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captou

Camera for interviews

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Hi,

 

I need a camera for pretty much one purpose only: interviews.

 

Lighting and sound is covered so just need to get a camera.

 

It shouldn't be more than £800 all things included (lenses, batteries, cards, etc.).

 

I want to be able to get a nice shallow DOF, have a nice crisp image and I'd like to be able to grade the image (or the best I can get for the money). A reasonable low light performance would be good as well in case I need to wing it (for example, at an event). 

 

I know that there are some options out there and I'm liking the LX100. I've also looked at the GX7 and the Panasonic 20mm f1.7 combination. People here seem to like the D5300 but I wonder if I'm better off with, for example the LX100 in terms of video performance even if it means having a smaller sensor.

 

Should I be looking into other options as well or am I good to go with the LX100?

 

Thanks!

 

And I know these kind of questions get asked so often, but I thought as I need it for quite a specific purpose, I'll dare and ask :P

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I guess the limiting factor will be maximum recording time. The d5300 has a max. of 20-30min. Remember that you can buy a chinese lens turbo and some cheap 35-50mm manual focus lens and put that on any m43 camera which will give you background blur for cheap.

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I guess the limiting factor will be maximum recording time. The d5300 has a max. of 20-30min. Remember that you can buy a chinese lens turbo and some cheap 35-50mm manual focus lens and put that on any m43 camera which will give you background blur for cheap.

 

Thanks! I'm not worried about the recording limit because I'm usually in a situation where I can stop and start without losing anything important. It's never been an issue so far.

 

Can you recommend a particular lens turbo/lens combo with the right camera?

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I will pass on the question about the exact lens turbo model because I don't own any, but on the forum there have been a lot of talk about them, try to use the search.

 

I think the easiest way to answer your question about the camera/lens combination would be for you to post some samples of other's work that match what you want to do.

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I've also looked at the GX7 and the Panasonic 20mm f1.7 combination.


40mm FF equiv is too short a lens for interviews I think. I did that set up once with my Gx7 and it's just not very flattering for faces; too close and distorted.

You can get a 45mm f1.8 prime for M43 at a decent price. I use that alot for talking heads.

If you want something really cheap and just plan on using it for interviews in controlled lighting, you might even consider a used 5DII with a used 85mm lens.

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I don't believe any of those cameras have audio in.  So for Panasonic you might try the G6/GH3 In Canon, you can get an EOS-M for a song!  Magic Lantern runs on it so you can boost bit-rate (not that it makes much of a difference).  You shouldn't dismiss camcorders either, especially since some can be purchased cheaply.   A sony Nex7 might be good too.  For ease of use and crisp image I'd go with a Panny, either MFT or camcorder.  My 2 cents!

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Panasonic GH3 is pretty solid, however it will be more expensive if you want to get better lenses on it.

 

GH2 would be perfect since you will have enough money leftover for a speed booster which will vastly improve any old cheap vintage lenses. 

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I wouldn't get the D5300 when you can get the much cheaper D5200 instead. As you don't need WiFi or 1080p 60fps

How much room do you have? Nikon 50mm f/1.8G or 85mm f/1.8G would be the lenses to check out. But you might not always have enough space to back up to use an 85mm. Plus  you might still need some wide establishing shots?

I'd suggest however instead the Sony A5100, as you say sound is taken care of. 

It is a brilliant camera (like the A6000, but better and cheaper: http://www.eoshd.com/2014/04/surprise-sony-alpha-a6000-video-mode-huge-improvement/) that is going for an absolute steal these days! I just picked one up for myself last week. 

And you can pair it with an RJ Lens Turbo for even more shallow DoF and more light:

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Guest Ebrahim Saadawi

How about a 150£ Eos M with the kit lens and a little 50mm 1.8? And it has pretty good audio-in and you have money to invest on a decent Microphone and lenses.

The image looks great when shooting people, it just looks a bit soft when shooting wide landscapes with a bit of moire.

It's a great little camera to use fir video given how cheap it is now, and given that you are okay with the video quality of the 5D mk II, 7D, 70D, 60D, 700D, 600D, 100D, 1200D, they all produce practically the same video image.

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Thanks for all the suggestions! I'll look into all of them.

 

I don't need any sort of audio capability on the interview camera (as long as it records some for matching up purposes in post). The setup for audio is sorted. So it's really just the camera + lens(es) that I need to think about. And I can't really stretch the budget (it's been set for me).

 

How much room I have varies and I won't always know beforehand as I interview people in their offices/labs etc. but of course, I'm aiming to flatter them with beautiful images of their faces... so a portrait lens might make more sense!

 

My worry about the Canon cameras is moire, I've had that problem several times with the 600D with suits and netted tops. I can't always control what someone might be wearing so I'd rather not worry about that. I'd also prefer "real" 1080p if that makes sense. I want the "DSLR look" so I'll avoid the camcorders (I feel silly for saying this but people love it).

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My vote is for the GH3.

-No limit on the recording time: it just limited by the card space

-Audio monitoring tools:Levels, audio in, earphone output.

-No overheat.

-Good video quality.

-Little Moire and aliasing.

-Very efficient battery life.

-Robust body.

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I want the "DSLR look" so I'll avoid the camcorders (I feel silly for saying this but people love it).

Don't feel silly. The extremely narrow "DSLR" DOF is kind of ideal for interviews.

The key to getting good interview shots is to always have as much depth/distance in the background as possible and have the bacdrop behind the talking head be about 2 stops darker than the subject.

If you can arrange the space and subject to accomplish that you'll get decent interviews everytime.

FYI, I always turn off the lights in office space then do my own. Office lighting is horrible and almost never flattering.

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Guest Ebrahim Saadawi

Okay since you didn't like the 600D image the EOS M is not going to make you happy. Scratch that. I only suggested it for the extremely low price of 150£.

What I would get is a Nikon D5300 with the 18-55mm kit lens (for small narrow places) and a 50mm 1.8D for shooting beautiful portraits with soft backgrounds. The D5300 coupled with a 50mm at 1.8 makes enormously impressive images. It's sharp enough, has great colours, excellent in lowlight, and for me the image just looks better than the panasonics.

I suggest a D5300 + 18-55mm +50mm 1.8D. I suggest this combo to many friends and they're never happier each time. I personally shoot with it all the time even though I do own higher-end gear. But this combo just delivers unique, beautiful images and is small enough to carry with me anywhere.

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Don't forget to consider the usefulness of 4K for getting multiple crops/framings out of one camera (assuming you're finishing in 1080p). This can be useful for interviews.

I would also consider avoiding moire very important. In my (admittedly limited) experience shooting interviews, inevitably at least one of the subjects is always wearing the Super Moire Special print from Bob's Big House of Dancing Shimmery Shirts Warehouse. Aggravating!

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