Beyond just Photography – DLSR cameras for filmmakers


Some of the most interesting DLSR cameras for filmmakers on the market.
With the announcement of the new iPhones still fresh it is easy to overlook one of the biggest trade events in photography. Photokina in Cologne, Germany was especially interesting for filmmakers this year, hoping for improved movie features on the new generation of DSLRs.

written by Dave Marian, MA

After the Panasonic GH4 hit the market with native 4k recording, zebras and focus peaking, all features the community would have loved to see on their Canon 5Ds, everyone got curious if and how other companies would follow that trend.
Other than curious things like the Panasonic CM1 (a smartphone with a Leica lens.) there have been some exciting pieces of gear at Photokina. So if you want to treat yourself to a new DSLR there are, included what is already on the market, some very interesting options available:

Samsung NX1
Samsung being a relatively new player when it comes to DSLR videography tries to charms consumers with 4k and 1080p recordings in h.265 which makes your  files smaller and allows you to store more video data to your card. However as the h. codecs are usually designed for finished products and do not preserve as much image information, this might not have been such a smart move. Also the  range of glasses for this camera is limited.

Comparison between Lumix and Canon by Dave Marian

Comparison between Lumix and Canon by Dave Marian

Canon 7D MkII
Many have been waiting for a new Canon model for a while. The camera has some nice features for photographers. If you are into sports or action  photography you will love this piece of equipment. But the only improvement for video makers is that you can record 1080p at 60fps. No 4k, no zebras, no peaking. It’s still a very decent camera, alongside the classic 5D, and has probably the widest selection of glasses (Almost every lens gets produced with a Canon mount).

Sony a7s
This camera is a low light monster that is going to outperform the Canon 5D in it’s strongest field. Equipped with a full frame sensor the Sony a7s can get up to ridiculous ISO levels without showing digital noise. It is not quite as flexible as the GH4 and it’s 4k abilities can only be exploited if you have an external recorder but if you value color depth this camera is worth considering.

Panasonic GH4
This camera gets you probably the most bang for your buck. Native 4k, focus peaking, zebras, highly customizable and thanks to the M43 mount a very versatile choice of lenses. As awesome as it performs under good lighting conditions, as soon as you have to switch to a higher ISO the small sensor hits  it’s limits and you will find noise in your image. Other than that and the disappointing audio capabilities this camera is one of the most future-Sproof options available.

By far the biggest let down for me is the fact that Canon does not seem to focus as much on DSLR videography, a niche they more or less opened up themselves, as they do on photography. The Canon 5D is a great camera, that can shoot amazing video, but there are many other options available, that are not only more suitable for videographers, but also more affordable.

Dave Marian (03/12/1988) graduated from SAE Vienna in Audio Production and got his MA in Creative Media Practice at University of Sussex, Brighton. He is working freelance as sound designer and composer for film and games and is currently living in Brighton/UK.


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  1. Pingback: Beyond Photography: A look at DLSR cameras - davemarian

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