May 10, 2015 at 5:58AM

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DSLR video: Canon vs. others

Hello everyone,

Up until recently, I've been mostly a still photographer. About a year ago I bought a Nikon D800 to use on a project that would result in making very large prints. I bought the camera knowing that one the project was finished, I'd be selling it because I almost never need 36mp. I had become intrigued with video about the same time and wanted a DSLR that's good for video. The photo project was my priority at the time, and my budget w oils only allow the D800. The D800 doors shoot 1080p, and I used it to shoot quite a lot of video, including footage for a documentary in Cambodia. I'm now seriously considering trying to enter the industry professionally, and now that original photo project is nearly complete, so I won't need the D800 much longer and would like to buy a better camera for video. I've been doing tons of research on my options, but am not sure if I should go with something like the budget 4K capable GH4 (with the Metabones adapter), or if I should go with Canon (5D Mk. III?) because it seems Canon is the industry standard for serious indie/budget filmmakers. I'm planning on doing a lot of individual work but I'm also interested in doing collaborative projects. I'm wondering how, for example, my choice in camera might limit the enthusiasm of others in working with me if they all happen to be using Canon to shoot and I have something else and they might be worried about matching the footage color and such. Anyway, in looking for advice. Thanks.

-Eric

8 Comments

Also, I had written my question on the train using my phone and just noticed the typeos. Apologies. - Eric

May 10, 2015 at 6:03AM

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Eric Jason Hall
Cinematographer/Producer
178

I shoot with Panasonic GH3 and GH4 cameras using the Metabones Nikon G Speedbooster adapter. ( I own 8 Nikon AI-S lenses, the Panasonic 12-35mm f/2.8, and a Samyang 7.5mm Micro 4/3 fish-eye )

I would look at buying either the Panasonic GH4 or the Sony A7S cameras as these are designed for video work. ( the Canon 5D Mk3 produces a nice image, but it lacks the video image controls that the GH4 and A7S have )

The GH4 shoots 4K internal and the A7S requires an external 4K recorder. The A7S is extremely good in low-light, having a 2 to 3 F-stop advantage over the GH4.

I would check out the Vimeo groups for the GH4 and A7S to see what sort of work has been produced with these cameras...

Vimeo GH4 Group
https://vimeo.com/groups/gh4/sort:date/format:thumbnail

Vimeo A7S Group
https://vimeo.com/groups/a7s/sort:date/format:thumbnail

May 10, 2015 at 2:02PM

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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
32205

I personally shoot with a 5D mark 3 with magic lantern installed. I use this camera equally for photo and video work.

If I were to invest in a camera purely for video right now, I would go with the original C100 or the A7s. Both have better low light video than the mark 3 as well as many other video centric features.

The original C100 (no dual pixel AF) costs $3000 on BH now that the mark 2 is out.
The A7s costs $2500. + Metabones adapter $400
The 5d mark 3 costs $2500.

For the extra ~$500 you are getting a lot more video features, ergonomics, etc.

Bottom line:
If you are doing both stills and video equally I still recommend the 5D mark 3.
If you are planning on using this camera purely for video, go for the C100 or A7s

May 11, 2015 at 3:14PM

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As always the BIG question is - what you're planning to shoot? Canon used to be a "standard", now more and more people migrating to Sony with A7S and more high end stuff. Also it used to be that you choose brand and stay with it(like me with Canon), but now everybody mixes everything with adapters depending on your needs. You can create your own system based on what you shooting yourself on the lower end and if big job comes around you can always rent. Since you've mentioned doc in Cambodia, I can tell you what I use for similar stuff...
I worked with NGO's in Africa for the last 2 years shooting short docs all on Canon t3i. All for the web. Got tired of dealing with it's limitations and carrying extra sound gear and such. Now have Sony PXW-X70 which works fine for all my personal work and some clients. It's also have lot's of limitations, there is no cameras for every job. I use Sony for 90% of my work and when I need shallow DOF or wider lens, I use my t3i. Other guys before mentioned other setups. Personally, right now, I would limit my investments in any cameras, because they are getting better and better(and outdated quickly). Sony A7S is $3000 with adapter - is more than a year old. Great camera, but... Canon C100 original, great image, but too old and other problems, enough said already. C100 Mark II - $5500 great image, no broadcast codec, no 4K(personally don't care). I repeat $5500! If you lucky to have that much cash to spend on camera for maybe 2 years of use, go ahead. And don't forget, no pro will go to a job with one camera, anything can happen... Otherwise buy cheapest camera you can, for the quality you need, right now... And spend the rest of your cash on producing and shooting more films.

