October 14, 2015 at 10:33AM, Edited October 14, 10:36AM

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Need Some Upgrade Advice!

I shoot mostly music videos, events & short films. I currently have a canon t3i but I feel that I seriously need to upgrade. I definitely need something with at least 60fps and better lowlight capability. 4K is nice but I believe having a nice color space is better. I want something that wont crumble if I try to grade it. I love the looks I've seen people get from blackmagic cameras but I know they take a lot of accessories to really get off the ground. Is it possible that I could get the same kind of colors from a GH4? Or is there something even more affordable or overall better for me that i'm overlooking? Or would something like the Atomos Ninja 2 help improve the image quality of my T3i? I'm not really sure what the best way to go is but I need some advice on what camera or gear would make my life easier.

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Canon EOS cameras use a line-skipping, not a filtering, method for reducing the resolution of their sensors down to 1080p (and below). The mathematical consequences of that simplistic approach are often severe.

At $1100 (the current street price), the GH4 offers unbelievable bang for the buck, but it, too, has compromises: low light is not quite as good as the EOS 5D3 (but moire and aliasing are handled better), the internal 8-bit 4:2:0 recording limitation is not friendly to grading (fixed by adding 10-bit 4:2:2 external recorder, $300-$2000 depending), two stops less DOF for a given FOV (usually mitigated to one stop because m43 lenses are smaller/faster/cheaper with 1 stop advantage vs. FF35).

I have a GH4, and I use it to fill in where my two (soon to be three) RED cameras lack coverage, including the times I just don't feel like lugging the big boys around. I also have the Atomos SHOGUN, which is helpful in many ways (metering, scopes, LUTs, etc). But a BMD Hyperdeck shuttle (or Ninja Star) will do 1080p 4:2:2 for a few hundred $. I love that I can shoot for 2+ hours on a single battery. And the lens range available is pretty darn good these days (meaning you can get both good cheap lenses and reasonable expensive lenses, according to your needs). The GH4 is also getting some nice LUTs to give log-like capabilities to the built-in CineD recording mode (see http://www.dvxuser.com/V6/forumdisplay.php?175-Panasonic-GH-Cameras). When I shoot with my RED DRAGON cameras, I set the GH4 to 4K. When I'm kicking around and having fun, 1080p60 is brilliant, and gives me slo-mo options.

The SONY A7 kills it when it comes to low-light. I used to think that would be a Big Deal, until I learned that not lighting a scene leads to pretty ugly looks 95% of the time. I.e., lighting is not just a technical requirement, it defines the aesthetic, and if you don't light, you get the aesthetic of an unlit scene, which I don't like.

The other thing to consider, if you have the budget, is the DVX-200. This is basically a GH4 wrapped up in a video camera format with a fixed lens. With built-in ND filters (which you need if you shoot outside), XLR mic inputs, even better battery option, and a really nice zoom lens that would cost a fortune if available for normal m43 cameras, this is a great all-in-one option for the one-man-band.

October 14, 2015 at 11:37AM

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Thanks for such an in-depth answer! Do you use a speedbooster with your GH4? & Is it difficult to match your GH4 footage to your RED footage?

Talus McKill

October 14, 2015 at 12:16PM

I don't use a speed booster because I have a range of m43 glass (Olympus 14-35 f2, 35-100 f2, and Voightländer 17.5, 25, and 42.5 f0.95) and just don't need an accessory to put much larger FF35 glass on such a small camera. I have found reasonable happiness with the Natural profile, tweaking contrast, sharpness, and saturation all down to the low side. I don't have to match it too perfectly because I use the GH4 as a really different viewpoint/perspective camera. A super wide shot of the venue doesn't have to perfectly match the MW, MCU and ECU shots (which all do have to match each other).

I am playing with V-LOG L to see if it will become matchable, but not terribly impressed thus far. Natural is not perfect, but it's good enough to read as if it's a close cousin, if not a kid sister to the DRAGONs. Judge for yourself in these videos: https://youtu.be/gt9r2wvwl_M?list=PL-MivU6TWBk8-LU7jdAsCahsLx-auT5Fo

You can see the GH4's first appearance at 1:06 of "Three Pager," the first video in the playlist.

October 14, 2015 at 1:20PM, Edited October 14, 1:25PM

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The t3i has proved over and over to output gorgeous video when in the right hands. Here lies the answer, having the right hands. The only true upgrade is not your camera, but you. If you are upgraded it will work with every camera you will ever use for the rest of your life. Upgrading yourself will be the cheapest financially and the most costly in time, but will have the greatest results.
"Genius: one percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration." -Thomas Edison
I believe for success you have to have talent, experience and knowledge. All of these are based on Edison's quote. If you suck with the T3i, you will suck with the Red camera or the Alexis, even Cooke lenses will not save you. However if you Master the T3i for video, you will be well on your way to Master ever camera expensive or cheap and always look good. My recommendation is get this course, it is hours of video instruction on the T3i, Master the T3i, use that experience to guide you, but substituting a new camera for lack of performance in the old camera speaks to a lack of knowledge and experience than to deficiencies in the camera. I have a T3i and a eos-m which is very similar, so try this link Dave Dugdale Learningvideo.com http://www.learningvideo.com/store/t3i_sales.php and I have this course too.

December 2, 2015 at 2:24PM

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