October 27, 2015 at 10:24AM, Edited October 27, 10:24AM


Let's all dream we are DPs with $20K to spend on a kit. What would you do?

There are so many cameras out there, and just as many new ones set to be released in the near future. I know it's a never ending battle, and completely unique to each individual, but I'm curious as to what some of you have to say. As far as cameras under the $20K marker, this would be my short list, in no particular order:

RED Epic Mysterium Kit (Used) - $20K

RED Scarlet Kit (Used) - $15K

C500 with 7Q+ - $16,000

C300 MK II - $16,000

FS7 - $8,000

FS5 - $6,000

What do y'all think?


If I could push the budget to $20K+, then my first choice would be the Sony F5 set up for 4K RAW shooting.

My second choice would be the Canon C300 Mk2 and a RAW recorder to go with it.

Third choice would be the Sony FS7.

Fourth choice would be the Sony A7S II with an external 4K recorder.

Fifth choice would be what I already have, the GH4 with an external 4K recorder.

October 27, 2015 at 11:48AM

Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer

Very nice. Out of curiosity, why would you go with the C300 MK II with, let's say, a 7Q+ rather than a C500 with 7Q+?

Worth pointing out, B&H has a special right now, $16K for C500 and 7Q+. So, C300 MK II with 7Q+ would end up being around $18k.

Gabe Reuben

October 27, 2015 at 12:38PM

>>>Out of curiosity, why would you go with the C300 MK II with, let's say, a 7Q+ rather than a C500 with 7Q+?

1- Professional Autofocus could be very useful with corporate work and small budget Indie work where you don't have the budget for a focus puller all the time.

2- I am assuming the C300 Mk2 has newer sensor tech than the C500

3- Resale value ( C300 Mk2 will keep it's resale value longer than the C500, especially if a C500 Mk2 ever shows up )

October 27, 2015 at 1:18PM

Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer

If you can afford to wait until early next year, the RED RAVEN with a DRAGON sensor will be a killer camera for about $10K, so you could get two for $20K.


October 28, 2015 at 2:31AM


I am not convinced on this camera yet. I want to hear some real world reviews about how this camera performs. ( I've seen some comments about the RAVEN being a way for RED to recycle 6K sensors that didn't make the grade. )

...And then there is the cost of the pricey RED accessories.

Guy McLoughlin

October 28, 2015 at 7:35AM

I've been trying to keep up with the hype. To me, the sensor size it kind of a bust. I've found a Red Epic kit that is practically ready to shoot at $16,500. I figure the Raven will end up being somewhere in that realm once you add on all the accessories, media, power, etc. That said, a used Epic kit has more appeal to me than a Raven. Maybe you have other thoughts, I'd be curious to hear.

Gabe Reuben

October 28, 2015 at 7:57AM

Funny, I've had people suggest not renting in RED due to their rapid devaluation..which is RED's own doing for constantly updating their product. There's definitely no right answer here, but I like hearing what different people have to say.

I don't think I'm trying to "make money off the camera", but the camera would definitely become part of my package. So, yes I will be getting better jobs because of it, but I'm buying it so I can increase the general quality of my visuals (from a camera standpoint).

Gabe Reuben

October 29, 2015 at 2:59PM

C300 mark II for me. Have the old C300, very pleasant experience. That used Epic comes close second though, but there is something that feels off spending a lot of cash on tech that's more than one generation out of date. Great camera though.

October 29, 2015 at 11:08AM


FS7 or URSA Mini w/ lenses and what not. Rest in savings, or to go on a trip, or fund a short, or get a stupid big TV, things like that haha.

October 30, 2015 at 11:32AM

Ben Meredith

Good question depends on your work. But I'm looking closely at the red raven and waiting on what the new scarlet replacement will be... Off my head Id say red raven kit for 15k plus an a7s mkII with metabones adaptor with two really good variable ND filters. (My glass is mostly ef)

October 31, 2015 at 1:20AM, Edited October 31, 1:21AM

Dean Butler
Writer Director Shooter Editor

Buy a little flip-cam, then put in an invoice claim for $19,800 dollars. Hey, you gotta think like a producer.

October 31, 2015 at 12:28PM, Edited October 31, 12:59PM

Saied M.

I would propably go for the BM Ursa Mini right now coupled with some nice glass. Im also trying to get excited about the Raven, but without seeing what it can really do in the field, I remain sceptic.

November 2, 2015 at 10:30AM

Visa Niemeläinen
Film Student/Cinematographer

I just had $20k to replace my whole kit, so it's not really theoretical for me. Bought a Red Scarlet Dragon, M mount glass, few lights, etc..

I do mostly scripted stuff though (or at least partially scripted). I run and gun shooter would probably be better off with an F5 or C300

June 1, 2016 at 6:06PM, Edited June 1, 6:06PM

Josh Wilkinson
Music Video Director/DP

If I had 20K to spend right now, or if I magically, gradually save 20K over the next year or two, on my wishlist are things like:

-- Canon 1DX Mk II :). Sure, I do like the images out of Blackmagic, Red, Arri better (not sure about Sony). But if I ever need that sort of quality, I'll rent. The 1DX would be mainly just for fun. It's a do-everything workhorse without the ergonomics and workflow pain of many more expensive options. Price: $6,000.
-- I really like the Westcott DP and booklight kits, and find myself typing those keywords into eBay a lot, although there are DIY alternatives. (Need a booklight? Cover a screen with aluminium foil, blast it with worklights, and bounce through a bedsheet -- beautiful results. Learned this one from Matt Scott.) Price: $2000.
-- Miscellaneous light control. Scrims, flags, etc. Price: $3000.
-- Good old dedolight three-light kit. Don't need, but can't help but want. Price: $4500.
-- Some big soft lights. Not thinking Kino Flo so much as Jemballs or a Westcott 7' octobox. You can do amazing things, for photography as well as video, with just one bigass octobox. Price: $1000.
-- It's a couple of years old, but there's a 30ft crane made by Came-TV I'm eyeing off. Previously featured on NFS: http://nofilmschool.com/2014/02/came-tv-33-ft-camera-crane-review-neuman.... Price: $2500.
-- Would love some motion control. Don't have any. Got a small Edelkrone slider, but wouldn't mind a long Edelkrone slider + target + action modules. It's not the best motion control by a long shot; Kessler makes stuff that is a lot quieter with more features. But the simplicity of setup makes it better for run and gun; and it's surely good enough for 90% of shots anyway. Price: $2000.

Grand total: around US$21K brand new.

December 27, 2016 at 6:05PM, Edited December 27, 6:11PM

Adrian Tan

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