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David R Friedli

Advice needed to choose a camera

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Hello,

 

First of all, let me apologize for asking a question I know to be tiresome as everyone asks it, but there's so many models on the market and so much technical aspects I don't have a clue about that I have to turn to you.

 

I'm looking for a good and (of course!) relatively cheap video camera. I've been reading about several models:

-Sony's EX1 and EX3

-Panasonic's AF100

and, among the DSLR ones:

-Canon's 7D, 550D and 60D

 

From what I read, DSLRs seem to be a great thing. What I'm thinking of is a rather small and versatile camera to shoot good quality, however modest, feature films. But I worry about the rolling shutter and more importantly the overheating issues.

Also, I don't care all that much for shallow DOF (and in case I bought a DSLR, I'd be looking for a way to deepen it).

 

So what are the advantages that the Sony EX's and the AF100 would have over the cheaper DSLR cameras? Between the three DSLRs I mentioned, which one would be better and why (how do they compare)? What image control (white balance, zebra etc.) do you have on DSLRs?

 

Thank you,

David

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From what I read, DSLRs seem to be a great thing. What I'm thinking of is a rather small and versatile camera to shoot good quality, however modest, feature films. But I worry about the rolling shutter and more importantly the overheating issues.

Also, I don't care all that much for shallow DOF (and in case I bought a DSLR, I'd be looking for a way to deepen it).

 

Hi David, first off: the overheating issue is only a problem if you need to record extended scenes (such as might be necessary in a documentary and/or interview) and is very rarely an issue for drama or commercials because it's unlikely that you'd need to roll for more than fourteen minutes. If you consider the length of recording time pre-digital era was limited to reel size in feet, you'll understand why this is not an issue. Control over DoF is a creative decision and if you know how to use focal length with aperture correctly, you can achieve any degree of DoF regardless of the camera format.

 

So what are the advantages that the Sony EX's and the AF100 would have over the cheaper DSLR cameras? Between the three DSLRs I mentioned, which one would be better and why (how do they compare)? What image control (white balance, zebra etc.) do you have on DSLRs?

I went to a screening recently of a feature film that I operated on ("Who wants to be a terrorist" IMDB and trailer) that was shot with the EX3 and I was amazed at how it held up to the big screen - the quality was incredible. The EX3 has an interchangeable lens that means you can get an adapter to put cine lenses on the camera - always a bonus - and these days, you can get hold of one for half the price of last years listing. The EX1 and EX3 are basically the same camera (certainly from the insides point of view) but the EX3 is better in three areas: 1: changeable lens system; 2: viewfinder location (on the side compared to behind the camera); and, 3: semi-shoulder mount (meaning you can obtain better stability when off the tripod). I think the 7D is a good camera to have for many reasons (I have one) such as lens choice, sensor size and portability (it can get into many areas that larger cameras can't get into so is worth including in your kit as standard) but I wouldn't use it in the same way as the EX3 (i.e. as a go-to camera for run and gun; which, incidentally, the EX3 was used for in the blockbuster film Battle Los Angeles(2011)). Having said all of this, I would seriously consider the SONY F3 as something to buy. Currently, you can get the camera for $16000 (a similar price to the release of the EX3) and you'll soon be able to get hold of a set of primes for it for an extra $7000. This is an incredible price for the quality of camera and glass. So, ultimately, it comes down to how much you want to spend on your system but I'd certainly recommend getting both the 7D and the EX3 as a start-up kit.

Steve

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Hello Steve, and thank you for your reply. I don't know what can be said from a Youtube video but the quality of the trailer does look very good.

 

So in the end it comes down to a DSLR or Sony's EX3 or F3. What do you think of the Panasonic AF100 as compared to the Sony models? The F3 looks wonderful but for that kind of price, wouldn't RED be a more intelligent choice? Anyway I think I'll wait some more for that kind of hardware and buy a cheap DSLR instead.

 

Here are a couple more questions:

-Is a 7D superior in any way to a 60D?

-Are there any predictions how the market is going to evolve? Should I wait and buy an EX3 or F3 in a couple years? Would they be cheaper then?

-Are these cameras we're talking about going to hold up? I mean will a 7D be outdated in the next few years? Will an EX3?

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Hello Steve, and thank you for your reply. I don't know what can be said from a Youtube video but the quality of the trailer does look very good.

 

So in the end it comes down to a DSLR or Sony's EX3 or F3. What do you think of the Panasonic AF100 as compared to the Sony models? The F3 looks wonderful but for that kind of price, wouldn't RED be a more intelligent choice? Anyway I think I'll wait some more for that kind of hardware and buy a cheap DSLR instead.

 

Here are a couple more questions:

-Is a 7D superior in any way to a 60D?

-Are there any predictions how the market is going to evolve? Should I wait and buy an EX3 or F3 in a couple years? Would they be cheaper then?

-Are these cameras we're talking about going to hold up? I mean will a 7D be outdated in the next few years? Will an EX3?

 

Hey David,

I own a 60D, and i can chip in on the first point.

60D's articulating screen is very handy for video shooting, other than that cameras are very similar, image quality-wise.

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Hey David,

I own a 60D, and i can chip in on the first point.

60D's articulating screen is very handy for video shooting, other than that cameras are very similar, image quality-wise.

Thanks, Andrew. I guess it is, especially in my case as I like low angle shots.

 

I found out about other cameras, namely Sony's FS100 and another model of theirs, the NEX VG10. There really is too much, and you get the impression the manufactors carefully study what drawbacks they could implement in their otherwise quasi perfect new cameras.

 

What's the EX3 worth next to an FS100 or a Scarlet?

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So in the end it comes down to a DSLR or Sony's EX3 or F3. What do you think of the Panasonic AF100 as compared to the Sony models? The F3 looks wonderful but for that kind of price, wouldn't RED be a more intelligent choice?

 

Well, if you're looking for an intelligent choice, you should have said :D the F3 with a full prime kit is about half the price of the red. My guess was that you were working on price as a factor. If that's not the case then an obvious (digital cinema) choice would be the Alexa. I haven't used the AF100 but I know the P2 very well and have been impressed with it's latitude so that's something worth considering with the AF100 (i.e. do Panasonic consider that in this camera?). The EX3 next to a Scarlet? Hasn't the Scarlet been "coming soon" for around three years now? What's your budget for camera and lens kit? B)

Steve

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I would love that Arriflex but I don't have the means. Intelligent, in my case, means getting the best quality for as little money as possible. So I guess it's going to be a 60D or an AF100... We'll see. Thanks for your help anyway

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