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Recommend me my next camera!


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#1 Aaron Freeder

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Posted 30 December 2009 - 03:18 PM

Hey cinematographers,

I've been looking for the past few months to buy myself a new camera, so I can make more professional and higher quality work for my progression in the realm of filmmaking.

I've been shooting in HD on my current Canon HV20 since the summer of 2008 when I bought it. I've got tons of accessories, a DOF adapter and a few different rigs I've used for various films.

However, I'm really looking for the "next" step in HD.

I know lately these DSLR cameras that shoot video, (5D Mark II, D90, 7D) are exploding in popularity all over the net, but I feel like I might want to hold back on buying any of these models, mainly because as people themselves have described in this forum, they aren't true video cameras

I have around a $3000 budget for my new gear, and I'm really looking to get something semi-professional for the next few years.

I know this is broad, but any suggestions can really help me expand my research.

Thanks ahead of time, and happy 2010!

Edited by Aaron Freeder, 30 December 2009 - 03:19 PM.

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#2 Jason Hinkle (RIP)

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Posted 31 December 2009 - 02:41 AM

I know lately these DSLR cameras that shoot video, (5D Mark II, D90, 7D) are exploding in popularity all over the net, but I feel like I might want to hold back on buying any of these models, mainly because as people themselves have described in this forum, they aren't true video cameras


Well I don't want to talk you into anything, but I am really enjoying my 7D. If your goal is to only make narrative films and you want the best image possible, I think the SLR gives you an incredible "film-like" image for the price. The negative aspects of the SLRS are not generally a problem when shooting single-camera scripted stuff. But if you intend to do broadcast work or shoot live events (concerts, etc), the SLR is not a good choice. If you can afford to hang onto your HV20 and get a 7D, that is basically what I have so of course I recommend it! I have always been a "Nikon guy" in the past but I don't think the D90 video features are quite ready - the Canons, though, people are shooting on them and doing really great work.

Then again the Red Scarlett will be coming out this year if you can stand to wait around on them.

Edited by Jason Hinkle, 31 December 2009 - 02:43 AM.

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#3 Aaron Freeder

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Posted 01 January 2010 - 02:28 PM

Well I don't want to talk you into anything, but I am really enjoying my 7D. If your goal is to only make narrative films and you want the best image possible, I think the SLR gives you an incredible "film-like" image for the price. The negative aspects of the SLRS are not generally a problem when shooting single-camera scripted stuff. But if you intend to do broadcast work or shoot live events (concerts, etc), the SLR is not a good choice. If you can afford to hang onto your HV20 and get a 7D, that is basically what I have so of course I recommend it! I have always been a "Nikon guy" in the past but I don't think the D90 video features are quite ready - the Canons, though, people are shooting on them and doing really great work.

Then again the Red Scarlett will be coming out this year if you can stand to wait around on them.



yeah I've hear a lot of hype about the Scarlett, but nothing about the price or release date, do you know anything about that?

Also, consider this, I've read about some 35mm cameras, ARRI's and other companies going digital, also the possibility of considering a cheap Canon XL-1.

I'm trying to take a step up from my HV20 is the biggest thing.
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#4 Jason Hinkle (RIP)

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Posted 01 January 2010 - 03:21 PM

Scarlet release dates are supposed to be sometime this year (not specific) but the price of the camera is announced to be $4,750 for a ready-to-shoot camera with lens. Of course a lot of people like myself got tired of waiting and got a 7D because it is somewhat similar. If you want to join the army of people waiting for the Scarlet, well it is a frustrating ride, but hopefully will be a game-changer camera.

If I were going to buy a camera right now I would either get an SLR (for shooting movies, music videos, etc) or else an HVX200 (for getting video production work). All of the classified ads that I see for a camera op, a lot of them mention the HVX200 specifically so that leads me to believe you could get a lot of work owning that camera.

The Arri digital stuff is not even in the realm of possibility price-wise, you're talking hundreds of thousands of dollars. Even feature film production companies just rent that gear when needed.
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#5 Sam Martin

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Posted 01 January 2010 - 09:45 PM

EX3 if you can afford it. Canon 5D is also really cool. Those would be my 2 recommendations...
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#6 Fred Neilsen

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Posted 01 January 2010 - 10:20 PM

I have around a $3000 budget for my new gear, and I'm really looking to get something semi-professional for the next few years.


Have you considered film?

$3000 will buy you:

A: an excellent 16mm camera package (eclair, cp16...) (with light meter, changing bag, maybe a heavy duty tripod...), with either enough money left over for a supper 16 comversion or enough stock to shoot several shorts or maybe even a feature)

B: an SRII package can be rented here in Australia for about $300/day (maybe even with a lens) on a two day week this is very affordable with your budget.

