What Camera Ya Got?

I've been watching a bunch of videos and it seems like the Sony a7s II and the Panasonic GH4 and 5 are the hotshots in the indie filmmaking world.


I have these 3 cameras:

Nikon COOLPIX L820

Panasonic HC-V720

Panasonic HC-V991K


I'd like to sell the first two somewhere to get a better one, like either  the a7sii or the gh5. Those twoare hard to choose between.  I like the a7sii because it seem to be the winner in low-light, but the gh5 beats it in other things.


Maybe you have a better idea? What's your cam?



  • doveranalyst
    doveranalyst Posts: 33
    edited November 2017

    Hi! I shoot 4k and 2k videos with Samsung Galaxy S7.

    The quality is good and now that hitfilm allows you to render in 4k, it's amazing! Even when I render in 2k or 1080p, I still use 4k footage, to have a more HD look to it. 

    Have a look at youtube doveranalyst

  • While the low light on the a7sii is neat you need to ask yourself how often your really going to need the capability.  How often are you going to want to shoot by starlight?  If your mostly doing narrative, not very often, you're going to want to light your scene anyway. 

  • DafterThings
    DafterThings Posts: 985 Enthusiast

    I use an old Sony DSC-HX50 with the Sony external mic and DSC-WX500.

    For compact cameras and the price range they're surprisingly good although absolutely awful in lowlight. A quick check suggests they're in the same price range as your own cameras. I've been looking at a Canon EOS 70D for a while hoping they would drop hugely in price. Unfortunately all that has happened is I'm now looking at the 80D (more sensors, mic and headphone jack etc etc).

    The problem is, although they might improve the quality of my  filming, they won't improve the quality of my film-making (or short video-making to be more precise).  I still make so many mistakes that are not going to be solved by technology. I'm not suggesting the same applies in your case but maybe share some of your footage/films. The members of this community have provided me with great  constructive criticism and none of it has mentioned the technical feature of the camera I am using.

    Even though I realise all that I am still hovering over a £1000  'BUY NOW' button. 

    Not sure if any of that helps


  • Admittedly, I don't actually have any video footage on those cameras, just pics on the Nikon. I got them in the past for a purpose I haven't been able to carry out.  But now I'm doing a lot more research on filming than my dummy self used to.

  • [Deleted User]
    [Deleted User] Posts: 1,994 Just Starting Out

    I still use my Canon 600D with Magic Lantern. I don't think I'll upgrade any time soon.

    I hope you find what you're looking for, bud!

  • WhiteCranePhoto
    WhiteCranePhoto Posts: 923 Enthusiast

    The real value of the A7s' low light capability is overrated. It's impressive, but there's a reason that the vast majority of the low light examples out there are tests to see what it can do at night, rather than part of actual film projects.

    And if you use the approach of not lighting a set because you can get away with it due to having ISO 50,000, then you're just going to end up with good exposures of a drab setting anyway.

    So... not as important as some like to think.

    The GH5 is a good deal... but so is a Black Magic Micro Cinema Camera.


  • I Shoot canon 80d, canon right now has the best autofocus and color science. But between the Sony and Panasonic I would go with the sony, it has way better autofocus and the low light is absolutely incredible! 

  • Davlon
    Davlon Posts: 288 Enthusiast

     A question for @WhiteCranePhoto --

    Are you saying that of all the cameras available on the market, and of all the feature packages available on those cameras, that the Panasonic GH5 is the best value available today?

  • Even though the question in't directed at me, I wanna say I think everyone here  in this thread has implied, in my mind at least, that even though a camera may be viewed as the "best", there is no perfect-for-all camera. Speaking generally, you just gotta define "best;" for yourself and ask if what you want i what you need.

  • WhiteCranePhoto
    WhiteCranePhoto Posts: 923 Enthusiast

    @HeavenThunder is right about that. There aren't really any slouches in the camera market these days.

    @Davlon Yes, I think the GH5 is the best value camera right now, due to being a good camera for photography as well as for video. Black Magic cameras have nicer color and more dynamic range, but the tradeoff is that you either spend more or sacrifice the still side.

    Tradeoffs abound... but they all can deliver great image quality in a nicely lit scene.

  • Davlon
    Davlon Posts: 288 Enthusiast
    edited November 2017

     @WhiteCranePhoto --

    It's -- a lot of money.  Is there any way to get one for less than -- gulp  $1,742 No lens?  

    Do we wait until the other manufacturers notice the GH5 value package and release comparable models -- hopefully at a better price point?  Or are you saying the implementation of the technology is inherently superior?

  • Stargazer54
    Stargazer54 Posts: 3,899 Ambassador

    I would just say consider your lens choices.  The glass is what your image hits first.  While the sensor is, of course important, the difference between a great image and a mediocre one is the quality of the lens.  

  • WhiteCranePhoto
    WhiteCranePhoto Posts: 923 Enthusiast

    Even more than the lens is the lighting. The limiting factor in image quality for a probably around 90% of the independent films out there is the crappy lighting.

