January 26, 2017 at 3:56PM


Questions from an Amateur about New Camera VS better lens.

Hey everyone,

I'm a student in a visual journalism diploma program I've been making short (~2m) pieces for the last 6 months I've been using a camera I bought myself, a Sony SLT-A58 with a 50mm prime Minolta lens that seems like a pretty standard recommended lens for this camera.

I haven't been terribly happy with the video quality I've been producing. I know that all cameras are capable of producing good stuff, if it is filmed properly, with proper lighting and color balance etc. But I do feel however, that there is something I can do to create a more "cinematic" quality to what I shoot.

Last semester a classmate helped me out on one project, shooting broll and as the secondary camera for the interview. The footage from their camera was far superior to mine. They were using this Panasonic camera: https://www.dpreview.com/articles/1065643550/fast-zoom-what-you-need-to-...

Which as I understand it is related to the GH4. I would go out and buy one of these right now if not for the fact that it doesn't have a detachable lens, which isn't a deal breaker necessarily as long as I can shoot good looking video with versatile angles for a couple of years with it.

So I also have about $700 left over from a scholarship that I can spend on equipment, which is about what I would pay for a used Lumix DMC FZ300 mentioned above.

I'm also looking at GH4s and I could add a bit of my own money to the $700 and get a GH4 body with a nice lens.

On the other hand I could stick with my Sony SLT A58 and buy this lens: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Sony-DT-16-50mm-f2-8-SSM-Lens-16-50-2-8-Alpha-A-...

So my questions are

1) Would using that lens with my Sony improve the look of my footage, all things else remaining the same?

2) What do you guys think about the DMC FZ300, is it worth getting despite the non-detachable lens. The footage it shot really was quite good looking.

3)Would buying the DMC FZ300 be a waste of money if I could just use that money toward getting a GH4 rig up and running?

Thanks, any advice would be appreciated!


If you wanted to shoot ENG style news and documentary footage, then the FZ300 might be a good fit. ( not great in low-light, but otherwise it produces a good image )

Given your budget I would take at look at one of the following Panasonic cameras used...

Panasonic G7 ( you can buy used on eBay for about $450 )

Panasonic GX85 ( you can buy used on eBay for about $550 )

Both of these cameras shoot 4K video and have full manual control of your image, and the GX85 has built-in 5-axis body stabilization which makes hand-held shooting so much easier.

If you're buying on eBay make sure you ONLY pay with PayPal so that you are protected from bring ripped off. Also only buy from sellers with a good eBay record ( as close to 100 percent buyer satisfaction ) and only buy gear that looks like new in the photos. I've found some great deals on eBay, but I am very careful about what I buy and from who.

If you are buying used gear in person, make sure that you have a lens and memory card with you to test out the camera, and if possible a way to check your footage before you buy the camera. ( it's a big plus for me if the person has all of the original camera boxes, which usually means it wasn't stolen and that they take good care of their gear )

January 26, 2017 at 6:28PM, Edited January 26, 6:32PM

Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer

you can also try a canon t3i or t41 both can be found for under 400 on ebay. You can also add magic lantern to either for more control. use the extra to get another lens and some lights or a mic.

January 26, 2017 at 7:27PM, Edited January 26, 7:28PM

Michael Militscher
Director / Commercial Producer

Thanks for your advice! I agree that putting some money forward a decent shotgun mic and some lights would be a good purchase, something I'm going to do as well.
In terms of the canon t3i and the t4i, would the video quality not essentially be the same as I'm getting on my Sony A58? Does the ability to use magic lantern on the Canons produce a much better video output? And how would you compare the t31 or t4i with magic lantern to one of the panasonics mentioned above?

January 27, 2017 at 11:27AM


NOTE: The G7 and GX85 produce a better image than the FZ300, so if you were already impressed with the image from the FZ300, these two cameras will take it even further.

Also, 4K recording gives you more room to play with in post, including down-rezzing the 4K 4:2:0 footage down to 1080p 4:4:4. ( the free GoPro Cineform CODEC can do this )

January 27, 2017 at 5:40PM

Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer

Hey, could you explain us how to downres 4k 4:2:0 footage into 4:4:4? Is the Cineform codec working on windows computers? I remember trying it out but my adobe premiere couldn't locate the codec.

r b

January 30, 2017 at 8:52AM

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