HELP!! I don’t know which camera to buy!! Updated post with loads of new information!



ETHICS STATEMENT: I am not in the employ of any camera manufacturer.  I have done jobs for Canon, Nikon, Panasonic and Sony but these are one-off paid jobs. No inside track, no buy out, no souls are sold!

I am independent and proud of that. My integrity is everything. For my full ethics statement please click here. Remember, these are just my opinions and should NEVER be taken as gospel. Read other people’s opinions and try before you buy if you can! I will never give you a black and white answer as to which camera to buy. Everyone has different needs and different budgets, so please don’t ask!

There are quiite a lot of ads and affiliate links to the cameras mentioned. I am sorry. A necessary evil am afraid as the amount of time and effort, not even mentioning costs of hosting this site, are huge. I have a fulltime job. I make films and I teach. All this is done for the benefit of the community and is not paid work. These affiliate links cost you nothing but give me a small percentage so I am able to take time off to make reviews, write posts and lots more for the site. So thanks so much if you use the links and thanks to for putting up with all the ones on this page. It’s a lot I know! 🙂


UPDATED: 24th February 2014

Cameras are essentially tools, tools to help you tell stories. Good tools make your job easier. They for the most part don’t make the story any better other than they might make it easier to tell the story if you aren’t fretting about your tool!! A badly functioning tool makes your results worse, actually this is sounding rather smutty…let me rephrase!

Deciding upon the right camera for what you do can only come down to you. We all do different work and it’s impossible to say “use this camera over this one.” Everyone is different and has different needs. I can only tell you what I like about them and why and what I don’t like and why.

So this is a rather long post talking about the pros and cons (as I see them, you will disagree in places!) of DSLRs and large sensor camcorders up to a a certain price bracket. The really expensive ones aren’t covered here. Well basically the F65 and Alexa! The Epic just about scrapes in if you buy minimal add ons. The whole F5 and F55 kind of blurred the lines here very much bridging the top end and the middle end. I only cover cameras which are actually out, so no Digital Bolex for now. Yes I do mention briefly the two new Blackmagic cameras but only briefly as they reflect a lot on the current cinema camera.

I also broadly rate them on where I see them fitting into, work wise…whether they are best for events, docs, fiction, fx etc and what I woulnd’t use them for. Remember it’s “WHAT I USE THEM FOR!” Not gospel. Just how they fit into my work.

So here we go…this is mostly rewritten from the original post that went up in last quarter of last year. It’s been updated and most of the text rewritten with new experiences and thoughts. There are also stacks of typos and maybe some repetition. I apologise. This will get copy checked I promise and hopefully minimised! 🙂

Which camera to buy…such a massive question and the problem is even as I write this the post has probably become outdated with another camera on the market! It’s almost got to that point, not quite, almost. I will have to make this post one that I update frequently, it’s just hard to update it constantly but I will try!

When I do update ths make sure you don’t bookmark the standard URL because when I update it the URL changes to the latest date. You need to bookmark the shorturl here:

There are so many cameras out there or have been announced. If you base things purely on specs then you will be severly misled. Specs are not meaningless but they are misleading. A camera is far more than a list of what it does. It’s only with use of the camera can it really be assessed.

Some cameras make your life easier. They make it easier to shoot, easier to light, and easier to edit. They may not offer  the same image quality as some other cameras, the same recording format or the same dynamic range. For certain jobs you must ask yourself “Should I just use a camera that will make things much quicker and easier or should I make my life painful and use a different camera that really is not designed for this type of work?”

I am going to give you an analogy. It may work, it may not. So if it totally fails I apologise!

You have a large room to paint and you are painting it white. There are some hairline cracks on the walls on top of the dirty walls. One coat of normal paint will cover most of it but not all, a second coat will be needed, but if you stand back and look you will mostly likely not be able to tell that not all the cracks are filled in. It looks great to the casual observer. Also, you have been hired to just give it a quick spruce up with one coat as that’s all the owner wants. It’s being sold, he doesn’t want a fortune spent on it. He just wants the job done quickly and efficiently. So what do you do?

You have available to you the following methods of painting the room but must select only one:

1: A roller with one-coat paint that fills in those hairline cracks

2: A large brush with one-coat paint same as above

3: A medium to small brush with one coat paint same as above

4: Light polyfilla to fill the cacks. Sanding paper. A small  brush to be used with undercoat and normal paint that requires 2-3 coats on top of the undercoat

In an ideal world I would combine a roller using “Dulux one-coat” which gets the job done fast and the medium to small brush for those awkwards spots. This will get the job done brilliantly despite adequate being all that is required. I have no desire to do things that are just “good enough”, I want it to be as good as I can get it in the alloted time and 1+3 would do it for me.

But I have to choose one so I go with number 1 and i am just really careful on the edges to make them as close as possible. So be gentle on those bits and you will be ok….

Alternatively, you could go completely the other way and use number 4. Utter overkill for the job, making things really slow and painful. Probably taking 10 times longer to do and yes the end result is great but will only ever be viewed from a distance so totally waster as it looks no better than option 1, yet you put yourself through this thinking the most precise and controlled option is what is needed. It was not.

So that was my camera analogy. Did you like it? Can you see that being applied in the camera world?

If you didn’t then let’s say the paint job required is a corporate film or event film just for the web or persoanl use. Option number one is say an C100 or  even a nice DSLR. Number 5 is something like a Blackmagic Cinema Camera shooting raw or a RED Scarlet, maybe even something even more fancy.  There are times where option 4 is what you need for the job and for some of you all you do is jobs that need opton 4 and there are some of you who only ever need option 1. Options 2 and 3 could be C300s, F5s…that sort of camera. There are also times when the client wants you to use option 4 when all is needed is option 1. Sometimes there is nothing you can do about it and those times suck. Sorry but that is the reality of things!

There is so much choice. Whether you are someone looking to take their first basic steps into shooting, or someone who already has, say, a 5D MKII and wants something newer and better. Figuring it all out can be pretty hard and  there is no black and white answer SO PLEASE DO NOT ASK ME “What shall I buy” I cannot tell you. Only you can decide but you can at least know the pros and cons of each and go from there. Listing what is important to you in a camera and then see what ticks the most boxes.

There seems to be a lot of confusion as to what the natural upgrade path should be from a DSLR…or even if you should stop using DSLRs.

Most of us can make pretty quick decisions when it comes to ordering a drink at a bar – clearly if you have taste it’s Hendricks Gin with Fever Tree tonic or Ciroc Vodka with the same! When your decision could cost you potentially thousands of dollars though a quick decision should never be made, your choice must be considered and thought through…thoroughly. Now with some incredibly powerful cameras costing between 2 and 3 thousand dollars, the choice isn’t as terrifying as for one that costs over $10,000 or more. If you make a mistake here and don’t buy the right one what do you end up with? A paperweight? No…you will still generally end up with a great tool that may never have been the best thing on the market but can easily help you do your work and do it well. As long as you don’t get camera envy too much. It is important to research thoroughly your purchase and this article should be just part of your research.

That is not always the case. There are times when the camera you choose is simply the only one you can afford, not the one you want. That’s fine! You build yourself up to that. If you suddenly find yourself with a client desperately in need of a Scarlet for example then just rent one. If they are asking for it, pass the costs onto them.



The age of the owner operator is well and truly upon us. This is great… but it can also be viewed as the most difficult and confusing time to be one!  If you have a C300 for example, as mentioned above, you will always come across jobs where you need a different camera. Different jobs, different clients who demand an Epic or an Alexa. This happens. A lot.

Also a phrase that is bandied about by a lot people (including me) is ”it’s not the camera”…that is true to a point. There are times when you absolutely need an Epic or an Alexa or maybe a C300, and there are times when a Canon 550d (T2i) will do, maybe even your iphone! Why do you think Roger Deakins shot Skyfall on the Alexa and not say a Canon 60D from Walmart? Well it’s obvious, it’s a big movie, with big effects, big budget and to shoot it on a consumer DSLR would be beyond stupid! Why handicap yourself when you don’t need to and should’t?

If you have the budget, then damn well get a better camera than your T2i, because the times when you don’t have the budget are becoming more and more frequent. If someone gives you the chance to use a better camera, as long as you are skilled enough for it AND you have the backup staff if needed (a C500, Blackmagic, Epic, Alexa, F55 etc all need DIT on set, or you will be in for a world of pain!) then go for it…as long as it’s the right tool and not a tool that will make your life difficult! Remember the analogy.

If I am shooting purely for the web, I would probably still use my C300 which is really designed for broadcast work. It is the easiest camera to use that I own, shoots remarkable pictures, and is small and wonderfully ergonomic. I personally don’t consider the internet to be an inferior medium anymore. Youtube can play 4K, streaming on your connected TV, Apple TV, Boxee, XBOX 360 etc is the norm. I hardly ever watch internet films/ videos on my laptop anymore. That is why I always shoot on great cameras when I can, even for the web. The web is the platform of the future.

So what is the point of all this? I am getting so many questions about which camera to buy that it’s impossible to keep up with my replies. It’s understandable though as it’s very confusing now. This post is designed to answer those questions for you or at least give you a good solid source of information.

It  is incredibly time consuming to review cameras properly. My shooting and workshops gigs always get in the way and editing is the biggest time consumer of them all. Getting hold of cameras can also be hard without actually buying them. I do my best, sometimes the reviews are well before release and somtimes, like the C100, they are well after release!

Before I get onto the actual cameras one important thing. I don’t cover the Magic Lantern Hacks or any other hacks as these are not official manufcaturer firmware so I am comparing like for like as they come out of the box. Yes these hacks improve their respective cameras so take that into consideration. The comparison needs to be fair and as the manufacturer sells them even if the hack makes the camera so much better. If you are interested in a camera then I am certain you will be aware of the hacks.


GOOD FOR: Low budget filmmakers (apart from the higher priced DSLRs like the 1DC and 1DX), documentary filmmakers who are well versed and confident with dual audio and need the tiny DSLR footprint for being discreent. Event fillmakers as you can get 3 decent DSLRs for the price of one S35 camcorder so you can have 3 shooters working at once.

BAD FOR: Anything that requires lots of in camera audio. Fast moving action due to the rolling shutter issues. Special FX work although some of the below cameras will give you 422 8 bit uncompressed output which is better for FX. Sports, again due to rolling shutter.


Well Canon started all this with the MKII. Have they captilised on this? Yes in a technology progression sense and with S35 camcorders,  but not in across the board improvements with the latest DSLRs.

They were quick to bring out manual control…then a year or so later  the 7d followed by 24p/25p. The consumer cameras then came out, the T2i, T3i etc etc…but all of these are generation 1. Their video quality has not improved in any of them. The 7D for example looks the same in video mode to the T2i…it’s a massively better camera though, build quality and for stills…but for video, much the same APART from a full HD (but not clean) output.

Canon 5DmkIII

Earlier this year Canon, finally brought out generation 2. The 5DmkIII. After my initial reservations about the sharpness of the image, I found it was actually very easy to pull it out in post, as there were no visible moire and aliasing issues…something that plagues generation 1. We also had MUCH better low light, much better codec, a headphone jack, audio controls…still poor pre amps though. Full HD out but the LCD screen stills turns off, and it’s not clean, so no external recording. They have recently announced firmware to come in April 2013 that will give it clean output…we shall see!

Review of the Canon 5DmkIII from Philip Bloom Reviews & Tutorials on Vimeo.

Canon 1DX

The super pro body the 1DX is everything video-wise that the 5DmkIII should have been. The image is just gorgeous and lovely and sharp…but it’s almost twice the price. It’s actually fewer megapixels, which also means it is better in low light…for some reason though, they left the headphone jack off this…why?!?! I love this camera enormously. Check out my Safari mini doc below where everything bar the main interviews and slow motion (shot on the FS700) was shot on the 1DX, and the “Portrait of a projectionist” mini doc which was shot entirely on the 1DX.

