October 22, 2016 at 4:13PM


Buying a budget cinema camera, any chance i can get some second opinions from you guys?

Hey fam,

Videographer and aspiring film maker here. Ive been writing short film scripts for a while now and decided its time for me to pull the trigger on upgrading my gear so i can tackle these the way that i want to. I currently have a 5d mkIII, the thing takes beautiful photos and I'm sure is capable of producing more than adequate video. Personally I'm just not happy with the results that i have gotten out of it every time that I've used it for corporate and personal use.

Anyways I've basically narrowed it down to these cameras and im wondering if you guys could help me weigh the pros and cons of each and decide what the best choice is based on what I've said about each and whatnot.

So here are my options so far;

Canon c100: LOVE the feel of this thing in my hand. The ergonomics are just fantastic. Great run and gun camera. Pretty solid in low light performance so its not super restricting when it comes to shooting environments. Internal ND'S. Also records to SD's so thats good for my wallet. Ive worked with one it on a few corporate shoots and its perfect for that type of work, but I'm yet to see any really solid narrative or cinematic feeling footage come out of one. If anyone here has any examples that can prove me wrong thats cool. Also no 4k like the rest of these cameras on the list.

Black magic Production Camera 4K: It seems like people either love or hate these cameras. Personally this camera is in here because i love the cinematic look that you can get out of these cameras with ease. The ability to record 4k to an SSD is also really appealing to me. Also the global shutter is a plus. Downsides are that this camera looks awkward to work with without any sort of rigs/supports/handles. Ergonomics don't look good for that reason but i guess the accessories you can buy make up for it, just more money though. Also I've seen some solid low light footage from this camera but I've heard that its not that good. Any input here would be nice.

Blackmagic Ursa Mini 4k:
Ive seen phenomenal footage out of this camera. Captures that cinematic footage feel with ease in the same way that all Blackmagic cameras do. Difference between this and the production camera is that there ergonomics are much better. Ive never personally held one but I've read that they are surprisingly comfortable to shoot handheld and not as awkward as the production camera. Records 4k. Up to 60 fps. Downsides are that it records to cfast cards which are expensive af. Also again isn't an optimal low light camera but its still serviceable from what I've seen (let me know if I'm wrong). Also no global shutter like the production camera so thats kind of a bummer.

Blackmagic Ursa Mini 4.6k: The footage I've seen from this camera is incredible IMO. Has all of the positives of the 4k (though the footage is slightly better on this version as expected) but it suffers from all of the same problems as the 4k (cfast cards, low light performance, also slightly out of my budget right now).

If I’m missing anything regarding these cameras that i should keep in mind then please let me know. I’ve been looking at cameras for weeks and I’ve looked at so many that i just need a second opinion from someone. Also i realize there are probably other threads out there like this but what the heck, why not start a new one.

Im open to any other suggestions though keep in mind the lenses i currently have are Canon EF lenses so i don't really want to have to ditch those or buy adapters if at all possible. Absolute top end budget for now is $5000 CAD and i don’t mind buying used.

Thanks in advance for any help!


What you have listed right now are cameras that are signed as cinema cameras by the manufactures. But that is not everything you should focus on. There are still cameras that are not specifically called "cinema camera" but still produce good (if not better) images.

For example the Sony FS5. It's more like a documentary camera but has awesome quality. It's $6.000 in total and Sony's competitor to Canon's C100 Mk II. And it is better in most cases like
- internal 4K
- variable internal ND filters
- better internal coded
- better low light
- more versatile lens mount
- 1080p at 240 fps (for 8 seconds) and 180 fps (unlimited)
- maybe 4K at 60 fps (for a paid upgrade)
- clean raw output with future update

I consider you need a camera that can be used for every kind of film. Cinematic or documentary. A BlackMagic is not designed for that. The FS5 is. The C100 Mk II too. But the FS5 might be the better choise.

October 23, 2016 at 8:36AM

Eric Halbherr
Director, DP, Editor, Creative Storyteller

Yeah, i looked into that camera and for sure it has a lot of positives. Ive seen some beautiful footage come out of it too. However it is way over budget.

