Which Video Camera Would You Buy Today? Here’s a Comparison of 4K Systems from Canon, Sony, and Others

 Gear  Comments Off on Which Video Camera Would You Buy Today? Here’s a Comparison of 4K Systems from Canon, Sony, and Others
Aug 012017
 

Every time I’m on a set or grabbing coffee with another local filmmaker, we always end up talking gear for a bit, and inevitably the question comes up of “What camera would you buy if you had to buy right now, and why?” I decided to research things a bit and put together an article that explains what I’d buy if I absolutely had to right now, and the answer might surprise you.

First, let me just define a few parameters. I’m going to look at 4K-capable cameras that can capture internally, and cost less than $10,000. To further refine the list, fixed-lens cameras will not be listed, but don’t disregard them. They still serve a lot of event productions and run-and-gun shooters should really consider them a viable option when speed and versatility are more important than being able to change lenses. I’ll also being leaving DSLR-style cameras off the list, even though they are a popular choice. I wanted to keep the comparison as direct as possible.

Here’s a chart to get us started which should give us a quick glance at some major specs and price points. Below, I’ll hit on key points, note any special considerations, and finally end with my suggested picks for the kind of videographer or filmmaker you might be.

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Comparison Breakdown: The Lightest, Most Affordable, Professional Full-Frame System

 Gear  Comments Off on Comparison Breakdown: The Lightest, Most Affordable, Professional Full-Frame System
Jul 272017
 

In a world where less than a handful of brands are considered well-established in the professional full-frame camera market and where more than a handful of other brands have done a very healthy share of innovating to wedge their way into the market, where do we stand? If you’re going to buy a new system to start fresh or are just starting out and getting serious, this is for you. Here’s a thorough comparison of the major bodies and lens kits you’ll likely be considering. As long as you’re considering full frame, regardless of budget, here’s a comparison for it.

The DSLR establishment is extremely interested in the possibility of mirrorless cameras, and rightly so. They’re faster, cheaper, lighter, and more compact… or are they? If you’re thinking of Fujifilm’s X-Series cameras, you’d be right. And those might work for you. But for professionals coming from the top DSLR brands, they’ll be lacking in speed, versatility, and sensor size (not to mention ISO performance), as they’re all APS-C-based. But what about the full-frame mirrorless cameras? Of course, we’re now talking about Sony’s a7-series cameras.

YouTuber Duncan Dimanche recently published a video that compared the price and weight of an entry-level full-frame kit from four different brands, including Canon, Nikon, Pentax, and Sony. NikonRumors has a great summary of that video, but there were a few issues in there. First and foremost, none of the combinations of lens kits were anything that any reasonable person would purchase together. It was a good first effort, but with a number of the zoom ranges of the cheap lens kits overlapping and with the results slightly skewed toward Nikon with a few interesting and cheaper not-quite-equivalent options included (and I’m a Nikon fan, even), the video didn’t quite do it for me. Still, it more than piqued my curiosity. Let’s dive into a comparison based on what we’d actually get. Scroll down to the conclusion for the final advice, or read on to get all the details.

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Sony Unveils Blazing Fast a9: A 24MP Sports Camera that Shoots 20fps

 Gear  Comments Off on Sony Unveils Blazing Fast a9: A 24MP Sports Camera that Shoots 20fps
Apr 202017
 

Holy frames per second Batman! Sony just raised the bar on high-speed sports photography with their latest “groundbreaking” (but actually) camera release. The newly-announced Sony a9 is a 24MP high-end full-frame mirrorless sports camera that can fire off an insane 20fps with no blackout.

Sony is calling this “the most technologically advanced, innovative digital camera that [we have] ever created,” and this descriptor doesn’t miss the mark.

With 20fps blackout-free and distortion-free silent shooting, high-speed tracking with 60 AF/AE calculations per second, a 693-point AF system with 93% frame coverage, a 3,686k-dot EVF that runs at 120fps, and 5-axis in-body stabilization that offers up to 5 stops of shake reduction, the camera is looking to challenge entrenched sports cams like the Canon 1DX Mark II and Nikon D5.

The a9 can also shoot full-frame, full-sensor 4K that is actually downsampled from 6K worth of pixels; it features an Ethernet port for quick file transfer and dual SD card slots for plenty of storage; and the new battery Sony put inside boasts twice the capacity (480 shots per charge) of previous models. If you need even more charge, the optional battery grip holds two of these batteries, for a total of 950 shots.

