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Best 4k PL cinema camera under $7k?


rokkimort

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5 hours ago, rokkimort said:

Right now it's down to Ursa Mini Pro vs Red Scarlet MX. If anyone has opinions about these cams – feel free to let me know. 


No brainer, the 4.5K sensor is better than the MX sensor. 
And the URSA Mini Pro has more features than the Scarlet. 
Also this is just my gut feeling, but I suspect once you look at the total cost of a Scarlet kit it will be notably more than an URSA Mini Pro?

 

5 hours ago, rokkimort said:

I have just sold the Blackmagic Micro, yes it's nice, but I want to have 4k, so f3 also does not work for me.

 


I strongly feel that in 2017 that 4K is not the right choice for a hobbyist who is not seeing a financial return from their investment. 

Exceptions: 
Mirrorless/DSLR 4K, they're pretty cheap (but even for someone starting out, I wouldn't recommend). 
JVC LS300, surprisingly cheap too. 
RED One MX / URSA Mini 4K / FS700 / BMPC4K, arguably these could be included, but they do have a heck of a pros/cons list you should carefully analyze before leaping in.

However, if you're the kind of person who drops $20K on a set of a golf clubs... then I guess nothing wrong with spending $$$$ on your film hobby too.

 

5 hours ago, rokkimort said:

GH5 produces videos, I don't like the footage I saw online, motion is not cinematic.


Do remember that 95% of an image is due to the operator / director / crew / post team. Not the camera!

And 99% of GH5 owners lack that. Unlike your typical RED Weapon / Arri Alexa XT / Sony F65 / etc shoot.

So yes, those *are* better cameras. For sure!
But don't make the mistake of thinking too much less of the GH5 just because of the typical user video. (odds are if they were handed a RED it would be just as bad/good!).

4 hours ago, Jonesy Jones said:

Still flawed though and there's no perfect cam. 

Exactly why you don't want to be spending $7K on a camera in 2017.

 

12 hours ago, Fritz Pierre said:

Completely agree with @IronFilm on this....$2000 yes....but $7000 or 10,000 or 20,000 has to pay for itself....good lenses are so much more important IMO to spend your money on, which is what I invest in long term...also +1 on the F3...a beautiful image for what you spend, if you want a Cine camera specifically, instead of a hybrid. Also the BMD micro camera produces a stunning image...far below the cost of $7000, as do a multitude of other cameras.

 

People often look at just the camera body cost itself, and think they can stretch to buy it, but forget the total cost of the overall system. 

A couple of years ago I wrote a blog post based around a GH2 kit:

http://ironfilm.co.nz/a-priced-out-gear-kit-for-a-newbie-to-filmmaking-using-the-panasonic-gh2/

Now the GH2 is a very *VERY* cheap camera to buy secondhand, but it is quite eyeopening the total cost once you add up everything else. Even if you try to penny pinch as much as you can in all the other areas too!

Shows how often instead of a newbie considering say an a7S as their first camera (not the OP... just giving an example!) should instead be going for a 2ndhand GH2 otherwise they'll run out of budget.

12 hours ago, Geoff CB said:

URSA pro is perfect if you don't underexpose. However I might consider the GH5 with a great lens set instead. I just wish the GH5 was super35.

Don't stress over sensor size, it doesn't really matter much overall so long as you have a matching lens kit for it that makes sense. 

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I haven't shot with the Ursa Mini Pro, but the footage I've seen from it and the projects I've worked on that were shot with it have looked really good. Like, really good. And people who own it love it.

I think the MX is cool and a real breakthrough, but I find Red's workflow demanding and it's OLD. The sensor itself is about a half generation behind the original C300 and to my eye the image isn't that much better... It's also really noisy under tungsten light, but everyone shoots daylight balanced these days anyway, or they tend to. But other cameras handle 3200K better. Red's current stuff is another story, of course, but so is the cost. The MX also needs a lot of light to look good.

While I agree with everyone who's suggesting that you either rent an Alexa or buy a dSLR instead, this is your hobby and the last thing you need is people telling you what you'll enjoy.  If you want to own the camera and shoot 4k, own the camera and shoot 4k.

 

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By the logic of some people if I don't want to make money with video work, I should not own a good camera?

I want to make creative good looking videos, I can't make money with that (at least not where I live). And I also have a job that I love and don't want to switch from.

 

Anyways, the choice between UMP and Scarlet X is not so obvious for me because I know that BM cameras could be a pain, you have to hunt for a good unit and it can fail you  on set. RED seems just a bit more reliable in this matter. I also don't really need the 4.6k, just the 4k. Also the MX sensor is a tad bigger and would allow me to have a bit wider FOV with the lens set I own, and maybe a slightly more shallow DOF.

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1 hour ago, rokkimort said:

By the logic of some people if I don't want to make money with video work, I should not own a good camera?

I want to make creative good looking videos, I can't make money with that (at least not where I live). And I also have a job that I love and don't want to switch from.

 

Anyways, the choice between UMP and Scarlet X is not so obvious for me because I know that BM cameras could be a pain, you have to hunt for a good unit and it can fail you  on set. RED seems just a bit more reliable in this matter. I also don't really need the 4.6k, just the 4k. Also the MX sensor is a tad bigger and would allow me to have a bit wider FOV with the lens set I own, and maybe a slightly more shallow DOF.