C: an MOS 35mm package, there's a complete arri IIC on ebay at the moment for about 2 grand.

D: an MOS 16mm package, Bolex, Arri, B&H there are some excellent and very cheap 16mm cameras that will give you beautiful images
Eg:

(Shot with a spring wound bolex from the 60s)

Fred

Edited by Frederik Nielssen, 01 January 2010 - 10:21 PM.

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#7 Aaron Freeder

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Posted 02 January 2010 - 03:10 PM

A: an excellent 16mm camera package (eclair, cp16...) (with light meter, changing bag, maybe a heavy duty tripod...), with either enough money left over for a supper 16 comversion or enough stock to shoot several shorts or maybe even a feature)





Don't you think 16mm is a bit outdated?

I've taken a few film classes, and all I've experienced is nightmares when it comes to 16mm cameras. Not only have I lost money on broken and underexposed reels, but the cost also becomes enormous with the inclusion of getting footage digitally processed in order for me to eventually edit it on a computer.

Did you shoot this film? It's very professional and impressive looking.

Also, I'm looking for something I'd buy on my own to keep for a few years.

Edited by Aaron Freeder, 02 January 2010 - 03:12 PM.

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#8 Aaron Freeder

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Posted 02 January 2010 - 03:13 PM

EX3 if you can afford it. Canon 5D is also really cool. Those would be my 2 recommendations...



What details do you know about the EX3? I've suggested the Canon XL-1 which seems to be cheaper. What experience do you have with the EX3?
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#9 Jason Hinkle (RIP)

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Posted 05 January 2010 - 02:44 PM

Don't you think 16mm is a bit outdated? I've taken a few film classes, and all I've experienced is nightmares


I don't personally think 16mm film is dead, but there is a time and a place for it. Once you get past all the problems film is actually more forgiving in some ways than HD. If you like the "film look," though, to my eyes the 7D is the closest right now for under $2k.

If you want a more all-purpose camera, though, I doubt you can go wrong with any of the suggestions here. They will all be different in their own way, but you have to learn the tricks of any camera.
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#10 Aaron Freeder

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Posted 21 January 2010 - 10:15 PM

I hear that the Scarlet is being released in June, does anyone know if this is true?
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#11 Brian Dzyak

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Posted 21 January 2010 - 11:00 PM

Hey cinematographers,

I've been looking for the past few months to buy myself a new camera, so I can make more professional and higher quality work for my progression in the realm of filmmaking.

I've been shooting in HD on my current Canon HV20 since the summer of 2008 when I bought it. I've got tons of accessories, a DOF adapter and a few different rigs I've used for various films.

However, I'm really looking for the "next" step in HD.

I know lately these DSLR cameras that shoot video, (5D Mark II, D90, 7D) are exploding in popularity all over the net, but I feel like I might want to hold back on buying any of these models, mainly because as people themselves have described in this forum, they aren't true video cameras

I have around a $3000 budget for my new gear, and I'm really looking to get something semi-professional for the next few years.

I know this is broad, but any suggestions can really help me expand my research.

Thanks ahead of time, and happy 2010!


What format do your current clients want you to shoot on? That is how you decide which camera to buy. If you can't pay it off with actual work, then why buy it?
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#12 Aaron Freeder

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Posted 24 January 2010 - 09:08 PM

What format do your current clients want you to shoot on? That is how you decide which camera to buy. If you can't pay it off with actual work, then why buy it?



Well, I'm a sophmore in college now, most of my "paid" gigs that I've had have come from a student internship at school (not what I would call my best work, I had little creative control)




but the vast majority of what I accomplish and have a passion for is consistent with student associations (whether it be a promo, or interviews) but I always try to have a very "on the edge" kind of style to content I make.

Regardless, I primarily want to buy the scarlet because I want to treat it as a significant step-up from my current equipment setup, which is simply an HV20 and some accessories. I also want to shoot a short film with a small budget over the summer with it.

But even beyond that, I want it as a long term piece of equipment that will more or less, help rank me up as a more professional filmmaker and open some new doors and opportunities.

Maybe you'd be able to give a better suggestion by seeing my videos?

http://www.youtube.com/user/adf5142

Edited by Aaron Freeder, 24 January 2010 - 09:12 PM.

