It has been nearly a year since I’ve written anything here. What’s new? What’s old?
Current rig is the Sony Fs7. The only upgrade this year was a switch to V mount batteries but not the Sony accessory, just a dumb mount from Core. This years goal is to upgrade to better lenses. Perhaps Sigma Zooms and Primes?
Another tool I hope to get this year is an Easyrig®. After operating on a feature (handheld) in June my arm just can’t do it. We’ve seen the Steadicam get budget models over the years but this item is always expensive.
Soon we’ll have hard drives so massive and error proof that we’ll never have to worry about backing up footage. ever. Ok, that sounds like an organizational disaster probably.
Thinking about cameras coming out this year and every blog I read points to the Panasonic GH5 as the most amazing tool coming out. For some that may be true. 4K, check. 10bit, check. nearly S35 size sensor, check. But some things like LOG recording are at an additional cost. Raw is not an option though that is less important to me than to others. My experiences with the GH4 were limited but the low light sensitivity was so bad it reminded me of my Panasonic HVX200. Now that was a camera!
My thoughts are on BlackMagic. They seem to pull something amazing off at every single NAB since they released their first Cinema camera. The pocket has been very popular in some circles but extremely limiting in nearby circles. Now with the stability of their URSA mini camera perhaps they will look at a version 2 of the pocket. A super 35 size sensor pocket cinema camera.
I have not used the Sony A6500, but I have used the A6300 and this camera is a great little tool. The crop sensor is about the size of S35. It shoots in Slog3 and 4K! If Sony can put all of this into a camera at $1300-1500 Black Magic will make a pocket 35 Cinema camera. ProRes, RAW, 4K.
Who buys a two year old camera? (18 months technically) I guess I do.
You see these days there are two types of digital cinema (video) cameras. There is the compact, affordable, feature changing type like the Sony A7 line, or the slow to deliver Canon 5D line. And there is the high end stuff. Arri Alexa has a 8 year old sensor. Still working very hard. The MX sensor in the RED one is still amazing. ( the 2 minute boot time is not )
So why is it these high-end cameras have stabilized? Firmware. Recently the school I teach at just got a Sony F55. With new firmware the camera can record at higher bit rates, unlock high speed settings that weren’t available when the camera was released. Now the Fs7 I bought is not an F55, but as Alister Chapman has pointed out the Fs7 does 95% of of what the F5/F55 does. For me that is pretty awesome.
So I’ve had the A7S mkII for a couple of weeks now. I’ve shot some tests and a couple of short doc style projects for clients. Using the sLog3 is kind of scary. I’ve read some things on various blogs and haven’t had a chance to thoroughly test it out. With the Fs7 I felt confident about shooting with it, but with only 8 bit I want to make sure I have the formula worked out. So far what do I like about it? Compared to the 5DmkIII it really is quite an upgrade (for motion). I like the 4K image, I like the 120fps (though I haven’t run it through the ringer). The menu is straight forward and really caters to the motion camera. The flip out screen is great. When paired with an external monitor the camera monitor goes black and still functions as a display of operations. It came with a cable clamp for the HDMI and various cables. made of cheap plastic, but I didn’t have to buy it as an add on. Though it should be noted a standard mini-plug may not quite fit in the mic or headphone jack.
What could use some work: Battery life is bad but not as bad as RED’s small volt batteries. various crop factors for 1080. So at 120fps it uses less of the sensor than at 24, 30, 60 fps. Ok, I live with it. It is better than 720P/60. The record trigger is odd. A tiny dot on the right side of the camera. It is not easily pressed by accident, so that is good, but it is hard to activate in a hand held operation. I’m looking for external trigger options.
So I think I like it and it will be a good camera for the next year or two. What comes next? Who knows, maybe Black Magic will finally make a camera worth buying.
So when Andrew Reed at EOSHD posted a first look at the Sony A7sMk2 I really did have to ask why am I still filming with the Canon 5Dk3? Decision has been made. Accessories ordered. Waiting to pick up the camera at a local retailer rather than order form B&H. So why now?
120fps, Slog3, 4K UHD
Sure it is still an 8bit small photo camera, but with those features for $3K, finally have to pull the trigger. The plan is to use the Wooden Camera cage I have for the 5D which will beef it up a little. I ordered the Metabones standard adaptor for use with full frame lenses. For High frame rate or cropped sensor material I already own the speed booster ultra so I can use that for those. I can also use the metabones standard adaptor with my Tokina 11-16 in crop mode. I’m looking forward to that.
Looking forward to checking out this new camera for real.
RED RAVEN, fs5, A7Smk2. Here we are with new cameras all coming in less expensive than predecessors and with features exceeding previous models. What an amazing time to be a filmmaker. But wait, did you just buy the A7s last week, or maybe you got the A7Rmk2 but really should have waited for the A7smk2. Why? The lower megapixel on the a7s makes it better for shooting video in low light. Both have sensor stabilization so it makes them very similar. If you plan on taking more high res stills then the R model will be your pick.
I think the fs5 is a great choice over the Canon C100mk2 because of slow mo burst, 4K and 10 bit 1080. I’m a little disappointed that the 4K material is 8 bit only, but concessions have to be made to make the budget and other factors.
RED RAVEN is another example of how RED doesn’t really understand the landscape or believes their customers will buy for name and hype. 6K for the body, 10K equipped. crop factors? lens mount? audio? I will say it again, for 10K you can have a Sony Fs7 shooting RAW and use any lens you choose. And have really good audio, shoot in prores or XAVC Log3, and built in ND filters. Sorry RED, looks like it is not for everyone.
Is it a bird? Is it a phone? No, it is a camera. The last few months we have seen some new cameras come on the market and as RED predicted a long time ago 4K is big. This week I’m thinking about this new little Sony that will be available soon. Here is the B&H link.
Sure it does 4K, but the remarkable thing that caught my eye is the High Frame rate. Like the Sony FS700 this thing can shoot 240fps, 480fps, and 960fps. Through whatever line doubling magic I’m sure the quality diminishes the higher you go like on the FS700, but for $1300 you have a tool in your bag that can shoot 240fps at 1080. Wow. Other features that are nice include a constant 2.8 through the zoom range and the ability to record in SLOG2.
It looks like they have limited 4K recording to 30fps. And it is a smaller than S35 sensor so depth of field characteristics will be a little more “video” like.
It is the Metabones Speed booster ULTRA Canon EF to Sony E mount lens adaptor. I’ll be testing it out on an FS700 this weekend. I was impressed with the speedbooster before and the Ultra promises to have increased corner sharpness and less vignetting. Sounds good to me.
Sure enough, Sony announced a new camera, but it wasn’t a replacement for the FS700, but another variation on it. The PXW-FS7 has fantastic specs including 4K UHD, slow motion up to 180 FPS and a more ergonomic design. After toiling for a few days and thinking about how much I had been using the FS700, it was decided that this would be the next equipment purchase for our company. Move aside stabilizers and sound equipment, the FS7 has been ordered.