Last weekend, I was visiting a friend of mine who's a Fashion Photographer in Miami. He had a shoot while a Formula E Race was going on outside his home! I had a few cameras and lenses available and decided to take advantage of the situation and shoot some behind the scenes footage while helping my friend.
I had very little time to shoot footage as I was helping him with the lighting but captured about 2-3 minutes of footage per camera, in very short clips, that I put together here as a fun behind the scenes (the Nikon 810 only had the single clip used in this video as my friend, the photographer, was using it for the shoot!) The goal was to compare the footage later to see if I can make any sense of all these available cameras out there!
Preface: All footage is graded since the 5D MK iii RAW footage had to be graded prior to conversion. Therefore, for the sake of fairness, I did a quick grade on the Panasonic and Sony footage too (graded only using the FCPX color board).
Here are my non-scientific, subjective observations:
1) All cameras shot good quality footage!
2) Canon RAW footage had the best quality in terms of dynamic range and manipulation although required a slightly longer workflow (used MLRAW Viewer and converted to ProRes (not jpegs!)
3) The A7S was also very easy to shoot with the full frame had excellent quality footage.
4) Panasonic GH4, C4K however, was the easiest camera to handle, very ergonomic, and the camera I tended to gravitate to for the all around shooting. Also excellent quality at C4K.
5) The Nikon 810 was great but I didn't get to try it because the photographer was shooting with it the whole time! So, I can't comment on the Nikon other than the short clip!
6) The Canon 70-200 F2.8L II was an amazing quality lens!!
7) Surprisingly, the Lumix 30-100 F2.8 was not too far behind, and the small size + autofocus on GH4 and IS worked well. The same was true with the Leica 42.5 F1.2. A beautiful lens!
8) The Metabones both the Speedbooster and the Smart Adaptor IV on both GH4 and the Sony A7s proved a pain in the neck! It wasn't ideal but still usable.
On Smart Adaptor, autofocus really sucks!! Basically, you should expect to use manual focus with both of these Metabones if you want reliability!
Clearly, this was not a scientific test but I just wanted to see if I could get decent image on a run and gun situation from these cameras while running around. It proved stressful since I had very little time (almost all shots taken are included here… with some creative editing to make it less borning to watch! LOL!)
Anyway. My grand conclusions?
1. Best all around camera for what you can do if you have adequate lighting and want to do run and gun is Panasonic GH4 + Lumix lenses! (Intuitive menue, great battery, excellent ergonomics, quality internal 4K image, small footprint, excellent autofocus with its own lenses. Downside? Not very shallow debth of field and normal low light perforamce!
2. Best Image quality if you don't mind the workflow is 5DMK III RAW with EF Lenses. You have autofocus, all ML capabilities and Canon line up of excellent lenses.
3. Best Low LIght performance is A7S.
I do not like the menus, the battery performance is poor, inadequate lense selection (but they will be available in time), metabones Smart Adaptor is currently not good with it (for autofocus), but the image quality is superb and tons of features are availalbe for the more advanced shooter. 4K is external, so not run and gun but Low Light is a beast!! The ideal situation is a merger of all features in these three cameras… which will not happen any time soon at the prices we would wish!! As usual, we can't have our cake and eat it too! :) I hope this short video was helpful to some of you! :)