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New Camera decision making assistance


jasonmillard81
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Greetings again.

 

I have tried for the past month working with ML raw and have not had the ease of experience or luck that I had hoped.  The time, knowledge, and dedication it requires is simply not where I am currently at to a degree.  Also driving this is the knowledge I have that newer cameras are capable of equal or near-equal quality in terms of image quality with nearly half the work required to produce pleasing images.

 

I finally put my 5d3 up for sale on Craigslist this morning and hope to sell it by weeks end.  I am also selling 2 KB 64gb 1000x cards as well.  

 

I own a Tamron 17-50 for ASPC, 50mm 1.8, and a Rokinon 85mm 1.4  I have no current intentions of selling them and will wait to see where my next purchase takes me.  I also own a Canon 60D in decent condition which I will keep purely for stills.

 

The two main contenders may be obvious, Sony a7s and Panasonic GH4.  The impending release of the Samsung NX1 may make me wait a few weeks before making a purchase.

 

I am about 50/50 a stills/video user.  I make short docs for my students in history as well as personal narrative/docs for travel, family, etc.  I have seen some excellent output on both the GH4 and a7s, and Dugdale's review has left me more confused than confident.

 

I am partial to just stop overthinking and go into the a7s realm, but would like to some advice on how you would proceed if you were me in my position with my needs and perspective.  Maybe some questions I should be asking myself, or things to consider (lenses, etc.)  4K is not necessary as the a7s 1080p is phenomenal and holds its own next to the GH4.

 

Thanks in advance and look forward to hopefully helping others who are on the fence.

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You said that you're a 50/50 stills and video user. Is the camera you're looking for purely for video and the 60D purely for stills? This is the first thing to consider in my opinion, mainly because there aren't many (good) native lenses for the A7s. The are more and better native lens options for the GH4. They do have some drawbacks though: focussing manually with them is very annoying and you can't use them on larger sensors... plus of course getting very shallow depth of field will be more challenging than when shooting full frame. 

 

I currently own a 600D and a GH3 and prefer the GH3 in almost every aspect. What I dislike about the GH3 (or the mft system in general) is the lack of good, native lenses that don't cost a fortune. A 12-35mm f/2.8 that has an unusable manual focus and doesn't exactly allow you to seperate the subject from the background, yet costs close to $1000, doesn't really excite me. 

 

The A7s looks lovely for video but has too many drawbacks in my opinion: Battery runtime, lack of native lenses, weird issues with some light sources, rolling shutter... doesn't exactly seem like a camera you can simply pick up and get the shot. 

 

Right now I actually think that the Nikon D750 looks like a fantastic stills/video hybrid. Lots of native glass available, great AF system & speed and the video mode seems to be very very decent. I'm looking forward to Andrew's review. 

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Thanks!  I would like my 5d3 replacement to supersede my 60d for stills...I just meant I have 60d as a backup in the meantime if I decide to do some shooting.

 

I like to use my DSLR for both photos/video for my students making mini-docs and i'd say video quality is number 1 and photo is number 2....for photo i'd like to print my stills fairly large for framing.  I saw Dugdale do it with the a7s and said that 12mp didn't seem to limit too much the quality upon printing.

 

Battery runtime is a concern but I am sure I could purchase 1-2 back-ups in the event I need a long-time to run.  Again I don't shoot professionally or continually for hours.

 

It seems the advent of the D750 and D810 along with the NX1 means I should hold off until mid-October before making a major decision on which system to go to.  

 

Yet I wanted to start the conversation and get some educated and thoughtful discourse going in the meantime.  I look forward to follow-up replies by Andrew and others on my particular situation, which I am sure others are in.

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I can't speak from the photo side but for video we're at the cusp of several new technologies: 4K, h265, IBIS, and ultra high-sensitivity sensors, to name the main ones that I can think of. Buying a camera with one of these new features now would mean buying a company's first implementation of this new technology, and experiencing all of the bugs and quirks that go along with it. The 2nd Gens are always a lot more solid. Also, it shouldn't be long before we start seeing affordably-priced cameras that can offer two or three of the four; maybe another year or so.

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How happy are you with the  60D's photo quality first? Do you want a big upgrade from that? Despite the smaller sensor the GH4 will be an upgrade over the 60D stills-wise.

 

I really don't like the A7 cameras despite their image quality. There's something about the UI that throws me off. And that supremely loud shutter is just a pain when trying to maximise stability.

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I can't speak from the photo side but for video we're at the cusp of several new technologies: 4K, h265, IBIS, and ultra high-sensitivity sensors, to name the main ones that I can think of. Buying a camera with one of these new features now would mean buying a company's first implementation of this new technology, and experiencing all of the bugs and quirks that go along with it. The 2nd Gens are always a lot more solid. Also, it shouldn't be long before we start seeing affordably-priced cameras that can offer two or three of the four; maybe another year or so.

 

True, but exciting new technologies are always right around the corner, right? Sure the A7s and the GH4 are massive improvements over what was available a year ago, at least for video, but I'm fairly sure that the situation won't be any different this time next year. 