Portrait of a projectionist from Philip Bloom on Vimeo.

Canon 1DC

This is my favourite DSLR. Easily. A confusing camera on paper that seemed to be having an identitiy crisis and a camera I didn’t initially see an obivous need for. That changed when I shot with one and now it goes everywhere with me.

There is a review below and here is a link to the blog post too which is worth reading.

I have shot so much on this. Most of it 4k stock footage, but also a music video, some mini docs and it has been b camera to my C300 as the S35 mode with C-Log matches my C300 really well!! It also is the only Canon DSLR to have 1080p slow motion. Initially I was dissapointed with the detail of it but just last week I shot slow motion with it and I was really really impressed.

It’s expensive for what it is but as it’s also unique on the market it has no competition. There is no stills camera, in fact no camera of this size that shoots 4k with a large sensor IN CAMERA. It’s pretty special and it paid for itself very quickly but it’s clearly not for everyone.

It’s quite possibly my favourite camera despite it still having many of the DSLR issues like rolling shutter, no proper connections, no peaking or other features we have on video cameras. The image though and the size plus the ease of operation combined with the 4K for stock and it’s ability to match my C300…this is why I love it. It’s so hard to explain until you have tried one!

Review of the Canon 1DC from Philip Bloom Reviews & Tutorials on Vimeo.

4 inches of ice from Philip Bloom on Vimeo.

Bitten By The Frost from Philip Bloom on Vimeo.

500 million years old… from Philip Bloom on Vimeo.

4K version: 576 Megapixels from Philip Bloom on Vimeo.


I have not fully tested the 6D but I have shot with it and found it very dissapointing.

It’sa cheaper full frame camera than the 5DmkIII. It has the same codec options which are great, but it has the same image issues as the 5Dmk2 which is not great. There is also no headphone jack!

Such a shame. This camera should be so much better than it is. A missed opportunity video wise.

Canon really need to bring out a generation 2 cheaper camera. A T5i, The 70D is coming out soon. I have no idea what it is like. On paper it should be the first affordable generation 2 Canon without the image issues. I have one on order so will see! The 60D is my favourite of the budget DSLRs so I am looking forward to this camera.

With regards to full frame…do you need it? Personally I love the full frame look. Yes you can get shallower depth of field, but it’s the whole quality and aesthetic of the image that changes. Downside? Long lens shots mean very expensive lenses. Same with the good wide angles.


What on earth are Nikon doing? They had a wide open market for quite some time after the Canon MkII. I waited patiently. I even bought some, the Nikon D7000 and the 5100.I have now sold those. Both of these as video cameras were enormously disappointing. Weak codecs, lack of full manual on the 5100 in video mode, inability to change iris in live view and with both of these no exposure meter in live view.

Nikon D800

It literally took until early summer this year for the Nikon D800 to come out…almost 4 years since the Canon 5DmkII came out before we had a decent DSLR for video from Nikon. I have one, and as a stills camera, it is exceptional. It has a 36mp sensor made by Sony that it crazy detailed…but how does it translate to 1080p video? Well, pretty damn well. A little bit of aliasing and moire is present, nowhere near as bad as their previous cameras or generation 1 Canons, but definitely worse than the Canon 5D MkIII and 1DX.

Dynamic range is impressive. I had heard figures stating 12 stops. I have not tested that myself, but side by side with the Canon, I can see more in the shadows and highlights (this is without technicolor, which by the way works way better on the generation 2 due to the superior codec and sensor). Sharpness is way better than the MkIII. It also has a crop mode to go from full frame FX to crop sensor DX…nice in principle, shame in practice as it becomes soft. Disappointing. Also the 720p 50p/60p aliases and moires like it is out and proud about it. Unusable with the mosaic engineering filter. A real shame.

It also has clean HDMI out giving you uncompressed 422 8bit video. Beware though you cannot record in camera at the same time if you record externally as it will drop the resolution.

For me, this is the only quality Nikon DSLR for video, the stills are incredibly too by the way but that’s not what we are talking about. The image is great, despite the issues and it’s flexibility is terrific. Why they don’t build upon what this does right into the lower models confuses me.

Nikon D4

I tested the Nikon D4 and had enormous hopes for this. After all, with around a 16mp sensor this would kill in low light. It does, but the camera I tested was SOFT in FX mode. SOFTER in DX mode BUT sharp in 1:1 sampling, shame it’s around a 2.7x crop. I asked other people who had tested the D4 and was told they had the same results. Can this be fixed in firmware? Who knows…I doubt it, and have heard nothing about it. As a stills camera? Amazing, but the Canon 1DX kicks sand in its face like it’s a puny nerd on the beach vs Arnold Schwarzenegger (around Conan time!)

Both of these cameras are capable of 4:2:2 8 bit uncompressed output. These will not get past aliasing, moire or sharpness but will help compression issues. It also won’t help banding as this is 8 bit not 10 bit, so those sky shots will still band away! At least the camera can have an HDMI monitor plugged in and keep the back screen on, even if you don’t want to record a clean output.

AGAIN THOUGH…if you do use something like a Ninja 2 DO NOT EVER HIT RECORD ON THE CAMERA!! If you do this when set to external recording, it drops down to 720p. So just hit record on your recorder. Yes, that means NO in-camera back up. Poo.

Nikon D600

A camera I have also not reviewed is the D600. It’s Nikon’s 6D equivalent. I haven’t seen it or seen any proper video from it yet BUT it also does have a clean output, although I hear it crops slightly…it also has an issue with Nikon lenses that you cannot change iris whilst in video mode. You have to have a truly manual lens with the contact disconnected or go out of live view and change it.

I tried the D7100. I liked the image but again the lack of iris control in live view is bewildering.

Full Frame Shootout from Philip Bloom Reviews & Tutorials on Vimeo.


Panasonic GH3

There is only one camera that people want right now, and that is the GH3. I was lucky enough to shoot a short film recently on a very early pre-production camera. Lots of issues with it as it was unfinished but I did buy a production model

Panasonic GH3 launch film: Genesis from Philip Bloom on Vimeo.

Even the one I had bettered the GH2 in every way. Stronger construction. Better low light, detail, dynamic range, sound handling, clean output, great crop mode, immensely improved codec. Better than a hacked GH2? Yes in most areas. The hacked GH2 gives it a much less compressed codec but doesn’t fix all the other issues. I own 2 GH2s, one hacked and one not. The GH3 is simply much better.

I have one and although I have not a done a full review and am unlikely to due to time, I have found it to be seriously impressive. All the problems in my preproduction one have gone and it really is a great step up. There is a touch more aliasing unfortunately but that’s a small price to pay for the superior build quality, codec, sensitivity and features.

This is a marvellous camera. As long as you don’t mind the micro four thirds sensor size which is half that of a full frame…so if you are used to the 5D aesthetic this may come as a bit of shock to you. That and all your lenses doubling in field of view!


Sony NEX 6
Sony NEX 6

Sony DSLRs have amazing innovations. OLED viewfinders, translucent mirrors. 1080p slow motion. The problem for me is simple. I bought a Sony A77. Loved these features then realised the flange distance (the distance from the sensor to the lens mount) was further than both the Nikons and the Canons, which meant I was stuck with Alpha or Minolta legacy lenses. Sorry, but I don’t want to buy new glass! I bought a fairly expensive Nikon to Alpha adaptor that has a focusing piece of glass in it so the lens can focus on the sensor correctly. Unfortunately way too soft. I put my super sharp 35mm F1.4 Zeiss ZF on it. SOFT! So I unfortunately returned it. The Sony A99 is the full frame version. Many similar features and lovely clean output AND you can record in-camera at the same time as a Ninja 2…problem is it’s the same flange distance. One really cool thing is Sony have brought out a proper XLR module for the camera with proper pre-amps in it and controls. Excellent. Now please can we remove that Alpha mount? 🙂 I have not reviewed this camera.

But I have shot with it. The viewfinder is spectacular and the 1080p is really nice. The 1080p 50p is great to have but when you conform down to 25p the 28mb/s becomes 14 mb/s and falls apart really easier which is a real shame. It simply needs a better codec and the camera will be much better. You can though get 422 8 bit uncompresed out of the camera which will give you a much better codec of course at the sacrifice of form factor. The camera with no rig against your eye? Fantastic!

Now their mirrorless cameras are very interesting. They use the E-Mount system which is also on their FS100 and FS700 camcorders. This means we can put on pretty much any lens we want with the right adaptor. The problem is all but the consumer VG900 have APS-C/ S35 sensors. There are no professional E-mount full frame cameras and there needs to be. The E-mount is a great mount, not because of the glass available for it but because the flange distance is so small and the opening big enough for full frame lenses to cover that full frame sensor. It needs to be used in more cameras!

E-Mount lenses therefore are not designed for full frame cameras anyway…very annoying and I touch on thsi a bit later on. What is clever though and wonderful to have is the Metabones Speed Booster. Read more about it here. It effectively turns your super 35mm/ APS-C camera into a full frame camera. I kid you not.

Screen Shot 2013-08-11 at 00.22.46

194 grams from James Miller on Vimeo.

Metabones Speed Booster lens test from James Miller on Vimeo.

There are loads of these cameras out there now. I actually own 3 of them…don’t ask! I have the NEX5N, the NEX 7 (which I have not reviewed properly) and for a reason I cannot fathom I got the NEX 6 (again this has not been reviewed). Below is a short I shot in Marrakech, just an atmos piece, on the NEX7. As you can see the image is great. It’s just that same issues at the A99. The 1080p 50p is great to have but it’s only 28mb/s so it’s hard to grade it when conformed to 25p as it falls apart so easily!

Postcards from the four corners: Marrakech from Philip Bloom on Vimeo.

I really enjoyed the little NEX5N and it was better in low light than the NEX 7 but the 7 has way better controls and a built in amazing OLED viewfinder, much like the 6. They also have 1080p slow motion but these are region locked. Not world cameras like the DSLRs. So it’s 24p or 25p and 60p or 50p…This mini doc below is shot on the little NEX5N.

Booths & Bodies: The life and work of Anthony Vizzari from Philip Bloom on Vimeo.

The codec is AVCHD…it’s I have said it’s not very robust. I do like these cameras but can’t see me currently replacing a Canon or Nikon D800 with one…not yet.

So, there are other stills cameras out there that shoot video, Olympus, the new Lecia M 240 and a myriad of others but these are the main contenders. Which one for you? Well it’s tough. The innovations are coming in slowly…It’s the video camera market that is moving forward fast and aggressively.






Special FX work where raw or ProRes HQ would be so important. Small indie dramas but remember the cost of data acquisition and storagel DIT NEEDED! Commercials. Controlled broadcast work. Not docs. Also controlled studio shoots. Well controlled everything really.


Events, weddings, documentary, most broadcast (with caveats of course!) Bascially anything where ease of use, intergrated audio are needed and anything with lots of footage as this camera EATS hard drives!

FANBOYS: Please do not jump on me for saying this camera is not perfect. I love it but know it’s limitations and issues. Never be blinkered by obsession.

This will be the longest written part of the blog post, for the same reason the video review is the longest one I have done. It’s a camera of contradictions and  a lot of people want it. As of the 19th November 2012, it still has not properly shipped. So frustrating for many.

So why contradictions? Well, for what it does this is really cheap but it’s at a cost …it will simply cost potentially a fair old whack! I will explain further…

Clearly this camera is being targeted at Canon users looking to move up a notch. With an EF mount as standard (a passive MTF mount which makes more sense is in the works) they told me that was their target.

The problem is this is a world away from the ease of a DSLR. If you don’t know what you are getting yourself into, you are in for a world of potential pain…you must be prepared for a whole new way of shooting and post work. If you understand what you are getting into, then you will be prepared…best advice I can give is watch my review below…

So…what is the good and the bad?