My budget for now is $5000 CAD, and that camera is $6000 USD which ends up around $8000 CAD once all is said and done plus i would then have to buy a solid lens mount converter since at this point as a budget filmmaker ditching all of my EF mount lenses that i already own would just be foolish. If I'm going to spend $8000 CAD on a camera, for that money there are better cameras than the FS5 out there IMO. I just can't stretch that far. Even the ursa 4.6k which i put on this list is out of my budget but at least is still slightly in reach, not $3000 over budget. Plus i could probably find one used where as there are literally zero used FS5'S out there on the market unfortunately.

Also in regards to the C100 Mk II, IMO it still suffers from all of the same downsides that the original C100 has. The thing works fantastic for documentaries (which I'm not planning on filming) and corporate jobs, its great for run and gun jobs too ill give it that. Unfortunately I'm still yet to see any real solid narrative/cinematic footage come out of one, it doesn't record internal 4k, and its $1000+ more than a camera that doesn't have these quirks and shoots far better quality images.

I appreciate the input though, so thank you!
Wish i had the money for the FS5, just not a realistic purchase at this point in time.

Ryan Hillaby

October 23, 2016 at 10:10AM

I just listed my gripes against Black Magic products on another post, including the BMCC. Needless to say, I hate everything about it and the "4K" versions suffer even more. The quality is poor and it's unreliable, which makes it completely useless as a production tool unless you can afford to run two of them simultaneously for backup purposes. They are cheap because they are junk. One thing I didn't mention elsewhere is that once you buy all the accessories required to have a usable system, you might as well have just gotten a better camera.

4K and UHD are a waste for most productions. Most Hollywood movies getting shown on 10M high screens are projected at 2K. DCP is restricted to 250mbps, so 4K projection means 4x as much information is thrown away to cram the extra pixels into the existing bandwidth. 4K and UHD also means lower dynamic range and 4x as much processing time in editing but little (if any) greater perceived resolution in the final product. About the only time I'd use 4K is if I shot a feature on 35mm and had it scanned uncompressed to HDDs.

October 24, 2016 at 6:40AM, Edited October 24, 6:41AM


Yeah i understand that 4k isn't really super necessary, it is still an extra feature though that also isn't bad to have. Its not only the inclusion of 4k though that turns me onto those cameras, Its also their ability to record in superior formats & their superior compression codecs internally when compared to a camera like say the C100. All that i can see needing to buy to make a system like this usable with one of those cameras that i wouldn't have to buy with a C100 is some sort of handle rig and an SSD. I also don't really see the poor quality that you're talking about in any of the footage that has come out of those cameras as long as you operate them properly. Maybe you're talking about physical quality (which i cannot attest to)?

Anyways, with all of that said; in your opinion what would be a better camera in the same price bracket? Max budget $5000 CAD.

Ryan Hillaby

October 24, 2016 at 7:14AM, Edited October 24, 7:14AM

Well, 4K (and often more accurately UHD) CAN be a bad feature to have. For instance, Arri went with a 2.5K S35mm sensor for the Alexa because a 4K would only have 11 stops latitude instead of the 13 the sensor they ultimately used has. That's a real 13 stops, BTW, not marketing lies like Black Magic. Then there's the other aforementioned issues with 4K/UHD.

What's best for you depends on your specific needs. Everything is this world is a compromise and in the sub $5,000 category, there's a LOT of it. You can get high resolution but you lose low-light performance and dynamic range. You can get more accurate color but it costs you ISO. You can have a moire/alias free image but it will look less sharp (and cost more). If you want super-high ISOs, you will lose detail, especially in the shadows. Even cameras that allow you to turn off built-in noise reduction still have noise reduction happening in the image sensor, which harms the detail. You can be free of rolling shutter by using a CCD instead of CMOS but it costs a lot more. Smaller CCDs are cheaper but you lose clarity and dynamic range. That's just image quality. I haven't seen many sub-$5,000 with usable audio so you need to tack on $300 for an audio recorder. Form factor is often problematic in lower end cameras too.

