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Your gear of the decade?

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First off, great topic! I echo all sentiments stated earlier. I also think it’s amazing how far camera quality has come with regards to our phones. I first got an iPhone 4 in 2010. It amazes me that in just a decade video quality is just insanely good and it fits in our pockets. I once shot a film in college using a mini tripod and ghetto rig for stabilization on my iPhone (iPhone holders hadn’t been made popular yet and the lens didn’t have IS). Now all the cell phones have cameras with IS and no ghetto rig needed! Amazing!

My last .02 love it or hate it and technically not gear, would be YouTube. It has certainly made the idea of being a “filmmaker”, mainstream. Can we argue that “content creation” (cringe) is at an all time high and overly saturated with teal/orange (replace with lut of choice), 120fps 8bit “cinematic” content? Yes...but in that same regard, I feel like I am able to connect with way more people that are interested in this thing we call filmmaking, than when I stated getting into the hobby. Cheers to the next decade everyone!

 

((For the record I stated in 2014 with a d5200 and am currently on an a6500. ))

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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

 

I love Panasonic's Cameras. I had to choose between the Canon 7D and the Panasonic GH2, and I chose the GH2. Tried a couple of hacks and loved the video quality. I saw Andrew's famous B&W video with the ISO at 12800, and the whole thing seemed so surreal. I believe Panasonic's marketing and supply chain didn't push the GH2 enough, otherwise it would have been a lot more popular, on Indie Films, both shorts and features. 

I then got a GX85 and GH5. The GX85 is amazing for the size and great for travel, and the GH5 was atleast 1-2 years ahead of its time, when it released. I like the bright and portable lenses of the M43, most of all, I guess. 

I also use a Samsung S7 (I may buy an S11/S20, if it has a great camera) since its highly portable, and while I carry ILCs when I travel, I don't really like the idea of changing lenses or opening and removing cameras from bags, when I am travelling. Plus I tried a few softwares for upressing the 12MP photos to 48MP and they seem pretty promising. The final quality seems in between Instagram and ILC quality. 

I guess in 2020, if I find something that does High Res photos well (16MP+) and 6k on a smartphone, I may actually use a smartphone, for photo and video, even more.

I wish Blackmagic would push RAW into a proper DSLR/Mirrorless kind of body, with way better battery, maybe IBIS and general ease of use, right out of the box. I would like to pick up something like that too.

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I was a bit late to the whole photo- and videography party, so at the time I was picking up my first camera, GH4 was already available.
So was Resolve, Canon ML, Sony A7S, etc.

None of these were considered by me as groundbreaking, since I simply didn't realize what people had to struggle with before.

That's why I'll refrain from choosing anything video related, simply because I don't think I'd be objective.

BUT, my nomination goes to...

SanDisk Sansa Clip+

This little bugger has been with me for almost a decade, day in, day out. Hasn't failed me, yet.
And you know what? Even after all these years, nothing can surpass it. People still can't find any DAP (Digital Audio Player) that could be called its rightful heir.

It plays everything I throw at it. Battery lasts for over 20 hours, still. I can clip it to my belt loop or keep it in any of my pockets. Operating it doesn't require looking - almost if I was typing a text with Nokia 3310 - pure muscle memory.

And the memory card I use it with (128GB microSD) cost more than the player itself.

It's madness.

 

*Yeah, I may be a millennial, but I'm not going to listen to music on my phone anytime soon. Who ever thought it'd be comfortable? And wireless earbuds? Nah, plug me (and my 3.5 mm jack) in.*

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So far Davinci Resolve Studio, and the Sony cameras I've owned since switching from Canon. A6300, Z90, and currently A7iii and FS5.

Premiere Pro with all of its bugs and crashing made me hate editing, Resolve Studio has brought some of that light back.

Sony gave me better lowlight, 4K, awsome 120fps/240fps, autofocus, flat picture profiles, better DR, and great reliability. 

