CAMERA REVIEWS - CinematographerTools.com

On this page we will review cinematographer gear in multiple price ranges.  We will:

 

1.  give the nuts and bolts,

 

2.  the price,

 

3.  and the word on the street about each piece of equipment (input from actual owners).

 

We will also try to update the information as new gear comes out.  It is important for fiilmmakers to stay on top of all of the new technology that is released.  Now, more than ever, quality gear can be purchased at affordable prices.  These tools should serve the cinematographer for years.

 

CAMERA AND GEAR REVIEWS

“It’s always exciting to try a new piece of gear, but sometimes two grips pulling a camera on a blanket is still the best solution.”

 

-Glen MacPherson, ASC

BEST 4K CAMERAS UNDER $5000 FOR FILMMAKERS IN 2016

PANASONIC LUMIX DMC-GH4 MIRRORLESS MICRO FOUR THIRDS DIGITAL CAMERA (BODY ONLY)

PRICE:

$1,297.99

 

NUTS & BOLTS:

16.05 MP. Digital Live MOS Sensor, DCI 4K at 24p, UHD, 3" OLED Monitor, 4:2:2 8-Bit or 10-Bit HDMI Output.

 

THE WORD ON THE STREET:

This DSLR camera can shoot Cinema 4K internally (4096 x 2160 resolution).  This is an impressive achievement.  An update allows it to shoot V-LOG, which allows for flexible grading in post by helping the camera to preserve highlighligt and shadow information.  Overall, this is an amazing little camera at a very affordable price.

BLACKMAGIC DESIGN URSA MINI 4K 60FPS SUPER 35 CAMERA (EF Mount)

PRICE:

$2,995.00

 

NUTS & BOLTS:

Super-35mm CMOS Sensor, 4K Recording up to 60p, ProRess 444 + 422 Recording, Compressed and Uncompressed RAW, 12 Stops of Dynamic Range, 5" LCD, Includes DaVinci Resolve Grading Software.

 

THE WORD ON THE STREET:

This camera can shoot 4K up to 60p (slow motion).  That's very impressive in this price range.  People love that it can record edit friendly ProRess 422 + 444.  It can also record Compressed or Uncompressed CinemaDNG RAW.  RAW allows for a lot of grading control in post (quite powerful using the DaVinci Resolve Grading Software that is included).  It also has XLR audio inputs.

JVC GY-LS300 4KCAM HANDHELD S35MM CAMCORDER (BODY ONLY)

PRICE:

$2,995.00

 

NUTS & BOLTS:  Single Super-35mm-Sized CMOS Sensor, UHD 4K, 3G-SDI & 4K HDMI Output, 3.5" LCD Display and Audio XLR Inputs.

 

THE WORD ON THE STREET:

This more traditional video camera body (not a dslr, yet small), offers a lot of bang for the buck.  It shoots UHD 4K and offers Audio XLR inputs with phantom power.  It also has JLOG, which is great for grading.

 

SONY ALPHA A7S II MIRRORLESS DIGITAL CAMERA (BODY ONLY)

PRICE:

$2,998.00

 

NUTS & BOLTS:

12.2MP Full-Frame Exmor CMOS Sensor, Internal UHD 4K, S-Log3 Gamma, 5-Axis SteadyShot Stabilization, 3" LCD Monitor

 

THE WORD ON THE STREET:

This DSLR camera can shoot 4K internally.  It can also shoot in S-Log3 (A popular Sony LOG Gamma), which is very powerful for grading.  It has amazing low light abilities.  It can record clean images at very high ISO settings (great for shooting without a lot of light).

SONY ALPHA A7R II MIRRORLESS DIGITAL CAMERA (BODY ONLY)

PRICE:

$3,198.00

 

NUTS & BOLTS:

42MP Full-Frame Exmor R BSI CMOS Sensor, Internal UHD 4K Video, S-Log2 Gamma and 5-Axis SteadyShot Stabalization.

 

THE WORD ON THE STREET:

This DSLR camera can shoot UHD 4K internally.  It can also shoot in S-Log2, which is very powerful for grading.  It has amazing low light abilities.  It can record clean images at very high ISO settings (great for shooting without a lot of light).  It also has the ability to take amazing still photos at very high resolutions (at an incredidible 42 megapixels).  If you need a strong video camera and a powerful still camera, the A7R II may be the right choice for you.

PANASONIC AG-DVX200 4K HANDHELD CAMCORDER WITH INTEGRATED ZOOM LENS

PRICE:

$4,195.00

 

NUTS & BOLTS:

Single 4/3 MOS Sensor, 12 Stops Dynamic Range, Cinema 4K, UHD 4K, Integrated Leica 13x f/2.8-f/4.5 Lens.

 

THE WORD ON THE STREET:

This camera has a lot of great features, including:  V-Log (great for grading) and 2 XLR audio inputs.  In case the internal 4K recording is too compressed for your taste, this camera outputs 10-bit 422 via HDMI, which you can connect to an external recorder (like the Atomos Ninja Assassin).  Some people do not like that the lens is not interchangeable, but the integrated zoom lens is pretty versatile.

BLACKMAGIC DESIGN URSA 4K V2 DIGITAL CINEMA CAMERA (CANON EF MOUNT)

PRICE:

$4,995.00

 

NUTS & BOLTS:  3840x2160p Global Shutter CMOS Sensor, 12 Stops of Dynamic Range, 10.1" 1080p Flip-Out LCD Screen, Records CinemaDNG RAW and ProRes, 2 XLR Audio Inputs with Phantom Power

 

THE WORD ON THE STREET:

The URSA has powerful internal recording capabilities, including:  CinemaDNG RAW and ProRes recording modes.  These are very easy to use in post and offer a lot of color correcting flexibility.  It also comes with DaVinci Resolve, which is a powerful grading software.

If you decide that you want to extend your budget by $600, we recommend:

SONY PXW-FS5 XDCAM SUPER 35 CAMERA SYSTEM

PRICE:

$5,599.00

 

NUTS & BOLTS:  Super 35-Sized CMOS Sensor, Sony E-Mount, UHD 4K, XAVC Long and AVCHD Recording Codecs.

 

 

THE WORD ON THE STREET:

This camera has more of a traditional video camera design (not like a DSLR), which makes it easy to use on the move without buying a lot of accessories.  It also has built in ND (Neutral Density) filters and professional XLR audio inputs.

Here is another great option to consider...

SONY PXW-FS7 XDCAM SUPER 35 CAMERA SYSTEM

PRICE:

$7,999.00

 

NUTS & BOLTS:  Super 35-Sized CMOS Sensor, Sony E-Mount, UHD 4K, XAVC-I, XAVC-L, or MPEG-2 Recording Codecs.

 

 

THE WORD ON THE STREET:

This camera is similar to its little brother, the FS5, but includes the following advantages:  it can handle DCI/Cinematic 4K (4096 x 2160).  The FS5 can only handle UHD which is 3840 x 2160.  The FS7 can also record 4 channels of audio (vs. 2 on the FS5). The FS7 can display 3D LUTS internally.  This is helpful when you are shooting in LOG mode and want to get an idea of what the image will look like after it is graded.

 

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