 

Putting the impressive spec sheet aside, the headline feature is, of course, the sheer speed of this thing. At 20fps for up to 241 RAW or 362 JPEG frames, it makes even the 1DX Mark II and its 14fps seems a bit… clunky.

Sony is able to reach these unheard of continuous shooting speeds thanks to the new stacked CMOS sensor at its core, a chip Sony says is the “first of its kind” and “enables data speed processing at up to 20x faster than previous Sony full-frame mirrorless cameras.” Pair that sensor and its built-in RAM with a brand new BIONZ X engine and you’ve got a camera that screams.

Here are a few videos that offer a closer look at this revolutionary new mirrorless camera and some of its most compelling features:

Promo Video

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Sony Develops Super Slow Motion Sensor for Smartphones by; Jakub Han

 Cinematography  Comments Off on Sony Develops Super Slow Motion Sensor for Smartphones by; Jakub Han
Feb 162017
 

The capabilities of image sensors are constantly getting better, also in the area of the ubiquitous small smartphone sensors. Sony has developed a new 3-layer stacked high speed CMOS sensor with DRAM. It promises to minimise image distortion and add super slow motion capabilities to future smartphones.

Sony announced the development of the industry’s first 3-layer stacked CMOS sensor for smartphones. Compared to traditional 2-layer sensors, the new Sony sensor features an added DRAM layer. The purpose of this extra layer is to increase data readout speeds and make it possible to capture still images of fast-moving subjects with minimal focal plane distortion (something we also call “rolling shutter”) as well as super slow motion movies at up to 1,000 frames per second in 1080p.

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cinema5d

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Sony RX100V & Sony A6500 Hands-On Video – Rolling Shutter & Overheating Solved?

 Gear  Comments Off on Sony RX100V & Sony A6500 Hands-On Video – Rolling Shutter & Overheating Solved?
Oct 182016
 

Yesterday’s press event at Sony’s European headquarters was very informative. We were given the possibility to record with the new RX100V but not with the a6500 as this camera was not yet ready for primetime, although we did get a A6500 Hands-On too.

Here are, in short, the new features that these cameras have to offer:

On both cameras: 

  • The Sony RX100V and Sony a6500 both share the same BIONZ X image processor and front-end LSI chip as the new Sony a99II, which allows for high volumes of data to be processed.
  • The buffer has been increased, which allows for capture of more photos per second and longer slow-motion videos.

Sony RX100V – Better rolling shutter effect control

Sony RX100V: 

  • Video image quality has been slightly improved.
  • Rolling shutter effect has been greatly improved because of better processing.
  • Autofocus is now faster and more accurate than before.
  • Photo mode allows up to six seconds of 24fps in RAW, theoretically allowing to create short 5.5K video clips.
  • New underwater housing (Marine pack MPK-URX100A, up to 40m/130ft).

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cinema5d

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New Sony FDR-X3000R – 4K Action Cam with Optical Stabilizer

 Action cams, Cinematography, Gear  Comments Off on New Sony FDR-X3000R – 4K Action Cam with Optical Stabilizer
Sep 032016
 

In a week packed full of new camera announcements, the Sony FDR-X3000R action cam shows us that its not just about top-of-the-range, flagship cameras. With this significant announcement, Sony takes aim at the GoPro market yet again with their latest 4K-capable action cam with optical image stabilisation.

One of the main characteristics of the FDR-X3000R is the adoption of the Balanced Optical SteadyShot technology found in some of Sony’s handicam models. The B.O.SS system works by moving the entire optical path rather than just individual elements, and is supposed to achieve even greater shake reduction, making it ideal for action cam applications such as helmet or handlebar mounted operation.

In terms of hardware, the FDR-X3000R weighs only 114g, and features an 8.2MP Exmor R CMOS sensor backed by a BIONZ X processor, the very same brains inside the Sony ɑ7 range, which allows for a full pixel readout without pixel binning. In addition, the new low-distortion Zeiss Tessar f/2.8 lens is adjustable in-camera to f=17 mm, f=23 mm and f=32 mm for Wide, Medium and Narrow settings respectively, and features a 3x smooth zoom while recording. All of this is housed in a splash and freezeproof body, making this action cam suitable for a variety of situations.

