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Whatever happened to the EVA1?


Andy Zou
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I got a GH4 when it came out and was pretty enamored with it; thought when it came time to upgrade I'd go with the EVA1.  Never got around to it, and it seems like not many others did either.  Did it just not compete well with the FS5s of the time?  So many cameras are out right now, it's been years since I've had to think about buying one.  In-between C200s and FS52s and FX6s... does Panasonic have something in that price range that's new?

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I think most people went Canon for EF lenses due to autofocus and others went Sony FS7/FS5 and so on for the larger range of camcorders and mirrorless mount.

If Panasonic ever do an L-mount EVA2 with dual pixel AF then it's sure to do better.

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The Panasonic EVA1 was a great camera, giving the power of an FS7 (and arguably a prettier picture too) in the smaller form factor of a FS5, but.....  it had a few problems, a few examples:

1) came out too late, the FS7 had already got a firm grip on the low/mid end market (same problem the C300mk2/C300mk3 suffered from)
2) lacked a MFT Mount, thus couldn't build upon the huge huge success Panasonic had created with the GH series (and the rest of their MFT range)
3) Panasonic lacked a history in the S35 market to build upon, unlike Sony or Canon (which had their older F3/FS100/FS700 or C100/C300 etc). Not even on the high end did Panasonic have much of a track recorder having not long ago (relative to the EVA1 launch) brought out their Panasonic Varicam S35. 

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I think if Panasonic had released the DVX200 a year earlier, with a  MFT Mount, so that the AF100 owners had a semi reasonable wait. (a 3yr-ish product lifecycle), and....

Then released the Panasonic EVA1 (again, with a MFT Mount) a couple of years earlier (again, that means a 3yr-ish product lifecycle after the DVX200 MFT) you'd have a very very successful product. 

As you'd have a Panasonic EVA1 MFT being launched in late 2015 / early 2016, only a year or so after the Sony FS7 launch, still soon enough after the FS7 for the EVA1 MFT to grab a large chunk of the market share. Plus the EVA1 MFT would be building upon the successes and large customer base of the DVX200 MFT / AF100 (& variants) plus all their other MFT users (especially GH series). 

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Great image, imo best under $10k at the time. But other cameras are close.

Lack of an EVF is another issue. The LCD is not good. Ergonomics are odd.

I'm not sure it was targeting people stepping up from a GH5 so much as people looking for a Varicam B camera. But it had issues either way (sharing a mount and sensor with neither). But imo the image is very good.

I think at this level you're getting stuff targeted more toward low end pros than high end consumers. C200 is weird since the raw codec is so heavy in post but the h264 is too thin. I think the C300 Mk II and FS7 probably have a worse image than the EVA1 or C200 but for owner/ops they probably make more sense in terms of ergonomics and workflow. I dunno.

Whereas for high end consumers or small companies not handing footage over to other clients but doing things in house, maybe a P6K or even S1H makes sense.

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4 hours ago, IronFilm said:

2) lacked a MFT Mount, thus couldn't build upon the huge huge success Panasonic had created with the GH series (and the rest of their MFT range)

The lenses are the solution or the problem.

Cameras live and die by their lenses.

Canon EF and Sony E mount are the dominant forces of today.

When 5D Mark II happened, pros realised they could use full frame lenses for video.

Instead of a fixed lens on a digital small sensor camcorder

So Canon could capitalise on the HUGE Canon EF lens market, and bring out C300

A Cinema EOS C300 without EF lenses = failure.

Same thing with Sony FS7... E-mount is very adaptable and works well with both of the most popular ranges of lenses today. Why would Sony users trade in E-mount for an EF mount on a Panasonic camera? E-mount is much more adaptable. And on Canon cameras it is the native mount so is designed for 100% compatibility and the AF is a big selling point.

So that's what made it difficult for the EVA1

I am sure Canon users looked at it and thought - nice - but don't think many switched - and I certainly don't think anyone switched from an FS7... there wasn't really anything to capitalise on apart from the nice image, and the fact it exists as an option.

