Which Camera is Right for You?
The market is constantly flooded with a slew of cameras, ranging from pro-sumer to professional, with ever-changing, ever-evolving technology at every turn. How do you know which one is the right choice for you and your work? Do you make a selection based on brand name? Do you use price as a benchmark for quality? Or do you close your eyes, spin around and point to whichever one is in that direction? For me personally, I watch a lot of review videos, demos and gear vlogs. Let me share what I’ve learned through my experience with camera choices.
As an independent videographer, my preferred camera system is the Panasonic Lumix GH5. Released in January of 2017, it has quickly become a favorite among Micro-Four Thirds enthusiasts (that’s the size of the sensor, for those non-gear-nerds).
You might be wondering, why do people love this camera so much?
There are a ton of reasons! It’s very lightweight, versatile and produces a great image. There are no thirty-minute recording limits (like on some other cameras); the only limit is to the size of the memory card or external recorder. It has amazing slow-motion capabilities, dual memory card slots, a flat (no contrast, no saturation) picture profile, and it’s great for color-correction in post (if you have the time). And, just about any lens out there can be adapted to it (with the right adapter of course).
It can shoot in a proper Cinema 4K format, that’s a resolution of 4096×2160. This is what professional Hollywood filmmakers use, and a format that’s required by most movie theaters. There are a lot of features that make this a great option for anyone who’s looking for a camera system that costs less than $2,000 (with a lens)!
If you’re someone who’s looking for a camera system to invest in, in early-2019 there are a ton of options out there. You have everything from the smaller mirrorless-type cameras (like the GH5) all the way to more ‘professional’ systems such as Canon’s C100, C200, C300, C500, or even a Red camera. Sony and Panasonic also offer a few of their own ‘professional’-branded cinema cameras to pick from.
It can be very intimidating when shopping for your first pro-level camera. So how do you approach picking the right one? Answering these three simple questions and you’ll have a great starting point:
1) What do I plan on using the camera for?
2) What features am I looking for?
3) How much am I willing to invest upfront?
At Frame One Media, we use a variety of cameras, but for the large majority of our shoots we use the Canon EOS C100 mark II. For those higher-end shoots, that require something a bit extra, we offer the Canon EOS C200. It allows to shoot in 4K internally, without needing the help from an external video recording device. We also employ several Canon DSLR cameras, when needed.
That being said, if the Panasonic GH5 is so great, why then do we choose the Canon EOS line of cameras?
It’s simple, all EOS cameras have the best color science on the market. What is color science? Well, that’s a bit technical, but it’s basically how well the image looks straight out of camera, without any post-processing or color correction. No other camera system on the market comes close to Canon. It can sometimes take a lot of work to match the two cameras (the GH5 and the C100). For quick turn-around projects, we shoot all of our A-Roll (anything in the studio) with the Canon C100 mark II, and when we have to travel (for any shoot that’s not local to our area) I will always pick my Panasonic GH5.