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Charlie

A Camera for 3 Specific Uses

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Hi all, 

My first post here but have been using this site as a resource for a long time!

I make short films and music videos, I also like taking stills, mostly portraits and definitely not fast moving things like sports.

I have been using a GH2 for a number of years now but the time has come to get something new. I bought the GH2 specifically for a short film I made that was entered into festivals and I am still very happy with result, I'll put a link below if anyone is interested to see what I achieved with this camera.

The GH2 just doesn't cut it for my anymore due to the limited DOF and low light capabilities when in situations I cannot light, let's face it, this happens. I'm just not happy with the image.

I have a new short film waiting to go into production so need to upgrade now. I considered renting but for a 4 day shoot, renting a body and lenses seems like a waste of money since I want a new camera anyway and I like the flexibility I have by owning the gear for the shoot.

I can afford an A7s, im also looking at the A6500 due to the IBIS but I dont think its a must have feature. If you look at the 2.00 minute mark of my short, that scene was shot with a 25mm f1.4 lens on the GH2 on a shoulder rig, no lens or body stabilization and I like the look. 

Long story short, my questions is....

Is this A7s a good body for my needs?? - short film, music videos, still photography (not fast moving) - I dont care about 4k right now either. If im using a shoulder rig and fairly short lenses, not having IBIS really shouldn't matter no??

My last short is here... 

Thanks!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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EOSHD Pro Color for Sony cameras EOSHD Pro LOG for Sony CamerasEOSHD C-LOG and Film Profiles for All Canon DSLRs

a7S is not a very good photo camera, for quite some reasons. I would never thought of using one for photos.

The obvious solution is to wait for the GH5, it must be pretty obvious really, and maybe the best value for money being the new G85/80 (GX85/80 is even a better of a deal, but for video and ergonomics, I would prefere the G).

Have you seen the threads here about the X-T2? Great camera, I would say 60% photos - 40% video (completely unscientific numbers of  course!) and the lens options are the best in APS-C sensors. Another such camera (more photo than video) would be the new Olympus as well.

With the same money of X-T2 (+ battery grip, you would need that for video) you can buy a slightly used NX1+16-50 S 2-2.8F ( I saw one earlier on ebay with an excellent and almost 500$ flash, grip+3 batteries, the aforementioned S, + the excellent portrait 85mm 1.4f for 2400$ or something, there are similar deals almost every week). There is a whole sub-forum here about that camera and the advanced mod/hack bitrate (up to 180Mbps H265, even more for some, but 160-180 seems very stable), but of course it is a discontinued camera which complicate things, but still is a very capable hybrid with 28megapixels BSI APS-C sensor and 4K video (it can be an advantage, even for 1080p projects) and really great ergonomics and touch screen everything.

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Thanks but I can't wait for the GH5 and I'm not seeing how Panasonic can ever improve light performance on a sensor that is inherently small. Micro Four Thirds is limted by its size unless the technology dramatically improves, but I can't see it.

I like APS-C and full frame - I would invest in a system which is discontinued though.

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You mean "I wouldn't invest on a dead system".

If you take the m4/3 crowd and NX out (by the way, the lack of options of true great hybrids is the reason the NX1 still sells quite well, there are new with warranty cameras out there), then you do not have much to look for.

Aforementioned XT-2, the a6xx (which I prefered staying and invest more to NX system than have anything to do with this series), a7Rii(more of a photo camera, but I haven't used one. A7ii, A7Sii and a6300 are the only Sonys I have used recently) and that's it.

Maybe you should seek a 2 cameras solution if you find the Fuji not that good for video; something like the D750 for photos and different one for video use.

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Since you're used to the GH2 with its limited functions (peaking, etc) and want to move to aps-c or full frame, then I would say in that price range, either the Nikon D500 for aps-c or the D750 for full frame. With the D500 you are getting excellent 1080p with the flat profile, plus a cropped 4K if you ever need it. Also the 1080p has an electronic 3-axis stabilization that is very interesting and gets decent reviews. The D750 is just an all around excellent full frame camera. There has been some great work shot with it and a lot of people will argue it may be the best full frame stills camera for... I don't know I don't really shoot stills but that's what I've read. 

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The XT-2 looks quite interesting, I had not considered that. Are there adapters readily available for older lenses such as the Carl Zeiss Distagon f2.8 T* 28mm??

I like to use vintage lenses for video!

