May 2, 2016 at 3:35PM

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Camera or lens upgrade?

Hi. I am currently choosing the gear to shoot my short film. Specifically, right now my choice lies between upgrading my camera (currently BMPCC) or upgrading my lenses (Sigma line-up). Several people keep telling me one thing is more important over the other. I have $5,000 to invest and I received advices to whether upgrade to Sony A7s or to buy Canon lenses.
I have been satisfied with the footage quality so far and many people think I shoot on something more expensive than it is, but I was just thinking if this investment is worth it? I have seen a video from RocketJump, showing different lenses from $50 to $15,000 on a RED camera and people couldn't tell much difference, but do Canon lenses perform that much better than Sigma lenses?
Alternatively, is an upgrade to Sony A7s worth it? I heard about so many problems with it, especially about jello effect and that it requires that extra step to make video cinematic.

Would love to hear you experience!

P.S.: I did invest heavily in audio, lighting and rigs, so I only consider camera vs lens upgrade

Thank you!

7 Comments

The A7s is more a can-be-used-for-nearly-anything-camera than the BMPCC is. Especially it's low light capabilities make it a great camera to shoot with.

If you want upgrade your system with $5.000 I would say buy an A7s II, a Metabones adaptor and some Sigma glass as you like it. Between the Sigma Art series and the Canon L series aren't that much quality differences but Sigma isn't as expensive as Canon is.

The BMPCC gives you a great image and even raw but it's not good for any kind of night shots and even though if you do everything right (exposure, focus, wb, setting etc.) while shooting you don't need raw. In film it's not like in photography where you ether have the raw file or the highly compressed JPEG. The A7s II has a very efficient XAVC S codec that is easyly gradable and does not suffer from much artefacts.

And last but not least: The A7s II gives you a full frame sensor with 4K video while the BMPCC gives you a Super16mm with 1080p only.

May 2, 2016 at 4:41PM, Edited May 2, 4:41PM

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Eric Halbherr
Director, DP, Editor, Creative Storyteller
2000

The pocket camera only records about 2MP pictures. Any decent glass will be able to resolve that resolution. Only when you get to 4K or up the quality of the glass starts to become a major factor.

Sigma should be just fine. Try to use EF-S lenses over EF lenses.

May 2, 2016 at 5:22PM, Edited May 2, 5:28PM

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Cary Knoop
Member
2209

Thanks.
I actually have many unused EF-S lenses and I would have used them, but the Metabones adapter for BMPCC does not support them.

Mark Miller

May 2, 2016 at 7:39PM

Oh yes that is right the BMPCC is a bit different from the standard MFT mount.

Cary Knoop

May 2, 2016 at 7:41PM

Just to play devil's advocate, if you're satisfied with the footage you're getting why not put that $5,000 into the production budget for your next short film? New camera's and lenses are great, but you know what you have works for you, and when it comes down to it it's what happens in front of the camera thats important.

May 5, 2016 at 3:02PM

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Cole Black
Filmmaker
390

As others have mentioned, it doesn't seem like you really need an upgrade in either area, especially if you are happy with the images you are getting. Perhaps the money can go into lighting or production design or actors.

May 6, 2016 at 11:50AM

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Gareth Ng
Cinematographer
508

Seconding the previous comments; if you're shooting a short, I have to ask how many days you're putting into it. Renting could vastly improve the quality of that short without breaking the bank, also leaving you some money for other production elements.

These days something new is always coming out and also look at your revenue streams (if they relate to your camera).

May 6, 2016 at 3:12PM, Edited May 6, 3:13PM

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Andy Zou
Producer
Filmmaker / Creative Director

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