September 17, 2014 at 6:56PM

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What's the best 4k camera under $5,000

What's the best bang for the buck, and why?

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Right now there aren`t many good quality 4K cameras available under $5K. These are the ones I would look at...

Panasonic GH4 with a Metabones SpeedBooster
Sony A7S ( needs an external 4K recorder )
Blackmagic 4K Production Camera ( needs lots of add-ons to be functional )

Sony X70 ( with the 4K upgrade coming at the end of the year )

Panasonic LX100 ( super compact low-cost camera that shoots 4K )
Panasonic FZ1000 ( super-zoom low-cost camera that shoots 4K )

September 19, 2014 at 10:40AM

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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
31466

There aren't any real clear cut winners in the 4k under 5k arena. It would have to come down to the GH4, A7s, and BMPC 4k. For the GH4, to have a system that's worthwhile, you would have to add the External Module and Recorder to really optimize it. It shoots 4k internally which is cool, but the 8-bit internal codec isn't really the greatest, but at $1700 for just the body, it will yield your desired resolution. By the end, the camera, recorder, and module will tip a little over $5000. The A7s is a camera I'm eager too see images out of soon, as it does feature an exceptionally clean 4k image with a recorder, plus with a FF sensor featuring large photosites, it will be a go-to option for low-light work. The drawback is that there are rolling shutter issues (big ones!) @ FF, SLog records at a minimum ASA of 2000 (making day exteriors difficult without ND), and lack of HD-SDI. You will have a decent preview on the Shogun recorder when they're paired together, but note you'll only be able to output that one signal. The Shogun might have SDI out, but its a rather incovenient build. However, the A7s is reported to have the best dynamic range of the bunch. It suffers the most from 'DSLR form-factor' if you like the idea of XLR Inputs and SDI Outputs, both of which are solved with the GH4's external module. The A7s plus the Shogun should be a little under 5k, I believe. The Blackmagic 4k is the cheapest of the bunch (if you don't count the GH4 without external recorder/module) mainly because it doesn't need an external recorder to shoot 4k (with a pretty awesome 10-bit Internal Prores 422 Codec). The drawbacks are the internal battery issue and on-set workflow with SSDs. Its a matter of personal taste, but I'm also not a fan of how the camera grades (color science feels strange to me). The 2.5k is actually a little more appealing with the added stop of DR and 2.5k resolution at RAW, which is very pleasant. But the 4k and Global Shutter combo are both great in their own right.

September 21, 2014 at 12:05PM

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>>>For the GH4, to have a system that's worthwhile, you would have to add the External Module and Recorder to really optimize it

I definitley agree with this statement if you want to deliver as 4K footage...

But if you want to deliver as 1080 HD footage then the GH4 4K 8-bit 4:2:0 internal footage becomes ultra sharp 1080 HD 8-bit 4:4:4 footage that will blow away every other mirrorless or DSLR camera that can't record 4K video. ( provided you are not shooting low-light, low-light is where the Sony A7S becomes king of the castle )

I am very curious to see how the A7S and the GH4 compare when used with the Shogun 4K recorder...

September 23, 2014 at 11:42AM

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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
31466

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