there! I was thinking of pimping up the a7s with:
Metabones 4
Z finder
Atomos Shogun
& a Movcam cage

However, this takes it into the same price bracket as the C100 which is another dilemma issue for me.

October 9, 2014 at 9:22AM

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Neil Asher
Filmmaker
185

I would recommend looking into the sound devices pix e 5 as an alternative to the shogun, much smaller

August 5, 2015 at 6:34PM

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Neil, you have a great reel, as well as the projects under your belt.

I would be very interested to hear why you say: "the limitations of my existing bodies is now hindering my further development".

Please can you share your experience?

Thank you in advance!

September 25, 2014 at 9:04PM

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Alex Zakrividoroga
Director
3815

Thanks for your kind feedback Alex.

With regard to my 'limitations' statement: I'm referring to the not so great low light capability of the 650d (as I'm not too impressed with the noise artefacts in some of my work), plus the low bit rate doesn't give me much scope when trying to grade shots, together with no on board audio monitoring, as I experienced a few hitches along the way when recording audio and realising later that it's not what it should be. So with all of thee issues, I feel it's time for me to try and guarantee my results rather than hope it'll be ok.

October 9, 2014 at 9:28AM

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Neil Asher
Filmmaker
185

Neil thanks for posting this and I am also curious as to why you say "the limitations of my existing bodies is now hindering my further development." You have great work and It looks as though your development is on a solid foundation. I believe you have a great eye for composition and can build off of that.

I am always a big proponent of a camera being just a tool and you development is how you approach a story to convey an idea. That being said I am torn between these 2 cameras as well. The high ISO range with low grain is very appealing in the a7s and I have never met a person that did not like their Canon C100. I think it would be an easier switch for you to go to a C100 and it harkens back to the days when we actually had a camera made for video (Although quality is way better than the Canon XL2 that I use to shoot on. Haha).

Choose the weapon for the job. What type of work are you doing and what type of work are you going to jump into. Make your choice based on what camera can solve most of the issues you currently have. Hope this helps.

Cheers.

September 25, 2014 at 11:33PM

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Chad Fortenberry
Director of Media Content
43

Hi Chad

Thx for your help & great comments. See my above reply for my rationale for upgrading. It's such a tough decision, which I'm still on the fence, as I don't want to make the wrong choice. The appeal of the c100's form factor is high together with knowing your way around canon gear.

As for weapon of choice, I haven't really settled into any particular type of work style so I want something that'll cover the bases, until I find out where I'm going.

October 9, 2014 at 9:34AM

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Neil Asher
Filmmaker
185

Depends on what you will be shooting. I use a C100 for weddings and live events. I love it. Just bought mine a couple months ago and will be using it for several years. "End of Product Life cycle" Not sure what that means. It shoots a great image in HD and there is always the next camera with better features, you can continue waiting or you can just buy whats available now in your price range and get to work. I'm so over the "Camera Wars".

Best of Luck To You.

September 27, 2014 at 11:55AM

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Luna Videography
Videographer
604

The product life cycle that I'm talking about is nothing against Canon or the C100. What I mean is that the camera has been out for a while, they've dropped the price and it will probably be replaced soon with a newer product.

September 27, 2014 at 10:57PM

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Josh Paul
Most often DP, Direct or Gaff
1099

wise words

October 9, 2014 at 9:35AM

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Neil Asher
Filmmaker
185

thx Luna - that makes a lot of sense. But I'm still stuck

October 9, 2014 at 9:36AM

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Neil Asher
Filmmaker
185

Hi Neil,

We've met before on Vimeo I think (you saw my starlings video shot in Colwyn Bay?).

