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BMPCC vs. a6000 vs. A7ii vs. GH4 vs. Samsung NX1


dogentricks

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I'm thinking about buying a new camera right now, and have about 1300~1400 dollars to spend on the body (total budget around 2,000 US).

I'm wondering what are everyone's thoughts in terms of the difference between the colors/general quality of the BMPCC, a6000 (now that it has x-avcs),  A7ii with x-avcs, GH4 with log, and Samsung NX1 (which seems to have great colors right out of camera). I know there was a huge difference between how much more the bmpcc looked like film when compared with say the GH3 or Canon cameras (not raw) a year ago, but how is the gap between it and the cameras that have come out recently? Do you feel the gap between prores HQ and x-avcs / log / samsung codec is still very large? Just trying to get a few more opinions before I make a purchase :) Incidentally I'd rather have good colors and a filmic look rather that decent colors an a shallow depth of field, but not by a large margin. Thanks in advance! 

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The codec itself doesn't affect image quality much. It's more about how the cameras process its raw information into that codec. 

From what I know, here's how I'd rate the cameras

Sharpness:

  1. GH4 / NX1 (4k)
  2. BMPCC
  3. GH4 (1080p)
  4. NX1 / a6000 (1080p)

Gradeability:

  1. BMPCC (by a large margin)
  2. GH4 / a6000
  3. NX1

Colour (this is really subjective):

  1. BMPCC
  2. NX1
  3. a6000
  4. GH4

Low light:

  1. a6000
  2. BMPCC
  3. GH4 / NX1

Dynamic Range:

  1. BMPCC
  2. a6000
  3. GH4
  4. NX1
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If you can, wait for the A6100/A7000. With the recent aggressive moves from Sony, only a similar APS-C camera is missing from them (4K, HFR, S-LOG, XAVCS? Perhaps even in-body stabilization?). The GX8 and E-M5II weren't it for me personally and the GH5 is still far away. The BMPCC is awesome, but unless you need the flat footage and look it isn't as flexible in other areas (crop, framerates, etc). The GH4 is still awesome of course, first thing next month we'll know more about VLOG rolling out. The NX1 is very impressive, but I'm not a fan of the mount/native offering. Wouldn't go with the A7II personally. It's not really for video production. The A6000 seems a great option, but like I said, I'm pretty sure in autumn they'll announce the A6100/A7000, which might be their video central APS-C mirrorless go-to cam. In your hands when Christmas comes around?

If you don't see the point in waiting and want to create already, you can't really go wrong with any camera out there already. I'd say though, the GH4 still holds decent cards.

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I'm thinking about buying a new camera right now, and have about 1300~1400 dollars to spend on the body (total budget around 2,000 US).

Total budget is only US$2k? Exactly how much is that meant to cover.... ?? If you're starting from scratch you should set your eyes far lower than any of those cameras which you mentioned in your subject line (except perhaps the A6000, some amazing bargains can be found with the A6000. Or even go with the A5100). 

Example how it can all add up once you start pricing it out properly:


http://ironfilm.co.nz/a-priced-out-gear-kit-for-a-newbie-to-filmmaking-using-the-panasonic-gh2/

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To modify a saying a bit, "If you don't already know what a BMPCC costs (in equipment and time) you can't afford it."  :) Seriously, BMPCC is only for people who have stretched the limits of compressed video and are willing to make VERY significant trade-offs.  I would cross the NX1 off the list because the platform is new.  Therefore, I think you should choose between GH4 and A6000/A5100.  

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The codec itself doesn't affect image quality much. It's more about how the cameras process its raw information into that codec. 