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cinema5d

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A Guide To Sony’s Ridiculous 50mm Lens Selection

 Gear  Comments Off on A Guide To Sony’s Ridiculous 50mm Lens Selection
Aug 312016
 

Sony has created a few gems when it comes to lenses in the past few years, with the 90mm Macro and 16-35mm f/4 potentially being some of the best in their class. 50mm for some reason seems to be their favorite focal length to produce, seeing as they now have seven different “normal” lenses with the release of their new 50mm Macro this morning.

With over double the selection in this range of their closest competitor, Canon, it may be tough to choose exactly which one to go for. Whether you’re starting in the world of Sony with an a6000 or are a professional photographer with the most demanding clients, they have a 50mm(ish*) lens for you.

Sony FE 50mm f/1.8 

Starting with their cheapest offering, we have the “Nifty Fifty.” A full frame lens with a decent aperture of f/1.8 that’s extremely inexpensive. From my experience with the lens, it’s plenty sharp on the a7sII or a7II and a6000/a6300. On the a7RII, you might not be so thrilled, but a $250 lens isn’t likely to be stellar on a 42 megapixel sensor. The autofocus speed is simply alright. If you’re shooting portraits on single autofocus mode and you don’t need good tracking, you’ll be fine. With a $250 price tag, this lens is for the photographer on a budget or someone just getting their feet wet in the world of 50mm lenses.

Sony E 50mm f/1.8 OSS

At $299, this lens is also pretty inexpensive. For $50 dollars more, what are you getting? It’s also what you aren’t getting. This lens does not cover full frame. Image Stabilization and significantly better autofocus performance are the real benefits here. If you have an a6000 or a6300, this lens is great. If you also own an a7 or plan on it down the road, maybe hold off. Optically I would say the FE 50mm f/1.8 and the OSS version here are similar.

Sony FE 50mm f/2.8 Macro

A brand new addition to the lineup, this is Sony’s second full-frame macro lens. I have not used this lens (as it was announced this morning), but I would venture a guess that this will likely be a solid performer on all of the A7 series cameras, functioning as an excellent all around lens for macro, portraiture, and product work. On a crop sensor Sony, this is around a 75mm lens, perfect for portraits and studio work. If you like getting close, this is your lens. At $498, this is a reasonably priced lens with promising specs. Auto focus it is yet to be demonstrated so beware if good AF speed and accuracy is important to you, as macro lenses are typically underwhelming in this category.

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Sep 082015
 

SonyVPL-VW520ESBlack

Aside, perhaps, from Panasonic ’s announcement that it’s going to launch its first OLED TV, the biggest news from the recent IFA show in Berlin was the unstoppable growth of high dynamic range (HDR) technology. Almost every AV brand had some HDR-related news to share – and in Sony ’s case this news included the launch of the world’s first HDR-capable 4K projector.

The projector in question is the VPL-VW520ES: Sony’s new mid-range 4K replacement for last year’s outstanding VW500ES. And now, having brought you news of its unveiling a few days ago, I can share my first impressions of how this exciting new home cinema machine actually performs.

The half hour or so I got to spend watching the VW520ES strut its HDR 4K stuff chiefly comprised a 4K but non-HDR scene from The Blacklist, plus the Times Square sequence of Amazing Spider-Man 2 shown first in HDR, then in standard dynamic range (SDR), and then in HDR again.

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Sep 022015
 

sonya7riisensorscore

It looks like the hype surrounding the new Sony a7R II is justified… at least when it comes to sensor quality. DxOMark tested backside-illuminated full-frame sensor in the camera — a world’s first — and the sensor received the highest overall quality score ever awarded by the testing lab.

overallscore

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petapixel

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Aug 042015
 

Sony’s new A7rII is the first in the A7 family to record video in a 4K (UHD) quality internally. My colleague Sebastian Wöber already preformed a preliminary LAB test to the camera and found the quality in APS C (super 35) mode to be sightly better than in the full frame mode (exactly like Sony predicted). In this video I used both shooting modes and I dare you to spot the different between them….(1:45 to 1:51 is a good example).

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Jun 162015
 

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I haven’t verified the claims so take this news with a pinch of salt for now, but with or without salt the A7R II is looking very tasty indeed.

According to Faymus Media on the SonyAlphaRumors forum, the A7R II ‘eliminates’ rolling shutter in Super 35mm video mode.