THIS CAMERA SHOOTS RAW!! Yes raw, and for a camera retailing at around $2000, thanks a recent massive price cut,  that is astonishing. What is raw? Well if you don’t know look it up. Ideally it’s how we would shoot everything. It’s the only way to shoot stills. No baked in codecs, we can have enormous options in post to change your exposure and much more. It’s lovely. BUT it’s also HUNGRY…it reminds me of the show/ movie “Little Shop Of Horrors!”…”feed me Seymour, feed me!” as man is it hungry on SSDs…

The raw is uncompressed Cinema DNG. Yes you can have compressed raw. Red have it, Cineform has it. Uncompressed raw on paper sounds ideal but in practice is far too time consuming and far too expensive. In uncompressed raw, 30 minutes of footage will fill up a 240GB SSD. Yep…240GB. You can record in ProRes HQ or Avid DNXHD which is way more efficient BUT it’s not raw so the options that raw give us are gone. You have to make decisions in-camera and adjust lighting to compensate. For my mini doc below “Ponte Tower” I used up close to 600GB of data for around around 1 hour and ten minutes of rushes. On a Mk3 this would be around 48gb in its ALL-I 90mb/s codec. So archiving is incredibly expensive, time consuming. You don’t offload to one hard drive, ideally you offload to 3 maybe 4…that will add up! It takes longer to offload from this camera than the Red Epic as the Epic uses compressed raw.

Ponte Tower from Philip Bloom on Vimeo.

Blackmagic needs to license or invent its own compressed raw codec.

The sensor is also too small for an EF mount. The size of sensor compared to the flange distance means so much is lost of the Canon lens…it’s a crop of around 2.3x so your 50mm with give you an angle of view of around 115mm…telephoto…GREAT for long lens shots but sucks for wide angles. Also you are only using the centre of the lens, not all of it, so optically not great either. EF mount for this is simply the wrong mount in my opinion…you can make it work, but MFT really makes more sense as I said earlier. I bought an average quality lens to get my much-needed wide and it works, the Sigma 8-16mm….non fish eye but quite slow and with the crop giving me a field of view of around 18.4mm…so, wide but not wide wide. It’s pretty good and is used a lot in the above mini doc…Anything that looks wide…that’s the Sigma! I just really need a fast 35mm equivalent…like a 14mm F1.4…pretty hard to find that!

EDIT: You can now see my review of the MFT camera below…it’s better in some ways…not all. Check it out below!

Form factor is not good either. It’s big and heavy with a big reflective touch screen on it. The software is still very much a work in progress. The Canon lens can be controlled via the camera on-screen controls but no f-stop is displayed (IS is supported by the way). Also audio is via quarter inch jacks, balanced, but no phantom power. There is a headphone jack but with no meters on the screen currently, I have yet to record sound in camera properly on a job.

Yes, it has a 90 minute internal battery. Not ideal but to be honest, due to its form factor you simply MUST have a rig and it’s damn front heavy as it is, so a nice chunky V-lock or Anton Bauer will run this puppy for many hours, and when it runs out and you swap batteries the Blackmagic stays on due to its internal battery being there. So not all bad.

So I used this for a documentary. For me, this is not a documentary camera (unless we are talking just talking heads and reconstructions, not an evolving, actuality doc). Ponte Tower was all tripod… Handheld is so tricky with this, a really good rig is essential and it does have poor rolling shutter issues. It’s rated as 800 ISO but doesn’t like being pushed much more than a couple of 3200 ISO it can be quite noisy, but the noise is actually quite pleasing. One thing I found though is the noise is so fine, compressing for H264 for vimeo was really really hard in the noisy shots…

So what can this camera be used for? Weddings? Please don’t! Or events unless you own G-Tech or Seagate! The raw is incredibly powerful and the image is gorgeous, detailed and rather filmic. This is a special effect camera, a camera for commercials…a low budget fiction camera? Sure…you just need DIT for all of these! It’s not great in low light, so it’s a camera that really needs lighting. Not a problem for most genres that I have mentioned above but not for documentaries where often you have to go with available light, which is what I did for “Ponte Tower”.

For a first camera, this is mind blowing. Having raw, prores HQ, Avid DNxHD and a dynamic range (in raw) of around 13 stops, this is mightily impressive. With firmware tweaks this will be much more usable. BUT, this is simply not a step up from a DSLR, it’s a totally different tool and as long as you go into this with open eyes, you will have a great time!  I would say this is a hand saw whilst the MK3 is an jigsaw…do you get my analogy? Both do the same job, but one is way more efficient and damn faster than the other, but with the other one you can be really careful and slow, getting it perfect. I have one and will use it for certain jobs. I adore the image and I love mucking about with the raw in the included DaVinci Resolve. It’s so powerful and eye opening.

This is generation one. I am certain what Blackmagic show us next will blow our socks off and probably our trousers and probably our underwear which would be very embarrassing if they did this at NAB 2012 at a presser!! 🙂

Sorry for all the detail on this camera, but it really is damn tricky one and I need people to understand what owning one and shooting with one entails.

Review of Blackmagic Cinema Camera from Philip Bloom Reviews & Tutorials on Vimeo.

Review of the Blackmagic Cinema Camera Micro Four Thirds from Philip Bloom Reviews & Tutorials on Vimeo.


Mad Cat Lady: Rather cute test footage from the Blackmagic MFT Cinema Camera from Philip Bloom on Vimeo.


B&H Photo Video Affiliate Link Below

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Screen Shot 2013-08-10 at 23.36.42 Screen Shot 2013-08-10 at 23.36.32

Screen Shot 2013-08-10 at 23.36.42The Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera and the 4K production camera were announced at NAB this year. I have not laid eyes on either or have shot on either. I really want to get my hands on one soon but I am having no joy at securing a demo unit. The pocket camera is apparantly shipping but I don’t know anyone who has received one.

On paper they both have terrific specs and great prices but as has been said before, it’s not just specs and price. It’s how the camera atually performs and how it is to use both on location and in post.

I really hope to be able to review these cameras. I have them on order myself but if I have to wait until then it could be quite some time as the Cinema Camera has shown with it’s massive delays.



GOOD FOR: Movies…this is what it shines with. Also larger budget commercials, music videos. Most things that want 4k and have the budget for. High end corporates

BAD FOR: HD. It can shoot in 2K but with a heavy crop so it needs to all be done in post or use an external recorder which means losing the raw. Low budget work as post is more extensive and needs an up to date infrastructure. Most forms of documentaries as it needs a lot of media, with it’s current sensor is not great for any low light filming and it is also quite an intimidating camera. Really not good for events at all.  

EDIT: Since this post was originally done we now the new sensor called the Dragon sensor. There is an upgrade path, an expensive one but still cheaper than buying a new camera

Red suddenly dropped the prices of all their cameras at the same time as Sony announced their new F5 and F55….R&D had been covered and now they could drop prices. Great for new customers. Sucks for older customers who had bought one two or more months previously.

Red Scarlet brain

I like the Scarlet, a lot…it’s a cheaper version of the Epic but without most of the cool features, but retains the 4k in-camera recording in compressed raw R3D. Much better than Cinema DNG and a lovely codec to work with. It’s not cheap, even with the price cuts as it needs a fair bit of stuff to kit it out properly…but still it’s an amazing camera and would I like one? Sure…but again this is a Cinema Camera. Can it be used in docs? Of course, like the Blackmagic one, but I would not chose this due to its official native ISO of 320 ISO so it is a camera that needs lighting…not a problem for most fiction gigs. Not ideal for docs.  With the Dragon sensor though the sensitiy will be boosted a fair amount making this camera more attractive to many and it keeps up with the competiiton.

Shooting “Host” on the Red Epic

I owned an EPIC for a while. My favourite camera ever I have ever owned.  But due to a series of unfortunate events that I have gone into previously, I don’t have it anymore. In a way with the price drop I feel lucky. But the image out of that camera is mind blowing. The detail…wow! The slow motion. Wonderful. It’s an amazing movie camera. Prometheus, Hobbit and countless others are shot on it. It’s just not the camera for me, right now. It’s a big movie camera that needs a decent support network, mine went wrong on 6 consecutive shoots and as an owner operator I was kind of screwed. A rental one makes way more sense. Also with the new Sony F cameras coming out with insane sensitivity, they have a real challenge on their hands. If they can get that Dragon sensor in the camera soon, the fight will be on. Let’s hope Jim and the team don’t take too long!! The camera really is Epic and I hope Red, who really have been at the forefront of digital cinema since the Red One, keep on pushing and don’t let the giants take over. We all love competition. It simply makes the cameras better for all of us.

Turin Brakes: Chim Chim Che-ree. RED Epic from Philip Bloom on Vimeo.

Bangin’ n Clangin’: The Redneck Hippie shot on Epic and Phantom FLEX from Philip Bloom on Vimeo.

Great Wooden Boats: RED EPIC from Philip Bloom on Vimeo.






AF100/ AF101

Where are you, Panasonic? HELLO!? Almsot 3 years since the I reviewed the AF101 and nothing. What is going on? Is there something amazing in the works? For a company that ruled the indie scene for years with the DVX100 and HVX200, the lack of anything is very odd. The AF100is fine. It’s totally usable put utterly surpassed by the competition. A shame as ergonomics and feature wise it’s actually pretty damn good! COME ON CHAPS!

They did bring out the AF100a. It’s the same camera with better audio, digital punch in for focus and now 422 10 bit external out put…after two years and seeing what the others have done, this is not enough.

Turin Brakes: Ascension Day SHOT ON AF101 from Philip Bloom on Vimeo.



GOOD FOR: (Not talking C500 here!) Broadcast work, documentaries, events, commericals, corporates, low to medium budget fiction.

BAD FOR: Heavy special effects work. Anything needing really good slow motion. 


Canon C300

Canon C300 Review from Philip Bloom Reviews & Tutorials on Vimeo.

Canon entered the serious camcorder market with the Canon C300. Am not talking about the 1/3” sensor cameras which are great but not what we are talking about here. The C300 on paper when announced last year was met with lots of disinterest….BUT as soon as I got my hands on it, I fell in love with it. A form factor that worked straight out of the box…no rigs. That records a codec that HD broadcasters accept out of the box. With fantastic sensitivity, amazing detail, amazing handling, terrific battery life…I simply love this camera. It is my number one go-to camera these days. YES it is not cheap but you don’t need to spend money on loads of stuff to make it work. No rigs, works with CF cards, takes Canon lenses (or PL NOT both, which to be honest SUCKS!) and no external recorders needed for HD broadcaster.

It has a 12 stop dynamic range and a lovely log mode. Not Alexa or F3 dynamic range but pretty damn good.

This camera is enormously in demand in the industry and rightly so. Its biggest let down? 720p slow motion?! Come on Canon! It’s 2012!!! Below is my music documentary shot on the C300 (with a few FS700 lens whacking shots).

Screen Shot 2013-08-11 at 00.05.57

If not now when: The documentary from Philip Bloom on Vimeo.


The Canon C500

A camera I have not reviewed  is the C500 and I am unlikey to. This is the big 4k outputting brother of the C300…it’s actually the same camera apart from the side grip has gone (WHAT?! that grip is amazing) and replaced with lots of connectors. Now, 4K, is it the future?  Yes but it’s not the present. Certainly not for me outside of stock footage, and as the camera needs a beast of an external recorder to get this 4k and it’s incredibly data hungry, then it’s cetainly not for me. I will stick with my lovely C300 thanks!

In fact the cameras thinder has been completley stolen by the new Sony F5 and F55. More on that later. These camera really have effectively pushed the C500 out of the door even before it has entered!

