So I am on the hunt for a new camera. When am I not!
It’s difficult to find just the right camera that you love every feature of. When I first got into cinematography I wanted to get the best camera to capture the best video. I was only in it for the video, not pictures. So I turned to Canon camcorders wanting to get some great video without breaking the bank. So I ventured out and purchased the Canon XA40 Professional UHD 4K camcorder. It wasn’t terribly expensive but just enough to get the best video, or so I thought. I used it for about two months. Got some good video with it for what it was but up until I had really sat down and investigated the tools of the trade I just didn’t know what I didn’t know.
After two months, I decided to upgrade. I didn’t sell the Canon right away but instead purchased a Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K. This was the first camera that had ever had that took removable lenses. This is where I really started to learn some tools that you need to get some great shots (still learning to this day). Took this camera on its first trip to Portland Oregon where my son and I were going to watch the State Wrestling Tournament for that year. I got some great shots for a newbie but that was my first lesson in image stabilization.
Got back from Portland Oregon and knew I had to do something different. The BMPCC4K was a great camera. Captures in RAW format, of course at that time I had no idea what that even meant. It was time to sell the Canon and get another camera. That camera sold pretty quickly. Had been looking at getting a camera that could use the same lenses that I had already got for the BMPCC and since it was MFT I decided to stick with that. Started watching lots of videos and there were tons on the Panasonic GH5. I was intrigued by the shots others were getting out of this camera even though it was released 3 years previous.
Got the GH5 in and I couldn’t put it down. Decided to get the Sigma 18-35 (and if you are in the business that I all I have to type because you know the stats of that lens) and I also got the Sigma 50-100 Art lens as well. With those, I coupled it with a speedbooster. I had no idea what they did I just knew that it would take the EF lenses I bought and let me use them on my MFT cameras. I’m not Rockefeller or anything so I went with the Viltrox EF speedbooster rather than the Metabones. Lots of videos out there on the Metabones but it is 5x the cost. Maybe someday I will get one and compare the differences between the two but for now, the Viltrox works for what I need it to do and does give me additional stops turning the f1.4 into an f1.2.
I love using my GH5. Eventually, I paired it with an Atomos Ninja V monitor and was capturing directly into Apple ProRes 422 HQ which is my preferred codec since I use Apple to create and edit. I found myself using the BMPCC less and less. I never got into using the RAW codec that Blackmagic Design created so when I did use it I always captured it in ProRes 422 HQ. I figured that since I don’t use that codec, why have that camera. Decided to sell it and get a different one.
Sold that pretty quick too. Did some research and came across that the GH5s (I knew about this camera already and knew it was like the GH5 just much better for video but decided on the GH5 because at times I do take pictures as well and I wanted IBIS as well which the GH5s does not have) paired with the Ninja V can send a RAW signal out for the Ninja V to capture. WHAT!! ProRes RAW HQ captured from the feed of the camera!! Amazing!! So, yes I decided to buy the GH5s. Side note, by this time I knew a little more about RAW and its benefits.
Got the GH5s in and the first thing I did was pair it with my Ninja V and start capturing some video in ProRes RAW. Love it!! Shoots such flat video and makes color grading so much easier.
Here is the debate that goes on in my head… Keep the GH5 as my B-Roll camera which does a great job and is great for run and gun handheld due to IBIS (Obviously I am not getting rid of my GH5s) or get rid of the GH5 and get maybe a Canon full-frame that uses EF mount? I am not a person that limits myself to just one brand. I know that many are and they will die by the Canon name or the Sony name. I just use what I use to capture the best images and video. And the reason I say Canon full-frame with EF mount is that I already have some EF mount lenses. Don’t really want to branch out into another mount format yet. The RF mount does look appealing and will probably be if not already Canons primary line, but I digress.
So help me out a struggling cinematographer make this decision. What camera should I get to replace the GH5 if I chose to sell it? Any tips you have would be greatly appreciated.