September 19, 2014 at 5:12PM

3

What camera would you get if you had 5,000 dollars?

I recently found an investor on my company, I currently own a GH4, but he offered me 5k (USD) to spend on equipment. I was wondering which camera or lens should I get. How would you spend your 5k Some of my options are:

-RED ONE
-Sony FS7 and a lens
-BlackMagic 4K Cine camera and some lenses

Please, help me out on this one guys.

26 Comments

An investor will want a return on his money. If I were you I'd sit down to figure out exactly how I'm gonna do that. I bet the answer would never be: "buy a new camera".

Good luck!

September 19, 2014 at 8:20PM, Edited September 19, 8:20PM

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Alex Zakrividoroga
Director
3843

The GH4 is a great camera. I would invest into lighting and audio. If you already have that why not a really nice lens? Cameras come and go, but glass is always neccessary. My favorite lenses are my old Nikkor lenses from the 80's and 90's.

September 20, 2014 at 4:33PM, Edited September 20, 4:33PM

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Ben Evans
Video and Media Production
74

Definitely investing in lightning and a good lens, Thank you Ben!

Tommy Plesky

September 21, 2014 at 2:28PM

I agree. Maybe if you don't have an external recorder to get the 10-bit 4k out of the gh4 you could get that and some nice glass?

Dean Butler

September 21, 2014 at 11:05PM

What sort of work do you do? That will help in getting the right response.
And what sort of stuff do you have already? Which lenses, audio and lighting equipment?
Do you edit yourself? Which PC/Mac do you have?
Remember with each of those "big" cameras storage is also costly (both for camera and edit).

September 21, 2014 at 10:03AM

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This is very true. I currently own a GH4 with a Rokinon 35mm 1.5 cinelens. I always carry a Rode pocket mic. I edit myself with a PC, it runs pretty well, but maybe if I get a "Bigger" camera, that might be a problem.

The work I do is promotional videos, short films, portraits (documentaries). I think Ben Evan's point could be a nice idea, invest in a very good lens and lightning kit, which I don't have.

Tommy Plesky

September 21, 2014 at 2:27PM

And maybe a slider or some special rigging stuff...

September 21, 2014 at 8:03PM

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That's a good question. What kind of work are you going to be doing?

September 21, 2014 at 11:03PM

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Dean Butler
Writer Director Shooter Editor
619

I'm a bit cautious about recommending any new camera for you, as you haven't mentioned what you have currently? Such as lenses, recording media, batteries, lighting, and audio... what do you do you have currently, and what will you need? (because even these little things, can all add up quickly to an extra grand, or many times more...)

You did mention "I currently own a GH4 with a Rokinon 35mm 1.5 cinelens. I always carry a Rode pocket mic.", and I get the impression that is pretty much all you have? If so you are very under resourced in a number of regions (such as lenses, audio, and lighting), yet you already have quite a decent camera body! The GH4 is fantastic.

So absolutely stick with the camera you have now, and instead get a Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 (in a Nikon F mount), Nikon 50mm f/1.8D, Rokinon 85mm f/1.4, Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 and RJ Lens Turbo.
http://www.personal-view.com/talks/discussion/9086/rj-lens-turbo-m43-ada...

Then for audio, take a look at getting a Tascam DR-60D and Rode NTG-3. Plus a lav mic with a Zoom H1 (or the Tascam DR-22WL, which looks very interesting: http://cheesycam.com/control-new-tascam-dr-22wl-dr-44wl-audio-recorders-...) as a very cheap option to getting a wireless mic (and as a backup to your main audio gear. On which point, I would look at getting a Panasonic GH1 for just a couple of hundred bucks second hand: http://www.anycamerawilldo.com/old-but-not-out/ As you should never have only just one camera if shooting professionally, and a GH1 would be a very handy and dirt cheap back up).

As for lighting, here is a very affordable and very useful way to go about it (is what I'm doing myself):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h3Ru3g99qr8
On top of that, get a reflector and diffuser (or two) off eBay too.

Once you've gone through all this, you'll have gone a long way towards spending all of your $5k budget (in fact... more likely you'll have gone waaay past it! And you'll need to be selective in what you pick from the items I've listed).

Remember if you are starting from scratch, or only with a little collection, then the camera body will only be a tiny proportion of the total cost. Thus never spend the bulk of the budget on just the camera. But if I was in the situation of spending $5k on just a camera (because all the other gear is already got, or already budgeted) then I'd recommend something such as the Sony A7S with an Atomos Shogun 4K Recorder. This would be an amazing combo, and still leave you with a few hundred spare out of budget:
http://nofilmschool.com/2014/07/atomos-shogun-4k-recorder-now-available-...

September 22, 2014 at 5:07AM

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David Peterson
Wedding Cinematographer
2300

Heh, and I left off tripod, cage, slider, and other such camera rigging. Makes my point, spend your budget elsewhere than on a new camera body!

David Peterson

September 22, 2014 at 5:07AM

Thank you so much! I forgot to say I also have a Glidecam HD 2000, a Canon t4i and a 70-300 lens. I DO have to get lightning equipment and another lens though.

Tommy Plesky

September 23, 2014 at 11:50AM

>>>RED ONE
A used RED ONE has lots of issues to deal with: Reliability, Weight (it's a very heavy camera), Expensive recording media, etc...

This would be my absolute last choice.

