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Hi all. I need your opinions on a matter that has been troubling me during the last days :

In brief: the question is if it is a good idea to sell my 5dmk2 + 24-105 and buy a gh4(body).


Little background info about me: I am a filmmaker and photographer so I need good quality in both modes. I am not a "pro" in the sense I do not live from either arts but I have made short films (one award winning) and a feature documentary, that all have been in festivals.



The documentary I shot was made just with the 5dmkii / 24-105mm / manfrotto 055xprob tripod legs / 701hdv.

The reason I am saying all this, is to make a point that I am working low budget with the most budget equipment possible.


I have also participated in photo exhibitions and want to be able to make a large print (not billboard) but enough for a house (40x50 cm). Saying that I have left my photography a bit behind but I want to catch up. But I always, always wanted a more portable and lighter solution because I like to travel a lot also. And although my fuji x20 is great, it is not real substitute for photos from my full frame 5d. Not to speak about video.



The problem :

During the last days I have been considering purchasing a new lens for my 5d and also the possibility of getting the BMPCC - only because of the dynamic range which sucks on the 5d. I was thinking of slowly building a prime lens collection and the cine Samyang 14mm looked like a good candidate. Now, I have not been reading a lot about the developments (which are happening tremendously fast) in the indy/dslr world, mainly because my 5d works fine and also because I have no money to spare. But this last week was cursed! I caught up with some of the developments bmpcc/gh3/alpha 7 etc. and saw that there is a huge shift towards mirorless and hybrid cameras. So, as I was doing my research, I kept asking myself the question: does it make sense to invest in full frame glass? Will it be obsolete - for my needs?


The only advantage at the moment, as I see it, that the 5d has (and any full frame for that matter), is the shallow depth of field. I am not interested in entering a debate as many mirrorless evangelists do, who have created blogs about "why shallow depth of field is not so important" and "if you care about the shallowness of the dof it means that your vision is shallow" !!! , etc.

For me, this is something I like in my images and am not sure how easy it is to replicate this to the m4/3 cameras. I.e During the above mentioned doc I also tried the 550d and the image quality was horrible in relation to the 5d.  



To conclude, I am mainly interested in a pragmatistic opinion regarding the following two things:


a) Staying with the 5d/full frame in terms of investment. I am considered that in a year or two I won't be able to sell it, whereas now, I can get at least the gh4 (body) and jump on the m4/3 wagon. Yes I do need to spend a lot for a good glass that will be the equivalent of the 24-105.


b ) I know it is a bit early to make any conclusions but, on paper, the gh4 looks pretty good.


I would get it for (in this order):

1. Dynamic range

2. Better image (?) - ( Not interested in 4K for know but HD)

3. Variable frame rates

4. Portability

Weatherproofness is a nice thing to have but not so important for me.


I would not get it :

1. Because I am afraid I cannot replicate the dof of my full frame.

2. Stills not as good (?)

3. Because sony alpha 7 showed that mirorless full frame is something very possible and more full frame mirorless might appear in the future. Nevertheless the bulk will be the same with the big full frame lenses.


Thank you for your thoughts !!




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EOSHD Pro Color 5 for Sony cameras EOSHD Z LOG for Nikon CamerasEOSHD C-LOG and Film Profiles for All Canon DSLRs

Given that both cameras will give you great HD videos for festivals and great photos for 40x60 exhibitions I think you should restrict your focus on 3 factors:

1)weight: we know who wins here ;)

2)DOF. Consider the DOF of a FF@f/5,6=MFT@f/2,8

3)cost: I think buying a good canon ff lens costs roughly as much as selling the canon kit and buying a GH kit from scratch.


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Funny story, I actually went from hybrid to full frame recently. I sold my GH2 to get a 5D mkII and am using the RAW hack for video. I'm glad I did. crop sensors just were not my thing. Maybe, in some world, using both can bring good results? I understand we're not all millionairs, but having a 5D with full frame glass is far from a bad investment for photography and you can use your fullframe glass on your cropsensor camera.


GH4...let's just wait a bit. The footage i have seen so far is far from anything groundbreaking. I still prefer the RAW look of full frame 5D than BMCC, even though it in theory has more dynamic range.


But hey... OPINIONS

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No camera will give you the best of both worlds, video/photo or Portability/Professional Features


I have gone through a lot of cameras.  For background.  I currently use a Sigma DP1M for medium-format still quality in a small/inexpensive package.  I use a BMPCC with a 14-45 for video.  I use a Nikon D600 with 24-85 or 85mm 1.4 for portraits.  (I also have 24mm and 50mm primes which I don't use that much anymore).  I have an EOS-M, which I use as Magic Lantern camera,etc.  I also have a GF3 with a 14mm pancake which my daughter uses mostly now.


