The cameras used in Hollywood produce high quality videos and come with really cool features. Let’s look at these cameras.

Canon EOS C500

The Canon EOS C500 is a 4K cinema production camera. It is more of a DSLR than a camcorder since it is compatible with a range of lenses. The camera automatically sets exposure, white balance and audio level. This camera was used to shoot The Big Shot, nominated for best picture and best director.

Pros

  • 4K recording
  • Great frame rate options
  • 3G-SDI ports and HD-SDI terminals

Cons

  • No autofocus
  • No built-in microphone

Features

EF lens mount: This feature allows for broad compatibility. The camera is also available in a PL-mount.

8.8MP CMOS image sensor: this is equivalent to a super 35mm film. The image sensor offers a high resolution and 4 K RAW outputs with 3G-SDI. This is the same sensor used in the C300 only that this one is used for recording 4K video.

Two 3G-SDI ports: these are used to output 4K or 2K video.

Two HD-SDI terminals: these support external live monitoring.

Mic jack: this is a 3.5mm mic jack that can be used for audio as the camera lacks a built-in microphone. The mic jack can also be expanded to include two XLR inputs.

4K and 2K recording modes: these include DCI production standard and TV-centric Quad Full HD production.   

Large accessible buttons: the camera features large accessible buttons which are separated by ridges.

Signal output: the camera can record externally at 60fps and at 10-bit 4K RAW data.

4K half RAW: this allows you to shoot at 120fps to an external recorder by using the camera’s 3G-SDI outputs.

Internal CF: proxy files can be recorded to the camera’s internal CF for editing or rough-cut after shooting a scene.

Log Gamma mode: allows color correction resulting in great tonal reproduction

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Blackmagic Design Cinema Camera

Blackmagic cinema camera is a great camera for video recording and the cheapest cinema camera in the market. It was used to take some shots in the movie Mad Max: fury road.

Features

13-stop dynamic range: this camera captures a wide dynamic range of 13 stops into 12-bit DNG files.

Detail preservation: this camera preserves shadow and highlight details or even details taken through a window.

High quality RAW and Pro Res recording: this camera shoots at 2.5k in RAW, DNxHD and Pro Res. It also records at 1080p.

EF and ZE lens mounts: this camera uses a wide range of lenses such as Canon and Zeiss lenses.

Lens options: choose the lens you require depending on the shot you take.

Touch screen: with this feature you can enter metadata, change settings, and display audio and exposure metering.

DaVinci resolve: this feature corrects color to produce high quality films.

Super 16mm sensor: this small sensor means that you have to keep the crop factor in mind while choosing a lens.

Clips cannot be deleted: this feature can be good or bad depending on how you look at it.

Pros

  • Great recording quality
  • Easy to use
  • Good price for a cinema camera

Cons

  • Rolling shutter
  • Rolling white lines
  • Requires buying other accessories to use it
  • Design does not allow the camera to be handheld while shooting
  • Low quality images in low light

Frequently asked questions

Q: What accessories should I purchase to get started with this camera (excluding a lens)?

A: You will definitely need a good tripod. Also, a 480GB SanDisk will be important which you can buy on Amazon. You should put some tape on your SSDs to easily pull them out. You should also consider getting a good computer that can handle the RAW files if you do not already own one. For sound, I suggest you get Juice Linked Riggy Assist. It is small and it generates quality sound. You may choose to use a battery or not use one depending on the kind of work you are doing. If you choose to get a battery, go with Bescor or Switronix.

Q: How does the recording time of this camera compare to a Canon 7D?

A: With this camera, you can record up to 5 hours. A DSLR has limited size due to the SDHC card used. Additionally, most DSLRs can only record for ten to twelve minutes then stopped because they cannot record continuously for long durations.

Q: What kind of lens do I get for this camera?

A: This camera uses a Canon EF-mount.

Q: What are the camera’s frame rates and the quality it shoots for each?

