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Samuel Berger

Help me choose? Nikon Z6 vs Fuji XT3 vs Sony A7III

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Hi guys, I'm looking to buy a camera that will help me replicate this look:

 

 

So far my choices are the Nikon Z6, the Fuji XT3 and the Sony A7III. All are priced just right. Unfortunately there is no Canon offering out there that isn't crippled, so I'm not going to be able to use my collection of EF lenses. But I'm ready to make the switch. I don't think I'll ever be able to save the amount needed to buy that C200, you guys know I've been talking about it for two years now and it's just not going to happen.

I like Nikon, and Fuji made the ZC-1000 which is my favourite camera of all time. Sony is not really a camera company, but the show above was shot on Sony cameras. I'm not against the A7III but the idea of dealing with a Sony menu system is intimidating to an old guy like me, used to the simplicity of Blackmagic Design and Canon menus.

Which one do you guys think would be the best to achieve that look? Thanks!

 

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I'm not in a position to advise, but if you get the Nikon please post some of your footage here as I'm really interested in a Nikon digital camera. I've got some Nikon lenses and my dad was a Nikon man so it runs in the family. I know they always had very high quality of build.

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I have the A7III ,its pretty good in video mode.. and low price.. the HLG (hyper log gamma) curves probably best if your going to do much grading .. its only 8bit.. the fuji is only APS-C sensor if thats an issue for you..but might be 10 bit internal.. and there is the 30 min recording thing.. A6400 new APSC camera doesnt have this Rec limitation.. magically ..!

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One fun thing about Nikon DX (similar dimensions to APS-C) is that it's pretty close to 35mm motion picture frame size. Could help with lens choice and so on.

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I'll post footage for certain once I choose! By the way, the Canon EOS R was a candidate at some point but everyone says it's too heavily crippled and that the 4K is too soft.

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I havent used those other camera models but have some experience of the Z6.  

The menu system is not simple with these cameras either, you will want to test one in the shop. The Z6 also lacks video scopes other than zebra so you really want to have an external display with it, for example the Ninja V which also has recording capabilities and has really nice scopes. 

The atomos raw update is not out yet so you are stuck with 10bit nlog even with an external recorder. Also the dynamic range is pretty modest in video shooting, something like 9 or 10 stops of really usable range which you actually can see (remember that camera manufacturers and articles always exaggerate the dynamic range of a camera and the real practical range is always at least one or two stops lower so they would list this camera as 12 stops probably even if it really has the 9 or 10 of usable range currently) but its not super bad.

The camera is pretty sensitive and the low pass filter is really nice to have so no difficult aliasing problems to worry about.

There is lens adapters available for EF lenses (no electric controls, only a mechanical adapter) and PL mount (the ciecio adapter is very nice quality) so it is pretty versatile

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I think the Z6 is best for uses where you need a documentary camera for very low light shooting (iso 6400, 12000 and 25600) and have possibility to use the external 10bit prores recorder with it. For general indie use the GH5s with a cheaper speed booster would be more practical and versatile and much cheaper. Or the Pocket 4k if you can wait the camera for half a year 

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I wouldn't worry too much about the Sony menus..(pain that they are).. like the video cameras .. A7III has a user menu..  when you have that setup its very simple.. they have made it a bit simpler with A7III that the video and stills functions are separated to some extent .. all these type of camera,s are a bit prone to over heating at some stage.. if your planning on shooting all day .. 

Edited by Robin R Probyn

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Because the OP already has a collection of EF lenses (I assume the electric ones like canon L) then the best solution could be the GH5s with metabones ef booster so that the existing lenses can be used and the setup would be as versatile as possible. 

As I mentioned the Z6 works best as a special purpose camera. Our crew uses one for cityscapes night shooting with long tele lenses and low light gimbal stuff. It is excellent for both of those as long as the dynamic range is not needed and you can live with the other limitations. I mean, it is a nice little camera with great colours and image quality for what it is if you use it with the atomos. But the 9+ stops and lack of uhd/4k high speed is just not good enough for daytime shooting nowadays if you plan to use it as a main camera and for most uses the 4000-5000 usd for the camera+recorder and accessories without lenses is too much for a camera setup with that kind of limitations. As a night low light b-camera it is wonderful though if you need that kind of system for your projects and can arrange good lenses for it

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I like the image from the GH5 but Micro Four Thirds is on its way out. I think that by itself would be a good reason to stay away. I have a Metabones for my BMPCC and it's okay. But mostly the GH5 is a no due to no proper AF, which is the main reason I chose the cameras in my original post.

To make things more confusing, Armando Ferreira just posted a video praising the Canon Eos R as a "baby C200" so I guess it's back in the running. Apparently the "soft 4k" is a thing that only happens in internal 8 bit, but if you use a Ninja 5 you get the right look.

 

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I've just moved my stills cameras over to a pair a Fuji X-T3s (from APS-C and Full-frame Nikons + APS-C Sony), and my main reason for ending up with the Fuji's was their motion picture capabilities (which are basically the best out there at the moment) I figured the vast bulk of my work is motion stuff, so if I'm going to spend the money, it might as well be in something that can cross over and act as a usable b-cam when needed.