 

@jason: If you want your new camera to supersede your 60D for stills, but want to keep your 60D as a back up camera... well in that case it doesn't make sense to me that you sold your 5D3. Of course you can buy whatever camera and put an whatever-to-EF speedbooster on there, but autofocus won't be as good anymore and to me that's fairly important when it comes to shooting stills. 

 

Quality-wise, the GH3 is better than my 600D and it's quite a bit more ergonomic. The image quality isn't massively different though, and I can't really comment on low light ability. I'm sure neither the 60D nor the GH3 (GH4 is very similiar stills-wise!) will come close to the 5D3. Two things I dislike about the GH3 both have to do with sensor size. First the aspect ratio is different, so your pictures will be a 4:3 aspect ratio instead of 3:2. I can't get used to 4:3, so I always crop the images to 3:2 - which means I lose another 4 megapixels, so consider my GH3 to be a 12mp camera instead of 16mp. Not an huge issue, but of course I'd prefer 24mp over 12mp. The other issue I have with the GH3 is the MFT sensor size and seperating your subject from the background. I currently own the Panasonic 25mm f/1.4 and the Olympus 45mm f/1.8. Both are fantastic lenses, no doubt about that. You can get very, very good background seperation with these if you move in close enough. What I really, really miss though is a general-purpose lens that creates a shallow depth of field. I bought a Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8 IS for my Canon and it cost me around $350. The MFT equivalent - Panasonic 12-35mm f/2.8 IS - costs almost three times as much and it's even more difficult to create a shallow depth of field because of the smaller sensor size. Plus it's almost impossible to focus manually with (almost) any of the native MFT lenses because of their aweful focussing mechanism. 

 

The Sony looks fantastic for video, although it's not as simple as picking it up and starting to shoot. There are some issues and post-production isn't as easy. And the Sony lens options aren't anywhere as good as the Nikon or Canon offerings. I'm looking for a camera that allows me to shoot both stills and video at the best quality possible. I doubt that the A7s (lens selection) and the GH4 (sensor size, lack of good lenses that aren't primes) will come close to the Canon or Nikon full frame offerings. 

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My main camera is the 5d3...like I said I am looking to most likely upgrade because of video...the ml raw files are just absurd in size and while post-processing is slowly becoming easier the setup etc. is still not ideal.  UI is something that one can adapt to assuming their open minded with that.

 

I have to sell my 5d3 to get the money to purchase a better DSLR that takes great photos and produces better native video than the 5d3.  So I think it does make a lot of sense as to why I am looking to sell it.  Make sense?  I need that cash to purchase whatever is replacing it.

 

I understand that whatever I replace (outside of Nikon 750, 810, etc) will be a quality sacrifice to some degree in photos, but since half of my desire to upgrade is video that is okay.

 

Fair points about Sony & Panasonic...Samsung NX1 may be an option when we get some real world results...also the new Nikon D750 looks promising compromise.

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I find myself in a similar situation to the OP. I just sold my Nikon gear because the sensor spots on the D600 were driving me up the wall when shooting time lapse, but I would like to replace it with something that has a decent dynamic range for stills and good low light performance with video.

 

Also owning a GH3 and several lenses, the GH4 should be the natural successor, but noise at high ISO's looks unattractive and the dynamic range for video (according to Cinema5d) looks weak against the A7s.

 

In theory the A7s ticks all the boxes, but the lack of 4k and dependency on S-log to attain a good dynamic range let it down for me. I would like to get pretty decent footage straight out of the camera without grading which I'm sure I'd be pretty bad at. I've seen very little graded A7s S-log footage on the web that I've found pleasing to the eye (but then beauty is in the eye of the beholder). I'm also puzzled that Sony promotes this camera as having 15.3 stops of dynamic range yet I've seen no independent tests that get close to this!

 

Of interest to me for time lapse is that both these cameras have electronic shutters which should extend the life of the camera. If you shoot a minimum of 250 frames per time lapse, then every 4 time lapses you've consumed 1% of a mechanical shutter's life with a 100,000 frame life span!

 

Let's hope the Samsung NX1 is our saviour! I Just hope the high ISO noise is reasonaby well controlled.

 

An outsider might be the Olympus OMD-E5. I think I've seen somewhere that an updated version of this is iminent. Since they've been a little weak in the video department and there have been 4k Olympus rumours, perhaps they'll give us 4k with on-sensor 5 axis stabilisation! Well it has to happen some time!

 

 

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If I was doing 50/50 stills and video I would just stick with the 5d MK III. It's not like you have to shoot it in RAW.
 
You can see where it ranks (RAW and nonRAW).
 
You are going to give up full frame for travel photography?  Or you are going to drop to 12 megapixels for travel photography?
 
I personally use a BMPCC and a T3i.  Maybe your solution is picking up another camera just for 4K.  That way you have a great photo camera, a solid full frame video camera, and a 4k camera.  Maybe the LX100 might work for you.  As someone else stated and even Dave Dugdale stated you won't have the lens selection with fast autofocus and IS like you do on the 5D MK III.  I have no desire to mess with manual focus when grabbing vacation and family shots.  I do that enough with medium format film and the viewfinders on those cameras are big bright and gorgeous.
 
