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One Camera - For Life?

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One part of me feels that we are now in a era where it's affordable to pick up a camera that has an image quality that can hold up in the way and for the duration that film has.

With all the choices currently out there, if you could only choose one camera for the rest of your days, I'm curious to hear what you would choose and why?

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@ Shirozina. Thank you. Yes, content and delivery first.
To clarify, there is a wonderful collection of folks in this forum who, like me, have a long history across many cameras and projects. I'm curious to hear if they feel that there is a particular camera they would chose for the work they do that has an image that they feel will still hold up in the years ahead and next to newer tech? I typically work in documentary (broadcast and theatrical) so this is where my primary interest is. I know it's not very affordable to the masses, but I'd go with an Amira if I could only chose one for the road ahead. The C200 could be a interesting though I haven't put it through it's paces yet.

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4 hours ago, Shirozina said:

Cameras are disposable assets as the technology is in continual development. Having said that if you can't make a good film with what is now available (and available very cheaply) it's not the fault of the equipment......

That is literally what corporations want you to think and believe. Because it keeps them in business. That's not to dismiss the long history of evolution that brought us to this moment when the OP's question becomes completely valid. But it is to say that we could've gotten here much faster if camera corporations hadn't been intentionally crippling their tech. There will always be new scenarios, needs, etc, that require us to revisit the OP's question, but if people can't even see the OP's question as a valid one, then they're likely smoking from an addict's pipe, owned by a pusher named Canon, Sony, or something like that.

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7 hours ago, User said:

One part of me feels that we are now in a era where it's affordable to pick up a camera that has an image quality that can hold up in the way and for the duration that film has.

With all the choices currently out there, if you could only choose one camera for the rest of your days, I'm curious to hear what you would choose and why?

If one camera for life, for stills, I think one of the Leica models would be a good choice. They are lovely cameras, with amazing build quality. For video, well that's changing pretty quickly, so I think that's a tall order. You might get something that will last you for the next 5 years... but life is another matter. The combination of great low-light, skin tones, motion cadence etc.. are tough enough. But add in resolution, dynamic range, and features that are yet to be discovered and I feel we are not there on the video side.

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And just to refocus for a sec,
I'm curious just how much further a motion picture image can developed beyond what is currently available. In other words, who here thinks that we have largely reached a point where image quality can't really be improved so much that it would make a dramatic difference to what we already have currently available?

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55 minutes ago, User said:

And just to refocus for a sec,
I'm curious just how much further a motion picture image can developed beyond what is currently available. In other words, who here thinks that we have largely reached a point where image quality can't really be improved so much that it would make a dramatic difference to what we already have currently available?

I think"refocus" is a exactly one area where we will see dramatic improvements. Both in terms of better AF as well as in terms of changing focus points in post. Something we first saw on Lytro's camera back in 2016. 

We have a long way to go before we reach the limits of what is possible. And I haven't even touched on VR or AR.

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Yeah, image quality wise we are not going to see dramatic changes. Sure things can & will improve like rolling shutter, dynamic range,  codecs, sensitivity but none of these really hinder our ability to create a compelling image today. 

The dramatic shifts are going to happen on the computational side like DBounce said. 

But then again I am of the opinion that if you notice the difference between a shot taken with an Alexa and one with a Canon 2Ti, then the script is bad. 

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Video is my profession, but photography is my hobby, so I would choose a true hybrid. Samsung NX1 ticks the most boxes for me.

H265 video, 4K/30p, 1080p/120frames, DIS, a nice collection of native lenses (10mm fish eye, 30mm pancake, 45mm, 16-50S the ones I most use).

28mpxls BSI APS-C sensor, 15frames, great ergonomics (if not best in class), a modern AF system (even for video, but it starts to getting old now, still relevant though), great battery life, great touch screen, UI.

That's why I have two!

 

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DPAF was definitely a game changer but to Don Kotlos' point, that isn't going to make or break an already great story, or save a bad one.

I don't own an NX-1, but with the hack, it seems like a pretty future proofed camera. But if all I had to shoot with was a 5D MKIII with the ML hack, I think I'd be content based on my needs.

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Probably a C200 or EVA. Something that can serve as a jack of all trades and at least do a competent job at every type of job I might have.

I love blackmagic but the URSA mini would be a deal breaker in terms of low light.

Alexa and Mini and Red Helium would  be great but too large and probably not good enough in low light. Particularly the RED.

C200, I think. RAW for anything really important and built in codec for events etc.

 

 

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7 years ago a Sony F3 was $16,000 plus another $900 for S-log.  Now it can be picked up for less than $1,500.  Seven years ago the BMPCC didn't even exist.  It only started shipping 4 years ago for $1,000.  I picked it up a couple of years later for $500.

I can't even imagine what I will be able to pick up for $500 20 years from now.  Camera tech is advancing so much it is waayyyy too early to talk about a camera for life.  I see most of the components for a camera for life floating out there right now (DPAF, IBIS, raw, 10 bit 4:2:2, wifi, downsampled 4K, etc).  The problem is they are not all in one affordable package.  In a few years you will have all of that in a small package for a few thousand dollars on the used market.  I'm an amatuer so I need all the aids such as DPAF and stabilization that I can get.