From what I know, here's how I'd rate the cameras

Sharpness:

  1. GH4 / NX1 (4k)
  2. BMPCC
  3. GH4 (1080p)
  4. NX1 / a6000 (1080p)

Gradeability:

  1. BMPCC (by a large margin)
  2. GH4 / a6000
  3. NX1

Colour (this is really subjective):

  1. BMPCC
  2. NX1
  3. a6000
  4. GH4

Low light:

  1. a6000
  2. BMPCC
  3. GH4 / NX1

Dynamic Range:

  1. BMPCC
  2. a6000
  3. GH4
  4. NX1

Yep, and one thing to keep in mind with BMPCC is that battery life is awful, and the screen is awful. You'll need either a bag full of batteries and/or external power, plus an external monitor.

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So, I've owned 2 of the 4 cameras you've mentioned: a5100 (basically the a6000) and the bmpcc.  I've sold both a little while ago, and just bought an NX1 body for $920 yesterday. Here's my take.

You still haven't given us much info on what your shooting style is, what kind of film/video work you'll be doing a majority of the time, and how much time is allocated or can be tolerated for post-production workflow.  Because as you know, all these cameras (probably except for the Gh4 if you shoot portrait, or the a6000 if you keep your grade simple) have some kind of workflow shortcoming or nuisance.  The BMPCC records RAW.  Nuff said there.  The NX1 needs h.265 > editable codec transcoding, unless you run it into a 4k recorder (which is $$$).  The GH4 can be dodgy and trickier to grade if you're shooting CineD or V, though it's marginally better than grading Sony S-gamut1 color on the a7s/a7rii even with log conversion LUTs.  Though, it seems Andrew's new GH4 LOG conversion system might help you get decent color faster and more consistently if you like his methods.  Finally, the a6000 is fairly decent to grade, but it's like the NX1 where you're grading "flat-ish" rec709 colors instead of dedicated log.

 

All of these cameras, considering their price point, needs to be cared for extensively in their setup during shooting in order to maximize results in post.  There's no getting around that..unless you want a Canon rebel.  So here's what I'll say.  If you don't know what kind of shooting you'll be doing, go with the GH4 and pimp it out cinematic-wise in terms of settings (EOSHD guide + other user experience info) as well as gear (speedbooster, anamorphic if you're into that kinda thing).  It's the most all around balance between all the cameras you listed, everything considered.  

The BMPCC gives you the most possibility in terms of looks at the cost of rigging cost and workflow time.  I also didn't like how inconsistent RAW could be in terms of detail.  The 1080p one minute was mind-blowing, and the next it was aliasing mush.

What I'm guessing is that the NX1 is great with rec709 color but bad with possible compression artifacts and grade possibilities.  That's fine, because I can work around both of those things.  I think it actually has the same latitude as the GH4 if not a bit more, based on tests.  Also, that sensor, in a well lit scene...you could mistake it for RED footage if the person didn't know. So that's why I'm giving it a try now.  The recorded file sizes are small, making it great for archiving footage.  It also makes the best photography camera out of the entire lot.  That's a big plus if you don't care for the 5D RAW workflow.

The a5100 I had...I know I can handle the NX1 rec709 colors just fine because I was doing it with SONY colors on this camera.  It's a tiny little workhorse that really brings out the photographer mindset inside you because of how easy it is to handle.  It feels like a toy.  The a6000 isn't too far off.  The XAVC-S codec holds up VERY well if you take care of your scene.  Gradability is actually really good for what it's worth.  A consumer camera.  File sizes are small here, too.  Just beware, this camera has aliasing/moire problems similar to the BMPCC.  Take care of your scene.

But again, all of these opinions of mine are based on the types of things that I shoot and the work that I do, which is a healthy mix of personal/short film work, music videos, fashion films, and corporate event work.  BMPCC fails here for all of that.  a5100/a6000 for video isn't as attractive for this work as the GH4/NX1.  A7s is amazing but a headache for color if you're not experienced and don't want to fight with skintones with almost every scene.

So, what do you shoot?

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Iron Film--thanks for the clarification. I already own a nice camera bag, sticks+fluid head, SD cards, decent variable ND filter (lightcraft), and an audio recorder w/ a couple mic set ups. The above budget ($2000) is more for camera body + lens (willing to buy used), though I know there will be some additional costs, such as batteries, viewfinder, etc.