A lot of these cameras are great but none of them is perfect... even if you just want them only for video.   And if you want them to do both then they are really far from perfect.  I just couldn't imagine shelling out $1,000 for a Panasonic 12-35mm 2.8.

Of interest to me for time lapse is that both these cameras have electronic shutters which should extend the life of the camera. If you shoot a minimum of 250 frames per time lapse, then every 4 time lapses you've consumed 1% of a mechanical shutter's life with a 100,000 frame life span!


So true. I use my BMPCC for times lapses instead of my T3i. It is much lower resolution but I don't want to destroy the consumer shutter in my T3i.
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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks all...I think the best of all of options is this:

 

Sell my 60D and Tamron 17-50 lens....keep 5d3 and my 50mm 1.8 and rokinon 85mm 1.4....save up for a a bit and purchase a GH4...a7s is creamy and nice in low light but the cost is such that i'd probably have to sell 5d3.

 

Now the dilemma is when using the gh4 do i go zoom or prime for mostly doc work...i say zoom and the question is should i get the Tamron 24-70 and a speed booster or go for the lumix 12-35

 

Also...I have the Rode NTG2 condenser mic...is that good enough to run audio through the GH4 or will I need a diff mic

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Now the dilemma is when using the gh4 do i go zoom or prime for mostly doc work...i say zoom and the question is should i get the Tamron 24-70 and a speed booster or go for the lumix 12-35

 

If you focus manually, then I would not get the Panasonic 12-35. It's basically unusable manually so you have to rely on the AF. 

 

Another option is to get a Sigma / Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 plus a Speedbooster which basically turns them into a 12-35mm f/2.0. Both have image stabilization, too, and the manual focus is actually usable as opposed to the Panasonic. One of these two + Speedbooster will be cheaper than the Panasonic 12-35mm. 

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Guest Ebrahim Saadawi

Why sell the 17-50mm? You can just use all your current lenses, Get a metabones speedbooster EF to m43s. The lenses will look and behave as they do on a 60d in terms of dof and fov. No AF though, that's the only reason you would buy a m43s lens.

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hey guys, i am having the same question here, beeing in the same situation. when it comes to great video but still not loosing the great stills then the 5d mark3 ML raw is the one to go. But most of the people are complaining about the workflow. With the new d810 you are promise to have even more still greatness and still the same quality in video with the new quality codec from nikon. So my questions are:

 

is the new codec deliverying the same or even quality to the mark3 with magic lanter raw?

 

i wasn't such a fan of 4k. I think a good 1080p is still enough nowadays. And i prefer the filmish look of the BMPCC over the more tehnical look of the panasonic gh4 4k.

and if you take the 1080p from a7s for example, is even better. So i really don't think that the res metter at the and of the day. But how is the d810 codec compare to what is a7s deliverying or the BMPCC one? i am not talking about really tough situation like really really low light or something like this.

 

and finally on the video poin of view, there is any diference between d810 and the new d750? i think the d810 is capable of raw footage over an exernal device, but that is all?

 

conclusion. As far as i see the new d810 could be a great tool having all the ingredients that you need nowadays. A great great sensor, a great codec, and a planty of lenses to choos from. And i heard that the nikon guys are making the firmware opne source, and if so it would not be long till some MAgic Lantern like guys will come with great goodies on this regard. Maybe a 4k or an internal raw something. What do you think?

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is the new codec deliverying the same or even quality to the mark3 with magic lanter raw?

 

A really good implementation of H264 can look almost as good as (or even as good as) ML raw right out of the camera. But when you try grading the footage, you'll find that H264 is highly compressed and not meant to be altered.

 

And i heard that the nikon guys are making the firmware opne source, and if so it would not be long till some MAgic Lantern like guys will come with great goodies on this regard. Maybe a 4k or an internal raw something. What do you think?

 

Personally, I would never buy a camera based on the possibility of a firmware update (manufacturer or third party) that would unlock new possibilities. 

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Gentleman...got the GH4 today...now need lens advice.

 

1. I own Samyang 85mm 1.4, Canon 50mm 1.8, Tamron ASPC 17-50 2.8

2. Should I get a SpeedBooster for these (will the speed booster work for both FF and ASPC Canon lenses?)

3. Should I get 12-35 Lumix

4. Other options?

 

If you need autofocus the 12-35 is a good option. If you - like me - mostly shoot video, I would go for a Samyang 12mm 1.4 instead. This lens in combination with your 85mm, 50mm and 17-50 lenses will cover most situations. These lenses are all good in low light so unless you need one more stop or wider angles, you might not need a speedbooster at first. You will of course need an adapter for your Canon glasses. This can be a cheap one from eBay or a speedbooster, which works with both FF and ASPC.

The Samyang 12mm does not fit on speedboosters, but you can get it in MFT-mount

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