Camera Sony a7 III

monroeoxley

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Has anyone used this camera to record their staged productions? How is low light? I need a cinema camera for this year because we will be filming our productions, all written in house so no copyright will be broken. Thanks for any advice.
 

ruinexplorer

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I wish that I could remember which camera that we picked up, but I haven't been able to be in the theater since March.

Basically, you want a bigger sensor to be able to handle low light and by being a distance from your subject.
 
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Malabaristo

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Basically, you want a bigger sensor to be able to handle low light and by being a distance from your subject.
This is only mostly true because it assumes all other factors are equal. Before I knew we were going to be online-only this year, I was doing a lot of research into video cameras (mostly camcorders rather than DSLRs). Of the couple that I was narrowing my selection down towards, it was interesting to note that the larger 1" sensor options had slower lenses with less zoom range than the comparable cameras with 1/3"-1/2" sensors. If you do the math, the theoretical light gathering capabilities of the two types were pretty much the same because of the lenses. At that point, any difference in performance comes down to the quality of the sensor and image processing software rather than the obvious physical specs. That's the sort of thing you can only know for sure by getting a demo.

With an interchangeable lens camera you have more control over what lens you're using, but it's still true that the faster glass you need to get the most out of the sensor's low light potential is going to be more expensive. The main reason I decided not to consider this type of product was because the lenses I would need were prohibitively expensive. That's less of an issue for video-only performances, but when we get back to having audiences, the camera will mostly be used towards the back of the house, so I need a pretty long lens. The other big reason was that cameras originally designed for still photography lack the manual controls you need to do a really good job reacting to live events as they happen.

So... all that said, the A7 series cameras are known for good low light performance, and it's a reasonable choice in that regard. I might argue that isn't the most important thing to have as your primary criteria, though. Low light performance matters less if you're doing work specifically for video because you should be able to light for the camera rather than for eyeballs. If you're recording a live event with an audience, then it likely does matter more... but (at least in my opinion) you'd be better off with something that's designed as a video camera from the ground up in order to keep up with the action.

That sort of distinction does come from a place of personal preference and plenty of assumptions about how it will be used, so take that for what it's worth.
 

jtweigandt

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I have a Nikkon dslr Came as a kit from costco.. Can capture fabulous stills no additional lighting from the upper deck in our 600 seat house.
Does a really good job of videos as well. For the versatility, it gets my vote. Part of the problem with camcorders I find is a lack of control of the
exposure in video mode The true long lens can be your friend as well. (have used 4 different ones over the years to capture theater) The DSLR did a much better job of letting me bracket and optimize for
everything from full stage to low light. So if you are in the 300 buck range, and not looking at high end dedicated video cameras, the DSLR gets my vote Sample from superstar long lens from back of house I know it's a still
but video performance light wise is similar. Be aware .. my dslr will chop the video at a pre determined file/time size.. so you have to be ready to re trigger.. Usually can get an act on each file, and re trigger at intermission.
 

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Malabaristo

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Part of the problem with camcorders I find is a lack of control of the exposure in video mode
This is definitely true for consumer camcorders, but moving into the low end of pro, or more "prosumer" level is more likely to give you this as a physical control. I was aiming for the $1500-2000 range, so the Canon XA50 and Panasonic HC-X1500 were two of the top contenders. The Panasonic has two rings: one for focus, and one that can be either zoom or iris. The Canon just has a focus ring, but iris can be assigned to a knob... not ideal but still usable. That's more expensive than just the body of a DSLR or mirrorless camera, but when you account for quality lenses to get the same range of capability it's either a wash or less expensive to go with one of these camcorders.

Shooting style and the type of event is also a big factor in the decision. If you want to capture all of a one-off live event with a single camera, then you're either stuck with a static, wide shot, or you need something with a zoom range that will let you smoothly transition between full-stage and close up shots. If you're editing together footage from multiple performances or multiple cameras, then it's more reasonable to consider swapping lenses to get different shots. For me, even if I'm doing a 2-camera live shoot, I'd rather have the same zoom lens on both cameras for more flexibility without having to do lens swaps.

Of course, I'd much rather have $10-20k to spend on each camera, but within the budget I have, something similar to the two I mentioned feels like the best compromise to me.
 

jtweigandt

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This is definitely true for consumer camcorders, but moving into the low end of pro, or more "prosumer" level is more likely to give you this as a physical control. I was aiming for the $1500-2000 range, so the Canon XA50 and Panasonic HC-X1500 were t

Of course, I'd much rather have $10-20k to spend on each camera, but within the budget I have, something similar to the two I mentioned feels like the best compromise to me.
Sorry I missed the budget.. I probably spent about 400 for the Nikkon, and it came with both a nice long lens and a shorter more standard lens. For folks like me at the low end, it was like I died and went to heaven.
Hadn't had an SLR since the old Pentax ME super days. and now it's like.. film speed... who cares?
 