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#13 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 24 January 2010 - 09:30 PM

Long term and "cheaper" video cameras don't normally go hand in hand. the only long term cameras I've ever seen/heard of are Film cameras, and higher end HD cameras (F900 seems to have been 'round for awhile) as the film changes, the camera doesn't.
Don't buy a camera unless you know how you're going to pay it off. An HD or even a D-Cinema camera will only be "good enough" for about as long as a computer is. Look at the 5D 7D thing... or the RED/Epic, EX1 EX1R (a few new things which can be helpful). The list goes on and on.
In my, not too long time, doing this, we went from Beta, to MiniDV, to HDV, to DVCProHD, to MPeg4 Long GoP, to DCinema RAW, HDCam, HDCamSR etc etc etc..
Point being, the camera you get today will be ok for a short period of time, so you better have a way to pay it off!
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#14 Aaron Freeder

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Posted 24 January 2010 - 09:50 PM

Long term and "cheaper" video cameras don't normally go hand in hand. the only long term cameras I've ever seen/heard of are Film cameras, and higher end HD cameras (F900 seems to have been 'round for awhile) as the film changes, the camera doesn't.
Don't buy a camera unless you know how you're going to pay it off. An HD or even a D-Cinema camera will only be "good enough" for about as long as a computer is. Look at the 5D 7D thing... or the RED/Epic, EX1 EX1R (a few new things which can be helpful). The list goes on and on.
In my, not too long time, doing this, we went from Beta, to MiniDV, to HDV, to DVCProHD, to MPeg4 Long GoP, to DCinema RAW, HDCam, HDCamSR etc etc etc..
Point being, the camera you get today will be ok for a short period of time, so you better have a way to pay it off!



what's your current setup?
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#15 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 24 January 2010 - 10:04 PM

Currently I have 3 packages,
Sony PMW-EX1 which is a real workhorse and has paid for itself a few times over with corporate gigs, stuff right for DVD and web.
Arri SR3 Super 16mm (first camera I ever bought).
and a Konvas 2M 4 perf 35mm camera (which was payment for a shoot I did).


best investment is lighting/grip if you really want to buy useful things.
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#16 Thomas James

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Posted 25 January 2010 - 08:27 PM

Wouldn't the ergonomics of a shoulder mount camera be better than trying to shoot with the Sony EX-1?
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#17 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 25 January 2010 - 08:35 PM

Certainly would, though with the bigger BP-60 battery for the sony, it sits up on my shoulder not all too shabbily. I've had/used shoulder rigs for the EX1, but kind of negates the smaller form factor/weight. It's not too bad. Of course, I've shot it so often like that that I suppose I partially have gotten used to it. [attachment=6028:22564_75...000506_n.jpg]

but there you go, how I handle an EX1
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#18 Michael Collier

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Posted 25 January 2010 - 08:56 PM

Don't buy a camera unless you know how you're going to pay it off. An HD or even a D-Cinema camera will only be "good enough" for about as long as a computer is. Look at the 5D 7D thing... or the RED/Epic, EX1 EX1R (a few new things which can be helpful). The list goes on and on.


+1

The only time I ever bought a camera was in 2000, the GL1 (months later the GL2 came out) had it paid off in less than a summer. That was the last time because after that the range of clients and projects I work on has gone crazy. From simple commercial shoots, shorts, even feature related work, and everyone of them had a different camera requirement.

(ok, I should in fairness say I have also bought a CP-16. It hasn't made money back....yet. Give it another couple of months and I think it will. I suppose if nothing else I have wrangled 2000' of free film, free models, thousands in production support and services, thousands in investment deals to cover manufacturing. Can we call trade stuff a profit?)
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#19 Michael Collier

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Posted 25 January 2010 - 09:07 PM

Wouldn't the ergonomics of a shoulder mount camera be better than trying to shoot with the Sony EX-1?



but there you go, how I handle an EX1


Posted Image

Speaking of ergonomics, yes the EX1 is terrible. Made worse if the call to use a ground glass adapter is made. This rig only became comfortable if a cardolini was attached to the back of the shoulder adapter and a 20lbs shot bag hung off. It made the whole rig upwards of 40lbs, and still terribly painful to deal with, but it sort of works? When you jump into consumer cameras, ergonomics are not something you should be expecting to get, even with should adapter rigs etc.
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#20 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 25 January 2010 - 09:10 PM

Yet another reason why I was glad to see the letus go!
As is, right now, with the BP-60 batter sitting up on my shoulder and my elbows to my chest, I can run the EX1 with a matte box pretty much all day without getting too tired, compared to a few hours shooting a doc with a whole shoulder rig/rods contraption. I even tried the old weight on the back trick, but, meh, save the adapter spoil the child.
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