September 24, 2015 at 11:36AM

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Best low-mid range budget 4K camera at the moment?

I realize this is a tough question to ask, and largely depends on the type of shooting that will be done with the camera, but, I'm curious to hear what people have to say about this.

I am hoping to upgrade from my GH3s in the near future. There are two things I know I want in a new camera:

- 4K, as flat an image as possible
- Build in NDs

Knowing this, what would you guys say is the best option on the market at the moment?

Thanks

18 Comments

A lot will depend on your budget...

4K image as flat as possible means either LOG or RAW format recording.

Built in ND filters usually mean an ENG style camera, which might not be what you are looking for.

The least expensive cameras that I can think of that record LOG and have built-in ND filters are these two cameras...

JVC GY-LS300 Super35 Camera : $ 3,495 on Sale
http://goo.gl/0ysBlp

New Features Just Added to the JVC GY-LS300 Super35 Camera
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eKEtKQgApks

Panasonic AG-DVX200 4K Camera with Micro 4/3 Sensor : $4,200
http://goo.gl/Mhf4fM

September 24, 2015 at 1:44PM

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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
32118

Thanks, Guy. You've always got good input. Honestly, I'm just trying to gauge whether or not I should even considering buying a 4K camera at this time. I am definitely going to reinvest in a new setup, the question is...should I buy a 4K rig, or rent when it is requested? A lot of people seem to be juggling this issue.

I've been considering the C100 MKII / Ninja 2 kit for $6K from B&H. This would allow me to record in 10-bit to the Ninja, get the 60fps that the MK I lacks, and of course a 35mm sensor (upgrading from M43), among other things.

I'm also trying to figure out exactly what the new Ninja Assassin would allow a camera like the MK II to do, say compared to the Ninja 2.

Gabe Reuben

September 24, 2015 at 2:47PM

Also can't rule out the Canon 1D C. Internal 4K at $8K.

September 24, 2015 at 3:09PM

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Gabe Reuben
Director of Photography
336

But you said you wanted internal ND filters?

What about lenses? Do you have mFT lenses for the GH3?

Charlie K

September 29, 2015 at 5:21PM

Charlie - I'm currently selling my MFT gear. I recently invested in Zeiss ZE glass, which I've been using with my GH3s for now. I'm definitely reinvesting in EF glass, it's just a matter of which camera body I'm eventually going to switch to.

Gabe Reuben

September 30, 2015 at 8:07AM, Edited September 30, 8:07AM

Hey Gabe,
Depending on your budget, have you checked out the RED RAVEN? It is a little more than your are mentioning for a full package, but the amount of features your receive are worth the investment. Hope you can find a good option.

September 25, 2015 at 1:06PM

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Shaeden Gallegos
Marketing Coordinator at RED DIGITAL CINEMA
95

As Gary says, if you want built-in ND, you're looking at ENG-style cameras. Using an external recorder to make up for the deficiencies of the primary shooting platform is a pain. I've been doing it for years, and it's a pain: one more piece of kit you have to set up, one more battery you have to keep charged, one more cable that could be suspect, one more place for something to go wrong.

RED RAVEN is a killer new unit, but not scheduled to ship until Feb 2016, and no telling whether it will take weeks or months to fulfill the orders that have already been flooding into RED's servers. If you are looking at the $6K price range, you should seriously consider what twice that price will buy you in the RED world.

Since you have a GH3, a GH4 is a very logical upgrade. I have a GH4 and a SHOGUN, and VLog-L works great with 10-bit 4:2:2 (despite the PITA of using an external recorder). But if you're looking for a more integrated solution, I'd strongly consider the DVX200 as ticking all the boxes, including budget.

September 25, 2015 at 3:04PM

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Great input, Michael. Thanks. Coming from the GH3, I'm really looking to get away from M43, or even crop sensors in general. I'd love to go full frame, or close to it. I've already started reinvesting in Zeiss ZE glass. I suppose that's one factor I forgot to mention...35mm sensor.

Gabe Reuben

September 27, 2015 at 9:01AM

It might sound ridiculous but the Sony RX10II has a built in ND, log shooting, internal 4k, the whole thing...for $1300 it's a pretty sweet camera.

September 25, 2015 at 7:55PM

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Jeremiah Kuehne
Filmmaker
1060

Both the Sony FS7 and FS700 with the Shogun or 7Q give you 4k, an external recorder and ND filters galore.