A C100 might be perfect for you if you're doing documentaries for Netflix or something like that and shoot things the way you like them to look. If you're a post-production tweaker type and spend hours screwing with the image in the editing process, then you'd need raw or ProRes, which come with additional costs. I myself come from a film background and conform my surroundings to what I want to see. I was mostly working with S16 and $25,000 CCD cameras captured to 10-bit ProRes HQ until about a month ago when our cameras got replaced by smaller, cheap CMOS cams with terrible lenses. Their 16mm editor now lives in my house. :D

I've never needed more than 400 ISO (200 being normal) and don't normally do super-long takes. Problems that are new to CMOS video cameras drive me absolutely batty. That said, the Digital Bolex would be my own choice in the sub-$5K range because it has the fewest annoying artifacts and has decent on-board sound. I've used it and it feels like a real camera, can get great image quality with little fuss. My only gripes are that it can lock under certain conditions and the SSD isn't removable. It is a digital replacement for S16 film so you have to know what you're doing to get a good image. Everything else in that price range is easier for novice users but basically a hot-rodded DSLR or has tiny sensors.

October 24, 2016 at 11:54AM, Edited October 24, 11:54AM


Yeah, this all makes sense.

I realize that I'm going to have to make compromises in the sub $5000 range, that being said unfortunately renting is not an option in the city that i live in so I'm going to have to work with this budget if I ever want to get started on these projects.

The problem I have that I mentioned before with the C100 is exactly the fact that its perfect for me if I'm doing documentaries. Im not doing documentaries and don't plan on doing documentaries. Every single frame of footage I've seen come out of one of those things has this incredibly dull corporate look to it. If I were running a marketing company and doing promo videos for local businesses that wouldn't be a problem, but if I have the desire to delve into the realm of narrative/short film projects then I'm afraid that this camera just won't cut it for me. It sucks, because i have shot with one of these a few times for corporate jobs as the company I work for owns one. The thing feels great in hand and is fantastic for run and gun projects. However, attempting to do anything in terms of tweaking, colour grading with the footage from a C100 is hell. Like you mentioned yourself I would need raw or prores for that, and that is the best way that ill be able to achieve that cinematic "look" that I'm talking about.

The Digital Bolex looks cool, would totally consider. Unfortunately (and correct me if I'm wrong) they don't make these anymore, and you literally cannot find them available anywhere for purchase. Not even used.

Maybe I didn't describe well what I'm really looking to get into in terms of work well enough. I currently work for a marketing company where I live and do plenty of corporate shoots (with the C100). The company I work for owns one, and because I've used one and am familiar with one is the main reason why I put it on my list as an option. It has positives for the work i do with that company, but I'm looking for a camera to use for personal projects ( i.e short films). For a personal camera, since for corporate work I can use the C100 owned by the company I work for, it would be great to have a camera that will allow me to take a more artistic approach to my own passion projects. A camera that will give me the breathing room to be creative and experiment more with unique or distinctive visual styles. So yeah, I guess I should have explained this more in detail in my initial post. If what I'm saying now gives you any better ideas of cameras you may think would be good for me then let me know. If not its totally fine, I appreciate your input thus far. I just really want to make sure I consider all avenues and options and I'm afraid that without more than one mind/opinion it is easy to miss or get caught up in certain details that maybe i shouldn't be.

Ryan Hillaby

October 24, 2016 at 3:36PM

Great points from everyone here. I own a Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera and a Canon C100 mkii and guess what...I use the C100 about 99% of the time.

The blackmagic cameras do produce really beautiful images: great colour, detail and beautifully cinematic images IF you have decent lighting and the time to use mains power or large V-Lock batteries, matte box, external ND's and most definitely an IR filter if you're outside.

My C100 produces an image I am happy with the vast majority of the time, with 2 small batteries for an entire day shooting, great low light capabilities, no need for external ND's and I can hold it in my hands and get great shots. I haven't tried the URSA mini yet but I would definitely like to. That said it really is still for shots you can control, with decent lighting and it's a lot heavier and you will still need filters.

