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Hi everyone,

I see a lot of these types of posts come up so I'm sorry to bore you all with another one. I did consider raising my question in the other posts but my situation is slightly different so I would really appreciate any advice to make this decision easier!

I work for a large organization as their content creator. When I started the job 4 years ago my role was a little different to what it has developed into now. Back then my sole focus was on video as we had an amazing photographer in the team. I was basically given a blank cheque to get whatever I needed to get the job done. After much research and talking to people like yourselves I decided to buy into the M43 system with a GH2 and in recent years got a GH4 and all the best M43 lenses I could hope for such as the Nocticron etc. Over the last year or so my job has changed significantly. I now expected to produce our TV ads in house and have now picked up the sole responsibility of photography for publications, web etc. No problem I thought, as the GH4 has been an absolute workhorse on thousands of photo and video shoots, from TV to cinema to billbards and still going strong!

While I love the GH4 for video I do find it hard to maintain the high standards left behind by our previous photographer who shot with 5Dmkiii and the fastest lenses possible. While I can get extremely close to those results with the Nocticron on the GH4, there are many situations I find difficult and shooting everything at 85mm equivalent is a bit restricting! Our photo style is all about shallow DOF portraits and while I can achieve that, there are times I can't. I would now say I am 70% photo and 30% video. I mentioned this in passing to the CEO who basically handed me a blank cheque and said "get whatever you need." I know, the best boss ever!

While I'd love to stay with m43 as I am so familiar with it, and I'm actually a huge advocate for the GH4, I am open to the possibility of changing systems to increase my stills capability. I know, I know, it's not the camera, it's the user but in this case I do feel I have reach the limits of M43 for photography.

Below are the things I value most in cameras according to the job and how I shoot:

  • Compact and discreet setup
  • Slow motion (very important - min 100fps)
  • Great colour (GH4 has been a bit of a struggle but think I have it wired now)
  • Image stabilization (very important)
  • Extra functions like built in timelapse, high frame rate, wifi etc
  • Must be equally capable stills and video camera.
  • Great battery life and easy to work with codec
  • Good EVF for shooting video, peaking etc.

Based on this I think I can narrow it down to the below options (feel free to add anything).

  • Sony A7s/r - seems obvious choice. Not sold on battery life and hearing negative reports about colour, overheating and terrible menus! Expensive and limited natives lenses but love the idea of IBIS.
  • Canon 1DmkII - may break the bank and limit the amount of lenses I can get but it does look amazing. Not so small though and lack of IS.
  • Canon 5DmkIII - Not really considering for some reason. Not too keen on the unreliable ML hack in a corporate situation but maybe you guys can convince me?
  • NX1 - Looks amazing for video. Good enough for stills? Much of a future?
  • GH5 - should I stay with the GH series? Maybe invest in a speedbooster and even better lenses. Do you think with a speedbooster this will get it closer to the stills performance of a 5D? How does the autofocus perform? I am hopeful the GH5 will be a beast spec-wise. If it has IBIS I imagibe I'll just get a set of voigtlanders and problem solved? (Although no auto focus arghh).

Am I missing anything? Really impressed with Blackmagic too but really need that all in one video and stills camera of the highest quality!

Thanks in advance for your help!

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Hi everyone,

I see a lot of these types of posts come up so I'm sorry to bore you all with another one. I did consider raising my question in the other posts but my situation is slightly different so I would really appreciate any advice to make this decision easier!

I work for a large organization as their content creator. When I started the job 4 years ago my role was a little different to what it has developed into now. Back then my sole focus was on video as we had an amazing photographer in the team. I was basically given a blank cheque to get whatever I needed to get the job done. After much research and talking to people like yourselves I decided to buy into the M43 system with a GH2 and in recent years got a GH4 and all the best M43 lenses I could hope for such as the Nocticron etc. Over the last year or so my job has changed significantly. I now expected to produce our TV ads in house and have now picked up the sole responsibility of photography for publications, web etc. No problem I thought, as the GH4 has been an absolute workhorse on thousands of photo and video shoots, from TV to cinema to billbards and still going strong!

While I love the GH4 for video I do find it hard to maintain the high standards left behind by our previous photographer who shot with 5Dmkiii and the fastest lenses possible. While I can get extremely close to those results with the Nocticron on the GH4, there are many situations I find difficult and shooting everything at 85mm equivalent is a bit restricting! Our photo style is all about shallow DOF portraits and while I can achieve that, there are times I can't. I would now say I am 70% photo and 30% video. I mentioned this in passing to the CEO who basically handed me a blank cheque and said "get whatever you need." I know, the best boss ever!

While I'd love to stay with m43 as I am so familiar with it, and I'm actually a huge advocate for the GH4, I am open to the possibility of changing systems to increase my stills capability. I know, I know, it's not the camera, it's the user but in this case I do feel I have reach the limits of M43 for photography.

