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    Yes... another 'what camera should I buy' thread.
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    There isn't really a place for this, so I'm posting it here. I need a video/audio capture solution that makes financial sense for a non-paying community TV show.

    Something that will play nice with Nikon glass (24-70 2.8/50 1.4 Gs), and has ENG-like video cam features, e.g., decent preamps, XLR in, a 5" monitor, etc. (The glass is not a deal-breaker, but I'll take a hit if I have to wholesale that and replace... I know... YMMV on that :-)

    Current set-up is a D810 with JuicedLink Riggy 2 channel. I also have a Marantz PMD670 for dual, ambient, narration, etc., using two G3 wireless kits w/stock lavs, a Shure Beta 58A handheld, two Octava Mk-012s, a Rode NTG3, boom pole, blimp, deadcat, one LED panel with eight Anton Bauer Gold Mount batteries, a pair of Gold Mount rig/taps, Petrol matte box, a decent focus assist, various filters.... It works, but the sloppy Riggy stinks to High Holy Hell and I am done with this thing! (Why not get a Mix-Pre? BC I am hoping to do better than the D810.)

    At my capture quality level, which is pretty weak compared to most here, the image I get out of the D810 is fine, although I wish I could (obviously) shoot in RAW, and while I have no idea how to grade at that level, I have edited my stills for many years, and love the technology.

    So, I plan to replace the D810 for another A-cam video/audio capture device.

    The shooting I am doing is daily challenging. I run and gun, often jumping into a golf cart, camera and JuicedLink fixed to my monopod, headphones around my neck, and one hand on the wheel as I shoot and speed along side two golfers who are talking to each other and riding. I am often trying to ride their mics as I ride the cart! They stop. One gets out, I hustle off the cart to get the golf shot, the other chap is often still in the cart trash talking, and then the shot is struck and they speed off. There is no polite, "hey John, are we moving too fast"? No, 'let's wait or slow down'. The whole thing is natural, and happening very much in an ad-lib way. These are volunteers so I can't scream at them to 'stop', and if I make too much of a stick about myself they will tense up! Not much fun....

    The RAW codec 'want' is bc light out on the golf course is harsh, and as I am not in control of where the action is happening, sometimes, I can't always ND my way out of trouble like I might if I had a Lee mount or the matte box (impossible to Frankenrig these shoots). The circular ND isn't really very good. Shadows are often super long and invasive, right when the sun is very bright. High contrast stuff.

    The audio is victim to heavy winds. The the lavs do pretty well, but forget about a nice fat rich sound, and a boom pole with a monopod? Not a chance! When we move indoor the restaurants are invariably the locale. Refective walls and floors galore. I try to get mics as close to people as I can. The JuicedLink has tiny dials and no meter and I use what I can see on the cam's screen but outside the glare is unreal, and the headphone monitoring on this D810 is horrid. I often can't hear a thing as I have the in camera audio level down as low as possible and the JuicedLink up almost to MAX.

    So... I'm looking to move to a proper video camera vs a DSLR. I know there are pretty good (better) DSLR solutions than what I have. I plan to keep the Nikon for stills work, but for video: a change is welcome. I sense, from everything I read, that most video cameras' preamps are NOT very good. Better to use them as bit buckets, like I do now.

    That reality had me thinking about tethering the D810 to a BMC Videoassist but it's an HDMI nightmare IMHO as the D810's HDMI port is terrible. I mean it breaks contact a lot!

    Same no matter the Odyssey, Atomos, and that SD PIX (which I almost once bought in a fit of GAS)....

    So, a move from a DSLR to a real cam, but what? I can't post this on any one brand's subform that's why I'm posting it here, although most here are looking at the new mirrorless Nikons.

    Anyway: I've considered the F3 forever, but I worry about cost of repairs if it ever goes. I once had a VG10. It was pretty good but not quite there so I let it go as I was basically facing the same problems audio wise, and I do think audio is probably more important than image, second only to story.

    So... I think this puts me into the $5K+ realm, but also know a lot of smarter people lurk here and am wondering if others might be going though similar equipment challenges. I've looked. Daily. Here, on reduser.net, and on bmcuser. I am leaning toward an original URSA. I know it sounds crazy give it is 16# and not a run and gun machine. I actually think it is so huge it might, by virtue of its massive size, fore me (and my friends and show guests) to slow down!

    That might not be the best solution. I welcome any thoughts. Thanks for any input... on any decent camera, of any brand, that isn't going to kill me or require double its cost in additional gear.


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    Your current setup is already excellent. Save your money and wait for the A7S III (I had a C300 II for a few years and sold it. Prefer DSLR for run & gun (C300 II sat in the studio its whole life)). "Real" video cameras that can produce DSLR/mirrorless level quality are way overpriced and depreciate massively (that's how you know they're overpriced). BM are decent however I personally would wait (still QC issues).