EF mount on a Panasonic camera was a bit odd. Should have been an adapter at most. It's as if Panasonic recognised the reason for the C300 popularity and tried to copy it, but didn't give a compelling enough reason for EF lens owners to switch from Canon.

The lack of established (for many decades) lens range is still a problem.

L-mount has only just got going.

And the fact that most Micro Four Thirds lenses are not Super 35mm (although some are by design, and some cover any way) makes it difficult to justify M43 mount on an EVA1, although I'd have preferred it to EF by far.

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2 hours ago, Andrew Reid said:

EF mount on a Panasonic camera was a bit odd. Should have been an adapter at most. It's as if Panasonic recognised the reason for the C300 popularity and tried to copy it, but didn't give a compelling enough reason for EF lens owners to switch from Canon.

To add to this... The EVA1 was one of, if not the first to enable raw over HDMI. But then they're competing with the cheaper(?) Ursa Mini Pro, which also has EF mount, but internal raw and a great viewfinder if you want it.

Was the EVA1 also the first close enough to 6k camera on the market?

 

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Have one we still use with an S1H at work and still pumps out a really nice image in VLOG.  Being able to record internal 10bit on cheap SD cards was definitely it's advantage, as well as RAW/6k over HDMI. 

However, while light/small, it's body was cheap.  It had a POS LCD monitor that was impossible to see outside and/or pull focus and the side handle was notorious for falling off. 

In the end, the c300/c200/FS7/FS5 just was better out of the box for a run and gun camera, so I understand why eva1 fell into anonymity.  Would love to see a new version with L-mount as it did have promise.

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13 hours ago, Andy Zou said:

I got a GH4 when it came out and was pretty enamored with it; thought when it came time to upgrade I'd go with the EVA1.  Never got around to it, and it seems like not many others did either.  Did it just not compete well with the FS5s of the time?  So many cameras are out right now, it's been years since I've had to think about buying one.  In-between C200s and FS52s and FX6s... does Panasonic have something in that price range that's new?

I will admit that I am one of the ones that cross shopped the EVA1 with the C200. I ended up with the C200 mainly because of the lenses, AF, and build quality.  On paper the EVA1 seemed to beat the C200 in nearly every way (10bit, higher resolution options, etc.) but the C200 build quality, CLOG3, and even the cost made me end up with the C200. At the time the EVA1 was $6500 and the C200 was $5500.

I disagree that the EVA1 would have done better as a MFT mount. Sure they would tap into a huge selection of existing lenses, but they would also have limited their cinema camera to the same problems MFT always has...crop factor, low light capabilities, DOF, etc. MFT is great, I loved my GH5, but there would have been no reason to me to buy a cinema camera with the same size sensor as my GH5.

Now what would have been really cool is if they could have made the EVA1 have an adaptable mount and an in camera crop that allowed it to accept APS-C, EF, and MFT lenses. That would have let them tap into both Canon EF lenses and MFT lenses; that one feature may have made me get the EVA1 instead. Just like the fact that the one feature that was the deciding factor when I got the S5 was the availability of an EF mount adapter.

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It's because they brought out a camera that competed with current gen, rather than improved on it. It didn't have better AF than the C100mkII, or better internal raw than the C200, or an easier codec to edit than the FS7. It was billed as being the "smallest & lightest" cinema camera, but because you basically had to add an extra monitor, that advantage immediately disappeared.
 
While it competed with the FS7 on features (with a better image too), everyone who needed those features had already bought an FS7. And everyone who needed a better image than the FS7 had already moved on to Red/Arri.

I also think because it came fairly late in that generation of cameras, people knew that waiting another couple of years would deliver a lot more. Now at a similar price point we have the FX6, C70 and Komodo (among others) which have made the EVA1 largely irrelevant.