I feel very strongly it would be a risk to invest so much money in a camera (& setup) that is still in its 'honeymoon phase', particularly if you want it to last you several years. The A7s has created a huge buzz because on paper it does a lot of things that filmmakers have wanted to see in a hybrid camera for a long time (and the headline-grabbing low-light of course), but it has a number of 'shortcomings' that may still prevent it from establishing itself as a solid A-cam. Whereas the C100 is a tried-and-tested filmmaker's workhorse that looks a bit stingy on paper but actually has more going on under the hood than most realise (a 4K sensor sampling 444 colour and 1/60s readout to kill severe rolling shutter). It's also fairly universally acknowledged to be a superb all-round pro camcorder (if you can live without slow-motion). The A7s has rolling shutter issues, S-Log is, in my opinion, a gimick on this camera - the colours are awful, you have to shoot at 3200 ISO and the 8-bit codec can't keep up with the much flaunted 13(?)-stop dynamic range. Personally I'd choose a GH4 with Ninja Star (10bit 422) over an A7s unless I knew I was going to be doing a LOT of low light stuff or 50% photography. Also I'm not sure that a Z-Finder makes any sense for the A7s (doesn't it have quite a poor LCD but a really nice EVF?). And it can only output 8-bit to the Shogun so you're paying a huge amount just for a large 4K monitor that kills the nice small form factor of the A7s.

I got a bit ranty there, but my point is that the C100 is a known quantity whereas we don't really know yet if the A7s will prove to be a perennial. I don't own either camera, but I've seen a lot of really lovely stuff shot on the C100, whereas I've yet to see anything shot on a A7s that has really hit the spot for me. On paper the C100 is starting to look a little dated, but in the real world the image will hold up for years to come.

Having said all that, if I was planning on spending that sort of money right now, I'd probably go for a GH4, an A7s and a Ninja Star. Together those three would cost less than a C100 alone and offer a HUGE amount of options.

October 10, 2014 at 6:57PM

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Matt James Smith
Lintel Films
81

Hi Matt - I remember you and am an avid fan of what you're doing.

You're final option (GH4 A7s and Ninja) sounds like a great plan.

All wise words and great advice thx. I was all set to buy the A7s and then started seriously looking into the C100 when my client in Qatar messaged me to say that he'd picked up an A7s for me there (as I'd been speaking to him about it and its £500 cheaper than the UK list price, £1540). So the decision was made for me in the end (picking it up when I'm there at the end of October), one which I'm very happy with especially at that price and compared to laying out £4000 ish for the C100. If I find that the A7s isn't the right cam for me then I could probably sell it and get back what I'm paying for it. But I don't think that's going to be the case.

October 17, 2014 at 2:15PM

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Neil Asher
Filmmaker
185

Hi Neil.

I am currently running through this decision right now. At this moment in time I can get a c100 or an a7s for around the same price!

So the burning question is, are you happy with it? How do you like shooting with it in the field, how do you like working with the footage in post? This is a tough decision for me. The size/low-light of the sony is very appealing, but I've used a c100, it's brilliant.

April 21, 2015 at 3:44AM

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Any updates on this conversation since the announcement of the c100 Mark ii. To me it seems like THE perfect camera for the one man, run and gun, set up that I assume most of us run as well as a great locked down, on set camera as well. I've been blown away by the a7s, especially when paired with something like a DJI Ronin, but I'm still not sure its the solution. That said, it's price point is something I can consider moving towards to help move my work up. (The majority of my work is still being shot on my 5Dii, which I think is finally getting out-dated.)

Curious to hear what you all think.

December 12, 2014 at 4:17PM

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Ben Derico
Documentarian, DP, & Producer
97

I'm in a very similar position. Being relatively new to all this I bought the A7S and started rigging it up and spending lots of $$$ to see what works well and what doesn't and to make the camera work how I want it to. I'd only previously shot on a 5D MKII. However, I have just spent some time on the C100 MKII with the Stillmotion team and I have to say I loved it!.

Yes I've been listening to all the "canon is behind now" comments and partly that is why I chose the A7S but the c100 just worked and felt right in my hands where as the A7S, particularly when run and gun, feels like I have to wrestle with it too much (just my opinion/experience)

Which comes to my next point which people have already mentioned: It all comes down to what you want to do with it and how you work.

But personally for me the C100 MKII being a pro cam ticks boxes that the A7S out of the box doesn't: Hand grip, XLRs built in, articulating monitor, native scopes, nice size and weight, a battery that actually lasts, and built in ND! Add up all the accessories I've added to the A7S and price wise I'm in the same ballpark.

Then just add the latest Ninja Blade and you essentially have a C300! (with a crappier EVF). :-)

July 21, 2015 at 11:45PM

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Shaun Townend
Storyteller at Husky Visuals
81

Ha. 5dm2 happy accident. Good one.

February 1, 2016 at 6:58AM

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matthew
Youth Pastor
154

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