Benefits of the FS7 are obvious, nicer form factor and internal 4k. With the ability to use cheaper cameras such as the FS5 or A7s as a solid b-cam. Nice high frame rates, and log gives you a flat image.

The Sony FS700 does all of the above for a lot cheaper, but you have to deal with the form factor of the camera. Adding an external recorder adds one more thing that can go wrong on a shoot, but does give you a much nicer codec. With the O7q/+ you get 2k 120fps RAW, 4k RAW to prores.

September 25, 2015 at 11:34PM

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Thanks Xander. I definitely haven't ruled out Sony. It's pretty apparent that their cameras offer much more for considerably less money than Canons, for example. Honestly, I've never been in love with the form factor/layout of any Sony's I've ever gotten my hands on. That alone is holding me back at the moment...

Gabe Reuben

September 27, 2015 at 9:03AM, Edited September 27, 9:03AM

I know you would like to have built-in ND's, but have you considered getting the GH4 with the new V Log L colour profile? You could spend the money you save on other cameras (that would have built-in ND) on good quality ND filters. Just a thought.

September 26, 2015 at 2:14AM

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>>>I've been considering the C100 MKII / Ninja 2 kit for $6K from B&H.

If you forget about built-in ND filters, then you might want to consider a GH4 body ( which has been selling between $1,200 - 1,400 over the past 3 months ) and the new Video Devices PIX-E5H recorders that sell for $1,200. So roughly $2,400 - 2,600 and you've got 10-bit 4:2:2 4K LOG recording system with a very good high-def monitor.

I am also very interested in the new JVC GY-LS300 Super35 camera that has a Micro 3/4 lens mount but still shoots Super35 and Micro 4/3 video formats, and now has built-in 10-bit 4:2:2 LOG recording. The original footage I saw from this camera last year looked like it had about 9 to10 F-stops of dyanamic range, but I've heard that this new free LOG firmware upgrade brings it into line with the GH4's V-log. I haven't seen any footage yet ( I think the new firmware is going to be released within the next week ), but suddenly this camera looks really interesting. It also has a very cool "Prime Lens Zoom" feature that provides you with up to 60 percent zoom functionality from prime lenses without degrading the image. At $3,500 this camera might be a steal if the LOG feature holds up. I expect to see lots of tests in the first week of October.

September 26, 2015 at 3:55PM, Edited September 26, 3:56PM

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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
32118

Thanks, Guy. I'm really trying to move away from M43. GH3 has done well for me, but the low light capabilities are hauntingly terrible, in my opinion. I do a lot of run n gunning, so full frame low light seems like a must at this point. GH3 past 800 isn't usable for me, and I can't imagine the GH4 has a much higher threshold.

I'll definitely look into the JVC LS300. Thanks for the tip.

Gabe Reuben

September 27, 2015 at 9:09AM

Gabe, what is your Budget?

September 27, 2015 at 3:36AM

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sanveer mehlwal
Filmmaker
163

I don't have a concrete number, but ballpark, I would say $6K to $8K. I'm definitely not going down the GH4 route. The GH3 has served me well, but I'm more than ready to move on to full frame, and non-DSLR. Something more along the lines of the FS7, FS700, C100 MK II, etc.

Gabe Reuben

September 27, 2015 at 9:04AM

>>> Something more along the lines of the FS7, FS700, C100 MK II, etc.

Between these three I would vote for the FS7, as it is fully featured, shoots great internal 10-bit 4:2:2 video, and it has a rapidly growing user base so lots of new items keep coming out for the FS7.

FS700 is low priced, but you really need an external recorder to get the most out of it.

C100 Mk2 is over priced for what you get. If you need the AF feature then there's really nothing else can can match this camera ( apart from the C300 Mk2 ), but if you don't then spending the extra $1,500 to buy an FS7 makes more sense to me.

September 28, 2015 at 10:38AM

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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
32118

I think you're right on the money, Guy (at least based on the research I've been doing). It almost seems like a tossup between the C300 MK II and the FS7. I'm curious to hear what people think about that comparison. Obviously, the C300 is double the price of the FS7, which is pretty rediculous. The only way I could justify spending that much on the C300 is simply for the usability and efficiency of the camera, especially compared to the FS7. I've always had a problem with Sony menus...but is that worth $8,000?

Gabe Reuben

September 30, 2015 at 8:32AM

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