August 21, 2016 at 8:36PM, Edited August 21, 8:44PM

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Are nikons ok for beginning film making?

Im planning on getting a camera soon but would like some help deciding. I've always been into photography, and know a good amount about it. But recently I've been getting more into videography/film making. I've had my eyes on nikon for a while now because they're really good cameras. I'm heavily considering the nikon d5500 and maybe the d7200 (pricier, no vari-angle display), even the Sony alpha a7 (which I heard had bad focusing in low light). I should note that my friend, who I shoot with, uses a nikon so it may help to have the same company. But since learning more about film making, everybody praises Canons because of their autofocusing (i.e. the 60d, 70d, and t5i). Even Casey Neistat called the 70d the best camera. So without being biased because of my experience with nikon I'm considering canon. My ideal budget is $1500 (including the camera body, lens, and starting accessories like bag and tripod). Later on I'm planning to get more things needed. I know kit lenses aren't that good so I'm looking at a nikon 50mm f/1.8 and (or) the sigma 17-50 f/2.8. The main question here is: will I be limited in video quality if I get a nikon, and what cameras in this price range would you recommend? In the end I know its not the gear but the person using the gear, but I would like to start off on the right foot.

18 Comments

There is nothing wrong in using auto focus for a static video shot but you cannot use continuous focus. You have to learn how to do manual focus.

August 21, 2016 at 8:43PM

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Cary Knoop
Member
2160

Thats what I was thinking. I do know how to manual focus but of course could get better. I think as long as the video quality and performance in low light is good I shouldn't have to worry about focus.

Christopher Allen

August 21, 2016 at 8:49PM

But that brings up another question, why would you want to focus in low light?
Good films need good light, no exceptions!

For $1500 I would purchase a Panasonic G7 or GX85 with two good primes and a solid tripod. Also you need a good microphone and lights to get you started!

Nikons and video?
I don't think so!

August 21, 2016 at 8:53PM, Edited August 21, 9:00PM

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Cary Knoop
Member
2160

That is a good point. I'll be sure to check those out. Thanks.

Christopher Allen

August 21, 2016 at 9:25PM

The Nikon D5200, D5300, D5500, D7100, D7200 cameras are all excellent for video work. They have a sharper image than the Canon equivalent cameras, they record more dynamic range than equivalent Canons ( the free FLAAT 11 and FLAAT 12 picture profiles for Nikon cameras are handy ), and they have very few moire image problems, where the Canon equivalent cameras definitely have moire issues.

For autofocus the Canon 70D and 80D are by far the best lower cost cameras on the market. ( significantly better than Nikon or Panasonic ) But it's easier to get by without autofocus than having to re-shoot something because moire ruined your shot.

I agree with Cary that the Panasonic G7 or GX85 cameras are better video cameras at this price point, but keep in mind that you will have to use a portable recorder for sound because there are no mic inputs and no headphone outputs on these cameras. ( a portable recorder is actually a good thing as you can produce better sound with an external recorder than most lower-cost cameras can do )

August 21, 2016 at 11:56PM

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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
29868

Between the Nikons which do you think will be the best buy? Is sacrificing an articulating screen worth it for for a slightly better and more pro camera body?

Christopher Allen

August 22, 2016 at 8:41PM

Would agree with Guy except I would just look for a used d5300 body. I own one and it doesn't have the sensor noise that the d5200 did which is especially noticeable on a flat profile as I found it almost unusuable. So yes D5300 body around 3-400 then download the flat profile of your choice or use the standard profile - quite a good image in the right light.

DustinD

August 24, 2016 at 2:30PM

g7 has a mic input

gandulf charpentier

August 24, 2016 at 2:36PM

Actually the G7 does have a mic input!

G7 vs GX85 has pluses and minuses:

G7 has the mic input and more recording options, a better viewer and a far better grip.
However the GX85's IBIS image stabilization is great and while it has less recording options I prefer the colors over the G7. The grip is a complete drama. Also the US version has no recording limit!

Here is a test of the GX85 using the 5 axis IBIS image stabilization
https://vimeo.com/179693713

August 22, 2016 at 12:10AM, Edited August 22, 12:11AM

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Cary Knoop
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I stand corrected. The G7 does have a MIC input, but no headphone jack, so it's audio connections are a little like the GH2 camera.

Guy McLoughlin

August 22, 2016 at 7:38PM, Edited August 22, 7:38PM

Nikon lenses have a "foot" at the back that allow aperture adjustment on non-Nikon bodies. This allows wide compatibility with different camera bodies. Check out Novoflex for a really nice adapter if you want. In the past couple years the wall came down to use EF lenses on MFT bodies. There are 100 million pieces of EF glass out in the market. Less so with Nikon. The EF mount is being built into or is a bolt on swappable option for lots of cameras now. It started with RED. You could just skip it all and use and be known for having PL glass. You are doing the right thing in asking here.

