Totally agree, it isn't just about camera and lens. My persuasion is that, if I had to choose between investing in a body and investing in glass (at this point in time), I would invest in glass. Equally as important (if not more) is obviously lighting. For the amount of money Sharad is ready to spend on camera gear, he could just as easily buy a nice little Arri kit and stick with his current camera kit.
Different strokes for different folks, there is certainly no right or wrong answer.
I shot an interview recently (after selling my GH3s), and all the director had access to was 2x T5i's. I put my 35 and 85 on, and we had a surprisingly good looking image off that camera. Certainly not cinema quality, but this is where you are right, Kenneth...the glass made the image.
All depends on the scope of your project, Sharad. Sounds to me like the T4i is a good option for you at this point in time. Don't be tempted to buy a new camera just because you can!
Wow..quite the debate going on in this post. I'm in a similar situation Sharad, although at this point I am approaching it as a professional, no longer a student. Regardless, the dilemma is the same, so I feel your pain. The second you buy a camera it essentially feels outdated. I just sold off all of my GH3 gear, it feels surprisingly good I gotta say.
My humble advice, based on the points you listed in your original post (mainly the type of work you do and at what level), I might consider hanging on to that T4i. Do you feel like the camera itself is holding you back? I'm just curious as to why you want to invest in a new camera.
After throwing around ideas in my head for months (FS7, C100 MK II, C500, C300 MK II, FS5!?!? You get the idea, it never ends), I've almost come to the conclusion that I am going to let the dust settle as far as cameras are concerned. After NAB we should see new models and reduced prices on "older" models. You catch my drift?
I've seen a lot of return on investment from my lenses and support, to be honest. Instead of spending $3K on a new camera, I spent that money on Zeiss 35mm f/1.4 and 85 f/1.4 and a quality variable ND so I can keep that shallow DOF in most any conditions. Through shooting weddings (soulsucking, but totally worth it for the $), I was able to purchase a Ronin-M and SmallHD 502. Can't tell you how happy I've been with both of these purchases.
The beauty of this is that I am not limiting myself to any particular camera body, rather I can fit most any body (below the $20K price bracket, let's say) within my existing gear.
This probably doesn't make your decision easier, but just thought I'd share how I've been working through this process.
Funny, I've had people suggest not renting in RED due to their rapid devaluation..which is RED's own doing for constantly updating their product. There's definitely no right answer here, but I like hearing what different people have to say.
I don't think I'm trying to "make money off the camera", but the camera would definitely become part of my package. So, yes I will be getting better jobs because of it, but I'm buying it so I can increase the general quality of my visuals (from a camera standpoint).
I've been trying to keep up with the hype. To me, the sensor size it kind of a bust. I've found a Red Epic kit that is practically ready to shoot at $16,500. I figure the Raven will end up being somewhere in that realm once you add on all the accessories, media, power, etc. That said, a used Epic kit has more appeal to me than a Raven. Maybe you have other thoughts, I'd be curious to hear.
If I were doing this on my own, I would do a test run by establishing some simple choreography, and choosing shots that will emphasize the action of fighting without the actors having to lay a hand on each other. Try shooting at higher frame rates to get that hyper real look, shoot handheld/shoulder rig to give that breathing effect, make rapid cuts, and get as much coverage as possible. I suppose you could have multiple cameras, each with a different shot size (wide, mcu, cu), or if it is well choreographed/performed, you could approach it with one camera over multiple takes. Just some thoughts...