I don't think that's what people are saying. I think it's sort of the opposite. If you're working professionally you want to make sure you can justify the cost of the gear or else it's bad business. So there's no reason to buy an Alexa unless you can afford the crew to support it (and the roughly $100k investment up front)... and your revenue warrants it. Whereas if you're buying a camera as a hobbyist, your bank account (and credit) is the limit. I'd say spend more on other areas of the production, but if you have the money for a camera package and the rest of the production, go for it! 

I do think a bigger problem is that a dSLR or C300 or FS7 is a camera you can operate comfortably with a crew of one or two, whereas in my experience it's harder to shoot on Red on Alexa without a bigger camera department and a much bigger G&E department (the sensors are light-hungry). Particularly if you want to introduce more camera movement. And so that can add many thousands a day getting the additional crew and support gear, unless you have the ability to get people to work for free and have access to cheap rentals G&E and camera support. Frankly I find the Red MX and Epic to be a nightmare on fast-moving sets and very difficult to use as owner/op cameras, though to be fair I was using both of them a month or two after they first came out and they are a lot better now. This isn't meant as an anti-Red screed. The Alexa is just as bulky and requires a lot of battery swapping, too. It's also pretty slow, but the Amira is faster. I love the image from the Mini but not the ergonomics. They're all built for a bigger crew. 

So I think the hidden expense is the added cost in workflow and crew and time with some of those cameras, and that can add an additional five figures to the budget of a short easily... that is, if you're paying your crew and post team. But if you have that worked out, you've got it worked out. That's my only argument against getting a big expensive camera, but if you have that part worked out, go for it.

On the basis of image quality I'd put the 4.6k BM well above the MX well above the original 4k BM, which has a significantly worse image than the 2.5k. The  4k has the thinnest dynamic range and most fixed pattern noise I've seen in a cinema camera. But if you're used to shooting on film and lighting for film, you won't need any more light than that with any of these cameras, though you will need to be very careful managing your highlights on the 4k BM and to some extent on the MX.

What lens set do you own? Some lenses have strange corner performance with some cameras (I believe the Cooke Speed S2/S3s do with some Reds). I would rent all three cameras before buying anything. Anything with very oblique light rays in the corners can perform dramatically differently on different sensors and that won't be as apparent on a 2.5k converted to PL because of the smaller sensor only receiving the more direct rays.

But as for spending money on your hobby, do it! 99% of Porsche owners aren't professional race car drivers. Just get whatever is gonna make you happy. They're all nice cameras. You sound like you know what you want and to that extent can't really go wrong. I might envy you for having gobs of disposable money, but I think any of us would spend it just as irresponsibly if we had it.

 

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On Sunday, September 24, 2017 at 9:47 AM, rokkimort said:

By the logic of some people if I don't want to make money with video work, I should not own a good camera?

No. That wasn't what I was saying.

 

Plus a BMPCC / F3 / GH5 / FS700 / LS300 / etc are all very very good cameras in their own rights. Cameras with these capabilities that many indie filmmakers just a few short years ago would have given their kidney to get their hands on.

 

Anyway, my core point is just to keep things in perspective.

A camera is but a tiny part of the overall package you need to spend. Especially if you're an indie filmmaker just doing it for the love of it, there is a greater need you'll also have to have a comprehensive lighting + sound + etc kit as well. Vs if you're a professional owner op you might be able to get away with a bit more minimalistic kit, as you'll be hiring in crew people with that kit or having the budget to rent.

 

And like another commentor said, if you go with a cinema camera such as a RED ONE then it will place heavy demands on the size of crew and lighting package needed. Either that, or you'll find yourself severely limited with only a R1.

 

Also, if you're an indie filmmaker you'll be making relatively few films per year. Vs a professional who is using their camera day in day out every single week. Yet the likes of a brand new URSA Mini Pro will be experiencing very heavy depreciation over the coming years. Thus from the long term perspective I wouldn't recommend it. (Too often have I seen indie filmmakers blow the bank on an expensive camera that is the latest hot item such as say a brand new Sony EX1 or Panasonic AF100, only to sit sadly with it a few years down the track never having used it to its full potential)

 

So once you think about the total cost of ownership both initially and over the years, it is a sizeable sum. Now if you're the guy who can drop tonnes of money on his hobbies (I think the analogy I gave before was spending $20K on golf clubs?!) then sure, go right ahead and buy an URSA Mini Pro! Or Kinefinity Terra 6K! Or a RED Raven! Or whatever.

I have zero problem whatsoever with wealth, and people spending extravagantly if it is within their means.

 

But I was just pointing out that for most people they don't have that kind of money to drop on a hobby, once you all add it up. Thus for most indie filmmakers an F3 / BMPCC / FS700 / GH5 / LS300 / etc are the max camera spend it makes sense to do.

Note I said "most" and "max". Not "all". There are always exceptions!

Note also, I said "max". As I'd also say for the bulk of indie filmmakers a GH1 to G80 is the range where they fit in. Not even a GH5.

Too often I see new filmmakers with say a GH5 but only the kit lens!

 

They'd be better off buying a Panasonic G80 and putting the spare money into a few Nikon F mount lenses + focal reducer + redhead kit + C stands & cutters / diff + a few LED lights.

 

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19 hours ago, elgabogomez said:

The scarlet uses just part of the sensor an is an 1.87x crop from 35mm ff. The sensor read of the ump is bigger than that. Why do you "need" 4k and not 4.6k? 

Heh, & that is the same crop as a GH2 ;-)

And 4K really isn't needed by many. I won't get a 4K camera until next year, or maybe even the year after!

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