>>>Sony FS7 and a lens

This is an $8,000 camera, and adding on a couple of lenses will put you past the $10,000 point, so it's double your $5,000 budget. I would only consider this if you have the budget to cover the camera and lenses. ( i.e. $12,000+ )

>>>BlackMagic 4K Cine camera and some lenses

With new firmware upgrades the BM 4K Cine camera is turning out to be a decent camera, and this would be well within your $5K budget. It would be a great fit for digital-cine work, but not as good for corporate/commercial video work.

>>>Panasonic GH4

If you already own a Pansonic GH4, then you would be nuts to not invest more in to this system. This camera is extremely capable of producing great images, as long as low-light is not a big part of your work. There are several shooters I know of that are using the GH4 along with the Sony AS7 camera, so that they have all bases covered. ( i.e. 4K internal with the GH4, super detailed wide angle daylight shots with the GH4, low-light shallow DOF shots with the AS7, etc... )

http://eriknaso.com/2014/09/04/gh4-metabones-ef-to-mft-speed-booster-a7s...

September 22, 2014 at 10:42AM

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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
30946

What this guy said! A very good assessment of your options. Go with developing further your GH4 system! Rather than a new camera body.

David Peterson

September 23, 2014 at 1:44AM

Isn't it called an a7S?

Will Watkins

October 10, 2014 at 5:16PM

Sony AS7 and some glass. They've got some IS lenses hitting the market really soon and I'm guessing you're doing some event videography in your line of work, in which case this camera is a must-have for its low-light abilities.

September 22, 2014 at 1:32PM

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Do you have lighting equipment and proper glass already?

September 22, 2014 at 2:00PM

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Wentworth Kelly
DP/Colorist/Drone Op
2356

I don't have lightning equipment, can you recommend me some?

Tommy Plesky

September 23, 2014 at 11:51AM

Don't bother upgrading to a new camera if you have a GH4 already. Buy camera support (tripod, shoulder rig, slider, lenses, follow focus, etc.), good audio gear, and lighting equipment. Emphasis on lighting. How you light something will up your production value more so than a "better" camera. Check out new Remote Phosphor lights by www.cineolighting.com and www.bbslighting.com/products/area-48-soft-remote-phosphor.

September 23, 2014 at 4:01PM, Edited September 23, 4:01PM

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Alex Fuerst
Director of Photography + Cinematographer
149

For $5000, I would probably go with a (used) Canon C100 + Atomos Ninja 2 for ProRes recording or a used FS700.

September 24, 2014 at 10:27AM

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Matt Bastos
Filmmaker/Writer
810

Any individual investing in a company has a desire to get a better rate of return than they would putting it somewhere else (unless it's your parents just wanting you to be happy and growing weary of hearing you say, "if only I had _____ , I could do more.") If it were me, and *IF* I decided to take it (because now you have a business partner who owns part of your life and gear), I'd put it in the bank, and do a thorough business review. I'd look at all my paid work --or at least work done in the last year if I was really busy and in demand, I'd consider all my potential work for the coming year, and I'd ask the question, "what gear is missing that will let me get more jobs, or the kind of jobs I *want* to do instead of the ones I do now, or at least make me more money?" Will a better mic make a difference in how much I can charge, or at least make me more competitive in the market? Will lights let me do indoor shoots I can't do now? Will more hard drives or a more powerful computer let me finish work faster and safer, allowing me more time to get more jobs? Maybe you don't need more gear as much as you need the ability to pay for a crew, like a sound guy with his own gear, or a friend who will bring his lights to your job, or a grip or two to carry and hold stuff. Or talent and a teleprompter, or an AE wizard to finish the project. There's so much more to a business than equipment, and every expense you add should be able to pay for itself as quickly as possible, and then add profit. If that's not what's happening it's a hobby, not a business.

October 12, 2014 at 11:30AM

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Zan Shin
486

If I had that money, I would move to Norway, so I didn't die from Ebola

October 14, 2014 at 11:09AM

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Maple
Director Of Photography
86

Sorry, that was my 'friend'

Maple

October 14, 2014 at 11:09AM

Made me laugh tho

Tommy Plesky

October 15, 2014 at 1:23AM

In reality, if I had that money, I would buy a GH4 and a GOPRO hero 4 black. I would also buy a bike mount for my bike and some lights and some sd cards which are fast. I would use the rest of the money to buy some hard drives to store my footage (as my computer doesn't have much space). I would edit my videos on Windows Movie Maker, however if you had money left, I would invest in Adobe Premiere Elements (I have it and Its very good).

Sorry for my previous post, it was my friend who is immature.

October 14, 2014 at 11:12AM

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Maple
Director Of Photography
86

If I had that money and a bit of gear already, I would put that money into getting my name out there and renting a bit of equipment and shooting some really nice shorts or spec spots, basically building up my reel. Put a bit into building a website and start to work on making a return for my investor and myself.

October 15, 2014 at 3:56PM

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Kevin Greene
Editor
799

I think everybody agree, 5000$ isn't enough for the camera you want because of the lenses you will need. The good way to spend it is on upgreading your gh4, buy lenses, like the 7-14 f4, the 12-35 and the 30-100 2.8 then some Voigtlander lenses. Then if there are some money left go for sound gear and lighting. Buy a slider, I love the edlekrone. You can also concider buying a B camera that match your first one like a second GH4 or the sony A7s for deph of field, the panasonic LX100 for the 4k and small size, that's also very usefull. Last but not least, have you concider not spending the money ? Save and when you get twice as much then you can go for a better camera like the fs7.

March 27, 2015 at 6:14PM

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AvdS
1067

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