A: The frame rates include 24fps and 23.94fps and 30fps. It shoots in DNXHD, Prores and raw respectively.

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While buying this camera you need to look out for rolling white lines in dark or underexposed areas of footage. This is a sensor issue and it has nothing to do with exposure or settings. To test this, keep the lens cap on and turn the camera on. Choose film and adjust the iso/asa setting. If you notice rolling lines you send the unit back instantly. I am using a different camera now which does not have this issue.

With that said, this camera is awesome. If you were previously using a DSLR, this camera will surely blow you away. The cinema DNG RAW files are out of this world but you will need time to learn how to grade them.

This is a crop sensor and it works almost like a DSLR with wide shot workarounds. You should be prepared to invest more money since this camera is not complete. You will need a large SSD, an SDI monitor (this will come in handy outdoors), anti-glare, a microphone, an external battery (the built-in battery lasts about an hour), a support rig (it cannot work without this), and a wide angle lens (e.g. Tokina 11-16mm). To get the most out of this camera, you will definitely need these accessories. I recommend this product.

Canon EOS 5D Mark II Full Frame DSLR Camera

The Canon 5D Mark II is a great camera for video recording. It was used to take some shots in the movie Mad Max: fury road.

Features

21.1MP CMOS sensor: it features ISO sensitivity from 100-6400, expandable to 50, 12,800 and 25,600. The full frame sensor is the equivalent of a 35mm film. As a result, wide lens lenses remain wide without altering the angle of view. The camera also features a 98% coverage viewfinder.

DIGIC 4 image processor: this feature allows continuous shoots of large JPEG files and a close to instant start time. It also allows instant and quick review after shooting. This image processor also reduces noise.

HD video: this camera features Full HD1080p video capture. While filming live view you can shoot single or continuous stills with video capture continuing after the last frame.

3-inch LCD display: this VGA resolution LCD screen offers a wide 170 degree angle of view hence giving a clear and accurate focus during playback. The Live View button allows you to see real-time images on the screen. The brightness of the screen is automatically adjusted to suit different environments. You can also remotely control the camera from a PC.

Precise focusing and metering: this camera features a 9-point Auto Focus which is assisted by six invisible Auto Focus points. For accurate shooting in low light, the spot metering circle occupies 3.5 percent of the frame.

Quick control screen: this makes the most commonly used settings easily accessible. Creative auto mode also allows access to important setting options.

Optional accessories: You can extend shooting capacity with 1800mAh lithium-ion Battery Pack LP-E6, or Battery Grip BG-E6

Wireless file transfer: this camera offers external HDD and GPS compatibility and the ability to transfer files to a computer or FTP server.

Pros

  • Detailed RAW files
  • Easy shooting at slower shutter speed
  • Full frame camera that captures high quality images
  • 3.9 shooting rate

Cons

  • Slow focus
  • Loud shutter
  • Vignette and light fall of
  • Noisy built-in microphone
  • Too heavy for outdoors

Frequently asked questions

Q: What was the shutter count on this camera at the time of buying?

A: Since the camera was new, I am thinking zero or below ten as a result of manufacturer testing.

Q: Does this camera come with a lens?

A: No. but you can get a 28-300mm ISM lens, 50mm macro, and a 17mm fisheye. The fisheye is used for underwater diving.

Q: I want to buy this camera for my husband who is taking photography classes. Is this a good choice for a beginner?

A: No. This camera is a professional grade. To make the best use of this camera, you have to know what you are doing. The Canon T series is a good place to start for a beginner.

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I love photography. I understand the connection between aperture, ISO and shutter. I am aware of compositions the rules of thirds. I watch YouTube as often as possible and try to learn more. I also process my RAW files in Lightroom because I am an amateur photographer and I am too lazy to learn Photoshop and layers. I am also conscious about the price and I can say that this camera was worth the price. I have used it for about two weeks and I am pleased with it.

For non-professional shooting, this camera has the best value for money and it gives quality images which is important. The 5DIII is much better than this one, but the price is too high. The focus is great but this is probably I do not take shots of things that are moving fast.