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My area is the same as you and I just got the Canon 1DX mkII because it fits all my needs:

- FF for photography
-1.3x crop (right in between s35 and FF, which I really like) in 4k up to 60p for video along with proper 24p and DCI resolution.
- Internal 8bit 422 sure, but it's not limiting at all, that's more than enough data for pushing it around in post (both for color correction/grading and VFX).
- Great motion cadence since it's not Long GOP compression + fast sensor readout, RS is about 14ms. Not bad for APSH in 4k.
- Autofocus is wonderful, especially on the Canon lenses that support user defined speed of the pull.
- Great in low light, I could easily use 12800 ISO with just some color noise reduction since the noise is quite filmic thanks to the compression. Double that ISO if downscaling for a 2K finish.
- There are several "C-LOG" profiles out there now, but only one truly match the 1DC and reacts as it should to LUTs and profiles like Filmconvert that were created for the real deal.

Expensive? Yes. But I look at it this way: With this camera I got everything I need without external batteries and adapters and whatnot and all the problems I've encountered in the past like focus issues and having to charge a dozen batteries and keep track of all the little pieces. There is a lot of money I don't spend on rigging for power solutions and speed boosters, a second high res monitor (and more batteries) for a focus puller. It just works! And all the lens choices... Hidden gems like the 35mm/f2 are cheap and a knock out!

And Canon won't replace it next year with mk87 of minimal improvements like Sony and why should they? 4k60p will hold up for quite some time. This is a battle tested work horse that will last for years! It's very liberating to have all these features and not worry about the technical stuff like I've done with other DSLRs/mirrorless/hybrids in the past.

Oh, and don't let the size and weight stop you. It's extremely ergonomic and so well balanced that I didn't get tired at all despite going handheld (without any rig) an entire day. I was really tired before lunch with the lighter (and also well balanced) Digital Bolex, despite the comfy pistol grip and a small lens.

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44 minutes ago, Charlie said:

The XT-2 looks quite interesting, I had not considered that. Are there adapters readily available for older lenses such as the Carl Zeiss Distagon f2.8 T* 28mm??

I like to use vintage lenses for video!

.Metabones makes dozens of adapters for the X mount system

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The Canon 1DX mkii looks the bomb but its way out of my price range!!!...all my projects are unpaid right now, all made simply because I enjoy the process. 

The speedbooster option on apsc seems the way to go although id opt for a Lens Turbo. 

Could someone who knows for sure tell me, if you are using a shoulder rig with a non stabilised lens & body. Say a 50mm lens. Will the shoulder rig be sufficient to eliminate micro jitters?? 

Cheers ?

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2 hours ago, Charlie said:

Could someone who knows for sure tell me, if you are using a shoulder rig with a non stabilised lens & body. Say a 50mm lens. Will the shoulder rig be sufficient to eliminate micro jitters?? 
 

No.

 

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The Panasonic G cameras are really optimized for video - IBIS, articulating screen and touch screen, as well as a great UI. The Fuji is primarily a stills camera that just happens to have some of the best color out of an APS-C sensor. Fuji lenses are superb. If you're making a short film, it's not as if IBIS is the be all and end all: I would still use a gimbal for critical work (like walking around with the camera). So most of my shots with the Fuji have been on sticks, but with the f/2 lenses you could fly it on a small handheld stabilizer. So I am biased: I love Fuji's color enough to make some sacrifices. And I haven't sold all my Lumix bodies yet either. ?

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Great job, I'm impressed! Considering that you shot that on a GH2 I would say you have the skills to make any camera work.

From what I've seen, the 1080 from sony A6xxx series has been the "worst" out of its peers in terms of sharpness, from YT comparisons to the video tool on dpreview.  The dpr tool doesn't have the GH2 but it does have the GH3 and even that camera is better than the 1080 from the A6300.  To be honest none of the small 1080 cams look that great, but if you are for sure sticking to 1080 (why...when 4K downscale looks so good!) then why not consider the Canon C100?  Decent 1080 and lowlight capabilities with the FF look.  Plus it was on sale for like under $2K recently.  You really can't go wrong with that one.  Pair that with Tamron VC lenses and you should be set!

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I shoot live music stills and to me, the A7s is the best camera I have used.       I am not a video shooter as such, I just shoot the occasional song by putting the camera on a tripod, getting all band members in shot and focus and turning it on and letting the band do the work.     From time to time I might focus on a solo singer only for video.