Below are the things I value most in cameras according to the job and how I shoot:

  • Compact and discreet setup
  • Slow motion (very important - min 100fps)
  • Great colour (GH4 has been a bit of a struggle but think I have it wired now)
  • Image stabilization (very important)
  • Extra functions like built in timelapse, high frame rate, wifi etc
  • Must be equally capable stills and video camera.
  • Great battery life and easy to work with codec
  • Good EVF for shooting video, peaking etc.

Based on this I think I can narrow it down to the below options (feel free to add anything).

  • Sony A7s/r - seems obvious choice. Not sold on battery life and hearing negative reports about colour, overheating and terrible menus! Expensive and limited natives lenses but love the idea of IBIS.
  • Canon 1DmkII - may break the bank and limit the amount of lenses I can get but it does look amazing. Not so small though and lack of IS.
  • Canon 5DmkIII - Not really considering for some reason. Not too keen on the unreliable ML hack in a corporate situation but maybe you guys can convince me?
  • NX1 - Looks amazing for video. Good enough for stills? Much of a future?
  • GH5 - should I stay with the GH series? Maybe invest in a speedbooster and even better lenses. Do you think with a speedbooster this will get it closer to the stills performance of a 5D? How does the autofocus perform? I am hopeful the GH5 will be a beast spec-wise. If it has IBIS I imagibe I'll just get a set of voigtlanders and problem solved? (Although no auto focus arghh).

Am I missing anything? Really impressed with Blackmagic too but really need that all in one video and stills camera of the highest quality!

Thanks in advance for your help!

Why don't you keep the GH4 for video and pick up a 5DIII or used 5DII for photos. Any Canon lenses that you get for it can be used on the GH4 as well with an electronic speedbooster. You could also use the 5D for video when you don't need 4K or slow mo.

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Why don't you keep the GH4 for video and pick up a 5DIII or used 5DII for photos. Any Canon lenses that you get for it can be used on the GH4 as well with an electronic speedbooster. You could also use the 5D for video when you don't need 4K or slow mo.

Good thinking. However I probably should have mentioned I do switch between both often do need to be very responsive. Two cameras would slow me down a little.

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I'm in a similar boat - I do corporate still portraits, product shots, occasional fashion/beauty stills and photo illustration; and I do lots of corporate video. For a schizophremic range of clients.

I can tell you with zero hesitation that on a shoot where they want stills and video - take two cameras unless you're in the middle of a jungle with no assistant. My video setup is way, way different than my stills setup, and even simply changing shutter speed bugs me - one more thing I have to reset (or may forget to reset, knowing me). That, and my video DSLR is usually fully rigged with FF and matte box and my HDMI and audio cables are clamped to the rigs, just short jumpers with female ends, which is faster that the fiddly camera ports (and much easier to see and align the plugs) and hopefully reduces wear and tear.

I shot D7100 for DSLR gigs the last couple years and recently got the NX1. Which I have yet to take a single still with. My thought was move to the better video and keep an eye on Samsung, with the thought I'd eventually have an NX1 and an NX2, and rely on the NX system for stills with their native glass, but keep my nikkors for video, and have two video cams with good image matching.

Glad I waited - I doubt I'll buy an S zoom unless it's a really, really good price. But I'm 2nd nature with both cameras, and I have all my Nikkors with me regardless. Trying to do both stills and video with 1 camera is something I really dislike. But I could understand not getting an NX,even as a 100% video camera, if you have overlords to answer to (I only answer to my wife, who pronounced the camera "pretty".) (Even she was impressed by the view through the VF though…)

I'll also add that 4K is a huge game changer, as a guy that shoots solo often. I shoot a bit wider than in the past, do a 1080 edit to get the flow down, and then reframe the 4K on the 1080 timeline as needed. It's very much like having 2 cameras - punch in for the strongest lines, or reframe to hide cuts without using b-roll - and every frame is gorgeous. I'm amazed how effective it is, and being able to catch stuff like expressive hand motions (I don't go crazy wide, but where I shot 85mm in the past, I may be 60-70mm now). Reframing, and the amazing range of detail and softness you can get with the NX and vintage-ey glass, are the biggest game changes for me since DSLRs and large-chip DOF all happened. Not pushing the NX1 specifically, but 4K is really killer if you have the drive space and should be great for keying and motion graphics.

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I can tell you with zero hesitation that on a shoot where they want stills and video - take two cameras unless you're in the middle of a jungle with no assistant. My video setup is way, way different than my stills setup, and even simply changing shutter speed bugs me - one more thing I have to reset (or may forget to reset, knowing me). That, and my video DSLR is usually fully rigged with FF and matte box and my HDMI and audio cables are clamped to the rigs, just short jumpers with female ends, which is faster that the fiddly camera ports (and much easier to see and align the plugs) and hopefully reduces wear and tear.

Really keen to stay with one. My GH4 is never rigged up, usually just a rode mic and an ND filter so I just unscrew it, switch to a photo mode and spin the dial for the correct shutter. Can do it all in 10 secs and means I can travel light with just one camera. Looking for a similar workflow.

"in this case I do feel I have reach the limits of M43 for photography."

I'd be interested in hearing why exactly.