    If you must get something now, look at the Sony A6400, Fuji X-T30, X-T3, and Sony A7 III, possibly the Canon EOS R, Nikon Z6. Wouldn't spend for more expensive gear right now. You can adapt manual lenses and also pick up a native lens for truly amazing and useful autofocus (provide by all those cameras). If you want to stay full frame and get max DR outside (SLog2- works great) along with decent in-camera ADC's, the A7 III is the best deal right now. You can use the D810 to shoot reference stills (in raw) until you learn how to color correct / set up the A7 III (it's not hard, though may take some practice for skin tones- I think it's worth the effort).


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    The golf cart work truly screams for a small camera with IBIS and excellent AF (which would be the Nikon Z6), but if you're leaning towards the Blackmagic then I would consider the URSA Mini 4K or at least Version 2 of the big URSA.

    The reason you'd want V2 is because V1 has the old "sun spot" like the BMPC did and it will turn a lot of your highlights into weird magenta/black orbs if they are too hot (especially all of the specular highlights on golf clubs/metal)...just something to consider.

    RAW will also not save you in those conditions. That particular sensor has pretty mediocre dynamic range (today's standards) with 11-ish stops. And it does not clip well.

    But with that said, the URSA Mini 4K has the same sensor as the big URSA but it's V2. The main differences besides the big screen is the big URSA has 4K/120p vs. 4K/60p on the UM. (The big one also has 4K 444 and 444XQ.)

    There's of course also the 4.6K version but you said original URSA...

    Also, IMO, Blackmagic cameras have some of the worst preamps. If you receive a bad unit off the conveyor belt, you may need at least 40-50dB of gain to get something normal around -12dB. If buying used, I'd ask the seller about the preamps (and XLR inputs).

    If you forget about having XLRs or a real camera body (not saying you should), you'd have a lot more choices with various trade-offs, but video quality would be great in all of them, and much better than the D810.


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    Quote Originally Posted by jcs View Post
    Wouldn't spend for more expensive gear right now.
    .

    Form factor issues are my primary driver, although the less-baked-in image file is also appealing. That said: you've reminded me why I am using a DSLR, even if it isn't the ideal.


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    Quote Originally Posted by NorBro View Post
    The golf cart work truly screams for a small camera with IBIS and excellent AF (which would be the Nikon Z6), but if you're leaning towards the Blackmagic then I would consider the URSA Mini 4K or at least Version 2 of the big URSA.
    I had hoped you'd chime in. If anyone on this site has put his money where his mouth is you are the one! Your contributions here are among my favorites....

    I have shot with VRI and II 70-200s and always felt the tech was overrated. Just the right shutter speed and reasonably stable technique, even a tree or an exhale helps. Is the IBIS really that good? Maybe it was just my experience with Nikon. Could also have just been my copies, as I know YMMV on QC. Hmmm.

    Quote Originally Posted by NorBro View Post

    The reason you'd want V2 is because V1 has the old "sun spot" like the BMPC did and it will turn a lot of your highlights into weird magenta/black orbs if they are too hot (especially all of the specular highlights on golf clubs/metal)...just something to consider.

    RAW will also not save you in those conditions. That particular sensor has pretty mediocre dynamic range (today's standards) with 11-ish stops. And it does not clip well.

    But with that said, the URSA Mini 4K has the same sensor as the big URSA but it's V2. The main differences besides the big screen is the big URSA has 4K/120p vs. 4K/60p on the UM. (The big one also has 4K 444 and 444XQ.)

    There's of course also the 4.6K version but you said original URSA...

    Also, IMO, Blackmagic cameras have some of the worst preamps. If you receive a bad unit off the conveyor belt, you may need at least 40-50dB of gain to get something normal around -12dB. If buying used, I'd ask the seller about the preamps (and XLR inputs).

    If you forget about having XLRs or a real camera body (not saying you should), you'd have a lot more choices with various trade-offs, but video quality would be great in all of them, and much better than the D810.
    Here's where I thought patches had remedies that orb issue is all wrong on maps part. Thanks for what I obviously missed over on bmcuser.... A lot of threads I scan and just lose track so thanks for that. I know you had the big Ursa. Was the form factor just too huge for you? If I were to go with the original mini, vs say the 4.6 or pro, would that be a mistake? I've got to admit I can dig back in time but if you have a current (hindsight is 20/20) perspective on those, vs say your first comment about the Z6 (are you shootings with that now?), I'd love to hear your opinion.

    I read John Brawley's posts in defense of the BMCs and while I have never owner a BMC, I do like what Grant Petty is trying to do.


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    Thank you!