 

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19 hours ago, HockeyFan12 said:

I'm not sure it was targeting people stepping up from a GH5 so much as people looking for a Varicam B camera. But it had issues either way (sharing a mount and sensor with neither). But imo the image is very good.

But the Varicam S35 never really took off in a major way, thus the pool of users looking for a Varicam B Cam is extremely small. 

While the Panasonic GH series was a massive hit for Panasonic. 

Thus a Panasonic EVA1 MFT makes far more sense. 

  

15 hours ago, Andrew Reid said:

I am sure Canon users looked at it and thought - nice - but don't think many switched - and I certainly don't think anyone switched from an FS7... there wasn't really anything to capitalise on apart from the nice image, and the fact it exists as an option.

The challenge of getting Canon users to switch to an EVA1 EF is greater than the challenge of getting Panasonic GH lovers to upgrade to an EVA1 MFT as they already know and appreciate Panasonic products. 

  

15 hours ago, Andrew Reid said:

And the fact that most Micro Four Thirds lenses are not Super 35mm (although some are by design, and some cover any way) makes it difficult to justify M43 mount on an EVA1, although I'd have preferred it to EF by far.

An MFT crop of the EVA1 4.6K sensor would've still been sufficient for a 4K image. 

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11 hours ago, herein2020 said:

I disagree that the EVA1 would have done better as a MFT mount. Sure they would tap into a huge selection of existing lenses, but they would also have limited their cinema camera to the same problems MFT always has...crop factor, low light capabilities, DOF, etc. MFT is great, I loved my GH5, but there would have been no reason to me to buy a cinema camera with the same size sensor as my GH5.

An EVA1 MFT would've had an identical S35 sensor to the sensor to the current EVA1

Although the DVX200 shares its sensor with the GH4, and I reckon the DVX200 should've been MFT too. 
And would a "DVX300 MFT" for US$3K with the GH5 (or GH5S) sensor have been cool? Yes it would've been!
 

12 hours ago, herein2020 said:

Now what would have been really cool is if they could have made the EVA1 have an adaptable mount and an in camera crop that allowed it to accept APS-C, EF, and MFT lenses. That would have let them tap into both Canon EF lenses and MFT lenses; that one feature may have made me get the EVA1 instead. Just like the fact that the one feature that was the deciding factor when I got the S5 was the availability of an EF mount adapter.


This is exactly what I've been saying all along, the EVA1 MFT (ideally a locking MFT mount) would be able to use the widest of wide ranges of lenses: EF, MFT, PL, F, etc

 

7 hours ago, barefoot_dp said:

While it competed with the FS7 on features (with a better image too), everyone who needed those features had already bought an FS7. And everyone who needed a better image than the FS7 had already moved on to Red/Arri.

I also think because it came fairly late in that generation of cameras, people knew that waiting another couple of years would deliver a lot more. Now at a similar price point we have the FX6, C70 and Komodo (among others) which have made the EVA1 largely irrelevant.

Yup, I'll agree the biggest problem with the EVA1 is it came too late in the lifecycle of that generation of cameras. The FS7 already had a firm firm grip on the low/mid end range (and if you wanted something else than a FS7, you already had a lot of choice too). 

But the 2nd biggest problem of the EVA1 was the missed opportunity in not having a MFT mount. 

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I was an EVA1 owner for 2 years. 

The problem with the camera was that it felt unfinished. It wasn't the most reliable and took irritatingly long to change frame rates. It would crash often. 

The EF mount also made the small and compact body a bit heavy, because of the EF lenses. For handheld use, it would get quite straining after 5-10 minutes.

The 120fps + modes were disappointing. Just too soft. 

The spec was too late and should have been a bit more blockbuster, but the ageing FS7 was still spec'd better in a  few departments. An EVA2 would have a huge task now in beating the FX6. 

It has a lovely image though and is certainly better than the FS7 for that. I enjoyed using it and made some work with it that I'm very proud of. 

Overall, it was a solid effort but they should have gave it another year of development, under cut the FS7 and knocked it out the park! 

