My workhorse camera is a RED Scarlet, which we love, but which is a bit of a beast when fully rigged with V-mount, lenses, paralinx, audio receiver and recorder, etc.
We've also been using a GoPro Hero 3 Black, which I've been having great fun with. With a combination of Protune, decent lighting and FilmConvert, it intercuts OK with the Scarlet and allows dynamic shots to be captured quickly. But it is very limited- fixed focus, auto everything, pretty wide angle.
What I'm now musing about is a camera in between the two, and I wondered if anyone had any suggestions/thoughts?
Specifically, I want:
- A camera light enough to fly on a steadicam-Merlin-style rig (if I have to buy a full steadicam I might as well just fly my Scarlet)
- Quick to set up (so ergonomics matter a bit)
- Either a built-in lens in the 24-105mm FF equivalent range, or interchangeable lenses, ideally f/2.8
- Better image quality than an AF100 or 7D, ideally (I'm considering using those as I have them already but I hate the AF100's banding and colour and the 7D's overheating and Moire)
- Manual control over exposure (auto exposure/white balance a bonus for indoor/outdoor transitions)
- At least full HD (which rules out my HVX200)
- O.I.S. I guess?
- Usable continuous autofocus in video mode, which the AF100 and 7D palpably lack
It doesn't have to be the smartest autofocus in the world, but something that will get there in under a second and can cope with off-centre subjects is a must. I don't want to be racking focus whilst doing roving shots. Again if I'm doing that I might as well get a second mortgage and outfit the Scarlet with a full steadicam rig and remote follow focus and get someone else to control focus while I operate.
Maybe a small chip camcorder, or something like a GH3. The BMPC would be a possible but looks like autofocus is a maybe-sometime-maybe-never on that.
Anyone got any suggestions? GH3 is looking quite promising from what I've seen, or some of the new Canons with video optimised autofocus and an STM lens? Anyone got any experience of using these on a steadicam rig to make nice planned dolly and jib style shots in confined spaces and with less set-up time?
I have the Scarlet, two R1's and two gh3's.
The Scarlet has a lot of lattitude though I don't use it much as I prefer the R1's, though plan on using it more now that they have the fan issued fixed.
The GH3's are love, love and then uh oh.
You have to be dead on with the gh3's. You must set your color, white balance and check them on a dedicated screen either hdmi, or computer then go shoot.
They have a sweet spot, it's better to be under than over, but they shoot very, very pretty in the right conditions.
Actually, I just finished one shoot in Paris in a cafe with a translucent like tent (3 stops) over the subjects, Kinos for slight fill.
Shot the main dialog scenes with the R1's, the cutaways with the gh3's. It was somewhat backlit and I'd have sworn the gh3's wouldn't have held up, but they did to the point the files are almost identical in look and depth to the R1 files, but I hit the sweet spot dead on.
That's the only issue.
The autofocus is very good if you set it up correctly. Amazingly good at fast point, shoot, pan, point shoot, not as good with slow crawling type of focus, though better than any other autofocus I've tried.
They have a face detect that when it works is freaky good and it works 75% of the time. When it doesn't it's a big miss.
But for the money, they're well worth it, though your going to have to carry .9 of nd for daylight (minimum). I'd go with the pana constant zooms, the 12 to 34 and 35 to 100 (24 to 70, 70 to 200 in still 35mm terms).
They'll cover about anything you need and should work well with a small steadicam rig.
Those robotic aerial guys use the gh series all the time for good effect, though I don't know if they manually focus ot not. Probably manual.
Me, when I do steadicam, I have a good operator in LA and a great focus puller. They prefer a RED 1 and the optimo zoom and get great results, though it adds to the budget.
Try a gh3. The price is so low if you don't like it you can sell it for less than a rental, or you can rent from some of the online places like borrow lens.
Once again, learn the settings as things like fast, medium and quick focus change the operation of the camera, same with the 4 autofocus settings same with wb and color inputs.
When it's right, is very good.