March 15, 2017 at 9:37AM


Camera and Lens Recommendation for $5,000

Hi Guys,
I am a one man shooter who makes corporate videos and documentaries and I want to invest about $5,000 in a Camera and lenses for my video projects. I live in West Africa so I really need to get a system that works well.

I was looking at the Canon 5D MK III and lenses (Sigma Art Lenses: 50mm, 85mm) and Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM Lens.

I look also at the Nikon D810 and the Fujifilm X-T2 mirrorless camera but I'm not sure I want to invest Nikon and Fujifilm lenses. I can always rent the High End Cinema Cameras.

Your recommendations would be much appreciated.


There are several features that make the 5D3 an outstanding photo camera: large sensor with many megapixels, great dynamic range than can be exploited by processing RAW images, and outstanding autofocus capabilities that make still photos look great.

Using Magic Lantern software (and voiding your Canon warranty) and an enormous amount of media, you can transform the intrinsic goodness of the 5D3's stills features into a pretty good video platform. But if you use the video functionality that ships from Canon, you get a pretty mediocre result: a line-skipping algorithm that delivers one of the worst 1080p results in terms of aliasing and moire compared with other DSLR and mirrorless cameras, a video dynamic range (and color gamut) that is also in the bottom half, and the worst of both worlds in terms of focus: extremely short-throw lenses that are difficult to focus manually against a sensor that will pick up all your focusing errors perfectly.

There are other platforms that are much more video- and videographer-friendly in that price range. The GH4 (and soon to be GH5) doesn't quite have the shallow DOF of the Canon, but it really scores well in virtually every other metric. And you can buy manual focus Voightlander lenses that open up to f0.95 (which is an f1.9 equivalent in 35mm focal lengths).

If you can find your local Magic Lantern (ML) community in West Africa and can find friends who can help you navigate those waters, the 5D3 might be a great choice. If not, I would recommend looking at other options that could be cheaper, lighter, and better.

March 16, 2017 at 9:11AM


Many thanks, Michael.

Timothy Edzeani Doh

March 16, 2017 at 1:56PM

The new GH5 has capabilities that no other compact DSLR type camera has. Pairing it with the 12-35 2.8 the 35-100 2.8 and the 7-14 4.0 will give you a great start because of the dual IS. You can always add Mitikon .95 or Voigtlander manual focus after that for primes. The Fuji XT2 is an amazing camera for stills and some video but lacks a lot of production important features. The canon works fine but is rather old and outdated at this point. Remember that you will also get better results shooting in 4k and then downscaling to 1080 and has the added advantage that you can zoom into the frame with no loss in quality. GH5 has some added slo mo capabilities too.

March 17, 2017 at 9:25AM


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