Ok, recommend me something

Hey everyone. Long time since I've been on any film forums, so registered afresh.

Anyway, looking for a new camera, and I've seen several recommendations on here. Unfortunately, my camera was stolen at the 2012 Paralympic opening ceremony. Yes, angry t say the least (nifty Panasonic, which was my baby and it virtually never left my side).

Anyway. these days I'm a tad broke and looking for something affordable (sub-£1000, preferably under £500) which has the best image quality possible. This is my primary concern. I'm based in the UK so suggestion are welcome from overseas, just be warned that here if something is US$900, it's likely to cost £1100 in most cases (well over US$1700), but all recommendations are welcome.

I'm open to using SLRs at the moment for a new project we're working on for Raindance.

Thank you in advance.

Hi Joel - Welcome back! Sorry to hear about the loss of your Panasonic.

With £1000 you have a few choices. If you want an all-in-one solution and don't want to bother with interchangeable lenses, the best value for your money is probably a £749 Panasonic FZ1000 superzoom. This is a 3840x2160 Ultra High Definition "4K" camera with a 1" sensor, 5-axis optical image stabilization, 1080/100p slow motion and a built-in 16x optical power zoom that can create images like this:




Panasonic promo video, shot in UHD (please watch at your monitor's highest resolution):


If you can live with this camera's lack of a headphone jack and DSLR-like 30 minute continuous recording limit, this is a great little UHD camera.

Your other options are 1080p HD cameras with interchangeable lenses such as this used Panasonic GH3 with the 12-35mm f2.8 lens for £1004.42 from Amazon Warehouse Deals (or £599 body-only via eBay UK).

I own this camera and have shot with the 12-35mm constant f2.8 lens and they are made for each other.

Here is what this camera and lens can do:



This camera has a headphone jack, but is also limited to 30 minutes of continuous recording in the EU (which, sadly, includes cameras sold in the UK).

If you want the most gradeable, highest dynamic range video possible below £1000, you may want to consider the £692 (body only) Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera.

This camera lacks the fast autofocus , battery life and bright electronic viewfinders of the 8-bit cameras listed above - but, unlike those cameras, the BMPCC can record 1080p at 12-bit RAW or 10-bit ProRes with up to 13 stops of dynamic range, giving you results like this:









I own this camera as well - and, although it can be frustrating to use, the image quality is stunning.

Bottom line - the FZ1000 is an easy to use, camcorder-like superzoom with ultra high definition resolution. The GH3 is a capable interchangeable lens camera with a headphone jack and high 8-bit image quality. The Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera is a lot of work, but produces great images.

I did not mention the 1080p Panasonic G6 (£469 with the 14-42mm kit lens as of this post), but if you want to save some money, this camera will give you 8-bit image quality similar to the GH3 - but lacks a headphone jack and the GH3's all-metal splashproof body. Here is what this camera can do:

Music Video:











Slow Motion/Sport:


Travel Video:


http://vimeo.com/86145944 (shot with a power zoom lens)

I would avoid DSLRs. None of them are compatible with affordable power zooms and they all have reflex mirrors that are useless for video. These mirrors block the cameras' viewfinders, so you are forced to use the LCD on back of the camera for critical composition and focus. This is OK indoors, but outdoors in bright sunlight, you may not be able to see what you're shooting. Outdoors, most DSLR shooters are forced to buy a "loupe" (otherwise known as an LCD viewfinder) or an even more expensive Electronic Viewfinder (EVF) to see what they are shooting.

To be fair, this is true for the Pocket Cinema Camera as well.

Sony makes a very nice video-capable mirrorless camera with a viewfinder and a power zoom - the £564.99 A6000, but Sony seems not to want to give shooters a standard 3.5mm mic jack in cameras below £1000, so this camera is a fail.

Hope this is helpful and good luck.

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Hey, Bill.

Thanks for the great reply. The FZ1000 is several steps up from what I had (still angry about that getting nicked 2 years later), and the picture quality is just what I'm looking for. It's a shame that it doesn't have a headphone socket (how much of a challenge would it really be to add one in this day and age?) and short recording limit, although we do our sound recording separately anyway, so that issue at least is easy to work around.
But I'm very torn between all of them... Shame I could save up for all of them... :lol:

The Blackmagic Cinema seems pretty good, but seems to have several issues attached to it (like incompatibility with editing software according to some reviews). Based on that, I think I'll stick with Panasonic, which I've always had a good experience with.

Thanks for the heads up regarding DSLRs. Ive never shot film with one before, and it was an idea I was tinkering with after seeing some sports videos my brother recorded on a Nikon.