    @Davlon yes, it's a fair chunk of change... but right now I don't think you'll be able to find anything comparable under $2K as a hybrid.

    Black Magic's Micro Cinema camera costs less at $1000 and also doesn't include a lens, but it's not a hybrid; it's made specifically for video. If you're only interested in motion pictures, it's a better deal than even a GH5, just don't expect to be able to make mid-sized or larger prints from it; it doesn't have the resolution for 16x20... but in motion? It's as good as it gets for that price range; the color is while different from Panasonic's, comparable in terms of quality.

    I know of only two families of cameras that can double as still and video cameras that you could make 16x20 or 24x36 prints from, they're rather out of your price range (the "cheap") starts at $30K... and that doesn't even include a lens mount, a battery adapter, or a monitor.

  • Stargazer54
    Stargazer54 Posts: 3,899 Ambassador

    +1 on Lighting.  As @WhiteCranePhoto says, being able to throw light on the subject (or remove it with flags) is just as important as the camera/lens combo. 

    But that well lit scene deserves to be captured properly.  The two go hand in hand. 

    Study, shoot, edit -repeat.

  • WhiteCranePhoto
    WhiteCranePhoto Posts: 923 Enthusiast

    Lighting is far more important than the lens/camera combo. If your lighting is bad, you'll end up with footage that looks largely the same whether you capture it with a Millenium DXL or with a cell phone.


  • [Deleted User]
    [Deleted User] Posts: 1,994 Just Starting Out
    edited November 2017

    I'm in favor of lighting and audio before all else. Neither are really expensive, an example for lighting would be water proof LED strip (RGB with a remote of course) which connects to USB, glued to a plane with some sort of diffuser to evenly spread the light. From there just an USB Type A to Type A straight to a rechargeable power bank that you can store in your pocket. If you start thinking like that, it'll be easier on your wallet. 

    It's always cool and awesome to learn about new features pushing the industry forward, especially improved low light performance, but your light should never be low in the first place.

    Even horror movies which look like they were filmed in the dark, are definitely not filmed in the dark, just cleverly lit scenes by manipulating colors on set and in post. It makes our brains believe that the scenes were filmed in the dark, similar to how music manipulates our emotions unconsciously. They don't only do that with music, they add more reverb to sounds, and add creepy ambient sounds as well, not to mention the dreaded dutch angle to increase suspense. It's very hard for me to watch a movie nowadays without always thinking about how each particular scene was made. :(

  • WhiteCranePhoto
    WhiteCranePhoto Posts: 923 Enthusiast

    @CNK I have trouble with that too... especially with really well shot movies, I keep wanting to learn how they're made :)

  • Has anyone heard of the DJI Osmo? Good ol' Ryan Connolly used it to shoot this awesome fight scene.


  • RE: Lighting:

    After watching a number of videos, I gotta agree lighting takes priority.  It doesn't make sense (yet), but I realize that's how it works because, obviously, how a camera sees a scene is different from how  a human eye sees  reality.

  • WhiteCranePhoto
    WhiteCranePhoto Posts: 923 Enthusiast

    Films aren't about recreating reality, they're about creating their own reality.

    Lighting is part of the mise en scene. A huge part.

    IMO the easiest way to learn about lighting is to think about where you want your shadows, and how dark you want them to be, and how much of the scene is in shadow.

    When you hear people talk about the "quality" of light, what they're really referring to is the hardness of the shadows.

    The Osmo camera is btw the same as the Inspire's. It's quite good. I suspect that DJI is working very closely with Hasselblad, and it shows.

  • StormyKnight
    StormyKnight Posts: 2,618 Ambassador

    I use a canon T2i which was a bit pricey but well worth the $$$. Everything I've filmed with it looks pro quality and as it's an SLR, I can change lenses for different shot types.

  •  Anyone use a field monitor?

  • WhiteCranePhoto
    WhiteCranePhoto Posts: 923 Enthusiast

    Sometimes. I have a Paralinx Triton which makes a field monitor a lot easier to work with. I don't like having my camera excessively rigged up. :)

  • I'm just young and making videos with friends so i got my phone and a 2010 camcorder 

  • but both still have good quality !

  • My iPhone 6+ has awful looking quality.  On a PC at least.

  • I got a smartphone and for serious photography I got d850 (I just recently bought it) because of the console, build and  it is a balance for both speed and image quality.

  • tddavis
    tddavis Posts: 5,224 Expert

    @HeavenThuunder From the video my daughters take of the grandkids with their iPhones the quality shouldn't suck.  Have you checked to make sure your set at the highest resolution settings.  I know my Galaxy camera lets me select 480p, 720p, 1080p (which is what I use) and UHD 2160p.  Just a thought, 

  • I've only used my phone for texting and taking random pics, so I never thought to look at camera settings. lol I'll have to look.

  • Prospero
    Prospero Posts: 127

    My big camera is an XF300 50MBS video camera. I also have a Canon Camcorder along with a rebel TI plus a gopro knockoff. Wish I could afford the new Canon C300 mark 2 but can't afford it along with the glass and accessories

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