Recommended camera for video and photography?

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William Norberg

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Hi,

I am a 16 year old dude who loves filming and taking pictures. I am currently using the
Sony SLT-a77 (not the mk2) and i love it, beutiful viewfinder and an amazing sensor.

But me and my dad is sharing it (thanks dad!), and therefore he will for quite obvious reasons not let me take it with me on my trip to Torquay this summer. Therefore i will be getting a new camera.

What i need:

Good video recording (4k would be nice, but not necessary)
Portability (mirrorless kind of size, but not necessarily a compact camera)
Good dynamic range
If non-interchangable lense, it needs to be good for general purpose shooting and not limited

I prefer sony cameras, but can use any brand.

cameras i am currently looking at:
Sony RX10 II/III
Sony RX100 IV
Sony a7r II
(Sony A7s II?)
Canon D810 / (D800?)

Budget: Preferebly under 1500 USD, but can go higher.

Thanks in advance people!
 

bjornl

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The rx100 (1st gen) does support 1080p at 60fps. $200 is quite the good price for it in Sweden.
It has a nice sensor (1") and at the wide end of the lens it is a respectable f/1.8. The Samsung s6 is a nice phone with a decent camera but it is not at all close to the rx100. I have a Sony rx10 (same sensor as the rx100) and a Samsung s6, it is night and day difference between what they can do. The rx100 uses batteries a little quickly, so invest in a few spare batteries and a few spare memory cards; and bring your charger.

 

basroil

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1) Are you interested in photography/videography or just want to snap shots?
2) What equipment do you already have?
3) How serious are you about learning proper photography/videography?

Ignore any "answers" people will have before you answer those questions, because they will be idiots that don't know that photography is more than just equipment.
 

William Norberg

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I am very interested in photography and filming.
I have two sigma lenses for the sony alpha a-mount, a stand and a bag.
I already know how to control a camera and how to get a somewhat good compesition, i believe only experience can learn me anything new right now, i am serious about learning and took a course a couple of months ago to make sure i knew how to control a camera and its settings.


 

basroil

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Ok, sounds like you have a minimal, but significant investment in the alpha mount. Unfortunately, sony is moving away from the a mount to the e mount, so I can't really recommend staying on the a mount. You can check out the Sony Alpha 77 II, but it might be time to consider a more sustainable platform like Nikon or Canon. The Nikon d7200 and Canon 80D can be had for ~$1500 with a two starter lens kit usually, or you can go with a smaller system like d5500 or Canon T6s and save up for a better lens on the system you pick. Generally Canon has better cheaper lenses, Nikon has better mid price ones, and both have good high end stuff.
 

Michael Trenton

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What camera you should get depends on what you are gonna use it for. What kind of stuff do you shoot with your dad's current camera? How do you shoot it and how/what do you plan to shoot with Your new camera?

That's quite a different selection of cameras you mention there. You mention the Sony RX100 IV which is a camera I've had for about six months now and though it's a very nice camera with beautiful 4K it's not something I'd really consider for more serious video work due to non-interchangeable lens, 5 minute recording limit for 4K and no means to connect an external mic. Of course it all depends on what kind of footage you want to shoot. If you like shooting stock footage and shorter segments then maybe it'll get the job done. It's certainly portable enough to always bring with you so if portability is something you'd value, basically the ability to always shoot something interesting if it pops up, then it's an excellent camera. It also shoots slow motion.

If you prefer Sony cameras like you say you might look into the brand new mirrorless Sony A6300 (a camera I currently consider buying myself to replace my aging Canon 60D). It's body is very small and portable compared to most DSLRs. It shoots 4K, but doesn't have an audio jack for monitoring audio though and also has fairly bad rolling shutter at 4K (seems pretty much all Sony cameras do). It also shoots slow motion at 120fps which is a plus.
But seeing as you mention A7r II and A7s II I'd probably go with one of those instead (definitely the A7s II if only shooting video matters). They have in body stabilisation which is a nice thing to have when shooting handheld video, better dynamic range and smaller in size than DSLRs (although it depends on the size of the lenses you throw onto it). But those will set you back far, far more than the 1500 USD budget you mention, so...???
The current selection of lenses for Sony's E-Mount is not too great though. You'll have a wider and cheaper selection to choose from if going with Canon or Nikon.
Basically there are advantages and disadvantages to all systems and cameras so you'll need to do research, loads of research before settling on a particular camera and system. :)



 

William Norberg

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I shoot sport, nature, panoramic shots, portraits and vehicles. I guess that is kinda everything lol, but i like experimenting with deferent environments and themes, so i need a camera that works great in all those environments.