Canon C100

The C100! On paper? Sigh…utterly underwhelming but in use is pretty damn good. It’s way cheaper than the C300, has the lovely C-Log mode but loses the quite wonderful EVF from the C300, has lost the SDI, the screen isn’t as good and the codec is just AVCHD…also it has NO slow motion ability (although there is a way of getting there, check out the video review). WHAT!?! A shame, as this camera is small and lovely…but without the EVF the no-rig advantage has been scuppered. It needs a Zacuto EVF. I hope to get my hands on it at some point to see what it is like to use and if it better than its specs suggest…

Screen Shot 2013-08-11 at 00.04.39

The better late than never review of the Canon C100 from Philip Bloom Reviews & Tutorials on Vimeo.


GOOD FOR (Sony F5 and F55) : With the F55 it’s a fantastic movie camera or fiction camera. Also high end documentaries where stealth is not needed. Can you shoot events with it? Sure but it’s utter overkill. Great for commericals, music videos, effects work. Just about anything really. The F5 is the same just with a few less features. 

BAD FOR: Anything that is overkill! Other than that…very little! 

GOOD FOR (Sony FS100, 700): Anyone wanting great features for a low price. Super slow motion with the FS700 so great for sports, lower budget commercials. Usable for events and weddings with rigs. Corporates. Low budget feaures (with an external recorder) Documentaries with rig and better EVF/ monitor


A camera I have not yet reviewed but have played with briefly is the Sony NEX-VG900. It’s a full frame consumer camcorder. In fact the first full frame camcorder ever! It’s E-Mount (but using E-mount means Super 35 only) but with other lens mounts can be used full frame. Be careful with the Metabones it’s vignettes on version 1 and 2. 3 is fine. The speedbooster which is mentioed above can be used on this but it’s rather pointless. It creates a pseudo full frame image when just stick on the version 3 metabones and you have a full frame image!

It has proper audio inputs with the same add-on the A99 uses. The menus are a bit fiddly from first impression but it’s cheap…It is region locked so 24p or 25p…I wont be reviewing this either due to time. I would say the camera is OK. It’s an A99 i more of a video camera body with most of the same issues but lacking the killer A99 stills function.

Sony F3

The Sony F3 was their first large sensor affordable camcorder. A lovely camera based on the EX1, so records in XDCAM EX but can output 444 10 bit via the external outputs and an external box. The S-LOG gives it a native sensitivity of 1600 and a dynamic range of almost 14 stops. This is an amazing camera BUT needs to be used with an external box. The 35mb/s  XDCAM EX codec is old and inefficient. The ergonomics suck. The EVF is useless… but just the image is one of the nicest images I have seen from any digital camcorder.

It needs a rig, an EVF, counterweight, external recorder…so it’s not small and I love small…

One of its coolest features (that I wish Canon had done with the C300 and its siblings) is a removable mount, not a fixed one. Nice.

Insipiens from Philip Bloom on Vimeo.

Sony F5 and F55

 The new Sony F series, the F5 and F55…these are amazing cameras but I have not reviewed them yet. 

What do they do? Well they are modular cameras with quite a spec list that impresses even the most jaded DP. 4K, raw, 120 FPS 4K raw on the F5 with external recorder and 240 FPS with the F55 and raw recorder. 14 stops of latitude. The F55 even has no rolling shutter issues as it has a global shutter. Amazing!

Without their external recorder that costs a lot of dosh and connects to the back of the camera, you can record in SxS Pro+ which is 50MBS 422  and loads of others including SR codec, H264 (if you must!). Also the new XAVC codec they have is superb.

Both are beasts of a movie cameras…Price? Pretty good considering what they do. It’s so temptying to just save up an extra 3 or 4k and get the F55. It makes more sense.  Both are modular, but by the time you build them up with one of their EVFs, large batteries, raw recorder, you have a big camera and a lot less money. It’s nothing like the svelte C300 but offers a crap load more for your money…it’s just a lot more money when you add on the bits you need. I think the F5 is too late to crack the C300 dominated broadcast world but the F55 I can see be picked up for high end stuff.

Screen Shot 2013-08-11 at 00.21.24

I shot with the F55 back in March. I still have not cut the piece which is shameful as it’s going to be great. Soon though I promise!!

Also, like the F3, it has swappable mounts.

Below are some frames from the short I need to cut called Venus.

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581751_10151553248374365_372547012_n 317722_10151553169019365_614965333_n 484394_10151553169079365_83338965_n 29035_10151553168964365_1902053963_n

Shooting with the FS100

The Sony FS100 is still the best bang for buck. Coming in around 1K less than the C100. It has a lovely Super 35mm sensor, a cheap price. Lovely detail, no moire or aliasing. Amazing low light sensitivity, proper audio inputs…it’s the first affordable Super 35mm camcorder.

It’s not without its faults…AWFUL ergonomics. No NDs (The C100, C300, FS700 and F cameras all have them) I really dislike the LCD screen as you can’t turn it to the side and tilt it…it’s utterly in the wrong place, and this causes issues with the loup…also the buttons are all over the place.

It needs a rig and an EVF BUT the image really is lovely. If you need a proper video camera and are moving up from a DSLR AND you are on a budget this should be your first port of call.

I just don’t like how it operates. So fiddly! I curse it every single time. BUT image fidelity is paramount, and this camera has a lovely image. If you are on a budget and want to move to a super 35mm camcorder…currently this should be your number one choice. Below is Portrait of a Boxer shot on the FS100,

Portrait of a boxer from Philip Bloom on Vimeo.


Sony FS700

The Sony FS700 has the same problems in operation. The same crappy screen and loup. The same poor ergonomics, slightly better but still fiddly buttons…

BUT it has NDs, SD and depending on whether you are shooting 24p or 25p can shoot amazing full quality super slow motion without losing resolution…25p can go up to 200 FPS, 24p up to 240 FPS. It can also record 4k with a paid firmware upgrade (which comes with the excellent S Log 2) and an external recorder. This makes it incredibly powerful . It does cost though and we are creeping closer to the F5 price and I know what I would rather have…mind you add on the 4K raw recorder to the F5 and it jumps ahead again in price.

For me I so prefer to record internally like a 1DC, Red or F55. The 4k raw recorder for the FS700 is the same one as the F5 and F55 just without the neat intergration. I hate big rigs and big external boxes.

It doesn’t have the dynamic range of the C300 or the log mode….but it is cheaper. Problem is internally it’s just 24mb/s so for any broadcast work you HAVE to have an external recorder.


Screen Shot 2013-08-11 at 00.20.33

The parents at 240 from Philip Bloom on Vimeo.

Sony FS700 Review Part 1 from Philip Bloom Reviews & Tutorials on Vimeo.

Sony FS700 Review Part 2 from Philip Bloom Reviews & Tutorials on Vimeo.

So have I helped you? Maybe…there are so many options. Check out the pros and cons and look at the work you do. If you have the work that can pay, then get a camera that makes your life easy…after all they are just tools to help us tell stories!!

I am sure you are going to say “what about…” and “but you didn’t mention the..” There is of course no mention of the Digital Bolex. I am an investor and am still patiently waiting. STILL!!!!

Until I have seen and of course shot with a pre-production model, there is little to say about it…It is rather late now! Hope it comes soon. I haven’t mentioned any small chip cameras like the Sony PMW 200 or the Canon XF series. I have reviewed some of them on this site so do check them out…under camera reviews. There is a camera the excels for every different shot, finding that right one means knowing what each camera does and knowing your needs. For example if I had to shoot long speeches at a conference? Give me an XF300 or PMW 200 thanks very much…there no “perfect” camera.

Oh and if you asked me “if you could only have one camera and not any other” it would be my 1DC. Why? Great video (EVEN 4K!!)and amazing stills. I love both and this does both so well!



  1. Hey Phil, i know its not ground breaking but have you not heard of the Panasonic AF100A that now has 10 bit 422 out via SDI, improved audio and punch in focus assist (ok that should have been there from the start), bearing in mind that the FS100 and Af100 fare pretty well in a head to head i would say a 10 bit version of the AF is pretty interesting but whole heartily agree that a new camera was what was wanted.

  2. Thanks Philip for this huge post… Not simple to chose a camera today. But, like you said “we have to chose the right camera for the right job”…
    “Pas évident” when you want to buy one!…
    But, this post may help a lot of people.
    I’m trying to chose between FS700 and… well, the BlackMagic Camera?… or the C300?
    “Il va falloir que je casse ma tirelire !”

    1. ditto for me.

      I discarded the C100 because I have been confirmed that the recording section has been borrowed from the Canon XA10 (at 1/3rd the price !). Also no SDI (at this price !!) and the EVF is “crap”. I have also read reports from people having attended one of the last Canon show for presenting the C100…and…this was… not… ehwr… “great” at all! A big commercial mistake from Canon: they are apparently targeting a “non existing” commercial audience (I won’t explain all of this here -> see other forums)… Also, with all the “confidential” restrictions enforced by Canon on all the C100 reviewers for preventing them from posting C100 footage, I am wondering whether Canon is not just slightly delaying the production of the C100 for changing some of its features in order to really meet a realistic commercial audience… we’ll see….I definitely think the C100 should be at the same price as the FS100. No more.

      As of me and as of today, I am balancing between the FS700 and the C300, with a strong appeal towards the FS700 (mainly because it’s less expensive). IMHO, the C300 is definitely too expensive for what it offers. It’s about 2 times the price of the FS700! And I see no lowering of its price in the near future because its codec has been “BBC (or EBU) approved”, which constitutes a very strong commercial argument for _NOT_ lowering its price. On the other hands, the new F5 and F55 from Sony are just like a slap in the C300 face considering its inflated price…

      I am leaning towards FS700 but… with some hesitations: I got many Canon lenses and I am just wondering about the metabone adapter reliability…

      But there is a strong point for the FS700: Sony has _already_ announced a firmware upgrade allowing 4K uncompressed raw output through the 3G-SDI port. I must admit (ugh.. hard to say that) that Sony has really really well designed their offering for their whole line of new cameras. I am not a big fan of Sony products in general…

      I am definitely _not_ in urge of 4K shooting for now but what’s appealing to me is the “uncompressed raw” recording option with the FS700. Even with the announced Aja KiPro quad recorder (roughly around 5000$), the combo FS700 + KiPro quad will cost less than the C300 and allows me in some near future to record 12 bits raw uncompressed footage for producing 2K footage (it would be recording in 4K but I don’t mind with that). Isn’t it that great! Some would say that Canon will “probably” also do that in some future but for now this is just dream and conjecture while the firmware update is already announced by Sony. I am also waiting some moves from Atomos for producing a new recorder with some features close to the KiPro quad but at a lower price (something around 3000$ I guess / hope).

      So, where’s my dilemma?
      IF during the next upcoming year(s ?), the prices of the FS700 and the C300 remain globally the same, then the FS700 is the good choice for me.
      But IF Canon lowers the price of the C300 to something more “reasonable” and close to FS700 one, then the C300 is the good choice for me….

      Worth my 1 cent (1/100 of 1 euro).

      “Et ouaip Cédric, on va amasser l’argent dans le bas en laine !”.

  3. Thanks for listing up all the current Cameras! I think I ll go for the FS 100 cause of the Budget…thats the Dilema of the FS 100 Users, they dont have the money for a FS 700 (:

    What is a little bit confusing for me is, that when you first reviewd the FS 100 you were pretty much amazed by the LCD(Loup), no you say its crap? How do I have to get this?


            1. why does my second Comment gets ignored?

              This is a big issue! Many people believe in what you say, so do I: So you
              Say twice, that the LCD is superp, I believe that and the ill expect a godd
              LCD when I buy this Camera on your advise and now you say its crap?

              So I hope you know how much influence you have on peoples decisions!
              And please we are not in DDR where textes got cut out by the “censor-
              ship!” so please release my comments to public as well. This is fairplay!


              1. Eh? Censorship? What? How exactly have I censored you?

                Is your comment published? Yes! Is that censorship? No! Did I reply at the end of this thread to said question? Yes? Is that censorship? No!