What you should keep in mind, about this forum, is that it is video focused.  So most people like my hero Andy :) will be more biased (thought also more insightful) about video.  


I have ABSOLUTELY no desire to carry, or pay for, full-frame cameras.  My experience is that the dynamic range, low-noise, color saturation benefits are real.  If you are serious about still photography, can afford it, and weight is not a factor, than full-frame is what you would use.  You can get shallower DOF in full-frame, as you point out, but that is NOT why I use it.  


Panasonic makes superb interchangeable lens video cameras that shoot decent stills.  As a stills camera, in less than perfect light, I believe the quality from your 5D will be much better, especially if you print large.


My biggest problem in suggesting you go with MFT is that I too wanted to go backward from my Sigmas and a original 5D I had.  Once you've worked with full-frame images you see that 3-d look and you, or I, get very fussy when it is harder to get back.


As a video camera, I would get the GH3 over the 5D (native video).  But I would not get the GH3 over the 5D hacked with Magic Lantern to shoot RAW.   So you should consider getting a 1000x CF card and learning ML and Davinci Resolve (or ACR workflow).


That is another thing to consider on this forum.  There are people who shoot mostly Panasonic H.264 video (which is best in class) and those who shoot RAW.  Panasonic lets you focus on shooting, composition, editing, etc.  HOWEVER, you'd have to be blind to not see the difference between H.264 shot footage and RAW based footage.  There's a lot to read on this forum about all that.  


If you want to focus on video, your plan has merit.  If photography is important, prepare for potential regret.   I love my BMPCC.  You can use Canon lenses on it with an adapter.  

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Personally I can't live with the small sensors for stills, I even bought some medium and large format film cameras recently because DOF always works better on larger sensors. 25mm f0.95 will give you very shallow but bad DOF, with just some part of the eyes in focus, large format gives you better blur in the background and better sharpness "rolloff" at the same equivalent aperture.

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Thank you all. It has been very informational.


Etidona, Andy, you wrote what I wanted to read... and very concisely. My only concern is I cannot test the whole m4/3 thing (aperture equivalence mainly). As my recording gear consists of one piece I am very hesitant for now. Perhaps when more reviews come out my concerns will disappear.


Michael, I have experimented a bit with Magic Lantern but it's not my cup of tea. Too much hustle, concerns about bricking and if I understand correctly raw on mark 2 has many limitations. I.e. it would be best applied to mark 3. These hacks are not even final... I really need a "proper" dynamic range solution that would be so better than the one I get now from 5d, that would justify the change.


Maxotics, for a moment I forgot the possibility of using the canon lenses with the BMPCC. This could be an alternative, and possibly a cheaper one. Of course I would end up with two bodies, which would be a nightmare when travelling. That was my initial thought but saying that, I am leaving in two days for a week long film festival and would like to be able to shoot video and photos. I won't carry my 5d but will get my x20. I was hoping the gh4 would fill that need. Also I am doing backpacking and one does it all body would be a bliss. But I understand your point.


I think I have a bit of thinking and prioritising to do before I decide. You've been very helpful.

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I had the same dilemma as you... but I quickly got over it.


I've had a 5D MKIII since it was launched and back then, the quality of the H.264 was decent enough. Since ML gave us RAW, I've been shooting nothing but RAW ever since. ML RAW is amazing and I never thought I'd own a camera that could shoot such beautiful footage as it does... Unfortunately, it is still only a hack and even though it is getting more and more stable, you cannot trust it on a paid job. It will crash on you or it will stop recording due to a bug and it will happen during an important take or during a moment which once missed will be gone forever.


This was unfortunate enough to happen to me a month ago and it was not a plesant experience. It actually made me look like quite a fool and potentially has lost me more work with that client.


I Pre-Ordered the GH4 without too much thought. It will without doubt shoot some of the best 1080p we've seen from a stills/video camera. Most of the sample videos being uploaded by testers are not so good, likely to be because they are photographers with no real interest in the GH4's video capabilities. A few good videos are starting to surface though. I really would like to see something shot with the Cinelike profiles.



I'd obviously love to stay with Canon as I've invested a lot of money on some fine EF glass and the thought of having to start from scratch with MFT is a little daunting, but exciting. It would be great if Metabones hurried up with their EF to MFT adaptor, but there is no sign of it still. I will most likely replace my EF glass with the nice SLR Magic Cine lenses.


