APS-C vs Micro 4/3
Wide open question. I just started running an educational access station, 2 employees w student help and we need a dramatic upgrade in our cameras. I have had people tell me to go the APS-C route with cannons, and others telling me micro 4/3 with Panasonic, etc. I'd love the community's opinion on which is better for a usage rate of about 90/10 video to stills. Our budget is around 500-1000 for the camera, and lenses as we can afford. Any thoughts and passionate responses are appreciated!
Hi Daniel - in the $1000 class, I recommend the $1092 Panasonic GH3. My first video DSLR was a Canon T2i and my first DSLR was a Nikon D50, so I'm not biased against these brands or APS-C sensors, but I've switched to micro 4/3, and the GH3 is the best DSL for video, period.
The other cameras in this class are the $1199 Canon 70D and the $1146.95 Nikon D7100. Here is a short comparison of their video features:
The GH3 can shoot for hours continuously, the Canons and Nikons cannot (they are limited to 30 minutes of continuous video - which doesn't work for events, speeches, etc.)
The GH3 and D7100 have headphone jacks, the 70D does not.
The GH3 and 70D have good tracking autofocus (the 70D is better), the D7100 does not.
The GH3 and D7100 are highly resistant to moire, the 70D is not.
The GH3 gives you the option of recording to 3 different codecs (AVCHD .MTS , Quicktime .MOV and MP4) at bit rates up to 72mbps. The 70D and D7100 record at a fraction of this bit rate.
The GH3 records progressive HD at up to 60fps, neither of the other cameras record at 1080/60p
The GH3 and the 70D have built in wireless connectivity. The D7100 requires the purchase of an external accessory.
The GH3 and the 70D have fully articulated LCDs. The D7100 has a fixed LCD, which can be inconvenient for high and low angle shooting without an external monitor.
The D7100 has an all metal weathersealed body, the GH3 is metal and splashproof. The D70 is a plastic body over a metal chassis.
The GH3 and the D7100 resist a phenomenon called moire (shimmering colors on patterned objects such as printed fabrics, brickwork and rooftops). The 70D and all Canons (except the $3,000+ 5D Mark III and their $5,000+ Cinema EOS cameras), are susceptible to this shot-ruining phenomenon.
The GH3 is the least expensive of the three cameras and is the clear winner in every category except autofocus and perhaps weathersealing. In both of these areas, it is a close second.
But it stands absolutely alone in the codec, bit rate, frame rate, and continuous clip length options that it offers the shooter.
If the GH3 is above your budget limit, its little brother, the $699 (body only) Panasonic G6 may be a good second choice.
The G6 lacks the larger camera's metal splashproof body, headphone jack and .MOV codec, but its built in wi-fi and NFC, moire-resistance, tracking autofocus, focus peaking, 1080/60p 28mbps progressive recording and hours-long continuous clip length make it a much better video camera than the comparable Canon T5i and Nikon D5200.
Hope this is helpful,
Hybrid Camera Revolution
amazing breakdown, yours should be a sticky tab.
also, don't forget the 13 f-stop Blackmagic Pocket Cinema camera $995.
Thanks, Chris. I am a big fan of the Pocket Cinema Camera.
Since my pre-order went in on April 26th (!), my BMPCC should be here "any day now".
But since Daniel and his students are running a local access TV channel, I discounted the BMPCC due to its lack of some of the most basic features that a TV studio or run 'n gun news shooter would need (e.g., a battery level meter, a "recording time remaining" indicator and the ability to format its own cards).
Great camera - but probably not for TV production.
All the best,
Hybrid Camera Revolution
While I am an owner of a ton of Canon gear, if I was starting out and had $1000 to buy, I'd likely also try the GH3. But for your requirements, I would buy neither. First, the GH3: The quality of the GH3 footage is superior to the Canon T3i, etc. in that range. I've shot side by side with the two (a fellow shooter who has run B cam for me has one) and the results rival on the small screen the images I get with my XF305. The T2i/T3i does not.
Be aware that the body is only the start of the cost. your budget might be too low. For example, you will likely need a wide angle, and a zoom lens, to match the range that a simple camcorder can give you. Also, you might not be able to record long enough on the GH3. Audio recording is miminal, and usually requires an external recorder. And microphone.
I would recommend looking at camcorders for this use. Why? Because DSLR's are *not* setup to record long continuous takes for an hour or more at a time. Camcorders are. You might run into overheating, etc.
For long running performances, I always use my xf305 as my *A* camera and shoot my DSLRs as B cameras.
Some ideas for your budget, but you are pretty low priced for a decent camcorder. Maybe used?
Panasonic HMC150 (used)
Canon G20 Camcorder (your price, but not the best option).
Canon XA10 or XA20 (probably the best bang for the buck)
These models get you into the world of shooting without adding a bunch of extraneous ala carte gear.
These are not as good of quality image in low light as the GH3, but they are all in one units with xlr inputs, (not the G20) and offer a great lens for the price.
Al - respectfully, I own the GH3, and outside of Europe, its continuous recordable time is measured in hours, not minutes, and it does not overheat (see the GH3 specs page here).
The GH3 can indeed record long continuous takes - with several advantages over the small-sensor camcorders in its price class, e.g. depth of field control, 1080/60p, high bit rate recording and interchangeable lenses.
As far as sound goes, I plug a pro quality Audio Technica AT-835b XLR mic directly into the camera with a $17 Hosa MIT-156 line matching transformer/adapter and get great audio without an external recorder.
Here is my setup. With the mic's balanced XLR output, you can take it off the camera, put it on a boom and run the cable back to the camera without introducing the hum or hiss you might get from unbalanced 3.5mm consumer cables.
Here is a comparison I did between the AT-835b and a consumer mic - both plugged directly into the GH3:
Daniel's other issue is that he will use the camera for stills 10% of the time. The HMC150, XA10, XA20 and G20 are probably not the best cameras for that :)
Hybrid Camera Revolution
Great to hear Bill. As mentioned, I'm very impressed with the Gh3. Have you shot a two hour concert with it yet? The guy i worked with did lots of b roll clips, very short, but no continuous long takes. Doing educational work, there's often assemblies and other simple documentation I would assume.
Thank you very much Gentlemen!
I neglected to mention that we already have a few full video cameras, and the DSLR choices were to give us more versatility in shooting, but I greatly appreciate the analysis all the way around.
Bill, your breakdown is spectacular, and something I will be citing for future use any time someone asks me a question about the formats. Al, thank you for the other ideas on cameras as we look to upgrade in that area in the future. And Chris, I look forward to a blackmagic pocket camera in the future, but I imagine that one will be coming out of the personal budget.
Thanks again for all your insight! I'm going to look into purchasing a pair of GH3's as soon as possible...school system purchasing and all.
Something new to consider is the Nikon D5300.
The 1080P 60 Video in low light at 12800 ISO is awesum.
However, you will need an external recorder (Odyssey7) to record over 10 minutes continuosly.
I may check out the GH3 (Hands On) just for that reason.
And there should be some used GH3 outfits available at a reasonable price.