How about olympus quarter sensor cameras? Small, but are they any good?
 

Michael Trenton

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I don't know too much about the particular Olympus camera models, but if you're considering going micro four thirds sensor and video is your primary use for the camera I'd say Panasonic Lumix GH4 is definitely worth checking out. It's pretty much considered the best camera for shooting video in that segment of cameras.
Still, buying a camera is a huge Investment so you should defintely check out plenty of reviews on all the cameras mentioned as well as doing thorough research. Maybe even test the cameras yourself if you can get a chance to do so. :)

 

bjornl

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I have owned several cameras on your list.
I also briefly owned an a77 since at the time I had a bunch of legacy minola glass.

On the SONy rx10. It is a 1" sensor and won't compare to the larger sensor cameras for dynamic range or ISO noise. I recommend against the rx10 III as it is just the rx10 II with a crappier lens but more "zoom". I use an rx10 to record football games as it is one of the few good video capable cameras that is weather sealed. I prefer the constant f/2.8 lens on the II to the f/2.8-4 on the III plus with the greater zoom range you have to make more optical compromises. The video quality of the Sony RX10 is very good. It has a very high bit rate (high quality). I found I don't like 4k video. Right now the storage, processing time and so forth makes it not very appealing compared to a quality 1080p. The negative with the rx10 video is it is limited to 30minutes of recording for each time you press the button.
The rx10 is smaller than almost all DSLRs. It is handy to take on walks. It is only "ok" with focus speed. It surprisingly seems to do better with AF in video. Compared to a DSLR, the dynamic range is a bit disappointing. Blown high lights being common. Underexposing a little helps.


The rx100 is more of a high end pocket camera. Poor manual controls, but excellent results when compared to other pocket cameras. Same sensor as the rx/10 but a better lens = similar but slightly better results. A better camera in this same format is the Panasonic LX100 which has a m4/3 sensor and better controls.

The Sony a7 cameras are nice. But I found them to be nicer on paper than holding them. Their bodies are a little small for my hands and once you put a quality lens on them they become very nose-heavy and even more awkward to hold. The a7r II is their flag ship and compares with the Nikon d810 for overall results. But they do not have nearly as many lenses as the Nikon. The a7s is really a specialty camera. It is relatively low DR and in good light will not match any of the current full-frame Nikon's or the Sony A7r II cameras. But in very low light, and in particular in video it looks really nice. But like all Sony cameras the a7s is limited to 30 minutes max video recording time.

The Nikon d810/d800 are great cameras. I owned a d800e for a while. When it comes to the best over all general-use still-image camera this is it. The combination of sensor performance, lens availability, excellent erognomics and so on is unmatched. The a7rII will match the sensor and then some, but even though the e-mount is getting alot of love from Sony, the native lens selection is not there yet. I sold my d800e after I got a d750 (read the review on Dpreview if you want more info). But I am not not recommending this or any full-frame camera for your use. The problems are not complexity (they are just as easy to use as any camera out there) the problem is the cost of decent full-frame lenses.

Also none of the above cameras (except the rx10) are really suited towards your stated love of video. The d800 series is capable of hollywood level quality. Several major TV shows and a couple of movies have been made using them. The problem is the level of skill and specialized eqiupment needed to get hollywood level results from a DSLR is daunting. They use manual focus for openers, and expensive camera transport devices to move the camera around while filming. Not well suited for casual use or vaction videos.

