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What mirrorless camera fo you recommend for video?


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Hello community,

I wanted to ask for some advice. Not sure if most of you would rely on mirrorless cameras, but I'm tired of getting info from YouTubers selling LUT packs.¬†ūüėÖ¬†So if anybody has some comments on the topic, I'd greatly appreciate it.

I shoot mostly video and I own a Sony¬†A7 III. I'm not really happy with the 8-bit codecs (or the rolling shutter or bad IBIS), but I‚Äôve got used to it somehow. I would like to upgrade, but I‚Äôm torn between switching to a Panasonic S5 or waiting for a ‚Äúfuture‚ÄĚ Sony A7 IV next year, hoping it does at least 4K 60p 10-bit (which is more than I would be happy with). The Canon R6 could be a good option as well, but it seems to overheat quite quickly...

Right now I have only vintage manual lenses, so no sweat on changing systems. I may buy an autofocus lens in the future, but it’s not really a must right now.

Sadly, I don’t have the funds to invest on a proper cinema camera or the new Sony A7S III, and I want to take stills as well, so selling and buying another hybrid is only option. The S5 has a great price and AMAZING controls, but the IPB codecs, 30min time limit, mini HDMI and ok rolling shutter make me wonder if it’s best to wait a bit more…

Any thoughts?

Greetings from Spain!

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get an interesting story that has interesting characters. hire actors who would execute it well. and then you may shoot it by using your Sony A7 III. just make sure the sound is right. I don't thing that you need to upgrade anything. 

but if you are insisting of buying a new camera. I suggest that you rent some of them for couple of days and then you see with which one you would fall in love with.

 

all the best. Spain must be cold right now. but beautiful as always!

 

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Really the answer is the A7s3... nothing comes close to it at the moment ..  but 8bit is not the end of the end of the world and the A73 ,for video , is alot better than some of the other A7s that cost alot more .. like the A9 ..  you just cant grade it much.. otherwise the A73 can produce great images ..  as above ,content is more important than the craze of pixel peeking and LUT mania thats been unleashed by misleading marketing .. 

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I think for the extreme price of an a7Smk3 you're massively better off buying a secondhand Sony FS7 as your main camera instead. You'd do better in the marketplace competing against others for jobs as a cameraman, rather than being "yet another dude with a stills camera" (of which those people are a dime a dozen). 

Don't expect the a7Smk3 to be a big improvement with IBIS over your a7III, you need to go to Panasonic instead for that. (or heck, even Fujifilm or Nikon) As Sony made a mistake, they thought they'd only make compact APS-C mirrorless, thus the E Mount was designed for APS-C. But then they squeezed in a FF sensor behind the E Mount, but that doesn't leave much room for IBIS to move around effectively. (Nikon meanwhile thought ahead, thanks to coming into the market late, and made the biggest mount of all!)


If a Sony FS7 doesn't appeal to you, then just stick with the a7III, and go make the best you can of it! Am sure there are still plenty of ways you can improve yourself. 

If you have an itch to spend money that you just can't get rid of, then spend it on lighting or audio gear. 

But yes, if you were to start again, getting a Panasonic S5 (or heck, even a Panasonic GH5) would have made more sense than the a7III.

 

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19 minutes ago, David Peterson said:

I think for the extreme price of an a7Smk3 you're massively better off buying a secondhand Sony FS7 as your main camera instead. You'd do better in the marketplace competing against others for jobs as a cameraman, rather than being "yet another dude with a stills camera" (of which those people are a dime a dozen). 

Don't expect the a7Smk3 to be a big improvement with IBIS over your a7III, you need to go to Panasonic instead for that. (or heck, even Fujifilm or Nikon) As Sony made a mistake, they thought they'd only make compact APS-C mirrorless, thus the E Mount was designed for APS-C. But then they squeezed in a FF sensor behind the E Mount, but that doesn't leave much room for IBIS to move around effectively. (Nikon meanwhile thought ahead, thanks to coming into the market late, and made the biggest mount of all!)


If a Sony FS7 doesn't appeal to you, then just stick with the a7III, and go make the best you can of it! Am sure there are still plenty of ways you can improve yourself. 

If you have an itch to spend money that you just can't get rid of, then spend it on lighting or audio gear. 

But yes, if you were to start again, getting a Panasonic S5 (or heck, even a Panasonic GH5) would have made more sense than the a7III.

 

True , there are some very cheap f5/ f55,s out there now .. and probably going to be more of them.. 

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Thank you for your answers everybody!

Long story short, I'm keeping my A7III for now and bought a new light (!!). I'm practicing more with it, how to nail my exposure and play with lighting to get the results I want. Yeah, I'm stuck with 8-bit for now, but I once I set up a shoot, I kind of just forget it....