I would suggest that when you go about buying a full frame camera, know why you need it. I recommend this camera to anyone with the money, understands that photography requires hard work and wants to be a better photographer.

GoPro HERO4 BLACK

Hero4 Black is a great filming camera with cutting-edge features. It was used to shoot The Martian.

Features

Powerful processor: this camera has 2 times the processor performance and frame rate compared to its predecessor. This means that it has greater image quality.

Ultra-high resolution: this camera features 4K30, 2.7K60, 1080p120, 720p240. This is only camera that has such a high resolution and high frame rate. This camera offers high quality professional videos in a small package. It also offers clear slow motion playback.

Fast powerful photo capture: this 12MP 30fps camera ensures that you capture every single moment. You can also capture shots in Time Lapse mode. With this option you capture shots at intervals, depending on the set time. This is awesome for gear mounted shots when you cannot reach the shutter. Night photo and night lapse options give you customizable settings for taking quality night time photos.

Built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth: with these two options you can connect to GoPro App or Smart Remote. With the GoPro App, you can remotely the camera from your phone or tablet. You can control the settings, eye shot preview and playback. You can also share files through email, social media or text. With Smart Remote control more than one GoPro camera up to a distance of 180 meters.

Protune: this feature gives simply compressed cinema-caliber videos optimized for professional production and advanced manual controls for stills and videos. You can also get creative with customizable settings for color, ISO, limit, white balance, sharpness, and exposure.

QuikCapture: with the QuikCapture mode you can capture shots instantly. With a single button you can start recording immediately. To capture video, press once. Two take Time Lapse pictures, press and hold for two seconds. With this feature, you will never miss a shot.

After dark settings: the Night Photo and Night Lapse modes allow you to take quality shots of the night sky. These modes offer customizable exposure settings of up to 30 seconds for single or time lapse shots. With these modes you can capture low light shots of the Milky Way or of a campfire.

Auto low light mode: the camera automatically adjusts the frame rate depending on the lighting conditions. This increases low light performance. It also allows you to move between surroundings with different lighting without changing the lighting.

Pros

  • 4K at 30fps
  • 120fps at 1080p slow motion
  • Wireless connectivity
  • Great sharpness
  • Good low light performance
  • Manual controls

Cons

  • Battery life not good enough
  • No rear touch screen

Frequently asked questions

Q: What is battery life of this camera? I read that it only shoots for an hour. Is this true?

A: Yes. The battery life of the camera is shorter because of a faster processor.

Q: I am thinking to use this for fitness studio. Will it be too much?

A: Overall, the black version is too much for everything. 1080p is ideal for day to day shooting. It is rare to take full advantage of 4K resolution and the idea that 1080p is just as great as 4K when seen on 4K TV. The only way to view real 4K video is from an original file on a computer or on 4K television. 4K video in the internet is not real 4K. 4K greatly reduces battery power and occupies lots of space. Processing 4K video requires a really good computer and plenty of time.

The silver model down to HeroPlus is 1080 at 60 frames. You can check out the website to see the features of all and decide which one suits your needs. The HeroPlus is budget conscious and the Cube which has more features is cheaper but does not have an LCD display. The silver version is also over kill. The difference between the basic version and the newer version is 4MP.

Q: Does the black version have a built-in LCD touch screen like the silver version?

A: No. But you can buy one for $79.

Q: When the description says camera only does that mean that it comes with waterproof housing or is it simply just the camera?

A: Hero cameras come with standard housing which is waterproof up to 40 meters. The diving housing which is sold separately is waterproof up to 60 meters.

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I am a professional videographer and I did not have the same expectations that I do for my bigger cameras. I have been using Hero3 for work and personal uses and it was natural for me to get the Hero4.

This camera does tend to give off heat that is more than hot. I had the same problem with my Hero3. I have also heard of experiences where the heat is hot. Fortunately, I heard that some people have had an easy time dealing with the heat. So I think it is important to purchase from a reputable dealer.