Eric makes some great points with the Sony FS5 (apart from low light, where I believe the C100 still beats it). It's a more up to date and future proof camera in many ways. I would warn though, that not everybody likes the footage. It may sound like I'm trying to defend my c100 but I'm not, I've thought about getting an FS5 several times, but my colleague bought one and I really don't like the footage. I find the colours are flat and difficult to grade, and when working together we've used my C100 as A-cam and his FS5 as B-cam for interviews. As you're coming from a 5D you may feel the same. That said, in the right conditions it has also produced some great images, it is just harder to predict than the C100 in varied lighting which produces very consistent results. The main downside is that eventually 4K will become a reality whether we like it or not. When, I don't know but I would trust the YouTube community.

All I'm saying is spec sheets can fall apart when personal preference comes in. Look at lots of footage and trust your gut really. Both cameras would probably be a huge step up from your 5D, but I think the warnings above for the Blackmagic cameras are good advice.

October 25, 2016 at 4:12AM

Liam Martin
DP, editor, part time director

Okay cool.

When i initially had the idea that i was going to ditch my 5D MKIII, it was to get a C100. There were really no other ideas that i had in mind because i thought that to get what i wanted, the C100 was the only thing in my price range. This was until i realized that they had come out with a MK II version of the C100 and before i actually looked at footage samples and spec sheets and compared it to other cameras that i didn't know were in the same price range.

C100 does produce good images, but in your experience have you ever attempted any colour grading or narrative/cinematic work on the cameras? Or has it all just been corporate work? Because if you do primarily corporate work then i would understand you using your C100 99% of the time. Im just really struggling with the footage coming out of the C100'S having a really strong corporate or documentary and not being able to cover a range of styles. That being said i know that the black magic cameras have almost the exact opposite problems in the fact that it produces fantastic cinematic style footage but only really that which would be awkward for some types of work. I guess I'm just leaning towards that because i can't achieve that cinematic look right now with what i have and with the limited corporate work I do the company i work for owns a C100 so i would just use theirs.

I wish the stupid Ursa Mini didn't use those expensive as hell CFAST 2.0 cards, because if it used SSD's that would be at the top of my list. Those things are just so expensive for such little storage that i simply cannot justify buying one. Otherwise i would have to buy the CFAST to SSD adapter thats out there, but that alone costs over $500.

In regards to the sony FS5 I'm totally with you on that. Ive seen good footage out of it but with a lot of the footage I've seen something just looks off about the colours (flat, like you said).

To close, a couple questions for you;

Would you (someone who owns a C100 MKII) say that there is any noticeable differences between the original C100 and the MKII that would make it worth the difference in price?

Would you (also being an owner of a Blackmagic camera, though a different model than the one I'm considering) say that you are happy with the experience that you have had using it?

Thanks for your response, cool to hear from someone who owns both!

Ryan Hillaby

October 25, 2016 at 7:57AM, Edited October 25, 7:57AM

Hi Ryan,

Ah I didn't realise you had access to a C100 at work, that is a definite plus!

In a sense, you are correct that they are amazing for corporate/documentary work and not the best in the world for narrative, but they have indeed been used for narrative stuff. If you google C100 short film this is one of the first ones that comes up: https://vimeo.com/72632269

For me the story is a bit silly but the VFX the guy has done are pretty impressive. All told I would expect it to hold up for short films, but essentially you are right, where it shines is for run and gun corporate and doc work. The Blackmagic cameras look amazing for narrative work.

I do shoot music videos on my C100 though, here's a private link to one from a couple of weeks ago. Edited and graded in Premiere Pro: https://app.frame.io/f/oJj2ARya

Since you have access to a C100 already, considering the Ursa Mini isn't a bad idea, but as you say those cards are crippling, and you'll need ND's, IR filter and V-mount batteries as well. I think the long and short of it is probably that if you have a crew, or at least 2 people, and you are lighting properly, then the Ursa mini would be fantastic. Without that though you could find it hard to get things done. Saying that though, if that's the case you could borrow the C100 from work? Having both cameras wouldn't be a bad thing! Ha

All in all using blackmagic cameras is just more time consuming. Like anything more time consuming though, you can get amazing results if you know what you're doing.

