There is a common thought in the film and video industry is that “the camera isn’t as important as the cameraman.” I would argue that this is absolutely true, but at a certain level, cameras do become an important factor. If you’re just starting in filmmaking, you don’t need to go out and buy the best camera on the market. Start out with your camera phone, or a DSLR, and start filming, and learning and practicing all the different camera techniques, and get yourself going with that.
Eventually, as a cameraman, or director of photography, your talent will grow into a more advanced camera, with more advanced lenses (if that’s the way you want to go). We’re currently shooting on the Canon 80D, which is an excellent camera, and is allowing us to make some great videos. At some point last year, we considered what was more important, making the leap to a 4K camera, or improving our lens options, and we chose lenses. Lenses are in many ways more important than the camera itself, and with a Rokinon 50mm Cine lens, and several Canon lenses, we started really setting ourselves up to make better videos. In fact, I’d love to fill out just the Rokinon Cine lens collection as my next big equipment purchases, because I like them so much.
As we attempt to grow our company, and work with more clients, 4K is an inevitable jump that we will have to make. It has pretty much become the standard. At some point in the past year, I made the decision that when I finally do make the leap to 4K, I want to leap to a cinema camera. I like my DSLR, it has and continues to serve me well, and I won’t be trading it in for a cinema camera, but rather I will be adding a cinema camera to my equipment list. The truth is, my DSLR will still be very useful on photography shoots, and it will be likely more easy for certain run and gun jobs in which the clients do not need 4K.
When we decided that we wanted to get a cinema camera as soon as possible, I did a ton of research on the Black Magic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K. I have still yet to hold one, but after watching hours of reviews, reading about the features, and watching video after video shot on the camera, I was in love. There was also the price, and the size. At $1250, the camera is only slightly more expensive than my Canon 80D; and at 1.59 lbs it is slightly less heavy than my 80D. It’s a no brainer.
We’re not ready to make that jump yet, (financially, I mean if I had the cash in hand, I would in a second) especially as smaller less glamorous spending currently is a higher priority. As we wait on this upgrade, my resolve becomes shaky. There’s now a 6K BMPCC, and I wonder if it’s worth double the price to be up to date, and if 6K footage will help me to have more control over the image. There’s also the Canon C series, and I love Canon and their color science, do I want to wait and spend $6500 on the C200? I’ve only heard good things, so it becomes a tough decision.
My hope is that in the process of working, we’ll get the opportunity to rent each of the cameras, and handle them for a few days each, and get a feel for them. At this point, if a client came along looking for 4K, we would need to build rental into the budget, and so it would be a helpful test run (or two).
I think being in a place where we cannot purchase any of the cameras yet, but knowing that we’re heading in that direction creates a bit of anxiety, with too much time to think, but it also gives us the opportunity to research and really make a thought out and focused decision. But fantasy spending, is one of the things that we’re currently in the place to do, and there is something fun about fantasizing about what we’re going to get, and when.
What about you, if you had the opportunity to buy any camera on the market today, what would it be, and why?