Ok….How do we keep up with the constant release of new cameras and do we buy them every year a new camera comes out?!
….the problem is, there is NO right answer.
My very 1st camera was the Panasonic HVX 200 with SGBlade 35 Adapter, back then that was the only affordable way to shoot with shallow depth of field with slow-motion features.
It was a beast to roam around with: (my set up but not my picture)
The second I got used to the menu and best set up, ...the Canon 5DMKII Snuck up on the market, full frame sensor shooting only 30fps at the time but then changed to 24/25p
As you can tell, I sold my HVX set up and bought the 5DMKII, then later added the
Canon 1DMKIV for slow-motion and lowlight features.
Being early in the game back then, I never realised that this constant swapping out cameras would carry on.
What we want!
Most of the time we want new cameras cuz they are new and we love new things, kinda like iPhones and cars….
but lets all be honest with ourselves …..there are now plenty of cameras that do what we need and do it well
hell ....we probably already own them haha
What do we want in our cameras?… good dynamic range, some kind of slow-motion, 4k resolution, good color and good codecs & fairly compact
Company ethic :
Don’t forget a good company ethic is also important... as dealing with a camera company who cares makes a difference, at least to me.
RED is the best at this as they offer trade in/upgrade programs
So if you bought a RED that cost you £15k, you can trade that in plus £15k for the newer RED that cost £30k
I didn't say RED was cheap haha
But they make it less stressful for the user trying to sell their camera before buying the new version.
So….to start with
people interested in buying their first camera I’d suggest an all rounder
To me that is the 'Blackmagic Ursa Mini', 4K or 4.6 K, great dynamic range, raw recording, prores recording and 4k slowmo up to 60fps, with higher frame rates at 120fps in 1080p (cropped in) and good camera audio features at a fair price of £3,500
but you also have the 'Sony FS5' at £5,388
and the new RED Raven at about £9/12k for a working camera…all great cameras!
But bare this in mind as it will happen…..the day you buy that camera outright, or with a loan or on finance….you can guarantee a new better camera will come out either by the same manufacture you just bought a camera from or from a different manufacture within a year.
quite a while back I bit the bullet and bought the RED Scarlet, big money for me at the time….literally before I got it, a new company called 'Blackmagic' (Well new in the camera market) came out with the 2.5k cinema camera which looked just as good as the RED Scarlet for a lot less.
Only thing that kept me sane was that the scarlet had 48fps in 3k, much easier RAW workflow and the BMD had no slow-motion
But times are now very different, every camera has slow-motion....before you had to spend big to get big results, thats not really the case anymore.
Just look at the Sony line up, RX100, RX10, A7S etc etc
Also, as you may know….
its much better to invest in good lenses as they will more likely stick around longer then your cameras, if you have a good set of fast lenses and a few zooms, they will be in your bag for a long time.
I usually stick with EF glass as I know they work well on most formats, adapters etc
Im my mind, to do our jobs well…we need 3 cameras, not 3 £10k cameras, but just 3 cameras
Camera 1 ...an all rounder, frame rates, resolution, dr and color.
Camera 2..... a smaller camera with similar specs for gimbal work and travel/pick up shots
Camera 3....another camera for those 2nd angle interviews, this camera mainly just needs good dr and 25fps, no slowmo needed
Don't forget drones too haha
How To Keep Up Without Losing Money :
So now that smaller compact, affordable cameras can shoot great video & stills
with affordable pricing ...
how do we NOT get stuck spending over £1,000 every 6 months on new smaller cameras that come out with new features every 6 months to a year
well, we can't haha
The trick is to think of cameras like the stock market, you need to know when to sell!
I don't like owning hundreds of cameras, if I don't use it or that type of camera doesn't help my stories....then I sell em
So here is a great example:
Sometimes, camera companies help us out without knowing it.
You will need to know your cameras for this to work in your favour
So say you just bought camera x by company x that you just spent £3,000 on
3 months later that same company brings out a similar camera, not as good but very similar features for only £1,200
you now sell your camera at a lower cost of £3,000 to buy the cheaper camera with anything else you need to match the features of the more expensive camera
I bought the A7SII for full frame, in body stabilisation with slog 2 & 3
sold it for a6300, cheap speed booster & single gimbal
ended up with the same features for cheaper and pocketing money at the end
worked out great.
But sometimes you will end up losing £200 playing this game, but still a lot better
then forking out another £1,000/£2,000 every time
Thats my tip on making sure you don't get screwed over too much on cameras
How You shoot Will Choose The Camera For You!
Another very, very, very important thing to keep in mind is your clients and how you like to shoot.
This should choose your camera for you.
If you haven't got a client list yet, then just try and picture what clients you want and purchase your camera with that it mind.
For example, someone shooting weddings and docs will not want a heavy camera... thats power hungry and media hungry...despite how great it looks haha
For another example, I like to shoot on small cameras sometimes and move very fast , carry like a billion batteries and cards due to them being so small and affordable ….
but despite the cameras image looking amazing, your client might be biased and think bigger the better, more professional, ''why is he shooting with that small camera, its gonna look like crap''!
(I know, annoying)
So regarding those explanations above, this should give more insight on why I think this day and age we need to have more then one camera
So ....another important thing to know
DO NOT GET TOO ATTACHED TO YOUR CAMERA
cuz your new fancy camera might be gone next year and we need to keep an eye on innovative releases
Some people like to keep all their cameras, but in my mind....get rid of what you don't need fast.
That way you never really lose money in this game...someone will always want a cheaper camera as they will just be starting, or to them....that camera would be their upgrade.
Choose your camera wisely
Don’t let cameras stress you out, enjoy shooting and upgrade when you can
DO NOT BE AFRAID TO HIRE - if you are interested in a camera that cost a lot, try before you buy!
I’ve made it this far from this:
Panasonic HVX with 35 adapter
Set of Canon L Glass
SONY NEX 5N
Set of Rokinon/Samyang Glass
Blackmagic Pocket Camera
Set of Sigma Art Lenses
Sony E mount lenses
Micro Four Thirds Lenses
More TBC haha
For those just starting ...'Digital Photographer' magazine also posted a piece on me about my 'Five key pieces of Kit for Video Capture'