FMEng

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I've been using a Sony HXR-NX100 camcorder, which is basically their entry level, professional video camera. It's only HD, not 4K, but it's performance is stellar. The controls are very good, and it has balanced, XLR audio inputs. It seems to do very well with low light, too. I suspect that's an advantage of HD over a 4K sensor.

Edit: I will ding the NX100 for one thing. The slowest zoom speed seems a little too fast sometimes. The manual zoom ring isn't a better alternative because it isn't smooth at slow changes.

For video, the tripod is as important as the camera. A good quality, fluid head and with a leveling bowl is essential. Mine is a Benro A373F. I can balance the camera perfectly, and it's nice and smooth.
 
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macsound

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I have a few DSLRs and have used prosumer camcorders extensively in the past.

Filming theatre especially, there's lots of movement. While I love the look of video shot with a DSLR and the amazing background blur (bokeh) you can get with the right lens, fast action isn't going to garner the same results you'd get as say a seated interview.

You also have to think about operator expertise.
A camcorder - pro or consumer - is going to a much better job with auto exposure and auto focus than a DSLR. Put a kid on a stool and tell them to make smooth movements, set the LANC zoom remote to a fixed slow zoom speed and your shoot will go off without a hitch.
A DSLR may hunt for focus far beyond what you deem appropriate if you keep auto focus on, and if it's off, you have to trust the person using the camera to know what they're doing, especially if they're recording internally to the camera and you can't see a feed from the control room to yell "focus" over headset.

If you want to spend DSLR money, I'd reccomend a Blackmagic Studio Cam and an ATEM Pro switcher. I know, not a DSLR but the camera can use DLSR lenses. It also has a display with features to assist focus and is 10",big enough to see (not 3" on the sony). The biggest feature is remote image control. This will allow you to shade (white balance and exposure) on the camera from a remote location using a computer. This leaves the operator with 2 jobs, point and focus.

2nd what was said above, with any solution, the tripod is very important. Get one too big and fancy for a small camera and it won't have much of a happy medium. You want small moves and large moves to be equally fluid. We've even gone as far as adding camera weight with waterbottles filled with sand (it doesn't slosh) to get enough weight for fluid moves.

Last anecdote. People tout full frame. Sure there's benefits. The drawback? You have to buy even longer lenses. a $100 50mm lens on an APS-C camera is around 85mm. A 200mm is around 320mm. Seeing the difference in price between a 200mm and a 320 will make you cry, especially when you find out the only way to get a cheaper one is for it to be F5.6 or higher.

TL;DR
Unless you're buying the camera to use for photos and you're going to be the 1 and only operator, always, a camcorder with a non-removable lens will be your best bet. Pro stuff - blackmagic.

edit: M instead of P
 

Malabaristo

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If you want to spend DSLR money, I'd reccomend a Blackmagic Studio Cam and an ATEM Pro switcher. I know, not a DSLR but the camera can use DLSR lenses. It also has a display with features to assist focus and is 10",big enough to see (not 3" on the sony). The biggest feature is remote image control. This will allow you to shade (white balance and exposure) on the camera from a remote location using a computer. This leaves the operator with 2 jobs, point and focus.
Have you used the Studio Cam in a theatre setting? The overall design of it is really appealing, but I was put off by a number of reviews that mentioned mediocre performance unless you have a lot of light. Well, that and the lens limitations/expense...
 

macsound

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Have you used the Studio Cam in a theatre setting? The overall design of it is really appealing, but I was put off by a number of reviews that mentioned mediocre performance unless you have a lot of light. Well, that and the lens limitations/expense...
I unfortunately haven't used it in low light, only corporate evenly lit events.

From my understanding from people that have used it in mixed environments, the low light issues aren't any worse than any other comparable video or broadcast camera, it only falls behind cinema cameras like Blackmagic's Micro Cinema camera that have 11-13 stops of dynamic range.

Part of this is how much data you're recording, how you're recording it, and the picture profile you've used since you'll have to compensate for exposure during post.

Using something like the Studio Cam assumes you'll be doing all the corrections in real time using the camera remote with hardware features, so you won't have to deal with low light compression artifacts and ISO noise that get revealed and amplified when trying to "fix" a dark scene with a software editor.
 

Jay Ashworth

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The real killer's gonna be thermal noise. Any camera not ground-up engineered for video work can't suck heat out of the sensor fast enough not to build up noise over a multi-minute, much less multi-hour take; ou can get around this in, say, indy film, but not in video-style production.
 

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