2013 Super35mm Documentary Camera Rigs Under $10k

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Let’s say you intend to shoot a vérité-style documentary, and you want to use a super35mm sensor camera because you like the improved image quality, low-light capability, dynamic range etc that you get over a small sensor camera. Let’s say you have a max budget of $10,000 for the camera, not including lights/mics/tripod/etc. Let’s say that you are pissed off because every camera under $10k seems to be crippled or imperfect in one way or another.

What do you choose?

 

Pros & Cons

I have narrowed my search to the C100, FS700, BMCC, FS100, 5D3, & GH2.

Canon C100

Pros: Great lowlight/high ISO performance, good for shooting with available light. Nice skintones, pleasing “baked-in” look. Excellent resolution/sharpness. Same sensor as C300 and uncompressed HDMI 8-bit 4:2:2 output same as C300. ND filters built-in. Compatible with NY/LA rental-house infrastructure. Cache record feature useful for docs. Interval record / in-cam timelapse. Cool side-handle, decent ergonomics. No timecode I/O, but free-run TC embedded in HDMI. LOG. Low-weight 2.2LBs, can be handheld decently well with sidegrip without any shouler rig, unlike FS700, FS100, 5D3, etc. Also the Abelcine HDx35 B4 adapter will soon be released in EF mount, but I was told there are no plans for a Sony E-mount (especially not now that Sony made their own B4 adapter.)

Cons: No 60p, not even at 720p! HDMI instead of SDI is a sketchy connector. Documentary lens choices really lacking for super35mm EF mount IMO. AVCHD is a PITA to work with in post, and AVCHD codec has some quality issues. (AVCHD cons solved by using external recorder.)

Sony FS700

Pros: Best pro I think is lens options, it can use Sony quasi-ENG lenses like the Sony 18-105 f/4, Zeiss 16-70 f/4, and Canon 24-105 w/ speedbooster. Records 60fps slowmo along with 240fps burst slowmo at 1080p. S-LOG2 now is pretty impressive. It is possible to upgrade the Oddyssey to record 4K through it’s quality SDI port. Has ND filters. Good IQ/low-light. LOG. Weight is 3.7 lb body only.

Cons: 
Without 4K recording I feel like it looks soft compared to C100, Sony color profile seem colder/less beautiful (although this may be fixed with FilmConvert, good grading and external recording.) High ISOs/noise don’t look anything as good as C100 or even 5D3. No timecode I/O, but free-run TC embedded in HDMI.« Continue »

Do-It-All Budget Documentary Lens Options

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Search for the Poor Man’s Fujinon 19-90mm f/2.8 The Story: So reading about the Fujinon ZK4.7×19 19-90mm T2.9 Cabrio lens showing up being used on docu-series like Anthony Bordain’s Parts Unknown, shown in promo videos for the Arri Amira, getting rave reviews from DPs like Timur Civan, and looking so perfect for the Run N’ Gun […]

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FullDome Film’s Coverage of 2013 Kumbha Mela

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Welcome to the largest event in the world that you’ve never heard of. I’m here now in Allahabad, India working as an associate producer on FullDome Film’s documentary team covering the 2013 Maha Kumbha Mela. The city of Allahabad is named after somebody you will have heard of, Allah, but the huge religious/cultural event happening […]

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Arrival at Base-camp Avadhuta

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Finally at our temporary production headquarters just 5 minutes outside the main mela pilgrim grounds. Meeting new crew, hearing about current status, and immediately getting ready to go out next morning and help setup and test some new configurations. Things are fairly chaotic but I will post some legit pics and info soon, according to what is allowed by […]

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Embarking from Fischer Productions

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Saying my goodbyes to the fine folks at Fischer Productions in Park City UT. It’s been a pretty wild ride, working 9 months straight on Shark Wranglers for History Channel and then Kings of Crash for Velocity Channel, both shows that I am very proud to have been a part of. Now I’m leaving for […]

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