Maybe Canon will suprise us at NAB, but doubtful.


P.S - Anyone in London should get to Jessops on Oxford Street tommorow. They will have a fully working GH4 there between 10am and 4pm. I'll be heading down there with a fast SD card... fingers crossed!

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I would really appreciate it if someone with access to a m4/3 or specifically the gh4 and a full frame could do a dof equivalence. Or perhaps someone could point out to me a photo comparison of a subject shot with a FF and a MFT at the aperture that would give the equivalent DOF. Although I do understand it from a technical viewpoint, It is still difficult for me to believe that the DOF of a FF@f/5,6 = MFT@f/2,8.


I think if this is really the case and I could come to terms with the fact that I would need to open the aperture x2 that could be the selling point for me. As I have been using for several years the 24-105 f.4 with satisfactory for me results, it follows that if I would purchase a lens wider than f.2, I would be at home. Right?

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A f/2 zoom with the 24-105 equivalent range does not exist in mft. You can get a 24-70 equivalent f/2,8


I know, i was speaking theoretically. I could use prime lenses for a given focal length, or the one you mentioned,  or the 12-35 f2.8.

The important think is that there *can* be an equivalent aperture to use on the m4/3 to create the same DOF. 


I will wait for now though. First for gh4 footage and then decide between that and perhaps the BMPCC as an addition to my 5d. The more videos I see online, the more I believe that the bmpcc has the best image quality (for me). Of course if i go this way I won't have the convenience of one body.. But I am thinking if I am going to make a leap to another system I should be 120% confident that that system deserves my time and money. Let's wait to also see the dynamic range of the gh4 as this is important.


One other thing I learned is that  bmpcc does 422 10 bit, without add ons, whereas gh4 does not. So, I am really curious to see those videos appearing.

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There's also lenses that cover that particular wide end even faster, like the SLR Magic 12mm T1.6 and then you can get equally fast or faster lenses at 25mm and 35mm, especially at 25mm where you have multiple T0.95 options which gives you the look and feel of a very fast "nifty 50" on a 5D.


And then of course you have the Speedbooster and all that it brings to the table.

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I know, i was speaking theoretically. I could use prime lenses for a given focal length, or the one you mentioned,  or the 12-35 f2.8.

The important think is that there *can* be an equivalent aperture to use on the m4/3 to create the same DOF. 


I will wait for now though. First for gh4 footage and then decide between that and perhaps the BMPCC as an addition to my 5d. The more videos I see online, the more I believe that the bmpcc has the best image quality (for me). Of course if i go this way I won't have the convenience of one body.. But I am thinking if I am going to make a leap to another system I should be 120% confident that that system deserves my time and money. Let's wait to also see the dynamic range of the gh4 as this is important.


One other thing I learned is that  bmpcc does 422 10 bit, without add ons, whereas gh4 does not. So, I am really curious to see those videos appearing.


On paper,..


for a gh4 in non 4k mode you'll need a 25mm at f1.4 (approx) to match the depth of field / field of view equivalent to what you're seeing on your 50mm at f2.8 on full frame.  


in gh4 in 4k mode you'll need a approximately an18mm f0.95 to get an equivalent of what you're used to seeing from a 50mm f2.8 on full frame.  


And thus, the m4/3 system becomes less and less appealing from the viewpoint of someone used to the full frame look.



the 'equivalent' we all use as comparisons is also a very loose term very few people consider properly.  for example, a fast wide lens on a small sensor will never resolve the same in/out of focus information in the same way as a longer lens on a bigger sensor, despite showing the same field of view and ratio between focused subject and maximum defocused subject.  The dof will be a lot less forced on the bigger sensor, and to me I find this a more attractive aesthetic.  This aesthetic tends to be cherished more by still photographers, hence the natural progression from 35mm film was to move to medium format or bigger.



It's harder to demonstrate the intricate differences, but it becomes even more apparent when you look at large format photography and their use of a 250mm lens for a 'normal' focal length and you see just how much control of in and out of focus subjects the photographer has at their fingertips.  and that '3D pop' you get.  The rolloff is completely different.