Differences between mark i and mark ii C100's are mostly usability. It has a better LCD, viewfinder, better processor, slightly more accurate colour, and you can shoot 1080p at 50/60fps. Other than that, the footage looks very similar. I can't say working with the blackmagic has been a joy, because it's small, the battery runs out in 30mins, you need to build it up etc. I've achieved some amazing footage with it, but it's hit and miss, where I know what to do with the C100. As I say it's about time, run and gun etc in many cases. Those problems wouldn't be half as bad with the ursa mini as with the pocket, so I can't speak for it really. I'd love to try one out.

Liam Martin

October 25, 2016 at 8:53AM, Edited October 25, 8:53AM

Dude....that video is KILLER!
Seriously, great job on that! Colours, framing, everything is really solid. Im impressed!
Definitely cool to see that its capable of that sort of work if you try hard enough.

Im essentially buying this camera for personal use only. Any video work i currently do is through this company that owns the c100 so i just use that for free.

I guess i have a couple of situations here that i could go for;

1. Buy a C100 MK 1 (same one works has) put much more work into the filming process to avoid having to over grade footage that won't take heavy grading super well.

2. Buy the Blackmagic Production Camera 4k (this is the one I'm talking about by the way, not the pocket camera; https://www.amazon.com/BlackMagic-Design-Production-Camera-CINECAMPROD4K...). Use this for my own personal narrative work and use the work camera for corporate jobs.

3. Buy an Ursa Mini, better ergonomics than the production camera, footage relatively the same though (slightly better) but let my wallet die a slow and painful death attempting to purchase CFAST cards.

4. Buy a C100 MKII which pushes my budget a bit.

I guess I'm just trying to figure out what is the best option given my budget, desires in terms of what i want in a camera and which camera is best bang for buck. My 5D was sort of an impulsive purchase (which i regret now) and i want to make sure i don't make that mistake again with this.

Ryan Hillaby

October 25, 2016 at 11:25AM

Thanks a lot! Very kind of you.

Difficult to come to any conclusion about this really, camera purchases are always like this really! Ha. Might you be better off renting an Ursa Mini when you have a project fully planned? That way you could rent it with batteries, cards and the viewfinder and just shoot? Then you can still use the C100 at work?

Either way you're right the Ursa Mini will suddenly mean a lot of money with the required accessories, but it's kind of more filmmaker friendly than the production camera. I work with a company sometimes that uses two of them in a studio and it's perfect, always plugged into mains, on tripods with matte boxes etc. If you're running around though, you'll need to rig that thing up.

Liam Martin

October 26, 2016 at 2:38AM, Edited October 26, 2:38AM

"The Digital Bolex looks cool, would totally consider. Unfortunately (and correct me if I'm wrong) they don't make these anymore..."

I just checked their site. That is most unfortunate since it's by far the most film-like experience I've ever had with a video camera. I guess features DO matter more than quality to the public. I guess if I want shoot something other than 16mm for my freelance work, I'm going to have to get an industrial camera with a Sony IMX249 sensor and tether it to my computer.

You may want to consider something like the Sony PXW-Z150. The XMOR sensors have pretty good color science (though not as good as Kodak sensors like in the Digital Bolex) and less rolling shutter than many other CMOS cameras. It DOES have a 10-bit mode for HD shooting and since there's less rolling shutter in HD mode (vs UHD), I'd suggest going that route any way. The lens won't be as good as what you can get for the C100, but as you know, compromise. Better color and CODEC, ho hum lens.

