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Best Entry Level Camera for Film Maker.


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#1 David Pettet

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Posted 09 March 2018 - 07:36 AM

(wrong choice of words with 'Entry' what I mean is just something that wont be too complicated to start learning. something that will still be great and high quality) 

 

Im looking into purchasing my own camera and my budget is between £1000- £2000. I have heard a lot about the Lumix GH5 and also some of the Black Magic Design products. 

 

Does anyone suggest a great starting off camera? 

 

Thank you :)


Edited by David Pettet, 09 March 2018 - 07:47 AM.

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#2 Macks Fiiod

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Posted 09 March 2018 - 07:43 AM

ENTRY-level? Just a Canon DSLR.


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#3 Landon D. Parks

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Posted 09 March 2018 - 05:25 PM

Personally, I'd avoid Canon. Unless you're into photography as well, the value for your money is lacking. Very few of the Canon's on the lower-end can compete in the video market.

 

In the $1,000 budget, you could get a Blackmagic Pocket or a GH4. Both are very good cameras (I own both), but the Pocket does have the 1080p limitation and tiny sensor. However, the Pocket has a more 'film' look to it out of the box. 

 

In the $2,000 range, the main contender to beat right in the SLR-range is the GH5 or GH5s. Alternatively, you could find a used Blackmagic Cinema Camera, though spoofing it up to work well will require some - well - funds.

 

If you're interested in a GH4 with vLog, I'll be placing my B-cam with less than 100 recording hours up for sale in about a week for probably $800.


Edited by Landon D. Parks, 09 March 2018 - 05:32 PM.

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#4 Macks Fiiod

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Posted 09 March 2018 - 05:35 PM

Personally, I'd avoid Canon. Unless you're into photography as well, the value for your money is lacking. Very few of the Canon's on the lower-end can compete in the video market.

 

He's learning, not competing. You can't beat a $200 body...


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#5 Landon D. Parks

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Posted 09 March 2018 - 07:28 PM

Maybe, BUT - if you read his post - he said he is looking for something in the $1,000-$2,000 range - not the $200 range.

And frankly, its hard to 'learn' on a $200 DSLR that doesn't even give you the same options the $1,000 cameras have. If he has the funds to invest upfront, there is NO reason to buy a throwaway $200 camera - it's a waste of $200, since it will never be useful outside of basic learning.

 

If he has a budget of $1,000 or more, a GH4 or Pocket is the best bet at that range. They can certainly be learned on, but can also produce cinematic-quality images down the road - and he can KEEP using them to produce professional results. A $200 camera will not produce any kind of good video, have little manual control over anything, and is just a plain bad investment.

Frankly, given the way the market is going toward RAW and Log Workflow, he need to learn up-front how to expose for these profiles as well. A $200 canon, or $200 anything, will not give you that.

 

By all means, if all he has to spend is $200, and doesn't really know rather he wants to even do cinematography or filmmaking - buy the $200 camera. However, if he has the budget for more, already knows he wants to do it, he needs to be learning on at least half-way professional equipment. The GH4 w/ Vlog or Blackmagic Pocket are great options for him. They are professional cameras that can be built on and used for a long time, they are fairly user friendly to learn on, they have all the professional features like interchangeable lenses and real video formats and options. Plus, these cameras are at the bottom end of his range, and THAT is where I'd suggest he start.

The GH5 is an okay camera, BUT - word of caution - I returned mine to keep the GH4. The GH5 is not spectacular, and looses a lot of its great feature set once you switch to manual, non-lumix cine lenses. In the GH5 price range, he is much better off trying to find a used Blackmagic 4K camera. The GH5 is nice, but the 'amazing' autofocus, 2-step focus pulling, and IS are all basically moot once you switch to cine-style lenses, and the internal compression - while 4:2:2 10-bit - is still in a bad codec, and a GH4 w/ Atomos is still a cheaper and more robust option.


Edited by Landon D. Parks, 09 March 2018 - 07:37 PM.

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#6 Macks Fiiod

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Posted 09 March 2018 - 07:46 PM

But we don't know if David P here said 1000 just to keep his options open, not sure of what's out there or where to go.

 

Canon DSLRs don't produce the best image, but they have the 5 essential controls for shooting:

Manual focus, aperture control, white balance, shutter speed, ISO

 

It's better to learn on cameras that don't produce pretty out of box. This forces the student to up the rest of their technique around it to make a bad camera look good. Also going cheaper on the body opens the possibility for far more universal/essential gear like lights, lenses, etc.