The Hero4 has more manual controls. You can now adjust exposure such as that of night time lapse. I am looking forward to seeing what more this feature can do. It is disappointing that the silver had an LCD screen while the black does not. However, it still works well all the same. The fact that I have an understanding of the angles the camera can capture at narrow, medium and wide settings makes it easier. I also use the phone app to confirm the angle I require. The advantage of Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity means that you can use a device for live view. You can also add the screen as well.

Hero4 black still works with all accessories. Its size and weight is not different from the Hero3. The battery life lasts about an hour. Additionally, the camera can get warm depending on the settings and I have seen some that get hot. Heat can reduce the life of the camera. If the average temperature is 130 degrees, I wonder how long it will last.  But I can only test this after testing over a long time period.

You will probably buy this camera for this 4K30. 4K enables you to reframe when editing in case you want to output n 1080. The 4K is really great although you cannot compare it to bigger professional cameras. For its price and size, this camera cannot be compared with such cameras. Additionally, with this camera, you will be getting great slow motion videos. For this price, it does not get any better than this.

The 4K provides 60mpbs which may sound small but more expensive camera use the same and offer good videos. This camera performs great as well. However, you can notice breakup in the codec in fast motion. However, since the angles are wide and details are small, the breakup remains controlled. This is acceptable for such a small camera.

I recommend this camera for anyone who wants 4K in a small package. Although there are other cameras you could buy, this camera has impressive features which give great features for professionals or enthusiasts.

Canon EOS C300 Cinema Camcorder

This lightweight camera that shoots well in low light was used in Menashe.

Features

Super 35mm CMOS image sensor: this sensor has an active image size of 24.4 x 13.5mm. It makes use of 3840 photosites to perform optoelectronic transformation of digital imaging.

Photosite sensor: each photosite has a microlens that ensures high efficiency in light transfer to a single photodiode. The photosite also lowers sensor noise and improves photon capacity.

Sensor readout: the sensor’s readout technique offers full bandwith and individual RGB components to give high image quality at high speed with low battery consumption and reduced heat output.

Wide dynamic range: this feature works with the sensor and processor to give high signal to noise ratio. As a result, recordings of high detail and dynamic range are captured.

Wide range lens compatibility: this camera is compatible with existing and new cinema EF lenses. It is compatible with third party accessories.

Canon DIGIC DV III Image Processor: with 50mbps 4:2:2 and Canon Log, this camera offers an effortless integration with existing production workflows.

Pros

  • Tiltable EVF
  • SDI port
  • A movable LCD screen

Cons

  • 720 at 60p Slow motion
  • It is a bit too big to held for long

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The C100 and this camera have similarities such as the sensor, the low light performance and DR. So where is the difference?

The C300 has a 50mbps 4:2:2 codec while the C100 has a 24mbps 4:20 codec. The C100 works well and you might have a hard time choosing, but the additional color information does make a difference. The additional bitrates in the C300 leads to reduced blocking in fast motion scenes. However, I hear that you can buy a ninja-2 for the C100 plus and get a better codec than that of the C300 and save some money. But this means that you an additional accessory to mount instead of having a good built-in system.

This camera lacks a permanent monitor. Although I do not really like this camera’s LCD or that of the C100, I think the C300 monitor is better. This is because it can be moved to different positions while that of the C100 remains in the rear. The C300 becomes really tall with the LCD at the top position.

The C300 has a much better EVF than the C100. This is great because it make it easy to judge the camera’s focus. It would have been great if the C100 had the C300’s. The C300’s EVF can tilt up which is a good improvement.

This camera has an SDI port, slow motion is 720 at 60p and it is bigger than the C100. The two cameras are okay when held but the C300 can be fatiguing for someone smaller. It also has the choice of EF or PL mount lenses. The C100 actually has features that thus camera lacks such as the newer AF system.

Eventually, your needs will dictate what kind of camera you will buy.