The Olympus cameras you asked about are nice. I rented and nearly bought an Oly OM-D E-M5. They are tiny, engineering marvels. They do not auto-focus as well as a DSLR and had some problems tracking moving objects and so are not ideal for sports. And, they can only record 30 minutes at a time. The E-m1 is better still (but more expensive). It is for the most part very similar to the e-m5 except it has PDAF when using legacy 4/3 lenses. It is the only m4/3 camera with PDAF. It is 3 years old and due to be replaced this fall (I think). The e-m5's AF speed in video is OK. I did not get one because I needed longer recordings for certain types of events.

Next I rented a Panasonic GH4. This is the best video camera I have used. It can focus fast and reliably for casual video and get the external sound and bit rates for professional level results. However after playing quite a bit with 4k video, I decided it was not for me. The main reasons were processing time. But storage was an issue as was the low opportunity to display the stuff in 4k (almost always had to down sample to 1080p). So I bought the much cheaper and nearly identical Panasonic gh3. It is not capable of 4k, but otherwise it is the same. Both can record for as long as my memory card allows. I have recorded for up to 5 hours at a time. Sound quality is only OK unless you use either a line in (or better an XLR line in) or an external micrphone. Other than that, really amazing results. Dynamic range will not match your dad's a77. Neither will ISO noise. And it can't use your old lenses.


Someone mentioned the Sony a6300. I've used one and hated it. It was horrible to hold for more than a few minutes. Ergonomically it is not good. Also it overheats in video after a few minutes.

The a-mount is going away (I think). It is certainly getting less support than the e-mount. And they are not cross-compatible. There are adapters to use some of the older lenses on the newer (e-mount) bodies, but that is not as good (limited functionality mostly in auto-focus capabilities). So if the use of those lenses is important to you, get an a77 II and accept that some day new lenses will probably stop. But that won't make the ones you already have (or the ones for sale used) suddenly stop working.

If the use those lenses is not as important as getting a better camera then consider:
Panasonic GH3 or GH4 for maximum video capability and decent over all camera use. Although ISO, DR, etc won't match a larger sensor camera.
OR
a Nikon d7200 (or d610) for best over all dynamic range and general use, although video performance (and in particular video auto-focus) won't match a GH3/GH4.

For a full list of the various cameras and their sensor capabilities see here:
http://www.dxomark.com/best-cameras-for-landscape
Just remember a camera is more than a sensor, which is why (for example) I don't really like the Sony a6300.
 

Michael Trenton

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I agree with pretty much all the things you wrote in your post, but I did react to your statement that the a6300 overheats after a few minutes of shooting (presenting it as if that's something that happens all the time) which is a gross exaggeration..
As I'm considering buying this camera myself I've watched and read countless professional reviews and user reviews of this camera and many users claims that even after extensive use they've never experienced the camera overheating, (even when shooting 4K). And then there are others who says it overheats too often for their taste. So far I've never heard or seen a review complaining that it overheats after a few minutes of recording is something that happens all the time.
So I'd say the a6300 may, under certain circumstances and modes of use, be prone to overheating, but even the a7r II and a7s II (not to mention my poor RX100 IV) overheats every now and then when exposed to the right circumstances and modes of use so I'd say overheating is more of a general Sony problem than something specific to the a6300. So I certanly wouldn't let that alone put me off a camera that has a lot of qualities both for video and stills. :)
 

bjornl

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I don't think my comments on the a6300 are an exaggeration, and certainly not a gross one.

My rx10 (also by Sony) has never overheated and is used ALOT. 100's of hours of video. Even on hot days doing football games out in the sun. I've used (but not owned, so limited experience) the a7 and a7s and in 30 minutes of video recording those also did not overheat.
I borrowed an a6000 and it overheated constantly and consistently although the exact runtime varies from 10 to 20 minutes. I asked the owner and he said he could get 15 min fairly regularly and just knew he had to turn it off from time to time. My wife wants a smaller camera and does not want a m4/3. So I asked about the a6300 and he said "it was a little better" but he still used his other cameras for video if he wanted to record longer or make many short clips. Given that rather gloomy recommendation I've gone back to trying to get my wife to accept an m4/3 and their reduced DR/ISO.

Perhaps instead of saying "a few minutes" I should have been more specific. But in reading the user forums at DPR there are those who at least claim to have overheating after 5 minutes (don't know if they are credible).
 

