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Upgrading to an... older camera


yiomo
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I haven't been able to upgrade my A7s earlier as I planned, but now I am almost there. I need for some advice.

Currently I am employed as a content creator (with a salary so I cannot add equipment expenses/rental) and on the side I am freelancing, doing low budget web commercials and corporate videos. I have been filming for a while a personal project- documentary with my a7s, but there is still more to film and I have plans for more docs for broadcast and hopefully a short film soon. I know Netflix wants 4K but my last project which was sold on several networks was shot on good old 5dmkii. 

My budget is around €4000 but I haven't counted the need for lenses. I have canon EF 16-35, 24-105, 70-200, and a couple of primes as well a cheap sony zoom.

I have been trying to decide between the following: a7iii (yes an upgrade for me), a7siii/fx3 or to stretch my budget (go on credit) and go for the c70 or the fx6.

It seems that in order to have decent colours from Sony I'd need to get at least the a7siii, but still I prefer canon colours. Many people bash the c70 for the autofocus, but it seems to me to be working fine. So I almost decided for the c70, which is a stretch for me, but then I figured I'd need to sell all my lenses and get rf mount ones, which seem quite expensive or use an adapter which I don't know how it will affect the still not so great AF of the C70.

And then I had this insight. I don't really need the 4k. Just great colours, reliability, preferably audio inputs, and decent AF -something that dual pixel provides. So why not get a c100 mk ii for €2500?  It is way within reach and I have great glass to mount natively to it instead of spending more on new lenses. It would cost around €6000 to get both the C70 and the adapter!

What do you think about all this. Can you share some ideas? Please ask me if you need any clarification.

 

many thanks!

 

 

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Netflix buys non-4K stuff often, and even the stuff they commission is frequently shot on <4K cameras, including 2K Alexas.

Think about image quality not pixel quantity.

To paraphrase a quote from another industry: "If the pixels are sh*t, why would I be happy that there are 4 times more of them?".

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C100 mk2 is a great camera. Really good high ISO performance, nice downsampled HD, and very nice Canon color. Plus you get internal ND's and XLR inputs which are quite amazing to have. Also it has great battery life. It makes sense as you won't be able to utilize Sony's amazing auto focus as well using EF lenses. 

Honestly for me the two most important features on a camera are lowlight performance and color science and XLR inputs. I think you'll be making a great choice. 

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I used to own a C100 Mk 1 and shot a bit with C300. Love them both! C100 ergonomics are better imo but codec is weak and EVF is terrible. Haven't used Mk2. But it should improve on low light, EVF, and codec....

Only thing I'd add is it's nearing the end of its lifecycle and price might go down.

Or up. Used C100 Mk1 with DPAF sell for more than the $1299 they were EOL'd at IIRC. I think it is a winner.

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7 hours ago, yiomo said:

I have been trying to decide between the following: a7iii (yes an upgrade for me), a7siii/fx3 or to stretch my budget (go on credit) and go for the c70 or the fx6.

Do you think you'll be staying with your employment as a content creator for the foreseeable future, or instead soon going 100% freelancer? If the later, then spend the extra for an FX6 

Otherwise, with your EF lenses, perhaps get a Blackmagic 6K Pro for cheap? If it is just going to be for your personal / side projects. 

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I’m not going to recommend you any specific brand or model of camera but say only this, - I think we have already reached ‘peak camera’ from an image point of view.

Yes, above 4k, we can go 6k and now 8k.

Yes, we are getting ever higher mega-pixel counts. Unless it’s Sony where you can have high or ‘low’.

Yes, we are getting ever better lower light capability, dual ISO etc, (but you can always pop on a faster lens).

But for me anyway, there’s a ton of kit out there that does 99.9% of anyone’s needs.

I recently bought a new camera. It is a current model and though there are even more recent, smaller, faster, better AF models out there, I primarily made my decision based on 2 factors.

A: Is it enough for my needs? Answer = more than enough. I could have gone back a generation...possibly even two (though not with this brand/model) which leads me to...

B: Is it ‘future proof’, ie, does it only have a limited lifespan before it’s superceded with an updated even ‘better’ model?

The answer to the latter is pretty much yes as in I think it will be a very long time before it would need replacing other than technology changes in such a way it becomes like say a film camera today compared with a digital. Or it breaks/wears out.

In a nutshell, what I am trying to say is find a set up that meets as many of your needs as possible (because there is always some form of compromise!) and then use use use it and ignore the noise. ‘The Noise’ being GAS.

That’s my take on it anyway and the bottom line has to be what you produce from it and continue to produce from it, not what anyone else thinks or says. Or tries to sell you.

