October 17, 2014 at 10:53PM

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In need of camera/Which camera to buy?

I am looking to purchase a camera to begin shooting some films, but I haven't got a clue where to even begin.
Firstly, as much as I would love a professional camera such as a Red Epic or an Arri, it's not in the budget. So where do I begin? Should I go DSLR or Camcorder? Which brands offer the best quality and affordable cameras for independent filmmakers? Any suggestions/opinions on cameras would be greatly appreciated!

13 Comments

Do you own any film-making gear ?

What is your budget ?

What do you want to film ?

October 18, 2014 at 3:24AM

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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
32720

No gear! Will be looking into purchasing some as well. My budget is around $2000, so nothing overly pricey camera-wise. Looking to film some short films writing-partner and I created!

Hannah Ross

October 19, 2014 at 4:12PM

There is no reason to buy a RED Epic or ANYTHING that expensive. People will tell you up and down (because they have no concept of money) that you should. And that everything else is inferior. Take a look at two cameras: The Panasonic GH4 and the Sony A7s. Cheap cameras, great look. Invest in lenses and lighting/steadicams/dollies/decent editing software instead. THAT's what makes your film look good. And if there's a doubt...check out this film trailer: We shot it on a Canon 7D. Much lower quality camera than most these days but...it makes the statement:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MVH6x5os__Y&list=PL5e4F_Sap6hjwOg3KPmU5P...

October 19, 2014 at 12:40AM

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Brannigan Carter
Cinematographer/Director/Editor
98

Thank-you very much! Will definitely look into it!

Hannah Ross

October 19, 2014 at 4:13PM

you B are you from wilmy?

Michael Militscher

October 19, 2014 at 5:42PM

Here's a gear list I put together for someone with a $2K budget, that includes audio and lighting...
http://nofilmschool.com/s/47263/296014

October 19, 2014 at 4:31PM

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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
32720

No camera is perfect, but you def don't need a Red or an Arri yet. Or maybe even ever, but that is dependent on your shooting needs. The Sony a7s is a lowlight beast unlike any other camera ever made. Its full frame and has can adapt almost any lens ever made to its body which makes it super versatile. The HD image is fantastic and it also records slo-mo. That being said if you can spend 2K on just a body then you should go for a canon DSLR or a panasonic gh4. If I was going canon I would go with one of the classics 7D or 5d mark II/III or even a 60D (and you get most of those under 1200 except the 5d III). And those cameras coupled with Magic Lantern make it an amazingly capable and affordable camera that anyone would be happy to have. The GH4 has great battery life, super slo mo 96fps (conforms inside camera) and of course internal 4k recording.
So again it all depends on your shooting needs. If you are going to shoot in low light situations without much lighting go for a sony a7s if you can't spend that much and you need a great cam go with the GH4 or 5d. And if you're really on a budget just go with a 7d or 60d which can both be had for 6-700 dollars (60d is prob 500). And don't forget to research magic lantern.

October 19, 2014 at 7:49PM

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Nick Capezzera
DP & Editor
222

If you're after the best image quality for your projects I would personally choose the Sony A7s or the Panasonic GH4 over any Canon DSLR at the moment. I just upgraded from my Canon 6D to a A7s and I'm very happy with the increased resolution and dynamic range. That little camera requires some knowledge of grading but it can hold up to much more expensive professional cameras very well (in terms of image quality). From a ergonomic point of view the Canon DSLRs are still very nice - they feature well thought-out menus and buttons, have long battery life and are very robust. Looking at your comment I guess you're after maximum image quality for little cash - so I assume you won't be happy with the Canon DSLRs.

October 20, 2014 at 6:03AM

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Lou Goetzmann
cinematographer | photographer
82

As this is your *first* camera (or at least that is the impression I'm getting?), I'd highly recommend you go cheap and affordable.

Such as the GH1 or NEX-5N, they are dirt cheap (about $200ish or less) and will knock the socks off any Canon APS-C DSLR.

http://www.anycamerawilldo.com/old-but-not-out/
http://rungunshoot.com/the-350-docu-filmmaking-kit-depreciation-is-wonde...

Get Nikon F mount lenses to preserve your investment the best for the future (perhaps a native mount or two, such as a kit lens and a normal FoV prime. As they're each quite cheap).

And get this focal reducer:
http://www.personal-view.com/talks/discussion/9086/rj-lens-turbo-m43-ada...

Then rather than launching into making a feature film, make a handful of short films.

Then after you have done that, you can pick up an A7s or GH4 on the cheap (as they'll have dropped down in price by then) or get instead whatever is now the latest hot thing (such as a GH5/A8s/NX2/K-4/E-M2/D9300/etc, or who knows what!) which you can safely take across your lenses to it to use with your next new camera.

October 20, 2014 at 10:22AM

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David Peterson
Wedding Cinematographer
2463

What do you need? what is your propose?

January 29, 2015 at 5:32AM

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Ragüel Cremades
Film producer and director
7674

I was thinking about a GH4, but I need decent stills capability. This makes me re-think it.

January 30, 2015 at 3:23PM, Edited January 30, 3:23PM

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If you just started into filmmaking then go for a Dslr.
Canon 600D will be a great choice to practice filmmaking and a good lens will do your job! Also it's affordable.

July 18, 2015 at 5:29PM

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Aashish Kumar
Filmmaker, Digital Magician & Engineer :')
137

Seeing that you don't have any camera gear yet, going for anything like RED or ARRI will drown you way over your head. The amount of workflow that it takes for those cameras is much more advanced and very different than low end DSLRs. Start with something simple like the GH4 or A7s or even the 6D. That'll give you the opportunity to slowly ease in to all the information.

September 10, 2015 at 1:41PM

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Clark McCauley
Spaceman
2019

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