I used to think that it was necessary to spend big bucks to get a neutral density filter that doesn't have too much of a color cast or softening effect. Like many video shooters out there I prefer to use a variable ND which is more flexible when I am in a run-and-gun type scenario. I previously owned the Tiffen variable ND and when I misplaced it on a shoot and had to replace it I decided to try the Zomei Ultra Slim variable ND. Zomei claims it utilizes 18 layers of anti-reflection coating and genuine German Schott optical glass. To my eye and through a series of highly unscientific testing I have determined that this budget ND has less of a color shift than just about anything else I have tried including the non variable Tiffen NDs. At the price these things sell for on Amazon ($56 for the 58mm version) I was able to pickup two for less than the price of one high end ND and now have a matched set to use when I am shooting a scene in bright light with more than one camera. I just wanted to put it out there that it may not be necessary to spend upwards of $200 on a neutral density filter, especially if you are just starting out or if you simply want to save some money on gear.
When i first bought my gh3 i wanted the panasonic 12-35, 2.8 but could not afford it. I picked up a used panasonic 14-45 (one of their older and sharper kit lenses). The focal length range was great and the IS was decent. However, after a year I upgraded to the popular 12-35 and it is a fantastic lens that can actually be used indoors without lugging lighting. If you can save up the cash, go for the 2.8, you will not regret it!
These days you can pickup a Panasonic GH3 with a lens such as the 14-45 within your budget. The video quality on the GH3 is worlds ahead of the offerings from Nikon and Canon that have been previously suggested. It records lovely 1080p footage at up to 60 fps and with NO RECORD TIME LIMIT. The audio pre-amps are actually decent - meaning you can get good in-camera sound with an inexpensive mic. The micro four thirds lenses are excellent and well priced and with the GH3 you can adapt almost any lens ever made to work with a $20 adapter. The battery life is also phenomenal. Moire is almost non-existent as well. Highly recommend.
This evening I had the opportunity to shoot some footage at 240/720 indoors with medium bright lighting. I attached the Hero 4 Black to the leg of a tripod that was supporting a Sony FS700 that was also shooting at 240 fps. Regardless of the camera settings I tested on the GoPro (iso limit, color, low light, sharpness) I was unable to get footage that looks clean enough to cut with properly exposed 1080 footage. I will give it another shot under full daylight, but so far I am not as happy with the update as I initially thought I would be - that said, the 4K looks great when I shoot outside and I I hope I will find other settings that will let me create moderate if not super slo-motion. I driving to the mountains to try out the 2.7/60 setting early tomorrow morning. I am pretty new to GoPros, however, I have been shooting a lot with various larger cameras for about 5 years now. When I first looked online for more info about the various settings I found this site: http://abekislevitz.com/ and read some good info and clear explanations about the various shooting settings for the camera. Does anyone know of any other good resources that I can check out to learn how to get the best possible footage from these tiny cameras? RE: the update - despite using a recommended card (sandisk extreme 64) and a fully charged battery, I found that at 240/720 my recordings would randomly end anywhere from 3 to 8 seconds after I hit the record button on my phone - however, I had no indication that the camera had stopped recording on the camera or the Android app. Is anyone else experiencing short record/random stopping issues with the new setting?
At these price points I have to wonder if the NTG4 and NTG4+ will compare favorably to the wonderful sounding NTG3 or if they are more of a spiritual successor to the NTG2 with its noticeably less impressive recording characteristics.
I own a Viewsonic VP2770-LED and absolutely love it. The maximum resolution is 2560x1440 and it comes factory calibrated for color with a printed confirmation of the calibration. You can buy one in The US for around $625 dollars. I think this monitor is worth every penny and competes with much more expensive monitors.