The X-T3 fits that bill nicely. I've used it on several video shoots so far, and I like what it produces.

Rolling shutter is actually acceptable (are rare thing with mirrorless cameras), and having 10-bit internal and external, and 4k up to 60p basically matches most options out there (in the entry level arena).

The biggest point it has going for it, is ergonomics. The manual dials, and quick-menu layout mean you can adjust settings very quickly and easily, and it isn't much worse than using something like the FS7 out in the field.

Obviously you still have all the compromises of a mirrorless camera over a dedicated video camera. But (in my opinion at least) with it's 10-bit recording, it's the first truly viable large-sensor 'hybrid' camera that's been made.

Definitely worth a looksee.

I also really like that when I plug it (and all my other crap) into a v-mount battery, I get 8hrs of continuous runtime! 🙂

 

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Mark.. does it have the 30 min cut off thing.. it seems there is at last a move away from that.. Sony a6400 has no limit and so I presume all their camera,s will not, from now on..

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I think the last two years have been very confusing for camera buyers. The fact is that you can't really go wrong with almost any choice. But what I see happening is that a lot of offerings are crippled and so many otherwise awesome cameras are missing features. Canon cameras are the worst offender.

My main requirement is 4K at 30fps (60fps would be even better), good color science and flawless AF. I don't really care for extreme lowlight performance and I guess I don't need a flippy screen since I have an external 5" monitor. Lack of IBIS is not a deal breaker as I can get a gymbal if I need to. And I think most of them do 4-2-2 with external.

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13 hours ago, Robin R Probyn said:

Mark.. does it have the 30 min cut off thing.. it seems there is at last a move away from that.. Sony a6400 has no limit and so I presume all their camera,s will not, from now on..

Yep, has the 30 minute limit (though I gather they're planning to remove that via firmware once some new tax classification laws get adjusted in the near future).

If I had to record a single take for that long (for a sitdown interview etc.), I'd be recording externally though. I wouldn't trust the heat-dissipating capabilities of any of these small mirrorless cameras to handle such long continuous runtimes.

Their video capabilities are really getting up there. But they're still stills cameras at heart, and they're not designed to handle heat like a video camera can.

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46 minutes ago, Mark Kenfield said:

Yep, has the 30 minute limit (though I gather they're planning to remove that via firmware once some new tax classification laws get adjusted in the near future).

If I had to record a single take for that long (for a sitdown interview etc.), I'd be recording externally though. I wouldn't trust the heat-dissipating capabilities of any of these small mirrorless cameras to handle such long continuous runtimes.

Their video capabilities are really getting up there. But they're still stills cameras at heart, and they're not designed to handle heat like a video camera can.

Yes I flagged the over heating in a previous post.. its important.. there is an idea .. also put forward by the manufactures .. that these are video camera,s .. that can take stills 🙂 .. rather than the opposite.. Sony A series was notorious till a quite recent FW update that gave you an option to set the heat sensor to "high" .. which pretty much solved the whole problem over night.within reason... !  to stay that size I think they will always have heat problems .. just laws of physics ..  yeah looks like the tax thing must be changing .. the a6400 has no limit.. or I wonder its only going to be a APS-C or smaller sensor thing.. A7III series has a big FW update next week but don't think there its continuous REC in it..

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Go for Nikon Z6!! Not only is it already a great camera,  it is also the only stills camera which can output raw video! 

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13 hours ago, David Peterson said:

Go for Nikon Z6!! Not only is it already a great camera,  it is also the only stills camera which can output raw video! 

I saw Stephen Eckert from FroKnowsPhoto recommending that Z6 as well. I'm actually very close to choosing it but I worry that the autofocus might not be that great for video.

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14 hours ago, David Peterson said:

Go for Nikon Z6!! Not only is it already a great camera,  it is also the only stills camera which can output raw video! 

It DOES NOT output raw video yet. 

that is under development. there is a great difference between a promised feature and a delivered one.

Occasionally camera manufacturers may not even deliver ever or only apply the promised feature only to the next camera model and not the current one

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Thanks Aapo, the big twist will be if I end up choosing the A7III. It looks like the only cameras I'm able to buy through financing are the A7III, the Nikon D850. Of the Canons, only the 5D Mark IV and the 6D Mark II are available through financing, which are both jokes.

They also have the A7RIII which is outdated. I'm disappointed that they won't allow me to finance the Nikon z6 or the Canon EOS R.

So I clearly have much fewer options than I originally thought.

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6 hours ago, Samuel Berger said:

Thanks Aapo, the big twist will be if I end up choosing the A7III. It looks like the only cameras I'm able to buy through financing are the A7III, the Nikon D850. Of the Canons, only the 5D Mark IV and the 6D Mark II are available through financing, which are both jokes.

They also have the A7RIII which is outdated. I'm disappointed that they won't allow me to finance the Nikon z6 or the Canon EOS R.

So I clearly have much fewer options than I originally thought.

That may be relatively easy to solve because you have lots of potentially incompatible lenses.