David, I didn't know that E-mount was designed for cropped sensor cameras. Well, when I think about it, it makes sense... but it's a shame Sony didn't think ahead... I want to upgrade to 10-bit (or even 12-bit) in the near future, but now I'm thinking it's best to practice more until I really make a good use of it. Then I could go for a blackmagic or a proper cinema camera. The Panasonic S5 is probably a better performer than my current camera, but I don't think now it's worth the hassle of selling and buying a new one..

thanks again!

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On 12/10/2020 at 5:07 AM, Miguel Angel Calderon said:

David, I didn't know that E-mount was designed for cropped sensor cameras.

Try not to think of it as "cropped" sensor. 

As after all Super 35mm is the industry standard!

I'll be buying myself a Sony FS7 soon, and that's an APS-C / S35 Sony E Mount camera. 

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On 12/14/2020 at 4:46 PM, David Peterson said:

Try not to think of it as "cropped" sensor. 

As after all Super 35mm is the industry standard!

I'll be buying myself a Sony FS7 soon, and that's an APS-C / S35 Sony E Mount camera. 

But maybe not for long sir .. looks like digital video cameras are all going to be FF sensors sooner than later .. with a s35 crop mode ..

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őĪ7s III is definitely the mirrorless camera to grab now if video is your main priority.

That said, your¬†őĪ7¬†III is not necessarily a bad choice to shoot stuff with either.
I use a Nikon Z6, which might have better codecs and 10-bit output, but I still find the tiny body to have more cons than pros, which is why I'm currently looking into Sony's FS cameras.
If I wasn't so invested in the Nikon system and was in the position of looking for a small camera, I'd definitely consider Panasonic's S1 and S5 as well, just keeping in mind that autofocus is not their strong suit.

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1 hour ago, Tomasz Brodecki said:

That said, your¬†őĪ7¬†III is not necessarily a bad choice to shoot stuff with either.
I use a Nikon Z6, which might have better codecs and 10-bit output, but I still find the tiny body to have more cons than pros, which is why I'm currently looking into Sony's FS cameras.
If I wasn't so invested in the Nikon system and was in the position of looking for a small camera, I'd definitely consider Panasonic's S1 and S5 as well, just keeping in mind that autofocus is not their strong suit.

the Nikon Z6 has the additional issue of having mediocre internal codecs and ocassional green flashing in darkest tones (very well known issue and impossible to resolve in any way other than switching the camera off and hoping that it goes away. there does not seem to be any particular reason why it happens and every time it is triggered by a different variable. it is not very common but tends to happen once on every shooting day so you need to be careful. It can be corrected in post but it is lots of manual work. I have understood that the new models still have the same issue)

I think one of the best relatively affordable options for 10bit video in indie films / docs could be the Panasonic S5, the Z-cam E2S6 or the Blackmagic Pocket cameras if you can stand their quirks

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16 minutes ago, aapo lettinen said:

green flashing in darkest tones

Can you point me to some source on that issue? Neither I or other Z6 owners I know have heard of it before (and I shoot in low light quite a lot), and I can't successfully Google anything using the terms you used either; I would love to learn more about it.

[edit] As for the codecs, they remain a choice you make on your recorder of choice, if you were referring to internal recording, then yeah, it's H264, but it's ~140Mbps, both in 4K and in 100/120fps (which is 1080p)

Edited by Tomasz Brodecki
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5 minutes ago, Tomasz Brodecki said:

Can you point me to some source on that issue? Neither I or other Z6 owners I know have heard of it before (and I shoot in low light quite a lot), and I can't successfully Google anything using the terms you used either; I would love to learn more about it.

I believe people often think it just being generic flashing of the very dark tones which can happen multiple times a second in unexpected situations (nothing electrical lighting around, for example shooting in natural light in the middle of the forest) . It is typically on the green channel which shows clearly on the rgb waveforms so it should be called "green flashing" and not just "flickering dark tones". but if you google Nikon Z6 flickering you will surely get lots of results. The camera manufacturer does not know any solution to this problem either so one just seem to need to live with it if it happens every now and then

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the green flashing/dark tone flickering can happen on all ISO:s. just when you think you have found out what causes it, it will break the pattern and will find a new way to appear when you least expect it. switching any settings does not help and switching the camera off and on again even multiple times does not necessarily help either. removing the battery for 5 minutes does not necessarily help. there is just no logic to it but I am pretty sure it happens on the sensor level because people tell it happens in proresraw recordings as well. Maybe something to do with improper decoupling on sensor connections or something similar?

