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On trying to understand Canon and Blackmagic's strategy on cameras...


Andrew Reid
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How does this in any way effect your 5D Mark III purchase?

They are quite different cameras. The 5D Mark III has a much larger sensor, better suited to the EF mount glass you will use on it. It is much cleaner in low light and the form factor is better. It is much lighter, runs for hours on a tiny internal battery, has no fan, uses small CF cards, gets constant firmware updates and takes 22MP professional quality stills. Blackmagic have their work cut out to compete with it.

 

I still think that all those weaknesses aside, the BMCC still produces a better overall image, except in low light. In daylight it's no contest.  So i think they are pretty well matched (for video), with pretty clear strengths and weaknesses.

 

BMCC does comes with resolve, but the 5D's ability to do stills is huge, so if you have a real interest in stills, this has to turn the scale back in favor of the 5D3. But now with the BMCC only costing $2000, it's very competitively priced indeed.

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In day light I prefer the 5D's image in raw as well. Full frame rendering of the glass, smoother fine detail and less false colour speckles, less moire. Rolling shutter isn't as severe either, and crop mode comes in very handy when you want to grab a quick telephoto shot on a standard prime.

 

Both are a league ahead of the usual DSLR video quality though. Hell they are a league ahead of FS100 as well.

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Dslr sales are falling because the main manufactors aren't giving a good reason for people to upgrade.  They are repacking the same tripe for the past few years.  If they want dslr sales to improve, they need to sell their "regular" dslr with the same quality as their cinema line.  They need to innovate -- add more features, etc.  Perhaps make their camera's even smaller, etc...

 

In the audio/visual field, there are many manufactors who aren't losing sales.  For instance, you have gopro, you have blackmagic, etc.  Granted I agree with a lot of people -- we are at the point where the camera doesn't really matter for the film makers.  Movies and features can be made with almost any camera now.  HOWEVER, people do buy products that are "compelling".  Look at gopro.  How many people are actually going to go wingsuit flying.. OR motorcrossing?  OR swimming with sharks, etc...  However, these same people buy gopros by the boatload -- gopro's are "compelling".. they are the best at what they do at a price point where consumers will buy.

 

The dslr manufactors better start introducing "compelling" products @ a price point where consumers will buy or else they will be left behind... actually, they are already starting to be left behind.

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I think Canon just think it's weird there are this odd group of people savvy enough about image quality to care about moire but unable or unwilling to bring themselves to buy the C100 + Ninja 2 that gives you Canon's best sensor, best ergonomics, and best 1080p picture for only $6500 ready-to-shoot, batteries and media for a whole day of footage included.

 

A couple wedding shoots and that's paid off. A single corporate shoot and that's paid off. Entirely. Who are these people and why are they still insisting on DSLR kludges for video? Only dual-use with stills shooting in one body justifies it. In which case the 5D3 is pretty damn good and they let you use the Ninja with it or the RAW hack for $4000 ready-to-shoot batteries and media included.

 

I think the real issue is these people have this mental block about whether their work deserves a professional solution or not. The C100 is smaller and lighter than the BMCC and about the size of a gripped 5D3. The Ninja 2 is smaller and lighter than a V-mount battery solution for the BMCC and requires no more cabling. Plus it adds a handy peaking monitor, and records direct to ProRes 422 HQ in a mature implementation with review and even in/out point and favorite/reject settings via XML. People in that uncomfortable market segment just aren't willing to take themselves seriously...it's not the extra $2500. If it really was about money then camera image quality is probably far down on the list of daily compromises they might complain about.

 

So I don't think Canon particularly finds that segment helpable, and it's tough love to force them up into the pro level. Having the C100/Ninja 2 do I want to struggle with my 5D3? No, but I use it for stills and B-cam work without hesitation. Do I want to use Rebel footage at this point? Hell no but I've learned how to massage out a lot of the codec misery if I absolutely needed to. Below the 5D3 only the RX100 and GoPro Black make sense for me due to form factor and salvageable IQ (fisheye distortion correction, NR, etc.).

 

BMD on the other hand has its sights exactly on that segment, people who are willing to suffer to save that $2500. That's a surprisingly big segment given all the fuss they have kicked up. I would rather have one of the small Panasonics than any of the BMD products. And the rigging requirements, post workflow for RAW and its storage requirements makes it a pound foolish proposition anyway. The BMD option actually costs more than the C100 + Ninja 2 TCO for less quality and far more hassle on set and in post.

 

And that answers your bafflement: what's going on here, the anomaly, is based on this mental block, this self-esteem problem shared amongst that segment. It's not that they don't have money. It's not that they are unwilling to buy fancy toys or adopt a pro workflow. It's simply that the camera component specifically is a symbol of their stature that they are unwilling to bring themselves to amplify. It's sort of a modesty thing.

 

Get over it and go make something worth looking at.

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While there are many good points in this column it makes the error that the decline of camera sales stems from poor decisions among the camera makers.

 

The undeniable fact is that a gigantic new market for cameras was created by the digital revolution. This market is populated by a staggering number of people who have zero interest in what enthusiasts think, say or do. As such, they are motivated by ease of use and availability. Thus the smart phone trumps even the cleverest of P&S cameras. 

IQ is irrelevant to most of the market as even VGA was good enough to view on their phone.

As for video, we are talking about an even small market. My Dad astonished his friends in the 60's by actually splicing his own Super 8 and creating imaginative short films that we enjoyed enormously. The idea that the hobbyists of today are any different is delusional.

 

The biggest danger is that the loss of resources for R&D due to migration of sales to phones. While we moan that that camera maker X declines to add some new whiz-bang feature or upgrade to their products, THEY are finding it harder and harder to pay for the sparkly things we are asking for.

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