It could be that Sony have engaged a global shutter for full pixel readout which would make a lot of sense considering just how many pixels there are to shift on this beast! Sony refer to an ‘anti-rolling shutter’ feature in the RX10 II press release but I have seen no official mention of it for the A7R II yet. Since they already have S35 sensors on the market with a global shutter readout and the A7R II having arguably the most advanced sensor yet produced by the company, let’s not rule it out.

sony-a7r-mark-ii-sensor-product-1500x1000-702x468

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Apr 202015
 

Sony has revealed that contrary to early expectations, two series of its imminent 2015 4K TV range will be capable of playing high dynamic range (HDR) content.

The XBR X930C and X940C TV ranges, due to launch in May, will both offer compatibility with HDR’s enhanced luminance range. The feature won’t be available from the TVs’ launch, though – instead it will be added via a firmware update ‘this summer’.

At this year’s CES in January and then again at a launch event in the UK in February Sony originally implied that we’d have to wait for all-new sets in the second half of the year to deliver HDR compatibility. Clearly, though, Sony has come to believe that the X930C and X940C models (the ultra-slim X900 models are apparently not going to get the HDR treatment) have the picture quality muscle to deliver HDR’s spectacular impact.

The key to this lies in Sony’s X-Tended Dynamic Range technology, which manipulates the way power and light are distributed around the screen to boost bright areas and deepen black level response.

Neil King, Head of Home Entertainment for Sony UK and Ireland, has this to say about the HDR news: “Sony has always been the leader in 4K and our exclusive Sony technologies have been at the core of providing TV lovers with the best picture quality, no matter what content they are watching. Our decades of experience allow us to introduce merging industry standard HDR to our 4K Ultra HD TV series and to reinforce contrast thanks to Sony’s unique technology X-tended Dynamic Range PRO”.

While on the surface the addition of HDR to Sony’s imminent range seems like a welcome development, though – especially as it means there will be some competition for Samsung’s JS9500 (reviewed here) and JS9000 (reviewed here) HDR TVs – it has to be said that Sony’s announcement is rather light on detail.

In particular, there’s no word on exactly what HDR formats will be supported. You could argue that this is hardly Sony’s fault, as the AV industry still hasn’t fully defined HDR (though a trio of standards have been announced for the upcoming Ultra HD Blu-ray discs). But since Sony also offers no clarity on exactly what brightness levels or colour range the X930C and X940C TVs may be capable of delivering, simply saying the sets will be HDR compatible is pretty much as vague as it gets.

Read more:

Forbes

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Feb 022015
 

The latest buzz in the Sony and Canon rumor mills is that the next round of high megapixel sensors for both companies, will be produced through a joint venture.imageAccording to the report, published both on Canon Watch and Canon Rumors, the new 50MP sensors that we have been hearing so much about from Canon and Sony, are actually the same sensor. The rumor states that by way of a patent share, Canon would get the benefit of Sony’s sensor design and Sony would get the advantage of Canon’s Dual Pixel AF, the resulting 50MP sensor would be used in both companies’ high megapixel bodies.

I don’t know about you, but that sounds like the best of both worlds. If you are a Canon shooter, you get a HUGE increase in dynamic range and sensor quality, while retaining the awesome abilities of the Dual Pixel AF. If you are a Sony shooter, you gain the advanced AF ability of the Dual Pixel AF (something we know many mirrorless offerings still struggle with), while maintaining your superb sensor performance.

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slrlounge

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Nov 282014
 

sony-a7II-front

Wednesday, the Sony A7 II was officially announced in the US. Since we already have all the spec details, the biggest mystery here was availability and pricing, both of which have finally been announced.

For those of you who need a refresher, the A7 II has some pretty major upgrades over the original Sony a7. The biggest being the addition of 5-axis IBIS (In Body Image Stabilization) capable of up to 4.5 stops of stabilization. The AF is also 30% faster and should track subjects much better than the original. Full A7II specs and details below:

Sony A7 II Specs

  • 24.3MP Full-Frame Exmor CMOS Sensor
  • BIONZ X Image Processor
  • 5-Axis SteadyShot INSIDE Stabilization
  • Enhanced Fast Hybrid AF and 5 fps Burst
  • Full HD XAVC S Video and S-Log2 Gamma
  • 3.0″ 1,228.8k-Dot Tilting LCD Monitor
  • XGA 2.36M-Dot OLED Electronic Viewfinder
  • Weather-Resistant Magnesium Alloy Body
  • Refined Grip & Robust Lens Mount
  • Built-In Wi-Fi Connectivity with NFC