    The 70-200mm f/2.8L II has my favorite IS of all time...you do or don't like it? (It's a magical piece of glass.)

    However, IBIS can work really well. Panasonic and Olympus lead the way, and Nikon's Z6/Z7 stabilization is underrated. (Keep in mind that no other Nikons have IBIS besides those two new mirrorless cameras. Anything else is digital, which is common. That's probably what you tried?)

    Here's a video showing IBIS in the Z7: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sxfXoGKAjuY

    Nikon calls it 'Vibration Reduction'. And then they also have 'Electronic VR', which is the one you don't want to use (and that's in other older cameras).

    Regarding the Blackmagics...amazing cameras. I did own the original big URSA V1 and it was one of my favorites of all time, but the weight and size eventually did get to me. It wasn't because of the physical demand (I'm a very athletic geek), but I just couldn't be as creative as I wanted to be. I couldn't run around, or use a normal slider or gimbal...it was just a hassle. If I were operating the camera in a studio, I wouldn't care and would absolutely love using it all of the time, especially because of it's amazing, amazing (twice) 10" screen.

    I owned the camera in late 2014/2015 and it was insane for that time and price. Gorgeous cinematic motion pictures. And that could also be said about the URSA Mini 4K/4.6K or UMP G1 (and I'm assuming G2). All of the cameras no doubt provide the most cinematic images for the price. There is simply nothing that can compare for the money, but more importantly it's about what YOU really need in a camera system.

    AF is my personal priority and I use small mirrorless cameras like the a6400 and X-T30, but I still think about the Z6. I've rented it.

    Did you know it's going to get external ProRes RAW? (Ninja V)

    It's definitely not a mistake to get any camera if it can work for you. There's a lot to say about the 4.6K UM or UMP (you'd probably love the ND filters). If you have any specific questions, feel free to ask.

    But when someone mentions what or how they shoot is challenging, I think of how great AF and IBIS can really change their life/career.

    Side note: The Z6 does not have internal Z-Log (only a FLAT option), so that could be a negative.

    Choosing the right camera can be torture but fortunately we have a lot of options...maybe share a list of your top 5 must-have features and we can narrow down some of those choices...


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    Man, in my opinion the type of shoot you described calls for a fixed lens camcorder. Something like the Canon XF400 or the new Panasonic CX350. Built-in ND filters and XLR ports, servo zoom lens with optical stabilization, no mess of devices hanging off the camera with flimsy cable connectors. What you give up on shallow depth of field you gain in ergonomics and speed. Just a thought.
    Jaime VallÚs
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jaime Valles View Post
    Man, in my opinion the type of shoot you described calls for a fixed lens camcorder. Something like the Canon XF400 or the new Panasonic CX350. Built-in ND filters and XLR ports, servo zoom lens with optical stabilization, no mess of devices hanging off the camera with flimsy cable connectors. What you give up on shallow depth of field you gain in ergonomics and speed. Just a thought.


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    I agree that for the run-around shooting described that an all-in-one camcorder makes the most sense. The Panasonic CX350 is a pretty impressive new camera, with built in stabilizing on a 20x zoom (24x with digital zoom engaged) that gets both wider and more telephoto than the competition. It’s also incredibly lightweight and the battery will last for many hours, and that’s not something to disregard when it’s all down to you running after your subjects. You’ll get much better footage if you’re not struggling, fatigued, and fighting your tools. There’s a reason for cameras of this type.

    https://youtu.be/ssu7gLJ_JHo
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    Panasonic System Solutions Company


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    Quote Originally Posted by NorBro View Post
    The 70-200mm f/2.8L II has my favorite IS of all time...you do or don't like it? (It's a magical piece of glass.)
    The lens is stellar. I rented the FL ED version last November while reshooting a lot of golf out at Kaanapali and loved it. I was just thinking (out loud) how the VR seemed as thought it wasn't even there (might be that I wasn't moving enough to notice?)....

    Quote Originally Posted by NorBro View Post
    However, IBIS can work really well. Panasonic and Olympus lead the way, and Nikon's Z6/Z7 stabilization is underrated. (Keep in mind that no other Nikons have IBIS besides those two new mirrorless cameras. Anything else is digital, which is common. That's probably what you tried?)
    I have been trying (unsuccessfully) to keep away from the Z6/7 as they are early adopter tech that might come down in price and I will have to jettison all of my glass, or use old lenses on that juicy new mount, thinking I will wait for V2 of everything, so they (Nikon) can work out any kinks. I've been reading about it a lot. Am on DPreview almost daily as well. Kind of nice to hear you write so enthusiastically about it. I have been shooting Nikons a long time and am a bit miffed at them for allowing Canon (and seemingly everyone else) to hog on the video sphere.