Now for a side rant; the notion of making the look of a movie in editing is relatively new. I remember a time where if you didn't shoot something exactly how you wanted it to look, you wouldn't get much work in the industry. Yes, we could always color/contrast correct, but you were considered a liability if your footage had to be fixed. Heavy manipulation is common place now, even when there's nothing wrong with the video, just because people CAN. Still, even formats that can handle a lot of abuse like film or Arri RAW get nauseating pretty quickly when graded. I suspect it's because the image no longer appears to follow the laws of physics. There's nothing wrong with getting an image that represents the real world.

P.S. It looks like the Digital Bolex was getting too expensive to produce for the price range they wanted. CCD technology is very expensive and there weren't any CMOS sensors that fit their criteria for a next gen version.

October 25, 2016 at 5:16AM, Edited October 25, 5:34AM


Yeah, sad about the Digital Bolex for sure, owning one of those would be cool. It would have given me that unique visual style I'm looking to achieve for sure.

The Sony PXW-Z150 unfortunately is a no-go for me. The fixed lens kills it. Without that it would be an option.

In regards to your side rant i totally understand where you are coming from. Ideally, i would like to shoot things as much as possible the way that i want it to look meaning that i would have to do zero to minimal simple colour grading in post. Things just look better that way because they are more natural. The thing is though that at this point in time people don't simply colour correct for the reason of there being something wrong with the footage where as in the past that is likely what they would have used it for. They will intentionally film things in RAW with the idea that it will look awful ungraded, but with the thought that after colour grading the footage will look better than what you would have been able to achieve in say regular 1080. This doesn't necessarily mean it'll look unrealistic or won't accurately represent the real world, but that those colours you get through colour grading will be sharper and that you are more in control of how your footage will look in the end. There are people out there that I'm sure will take colour grading WAY too far and will make their footage look awful and unrealistic as you say, but those are people who don't really know what they're doing and when they should stop the grading process.

When it comes to colour grading though, in terms of narrative, dramatic, or cinematic work i think that for me at least it is essential even if its just a minimal amount of simply colour grading. A video clip conveys more than the just content it contains. Specific colour pallets can convey ideas, feelings, and set atmospheres in a scene. It enhances the mood of a scene. It gives you a way to emphasize the tone and feel of the narrative through colours which is something that can take your work to the next level.
I always like to compare two shows I've watched; The Killing vs. Broadchurch. Both of these shows are phenomenal murder mysteries. Absolutely fantastic and relatively similar in stories as well. The difference is that The Killing takes place in Portland (i believe) and has this very dark and dreary sort of feel throughout the show. Sure thats how things will usually look in a city that rains A LOT, but through the use of colour grading they are able to enhance the emotions and feel of the story through the use of dark and muted tones.
Broadchurch on the other hand takes place on the coast in Dorset. They story is still a murder mystery, but throughout the show its constantly sunny, and the colours used give off this odd happy sort of feeling that i can't help but feel shouldn't be there. Every episode of that show i watched i couldn't help but feel that they were missing that next level of emotion, or were unable to convey the mood of the narrative properly. Im sure that you understand and know very well what colour grading is for, I'm not trying to "teach" or tell you what it is. I'm just giving these examples to explain the sort of things that i would like to achieve through whatever camera i purchase and in the post production process because these are things that i consider to be important.

Ryan Hillaby

October 25, 2016 at 8:25AM, Edited October 25, 8:25AM

C100 is an amazing camera, I've had the chance to produce content using T3i, 60D, a6000, C100 (I own one) and more recently a Red Epic Dragon. Believe me when i say that Red Epic Dragon didn't impress me at all (I'm not sayin it is not a good camera, but for the price, the image that i got out of it didn't seem to be THAT far from my trusty C100). You'll be able to do great things with a C100, and in many things, it is so much more comfortable to work than other cameras you listed. Some examples of C100 narrative work found on Vimeo:

https://vimeo.com/120850943 (this is C100MKII)

October 25, 2016 at 11:10AM

Ulises Bravo
Filmmaker, DP

For ease of use, best in low light (3200 ISO clean with 6400 ISO having a little noise show up but Canon made their noise "move" so no fixed noise pattern and a film grainish look), solid performance with no issues, and Canon's DNA or look...meaning face tones are nailed (less time in post). Also, the C100 or MK II have the same chip as the C300 & C500...a 4K chip down rezzed in camera to 1080 and, for example of many, the winner at Cannes 3 years ago was shot entirely on the C300...."Blue is the warmest color".....https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qOiug_u7Wns......looks pretty cinematic to me...and a few others......you are going to spend a good chunk of money and these cameras are rock solid.