The A7s can not use AFC for stills but for manual focus and AFS it is a wonderful stills camera and especially for low light.       I prefer it for my (stills) uses to the A7 and m4/3 and Canon and Pentax and Nikon DSLRs I have owned/used.

Paired with a lens like the Sony Zeiss 55 1.8 it is very nice indeed as well as with Canon lenses.      

 

From what is described in the opening post, I would think an A7s would suit a great deal.

The only things with stills are you cant print ultra huge or crop too much.      There is nothing like it at ISOs like 25600 and up with stills or video as far as I am concerned.

 

Edit, I also think the 28-70 FE kit lens works well for video with an A7s and is stabilized though again, I am no video expert.

Further edit.     The A7s is actually a reasonable camera in good light too, with greater dynamic range than just about all (if not all) M4/3 cameras and has the same DR for stills for instance at ISO 102400 as the GH2 does at ISO 3200.

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7 hours ago, scotchtape said:

Great job, I'm impressed! Considering that you shot that on a GH2 I would say you have the skills to make any camera work.

From what I've seen, the 1080 from sony A6xxx series has been the "worst" out of its peers in terms of sharpness, from YT comparisons to the video tool on dpreview.  The dpr tool doesn't have the GH2 but it does have the GH3 and even that camera is better than the 1080 from the A6300.  To be honest none of the small 1080 cams look that great, but if you are for sure sticking to 1080 (why...when 4K downscale looks so good!) then why not consider the Canon C100?  Decent 1080 and lowlight capabilities with the FF look.  Plus it was on sale for like under $2K recently.  You really can't go wrong with that one.  Pair that with Tamron VC lenses and you should be set!

Thank you for the comments, I firmly believe in skills over gear!!.....new short is much more ambitious and deserves a better image, there are quite a few outdoor night scenes in this project that will be very difficult to control the lighting, that is why I am reluctant on the GH4 or other micro four thirds cameras. Im fine with 4k downscaled, I just dont need 4k final output. I dont care too much about the body, there are always new bodies. I feel its better to go with a lens system that I can use on different bodies in the future so I can always keep the lenses. Right now my lenses are only good for M43 bodies.....or Blackmagic!

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What's your budget like?  That is always the problem :(

I feel like technology is progressing so quickly there is no "safe bet" for run and gun stuff.  So much new tech is coming out it's crazy! But if you are doing mostly narrative work and have time to control your shots, then Canon mount lenses are a no brainer since you can adapt a lot of lenses to that mount, and that mount is the very popular for adapting to mirrorless as well.  

The "problem" for you is that you will need new lenses no matter what camera you get if it's not mft - $$$.

Lots of people like the A7s but sometimes struggle with the color.  Also you need external rec for 4K.

If you do a lot of close ups and shallow DOF then you can make 1080p work for you (remember those Kendy Ty threads...) but any wide shot and the lack of definition really shows.  Just really depends on your style and what kind of look you are going for.  Some people love the old film look, but that's really not my thing.

Check out the sample vids of all the cameras mentioned... XT-2, G85, A6500, all in 4K downscaled.  They're really impressive compared to just a few years ago.  Next couple of years are sure to be even better!

I'm trying the Sony A6500 route because I feel like eventually they're going to get their act together and solve the horribad RS and heat issues, improve the touchscreen and AF modes during video and then it'll be unstoppable (4K mode).  It's like version 0.9 right now but can still deliver great images, just need to work around some issues.  For narrative work, the AF stuff is less necessary if you are doing manual focus, but its so convenient.  Plus, Sigma's MC-11 shows that eventually someone will get video AF to work with all lenses.  Maybe I made the wrong choice, who knows... But, I'm just some rando on the internet who hasn't made much $$$ from video either and doesn't do narrative, haha.  XT-2 is really good too, and next version will be even better, but you will have to wait for someone to make really good adapters for other mount lenses.

Good luck!  I'm sure you'll be able to make your next camera work for you whatever it is.

 

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If you do go the APSC route, with Sony, don't forget there is a stabilized 50mm 1.8 lens available (also works on the FF A7s in crop mode or FF with vignetting).

I would suggest at least trying out an A7s for yourself.      It isn't for everyone but from your opening post, I do think it may well be for you.

What lenses do you have currently?      You can actually mount M4/3 lenses on Sony E mount though most are pretty much pointless.

 

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2 hours ago, scotchtape said:

Lots of people like the A7s but sometimes struggle with the color.  Also you need external rec for 4K.
 

The latest model supports internal 4K recording.

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