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In need of some recommendations.


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Hi Guys. Pretty new here, but getting heavily involved in the video side again after working professionally as an audio engineer for the last decade. Major studios and big names and blah blah blah...

I have an A7II, which has served me super well for photos and stills but for video has always been "OK" for video. I do mostly documentary style sit down stuff for clients in the audio world. Lately, I have gotten some pretty good gigs doing live-shows in the city I live in, and I have been using a gimbal, external monitor and the whole rig has been great! Except in the low light environments of the clubs and venues have made the aliasing of the camera EXTREMELY apparent...

 

In my usual controlled environments, I do not experience it at all. However, in these run-and-gun situations and LED-lit scenarios, this camera has been falling apart.

I am in need of a new camera, doesn't need to be Sony, as I would be up to selling my A7M2 and all the lenses anyway.  

I would want 4K, high-bitrate (10 bit preferred,8 is OK) low-light compatible. Does anyone have any ideas? seems like there is a lot on the market.and I am not sure where to look.

 

Thanks!!

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1 minute ago, DanielVranic said:

I have heard mixed reviews on those. Im sure they can be fixed with Firmware updates. 

GH5s is a fine camera, but if you are used to shooting stills with the A7ii then GH5s will be a major downgrade. 10bit is not that important unless you are into some serious color grading. 

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Just now, Don Kotlos said:

GH5s is a fine camera, but if you are used to shooting stills with the A7ii then GH5s will be a major downgrade. 10bit is not that important unless you are into some serious color grading. 

That's what I am feeling as well. the photos that come out of the A7II are so good. I know I, as well as my darling wife would not want to lose that!

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For some reason, I can not edit my last post, but I wanted to put out a list of cameras that have caught my eye, and see what you guys all think of them. Especially toward lower-light concerts, 4k quality, and alias/moire... unfortunately Adorama and B&H are only willing to give me 500$ for my mint A7M2 so my options 

 

1. Sony A6500

2. Panasonic gh4 - love to go gh5s, out of budget and these used on B&H and Adorama would allow me to get a lens or two..

3  Sony A7RII - this is at the limit of my budget sadly

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Low light wise you're not going to get any better than Sony. But there are other considerations: you said that you're shooting live events? Do you have to record non stop for longer than 30 minutes? Sony cameras are limited to 30 minutes for each clip, their battery life is atrocious (minus the A7iii), and they all tend to overheat if used for too long. In addition the rolling shutter on them is brutal. 

Still that low light performance and better auto focus is very attractive. 

The GH4 is very good but the GH5 improves on it significantly when it comes to low light. The GH5 (not the GH5s, which is much better at low light) isn't great at low light, but it's not terrible. It's auto focus isn't good, not even in the same realm as Sony or Canon, either. The stills are decent, depending on what you're using them for: for your average use they're more than adequate. I like the color science Panasonic uses and it is overall a more fleshed out video camera compared to the Sony cameras, with better menus. The battery life is fantastic. The IBIS is great. No overheating, no recording limits. 10 bit color. Ultra high quality bit rate. Very little rolling shutter.

Ultimately though it comes down to your priorities, what is more important? 

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12 hours ago, DanielVranic said:

I would want 4K, high-bitrate (10 bit preferred,8 is OK) low-light compatible. Does anyone have any ideas? seems like there is a lot on the market.and I am not sure where to look.

If you're looking for 4K 10bit internal on a budget then you really do only have four options (half of which are not even shipping yet!):

Panasonic GH5
Panasonic GH5S
BMD Pocket Cinema Camera 4K
Z Cam E2


If you ditch one of the three requirements of 4K/10bit/internal, or up your budget (say for a Kinefinity Terra 4K or a Panasonic EVA1) then your options open up considerably. 

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12 hours ago, DanielVranic said:

In my usual controlled environments, I do not experience it at all. However, in these run-and-gun situations and LED-lit scenarios, this camera has been falling apart.

This problem can be addressed. The flicker of LED can be avoided with changing the shutter speed. 

12 hours ago, DanielVranic said:

Except in the low light environments of the clubs and venues have made the aliasing of the camera EXTREMELY apparent...

Poor lowlight has not so much to do with bit depth than it has to do with noise and compression. As it seems (judging from the test and demo clips on YT), the GH5S really has an advantage there. But the Sony shouldn't be too bad. Minimize noise, choose the right profile and the right iso (you can't do much about the compression factor), most importantly: mount a fast lens!

 

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10 hours ago, DanielVranic said:

I have heard mixed reviews on those. Im sure they can be fixed with Firmware updates. 

What have you heard bad about the GH5S?

I haven't heard anything of note. 
(aside from some uncertanity around issues with their TC implementation)

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@DanielVranic Where I live (just north of San Francisco), a used a7 II sells for about $950. That might be the high end you could sell it for yourself.

I haven't used an a7 II nor an a7R II. I do own an a6500 and have also shot with an a6300 and an a6000 and an a5100.