October 25, 2016 at 1:56PM

Jim Martin
Director of Sales - EVS

I am not being snarky in my reply. I strongly suspect the reason that you cannot get great video out of your camera is that you lack the skill to use it effectively. It is well known that the 5d is capable of outstanding video if used well. The camera is just one tool in video creation and in general lighting and audio are more important.
If this is true, that lack of knowledge will hinder you with every camera you will use.
My second opinion is that a new camera will not help you and you do yourself a disservice by trying to substitute a new camera for lack of skill in operating the present camera.
If your motis operendi is to set the camera on automatic for exposure and focus. Then likely you can find better options in new camera. I am not saying you have skills or don't have skills, but hundreds if not thousands of people use a 5d with a high degree of skill, but even a 5d will suck if your lighting skills and camera operation skills are not up to par. Only you will know. The obvious solution is to get a tutorial and hone your skills. This is my second opinion based on the operation that you provide, not a judgment since I have no knowledge of your camera operation, lighting skills.

October 25, 2016 at 3:46PM


I totally see where you are coming from man, and i respect you in your response.
That being said, I've actually been doing videography work for years now, plenty of corporate jobs with a multitude of cameras. i learned from some pretty fantastic videographers and took some courses as well early on. I know how to operate a camera and how to operate one effectively at that. Ive worked with more complicated cameras than the 5D and have never had problems until this camera.
Maybe the way in which I convey my thoughts/ideas here just isn't working as well as i thought. Like i said in my original post though; I'm fully aware that the thing is capable of producing great video, and the thing has been great to me when it comes to the few photoshoots that i have done. When it comes to video though its not like I'm over exposing my shots, cranking the iso up to high or anything like that. I personally haven't gotten good results myself and have spoken to others who haven’t either so even though i respect your opinion i just have to disagree on a certain level with you.

That aside though, the reason I'm ditching this camera isn't simply because of the not awful but barely adequate results that i have gotten out of it...but if you read more into my initial post and responses to other comments on here its mostly because I'm looking for cameras that simply have so many things that are simply better about them than the 5D when it comes to video production. There is no disputing that all of these cameras on this list easily produce significantly better quality video, not to mention the 5D has been completely outclassed in the last 4 years by a large number of cameras in the same price range and some that are even cheaper (I've honestly seen some better video footage out of a $600 galaxy note). Sure the large sensor on the 5D is nice ill give it that, but the video encoder is pretty awful. The files you get from this camera fall apart in post if you want to do any sort of colour grading meaning that you have to make absolute sure that your footage looks exactly how you want it to look while you’re filming. This is obviously something that would be great to achieve but to be able to grade your footage in post without them looking awful afterwards is essential when it comes to narrative work. It has a very tight dynamic range, noise is bad at low levels (banding) in a number of situations despite proper exposure as well.

I hope I’m not sounding super abrasive or rude in any way, but the idea that the reason I’m getting bad video out of the 5D because “i lack the skill to operate a camera effectively” is simply not true at all.

Ryan Hillaby

October 25, 2016 at 8:53PM

based on the operation that you provide , I meant to say information that you provide, an auto spelling mistake