One other reason to avoid the Z6 is that it does not have anywhere near the dynamic range the manufacturer claims it has. In video use it can record about 10 stops of dynamic range maximum. The colors are pretty good and I like the camera in other ways but the ocassional green flashing and the low dynamic range are its drawbacks. It does not do high speeds in uhd either

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13 minutes ago, aapo lettinen said:

Nikon Z6 flickering

Ah, yes! That's something I know under the name N-Log flickering, and which I remember sort of panicking about around the time I bought the camera ^_^
Luckily, never seen it happen with mine, but I suppose it remains a legitimate caveat ‚ÄĒ if you're shooting externally, that is, since that phenomenon does not occur when¬†recording internally.

[edit] And just to be clear,¬†as much as I love Nikon ‚ÄĒ¬†as I specified above, my personal gear choices were motivated by already-owned hardware; if I were to make new choices without owning any gear, it's much more likely that I'd turn to Sony or Panasonic instead.

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1 minute ago, Tomasz Brodecki said:

Ah, yes! That's something I know under the name N-Log flickering, and which I remember sort of panicking about around the time I bought the camera ^_^
Luckily, never seen it happen with mine, but I suppose it remains a legitimate caveat ‚ÄĒ if you're shooting externally, that is, since that phenomenon does not occur when¬†recording internally.

actually it DOES happen in internal recordings as well sometimes and it will show in the end result. Switching the n-log off does not help the flickering on external recording but in some situation the flickering can happen a bit more often (or so it seems) if you are shooting in cold-ish temperatures like under 10 - 15 Celcius or so

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24 minutes ago, aapo lettinen said:

actually it DOES happen in internal recordings as well sometimes and it will show in the end result. Switching the n-log off does not help the flickering on external recording but in some situation the flickering can happen a bit more often (or so it seems) if you are shooting in cold-ish temperatures like under 10 - 15 Celcius or so

That's very interesting, thanks for the heads-up;
I've been using it for most of 2020¬†without this showing up either in external or internal, and I was shooting outside at night, at 2¬įC, just this Sunday (you actually made me re-check my files, but they look alright, at least in that regard).
I'll keep my eye out for that and, let me reiterate, I only recommend Nikon hardware to long-time Nikon owners, since as motion picture equipment, this product line is a dead end.

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I think I have just had this flickering. I had three Z6's using exactly the same settings as part of a multicam. 5000 ISO @f5 25fps in 1080 10bit N-log. Only one of them is exhibiting this flickering! Only in the darkest scenes of the performance. It was an intimate play so they were basically looking at the same thing. Brighter scenes on the offending camera were fine. It actually looks like LED flickering but clearly isn't. Worrying if it is that random. I would be interested to hear any ideas on how to make it usable in post. I am expecting it to be unusable when I get to the edit. 

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On 12/15/2020 at 10:20 PM, Robin R Probyn said:

But maybe not for long sir .. looks like digital video cameras are all going to be FF sensors sooner than later .. with a s35 crop mode ..

S35 is not going away any time soon, they'll still be around for years to come. 

Heck, I just purchased a S35 cinema camera this week!

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On 12/17/2020 at 5:57 AM, Tomasz Brodecki said:

őĪ7s III is definitely the mirrorless camera to grab now if video is your main priority.

However the a7s mk3 (and Panasonic S1H) is one of the most expensive mirrorless there are. 

One of the main points of mirrorless is to save on costs. 

At the price point of the a7Smk3/S1H you start to ask yourself, why not just go all in and get a cinema camera rather than a mirrorless? If you're a professional, the extra cost per shoot is extremely minimal after all. 

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On 12/17/2020 at 9:22 AM, Tomasz Brodecki said:

I'll keep my eye out for that and, let me reiterate, I only recommend Nikon hardware to long-time Nikon owners, since as motion picture equipment, this product line is a dead end.

Why??? Nikon is committed to Nikon Z Mount, they've got as good odds or better as anybody else for still being around for decades to come. And I feel that Nikon is one of the class leaders here when it comes to sub $2K mirrorless for filmmakers. And if you're a hybrid content creator, then Nikon is top notch for stills too. 

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43 minutes ago, David Peterson said:

S35 is not going away any time soon, they'll still be around for years to come. 

Heck, I just purchased a S35 cinema camera this week!