May 12, 2015 at 4:14AM, Edited May 12, 4:28AM

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Vladimir Pcholkin
BeekeeperStories
112

Right now the gh4 blows every other camera out of the water for the price. Canon is slowly being passed up by other camera company's like Panasonic in the video industry.

May 12, 2015 at 4:11PM

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Andrew
Director/Cinematographer
152

You can also stick to the d800 as it is a great dslr for video, you get sharper video, less aliasing and moire than canon's and you can shoot at 60p. I know a few companies that rely only on nikon for video and are really happy about it. I think the biggest advantage of the 5d is magic Lantern but otherwise nikon is at least as good or even a little bit better.

May 14, 2015 at 5:13AM

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AvdS
1148

Thanks for all the comments/advice everyone. Much appreciated.

I've been spending FAR too much time in the past few weeks doing research, and agonizing over which camera I should buy. I'm looking into transitioning into doing photo/video work professionally over the next few years. I understand it's fairly pointless to spend heaps of money on a camera considering how quickly one model is replaced with another, scheduled obsolescence (especially from Nikon and Canon, grrrr...), depreciation, etc... and that long term, the best money is invested in lenses. However, I also don't want to be limited by a piece of kit because some key feature is missing from my camera, or there is something about it that causes me a lot of frustration every time I go out to shoot. Anyways, I had my choices narrowed down to: Canon 5D m3, Canon C100, Sony a7s, and the Panasonic GH4. Then, after all this, I discover the soon-to-be-released Blackmagic URSA Mini: https://www.blackmagicdesign.com/products/blackmagicursamini

It does all that and has a pre-order price at B&H of $2995 USD!

How did I miss this with all my resarch? Of course, it's not out yet, so there aren't any reviews, but, let's imagine that even though it lacks internal ND filters, and it may not perform in low light as well as the Canons or the Sony... is there any reason why I wouldn't get this above all other contenders? Do the other ones even rate at all as contenders?

May 24, 2015 at 7:04AM, Edited May 24, 7:04AM

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Eric Jason Hall
Cinematographer/Producer
178

I think the GH4 can be a good choice, but do not think it blows all others out of the water. I also think my $150 Eos-m is a great choice and I doubt that anyone can tell the difference in quality in how video is viewed in the real world. The camera body is just one aspect and any of the popular cameras and many dslr made in the last 5 yrs will work great for you. The key just like in guitar playing is how much skill do you have? If you think that the camera body will allow you to take great video, mostly what you will have is bragging rights. If you learn how to use any of the well known dslr and mirrorless cameras for video and learn to set them up, compose shots, light well take your pick, they all will look about the same from a used $150 eos-m to a Red costing tens of thousands. All will be effective movie makers. Just like you can buy a used car cheap or an expensive Mercedes for transportation, the low cost kia will get you there just as fast. Camera bodies are like that. People will argue about rolling shutter, the easy solution, don't pan so fast that you get rolling shutter or noise in ISO settings, light your scene well and you don't have to worry about Iso. The fact are if your skills suck they suck with an expensive or inexpensive camera and the same is true if you acquire great skills. My recommendation is to look at your budget for camera, lens, audio and lights. You will find that a modest priced used camera with good sound and lighting, used skillfully will trump buying an expensive camera body with a crappy lens. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gb58PSxuj8s

March 27, 2017 at 10:15PM

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