October 25, 2016 at 5:27PM


I write 1st person Camera reviews, mostly on real cinema cameras. That said there are some great DSLR cameras that do amazing work. It is all about knowing your limitations. Like Some cameras have difficult menus, others require a lot of post production basics just to make them editable. Others only work with some lenses: all that said, I believe you said you have Canon EOS or maybe EF lenses, which limits you on Sony products. Next up is Budget of $5000, which puts you in the C100, 5d, Blackmagic Ursa Mini, or maybe a used RED Scarlet? For my money, I would consider the BM Ursa Mini... First off it is the right price range, secondly it comes with Resolve, which is worth $1000 by itself and it is a go to for converting and even editing. It will shoot in many different pro res formats, it also feels like a real camera, and the menus are very user friendly, the only draw back really is low light capabilities. It is a bit too noisy for my taste. but it does handle hi lights like pointing directly at the sun very well. Here is the link to my written review: http://www.hdvideopro.com/gear/cameras/ursa-mini-4-6k/
Best of luck

October 25, 2016 at 8:51PM

Jimmy Matlosz

Thanks for your input, all very good points!
The Ursa Mini is what i immediately gravitated towards when i first started looking at cameras to buy, the only thing that really kills it for me is that it uses CFAST cards as storage. I would have no problem with this if it weren't for the fact that a single 125 GB CFAST card is roughly over $500 CAD, and considering the formats that one would record in on an ursa mini, a 125gb card isn't going to get you hardly any footage. Thats really the only reason I'm leaning towards the Blackmagic Production Camera 4k as it takes SSD's which are much less money per GB. Wish they wouldn't have gone with CFAST or that there there were more options that would allow me to record off board onto something else.

Ryan Hillaby

October 27, 2016 at 12:09PM

BMPCC/BMCC + Speed Booster or a 5D Mark IV/ used Canon 1DC.

October 27, 2016 at 8:49AM

Marc B
Shooter & Editor

FWIW - I would do what Marc B recommends and go for the BMCC MFT mount with a Speedbooster. This would be less expensive, it records to SSDs (which, as you stated, is another budget friendly item), it suffers FAR LESS from Fixed Pattern Noise - like the URSA Mini does, and it has a more "filmic look" straight off the sensor than the 5D/C100/Sony FS5/etc.

With the Speedbooster and some fast glass, the BMCC does pretty well in "low light" situations. However, I think the idea of shooting "low light" is kind of a moot point if you are going for a "film look" (by "low light" I mean this new way of thinking - "let's show up to set, it's too dark, but whatever my camera can go to ISO 6400 clean so I don't need to light it"). I'm not saying that that is what you want to do or expect to do, but I think a lot of people want to do that, and then they complain when they aren't achieving a look that is "filmic".

I would do that, or use your money to rent a better camera as needed per project.

October 28, 2016 at 1:52PM, Edited October 28, 1:56PM


Im a big fan of my FS5, and having hired in a URSA and URSA mini on projects in the past I would rule them out completely. The investment in CFast cards, V lock batteries and chargers make the costs just sky rocket. The menu system and codec of the URSA is very good, but we had so many problems with unreliable sensors (the fixed pattern noise issue) causing day after day of down time with the camera that I just had to rule it out when looking to invest in kit.

FS5, for me, ticked all the boxes. Run and gun capability, as well as form factor/weight allowing mounting on a Ronin MX, slow mo and 10bit in HD. Its not a 4K camera by any stretch, but the HD is good, and that variable ND built in is just great. Just my 2 cents..

October 31, 2016 at 4:41AM

Thomas Hogben
Director / Cinematographer

Just wanted to chime in here. I shot on a T2i for six years and just upgraded to the Ursa Mini 4K a year ago. It DOES have Global Shutter, which is incredible if you're doing lots of hand held and VFX work. I bought an entirely new kit when I got it and spent $5000 to get up and running: Camera body, 24-105mm, two 177wH V-mount batteries, V-mount plate, two 128GB cards, large camera bag, an Audio Technica mic, 12" XLR cable, 25' XLR cable.

I then had to purchase a new Glidecam as my HD2000 couldn't take the weight. So I got the DGSS Glidecam and a Cowboy Studio double arm vest.

I've done a few lowlight shots that were intended to be lowlight, so I lit them as such and didn't have a problem with noise or FPN. I personally feel it's the best "budget" cinema camera right now and really couldn't be happier with my setup or the image.

November 1, 2016 at 5:07PM

Chris Tempel

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