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Which camera should I buy?

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Sean Glazar
Which camera should I buy?
on Aug 17, 2013 at 10:01:16 pm

Heyyoo, Im interested in a couple cameras but I cant find any real comparisons online so i can really makeup my mind, so ill open this to everyone, hope your opinions can help me out. I dont have a huge budget, just looking for something to get me on my feet. What would be better: a Canon T5i (with magic lantern) or the Black Magic Design (not the 2.5k one, the little 1080 one)?


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Chris Wright
Re: Which camera should I buy?
on Aug 18, 2013 at 11:05:20 am

the magic has 13 f-stops and raw. 1080p, in ProRes 422 (HQ) or lossless CinemaDNG 12bit RAW.

the other has like 4 stops and no raw 8 bit and a very limiting color profile.

one is for serious video quality, the other is for picture taking.


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Al Bergstein
Re: Which camera should I buy?
on Aug 18, 2013 at 3:37:44 pm

It's a little more complex than that Sean, but Chris brings up a good point. Having gone through all the stages from 'hobbyist' shooter with a T2i to a 'full time' professional (if I can loosely use that word) using broadcast quality equipment and still occassionally shooting with a 5D, I can say that if you are serious about primarily shooting video, then skip the T5i and go directly to something that can really monitor your audio properly, and give you the stuff that matters when shooting video (zebras, waveforms, etc.) While you can 'hack' in your ML to the T5i, (I guess), it's still not a proper video camera. The downside to the Magic is that it's going to create some mighty big files that you need to consider your computer's power and capability. If I was shooting theatrical, I might seriously consider the Black M.

You didn't mention if you have access to Canon lenses or not. The new B.Magic I think is using Panasonic style lenses.

Some other ideas include looking at the GH3, as it is a very nice camera at that price range, and includes audio meters and the quality of the image out of the camera is superb. Your lenses can be used later with a BM or AF101, for example, which is still a great camera for the price. I seriously considered one for a while before getting the C100 (I already had lots of Canon glass)

Be aware if you go the DSLR route, you are going to likely need to spend at least as much as the camera on lenses, a Zacuto Z-Finder is pretty essential IMHO, and probably something like an external recording device (I like the new Tascam DR-60D, or the Shure VP83F). So if you think you are saving money by buying the T5i, it's not likely. I don't know if you will need a Zacuto for the Black Magic, but Philip Bloom was not hot on it's viewfinder.

The BM won't be a good choice if you plan to take lots of stills. That's why I keep around my 5D. It does both well.

Good luck.

Al


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Sean Glazar
Re: Which camera should I buy?
on Aug 18, 2013 at 8:13:57 pm

Thanks! Yeah, 0 interest in shooting stills, i wondered if the magic lantern would level the playing field at all, but i guess its not worth it for the type of projects im gonna be doing. Ill more than likely get the Black Magic lol


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Jonathan Ziegler
Re: Which camera should I buy?
on Aug 19, 2013 at 4:38:00 pm

Depends on you, buddy. :)

Both cameras are worlds apart in terms of tech and pricing. Sounds more like you want to dive into film and you want to get a real camera, but you want to get just the right one for the money.

The two are similar, but for a newbie, I think the Canon would be much better for you. Go with the easy stuff until you can really appreciate a more sophisticated camera. When you are just starting, story, shot development, and workflow, etc., etc. are more important (the basics). Later, you can fine tune images with a more sophisticated camera. Otherwise, you will be fiddling with settings which don't mean as much when you are new versus when you have more hands-on experience. Learn to be a good shooter, then worry about having the right equipment - I have seen terrible films made with really high-class equipment and I've seen amazing footage from seasoned pros on low-end crap. Equipment will never made you a better filmmaker, but experience, practice, and honest critique will.

My recommendation? Pick up a cheap Canon (used) with not too many shutter clicks and a decent body - often, you can pick up T2is, T3is, etc. for under $600 with lenses and tons of accessories. Use it like it is for several months. Shoot everyday - take it with you so you can shoot something cool you see and try to capture that image for the sake of capturing it. Don't worry about tripods or stabilizers, it's all just practice and you aren't expecting to be Stephen Spielberg out the gate! I have been buying cheap Canon T2i's and installing Magic Lantern on them for well over a year and a half now. I love the way they operate with Magic Lantern.

Consider renting one of your cameras for a weekend too. Just saw on borrowlenses they have the Blackmagic pocket for $60 for 3 days minus lens, the Canon T5i for $38 minus lens, and a slew of others. Point is, you can sit down and try these out for a weekend and have hours of footage to play with and not have to spend $1000 for something and you will have a much better idea of how each one works and then you can make an informed decision for YOU. Here, you are relying an varying experience and we all have different priorities than you do.

Finally, expect to change cameras several times if you are going to keep this up for a long time. Every year, the next must-have item comes out and everyone swoons. The next year, its something different and this goes on and on, but good filmmaking skills remain with you no matter what camera you shoot on.

Shoot like nobody's watching, but you really hope they will. ;)

Save early. Save often.

Jonathan Ziegler

http://www.electrictiger.com
520-360-8293


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Scott Robart
Re: Which camera should I buy?
on Oct 19, 2013 at 2:32:12 am

Unless you plan on learning to post-process (color-correct/grade sharpen, edit, etc), I'd say go with the Canon. The Canon will at least give you footage that you can use right off the sensor, with minimal editing. The bmpcc all but requires AT LEAST color correction due to the very flat picture profile. If you already understand and have the software for color correction, then I'd say go with the bmpcc, because it will give you FAR superior quality than the Canon.

If you think video shooting may be a passing phase, get yourself a cheap camcorder. You can get them for like $100-150 on the low end. The quality will be good enough for youtube and it will allow you to learn the basics, which are FAR more important than the camera used, imo. If you KNOW you want to shoot video, but it's just for personal projects or maybe some work for friends, then get the Canon. If you plan on doing professional jobs, get the bmpcc or better.

I have seen some people who started out with the bmpcc and when they saw the video that they captured, they were seriously underwhelmed...but then seriously OVERWHELMED when they realized that for the footage to look decent, they had to color correct/grade it. Correction/grading isn't difficult, but it's something that you must learn to do. The video straight off the sensor of the bmpcc is extraordinarily flat. To most people, it just looks like crap. However, to someone who understands dynamic range and how to correct the colors, it's nothing short of amazing. That flat, boring, not-very-sharp video that comes off of the bmpcc produces some STAGGERING results if you know what you're doing. But if you're not prepared to correct the colors, DO NOT get that camera, under any circumstances.

Someone else mentioned the GH3, which is a superb camera. The GH2 can be had for a bit less money and with the hacked firmware can give you some truly amazing results. The Canon 5D Mark II or III are also really great cameras for video, but they are much more expensive than the Txi and bmpcc. Also, strongly consider the Canon 70D, which is the first DSLR which has an autofocusing system that can be used for video. If I had to pick one camera for someone who wants to shoot video, but they're just getting into it, the 70D is the one I'd choose. Not having to worry about your focus constantly would allow you to concentrate on getting the shot that you want. The 70D isn't perfect, there will be times when you WILL need to manually focus, but it's a lot less than any other camera out there. The 70D's focusing system is truly a game-changer, in my opinion.

Good luck with whatever you choose.


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