 

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BMCC 2.5K and original pockets image quality made my jaw drop. GH2 was the mysterious affordable super cam I never came to own. GF1 for being the most beautiful camera body in poor mans digital leica land. GH5 making awesome image quality a super common thing. And most definately Davinci Resolve. Exuse my diction, it´s late over here and time to go to sleep.

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My gear of the decade is also the gear that started my career: the GH2. That camera came around at the precise moment I started making the transition from photography to videography. It offered superb image quality with the hacks, but it wasn't magic. You still had to work hard for it to deliver the goods. It sucked in low light and had sub-par audio. I was a poor college student so I had to learn how to light with work lights and shower curtain diffusers and sync audio from a handy recorder. The GH2 made it all worth it though. 

I've always said that I couldn't have gotten my start at any other time in history. Any earlier and I wouldn't have been able to commit to the time and energy of cutting together DV clips. Any later and things would be too easy and I wouldn't be at the level I am today. The GH2 was the catalyst to everything for me.

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For me it´s the Blackmagic Cameras.

I startet with a Canon HV 20, recording HDV on miniDV-Tapes  and continued with a Canon 550D/Rebel T2i.

The first Blackmagic Camera I got was the Pocket Camera (during the summer sale) and bought the 2.5k Model a couple of months later. Even if there´s no extreme grading necessary, the pure and organic quality of the Raw- and ProRes-Files was (and still is) stunning and delivers beatiful footage. Having this much features accessable for a relatively low price was great and even though the BMC Cameras did and do have their downsides, they made it possible for me to create shots that looked just like I imagined them.

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29 minutes ago, Mr. Freeze said:

For me it´s the Blackmagic Cameras.

I startet with a Canon HV 20, recording HDV on miniDV-Tapes  and continued with a Canon 550D/Rebel T2i.

The first Blackmagic Camera I got was the Pocket Camera (during the summer sale) and bought the 2.5k Model a couple of months later. Even if there´s no extreme grading necessary, the pure and organic quality of the Raw- and ProRes-Files was (and still is) stunning and delivers beatiful footage. Having this much features accessable for a relatively low price was great and even though the BMC Cameras did and do have their downsides, they made it possible for me to create shots that looked just like I imagined them.

That fire sale summer was an amazing time. It was such a clear, wonderful message from Blackmagic, "Here, low-budget filmmakers. Go make something awesome." 

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If we are talking about workhorse gear, I'll choose the Sony A7M3. It does everything well enough which is important because I do both photography and videography. For photos, it is very very good. Not quite like the D850 but good enough for my professional work (event and performance). The video codec is decent enough and the color is not too bad. And once you are used to color grading the footage, the process becomes much easier and faster. All in all, exceptional camera which is good for almost anything. 

However, if it is about fun, my choice will be the Canon EOS M. I brought it really cheap during the $200 challenge. In my opinion, it has even better color than the current Canons. The white balance simply works. The codec is quite decent actually and held up much better than I had expected. But I will not use it for professional work, probably, but who knows? 

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On 1/7/2020 at 10:10 AM, MurtlandPhoto said:

That fire sale summer was an amazing time. It was such a clear, wonderful message from Blackmagic, "Here, low-budget filmmakers. Go make something awesome." 

It is a damn pity that era of "HALF PRICE WOW" never got repeated by BMD. Wouldn't two BMPCC4K for the price of one be great!

Imagine if an UMP G1 or even the OG URSA Mini 4.6K got offered at half price?  Dammnnnnn

Heck even now in 2020 many people would love to see a brand new BMPCC/BMMCC for US$500!
 

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For me the GH4.  It was such a joy to use.  Solid and dependable.  Battery life that meant I rarely had to crack out the spare, and frankly, could have saved money on not buying any further batteries if I had more faith!  It was the features and function buttons that got me - the first camera that I could really set up the way I wanted and work with like an extension of myself.

 Unpopular nomination - but I've also really enjoyed using Adobe Creative Cloud.  Yes, the subscription model is a pain, especially when work is scarce, but as someone who shoots, edits, and does a bit of animation, having all of those tools to hand in an instant has been fantastic.  Knowing that you have apps sitting there, paid for, has spurred me on to dig deeper into motion graphics and audio.  Also, thankfully, I haven't had the technical frustrations that others have experienced.  Using Premiere on Windows has been a mostly pleasant ride for me (though there have been some annoyances, both minor and major, along the way). 