 

Not proclaiming film is better than digital, but like a new car, literally every digital camera is a bad investment, they ALL depreciate in value.


Edited by Macks Fiiod, 09 March 2018 - 07:48 PM.

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#7 Feli di Giorgio

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Posted 09 March 2018 - 11:06 PM

Just keep it simple. 

 

The Pocket is nice, because the RAW / Prores capture emulates the 'real' workflow of professional cameras at a fraction of the cost. Just keep in mind that a Pocket needs things like extra batteries, maybe a small cage etc to actually be functional. And to process RAW you'll need a computer that can handle Resolve.

 

But the simplest solution to getting your feet wet is a DSLR or mirrorless. There have to be a ton of used GH4 out there by now.

 

One advantage to using a DSLR with an APS-C sensor is that it is essentially s35, so you're already getting used to the most prominent professional format.

 

Just don't make the mistake that many of us made staring out and feel that you need to shoot a pro format right from the beginning. Practice makes perfect and you just want something simple that you can shoot a ton of footage with and learn. Learning how to block a scene is really important and that comes with shooting tons of scenes and cutting them together.


Edited by Feli di Giorgio, 09 March 2018 - 11:08 PM.

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#8 Landon D. Parks

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Posted 10 March 2018 - 10:18 PM

Used GH4's are a dime a dozen, which I why I suggest that as an option. I have a GH4 for sale right now for $800, vLog included. The GH4 is nice because is starts out as a compact camera that can adapted to pretty much any lens size or format m43 or larger, has vLog, and produces nice cinematic-looking images with a lot of manual control. Down the road, you can update the camera with an external recorder when you're ready to get the highest quality video footage in 4:2:2 10-bit ProRes.

I also own a Pocket camera now, and I like it as well - but it does require more than just the camera itself to really shine.


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#9 AJ Young

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Posted 10 March 2018 - 10:23 PM

My vote is on the GH5 with the vLog firmware because the camera can record 10-bit internal. Plus, pair the camera with a focal reducer (like the Metabones Speedbooster) and you've got the field of view and depth of field like a super35 sensor size.

 

The camera also comes with a Waveform and Vectorscope in camera.


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#10 tom lombard

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Posted 11 March 2018 - 10:46 AM

Not too many years ago, I got a Canon T3i and their 18-135 zoom lens for around $800 total.  It was essentially a large point & shoot for family vacations and I wasn't involved in video at all at that time.  When I did start getting involved in video, I started using that T3i in movie mode and it was certainly a decent enough learning tool and performed well enough for a couple of shorts & a feature.  Certainly not pro quality but certainly good enough to learn with.  I've since started 16mm with a Bolex and am looking at options for a better digital (so I'm learning what I can from these threads and leaning toward BMPCC if my budget doesn't increase or Ursa Mini Pro if I can swing that).

One thing that gets mentioned in these threads but gets glossed over is that the discussion of learning on this camera because of it's features or learning on that camera because of price or quasi-professional work flow or resale value...  NON of these cameras has a feature, standard or optional, to assist in staging your shots or working with your actors or any number of things that you actually need to be learning & putting into practice before there's any value in working with better equipment.  I also get the impression from these & other discussions that there are numerous work flows & shooting considerations depending on what tools you happen to be using.  It sounds like most of you have developed opinions & favorites based on having used several.  So I don't think it's terribly useful for someone wanting to jump in & learn "filmmaking" to spend a great deal of time & effort to sort out the best possible camera & workflow to learn on because there isn't really a "best possible".

My advice (as a non professional) would be to go with any of the options mentioned that was available to you and within your budget.  I would also cast a vote to spend _less_ than your budget as you won't get far before you realize having a better tripod would be nice or a different lens or a slider or wanna be able to offer your cast some gas money & something better than pizza.


Edited by tom lombard, 11 March 2018 - 10:49 AM.

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#11 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 12 March 2018 - 12:07 AM

Pocket Camera for the win! Nothing beats it for the price and the learning factor. Most of the other cameras have too many issues to deal with from poor codec's to use difficulties like complex menu's and automatic settings that are hard to turn off/on. 

 

That's all I'm gonna say about that! :D


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