A few months ago we wrote about the five 4K60fps video cameras on the budget, but actually, we didn’t put another ingredient into the pot – it must be quality wise. Now the final choices become much more expensive, yet future proof for shooting in high quality 4K 60fps video footage.
If the word color grading isn’t your cup of tea, then you should skip this article. Because every footage needs some grading skills to make it look great. We won’t use the word “film-look” because it is overused too many times. It is not always the film-look we want to achieve. That is purely marketing strategy “professionals” are using while just applying premade presets with strange colors. The point is making the footage look in a way that is comfortable for viewers eyes and it corresponds to the theme of shooting.
- Sony NEX FS700 + Atomos Shogun Inferno (we already wrote about)
There are few reasons why we added the old and gold Sony FS700 video camera to the list. Because it is very good only when attached to external recorders. In this case, we recommend the Atomos Shogun Inferno, which is much cheaper than Convergent Design OdysseyQ7+. With external recorder, we get high-quality Proress footage or even uncompressed cDNG. Also, you can shoot 4K120fps in short burst. With a good Speedbooster, you’ll also get the full-frame experience. Yes, you will run into trouble if you would want to put the FS700 on the DJI Ronin-M or any similar small lightweight gimbal stabilizers. Let’s not ruin the mood, shall we? It is possible to get the FS700 on DJI Ronin-M with some magic using counterweights. Ok? If you don’t believe us, you can still buy the more expensive Sony FS5, which is lighter, smaller an a slightly improved copy of FS700.
- Blackmagic URSA Mini Pro
This camera is so much mystery. Blackmagic is known for their many different strange looking and not exactly functional cameras. Remember the Blackmagic cinema camera and pocket cinema camera? Cheap video cameras for the enthusiasts, but not really reliable and user-friendly for more advanced fieldwork. We were able only to hold them in our hands and was completely weird. Even the newest Blackmagic URSA Mini has many varieties (not to mention the first huge edition of URSA), which must be investigated really deep before buying the right piece of camera. When we had put some time into it, we found out that it really is a messed up world there. They even have/had some trouble with color space, that is why their cameras gave a lot of magentas to the picture. Did the fix that already, we don’t know. It reminds us of CD Odyssey7Q when they first launched. More problems than solutions. But still, the URSA Mini Pro has a lot of horsepower under the hood. When we were searching for a camera it didn’t convince us, to be honest.
- Sony PXW-FS7
This camera is a really nice bump-up from the good old FS700. Sony FS7 has great ergonomics, good internal recording quality and even 4K60fps integrated. There aren’t many negative sides to this camera, the only unreasonable characteristic is the max 180fps at FullHD resolution recording. While the FS5 or FS700’s have up to 240fps. And it uses a bit more expensive XQD cards for recording. If money isn’t a problem, this is a great video camera in all aspects. With a good Speedbooster, you’ll also get the full-frame experience.
- Panasonic AU-EVA1
A good alternative which is visually and by its characteristics similar to the Sony FS7 is the newest Panasonic EVA1. After a great success of their photo camera line, they’ve made a professional camera for the higher budget customers. But even if it looks like the FS7, there are few hidden back draws; it shoots only 10bit (also a lot more compressed because of slow SD cards), higher frame rates (200/240 at HD) are cropped and it only supports the EF lens mount (this means you won’t be able to put on the Super 35mm sensor a Speedbooster and make it full-frame).
- Panasonic Lumix GH5 + Atomos Ninja Inferno or Shogun Inferno (we mentioned here)
There is a good reason why we added this low budget photo camera among all other professional products. Lumix GH5 does have a micro four-thirds sensor, which with a good Speedbooster is as wide as the Panasonic EVA1 Super 35mm sensor. Also, if Atomos Ninja Inferno or Shogun Inferno product is used for recording the video signal over the HDMI, it shouldn’t be any worse than the one on EVA1. What you get is also a very portable video camera, which also shoots 180fps at HD1080p. Given the low price tag and great support for videographers, it is a really interesting piece of equipment. Even as a B-camera to any of the cameras above.
We didn’t include the RED camera (the cheapest body costs under the 10 thousand dollars mark) because it costs a lot more if you want to work with it (preview screen, storage media, battery …etc). Also, we excluded the Sony FS5 camera, which does shoot 4K, but only up to 30fps. With external recorder, it does 4K60fps or even 4K120fps. The same as an older Sony FS700 camera. We didn’t mention in the beginning that the lenses were not included in the investment. You could go for the professional products and invest another $10.000 for quality glass, or buy all the necessary lenses for under $1000 if you search for very old m42 mount lenses (Helios, Meyer, Pentacon, …) with a cheap adapter to EF mount. You can still buy much more expensive glass later. Don’t get us wrong, if they are old they are not bad. Many of them are much better than most of cheap today’s lenses you can buy in stores. So, let’s be money wise, shall we?