J-one thanks for the awesome reply! I shoot exclusively creative personal content--mostly short films with only one or two actors, or travel pieces, and I usually have complete control over projects in terms of time, etc. Most of my target audience will be youtube users. Do you feel like Xavc-s from the a6000 is very far off of the bmpcc prores HQ?

Thanks everyone! really appreciate the feedback!

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Xavc-s is essentially the same h264 codec that's used in most other cameras. It's really not even close to the 10 bit prores of the bmpcc :)

Btw one thing I didn't mention earlier is that the bmpcc's dynamic range is only significantly better in RAW.  ProRes is much more prone to blown highlights. I believe with the right picture profile you might get the same dynamic range on the a6000 as you would with the bmpcc in prores. 

But even so, there is something special about the blackmagic image. So if you have the time to work with it then I say go with it!

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Iron Film--thanks for the clarification. I already own a nice camera bag, sticks+fluid head, SD cards, decent variable ND filter (lightcraft), and an audio recorder w/ a couple mic set ups. The above budget ($2000) is more for camera body + lens (willing to buy used), though I know there will be some additional costs, such as batteries, viewfinder, etc.

J-one thanks for the awesome reply! I shoot exclusively creative personal content--mostly short films with only one or two actors, or travel pieces, and I usually have complete control over projects in terms of time, etc. Most of my target audience will be youtube users. Do you feel like Xavc-s from the a6000 is very far off of the bmpcc prores HQ?

Thanks everyone! really appreciate the feedback!

You say "lens" singular, when it should be "lenses" plural.

I really believe a person should be spending more on lenses than on the camera body. 

So that means sub $1k for the body. Thus a Panasonic G6/G7, Sony A5100/A6000 or maybe a Samsung NX1 at a stretch (BMPCC ends up much more expensive with rigging/batteries/cards).

 

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yeah camera wars I am  hobbyist and interested in raw and working with raw then get bmpcc i have bmpcc and love working with raw in resolve and have bmpcc with 4 batteries which are dam cheap like 20 dollars i can shoot all day with no problem and its really small you can fit all of it in you pockets if you like i get some rely good images out that camera remember this is pro camera according to philip bloom you will need lost of work to get it to what you like

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Actually, I've found that you can easily just convert the image to BMD Film, right click, and add the BMD Film to REC709 V2 LUT if you just want a punchy, neutral starting point. You can then go nuts and push your footage around with all the benefits of RAW and LOG. 

It's an easy camera to work with if you know its little tricks. 

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Not a lot can beat the ProRes HQ image coming out of the BMPCC (apart from RAW from the BMPCC - but you really don't need to ever film in RAW).

And don't listen to the detractors (with their 4k consumer bs): The screen isn't really that bad, i've never missed focus with it (you can get a z-finder - i use a £10 clone from my 60D); battery life lasts as long as a 64gb card, 45mins (if you're indoors plug into the mains, if not get used to turning it on & off - there are cheap external battery options, Anker Astros get praised); you don't need to buy the Metabones adaptor (2nd gen RJ focal reducer is v.v.good at a snip of the MB price); it really shines with Vintage lenses & they'll save you loads of cash.

This little camera really shines & will blow your mind, as far as image is concerned. It inter-cuts seemlesly with Alexa footage, enough said really. The only thing that will top it will be the Micro, but who knows when that will be released...

But its your choice so think it through carefully.

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Because as you know, all these cameras (probably except for the Gh4 if you shoot portrait, or the a6000 if you keep your grade simple) have some kind of workflow shortcoming or nuisance.  The BMPCC records RAW.  Nuff said there.

How is shooting raw a "nuisance"?  It's 2015 not 2011.  Have you graded any Blackmagic raw files in Da Vinci Resolve recently?  It's easier to white balance and grade than Prores.  The only problem is file size... and I think it takes a bit longer to do the final export.

Am I doing something wrong?  Anyone else experiencing this "nuisance."

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