                So what are you complaining about?

                I don’t get it!

                1. dont feel offended please! Yes my reply on your replay
                  is “awaiting moderation” and i dont know why!
                  Never mind its just a link to your fs 100 shootout
                  where you say the LCD is “superb” 😉


              1. Well I did….

                Never mind! Thanks for the post but for me it made the
                choice even harder…so many great cameras out there. And
                it never ends, cameras get annoinced every day…

                My main question:

                I really like the “boxer” portrait…the actor is so convincing!

                Was it recorded internally or on a atomos or something sim-
                milar…if its on your blog, i excuse, but i coudlnt find it!

                Thanks (:

                  1. …when i click on the BTS links (what
                    I tried many times) I just get on Sonys
                    site…is it already deleted? If you still
                    know it by hard i would appreciate it
                    if you tell me if you recorded internally
                    or externally (:

                    Thank you!

  4. Great summary as usual, thanks for all your work for all of us out here. I think you’re right on in your assessment, it really is horses for courses isn’t it. The biggest issue for me in deciding which way to go next is the question of AVCHD and whether it’s robust enough. I’ve used AVCHD cameras and seen the banding across gradients, which is just a non-starter. It also seems like the AVCHD cameras are 8 bit, which it would seem is part of the issue.

    Your recommendation of the FS100/700 is compelling, but I just don’t know if the codec limitations rule them out. The C300 seems like the cam I’ve been looking for (50Mbits goodness and great ergonomics), but I’m going to have to line up some rich corporate gigs in order to get to that one. Any additional thoughts you’d like to share on this?

      1. We DO know what is what! The two cameras are different!

        Craig at busted his butt to disprove the original statement and he got facts from more than one source.

        Andrew has since retracted his original statements after he was contacted directly by Canon

        “Canon’s product manager at Photokina (not a hired hand or a sales rep) to my surprise told me the main difference to the 1D X was just firmware and that the hardware was identical other than a slightly different selection of connectivity ports. Canon contacted me a couple of weeks ago to expand on and correct this from their side – there are other subtle hardware changes to enable 4K video, other than just firmware.”

          1. I am relaxed – just trying to provide correct information and quoting Andrew himself.

            Canonrumors posted facts and so did Andrew after he found out the original statements were wrong – we now know both cameras are different.

            I have indeed asked Canon for an official statement, but they’ve declined.

            I am calm. It is not an issue of whether I like anyone, it is all about correcting a misunderstanding.

            1. Ahhhh. The mystery deepens then. Actually Mitch if you check my post i did tweak it after you sent me my link. I have also asked canon and they said nothing. That always worries me.

              Anyway. 9 days to go until end of Movember. Plugs are always welcome 😉

  5. Awesome post, Philip. I’m about to move from my almost three year old t2i, and I’m leaning towards the C100, mostly because of the form factor and sensor. If I need to record something broadcast ready (which I probably won’t), I’ll just use something like an Atomos Ninja 2.

  6. My C300 has yet to let me down… I’ve heard a lot of loud voices criticizing it, and some truly terrible video online, but the fact is if you know how to use your waveform monitor and ND filters, this camera produces some insanely detailed, rich shots. The fact that it does broadcast quality video and audio in such a small body is crazy. I’ve shot everything from hurricane sandy for broadcast to home videos with my family, and it always feels like the most appropriate choice.

  7. Thanks a lot Phil!
    Great thing to have an overview of the current market state given by a man from the field! Although comparing sites are also helpful I generally find them inaccurate or obsolete.
    I m now waiting impatiently for your test&review of the panasonic GH3, to figure out how good it is when compared to 5Dmrk3 and how it manages the moire&aliasing issue.
    I think it s to be considered a really serious challenger with its price despite not being full frame.

  8. Thanks so much for all the detail you have put into your post. One thing that I was hoping you may mention in a future post to compliment this one: I believe there are many semi-experienced people, including myself, who understand that there is no perfect camera, and even understand the pros and cons of available cameras, but do not have the experience to know what to look for given a specific situation. Do you think at some point you could compile some of the projects that you have done and explain what obstacles you faced, what the budget was, and then what equipment you chose to fit the situation and why?

    Not that we want to try and copy your decisions but I believe it would be extremely beneficial to see how an experienced professional goes about the decision process. If anyone else agrees with me, please back me up and comment below. Thanks again!

      1. Ya, I’ve read quite a few and they are really great. But what makes this particular post so helpful is that you compiled them into one post, and I was just wondering if some day you may do the same for your projects. Thanks again for the effort you put into these blogs, it is very much appreciated.

  9. Just went through “the choice” and decided to go the 5D Mark iii route. Have a 7D, and an xf305. Seriously looked at the c300, but it’s just too expensive for my shooting. Can’t imagine going back to AVCHD (c100) after working with full frame on the 5D and mxf video on the 305.. Maybe someday I’ll splurge on the 300. The 5D really has been great, and most of my canon glass and the CF cards from the 305 and 7D work. I do prefer working on a DSLR, and having great stills at a flick of the switch was a selling point.

    Ultimately, we live in a great time, with fabulous cameras capable of taking great video. If you master your tools and tell a good story, the sky is the limit. The choice seems to be to take all the choices and marry them up to your particular shooting needs, styles, current gear, and find the right fit.

  10. Superb summary of all the cameras I would love to own.

    No camera is perfect for every job so it makes sense to rent the right one for the job and maybe own one that is best for the majority of the work that can also work as a B-roll camera. The Canon 1DX seems the best for this – the 1DX C on paper looks like poor value for money with only 8-bit 4K.

    Thanks for the hard work on this Philip and I will be adding to your Movember Fund as no TipJar on your blog! In my opinion everyone who reads this blog should donate, even if it is only a dollar or 2. Do it here, NOW!

    1. 14 stops? Where on earth is that figure from? I have one and its nowhere near that or as good as the C300

      Never believe everything you read. Which of course means this too! 🙂

      But seriously there is noway that camera has that. Maybe in 4k output? Who knows. Never seem it!

      1. Thanks Phillip,

        A lot of the reviews on the web seem to be misleading these times like the one on EOSHD – “Sony FS700 – the image quality verdict – incredible 14 stops of dynamic range in AVCHD”

  11. We recently took the plunge and invested in the C300 (the day after the F5 and F55 were announced, frustratingly).

    I have to say it’s a fantastic camera. It has its downsides of course: no proper slow-mo, no 4K, no changeable mount (we went with the EF mount). However, we are rarely required to deliver in 4K or shout with PL mount lenses, and if we are, there’s a good chance we can afford to rent in a RED or Alexa (or in future, the F55).

    The upsides of this camera are many. Great form factor. It’s so small, we can carry it in a Petrol backpack with two lenses, sound equipment, video light, laptop and a Canon 7D. Combined with a monopod, this makes for an exemplary documentary camera package. The recording codec is Broadcast HD approved – no more external boxes, extra batteries, boxes, cards etc. It’s also a nice and light codec – one 64Gb CF card will record 164 minutes of footage. With two cards in the camera, you won’t need to unload until the end of the day.

    I nearly always shoot in Log mode, and by making careful use of the WFM on the viewfinder, I find I can retain huge amounts of details in my highlights, as well as achieving really strong skin tones (similar to an Alexa in this regard). Grading in DaVinci is an absolute pleasure with this codec.

    Finally, it has all the quality control you expect from Canon. I used an EX3 for years, and whilst it was a great camera for its time, the build quality left a lot to be desired. The C300 feels solid. It’s comfortable to hold, and the buttons are easy to reach and identify.

    Two thumbs up (and available toes) from me.

  12. Hi, Phil

    I’m thinking about buying an FS700, but I’ve read a couple of posts on other sites (Cinema5d being one of them) stating it looks very video-ish. I’ve shot with the FS 100, but not with the 700, and I think it looks great. Shooting at normal frame rates, have you felt it looks too much like video? Is it far from the image that the FS100 gives?


  13. Thanks Philip. I love your thorough reviews. I think you are the only one out there with the aspirations (ie, crazy enough) to try to look at everything.

    After reviewing all the cameras (and returning a mark iii), I finally decided upon a scarlet (got one on a deal). Since I want to do narratives, it makes sense. The name alone means business in the movie industry. Dragon is coming too, The added bonus is I am only 20 minutes from RED HQ. i can just drop off mu camera if i have any issues, It was actually a no brainer purchase when I thought about it.. Especially with the crazy active forum they’ve got at reduser. Don’t you love that forum? Wow, so vibrant and alive a community, I go to the C300 forum and there are just 3 people on their bitching about firmware, lol (maybe all the users are out shooting).

    Anyway keep up the amazing work!

      1. Come on. You know you are loved everywhere! Especially in the US. Maybe RED users get a bit over zealous though, lol.

        Ps, please check your site on the ipad. My ipad 3 crashes constantly on here. It’s buggered. Is that the right English term?

              1. We have some very reasonable maintenance packages and if there are any major modifications or programming we can work something out.

                We have built and maintained Web sites for few hundred clients over the last 5 years. Many of those are WordPress sites. If you are interested we can talk offline.

  14. This is a good companion piece to the Zacuto shootout. I think the shootout proved that all the cameras were capable of something good but it boils down to taste and budget.

    I only have a Canon T3i and I don’t plan on upgrading anytime soon. Not that I wouldn’t want a better camera but I haven’t mastered this one yet. I’ve only been filming since March and I have a ways to go.

    I think it is awesome that cameras are getting so affordable now that anyone with aspirations of doing film can purchase or rent a camera to tell their story.

  15. And still happy shooting on my 550D 🙂 but as a 16 year old, can’t really afford much else, lenses are more important than the camera, next stop, Rokinon 35mm cine t1.5 🙂

    But still, i think i’d probably choose the C300 over all those cameras, but the 1DX puts out a truly beautiful image! i loved your ollie knights video and the camera was truly right for it


  16. > I am sure you are going to say “what about…” and “but you didn’t mention the..”

    That’s because we really want to know your opinion!

    What about the KineRAW S35?
    What about the Sony NEX-EA50?

  17. Hi Philip,

    Thanks for your review and blog. It’s nice to unbiased reviews… They are hard to come by.

    One part that confused me regarding the F5 and F55 was this;

    “120 FPS 4K raw on the F5 with external recorder and 240 FPS with the F5 and raw recorder”

    FPS are something that I have been waiting for since forever (Life is just better when it’s not so fast 🙂 But are you saying that the F5 can shoot 240fps with the external recorder? I have read everywhere else that it can only shoot 120fps with or without the recorder.

    Either way, I have my heart firmly set on the F55. My wife however doesn’t.

      1. Ah OK, damn, I got excited!

        TBH, I can’t either. But I am really over upgrading my camera every 18 months. I really want something that is future proof… Kinda. F55 looks like it’s THE camera. But yeah, you pay for it!

        I would go for a FS700 for the interim, but the ergonomics really put me off. I just don’t get the placement of the buttons or the LCD. And then there is the mega low internal bit rate…

        Decisions decisions!

        Thanks again!

  18. Great Post. Thanks for the info.

    Early next year I’ll be traveling & shooting in Mexico & Peru. I’ll be moving a lot so the gear has to be as compact & light as possible & of course with the highest quality output. The final product will be video & stills. As you’ve said the choices are many & the decisions are tough. We’ll be shooting with 2 cameras and carrying an extra body as a spare. I’ve decided to shoot this trip with the Sony A77 & A65 as the backup spare. As you’ve mentioned, I like the translucent mirror, the 1080/ 60p, & the 24 mp stills. The A77 / A65 are not perfect but I think they should work for my requirements. I’ll let you know how it goes.

    Thanks again for the great summary.

    Do you see much difference between your hacked vs regular GH2? I saw a web post comparing the hacked vs regular GH2 and there didn’t appear to be much if any difference. But naturally it’s hard to tell from a web post.