1. Sell the incompatible lenses you currently have and use the money to buy the camera body or if the shop allows you can directly trade them in for the new camera body

2. Purchase the new lenses with financing, you can surely find a shop which allows that

3. The end result the same but easier to manage the financing options

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2 hours ago, aapo lettinen said:

That may be relatively easy to solve because you have lots of potentially incompatible lenses.

1. Sell the incompatible lenses you currently have and use the money to buy the camera body or if the shop allows you can directly trade them in for the new camera body

2. Purchase the new lenses with financing, you can surely find a shop which allows that

3. The end result the same but easier to manage the financing options

 

It sounds like a good idea, this would also give me time to decide on which camera. Thanks Aapo. If money was no obstacle, I'd be getting the Nikon Z6 as I THINK I really like the N-Log. I need something I can use in Resolve the same way I use my Blackmagic RAW files.

By the way, I finally tested the 4K from the Canon M50. Wow what a fail. I don't mind the crop but the AF in that mode is a complete disaster.  This is also why I don't want a GH5. It's interesting how many camera channels on Youtube use the GH5 or GH5s and they never seem to switch to anything else even though they title their videos to "Why I switched to Canon/Fuji/Nikon/Sony" etc. Like DSLRShooter.

Does Panasonic still make you pay more for V-Log? Pfft. Another reason to stay away.

@Tyler Purcell opinions?

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My .02 cents are worthless because

1) I absolutely hate autofocus and electronic lenses. Nearly all of them are made specifically for stills, not video. So they don't do what YOU want them to do. Plus, unless you spend a lot of money on lenses, nearly all of the mid-grade and lower-end lenses are very slow at focusing.

2) iFrame non-mpeg cameras are the only one's I even contemplate owning. Give me Pro Res, DNXHR, Jpeg2000, Blackmagic Raw, Pro Res Raw, Red Code or Arri Code any day of the week. Outside of Go Pro, which there is no alternative for, any camera I do work with must be a real codec. .h264/.h265, doesn't matter how good they CAN be, I can still see the compression and I absolutely hate that look. XAVC- I is OK, but Sony's support in Mac OS is horrible, they're still 32bit drivers, so it's just very slow to manipulate the footage. 

3) I wouldn't own a camera that doesn't have some serious sound capabilities anymore, after owning the pocket cinema cameras and learning it's possible to buy shitty preamp's these days. The new Pocket Cinema 4k has excellent pre-amp's and mini-XLR input. It's the only camera of that size to have anything like that. 

4) Where full-frame imagers are nice for those wide shots, they also limit what glass you can use. 

5) Double ISO for the win. I don't understand why everyone isn't double ISO these days. It's a very clever design and it allows for a cleaner, more dynamic range image in the lower ISO's and higher ISO's without much compromise. Cameras like the A7SMKIII have a HUGE compromise in the normal ISO range, to get a decent high dynamic range image out of them, you have to use tuns of ND. They're really great for super dark tens of thousands of ISO stuff, but outside of that the A7SMKII and MKIII are just toys. I know a lot of people swear by them, but that's because they have the large imager look. They also have crappy .h264 8 bit 4:2:0 internal capture, which is so subpar these days. 

6) Outside of PL, I'm so tired of the strict lens systems that most name-brand camera manufacturers require today. It's way better to buy a camera with a short flange distance that can adapt to ANY glass, then a camera with a fixed lens system. You spend all this money buying into a system and then 2 years down the road when the camera body is worthless and the manufacturer doesn't make anything good, you're stuck with it. I've run Arri B, PL, Nikon, Canon and C mount glass on my Pocket camera. Plus, nearly all of the modern glass made for those name-brand systems, aren't designed for cinema in any way. You NEED CINEMA GLASS TO SHOOT VIDEO! 

7) There is a happy medium that Panasonic figured out years ago in imager size. Full frame imagers require a lot of power, so the full frame still cameras always have some sort of got-ya's when it comes to shooting video. Poor codec's, poor audio, shorter recording times, etc. If you reduce the size of the imager, you can decrease the amount of processing power it takes to drive it. Panasonic was the first to come to market with a hybrid still/video camera using the 17.3x13 imager size (the blackmagic 4k is 18.9x10 imager size)  and it's a great size because it doesn't use up a lot of power, so the manufacturer can add a lot of functionality. 

Obviously, if you have a lot of money, you can buy an Alexa mini and not worry about most of these issues. However, when you're like me, broke and just trying to buy a cheap camera and lenses, you have to be very mindful about these things. You have to wave each issue I pointed out above and see which ones have the most merit to you. These are the things I care most about, notice how slow-mo or camera size aren't in there. Some people need slow-mo, some people need a super small camera. For me, these are things I need based on my experiences. 

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I think in some cases you don't absolutely need cinema glass. It depends on your situation, and if the lenses work well for you. It will be interesting to see with AF which of the originally still camera companies like Nikon manage to make a system that works really well with video. Just need to do a lot of research. Those AF stills lenses are terrible for manual focus, the ones I've tried. They have internal motors and very short and clunky travel. And no aperture ring.

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