Sure Im not saying s35 will be gone by the end of the year, but manufactures will make cameras with FF sensors as "standard " , to cater for that market and /or give the user the choice to use both , but with a s35 crop mode .. cheaper just to make one¬†FF sensor with a s35crop, than make two different cameras.. ¬† the other thing is marketing .. and production company "Buzz"..who 10 years ago would have thought that ‚ÖĒ ENG cameras and zoom lenses would be virtually non existent in the markets they dominated 100% ..for decades ..you would be laughed out of the room .. they are much better suited for documentary ,¬†corporate , event work than s35mm CMOS cameras.. but look what happened .. !.. .¬†that was all through clever marketing .. ¬†there is no freelancer¬†that can survive with a only a ‚ÖĒ ENG camera .. and that switch over happened in less than 2 years .. I know.. I had both, a PMW500 and an f5.. first it was corporates all going s35 and within a year every single broadcast tv show except for sports / breaking news .. I had the PMW500 less than a year and it was a door stop ..

Never say never !  ..I couldn't give away my $35K Fujinon ENG wide angle zoom.. that 6 months before was worth a decent middle size car..

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There is a *HUUUUGE* shortage of production grade cinema lenses for FF35, it would be impossible for every film and tv series to swap over to that in 2021. 

Like I said, S35 will remain an industry standard for both the short and medium term. Will take a while for FF35 to take over (if it ever does? Am a bit skeptical, I feel S35 is a sweet point for size / DoF. Going bigger & heavier than S35, as you're constrained by the laws of physics when it comes to the optics of lenses, brings a fair few downsides to productions. And S35 can already go very shallow for DoF, going too much further beyond that makes life difficult for the 1st AC and for the viewer when everything in the scene is out of focus. And if you're stopping down FF35 to match, then you're losing any of the low light benefits).

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33 minutes ago, Robin R Probyn said:

and that switch over happened in less than 2 years .. I know.. I had both, a PMW500 and an f5.. first it was corporates all going s35 and within a year every single broadcast tv show except for sports / breaking news .. I had the PMW500 less than a year and it was a door stop ..

However the jump to S35 was a big big improvement that even a causal viewer / producer / director could see. 

But in the move from S35 to LF to beyond, those are much smaller leaps, relatively speaking compared to the leaps from small chipped ENG cameras to S35 cinema cameras. 

This is also why the change over from 4K to 8K will happen much much slower  than the move from SD to HD, or HD to 4K. 

Because we're hitting diminishing returns when it comes to leaps up in resolution. 

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9 hours ago, David Peterson said:

At the price point of the a7Smk3/S1H you start to ask yourself, why not just go all in and get a cinema camera rather than a mirrorless? 

Those are apples and oranges, there are separate uses for small cameras (with their portability/low mass/usefulness in tight spaces) and large cameras (with complete control laid out on the body, multiple robust connectors, efficient cooling, displays, battery life etc.).
 

9 hours ago, David Peterson said:

> I only recommend Nikon hardware to long-time Nikon owners, since as motion picture equipment, this product line is a dead end.

Why??? Nikon is committed to Nikon Z Mount

Because they don't make a single product from the latter category above, so there is nothing to advance to and maintain compatibility, unlike what you can do with Sony (E) and Canon (EF) systems. And as for Z-mount lenses, you can't use them on cinema cameras (unlike F-mount lenses), because of the 16mm flange-focal-distance.
 

8 hours ago, David Peterson said:

However the jump to S35 was a big big improvement that even a causal viewer / producer / director could see. 

But in the move from S35 to LF to beyond, those are much smaller leaps, relatively speaking compared to the leaps from small chipped ENG cameras to S35 cinema cameras. 

I totally agree with this. Not to mention that even movies shot with LF nowadays end up using t-stops that negate the potential advantage (or disadvantage) in depth of focus.

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12 hours ago, Tomasz Brodecki said:

Those are apples and oranges, there are separate uses for small cameras (with their portability/low mass/usefulness in tight spaces) and large cameras (with complete control laid out on the body, multiple robust connectors, efficient cooling, displays, battery life etc.).

Am talking about the context of a freelance camera op / DP (or small production house) which is buying their main #1 camera. I think such a person should always go for the likes of a FS7/C300mk2/FX6 over an a7Smk3/S1H, and cost really isn't a good excuse here. 

Yes, having an additional secondary small B Cam is useful too. (but they could often get away with say a cheaper P4K/S5/G9/a6600/etc instead of an expensive a7Smk3/S1H)

  

12 hours ago, Tomasz Brodecki said:

Because they don't make a single product from the latter category above, so there is nothing to advance to and maintain compatibility, unlike what you can do with Sony (E) and Canon (EF) systems. And as for Z-mount lenses, you can't use them on cinema cameras (unlike F-mount lenses), because of the 16mm flange-focal-distance.

I do agree, Nikon missed the boat here by not releasing their take on the C100mk1/C300mk1 way back all those years ago. That was a mistake by Nikon. 

Maybe they will release a "Nikon C70" with Z Mount? Doubt it, won't hold my breath. But it would be the smart thing for them to do. 

Edited by David Peterson
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