The (other) bottom line is I could have gone a step or two backwards with kit but decided to draw my line in the sand at approx 12 month ago kit and work with that for at least the next 3 years and 9 months.

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1 hour ago, MrSMW said:

I’m not going to recommend you any specific brand or model of camera but say only this, - I think we have already reached ‘peak camera’ from an image point of view.

I think you make excellent points but disagree with this part of your post, as I think we've been concentrating on the wrong things in camera development.

Specifically, we have way more pixels than we need, which you mentioned, but the missing link is dynamic range, which is still very immature in terms of development.

Almost everyone can compare an Alexa frame with a sub$2500 digital camera frame on a big TV and see why the Alexa costs more.  Under certain controlled situations this difference can be managed and the cheaper camera can come a lot closer, but in uncontrolled lighting and high DR situations it's quite obvious.  

This comparison still holds if you compare those images on a laptop screen, and even a phone screen in some situations.  The fact that the Alexa looks better on a 2.5K laptop display, or a 720p phone screen, means that the image quality cannot be about resolution, as the resolution advantage of the cheaper camera will be eliminated by the downscaled image.

What is left is colour science and dynamic range.  

We should be taking these 8K sensors, putting on the OLPF from a 4K sensor, and sending every fourth pixel to a different ADC pipeline with differing levels of gain, which are then digitally combined to get a very high dynamic range 4K image.  

The Alexa was released over 10 years ago, shot 2K, and had a dual-gain architecture.  Here we are over a decade later and we have cameras that have 16 times as many pixels, but still don't match the DR, and still don't look as good.  

The real "progress" that has been achieved by the manufacturers is convincing people to buy more pixels despite the fact that they really wanted better pixels.

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Having had and used both the Mki and Mkii C100, the latter is definitely a huge improvement in terms of usage. The DPAF is excellent and the EVF is actually usable! The only unfortunate hangover from the Mki is the codec. If you're planning to mainly use SOOC footage with minimal grading then yes, for the use case you've described it's almost a no-brainer. However, if you plan to grade to any extent you'll find the low bitrate 8bit files frustratingly thin.

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4 hours ago, IronFilm said:

Do you think you'll be staying with your employment as a content creator for the foreseeable future, or instead soon going 100% freelancer? If the later, then spend the extra for an FX6 

Otherwise, with your EF lenses, perhaps get a Blackmagic 6K Pro for cheap? If it is just going to be for your personal / side projects. 

Thank you. That sounds like a good reasoning. I am hoping to be able to do both side by side. My employment is flexible hours not an 9-5 office job, so I can probably still do some freelancing. The BMPCC Pro was something  I did consider, and I am very tempted to, but I don't feel very comfortable using my A7s for content creation anymore. The thing is that my employer does not have any equipment, besides some lights and I am not sure they would invest in a camera at this moment. I recently had to film an event with a quick turnaround and I spent time syncing the A7s files with my Tascam dr-60d and exporting...

If going to this more expensive route, what are your thoughts on the C70 plus my current EF lenses? Or The C100 mark ii?

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I'll confess to having an Anti-Canon bias (which is arguably justifiable when you look at Canon's track record of being a jerk to its users, just because they had them "locked in" with the popular EF Mount, Canon felt like it could swing their cripple-hammer wherever they like). Thus from the start, it is hard for me to look favorably at the C70 (even though, Canon's done a better job here than usual). 

In my opinion, the Sony FX6 is overall a better camera than the Canon C70 for the same amount of $$$$. 

And my prediction is that the Sony FX Series (+ VENICE) will be more successful over the next five year cycle than the Canon C Series will be. And it is rather beneficial as a freelance camera op to have the most in demand type of camera. 

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3 hours ago, MrSMW said:

I’m not going to recommend you any specific brand or model of camera but say only this, - I think we have already reached ‘peak camera’ from an image point of view.

Yes, above 4k, we can go 6k and now 8k.

Yes, we are getting ever higher mega-pixel counts. Unless it’s Sony where you can have high or ‘low’.

Yes, we are getting ever better lower light capability, dual ISO etc, (but you can always pop on a faster lens).

But for me anyway, there’s a ton of kit out there that does 99.9% of anyone’s needs.

I recently bought a new camera. It is a current model and though there are even more recent, smaller, faster, better AF models out there, I primarily made my decision based on 2 factors.

A: Is it enough for my needs? Answer = more than enough. I could have gone back a generation...possibly even two (though not with this brand/model) which leads me to...

B: Is it ‘future proof’, ie, does it only have a limited lifespan before it’s superceded with an updated even ‘better’ model?

