February 7, 2017 at 10:47AM


Equipment Upgrade

Hope I won't be sounding monotonous as so many people ask about cameras in here.

I'm going to upgrade my video equipment and keep myself within a 5000 euros (5000/6000$) budget.

I usually deal with advertising and video-clip, although I might be doing reportage in the near future.

I've been using Canon for years (I do photography too) and am pretty happy with it. A colleague of mine has strongly recommended Sony a7s II though, which he believes to be one of the best choices, especially if equipped with Rokinon lenses.
On the other side, I had been striving to treat myself with a Canon 5D Mark IV.

Which one would you pick? Would you recommend any more cameras (and lenses) within the budget?

Thanks a lot!


One of the big things you will want to considers, especially for commercial work is what codex and bit rates are required for your clients delivery.

Typically for video clips, online only stuff, you can shoot anything you want. For commercial work, there may be some requirements on native resolution, codec, bit rate and color sampling.

One of the reasons the Canon c300 took off like a rocket is that it met the minimum requirements for nearly universal broadcast delivery. (50Mb 422 1920x1080)

Call around to some of your potential clients, as well as distribution outlets and find out if they have requirements like this.

A camera like the c300 will meet most HD deliverables,and can be had for in your budget used. It will work with your existing Canon glass without issue. It also has professional audio inputs and can be rigged out professional for not a lot of money.

If you don't have that limitation, the A7sII is a great little camera and can be rigged out to shoot for around $4000. You will need to add budget for sound recording. The rode is good for scratch audio, but you can also add an on camera XLR adapter for $700. The Zoom f4 is an external recorder, but should work well. (I have an h6 and want a more video centered solution)

The Sony FS5 is also worth a look as a modern, video camera. though it may be out of budget when rigged up. However it supports lots of professional codecs.

Most cameras will be able to use ef-mount lenses with an adapter, so you can keep your existing glass collection with a metabones adapter. You can build a collection one lens at a time that way. A set of cheap primes will be thrown out and is a waste of time and money. Canon L glass is well regarded for still and video captures. I have the Canon cine primes, based on the L glass and think they are great.

People have a strong preference for primes, but a good zoom lens will handle more situations early on. You can always rent prime lenses when you get a job big enough to
warrant them. Or if you don't take my advice and pick up cheap primes like the Rokinon, pick them up over time for specific jobs and lengths.

February 7, 2017 at 11:29AM, Edited February 7, 11:30AM


Cannot do other than thank you for detailed reply. And yes, I am going to need to upgrade audio equipment as well, which makes things harder as I won't be able to exceed my budget's limits.

What about the canon 5D (mark III or mark IV)? Have you haver gotten a chance to use it for video work?

Thanks a lot

Pietro Rocco Bradascio

February 7, 2017 at 1:32PM

I haven't shot with the 5Dmk3 or 4. Looking at specs along the MK4 is superior to the MK3 with the ability to record 4:2:2. They both lack log recording and that may be an issue post, but maybe not.

I haven't seem much Canon Dslr footage over here. I see more A7s(1 and 2) but still not that much. What I have seen of the A7Sii impressed me enough to pick one up.

February 7, 2017 at 3:27PM


to go a bit off topic. My two cents are that a dedicated video camera is worth having lower specifications.Much of what you need to kit out a DSLR will be built in.

My Canon experience is with the c300 Mk i and II. Using a video camera to shoot video is a much better operator experience. Having built in ND's, monitor, rally record,Canon log, XLR audio support , audio and video scopes makes shooting as a one man band easier. I spent a week in Hawaii shooting the c300(i) with EF zooms. I could not have done as well with a DSLR having to lug separate audio gear and all the ND's I would have needed.

February 7, 2017 at 3:30PM


Thank you very much, Joseph!

I keep bringing the 5d mkIV up just 'cause I'm meant to continue doing photography. Thought that could be the best compromise, as I've never used SONY for photo work.

C300 would be the flagship in terms of video performance, but it's over budget and it'd be a big deal to find a used one around here.

Pietro Rocco Bradascio

February 8, 2017 at 4:14AM

lens that i can highly recommend is the sigma 18-35 art lens with f1.8. i've used this lens for a year now and the image quality of it is really good for filmmaking. every time i have a shoot i basically but this one on.

and have you looked at the new panasonic GH5? i'm planning on getting that one.

link to lens:

gh5: http://www.panasonic.com/uk/consumer/cameras-camcorders/lumix-g-compact-...

February 8, 2017 at 7:41AM

Joel van Etten
Director, editor

Hi Joel and thank you for replying!

Last year I was about to buy the GH4 but eventually gave it up as I was told it wouldn't work well in low light conditions. I guess GH5 is better, so I might think about it.

I'm sort of obsessed by Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM (https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/843008-USA/Canon_5175B002_EF_24_7...), reason why I still can't decide.

Pietro Rocco Bradascio

February 8, 2017 at 8:01AM, Edited February 8, 8:01AM

If you have to ask us which camera to buy, let me suggest you save a very small amount of money for a tutorial on what camera you wish to buy. The biggest difference in quality is NOT the camera, but the person operating the camera. A very modest camera operated will trump an expensive operated by a novice. Lots of websites offer tutorials for specific model cameras which include settings and color profiles and how to white balance and all the things you need to know to set up the camera properly for video. However if you think that the camera itself and some magical combination of camera and lens will substitute for knowledge, skill and experience then your video will suck and money cannot save you. At the same token, learn to set up camera properly and used skill fully, most any camera will do. Buy the tutorial for a specific camera is more important than buying a specific camera.

February 9, 2017 at 9:41PM


Thanks for replying, Lofar.
When I bought my first camera I spent months reading manuals, watching tutorials and practicing on my own or along with people way more experienced, so yeah, I kind of take this process for granted: there's always something new to learn.
I was hoping there would be someone who already shoots with the cameras I mentioned, that's why I asked. Plus, there can always be cameras more efficient than the most advertised (and usual) ones.

Pietro Rocco Bradascio

February 10, 2017 at 8:52AM

I don't understand the "broadcast specs" argument, because as I watch CNN, FOX, MSNBC, etc I see cell phone footage being played all the time. Those are huge broadcast networks and if they're able to play some quality looking footage from a cell phone that's way under "broadcast specs", I'm sure a 8 bit 4.2.0 dslr would suffice.

February 11, 2017 at 6:24PM

Reggie Brown

I don't understand the "broadcast specs" argument, because as I watch CNN, FOX, MSNBC, etc I see cell phone footage being played all the time. Those are huge broadcast networks and if they're able to play some quality looking footage from a cell phone that's way under "broadcast specs", I'm sure a 8 bit 4.2.0 dslr would suffice.

I was reading some feedback that Roger Deakins had given when asked about color grading and staying within the specs. He said he not having his footage graded based on specs, he's having it graded based on the emotion of the story and the vision that he have in his mind and he's not going to let "specs" determine the look of his film.

February 11, 2017 at 6:27PM, Edited February 11, 6:28PM

Reggie Brown

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