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Panasonic is easily my favorite consumer video brand.  They have my favorite image, favorite tools, and the best approach for video-creators, in my opinion.

The EVA-1 had a beautiful image and I did own it for some time. I agree that it really needed an MFT mount. The FS7 was so successful not just because of its specs, but because almost EVERYONE loved being able to use a speedbooster and their EF lenses on it. Same with the FS5. I knew a lot of owners of these cameras and only recently have people really started using native glass on them. 

With an MFT mount and the same sensor, users could have done the exact same thing on the EVA-1, while also having the option of using a 1.5x (give or take) MFT crop to use their MFT lenses and keep it small and light. And it did have a 5.7k sensor, so that would have been plenty for pixel-to-pixel 4k with an MFT lens.

--

At this point, I think Panasonic should really avoid going after the C300s and FS7/FX9s of the world and give us something completely different with the EVA-2 (don't even call it that). If they put out an EVA-2 with the normal "new" specs (120fps in 4k, HDMI raw, maaybe 8k in h265), then I don't think they'll pull many FX6/C300/C70 owners away.

Instead, give us a full-frame BGH-2 with all of those great specs, internal NDs, XLRs, and shake it up a bit. Z-Cam and the Komodo has shown that people really like this form factor. 

 

 

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It's tied with the Sony FS5 mk. I as the worst built camcorder I have ever handled. Absolutely a wonderful image. Varicam 35 quality in a compact form factor. Plenty of warm color rendering and lively skintones. It eats the FS7's lunch in this department. But the thing was built like a fortune cookie and the EF mount was non-sensical.

Panasonic has all the ingredients available for a top-tier modern cinema camera. 6K full frame sensor. Dual native ISO. 10-bit codecs. Refined RAW workflow. L-mount with an evolving lineup of lenses from quality manufacturers. Decades of broadcast camera experience and reasonable ergonomics. All it takes is the will to put it together in a compact modular package. $8K or less. Do it, Panasonic. Do it.

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Panasonic should shrink it down, go L Mount, give it prores and good on-board monitoring and it'd be worth a look.

If you hark back to the Mini DV days, the DVX100 was fun and neat. It had a sexier image and was smaller than the competition, so I think they should try replicate that again.

The S1H is nice on many fronts but they need a video camera with NDs and I/O with little to no rolling shutter.

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13 hours ago, BrooklynDan said:

It's tied with the Sony FS5 mk. I as the worst built camcorder I have ever handled. Absolutely a wonderful image. Varicam 35 quality in a compact form factor. Plenty of warm color rendering and lively skintones. It eats the FS7's lunch in this department. But the thing was built like a fortune cookie and the EF mount was non-sensical.

If they're priced the same, and I'm wanting an A Cam, I'd always picked an EVA1 over a FS5. 
Can't understand why you'd say a FS5 ties with it as "equal worst"??

 

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3 hours ago, mrtreve said:

If you hark back to the Mini DV days, the DVX100 was fun and neat. It had a sexier image and was smaller than the competition, so I think they should try replicate that again.

They did give it a rather nice follow-up:

DSC00572-1024x683.jpg

But I'm pretty sure that cam was also a flop at the $5K pricing with no internal 10-bit.

That said, I find the DVX200 sexy as hell in a throwback MINIDV/3CCD cam way.. and I'm sure in the right hands this was/is a very capable and surely fun to shoot with cam..

 

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3 hours ago, mrtreve said:

If you hark back to the Mini DV days, the DVX100 was fun and neat. It had a sexier image and was smaller than the competition, so I think they should try replicate that again.

Good point about the DVX100. I shot with once, years ago, and it was a blast. I miss shooting with a camcorder sometimes, so much so, I recently looked to see what was available and I was a bit surprised to see how far they've come along. The Panasonic X1500/X2000 has internal 10bit 4K. It looks like a pretty slick little camera. With its 1/2in sensor, it's like a digital Super 8 with internal ND and XLR inputs for less than $2000.

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