  19. Thanks for a very comprehensive write-up.

    I really hope you have time to review the Panasonic GH3. As a (unhacked) GH2 user, of course I would like to get my hands on one to test before buying but from what I’ve seen so far (with pre-release firmware) it doesn’t blow my hair back. Softer image out of the box (I hate dicking around in post so won’t want to sharpen each shot individually) and a question mark over alaising and moire. I love the ETC mode with the GH2 but have to be very careful using it as it tends to be noisy and blocky in the mid tones when underexposing even slightly even at low ISO.
    Would love to know if the ETC mode on the GH3 is better.

    Shame about the Canon C100. The HFG10, XA10, XF100 and C100 all share the same viewfinder!
    That’s just unacceptable. I expect a serious viewfinder and better codec.

    Thanks again!

  20. Thanks for the overview, Philip.

    Recently, we had a quick back-n-forth on Twitter in which I asked for your opinion on the C100 vs FS700. Although your opinion of the C100 may change once you get your hands on it (it happened before with the C300, right?), you are not too thrilled about its specs, judging from this post.

    I want to retire my 5D2 for timelapse use (and occasional stills). No more Moire, more flexibility in the grade and slo-motion is what I covet. I need a camera of comparable weight and size (travel, glidecam) that will complement my beloved C300 (which is even too bulky to put on a glidecam). That’s why I lean towards the FS700 as a B-Cam / effects cam. But I’m still not sure about it. Slomo is great, but the codec is what worries me.

    Can you confirm if the FS700 is capable of passing on 200-240fps recordings to an external recorder? Alistair Chapman did a post on it (, but it’s not clear if you can circumvent the on-board codec and record super slo-mo in 422.

      1. Apparently, according to Alister, if you switch the output to 50/60fps on the camera you can record the stream via 3G HDSI on an external recorder when it buffers it for recording to the CF cards in AVCHD on the camera. Once you take the 50/60fps stream from the recorder you then have to slow it down by 50% (50 to 25fps) or more (60 to 24fps), giving you 200/240fps in 422.

        I have a test planned for next week – FS700 with a Gemini 444 (bit overdone, but there are not a lot of 422 recorders with 3G HDSI input at the moment). Will keep you posted.

  21. Hi Philip,

    First off this post was amazingly helpful thank you for taking the time to write all of this!! One question I have is about the 1DX where you mention you like the Full Frame look. I just watched Tree of LIfe (shot on 65mm film) and I loved the look! BUT… other than the shallow depth of field is there anything specific look-wise that larger sensors deliver? Ie… is there a reason besides DOF that a 50mm on a 1dx looks different than say a equivalent 30ish mm on a C300?

    Thanks again


  22. Hi philip,

    following your blog for a while, that’s my first comment on it!! Great job with your articles btw!

    I wanted to ask you a question… I’m doing some research for the new camera of my studio,
    I’m interested in the 1D-C (also for it’s photographics features), but I’ve got only one doubt…

    I wanted to use it with an external recorder, but I’ve seen from the Canon site that via HDMI it only outputs 1080 60i/50i (besides 24p). Can this be a problem? It seems that the camera can recorder 1080p@50fps (PAL), nice for some slow motion, will I be able to use this feature also with an external recorder or the i material will be converted to 25p?

    Thanks and sorry for the noob question!
    Keep up with your great job!

  23. Thanks for the informative blog.

    You mentioned that the GH3 had very much improved low-light performance, which really peaked my interest. As a current GH2 user, I wanted to know how far were you able to push the ISO to get usable footage?

    Being that’s was a preproduction model, it may not be a question you could answer yet, but could it be a inquiry you could address if you do review it in the future?

  24. Philip, thanks for such a comprehensive guide!

    Did you had an opportunity to shoot with IMAX cameras? For example, Wally Pfister used them while shooting The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises directed by Christopher Nolan. Image coming from them is astonishing, especially in night scenes!

  25. Hanukah came early with this most awesomely updated blog post. Thanks Philip! Question: I have seen an early review of the GH3 that complains that that the moire / aliasing is a greater issue with it than the GH2. The GH2 was of course championed at the time as being reduced in these issues relative to the Canons. Do you have any feedback here based on your use of the pre-production model for “Genesis”? (Great short!!!) Thanks again.

  26. Phil, I would disagree that the C300 pulls more DR than an FS700. Having used both I’ve been blown away by the in camera implementation of AVCHD where when converted to Pro res we regularly pull 13-14 stops of usable DR and while the ergo sucks out of the box with a hood dovetail and evf it turns into an awesome shoulder rig.

  27. Hi Philip, thank you very much for this post. You are not only a great shooter, but also a damn good writer! I always have fun reading your blog.

    I’m a director, now on pre-production of 2 80min docs, and one feature film, on mid 2013, So I’m looking hard for a camera to buy that would match my needs. Could rent then, but having one at home just to do every day shoots is a great tool for constant improvement. I REALLY wanted to like the C300, because of it’s size and form factor. BUT I keep watching web films and they seem just plain video-ish to me. In your olly nights doc, with a more controled lighting setup, the image looks astonishing good. But it’s not that great (videoish…), for me, on most on the material I’ve seen. I’ve read on Laforet’s blog that they used a filter on every shot of Moebius to soften the look, and it looks great, by the way.

    About the videoish thing: I was on theater play the other night, and at some point I looked at the scene and my imediate response was that it looked videoish!!! Of course I came back to my senses, but made me wander if “reality” is what we are looking for in a camera. The 24p was made a standard because of audio issues on film, but it seems to me like a sweet spot, a dreamy, or poetic, or whatever makes it so appealing for the audience.

    So, in a camera like a C300, I can see so many details, BUT it also, most of the time, seem to loose the “magic”. I have to say I like more the looks on the Olly Nights when he is playing, that when he outside. Do see any diference at all? Any tricks to get better image, or more filmeic images on this camera? Something like a 1Dx?

    1. cheers Marco…

      i kinda know what you are getting at…personally i love the image…your last paragraph threw me. I thought the narrative scenes in the music video, Olly in the caravan and walking around, were incredibly filmic…they were all shot on the 1dx!

      1. cheers Philip,
        My mistake. I’ve been watching so many videos and I wrote that from memory,
        and I was obviously wrong. I think just stored that 1 dx sequence on the wrong part of my tired brain 🙂
        The externals ARE beautiful. Maybe I should give the interview with the kids, the Diamond Magic,
        as an example. Great doc, interesting kids, by the way.

        Sorry about the confusion. Anyway, besides that, don’t you feel that the C300 has a more kind of
        “interlaced”, 29.97 video look (not saying that this is better or worse, just making a point)?
        Or is it just me? Only seen footage from the web, so is hard to judge, specially when my main direction are movie theaters… A little feedback on that might help, thanks again in advance!

          1. Of course I downloaded it philip. I Meant no offense! Bad english, of mine. I was talking about screen tests. I imagine they should be different from my TV. Anyway, it’s just a camera, and just my point of view. Thought it was an interesting point. I’m sure not the only one to feel that way anou the C300… Would like to have some feedback, that’s all. Still like your posts.

  28. Great stuff Philip.
    Just got 2 Red One MX and have two Sony F3s. Not really fully digging the C300. 8 bit is not as easy to grade as 10 bit. Very compact and nice but I actually like bigger cameras because with more weight the movement feels more like what we are accustomed to. It feels weird – it’s top heavy and front heavy. But damn its a good small camera to grab in a pinch/

    Also the motion from the camera doesn’t feel right. Something about it is off. I can’t put my finger on it. Maybe how it handles sharpening the image – I don’t know if its the lenses I’ve used on it. Need to give it another shot.

    Also I am discovering that I like lower ISO sensors. It feels like its easier to make richer blacks. but that’s just me. I’m not an engineer – just bumbling around.

  29. Hi Phil , more of an entry level question . i want to start by shooting stills i have just bought the T2i with Canon EF-S 18-55 IS & Canon 55-250 IS Lens. My idea is to shoot and practice with this camera as i save up for the MKII .Having said that i realize that its also good to have ” value for money” lenses and not just to stock up on any lens that money can buy. I have a budget of about $ 500-600 and would like a good lens for stills and video shoot so that even if i upgrade to a MKII i can still use the lens then. ( portraits and landscapes).

  30. Glad you brought the sense of “budget” into these sometimes lofty, perfectionist, dreamful debates.

    I’m an unapologetic M43 shooter… AF100 and GH2. I know full well they don’t have the unabashedly best image, range, and tone. They’re old, oddly cropped, and blah blah blah. What they do have is an inexpensive buy-in to the system, good quality (hesitate to say “good enough,” but there, said it anyway), extremely compact system bulk and weight, and good ergonomics with minimal support equipment. My one-man-band operation has no trouble hauling an entire two-camera interview + B gear setup across a college or medical campus in a single backpack. AVCHD is exceptionally easy to shoot and ship or upload, and shooting a TON of macro (even microscopic) footage, the m43 crop factor is decidedly welcomed. They’re easier and quicker to work with than the old HV30, HVX, and Z1U systems I formerly employed, and I get jobs done in significantly less time.

    Given the opportunity, I’m not certain I’d go with any other extant camera system unless the needs and style of my work changed significantly.

  31. Phil, since you’re uniquely qualified in this area, I have more of a business question for you. Saw an interesting statistic today that states 43% of camera formats used by US freelancers is XDCAM EX, which makes a lot of sense as EX1,1r,3’s are great cameras. I also shoot for guys here with EX1’s and F3’s, the occasional Red, Sony DSR’s and DSLR’s.

    I need a new camera (large sensor) and was leaning towards the C100/300, but since a lot of the gigs I get are from other production houses, I’m wondering if the FS700 wouldn’t be a better bet to match all the Sony’s that are already in place, particularly the F3. I’m thinking with some picture profile wrangling, you could get these to cut together pretty closely. The slo-mo functionality might also be a good selling point/differentiator. I also just got a call for a doco project, so that is a factor.

    The deal is, I need a working camera with a high ROI, low initial investment that will integrate into my local production community and essentially get me jobs. From what I’ve described, the FS700 seems like a good bet. In my heart of hearts, I’d rather get the Canon, but business is business. Any thoughts?


  32. Wow, very long and wonderful post. It’s really helpful to see all this info in one place. I’ve been looking pretty hard at the Red Scarlet (mostly studio and controlled shoots), but it’s pretty hard to ignore the FS-700 now with the firmware on the horizon now. I think I’ve read everything you’ve ever written on both cameras, but still so hard to choose (funny I know). The RED price is still around $14,000 for the bare-bones setup I’m looking at while the Sony is nearly half of that. Anyhow…thanks for always putting out your reviews and honest opinions of these expensive little cameras…it means a lot a bunch of us trying to make these exciting decisions.

  33. Hi Phil.

    Great long Post with a lot of Information…

    1) Why did you list the BlackMagicCinema Camera under Large Sensor Cameras ? (Have I missed something)
    I wonder whether BMD is ever going to finally deliver this piece. Spoke to 7 dealers in Germany. They all state that it is “written in the stars” when BMD finally delivers. Also, they all claim it is beyond buggy…

    Personlly, I am finally getting to test one this weekend. The pictures shall decide

    2) The quality of most cameras today are great (the one you mention at least) — Perhaps the future should be “Choosing the right grading Technique” rather than choosing the right camera 😉 for my shots.
    I do lots of grading. And I can easily make a RED Epic image look as if shot on an iPhone. I can also grade an image for web viewing shot on a FS100 to look better than one shot on an Epic, if I purposely grade the EPIC towards the look of an iphone. I have seen spots shot on a RED that looked as if shot on a NIKON D7000 because the “colorist” banged the contrast so hard that it lost everything a cinematic look is about 😉

    RAW != beautiful. At all…. Just take some stills with a Canon5DMKII… None of them allthough higher quality than those of a RED will look pro coming straight from the cam. It is after grading that makes them look amazing. If one knows what he does, it matters ZERO whether the RAW image comes from a NIKON,CANON,RED,SONY or whatever. After grading no one (even the manufacturer) will be able to tell the difference. 😉

    I think today’s biggest illusion is that a camera makes the look 😉
    Shoot in a nice Logarithmic space and then pull out the details when grading. Many would drop dead if they knew what details are actually present in i.e. a CineStyle image coming off of a 5D 😉

    I’d choose the combo 5DMKII with AfterEffects anyday over any image coming off an EPIC directly with no option to grade it 😉

  34. Hey Phil,

    Thank you so much for doing this article. It is really informative. I really appreciate all of the work that goes into this blog and value your opinion highly.