Are your lenses stabilized? If so you might look into the a6300 which is a few hundred less than the a6500 (if money is really tight). Same AF as a6500 and same video performance. Just a6500 has ibis (not needed if you are using stabilized lenses on a gimbal, IMHO), and a touch screen. The touch screen is pretty meh though. The a6300 used to overheat very easily but recent firmware allows it to shoot longer now. It is improved, but not "fixed" IMHO.

The screen on the a6300 and the a6500 dims significantly when recording 4K. You get a mic jack on the a6500 / a6300, but no headphone jack. Not so much of a problem if yo are using an HDMI monitor.

You asked about the a7R II, and as far as I have researched (meaning I haven't shot with one), the negatives of the a7R II are the same as on the a6500, namely both have bad battery life, dim screens, bad rolling shutter... I believe the a7R II is supposed to be better in super 35 / aps-c mode than in full frame mode, isn't it?

Do you have to shoot in 4K??? The original a7 S is supposed to have very sharp and clean 1080p. They sell used for around $1K around here as well. So if you could live with good 1080p, maybe keep your a7 II for stills and pick up a used a7S for video?

a6500 is a really good stills camera (I make my living shooting stills with one).

But if you are looking to stay in the Sony world, i think the best options for hybrid cameras are the a7R III and the a7 III

 

 

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6 hours ago, Mark Romero 2 said:

@DanielVranic Where I live (just north of San Francisco), a used a7 II sells for about $950. That might be the high end you could sell it for yourself.

I haven't used an a7 II nor an a7R II. I do own an a6500 and have also shot with an a6300 and an a6000 and an a5100.

Are your lenses stabilized? If so you might look into the a6300 which is a few hundred less than the a6500 (if money is really tight). Same AF as a6500 and same video performance. Just a6500 has ibis (not needed if you are using stabilized lenses on a gimbal, IMHO), and a touch screen. The touch screen is pretty meh though. The a6300 used to overheat very easily but recent firmware allows it to shoot longer now. It is improved, but not "fixed" IMHO.

The screen on the a6300 and the a6500 dims significantly when recording 4K. You get a mic jack on the a6500 / a6300, but no headphone jack. Not so much of a problem if yo are using an HDMI monitor.

You asked about the a7R II, and as far as I have researched (meaning I haven't shot with one), the negatives of the a7R II are the same as on the a6500, namely both have bad battery life, dim screens, bad rolling shutter... I believe the a7R II is supposed to be better in super 35 / aps-c mode than in full frame mode, isn't it?

Do you have to shoot in 4K??? The original a7 S is supposed to have very sharp and clean 1080p. They sell used for around $1K around here as well. So if you could live with good 1080p, maybe keep your a7 II for stills and pick up a used a7S for video?

a6500 is a really good stills camera (I make my living shooting stills with one).

But if you are looking to stay in the Sony world, i think the best options for hybrid cameras are the a7R III and the a7 III

 

 

Thats currently where I am at... do I go to the A7r2 or the a6500... selling my A7ii with lenses could get me to the a6500+18-105 and totally break even....

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Both the A6300, and A6500 have pretty bad 1080p. But the A6500 has crazy good 4K. I would buy a Sony A7s over all mentioned for what your budget is. And you have lenses for it already.

You don't want a GH4 in this day and age. Not so hot in low light. Bu you can do worse. People seemed to be able to make them work and still do LoL. A BMPCC was even worse Low light wise and they work. What about a Canon 5D mk III and use ML at times?  Good way to learn how to grade and edit. Lots of love on here for it and a 80D.

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27 minutes ago, DanielVranic said:

Thats currently where I am at... do I go to the A7r2 or the a6500... selling my A7ii with lenses could get me to the a6500+18-105 and totally break even....

They both have about the same low light performance with an APS-C crop.

Rolling shutter is better on the A7rII and you can use the FF 4K as well for reduced rolling shutter and shallow DoF shots.

The FF 1080p from A7rII is very good as well. 

The stills that you can get from A7rII are amazing. 

Between the two, get the A7rII. But I would still try to save up for the A7III. You will gain better low light, better AF, better colors, amazing battery life, better slomo, faster to operate. 

For example as others have said, you can sell your A7II higher at other places like ebay/fredmirranda/craigslist. 

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My advice is bite the bullet and pay for a A7III.

I had a A7r II and moved to the A7 III. It's better in every single way except for megapixels. The video is better, the video autofocus is better, the body is more ergonomic, the batteries last more than twice as long (especially for 4K recording), the lowlight, the ability to record to 2 cards simultaneously. It is a far superior camera in every way. 

I avoid the A6300/A6500 due to the horrible rolling shutter on those cameras and the smaller body. 

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53 minutes ago, Geoff CB said:

My advice is bite the bullet and pay for a A7III.

I had a A7r II and moved to the A7 III. It's better in every single way except for megapixels. The video is better, the video autofocus is better, the body is more ergonomic, the batteries last more than twice as long (especially for 4K recording), the lowlight, the ability to record to 2 cards simultaneously. It is a far superior camera in every way. 

I avoid the A6300/A6500 due to the horrible rolling shutter on those cameras and the smaller body. 

Man, I wish I could. I unfortunately just can't make that $$ jump currently, and I have gig's piling up.

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