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Haven't posted my #1 "gear of the decade" yet, as it seemed like such a tough choice, so so so many very very good options!

But then I realized the answer is clear: Zoom F8!! 

As perhaps I don't need to struggle over if the Panasonic GH4 or Sony FS7 or Sigma 18-35mm f1.8 or whatever is more significant, as those will likely all get mentioned anyway, but on this extremely camera focused filmmaking forum the Zoom F8 is unfortunately likely to be overlooked. And it shouldn't be!! Maaaybe it isn't THE gear product of the decade, but it 100% deserves to be mentioned and in the running. So I'll say it: ZOOM F8 is "the product of the decade"! 

Zoom F8, reinvented what was possible with the sub $1K recorders. Both in quality and features it was a big leap forward. (then you got the F4/F8n/F6 following afterwards, and even Sound Devices had to respond with their Gen1 and Gen2 MixPre series)

The term "game changer" gets thrown around loosely a lot with every new product launch, but the Zoom F8 truly deserves the title of "game changer".

Beforehand I was using a Sound Devices 552 / Tascam DR680 combo, which for the "Pre Zoom F8 Era" (maybe I shall call time "BF8" and AF8" now! haha, the current year is now 5AF8 ) was a pretty damn good low budget setup indeed!

But switching over to a Zoom F series was a massive leap forward! Wish I'd done it earlier (I was skeptical and didn't believe / understand the significance of the F8, but when the F4 got announced I leapt on that immediately).

 

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So I say the Zoom F8 stands out as the highlight of the 2010's, but if I gaze into my crystal ball, what will be the game changer for the 2020's?

(side note: what would be my runner up "product of the decade"? The Tentacle Sync would be a worthy consideration, definitely was a game changer with its very low cost and extremely small size. The Zaxcom Nomad / Sound Devices 664, and maybe even the 633 as well, would also be fighting it out for a spot as they were game changers themselves with their recorder/mixer integration and feature set)

Zaxcom Nova might very well be the #1 game changer for the 2020's, however someone might ask "But David, didn't the Zaxcom Nova come out in 2019, shouldn't it be your gear of the decade for the 2010's?"

Well, Zaxcom Nova hasn't even shipped yet, not in my country, there isn't a single Nova anywhere here. And the handful of very few units that did ship during 2019, I reckon it is still too early to call Nova a "game changer" because its impact hasn't been felt on the industry yet. (nothing at all like the earthquake event which was the Zoom F8)

 

I've hitched my wagon however to the Sound Devices 833, personally I won't be a super early adopter of the "all in one" approach (definitely isn't all roses and rainbows to go 110% all in on the Zaxcom ecosystem, there are downsides too). Likely during the 2020's then Sound Devices (or someonelese, Deity Microphones? Or could work in partnership with Zoom?) will in another generation or two (9 Series anybody?) release their own recorder with integrated Audio Limited wireless. The SuperSlot standard had already got them half way there.

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9 hours ago, IronFilm said:

Zoom F8, reinvented what was possible with the sub $1K recorders. Both in quality and features it was a big leap forward. (then you got the F4/F8n/F6 following afterwards, and even Sound Devices had to respond with their Gen1 and Gen2 MixPre series)

The term "game changer" gets thrown around loosely a lot with every new product launch, but the Zoom F8 truly deserves the title of "game changer".

I'm curious to know what you mean when you say that the F8 was a game changer, as in, what did it allow that previously wasn't possible, or what thing was made very significantly easier?

Genuine question - I'm not a sound guy so I don't really know.