    Quote Originally Posted by NorBro View Post
    Here's a video showing IBIS in the Z7: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sxfXoGKAjuY
    Hands on Photography guy seems nice. I am probably in his shoes. I would have liked to have seen him walking with it. A gimbel has been in my mind for some time. I start worrying about GAS and as I am not billing for anything I do, it begins to become a little worrisome to start eyeing these toys. Very addicting.

    Quote Originally Posted by NorBro View Post
    Nikon calls it 'Vibration Reduction'. And then they also have 'Electronic VR', which is the one you don't want to use (and that's in other older cameras).
    Yes, I owned the original VR 2.8 70-200 and would shoot some golf action with a D2X, on a monopod, often with a longer prime and second back. Maybe I was numb to it, but never felt like VR reduced a whole lot. (Could also be my technique was the problem!) I sold that VR1 70-200, and also my 14-24 so my holy trinity was broken up. Then rented both lenses late last year anyway ha!

    Quote Originally Posted by NorBro View Post
    I just couldn't be as creative as I wanted to be. I couldn't run around, or use a normal slider or gimbal...it was just a hassle.
    I hadn't thought about a slider. Hmmm. I too remember when that camera came out. It was 5, maybe 6K. I was really on the verge of buying it. I saw them come and go in people's bags, read them saying what you are saying, but few really trashed it. That gimbel/slider/hassle remark sticks though.... Thanks.

    Quote Originally Posted by NorBro View Post
    I wouldn't care and would absolutely love using it all of the time, especially because of it's amazing, amazing (twice) 10" screen.
    I would sow that screen to my wife to justify my GAS. She'd say 'buy it', and I sat there thinking about the fact that I am NOT like you, John Brawley, DPStewart, the hundreds of real cinematographers here, and how much of a mockery it is for a relative idiot to be out there with such equipment when he/she is so out of control with his subjects, etc. (The best stuff I see usually involves total absolute control, especially over light, sound, movement.) Then I look at the price, and I wonder....

    Quote Originally Posted by NorBro View Post
    AF is my personal priority and I use small mirrorless cameras like the a6400 and X-T30, but I still think about the Z6. I've rented it..
    I'm not sure about the sensor tech on the Z6/7. I need to look back. I think I felt like I was getting what I already have but with a new mount, I'd need new glass, and some improvements with these two. The Z6 is the more video-centric of them.

    Quote Originally Posted by NorBro View Post
    Did you know it's going to get external ProRes RAW? (Ninja V).
    I was reading (I think it was on Reid's site eoshd) that Atomos had something coming. This is why I threw this thread up: because even with me dropping in here almost daily I still can't keep up with it! I was looking at an Atomos or Odyssey or Videoassist for both audio and capture. The sexier image capture is (for me) great, and I would love RAW of some shape or size or flavor, but that audio is what had me (long ago) looking at the SD PIX units. I think the Videoassist is interesting bc it has those robust Mini XLRs right? Those 1/4 mini audio plugs (unless they are threaded like on the Sennys) wriggle loose and I am not aways aware and it can ruin the moment....

    Quote Originally Posted by NorBro View Post
    I think of how great AF and IBIS can really change their life/career..
    That's a formidable comment and will have me rethinking my attitude about IBIS now.

    Quote Originally Posted by NorBro View Post
    Side note: The Z6 does not have internal Z-Log (only a FLAT option), so that could be a negative..
    Similar to what I am shooting with ow in the D810 then? I am able to lift shadows in pretty poor light, color correcting isn't to horrid. I shoot flat as a rule.

    Quote Originally Posted by NorBro View Post
    Choosing the right camera can be torture but fortunately we have a lot of options...maybe share a list of your top 5 must-have features and we can narrow down some of those choices...
    I think the reason I made this post is because I can't find what I am looking for and it probably doesn't exist. (Right tool for the job.) Hence, I know there are compromises. I think the audio guys would eat me a alive here on this site if I talk too much about audio but it really is 70-80% of what we 'see'. I have spent about as much on that as I have for an imaging box, if not more, and I have made money with every camera I ever owned, but have not with audio. (That's how hard the discipline is! So, my top 5 list is slanted toward audio, but I get the sense that it (on the bulk of affordable , e.g., sub-$5K cameras) is still an afterthought, which is why I began this paragraph by saying what I want may not exist (?). If it does, I'm probably there.

    1. Good, clean audio preamps and analog dials to easily ride mics
    2. Robust connections for audio. (If 3.5mm or 1/4" are any threaded?)
    3. Good monitoring on camera.
    4. Affordable media and power.
    5. All-in-one: no need to bolt cheese plates, rails, arms, and everything else I already own to it (this is what makes RAW unattainable, except maybe for the Ursas).


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