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David Johnson

All help would be appreciated - first camera ever

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Hey guys, I'm buying my first camera soon, and I'll be using it to mostly make short films. Skits, shorts, comedy, maybe even record music videos and some landscapes?

 

Hoping to find a camera that is versatile in it's use so I can use two or three lens at most while I'm learning. I'm doing as much research as possible before I even put a dollar down because I know it can be pricey. I'd say my budget would be 3,000 and lower with few accessories maybe. Was hoping I'd be able to move my experience and lenset from this camera run onto my next in a couple of years. 

 

I'm trying to find something that'll be able to last resolution-wise for the next couple of years as I learn and come into it. I'm hoping for something that shoots great HD 1080p 24fps right out of the box and more than likely i'll learn post production on H.264 and maybe move up to RAW or something higher eventually. I read that the workflow with RAW takes a bit of learning and processing power. 

 

Here are my thoughts thus far:

 

I've found a $1600 5D MKII body only, and I wouldn't know where to start with the lens. 

I've also found a$1700 6D body only [It doesn't have CF slots so I wouldn't be able to move into RAW]

 

I also saw that the D7 is getting RAW 1080p video soon from Magic Lantern, so I was curious if I should just wait around for that. Is this a guaranteed thing, by the way? ML isn't supported by Canon so they sort of just do their own thing, right? 

 

I've also learned about the VAF filters to combat aliasing on certain cameras. 

 

I saw the GH2[the hack looked very nice], GH3, and G6 and was wondering what my best option would be out of those three as well. 

 

The 5D MKIII is way out of my budget for now.

 

So, if you guys could help me ingest this brand new world of DSLRs I'd appreciate it greatly. 

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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

After having done only photography for 7+ years, I just made my first purchase as well into the video realm with the GH3.

 

I considered the following:

Canon 6D...lots of camera features, but not too many people interested in it in the video forums.  Problems with moire really that bad?  My instincts said to pass.

 

Canon 7D...dynamic range is really unnatural and outdated.  Waited for 7D Mark II announcement for 6 months and it never came.  I had 6 EF-S lenses, but even with that, I had to pass.  

 

NEX-7...great video, but terrible and unexpected overheating.  It's pretty old, so a successor announcement was likely, but I grew tired of waiting after many months.

 

NEX-6...No external mic jack, and the video seemed like a downgrade from the NEX-7.

 

BMPCC...it started shipping 2 weeks later than the time I needed to make my purchase.  But having watched many reviews, although the video quality you can capture is superior to any other cameras listed here, I'm glad I didn't choose it.  As in terms of being all-in-one reliable workhorse, it is the opposite of that.  You need to find workarounds for the battery, sd card incompatibility, focusing, non-tilting LCD, audio, and find a rig that's gonna hold all that together.  And say I got all that, it would have become something I did not want to carry.

 

Nikon D7100...A few samples I found online looked great, but no one really talks about Nikon in the videography world.  Surprisingly not too many samples on YouTube.  Without further understanding, my instincts told me to pass.

 

5D Mark III, the dream camera for video.  It is better than the GH3 when it comes to moire, noise at high ISOs, also my dream camera for photography as well.  Sadly out of my budget.  

 

Hacked GH2...in good lighting, it supposedly even takes better video than the GH3.  It has less problems with moire.  But in harsh lighting, or trying to recover shadows, the GH3 is far superior.

 

GH3, which I ultimately bought, was always highly recommended.  The argument that finally convinced me was that people professionally can and do rely on it and it always gets the job done.  Having been the early adopter of many first generation products, and having put on hacked firmwares on probably a dozen devices, I realized that hacked solutions always come with some gotchas and I didn't want to start off on the on the wrong foot.

 

My experience with the GH3.  The GH3 is everything that people are saying.  You can capture cinematic looking videos right out of the box and have some room to adjust the hightlights and the shadows to fine tune your shots.  The battery seems to last all day.  My existing SD card works.  With that said, I had to find workarounds for problems with moire.  Depending on the application, you may never see it, or you may always see it.  As in terms of harshness of moire compared to other cameras, the moire on the GH3 isn't that bad.  Audio is sometimes usable as is, but not always depending on your environment.  A clip-on mic is my next purchase.

 

Lenses, a lot of people try to cover the spectrum of distances and apertures, and then maybe throw in a prime when they make an initial purchase, but I think it is a guaranteed way to end up with lenses you won't be using later.  So just start with one lens.  There are a ton of tricks to get any shot you want (with some minor compromise) if you have enough space to work with or in post.  And when you've developed your own style, you'll know exactly what lens you need to take your work to the next level.  And most likely it won't be any of the lenses you would have bought initially.

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it sounds like you have a fair amount of control over your shooting environment. GH2 should be just fine but if you have the money, sure get the GH3. But GH3 is around $900-1000, for that you get GH2 and one of the nice SLR Magic CINE lenses..