For my suggestions of the GH5 I think it enabled professional results in a huge range of situations in a single lightweight package.  I know people were already doing the things that the GH5 is great at, but it pushed a decent amount in many many directions, like I can now shoot 100% hand-held without my films looking like I'm on a boat or shooting an action film, but also low budget doco makers could reliably shoot whole productions for TV from a suitcase thanks to the 10-bit internal, people that needed great slow-motion could get it, the anamorphic modes made scopes accessible for much less money, etc.   I also mentioned the early BM cameras as they put RAW (and therefore cinema quality results) into the hands of people for radically less money than it was previously available, essentially giving access to professional distribution channels (and their quality standards) to huge numbers of people that didn't have the funds to utilise these previously.

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1 hour ago, kye said:

I'm curious to know what you mean when you say that the F8 was a game changer, as in, what did it allow that previously wasn't possible, or what thing was made very significantly easier?


I'm going to give a camera analogy to help you understand:

Imagine if the only cameras which offered S35, 4K raw, 10bit 422, SDI outputs, TC, dual card slots, swappable mounts, LUTs, great AF, slow motion, NDs, waveforms, etc were cameras which cost $6K or even more. 

Then a camera came along which could do all of this for $2K, would you call that "a game changer"?

YUP!


Hmmmm... now I think about it, we don't have anything in the camera world like this!! Sadly. 
Perhaps a JVC LS300 mk2 would get more than half way there (if they managed to stick to the same price as the LS300 is currently). Or if BMD did a repeat of "the summer Pocket half price sale" but with the UMP G1 instead, that would kinda get most of the way to this dream scenario with a pricing only somewhat over $2K. 

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16 hours ago, IronFilm said:

Haven't posted my #1 "gear of the decade" yet, as it seemed like such a tough choice, so so so many very very good options!

But then I realized the answer is clear: Zoom F8!! 

As perhaps I don't need to struggle over if the Panasonic GH4 or Sony FS7 or Sigma 18-35mm f1.8 or whatever is more significant, as those will likely all get mentioned anyway, but on this extremely camera focused filmmaking forum the Zoom F8 is unfortunately likely to be overlooked. And it shouldn't be!! Maaaybe it isn't THE gear product of the decade, but it 100% deserves to be mentioned and in the running. So I'll say it: ZOOM F8 is "the product of the decade"! 

Zoom F8, reinvented what was possible with the sub $1K recorders. Both in quality and features it was a big leap forward. (then you got the F4/F8n/F6 following afterwards, and even Sound Devices had to respond with their Gen1 and Gen2 MixPre series)

The term "game changer" gets thrown around loosely a lot with every new product launch, but the Zoom F8 truly deserves the title of "game changer".

Beforehand I was using a Sound Devices 552 / Tascam DR680 combo, which for the "Pre Zoom F8 Era" (maybe I shall call time "BF8" and AF8" now! haha, the current year is now 5AF8 ) was a pretty damn good low budget setup indeed!

But switching over to a Zoom F series was a massive leap forward! Wish I'd done it earlier (I was skeptical and didn't believe / understand the significance of the F8, but when the F4 got announced I leapt on that immediately).

 

Is there any noticeable difference between the dynamic range of the Zoom and Sound Devices 32-bit recorders? I am asking this, because reviews are one thing, but real life use helps way more. And you're into professional sound recording. 

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5 hours ago, sanveer said:

Is there any noticeable difference between the dynamic range of the Zoom and Sound Devices 32-bit recorders? I am asking this, because reviews are one thing, but real life use helps way more. And you're into professional sound recording. 

Let's ignore 32bits for now, as in my world this won't ever get used. Could be literally years until I get asked that I must do a 32bit recording. 
24bit 48khz is 99% of what gets done when you're on set recording dialogue. 

32bits is more for the videographer who is doing everything (sound post as well) in house, or similar scenarios. 

So now for dynamic range, that would be the signal to noise ratio from the pre amps. Both Zoom F series and Sound Devices pre amps are very clean, you will not be able to tell the difference between them in a blind A/B test (however the Zoom H series.... yes you could spot them, they're much worse).  If you're finding either of them to be too noisy then I bet what is really happening is you're doing something wrong. (like recording with your boom from 4m away & expecting it to be clean, or the problem is earlier in the signal chain such as due to using Boya wireless)

 

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