Everything posted by Kris Denton
I can only speak for the market that I work in which is primarily Los Angeles but do shoot docs around the world. Apart from the cost reasons that I explained earlier, I truly believe the main reason we don’t see more cameras in this form factor is physical size. There is a whole generation of documentary operators that have never used a camera in that style.....many don’t use viewfinders....just onboard monitors...everyone wants small so the camera is more versatile. A camera like an FX9 can be made to be quite small for a gimbal and not much larger for a shoulder handheld configuration. That’s what the majority want. If there was a demand for larger form cameras there are plenty of manufacturers to make one. Sony make a very high quality 4k camera albeit a 2/3” sensor but it only really gets work on reality shows and news gathering. Personally I want a smaller camera setup to get it into tighter spaces and also so I don’t get as fatigued. I spent thirty years with EFP form factor cameras...I welcome the smaller rigs!
The business has just changed. I started shooting with Ikegami’s in Adelaide in 1984...I’ve owned a bunch of Sony EFP and Panasonic cameras...things are just different now. The business model for documentary guys like me is different now. I bought a standard definition digital PAL betacam in 2000 for $58,000. And I made a lot of money with that camera....but it was a time when folks called me and asked whether I was available and that was it....they didn’t ask what camera I was using (they knew) and they didn’t ask for specific lenses...it’s a different world now. Currently I own four pro cameras to satisfy my market and they barely amount to that one PAL camera...but I still make a decent living! I think cameras like the FS7 and now the FX9 are the betacams of the day for the doc world and I say that regretfully....folks that have grown up in this S35 world for documentaries have been denied an awesome platform...we have not continue to follow the natural progression from 16mm for docs to the 2/3rds inch sensor...despite the fact that Sony does still make a great 2/3rds inch camera that shoots slog etc.... I need to turn cameras over every four years now...I got eight years from my Varicam and probably close to that with my Digibeta. Can’t do that anymore...producers want the next new shiny thing....so buying something for $12000 gives you an opportunity to make some money before you have to turn around and buy the new thing. But in saying all this....small cameras are great for cars and all the crazy small places I find myself. The cameras are all of such incredible quality now....I don’t care who makes them....they are all great...if you know what you’re doing you can make them all look good.. The days over spending $30000 per lens and $60000 on a camera body is something few can make work financially anymore I believe.