As a former A7s owner, I beg you to go with the C100. I purchased the A7s because of slightly better dynamic range and higher frame rates. I found that while the frame rates were nice, neither they nor the slight boost in DR were worth the hassle of the camera itself. I have used the C100 on several occasions, and even though I now own a Scarlet, I constantly find myself scanning Craigslist and eBay for a good deal on a C100. That camera is just so easy to use. Especially if you are doing documentary work, I cannot recommend the C100 enough. For $3000 it's a killer deal, and you're very likely to find one for cheaper used.
Fancy seeing you here ;)
If I hadn't already invested in a Scarlet MX, this would be a huge temptation. Primarily because of the Dragon sensor and the weight.
Raven Package + Sigma 18-35mm + Easyrig Mini Strong. That's $14000 for a pretty killer run-n-gun Red Dragon rig.
Unfortunately for the old bodies, you need a real Easyrig...
I've followed the development of this camera from the beginning. At one point, I was also planning on making it my next upgrade. Now that it's been out for a while and the competition is getting pretty thick, as you say, here are my thoughts:
First, I do not foresee a price drop for this camera. The company behind it is simply too small. They basically have to hand-finish every camera (though maybe that's changing). Too much time and money is invested in the product to cut the prices now. I'm pretty sure they're still not a profitable company yet. I could be wrong! But I think that's one thing you don't have to worry about.
The image is incredible. Sure, it "only" has 12 stops of dynamic range (about as much as most 16mm film stocks), but the color is amazing--deep and rich. And the motion is great. That global shutter really helps. In this regard, I really think the only competitors are Arri and Blackmagic (Red's color doesn't stand up). Obviously the Alexa's and Amira's are a bit out of reach, which just leaves the Blackmagic cameras.
I love the BM image. The color is so nice, so flexible and natural. I think it's as close to Alexa as anyone. What I can't stand are the cameras themselves. Every single one of them besides the Ursa needs to be jimmy-rigged to make it production-ready. The pocket and BMCC have terrible rolling shutter. The BM4K has awful noise issues. The only contender, in my book, is the Ursa. It has a global shutter, the color is great. It has tons of features in a shoot-ready body. The only challenge with the Ursa is the size and weight (you'll need a lot of support for that camera) and the dynamic range. From what I've seen, it's pretty unforgiving.
Now, the Digital Bolex is also fickle. You have to know what you're doing to get that DR out of it. It's an odd shape for a camera. It will also need to be jimmy-rigged a bit to work. And worst of all, I follow the FB group pretty closely still, and it's about once a week that someone posts about a camera lock-up or freezing issue that they can't resolve. People are constantly sending their camera back to the manufacturer for repairs. And the glitches don't show any signs of letting up.
In the end, that's why I wouldn't purchase one. The camera just isn't stable enough. It's coming from a young, under-staffed company that can't seem to stay on top of everything. Hopefully that changes, but I can't afford to risk it.
If I were going to buy a camera in the same price range ($3K-$6K), I would honestly purchase a Canon C100. Either model is great, depending on what you need. Yes, the image isn't nearly as cinematic, but that little body solves so many problems before they even start. You don't need nearly the accessories to work with it. I own a Scarlet, and I'm still checking the classifieds for a good deal on a C100 every day.
If you're really after the cinematic color and image, no matter the hassle or cost, I recommend the Blackmagic pocket. It's the cheapest one but has the best image quality combined with the most consistent performance--without having to get heavy-duty support.
Don't hold your breath for the Ursa Mini 4.6K. They still haven't figured out how to get the software to write to CFast. You probably wouldn't get one until next Spring. And even then, it's going to cost $10K to get everything you need to shoot.
In fact, I may still get a C100 later this year because it's so cheap now and so much easier for corporate stuff.
Hi Jeremy! As an owner of an A7s who has also used the C100, I'll go ahead and chime in.
I love my A7s for a lot of reasons, but ease of use is NOT one of them. I went with the A7s because of the S-Log dynamic range and because I wanted the 60p capability. I use it for corporate/editorial type stuff but I also plan to use it for some fashion videos as well, which means 60p is a necessity.
But in order to use S-Log, you have to shoot at 3200 ISO, which means I am constantly fiddling with Vari-ND's. And in order to get good audio, I've had to purchase the K1M XLR adapter, which is awesome, but it's another piece. Pretty soon, my A7s is as "bulky" as the C100 (which really isn't), but there are just a lot more pieces, and it's a bigger pain in the butt to operate.
Yes, I'm still happy I got it--stills, great dynamic range, and slow motion are all worth the small annoyances--but if I didn't need slow motion, and if I didn't really need the extra stop or two of DR, I would TOTALLY go with the C100.
I haven't used 4K on the A7s because I don't really need it, and up until this year, all of the recorders have been huge and expensive--not worth it to me. And for doc work, it will probably still not be worth it to you, honestly.
The C100 is a killer camera. I've never used a camera that was easier to shoot with, that I could just "pick up and go." I actually feel like I need more preparation to use the A7s. If I were in your shoes and I didn't need slow motion, I would absolutely go with the C100. $2000 is a ridiculously good deal.
As far as low light goes, I would never go above 12,800 ISO with the A7s. It doesn't look that great. On the C100, I've gone that high before, and it's not quite as good, but it's still usable.
Also, the C100 requires far less color tweaking than the A7s, if that matters to you.
Depending on what you want to do, it may be a better investment to rent some really nice gear and create a few videos with that. If your bread and butter are wedding videos right now, then I would highly recommend the C100, but if you are looking to get out of wedding videos fast and move onto music videos, I would recommend hooking up with some bands and using your budget to make some really well-shot, well-designed videos.
Good work will get you more work more quickly than any camera you own.