August 22, 2016 at 12:17PM

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Philip Goetz
Technical sales / video production / marketing consultation
86

To start out Nikon is surely good enough. I know people who use them for corporate videos and it doesn't look aweful or bad at all.
If you shoot videos together with your friend, having the same brand surely helps to get a more consistent picture. Many people struggle with mixing different kind of cameras.

An articulating screen is a very very big PLUS. It makes shooting so much more comfortable.

I never shot with a Nikon, so I can't comment on audio or focus and such.

August 23, 2016 at 9:38AM

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WalterBrokx
Director, DOP, Writer, Editor, Producer
9077

Nikon'a of late have really improved their video quality.

http://www.eoshd.com/?s=nikon+

That being said, unless you already have a lot invested in Nikon glass or have a need for a "true" DSLR (you have to have an optical viewfinder), mirrorless cameras offer a lot more in terms of functionality (wider range of lenses, compactness, high frame rate, etc) and image quality (4k/UHD, low-light, dynamic range, wider color gammut, etc).

http://www.techradar.com/us/news/photography-video-capture/cameras/mirro...

As regards Auto Focus, some mirrorless cameras (Sony A6300 come to mind), are at least equal to DSLR's.

You have an ever growing list of mirrorless cameras to choose from:

BlackMagic: Pocket and Micro Series
Canon: XC10
Fuji: XPro 2 and upcoming XT2
Panasonic: GH Series, GX Series, G Series, etc
Olympus: EM-5 Mkll
Sony: A7s Series, A6300 Series, RX Series, etc

How to choose? You really need to breakdown your needs, for example:

- What is your preferred format (Full-Frame, ASPC, M4/3, Super16)?
- What look do you prefer; Sony, Panasonic, BM?
- Doing alot of handheld (Sensor stabilization, like that on Olympus EM-5 Mkll might be worth a look)?
- Resolution (are you being asked to deliver 4k, do you need the extra space to crop or zoom, etc)?

I think by really understanding you current and potential future needs, you will find the proper solution for you!

https://acinematographersjournal.wordpress.com

August 23, 2016 at 10:47AM, Edited August 23, 10:48AM

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John Dimalanta
Freelance Photographer/Cinematographer
382

By the way in September Panasonic will introduce the G80/G85.

We have to wait to see the specifications!

August 23, 2016 at 8:36PM

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Cary Knoop
Member
2160

>>>Between the Nikons which do you think will be the best buy? Is sacrificing an articulating screen worth it for for a slightly better and more pro camera body?

For me a lot would depend on whether you want to shoot still photos. For still photos I like the D7100 or D7200 bodies because of the weight and the controls. I find that for still photos I am better at holding a heavier camera steady than the small light weight ones. Also the cameras with no low-pass filter ( D5300, D5500, D7100, D7200 ) are going to produce a slightly sharper still photo image. The D7100 and D7200 are weather-sealed so they are less vulnerable to dust and rain, and they have dual SD memory card slots.

Otherwise, the video image from the newer Nikons is pretty similar. The D5300, D5500, D7200 cameras are going to produce pretty much the same video image, so if you need articulating screen ( which is handy to have for gimbals, high or low shots, etc... ) then your options are a lot more limited.

August 23, 2016 at 8:56PM, Edited August 23, 8:56PM

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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
29868

Get the Nikon D5500. There's none of the moiré or aliasing you'd get with the Canons; it's sharp, so no 'mushy' footage. It shoots at 60fps in 1080p, unlike the Canons, so you can get real slow motion in full HD. The Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8 is an awesome lens, it's perfect for a budding filmmaker. I'd look into the Shure LensHopper for a microphone; it has a built in digital recorder and a headphone jack, so you can monitor as you record. All three can be had off ebay for 1,100 bucks. You can get an AmazonBasics camera bag for 40 bucks. That leaves 360 bucks for a tripod and fluid head; a Manfrotto tripod and head typically go for 350 on ebay, so you should be good with the 1,500 budget. Good Luck!

August 24, 2016 at 3:53AM

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Nikon has come a lot further than Canon at improving the dynamic range, sharpness and moiré reduction in their DSLR's over the last few years. Whatever you would be missing in Canon's color science would likely be more than made up for by the overall quality improvements made by Nikon. At this stage I would not consider using any Canon DSLR other than the 1DX2 or the 5D MK4 for narrative work. There are way too many other options these days.

August 24, 2016 at 10:49AM, Edited August 24, 11:31AM

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Marc B
Shooter & Editor
600

I used the Nikon D800 in conjunction with the Atomos Ninja 2 to shoot a feature-length instructional art video, and it worked out very well.

Of course, to get the best results, I had to shoot at the D800's lowest native ISO -- ISO 100 -- so I had to thoroughly light my location. But that wasn't problematic.

Overall, I was extremely happy with the quality of the footage. I captured to ProRes 4:2:2 HQ and was able to easily import it into Adobe Premiere Pro CC for editing, color correction, and sound mixing.

Here's a trailer that I cut with the footage from the D800: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6tf9ZoPTUBs

April 27, 2017 at 11:24AM

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Glenn Bossik
Videographer
549

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