August 2, 2015 at 1:59PM, Edited August 2, 2:00PM

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Should I buy the A7s for $1300

So right now I am and 18 year old going into film school. Ive already worked for a few studios and also do allot of freelance. What Im getting at is that I am not just getting into filmmaking.
Right now I'm rocking the Canon t3i but I've been questioning updating my camera. Usually I wouldn't even consider spending every penny I have to buy a camera; however, I have the opportunity to get a HUGE discount on the Sony a7s. In the end It will cost about 1300 for a new camera. So should I Drop every penny I have to buy this camera??

16 Comments

Firstly, your stance on technology is outstanding, so keep up the good work. Secondly, that being said, the a7s is an exception in my opinion. What you pay for in terms of ISO and DR abilities will save money in the long run.

With the a7s the use of practical lighting set ups will be able to replace expensive film lights. I have been sporting a 7D that was given to me a few years back, but after using the a7s the savings have shifted towards purchasing one myself.

Lastly, at 1300, you're not losing as much, but still quite a bit at 18. I hope this helps; however, you can still make amazing material with a t3i. Don't let a little writers block cloud your financial decisions. Good luck, and can't wait to see future works.

August 2, 2015 at 2:25PM

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It's a good deal, and you can always get your investment back when you sell it used.

August 2, 2015 at 7:56PM, Edited August 2, 7:56PM

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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
33058

You didn't mention anything about lenses. Does it come with one? At that price I don't think so.

Instead get some equipment to compliment your Canon t3i and will not lose value right away. Buy some C-stands, a tripod, microphones, more lenses (DSLR Video Shooter has a great article on used Olympus lenses that will give you a lot of bang for your buck), sandbags, scrims/flags, lights, SD cards, Pelican cases, a collapsible rolling cart anything that will help your production. At your age and budget don't waste your money on the latest and greatest. learn your craft but have the tools to make your craft professional. When you are more established and making good money then spend the money on the latest toys.

August 4, 2015 at 10:13AM, Edited August 4, 10:13AM

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Dan Montenegro
Director/Producer
101

Well said Keegan and Guy, I am assuming that is for the camera body only. The problem is that cameras are a moving target, a few months ago the Canon 5d reigned supreme and now you might not even accept it as a gift (extreme example to make a point). I use a T3i and I have other cameras, if you never use anything else but your T3i you can make stunning video. Dave Dugdale has a great tutorial on the T3i.
Anyway, I am in your position, for $1300 you can have a SLR Magic 2x Anamorphic lens adapter (turns your lenses into anamorphic lenses). For $1300 you can buy a gimbaled camera stabilizer or a 4k monitor or a fast computer or a 1080p video projector.

Only you can determine what you need, but since you asked opinion. My opinion is that you already have a great camera, buy the tutorial from Dave and learn to use it to its maximum potential for video, then look at your whole system, if you buy the Sony and your computer can't edit 4k or buying the new camera which will give you more camera capability, but likely your audience will not notice a difference since we operate within the cameras limits. So, I hope you look beyond buying a new camera body and look at your system and beef up the part that is in most need.
The cameras are getting cheaper even from Sony where a $500 has 4k and can compete with other cameras far more expensive, so even getting a great price for the A7s doesn't mean that if you upgrade your computer for example or buy a lens, you can still buy cameras as good as the a7s for far less money. Wonderful time to be in.

August 4, 2015 at 10:38AM

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If that is every penny you have, then it might be pointless to get the a7s if you can't get decent glass, extra batteries, a metabones adapter (if using canon glass), and ESPECIALLY a great ND filter.

That being said, that is a ridiculously good deal for the a7s, and I would take it in a heartbeat. But I already have some of the items I listed that will make the a7s more usable for my needs.

August 4, 2015 at 5:19PM

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Mike Kozlenko
Filmmaker
182

get it. Usually i wouldnt rush purchases but you wont regret it

August 5, 2015 at 6:01AM

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Kazu Okuda
Filmmaker
1662

Dang, I would get it. Thats an amazing deal!

August 5, 2015 at 1:26PM

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Tony
390

Alarm bells are ringing here. Where did you see this great deal? If you found it on the net it's likely 1) a scam 2) may well ship direct from somewhere like China with no packaging, no warranty, and take ages to arrive...

As to resell value - expect a huge depreciation on a fashionable item that will see every new camera doing much the same in a couple of years.

Sorry to be so negative.

August 7, 2015 at 12:36AM

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Karel Bata
Director / DP / Stereographer
549

I'm with Karel. You're 18 going into film school, spend the money on new lenses, stands, tripods, recording equipment, lights, flags, rolling carts, extra media, or whatever. Cameras come and go and the Canon T3i is just a good cheap workhorse. When I went to film school I couldn't afford a $6,000 8mm camera. You are so lucky to have this advantage already. In February check out the price on this years model and get a great deal, but stick with Canon since you have the glass. Oh, and don't waste your summers, get on some crews.

August 7, 2015 at 9:19AM

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Dan Montenegro
Director/Producer
101

Though it is a great deal and really hard to pass up if you don't have the lenses to use with it what's the point. The T3i is a great camera. Id save until you can comfortably the A7s with a lens or two.

August 7, 2015 at 3:04PM

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Michael Militscher
Director / Commercial Producer
2724

also I picked up a set of canon FD lens, Rokinon 85mm, and a canon 70-300 USM.

Jayce Kolinski

January 26, 2016 at 5:35PM

Don't buy it! If you're going to film school, I'm sure they'll have a nice selection of cameras for you to try out in their film cage. Use that money on other equipment - tripod, lenses, SOUND, etc.

August 7, 2015 at 4:35PM

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Donovan Vim Crony
Director, DP, Editor, VFX, Sci-Fi Lover
603

I think I'd have to agree with the "don't buy." I personally went through multiple 'quick' purchases, thinking that camera is really what I would need, etc. etc. Then, the more I shot, the more I learned, the more time I spent on everything, I ended up settling down with the blackmagic pocket, a used one at that, and it is the best purchase I've ever made, and FAR cheaper than any of the previous cameras I got and returned. I'm not necessarily saying get a pocket camera, rather, take this VALUABLE TIME (trust me on this!, haha) to absorb everything you can in film school, in relationships, in people, in places, and that will help you become a better filmmaker more than any camera will. Just my two cents. Don't get me wrong, I'm a total gearhead lol. 1300 for an a7s is just a wonderful deal, and I do love the look of that camera, but it is a lot of money that could better be spent on so many other things.

August 7, 2015 at 8:54PM

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Ben Meredith
Cinematographer/Filmmaker
1426

btw guys ive used the preproduction a7rii model and it's impressive. in someways it's better than the a7s. At 1600 ISO the noise is indistinguishable.

August 8, 2015 at 9:13AM

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Kazu Okuda
Filmmaker
1662

so what did you end up getting?

August 18, 2015 at 2:38PM

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Michael Militscher
Director / Commercial Producer
2724

Sorry for the late response, but I ended up getting the sony a7s for an even better price at 1200. I did this purchase because, in all honesty, it rejuvenated my interest in filmmaking and in a way started to force me to make more films to justify the purchase. In the end I also ended up getting an extremely good deal on some LED lighting panes (with a different purchase) therefore completing my kit!

Jayce Kolinski

January 26, 2016 at 5:29PM

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