Don;t get me wrong, GH4 with fast lenses is amazing for stills. Like I said before, I'm a huge M43 fan and have said many times on here that I fully rate M43 for photos. However, working for a company with a pre-established style and look I have to maintain (which was the full frame look) I feel after a couple of years of trying I just cannot maintain that look using the GH4. If it wasn't for that I'd stay with M43 forever! No complaints about low light ability or anything from me.

It's not just photos. The fact I now have to create high spec TVC spots also makes me want to 'upgrade'. While I have produced dozens of TVC's on the GH4 and its perfectly capable it would be good to take it to the next level. This company expects the best, so I'm keen to get the best tool possible that will meet my needs.

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However, working for a company with a pre-established style and look I have to maintain (which was the full frame look) I feel after a couple of years of trying I just cannot maintain that look using the GH4. If

What exactly is "the full frame look"? Is it just shooting everything at 1.8? I think it's a myth that there's anything more to it than that.

Certainly M 4/3 and super 16 make getting a really gorgeous look more challenging (though a speedbooster helps). But over a thousand features and most film-based dramatic TV before digital were shot super-35; it's a frame size that really works well.

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Sony A7r II has almost everything you want:

- Amazing 42.4-megapixel stills.

- Great 4k S35

- Good 4k Full Frame

- IBIS

- Lowlight

- Timelapse function for $10

- Great EVF

 

Battery life isn't great, but you can have tons of batteries, It's not a deal breaker. I don't find too difficult to reach good colors with Slog 2, a couple of nodes in Davinci and everything looks great, even skintones. For some very fast jobs (internet, news), you can set a good color straight out of the camera. 

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Get the Nikon D750 for photos  (damn fine video too!) and keep the GH4 for filming with.

D750 is clearly the current stand out DSLR!! Unless you need ultra high resolution then get D810 / 645Z / A7r mk2. Or ultra fast then D5 or D500. 

 

Get alongside it the 28-70mm f/2.8 + 80-200mm f/2.8 plus Nikon 85mm f/1.8D and you'll have a nice starting set up for portraits when it comes to camera body and lenses! (Cost effective too!)

These lenses will also serve you well on whatever other new system you might use them on :-)

 

Get a set of Yonguno TTL flashes as well with wireless triggers and diffusers. 

 

If you still have cash left in the kitty then make all of us super enviously jealous of you by buying the Nikon 200mm f2!! :-D

Or if you can't stretch quite that far, get the Nikon 135mm f2 ;-)

 

Either of them would be a BEAUTIFULLY GORGEOUS portrait lens to own! :-o

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Thanks for your advice everyone.

After a week sleepless nights of thinking about the next step I'm seriously considering sticking to the trusty GH4 and investing in a speedbooster and fast glass. To some of you that might seem crazy considering I could almost get whatever I wanted but I've been thinking about what I shoot, how I shoot and how I like to do things and what the GH4 offers is perfect. Let me explain why and why I ruled out the other options....

THE KNOCKOUT ROUNDS

Canon 1DX mk2 - Ruled this out due to size and no stabilized fast primes which are absolutely essential for how I shoot (handheld mostly, no rigging as need to keep a low profile)

Canon 5D mk2/3 - Same as above. If I was just focused on stills then this would be a no-brainer, but remember I'm after a true hybrid. Plus no slow mo.

D750 - no slow mo (remember I want at least 100fps).

Thant leaves the Sony's or the GH4....

A7r2 - Very tempting but no 100fps

THE FINAL

A7s2 vs GH4

A7s2 - Almost perfect. Stabilized, full frame, internal 4K, 100fps slow mo etc. Pity about 8bit out, short battery life and overheating issue (both of which really move it down my list as reliability and long battery life are essential to me too. Also, is 12Mp good enough for stills?

GH4 - Long battery, crazy reliable, 4K, slow mo etc. Only downside is the smaller sensor.

So here's what I'm thinking - invest in the speedbooster XL (this will get me closer to the desired look and increase low light performance). My only reservations about this is how good it will be for stills. From the research I have done it seems fine but keen to hear if anyone uses GH4 or M43 with speedbooster for stills.

Also thinking to get some good fast glass like the canon 50mm f1.2, sigma 35mm f1.4, sigma 18-35 f1.8, all of which are exciting to think about on a GH4 with a speedbooster. I know they too aren't stabilized but I'm banking heavily that the GH5 will have the rumored IBIS which will solve that problem. I'll also add a Atomos Shogun to the list to boost video.

Thoughts?

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"Ruled this out due to size and no stabilized fast primes which are absolutely essential for how I shoot (handheld mostly, no rigging as need to keep a low profile)"

What about the Tamron 35 and 45mm f1.8?
They can of course go on all the cameras you are thinking about including Canon.

"GH4 - Long battery, crazy reliable, 4K, slow mo etc. Only downside is the smaller sensor."

And even lower DR.

Of the two you have left I would personally go for the A7sii (but given the choice of anything, none of them).
Mainly because of the FF sensor, wider DR, imo better EVF, IBIS and the lovley E-mount.

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