    I am a film student in Utah and would really like to purchase a camera in the near future. I think it will be a Canon because I want to save money and already have some EF lenses at my disposal. I Really like the 5dmkIII but if the 6d shoots video at similar quality then I would get that and invest in the money saved into an external audio recorder. I’m wondering if you have had a chance to get your hands on a 6d yet and what your impressions were. Also any input you have would be much appreciated.



  35. Hi Philip, love your site, been reading it for a long time.
    Article was great and very informative!

    I was pretty set on the BMCC MFT model for doco and occasional short fiction, but after watching your videos I am realising it may not be practical and now Im confused…

    What do you think is the most practical/flexible low budget camera for doco work that would last a few years and works well without much lighting?
    If you were starting out from scratch and had a small budget what rig would you choose?

    Thanks mate

  36. Well Philip, The Canon 6D is out now. Have you had a chance to test it? I have mine, and while I am happy with the price point for FF DSLR, I must say, I am already waiting for firmware update and Magic Lantern. Would love to hear your take.

  37. Hi Philip thanks for your reviews…just wanted clarity on your recommendation for one of these camera as it will be my first for a series of Comedy Sketches for a Tv show :
    canon 60d vs 7d vs rebel t4i.

    Thanks again.!

  38. Hi there, I’m very curious about your impressions/experiences about the Ikonoskop A-Cam dll. How does it compare with the BMD in usability? Would you use this camera for nonfiction work (maybe with an external recorder)? It is hard to find practical information about this camera, so please share your experiences! Thanks!

  39. If you was to buy one of these which would it be? Any canon cam priced range between the 60d- 5d mark3 or a gh2 or the new gh3?
    I bought the jvc gy hm100 a year and half ago because i saw your review of it. in good light it records real nice sharp shots and im still quite happy with it to this day. Then i started to get into time lapse shots (long exposure) and the only way to get the long exposure shots was with a dlsr , so i got the 60d, when it comes to taking photo s and time lapse’s the sharpness is great but when i shoot in video it just looks crap compared to my jvc ;( . I some how feel maybe i made a mistake and should have got the gh2! anyway would be great to hear your view.

  40. Hi Philip,

    I just rented the C100 to learn more about the camera as a potential successor to my 5D2 and complementary camera to C300.

    One thing I noticed was that the camera practically becomes unusable as soon as you take off the side handle. Since there’s only one joy stick (it’s on the side handle) you effectively can’t adjust color temperature, ISO or shutter speed without the side handle attached.

    For me this is a deal breaker, as I intend on using the camera on a Glidecam and then you want to loose as much unneeded weight as possible (read: top & side handle). IMHO, this is a *serious* design error by Canon.

    One solution could be that you can assign button 1 to 6 as a ‘+’ or ‘-‘ button for whatever function you have selected, but the menus don’t allow for this. Only for adjusting the F-stop. Hopefully Canon will fix this with a firmware update…

  41. Hi Philip!
    Would you recommend to buy the 5D Mark II right now? I am on budget and think it is still a good buy, do think is worth to pay 3 hundred dollars more for the 6D?

  42. I very understand the practicality problems with the Blackmagic Camera and that it have not this out-of-the-box workflow solution like the RED cameras. But it’s something to know about the camera, that the 3000 dollar Camera-costs are not the end off the shopping-tour. You have to totally optimise your technicial editing equipment – like some 500 GB SSD’s, fast SSD readers, some 2 Terra HDD’s for archiving etc.

    I make music videos, and for this job its very a good and relativly cheap tool through the color grading capabilities even if the limited framerates make sometimes headache to me.

    It would be interesting how this Camera works with much better lense for it, like a MFT SLRMagic 12mm 1.6f. For your portrait film the 8-16mm is definitively not the best lens due to its slowness.

  43. Hey thanks for the time to write this Phil. Very helpful. I read it all and took notes. Nerd!?!? I even read the Nikon section. 🙂
    Love the sound of a Global Shutter – sounds interesting.
    Also curious about the Digital Bolex.
    Thanks again Phil.

    1. Hi Phil. Thanks for yet another amazing article, and as always thanks for taking your time to help us all in the indie filmaking community.
      Now days you can buy GH3, NEX 7, and 2nd hand 5Dm2 for a similar amount of money. Which one do you suggest? On one hand I do prefer the full frame of 5D, but image quality is probably more important at the end of the day. My set of lenses, with right adapters would fit any of these cameras. Cameras would be used for the narrative work mainly.
      I cannot spend much more as I m saving money for the BMC camera (if it ever comes out).

  44. Am looking to possibly get Sony NEX- EA50. Seriously considered the FS100 (although the 700 looks more like what I’d prefer), but they are higher than my budget. Will be looking to shoot interviews (indoor/outdoor) and run n gun, as well as documentary work. Really want good DOF. All rather new to me and like the idea of interchangeable lens (but only have a couple of very old Nikon lens at the moment). Thought the EA50 would be a reasonable choice for the money. I really, I would also want to use to cover an annual softball game, but sounds like this may be an issue with trying to use one camera to handle all these different types of shooting. You folks all seem way more knowledgable about the cameras and things, so I figured I’d toss it out there if anyone would be kind enough to offer their opinions (not to be debated, just for thought). Reading through all Philip has to offer on this and other sites (and everyone that chimes in) is really informative and helping me understand things more (and of course adds to confusion, but that’s part of life). Thanks again the everyone posting things out there and hope to be able to offer advice to others in the future, once my level of knowledge/experience improves.

  45. Thanks a lot for the informativ post. I have one question; I have a EX1 and love it- I love small cameras with no extra things attatched to it, but the bit rate is to low. The FS 700. How is that camera for documentary use?
    Best Regards Eirik from Norway

      1. Yes, indeed you do. I have been on the fence for buying a documentary/indie camera for months with clean noise, dynamic range and projection being the main drivers for purchase.

        Thanks for your prompt reply and well rounded reviews.

  46. Hi Phil,
    thanks for your effort to make this compilation. As you were one of the cinematographers who made me start doing this kind of job, your oppinion is key for me. I read the whole post all over and all the comments(and others), watched footages but still cannot decide whether the overall image impression of FS700 matches up with the MK3 from cinematic aspect. Overall cinematic feeling/shot is no1 importance for me, being mk2 user and for other DSLR users also I guess. I use only prime lenses from canon (50mm f1.2, 100mm f2.8 etc.) so assuming I put these lenses onto the FS700, would I get similar (cinematic!!) result comparing to 5D mk2/3 or I have to live with kind of ‘videoish’ look? Or could I survive with some grading? Or do I need to wait for proper slo-mo DSLR from Canon..
    Thanks a lot if you can find time to reply.
    Greetings from Hungary, Val

  47. Hi Philip,

    I have just a quick question.
    I’m starting my own company and am thinking of buying my own camera. The sort of videos I make is mainly for companies. Sometimes I will need it for chroma-keying but mainly for interviews and directed movies.
    I always think I know a lot about camera’s but I really have to learn loads. What camera would you recommend?

    (The Netherlands)

      1. Yes there are a few camera’s that make sense!
        I really like the Blackmagic Cinema Camera but I know it has it cons. I’m just really in a split and just don’t know what is wise. That’s the whole problem. I usually just ask someone to help me decide!
        I just love your work and love your reviews they help me a lot. And they make me enthusiastic for making nice movies. Thanks a lot!


  48. So, I have been playing with Canon 6d for some time now and I am really liking it! It has horrible moire issues but other then that it is a fantastic camera! I have not touched my Mark III since I installed Magic Lantern on it. They do have a new mosaic filter VAF-6D to get rid of moire but I’m afraid it will ruin the photos as 6D is an amazing stills camera. I shot a wedding over the weekend and the reception area was one of the darkest environments I had ever shot, and 6d did not have any issues there- footage looks beautiful! In my opinion, Canon 6d (besides 1dc and moire) is the new DSLR king! ML was great and their new full-screen zoom (while recording) feature is a life savior when running and gunning! I would love to hear your opinion Philip!

  49. Hi Phil and all the camera enthusiasts around the world,

    Its been a while since this article was posted and i decided to buy the 5d3 4 months ago, i love it and hate it,
    i am very frustrated with this camera with the video limitations, it certainly is better then the 6D, GH3, Nikon D800 and many more i rather not list but like you mention in almost all your videos, we just do not have a decent full frame camera with all the video features we need and the market is so saturated right now its even harder to choose something because size, weight and price matters as much as the media and formats we want.

    So i am wondering what exactly is on Phil’s wish list for the perfect camera, the C300 is not a full frame camera, does not have super slow motion features like the 4k Sony FS cameras, it does not shoot photos like any DSLR, especially not as good as a D1c.

    So what is your wish Phil, a Full Frame Go Pro 4k camera with the DSLR and Video features upgradable part by part?

    What exactly would you suggest as a solution, i am asking because i also believe manufactures have their eyes on you and maybe someone will finally make a real game changer, beyond a 5d2

  50. Hey Philip, love looking at your camera reviews but its your camera work I love best. Story, pace, audio, humor.
    I know all the camera gizmo will trickle down to we starters eventually but it’s useless if you can’t tell a story, which you do so well.

  51. Hi Philip,

    Before I ask you a question I wanna thank you for doing these blogs and behind the scene videos.. They are so so helpful. I appreciate you sharing your knowledge and above all being honest with your reviews!

    after watching a few of your reviews I think I am gonna take the plunge and get the canon 1dx (the c is just too expensive and I only really have a budget for a 5d mkIII).. I was wondering if you could recommend a few lenses that work well with this camera? The detail you get got with the safari video was mind blowing!

  52. presently we do docu/short films. I was sold on Canon C-300 for its EF mount and for so many L canon lenses I have. But with the advent of Sony F-5, its a kind of paradox for me. initially I dont have plan for Zeiss CP2 lenses. will add later on Moreover, since F-5 does not have EF mount, what third party mount do I use? MTF seems to have 1000 US $ with aperture control unit. fixing and moving that on F-5 could be tricky.
    whats your take on this ?

    1. Hey Phil,

      I know the C300 & 100 are still new to the camera world but do you think from NAB this year and new camera’s that
      they would consider a price drop? I would love to see those two drop down to the FS100 & 700 price range, wondering if you think that will ever happen?

      Nathaniel K

  53. Hey Philip,

    When do you think you’ll get your hands on a C100? I am doing a lot of narrative work, corporate, and documentary work. Would you suggest a different camera for the same price point or do you think this would be the best option.


  54. A bit of helpful information regarding the Nikon D600: I bought one to use as a third body to my two D3’s for assignment work, and I also wanted at least one body that shot video. It was a good price saving over the D800 and I wanted the “lower” resolution censor for better low-light performance.