The answer to the latter is pretty much yes as in I think it will be a very long time before it would need replacing other than technology changes in such a way it becomes like say a film camera today compared with a digital. Or it breaks/wears out.

In a nutshell, what I am trying to say is find a set up that meets as many of your needs as possible (because there is always some form of compromise!) and then use use use it and ignore the noise. ‘The Noise’ being GAS.

That’s my take on it anyway and the bottom line has to be what you produce from it and continue to produce from it, not what anyone else thinks or says. Or tries to sell you.

The (other) bottom line is I could have gone a step or two backwards with kit but decided to draw my line in the sand at approx 12 month ago kit and work with that for at least the next 3 years and 9 months.

thanks for your input. This is exactly what led me to consider the Canon C100 mark ii. For now I don't need the 4k and I don't have any clients asking me for that. A better codec would be preferable but I am ok if I can get good colours straight out of the camera. So for me this is my answer to "A".

Regarding "B " I am not so sure. I haven't been freelancing too long and the last year has been a disaster. It would not be a wise move to get a new HD freelance camera and after few months have people ask me for 4k. Although it has never happened, it might happen eventually.

So I guess the question comes down to what is this camera that meets the minimum requirements of being 4k,
having good AF for run and gun work,
good colors straight out of the camera,
preferably built in NDs
preferably IBIS
preferably works with my EF lenses
with a price around 4.000 euros.

Perhaps I haven't researched long enough, but I don't know if this camera exists.
 

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3 hours ago, MrSMW said:

The (other) bottom line is I could have gone a step or two backwards with kit but decided to draw my line in the sand at approx 12 month ago kit and work with that for at least the next 3 years and 9 months.

Yes, I do wish to keep this camera at least for the next 4-5 years. Don't like to run behind the technology's latest and greatest every few months and cannot even afford it.

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28 minutes ago, yiomo said:

So I guess the question comes down to what is this camera that meets the minimum requirements of being 4k,
having good AF for run and gun work,
good colors straight out of the camera,
preferably built in NDs
preferably IBIS
preferably works with my EF lenses
with a price around 4.000 euros.

Perhaps I haven't researched long enough, but I don't know if this camera exists.

Sony A7Siii with the Fotodiox drop in ND filter adapter that also adapts EF lenses?

I think that exists and if so, ticks all of your boxes no?

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29 minutes ago, MrSMW said:

Sony A7Siii with the Fotodiox drop in ND filter adapter that also adapts EF lenses?

I think that exists and if so, ticks all of your boxes no?

are you referring to the variable ND adapter?

Theoretically this solution could work, but I am afraid that adapted lenses will lose autofocus accuracy/reliability/speed. I will have to do some research on that.

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5 hours ago, yiomo said:

are you referring to the variable ND adapter?

Theoretically this solution could work, but I am afraid that adapted lenses will lose autofocus accuracy/reliability/speed. I will have to do some research on that.

The variable ND E to EF adapter does not support continuous auto focus in video. 

There is no camera that has built in ND's and IBIS.

The A7S3 comes closest to checking all your boxes. The only thing it lacks is ND's. with an MC-11 adapter you can use your EF lenses with good AF performance though not as good as if you were to use Sony lenses. I am not big on Sony color but slap on Emotive color's Alexa conversions and you'll be good. 

 

11 hours ago, IronFilm said:

Do you think you'll be staying with your employment as a content creator for the foreseeable future, or instead soon going 100% freelancer? If the later, then spend the extra for an FX6 

Otherwise, with your EF lenses, perhaps get a Blackmagic 6K Pro for cheap? If it is just going to be for your personal / side projects. 

The Pocket 6k pro is a good option if you can go without AF. OIS is a good replacement for IBIS honestly. 

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1 hour ago, TomTheDP said:

with an MC-11 adapter you can use your EF lenses with good AF performance though not as good as if you were to use Sony lenses.

From the reviews online, most people can only use it successfully in photo mode. Could you please share links that show the mc11 working with EF lenses on A7siii on video mode?

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1 hour ago, yiomo said:

From the reviews online, most people can only use it successfully in photo mode. Could you please share links that show the mc11 working with EF lenses on A7siii on video mode?

 

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  • Andrew Reid changed the title to Upgrading to an... older camera
31 minutes ago, yiomo said:

thanks. that looks like it does the trick. I'll ponder a bit.  The C100 mark ii and C70 are still options. Mostly because of ergonomics and color science.

The C70 is above your price range but its definitely a great option. Depends what you want to spend. 

I don't love Panasonic color but after using Emotive colors luts its a game changer for me. 

If you really love Canon though it makes sense to go with Canon. 

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