 

Lenses, a lot of people try to cover the spectrum of distances and apertures, and then maybe throw in a prime when they make an initial purchase, but I think it is a guaranteed way to end up with lenses you won't be using later.  So just start with one lens.  There are a ton of tricks to get any shot you want (with some minor compromise) if you have enough space to work with or in post.  And when you've developed your own style, you'll know exactly what lens you need to take your work to the next level.  And most likely it won't be any of the lenses you would have bought initially.

Amen to this. Just buy a lens and start shooting, nobody else can tell you what you need. You will figure that out later yourself. If this is more of a hobby you wanna try out don't put too much money into it and buy too much stuff. You will get gear acquisition syndrome.

 

 

What did I do? I started with GH2, made some test shoots for a few weeks and then the GH3 came. Bought that and used for around 2-3 months (really liked it). But I ended up selling it waiting for the BMPCC. Got really frustrated over delays and just started reusing my GH2 that was starting to collect dust. Bought a nice lens for the GH3 money and couldn't be more happier!

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Hey guys, I'm buying my first camera soon, and I'll be using it to mostly make short films. Skits, shorts, comedy, maybe even record music videos and some landscapes?

 

 

If that is your main use, I suggest GH3, G6 or even a used GH2 if you can find one. They're just allround great workhorses when it comes to video. And with stills they aren't far behind a bigger sensor Nikon/Canon. An experienced photographer will take good shots with any of these cameras!

 

My recommendation is to not overspend on the camera body. The video technology in cameras will become a lot better in the coming years and you might want to upgrade in 3 years or so. Regarding still photography, it's becoming increasingly more difficult to improve on the current quality.

 

Good lenses can be used for a really long time if you take good care of them. Same thing goes for audio recording equipment. I don't think we'll see any major breakthroughs in either of those areas in a long time. So, money put on audio gear/optics is well invested money.

 

Regarding lenses:

- Zooms for m4/3 often have image stabilisation, and that can be really great when shooting video.

- You can find a lot of cheap used prime lenses that are still great. I'd suggest to find some cheaper prime that you can try out and see if you like or not. Trying & experimenting is in my opinion the best way to learn when it comes to photo/video, and I think it is important to get to know both zooms and primes - right tool for the right job.

 

If I look at the current tech on cameras today, my future predictions of camera tech in 5 years time:

- There will be better compressed formats like H.265 in cameras

- The better compression will make it possible to use 4:4:4, 4:2:2 and 4:2:0 10-bit encoding, which gives a lot more possibilities for working with colors and adjustments in post production than today's 8-bit formats.

- Lower end cameras will have better dynamic range and better performance in low light.

- Probably some better prores / raw solutions in addition to h.265.

 

What I lack mostly with today's cameras and the one I'm using now, Nikon D800, is higher color bit depth. A move from 8-bit color to 10-bit color would make for bigger file sizes, but it would also give 1024 values per color instead of only 256 values per color. Personally I don't mind a little bit of lossy compression when it comes to video - I rather have smaller file sizes than the current requirements for raw or higher quality prores.

 

 

...And remember - there will almost always be a better lens, a better camera, a better something. Best thing is to learn what the limitations of the tools you have are, and learn how to produce the best possible result with those limitations. That has always been the case with the cameras I've been through, from the old analog Pentax MX still camera that I started out with, to the Nikon D800 camera I have today.

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Okay, after tons of research, I'm going to go for the GH3. It is a huge step up from the GH2 in most aspects and by the time I've got a grasp on what I'm doing, maybe it'll be hacked and I'll be able to push it further software wise. I think the best comment I saw above was to not learn on hacked software. I could essentially hinder myself in a way. 

 

My next question is my lens choices-- I'm aiming to do video mostly, and have learned that you should always shoot in manual mode. Does this mean I should also only focus on lenses that have manual aperture? I'm looking for a lens that'll be able to give a shallow depth of field, produce great image quality and not necessarily run a hole in my wallet. If I'm spending around 1200 on the body, what lenses should I buy with the remaining 1200 that'll give me a good use and versatility for short films? 

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GH3 is a very good choice. You'll get stellar video, an easy workflow, cheap media cards, 60fps, and a headphone jack. It's the camera body I'm recommending to most people getting into shooting.

 


My next question is my lens choices-- I'm aiming to do video mostly, and have learned that you should always shoot in manual mode. Does this mean I should also only focus on lenses that have manual aperture? I'm looking for a lens that'll be able to give a shallow depth of field, produce great image quality and not necessarily run a hole in my wallet. If I'm spending around 1200 on the body, what lenses should I buy with the remaining 1200 that'll give me a good use and versatility for short films? 

 

Pound for pound, you probably want to be looking at this zoom lens -- the Panasonic 12-35 f2.8. She's a bit pricey, but it'll be a core piece of your kit for a long time, if you are choosing to go with the MFT mount: 

 

http://www.amazon.com/Panasonic-H-HS12035-LUMIX-12-35mm-Series/dp/B00843ERMW

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Don't forget to look at some old glass too. You can pick up a whole set of decent primes for the price of a new Cannon. Check out some local camera shops if there are any near you. I have a few vintage lenses that add a really nice soft look and I only paid 50 - 60 for each.

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