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With the new cameras recently being released and the latest price drops on the older generations, I thought it was a good idea to revisit the idea of this post Matt did on the site, discussing whether you really need a 4K camera or the latest and greatest.

https://www.newsshooter.com/2018/03/20/do-you-really-need-a-camera-that-can-shoot-4k/

In the original post from 2018, Matt looked at quite a few options including the Sony F3, F35, FS700, Canon C300, ARRI Alexa Classic and more.

WIth the FX9, C200, C300 Mark III, C500 II, Venice, ALEXA Mini LF and more being released, we are spolt for choice but it also means that the older camera resale value gets dropped making them an enticing option for anyone looking to buy a camera today.

 

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Yes, we are definitely spoiled for choice these days at every price point. 

While I know that Matt isn't a fan of BMD cameras 😉 I think that options like the BMD Ursa Mini Pro and the BMD 4K Pocket remain the current best image quality bang for the buck that one can buy, even with the likely drops in price for used models from Canon, Sony, and Panasonic (used Alexas/Amiras are still in another universe in terms of price, even the Alexa Classic which can be found under $10K these days becomes quite expensive when you add the required PL mount glass). 

Granted, I do also work as a colorist in addition to shooting, so I'm always going to be biased towards cameras that capture raw or intraframe 12bit 444 in camera over the color subsampled and (often but not always) long-GOP compressed offerings from Canon, Sony, and Panasonic that are in the same price bracket, or that can now be acquired used in the same price bracket since the recent updates and discounts. 

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Certainly lots of great options out there. There is still a lot of work happening around the world that is only being done in HD, so depending on who you are working for and what is required, a lot of the older cameras will still get the job done. 

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Hobbyist here with a fs700/shogun system. The 10bit 4k "raw" (baked in gain and wb 😞 )  i get impresses at parties and I get a kick out of the 2k slomo. I've never understood wanting new gear-- even my sdi cables are secondhand. My client is myself so no delivery issues... tho he keeps telling me to hurry up with the edits...

  • Haha 2

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Right now, most of the clients I work with still only require HD delivery, so I have still been regularly using my Sony F3 and (believe it or not) my OG Varicam (tied to an Aja Mini).

That said, all the streaming platform work I've done has required UHD. Who knows if cable networks will start requiring that anytime soon. There's one network I've shot for that still required D-Beta masters until very recently.

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There's one network I've shot for that still required D-Beta masters until very recently.



Wow! Change happens slow in some parts of the industry. Did they have any reason why?

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On 4/23/2020 at 1:31 AM, Jared Hagemann said:

Right now, most of the clients I work with still only require HD delivery, so I have still been regularly using my Sony F3 and (believe it or not) my OG Varicam (tied to an Aja Mini).

That said, all the streaming platform work I've done has required UHD. Who knows if cable networks will start requiring that anytime soon. There's one network I've shot for that still required D-Beta masters until very recently.

Well said. If the camera you own gets you work and oats then bills, then it is the right camera. 

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Posted (edited)

Nothing wrong with buying used.  There are great deals out there to be had, especially right now.

I picked-up my F55, about five years ago, used for a really good price, at the time.  Came with the OLED VF, complete check-up by Sony(had just come off of a Netflix show) and about a year left on the transferable extended warranty.   I believe the first shoot I did with it was UHD.  And even though the vast majority of the shoots I do are for HD delivery, I've gotten plenty of calls solely because I had THAT camera and could do 4K/UHD.  So today, as a freelancer, I think you really need a camera(at least one) that is capable of shooting 4K/UHD.

Edited by Run&Gun

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For the budget-conscious, there's a camcorder that I've bought, sold and re-bought time and again over the decade that's just perfect for today's no-budget multicam livestream interviews. The Sony NEX VG-20 is only around $400 used so buying a bunch of them won't set you back much. With a 5 hour battery life and mini HDMI output, this Super35mm camcorder will take any lens you throw at it. A great budget option for multiple copies of the same lens is the Tokina 28-70mm f2.8  (under$150 used) with a focal reducer.  No bells and whistles, just everything you need for a 'live' locked-down situation.

Sony_NEXVG20_NEX_VG20_Interchangeable_Le

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