Michael Trenton

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I'm sorry to hear you've had such bad experiences with the a6300 and I'll certainly take that into account since I have my eyes on buying it, but I'm a bit surprised given how most reviews I've read and watched seems to imply otherwise. Granted there have been some people complaining it overheats too quickly, but could there be there are problems with specific units? Or the firmware not being up to date on all units or something? To me it sounds very weird that there is such a huge discrepancy in how people have experienced overheating as being a problem or not. :??:

 

bjornl

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Well there is always some variation. My sample size is 1 x a6000 and by proxy 1 x a6300, so in math terms not a statistically significant sample size.

I can't really comment about the experience of others since all I can do is watch/read just like you've done. However, DPReview (the top photo review site) also commented on the a6300's potential for overheating as one of the negatives in their review. http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/sony-a6300/11
The other thing I found awkward with the a6x00 was the ergonomics. The kit lens isn't very good so many replace it with the larger and much heavier 16-80. With the kit lens it felt awkward. With the 16-70 is was very uncomfortable for me. I'd suggest you spend some time hold it, ideally with a lens you'll want to use on it before you buy. Lensrentals has the a6300 for 52 for 4 days and another 50 for the 16-70 lens. So for just over 100 you can find out if it is (or is not) for you. Plus have fun for 4 days playing with it.

 

Michael Trenton

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Thanks! I'll definitely keep this in mind and try out the a6300 extensively myself before deciding on the purchase. Plus since it's such a brand new camera it's probably wise to give it some time to follow any updated long term user reviews and experiences regarding the overheating issue and all. I'm definitely gonna bide my time and not rush into such a big investment as changing systems is. :)

 

basroil

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Like I said, stick to one of the four bodies I gave you if you need more general use. 3/4rds type cameras are just not sustainable, once the fad ends you'll be left with sub-par equipment that has no resale value.
 

William Norberg

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Thanks everyone, i am thinking of getting either the a6300, d810 or gh4. I found a sony rx100 (first gen) on a swedish second hand site for 200 bucks, and as i want to think more about my choice of a camera, i am considering getting the RX100 meanwhile as it is quite low priced right now. What are your opinions on the first generation RX100? It does record 1080p at 60fps, so it suits my needs for now as i am going to Torquay soon for 3 weeks. But once again, i have a samsung s6, and it has a very good and able camera.

So my question: Would the RX100 (mk1) be a good upgrade over a Samsung S6?

And if the Samsung S6 beats the RX100, are there any lenses for the Samsung S6 that reduces the field of view in order to get more background blur (but doesn't distort the image too badly?)

Sorry for late answer, and once again, thanks for all of your wonderful and helpful replies :)
 

bjornl

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The rx100 (1st gen) does support 1080p at 60fps. $200 is quite the good price for it in Sweden.
It has a nice sensor (1") and at the wide end of the lens it is a respectable f/1.8. The Samsung s6 is a nice phone with a decent camera but it is not at all close to the rx100. I have a Sony rx10 (same sensor as the rx100) and a Samsung s6, it is night and day difference between what they can do. The rx100 uses batteries a little quickly, so invest in a few spare batteries and a few spare memory cards; and bring your charger.

 

basroil

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For photography, the Nikon D800 is far better than RX100 if for nothing more than the lenses it can use.

And yes, any real camera will beat the S6 when used by someone with the proper skills.
 

Michael Trenton

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I can't speak for the Samsung S6 as I've never tested it, but I do own both an RX100 M2 and an M4 and seeing as the video quality in the M2 is an incremental improvement over the original RX100 I can testify that it's not really that great for video, but then again it was never really intended as a great camera for shooting videos and it's still decent and it will definitely beat the crap out of most smartphone cameras.
Optical stabilization, a much bigger sensor that will perform much better in low light than any smartphone camera, plus more easily accessible manual controls than any smartphone are some of the advantages.