Image quality wise there are definitely cameras out there that do the trick.  But the convenience factor and bells and whistles are definitely going to take a quantum leap.  I look back 5 years ago and no one in their right mind was talking about autofocus as a must have.  Then Canon dropped DPAF and most people changed their tune.

Another thing to think about is power.  With the decarbonization of society battery tech will take a quantum leap in the next decade or so.  We will have smaller more efficient battery tech.  People are researching things like instantly charging batteries and batteries that have almost an infinite life span.  Who knows which of these technologies will arrive in our lifetime.

This is just one lens technology currently being researched...

Quote

The advantage, Prof Capasso said, is that these "metalenses" avoid shortfalls - called aberrations - that are inherent in traditional glass optics.

"The quality of our images is actually better than with a state-of-the-art objective lens. I think it is no exaggeration to say that this is potentially revolutionary."

Those comparisons were made against top-end lenses used in research microscopes, designed to achieve absolute maximum magnification. The focal spot of the flat lens was typically 30% sharper than its competition, meaning that in a lab setting, finer details can be revealed.

But the technology could be revolutionary for another reason, Prof Capasso maintains.

"The conventional fabrication of shaped lenses depends on moulding and essentially goes back to 19th Century technology.

"But our lenses, being planar, can be fabricated in the same foundries that make computer chips. So all of a sudden the factories that make integrated circuits can make our lenses."

And with ease. Electronics manufacturers making microprocessors and memory chips routinely craft components far smaller than the pillars in the flat lenses. Yet a memory chip containing billions of components may cost just a few pounds.

http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-36438686

If this comes to fruition cell phone cameras will have sharper lenses than the lenses on current cinema cameras.  You can read the whole article.  These lenses are thinner than a human hair and can be made as large as 12 inches in diameter or larger.

20 years from now you will be laughed out of the room if you show up with a camera from 2017.

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4 hours ago, Damphousse said:

7 years ago a Sony F3 was $16,000 plus another $900 for S-log.  Now it can be picked up for less than $1,500.  Seven years ago the BMPCC didn't even exist.  It only started shipping 4 years ago for $1,000.  I picked it up a couple of years later for $500.

 


Actually, the firmware update for the F3 wasn't US$900 but US$3,800 for s-log!!

Crazy huh?

It dropped down to US$900 for the update when the F3 needed to be more competitive in price against the new C300.

 

4 hours ago, Damphousse said:

20 years from now you will be laughed out of the room if you show up with a camera from 2017.

Yeah, if you look back how far we've gone in 20yrs, or even just 10yrs, it makes it tough to predict what it will be like in another 20yrs! Let alone for the rest of time lifetime (which hope will be much longer than 20yrs!). 

Even though I expect the pace of technology to slow down for videography, just like it has slowed down for stills guys. (and so we see even the top notch guys skipping an upgrade cycle or two)

But even in the stills world, you can see a big change across 10yrs, and a massive change across 20yrs. 

4 hours ago, Damphousse said:

This is just one lens technology currently being researched...

Well sh*t, my thousands and thousands of dollars in my lens investments is going to turn into pennies on the dollar??

Welll... it isn't going to happen within the next 5yrs! :-) Or I hazard even ten years.

But in 25yrs, we might not see today's lenses the same way we see 25yr old lenses today. (I'd love to shoot on 25yr old Nikkors! And a nice collection can be quite valuable, but might a collection today's Sigma ART lenses be worth much much *much* less in 25yrs than we'd guess it would now?)

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The OP’s point is hypothetical. Obviously tech will get better as well as IQ, but if it didn’t and this is what we have, then what would you choose based on what is available now?

For me, with the budget I have now, I would choose the 5D3 with ML Raw, I already own. If I had a bigger budget, I would go with a C200... my only wish for the C200 is that they add... not a 10bit middle codec, but a 1080p Raw Lite version.

So, I guess for the future I would love a 5DC that shoots Raw Lite in 2K or 2.5K full frame with a small, even single input, XLR handle accessory. If Canon would release that camera at below $4000, I’d buy it tomorrow. 

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On 29/09/2017 at 11:47 PM, Kisaha said:

Video is my profession, but photography is my hobby, so I would choose a true hybrid. Samsung NX1 ticks the most boxes for me.

H265 video, 4K/30p, 1080p/120frames, DIS, a nice collection of native lenses (10mm fish eye, 30mm pancake, 45mm, 16-50S the ones I most use).

28mpxls BSI APS-C sensor, 15frames, great ergonomics (if not best in class), a modern AF system (even for video, but it starts to getting old now, still relevant though), great battery life, great touch screen, UI.

That's why I have two!

 

Indeed, the NX1 (with 16-50S/50-150S) produces the best video quality i have ever seen.
I like my GH5 for IBIS, 6K video, V-LOG etc but i prefer the 4k video from the NX1 (color, sharpness and contrast).

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