    I bought it not long before NAB this year, and I hadn’t really shot much video with it before I got off the plane in Vegas. It was then I discovered the quirk about not being able to change aperture while in live view mode. However, I soon found a workaround, as long as you’re shooting with the Nikon D series lenses that still have the manual aperture rings…

    Before you go into Live View mode to shoot video, using the camera controls while your lens is set to the Orange f/22 AUTO position, dial your aperture to f/22 or whatever your smallest aperture is (using the finger wheel, NOT the lens ring). Then, I always hit the DOF preview button a couple times just to engage the diaphragm, but I don’t think that’s necessary. Then go into LV mode, and you should be able to adjust your aperture manually, using the ring, while shooting. It works great for me. Just a tip…

  55. Philip, regarding the Nikon DSLR’s (D5100, D7000), you wrote that they have weak codecs. I’m curious how you came to that conclusion. How is a codec considered robust in your book?

    And btw. thank you very much for all the reviews and your huge insights. You and Vince Laforet are the reasons why I became interested in video. Keep up the good work!


  56. Nikon D800….Also the 720p 50p/60p aliases and moires like it is out and proud about it. Unusable with the mosaic engineering filter. A real shame. WHY? Or did you mean without the mosaic not with ??

  57. I plan on getting a GH3 and I agree that its better then the GH3 99% of the time over the GH2. The only weird thing is the moire issue now with the GH3. The GH2 did not have moire issues. I think the sensor in the GH3 was tweaked for photography and not video as much as it was in the GH2.

    Who knows maybe I’m reading to much into this stuff.

  58. On the Nikon front….
    The D7100 AND the D5200 are greatly improved video options. Very little moire/aliasing, good detail and DR and clean 1080 HDMI outputs on both cameras. Of course they still have the aperture issue (it’s a hardware thing, not firmware as people continue to say) and there is a bit of FPN.

    1. On the Canon front…
      I just want to share my short experience shooting with 5D MKIII (1.2.1 firmware) and Atomos Ninja 2.
      Yesterday I did the firmware upgrade and I did some quick test.
      Finally you have HDMI oitput + LCD Mirroring and we can say bye bye to h,264 codec.
      By now I’m very satisfied with it and I think this is a great solution.

  59. Hey Philip!

    Thanks for keeping this post updated. It’s really helpful when upgrading cameras.

    Have you heard of the Digital Bolex? I know its not out just yet, so it’d be hard to review it, but I think it could easily be one of the best indie camcorders on the market when it starts shipping. Would you be willing to do a review on it some time?

    Can’t wait to read/watch your reviews on the 2 new Blackmagic cameras. I’d have that pocket cam in a heartbeat if I hadn’t just bought the GH2 last year. It’s definitely on my wishlist.


      1. Hi Philip,
        I just want to share my short experience shooting with 5D MKIII (1.2.1 firmware) and Atomos Ninja 2.
        Yesterday I did the firmware upgrade and I did some quick test.
        Finally you have HDMI oitput + LCD Mirroring and we can say bye bye to h,264 codec.
        By now I’m very satisfied with it and I think this is a great solution.

  60. I am looking forward to the section promised above, where you rate cameras for different applications. In particular, for sports. A couple of years ago, I bought a Canon XA10, based on your review. I am wondering what would be the logical next step. I don’t think I could adapt the DSLR’s to on the fly sports recording of a fast moving sport like lacrosse, but I will be interested to learn what would make sense.

    Your camera blog is a great source of information, maybe causing overload occasionally.

  61. Hey Phil
    Thanks for the great review! Will you update the section in which you rate cameras based on the genre soon? Especially the documentary section since I have to buy a camera for shooting documentaries. Could you spontaneously name your first 3 choices? (price should not exceed $16’000 including lens).
    Thank you!

  62. Hi Philip,

    First off, thank you for the wonderful site and your efforts: your engaging reviews, experience and knowledge sharing, and the community you’ve managed to build here! I could go on and on, but my post is already far longer than I’d like, so let me get right on to business (directed to any and all who may wish to reply):

    I’m a freelance multimedia producer who specializes primarily in the training / educational space. Recently, more and more of my clients are requesting me to shoot video content for them. A little background – I have a lot of experience with editing, motion graphics, compositing and visual design, but not so much on the videography end of the spectrum – I’ve been learning as I go. I’ve already been shooting paying video gigs over the last two years, but it’s either been with a prosumer-level video camera supplied to me by the client / employer or using my own low-end (and now archaic) tape-based Canon consumer camcorder. I do not have any investment in any brand or format of lenses at all, as I have only used fixed lens camcorders up to this point and I don’t shoot stills (other than for personal use with a D90 + kit lens I received as a gift a while back).

    This is an area I am committed to becoming more proficient in, as it’s a growing part of what my clients are requesting of me (and therefore a growing part of my business), and so I have a fairly immediate and real need to upgrade to a professional (or at least semi-pro) camera for shooting video going forward. I’m a one-man band, so quick setup, breakdown and easy transport are important to me. I edit using FCP X on a Mac Pro workstation (4 TB for active project video storage) outfitted with AfterEffects, Maya and other graphics & compression software.

    The types of shooting situations I currently have to deal with are (in this order):

    1 – 1-2 on-camera talent speaking directly to camera waist-up or medium close-up on infinite white background (studio setting).

    2 – Sit down interviews in office spaces / homes with 1-2 people on-camera – I get more setup time for these and can add lighting, gels, etc. Clients desire the “golden fleece” of shallow depth of field for these per what you typically see shot on DSLRs / interchangeable lens video cams.

    3 – Building and landscape exteriors in natural sunlight – outdoor beauty shots, essentially.

    4 – Shots portraying interior classrooms / equipment / facilities, typically in low and/or existing light. I have very little time for these shots, since I am only allowed to shoot during class breaks during business hours (15 minutes tops). Sometimes I’m able to quickly get a light or two into place, but not always.

    5 – Clients are also planning on heavy use of green screen/keying for upcoming projects (again, studio setting). This is the shooting situation that I can’t currently do well (if at all) with my existing camera.

    I already have a fairly nice kit of supporting gear (legs, fluid head, lighting, various mics, backdrop kit, etc.) and it has all worked OK for projects that were internal and low-budget, but for the projects I have coming up, the expectations (and my own desire) for very high image quality is much greater.

    I can only afford a budget towards video gear of roughly $5000 tops for this year. I’ve been researching various video cameras for a long time already now, and had been considering the Canon XF100 ($2500) because of the 4:2:2 color for green screen, the low learning curve and the run n’ gun aspect, but the shallow depth of field and quality of the images simply doesn’t compare to what I’ve seen from some of the other setups I’m considering, such as the Sony FS-100 + 1-2 lenses (but what to do about green screen?), the BMCC (MFT mount) which would be great for the studio/green screen stuff (but not run n’ gun), or possibly a GH3 (for run n’ gun shots) with 2-4 lenses coupled with a BMPCC for the green green shoots (bonus in that I can share the lenses). Ideally, I’d go somewhere where I could try some of these cams out in person, but I don’t live anywhere close to any place that has them. The Panasonic AG-AF101a and Nikon D600 have also been suggested to me.

    I consider this an investment for the next 3-5 years (is that even possible any more?), so I really want to make the best choice possible given my requirements and to examine every contender carefully, but also quickly, as I have upcoming projects in the near future for which I need to be prepared for.

    Any suggestions?

    1. hi

      it’s so hard for me to say. I can say forget the the AF100 as its a dead camera but you are suggested so many utterly different tools. THe point of the post is to list the pros and cons of the cameras.

      if you want green screen then you really need 422 but NOT with an xf100 thats crazy…it’s a little BTS camera. PMW 200 is very good but not large sensor. I would always recommend a C300 for now but it’s much more expensive

      Sorry i cant give you a black and white answer but there are so many variables. Even a long comment like this or long email can never give me the full picture.

      ALl i do is give the pros and cons of cameras. I never say “buy this” as we all have vastly different needs



  63. Canon 5D Mark iii is the only camera that I’ve consider to be “Everything In A Box”. I use it mainly for photography and sometimes video, After 10 years of frustration and disappointment in terms of quality coming from camera manufactures, they’ve finally come out with a product that I consider putting up for display in a shelf to later show to my kids – See kids this was the very first product that brought indie filmmaking to a new level. It put theater quality video in the hands of consumers.

  64. I have been reading this site for a year or so, learning what has changed since I left filmmaking years ago. Now I am interested in picking up a camera again (I still shoot stills: NEX-7). A friend has asked me to shoot a music video for him. Although I have not shot professionally for years, I used to DP (mostly film). But now I live far away from where I used to work, etc. so I will have to do this alone. Because of this, I expect we will shoot mostly outdoors, no lights, etc. The catch: the video will be broadcast internationally (no NEX-7 then). What camera would you put in the hands of a solo operator/director/DP? I also will do the edit at home, so no 4k please 🙂

  65. Hi Philip,
    I don’t know much about codecs and I’m curious about your method for testing their performance and efficiency.

    A million thanks.


  66. Super comprehensive update to your “body” of camera reviews. Thanks Philip !

    I have a 5D Mark ii, with a handful of Canon EOS lenses. I’ve considered switching to GH3 for documentary purposes, but am waiting on the metabones adapter to be released so I can use my Canon lenses on the GH3. Better audio, less moire, better codec, better resolution I’m told. Clean video out.

    More recently I’ve considered the 5D Mark iii. I think the one thing I’d miss is the smashing slow motion that comes with the GH3. Would you suggest that if I stick with Canon that i simply rent a camera with slow motion functionality as needed? I figure that’s slow motion in post is no substitute….

    Thanks again.

  67. I came to this post after spending the morning priming new drywall in a new addition to the house, so the whole painting analogy makes a whole lot of sense to me.

    The main thing is you have to know what the wet paint you just laid down will look like when dry and how to correct to get the right the look when paint is wet. Good paint helps, but technique and experience are trumps.

  68. Hi
    Tanks for all good info about cameras.

    And yes I belong to the “target” – HELP!! I don’t know which camera to buy!! ” for a drone!

    I am assemble a drone that can carry a camera until 1KG of weigh and I would like to have a camera capable to produce video for professional use.

    Can you, our one of the guys to advice-me?

    Tanks. I hope one day belong to the “gang”. 🙂


  69. Hello, Philip!
    I’m wondering if you’ve had a chance to review the 70D yet. The main question for me is whether it really shoots better video than my 7D, which has all sorts of moire and other artifacts. Also, does it output better and/or legal hdmi?


    1. no review planned at all. It’s impossbile to review every camera out there. I can only do a handful. I do own one though and the moire is still VERY much present. Better codec and autofocsing is the main plus.

      1. Thanks so much, Philip! That’s what I needed to know. Think I’ll stick with the Sony F3 and the 350 (it shoots the most beautiful looking footage of all the Sony’s I’ve tried so far).
        One question about shooting stock footage, which you mentioned above. I’m interested in shooting and selling stock footage (I live in rural Vermont, doesn’t get much better than this). But I haven’t a clue of how and where to sell it. Do you have an article on this, or can you point me in the right direction about getting started?

        Thanks again,

  70. Hi Philip. I really admire your passion towards cameras. I love the way you interact with your fans and believe me you have so many here in India. I just have one question for you. If budget is not an issue and shooting videos is the priority than which camera should I buy. Panasonic gh3 or 5d mark 3? I have yet not invested in any sort of lenses. And is there noise issue in gh3? I really need your advice as its taking me too long to make up my mind yet

    1. it’s a matter of taste. Personally I prefer the full frame look and therefore the mark 3 is what I would go for…others would disagree and the gh3 is sharper. I can’t tell you which one am afraid. I can only tell you what I like!

      1. It is a great write-up, thanks for taking all the time to do it.
        One error, though – the F5 and F55 max out at 60fps in 4k. I’m still trying to find out whether they will do more in the future or whether you’ll need to buy a new camera and sell the old one for a big loss if they release a new model that can match or even get near to Epic slow motion. I really want to get an F5 or F55 but can’t live with 60fps 4k.

          1. You said “120 FPS 4K raw on the F5 with external recorder and 240 FPS with the F55 and raw recorder”. I wish this were true as I’d probably buy one then 🙂

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