So if you're considering purchasing the RX100 as a temporary solution for video while deciding which of the other cameras to buy then I think it's a probably a good choice. Spending time shooting with the RX100 may also give you more insight into what exactly you want from a videocamera and in that way may help you further in deciding what 'bigger' more serious camera you eventually want to buy. Best of luck! :)


 

bjornl

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Hi Michael,

I don't know if you've seen this video, but it is a head to head comparison between the Canon 80d and the Sony a6300.
I had some interesting take-aways. The Canon 80d is much faster in video focus than I expected. Close to mirrorless speed and should be usable for most. The Canon 80d also is improved in both DR and ISO capabilities. It is much closer to the Sony sensors (used in Sony, Nikon and Pentax cameras), but it still lags behind a little in both. I also continue to be impressed with Canon's auto-white balance which just consistently produces color balance that I enjoy. There is a test in the video to compare this between the two models and I preferred the Canon by a 2:1 margin, of course most experienced photographers set the white balance themselves but the nice canon tones could be helpful in an environment where the lighting keeps changing. The Canon did not overheat the tester noted that the a6300 did in some of the tests and his measured sensor temps on the sony were much higher.

But despite how good the new Canon was, he gave the win to the a6300.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VoNRXWFTFa4

DPR also liked both and have comparison tools.
http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/canon-eos-80d-review/14
http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/sony-a6300/11
In the DPR reviews and comparisons the Sony seemed clearly better to me. I am not recommending either one nor buying either one (content with what I have), but thought given your interest in the a6300 that it might be of interest.
 

Michael Trenton

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Thanks for the link. I hadn't seen that video before. :)
I was eagerly anticipating the 80D as a replacement for my 60D, which has been my main camera for the past five years, but the moment its specs were announced and there was no 4K I pretty much decided to jump ship. After seeing some of its features demonstrated in review videos etc I admit the 80D has been warming to me. Still, the Sony A6300 also has a lot of things going for it.

Canon 80D advantages:
The 80D having that nice ability to focus pull using the touchscreen is something I'd really want for the A6300 though. That really is a major, major plus for the 80D. Also the audio jack and flippable screen are also major advantages for the 80D. And the longer battery life. And also no overheating issues as far as I've heard although I'm not sure if overheating is actually gonna be a problem for me with the A6300 or not. Being used to the 60D's 10 minute recording limit and the RX100 IV's 5 minute limit I usually don't shoot for too long at a time, although having the ability to record at least half an hour continuously, for those occassions when it is needed, would be a major plus.
Not to mention I've already invested in the Canon ecosystem so I already have several lenses and equipment that I can use with the 80D straight out of the box. With the A6300 I'll have to invest in lenses as well as the camera itself which makes it a far more expensive investment than the 80D.

Sony A6300 advantages:
From watching that comparison video I was rather surprised to see the A6300 completely blowing the 80D out of the water when it comes to low light video. I didn't expect the difference to be that big to be honest. That's a significant plus for the A6300.
Its body size is also a major advantage. Currently I find my RX100 IV has largely replaced my 60D when doing light traveling etc due to the massive size of the 60D and its lenses. If I were to buy the A6300 I could definitely see myself bringing it along way more often than I would an 80D and that is a major advantage in my opinion (of course if I were to throw a massive G Master lens on that A6300 and that advantage is pretty much removed, but at least the option to travel more lightly is there).
The A6300 has SLOG while the 80D has no LOG mode whatsoever. Not necessarily a dealbreaker for me, but that's certainly an option I much prefer to have and I think it's a shame Canon isn't including it. I enjoy grading my footage in post so that's a big plus in the Sony cameras.
And then there is 4K video and 120fps slow motion which are both...well I want that. I definitely want that. I've gotten so used to shooting 4K with my RX100 IV for the past six months (it looks so incredibly crisp and sharp compared to the soft looking footage my 60D produces) so that stepping back to 1080p is almost something of a dealbreaker for me (even my Sony Xperia Z5 smartphone shoots 4K these days!). I'm really disappointed with Canon for not including 4K capabilities in the 80D. Seriously, a brand new video centric camera at that price point and no 4K? In 2016?!

It's gonna be a tough choice to make, but right now I'm leaning towards the A6300. It will be another month, maybe even two before I decide on which camera to get though so there is still some time to weigh the options.
There are others that are on my list of options as well, such as the Panasonic GH4 and I'm also keeping my eye out for any news in the next couple of months.





 
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