For more info please click the link below:

slrlounge

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Pre Order Now

isoa7m2

Nov 142014
 

The 1.5″ sensor records 6K video (6144 x 2160 according to the leak at Chinese site CNBeta via Image Sensors World) and only requires 4.85MP, meaning the pixels themselves are massive – almost 10 µm in width compares to 8.4 µm for the Sony A7S, 5.2 µm for the 5D Mark III. However unlike the traditionally square photosites on bayer sensors, the Sony APCS pixels are rectangular, measuring 9.78 x 4.89 µm (micrometers). More at EOSHD

cmos-sensor-wiki-702x589

Sep 272014
 

When the Panasonic FZ-1000 was announced, it was obvious to everybody that Panasonic was going for the Sony RX20′s jugular… metaphorically speaking. It was cheaper, could shoot 4K and had a longer (albeit darker) lens.

Well, it seems Sony is ready to fight back, and soon, with a 4K-capable RX20.

The rumor broke over on Sony Alpha Rumors, who was told by an anonymous source that the RX20 would use the same 20.1MP sensor and 24-200mm f/2.8 lens as the RX10, but feature 4K video, 120fps capability at 720p and the ability to shoot the XAVC-S codec.

According to this source, the camera will be announced in mid-October for $1,300 USD — what the RX10 originally cost before the price dropped to $1,000 post-Panasonic FZ-1000 release — while the original RX10 will remain on the market after an additional $100-$200 price drop.

For more info please click the link below:

petapixel

rx10

 

 

Sep 192014
 

Since Sony dropped the A7 on us a little while back, it and all its variants have entered our consciousness and headlines the photo-world over, and surprisingly, stayed there. There’s been much whispering about what the successor to this platform/game changer is going to be, and when it would materialize, and even though it’s been getting louder, it doesn’t seem to dissuade anyone from buying them.

Many pros I know with complete platforms for either Nikon or Canon have made the switch, with more in tow. There’s a huge part of me that wants to do the same, so it figures then that Sony’s announcement of a beautiful Zeiss 16-35 f4 Full Frame E-mount lens is about the most enticing piece of kit to spawn for me from recent news. It seems, however, I’m in good and plentiful company, as apparently it’s been flying off the pre-order ‘shelves’ since it was announced two days ago.

To view full article please click the link below:

slrlounge

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Sep 172014
 

May 142013
 

It is not surprising that  a huge amount of money has been invested in sensors for mobile phone cameras. My research indicates that Sony has spent about two billion dollars in R & D to develop the Exmor RS series of HDR sensors. The way they work is quite logical. Where conventional Bayer sensors are comprised of a single layer of pixels, the Exmor RS sensors are comprised of three layers. Each layer is sensitive to a different level of brightness. So the camera basically captures and combines three bracketed images during a single exposure. This HDR capture also works for HD video capture. Exmor RS also incorporates back illuminated sensor technology which moves the wiring behind the photo-diode for increased sensitivity.

gsmarena_002

The new Sony Experia Z uses a 1/3 inch 13 megapixel version of this sensor. By the end of this year we may very likely a much larger 20 megapixel Sony Exmor Sensor in the “Sony Honami” smart phone. It seems to me that if this sensor is scaled up, we may find a future variation in a professional DSLR. I would love to be able to avoid motion artifacts in my HDR images using this technology!

Sony Xperia

 

 

Is this the Sony Exmor RS “Honami”?

 

Sony i1 aka Honami cameraphone to land unlocked in the US this fall, alongside the 6.44″ Togari phablet

More On The Sony Honami And Its 20-Megapixel Camera | Ubergizmo

Mar 042013
 

My understanding is that Sony spent a billion dollars developing this new three layered sensor. Each layer is sensitive to a different portion of the dynamic range of a scene. Those of you who remember the history of color photography know that there is a striking analogy here. The first three color motion picture process by Technicolor used a three strip film camera to capture the RGB color information. In 1935 Kodak invented something called integal tripack color film. It was named “Kodachrome”. The new film recorded RGB information on three layers coated onto the film base. Subsequent color films all used integral tripack  to capture color information.

With Bayer sensors in digital cameras, RGB info is captured in one layer with some limitations on dynamic range. By devising a three layer, Bayer sensor Sony is increasing the ability of this sensor to capture a wider dynamic range. Eventually I predict that there will be larger sensors of this type for our DSLRs that will probably eliminate are at least reduce the need to shoot multiple exposures in HDR photography. Thanks Sony!