September 13, 2014 at 10:48PM


$3000 dollars to spend for doc style camera

I am looking around for a camera to buy for around $3000 dollars intended for documentary. My best thought right now is to get the a7s with a metabones adapter for canon and couple extra batteries. Slow motion is going to be about 60% of what I shoot so that is a reason I am leaning mostly towards the sony a7s. Any help would be greatly appreciated!


Depends what kind of stuff you're shooting I guess?? If you plan to do a lot at night then you can't go past the a7s. GH4 is the other contender in my opinion, with the speedbooster it still gets you your Super 35mm crop size but also a bunch of other useful features. Internal 4k has been magical to me for interviews, being able to punch in and out with a single shot. You will need that expensive external recorder to do that with the a7s.

For slow mo I think the a7s only shoots 120fps in 720p. But having said that the 96fps on the GH4 isn't as good quality as the 1080p 200Mbs but i would imagine its still better than the a7s's 720p.

September 14, 2014 at 9:02AM, Edited September 14, 9:02AM

Jarrad Cody
Guy who likes film stuff

In my experience, GH4's 96fps is very comparable to the a7s's 120fps at 720, upscaled to 1080.

I've used both on projects. Neither is ideal, but will work pretty well, especially for smaller screens.

David S.

September 15, 2014 at 12:01PM

Thank you! Ya internal 4k for interviews is what has me, that would be so nice! However I do a lot of weddings as well and the a7s would definitely come in handy. But besides the GH4 is there anything else I should be considering in this price range?

September 14, 2014 at 1:35PM

David Orgill
Director of Photography

Panasonic AF100 may be an option if you want something a little more run and gun, better ergonomics and better audio then DSLR bodies but less lowlight and no 4k. If you're in need of more than 60fps then nothing will beat the gh4 or a7s at this price range.

September 15, 2014 at 9:06AM

Chase Axton

Hey David, I have an A7s which I bought to muck around with (I normally direct rather than shoot). It gives amazing low light images and the video quality is amazing. Just a warning though, the rolling shutter is absolutely terrible in full frame mode, so if you were going to be mobile with it, even panning back and forth slowly manages to make it show up. Also the battery life is pretty poor but you can rig it up with an external. Im using it primarily as a stills camera at the moment so I went and grabbed the battery grip which lets you run 2 batteries which is a life saver. Also if you're shooting log on the A7s you have to shoot at 3200 ISO which means you'll need some NDs to be able to go out during the bright daytime. Plus to make it shoot worth for a doco, you're going to be spending more than 3k (to get XLR ins its another 900 just for the Sony adaptor). I would almost suggest trying to find a second hand Sony FS100 for that price. It will do 60FPS @ 1080p with a proper video form factor...

September 15, 2014 at 10:30AM

Jason Azcona
Director / Editor

You might want to wait to take a look at the new Sony X70 which should be out within the next month. It's a compact ENG camera that shoots 10-bit 4:2:2 1080HD, and has a 4K paid upgrade coming around the end of the year. Having a long parfocal zoom lens would be very handy for run'n'gun and live event shooting.

September 15, 2014 at 1:23PM

Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer

$3000 is not enough for a Sony A7S kit. You will need at least $1000 for a 24-70 or 24-105mm lens, Variable ND filters, an audio kit (either the Sony one, or zoom/tascam plus microphone), and perhaps a rig.

Also if you want 4K, you will need an additional $2k to get the Atomos Shogun.

I would recommend instead a GH3 (or GH4 if 4K is required). With the Panasonic 12-35mm, a vari-ND filter, it will become a mini C100. Battery life is 4 hours, and the codec is solid.

September 18, 2014 at 8:01AM

Heri Rakotomalala
DP/Camera, Studio owner, Associate Producer

Consider a new Supper 35mm Sony Fs100 body, if you get it before end of the month from B&H you will also get a metabones adaptor as a rebate. You can add the ND throttle adaptor that has a built in ND filter this will site well in your budget and the camera is got amazing footage sound meters. Ergonomics are not the best but its lowlight performance and easy to handle codec make it a win for me.

September 18, 2014 at 9:59AM


get a used sony FS100, good mic options, display, erogonomic, good quality, adaptable lens system, and maybe an electronic ND?

September 19, 2014 at 2:57PM

Kazu Okuda

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