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  • Posted by Lillian Fidler on September 21, 2022 at 12:21 pm

    Hi, I have a bit of experience in video having created a full length documentary. I used a sony v1u for all interviews, etc. However, I am looking now to upgrade/change to a more lightweight set up that is also in the 4k realm. I have heard some good things about DSLR’s and also, lately about lens attachments for your phone! I am really looking for advice on which way to go and suggestions as well. This would be for things like interviews, scenic shots, corporate videos, that sort of thing. Would love your feedback! Thank you, Lillian

    Craig Seeman replied 1 year, 7 months ago 3 Members · 9 Replies
  • 9 Replies
  • Craig Seeman

    September 21, 2022 at 1:15 pm

    If you don’t mention budget you’ll get recommendations all over the place. The Sony V1u was about $4800 when released in late 2006.

    Keep in mind interchangeable lenses are an expense in addition to the body. If you’re looking for DSLR like then the Sony FX3 might be possible at about $4800 but the leaked FX30 which may be about $2500 may be a good option if you wait a few weeks for that announcement. If you’re looking at a camera similar to V1u perhaps the Sony Z90v for about $2800 is something I use. (it’s bigger brothers Z190 and Z280 don’t seem to have great reviews).

  • Lillian Fidler

    September 21, 2022 at 2:32 pm

    Hi, yes you are right about the budget! Well, I would say around $2500.00 max. Your tip about the FX30 is a really good one! I have heard that the Sony A7S III is one of the best and this seems to be better. Then again, maybe alot of people will be selling their Sony A7S III’s to get the new one, so there may be some bargains to be found 😉 Thanks so much for your input and suggestion.

  • Craig Seeman

    September 21, 2022 at 5:45 pm

    The A7SIII and FX3 are similar cameras in different bodies and the FX3 is only slightly more expensive. They’re both full-frame.

    On the other hand, the rumored FX30 is APS-C and rumored to be about $2500. I don’t think people will be selling either of the above to go from full-frame to APS-C unless Sony introduces a new higher-demand feature.

  • Michael Gissing

    September 26, 2022 at 3:16 am

    My preference is the Blackmagic range of pocket cameras. They have 4k & 6k models that to me look and grade better than Sony and are similar or cheaper. Personally I would aim for a second hand camera body and spend your money on a good lens. Canon EF mount lenses are excellent (24-105 IS) and also available second hand. The 4k pocket uses micro four third lenses and again there are excellent zooms available for half the price of full frame lenses. The M.Zuiko range are great lenses that are not outrageously expensive like Sony lenses.

    Think more of the lenses and then chose the right body. Lenses for me are the system. Camera bodes come & go. My Canon lenses are now on their third and fourth bodies over the past decade.

  • Craig Seeman

    September 27, 2022 at 3:20 pm

    I have BMPCC 4K. While I love the look the problem with documentary shooting is the lack of built-in stabilization and autofocus. While you can you a stabilized lens and there is push to focus it creates a bit of an awkward workflow, not great for run and gun work especially if one is coming from a good camcorder model. I feel it’s not the best tool for the job in those conditions.

  • Michael Gissing

    September 27, 2022 at 11:02 pm

    Hi Craig. The latest software for the BMPCC 4k does activate the onboard gyro which embeds the data into the braw files for later stabilization. I also use IS lenses. The stabilization in Resolve can at times be remarkable especially with micro jitters. So this is not an issue for me

    The lack of auto focus is much overhyped in my opinion. Autofocus has its own issues and I much prefer a manual approach. Indeed many lenses like my Laowa 15mm is a totally manual lens and my favourite on a gimbal. I also have seen a lot of focus hunting when people just rely on auto. (EDIT: Also the later software has improved the snap focus and vastly improved the focus assist. My friend with a Sony a7s ii was in awe of the much better focus assist and bigger screen compared to hers. She hates her peaking display. We both do doco work and she is seriously considering a jump to BM)

    The real saviour with run & gun for me is the dynamic range and highlight recovery with braw files from this camera. I’m often grading footage from a variety of cameras and I find the Sony codecs in particular do not give me the same latitude.

  • Craig Seeman

    September 28, 2022 at 2:55 pm

    Sometimes in doc shooting, you need to track a subject and Sony autofocus supposedly does a great job with that. Try gyro can help but your NLE, at least for processing that, has to be Resolve.

    Sony just released the FX30 (APS-C equivalent of the FX3) and the body only is just $1800.

    Again, it depends on what and how you shoot but I find the BMPCC 4K has limits when I do run and gun. It’s just not that convenient and I can’t risk losing unplanned shots.

    Sony does overstate their dynamic range when you consider noise though so I consider them similar. Their color science has improved. BMPCC has the edge for planned shots, shots where you have a few seconds to set up but too much of my shooting doesn’t allow for that (ENG style and sometimes with equally fast turnarounds).

    Camera prices are so low now it’s possible to own both although the lens is the cost both allow for Canon lenses as a middle ground.

  • Michael Gissing

    September 29, 2022 at 12:58 pm

    Yes the new Sony does seem like they is gunning for BM pocket cameras with the price and I did see the claimed improvements in tracking focus. So the playing field is leveled. However I’m yet to find a doco camera person who prefers the Sony look over the BM cameras. For run & gun I definately prefer the Ursa Mini with a Canon IS 24-105 and the BM viewfinder. As I was trained on shoulder mount 16mm camera doing news, this is for me the best camera ergonomics. I really only have the pocket for gimbal and B cam.

  • Craig Seeman

    October 4, 2022 at 1:54 pm

    I can’t speak to prefered look but can certainly many docs are being done with Sony FX6 or FX9 and FX3 as the B camera or A camera when small, stabilizer or autofocus called for. The FX6, like BMPCC and other “cinema” cameras, don’t have stabilization or autofocus but some do rave about Sony’s built-in variable ND.

    But in the OP’s price range are BMPCC6,6, 6Pro and Sony FX30 and FX3. What you use is just as likely best on features needed as color science is Sony’s has improved and is quite serviceable for Doc work. If one has the budget, one from BMPCC and one from Sony can cover various shooting circumstances. There are many in which I find BMPCC too inconvenient. For shooting run & gun (most of my work these days) Sony wins. For planned shots, BMPCC looks nicer.

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