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You want the shallow DOF look so stick with full frame and get a 5d3 and experiment with MLRAW. Getting shallow DOF from M43 requires expensive and exotic fast glass and even then it's debatable if it actually convincingly achieves the 'full frame look'. I doubt the GH4 will have significantly better DR than the GH3 - Panasonic claim 1/3 stop better DR for RAW and this may translate into nothing for video. Stills quality from a 5d2 is better than from a GH3 (speaking from owning both) so that's another reason for you not to jump. I've moved my video capture like this 5D2 - GH3 - BMPCC. I actually hate shallow DOF cinema style and so the BMPCC suits me perfectly. Once you have used 10bit 4.2.2 in post you will never want to deal with 8bit 4.2.0 again if you can help it. For stills I still use the Canon system although I may get a Sony A7R and eos adapter as Canon don't seem in any hurry to update the 5d3 to competitive levels of DR or MP......

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I was in the same Position more than a year ago, where for me it was a tough call between the Mark III, GH3 and Alpha 99.


My need was a camera for 1. money making aka. image films 2. video art 3. fine quality pictures of friends and family

Beeing used to the Mark II (not mine, I didn´t own anything), the DOF question was quite a big one. I knew the flaws of the Mark II, moiree and aliasing can be quite horrible... also I didn´t like the handling and the beauty of a shallow DOF is quite hard to manage when beeing alone and the target is moving. So ultimatly I settled for the GH3, which was of course also the best budget solution, for I was calculating - I can buy this lens aswell, aswell as this, while with that camera I´ll have to do this and so on..


I was shocked when I looked first through the viewfinder, for I had never seen an electronic viewfinder. It was plain awful and made me question my choice, also the jpg engine of the camera is not the best. If you want good pictures, you got to shoot raw. but... video quality was really good and it was very fast and pleasant to use, an excellent run & gun camera. Sometimes on shooting I wished for a bit more DOF but it didn´t matter anymore when watching the clips, cause they just looked good. You don´t get the extreme DOF like 1.4 on FF, but I did never use that anyway for it is impossible to track anything.


As the others have mentioned, there really is no camera for everything. Look at what you are doing and decide for the best: tele or wide angle orientated? need for speed or time for a setup? portability, stealth, cost,...


Personally I´d wait to see what canon has to offer with their 7D upgrade, by that time there probably will be more GH4 videos around and make my choice then.

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Right now i changing my equipments (again), i will keep my GH3 for video works (until the GH4 been available) and now i'm in the process of build a Sony a7r package just for photo, but is not a easy task because the lack of good and affordable native lenses, i thinking of the Sony Alpha lens route but the adapter (LA-EA4) make the whole package bigger and heavier, but still loving the image coming from the a7/r series, i have some Canon FD and Olympus OM primes that i will use until can get a fast zoom for the Sony.

Change the Canon MKII for a GH4? anyday.

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Once you have used 10bit 4.2.2 in post you will never want to deal with 8bit 4.2.0 again if you can help it. 


Yes, Yiomo, you want to answer this question before making any huge changes. Also, Shirozina is talking in video compression language.  Another way to imagine it, is photographically.  Would you want to create a video using 24 frames of RAW files from your camera, which at 1080p would be 4 megabytes each, or would it be okay to use the lowest quality JPEGs from the camera, about 100k?  


Again, not saying you shouldn't go MFT!  In fact, I'm videoing an event Sunday where I'll be using Panasonic cameras because the round-table will take an hour and RAW would actually make the shoot next-to-impossible for me.  


Here is a post where I try to go into the details best I can



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Indeed the 10 4.2.2 bit question is there and I need to consider it. I am not interested in fast results i.e. corporate/news gathering but for the best image on a budget for films and docs (video + stills).


I do believe the tonality + DR of bmpcc are fantastic for my needs. Not just technically/scientifically, due to the video compression on paper, but also because I have seen the quality online. 


But just to make sure I have not given the wrong impression regarding my needs for DOF : I am not interested in the super shallow depth of field that a 50mm 1.8 on a FF would give. That's not for me. :)  I find it too impractical and not necessary. As I have mentioned I have been using successfully an f.4 lens and that is the maximum I would feel comfortable on a FF for video. If it was really important I would consider 2.8 - but not really. With this in mind + the "equivalence" with a x2 more open aperture, it seems that any 1.8 lens would be fine for me on a m4/3. 


So I guess, Shirozina you've nailed the real question I should be asking  myself at the present moment: Do I go for the 4.2.2 10 bit that is available now and keep my 5d for great stills or do I compromise with an all around solution that might be able to give me the dof for stills and video, but at least on paper looks like a worse choice in terms of iq. 


Of course all this might be irrelevant in a few months as new models surface dramatically fast...

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