Sony Alpha a7S – 12.2MP Interchangeable Lens Digital Camera
About five years ago no one would have thought mirror-less cameras can actually give a tough competition to DSLRs. But at the present moment these types of cameras are thought to be the future of professional photography. The credit of uncovering this capability of mirroless cameras totally goes to the Sony. Over the last couple of years this brand has flooded the market with a number of mirrorless cameras that are really great at shooting photographs.
The Sony Alpha a7S was a big surprise to those people who love to record videos, but cannot buy the professional cinematic cameras. At just 141,900 rupees, this device offers 4K video recording and premium features that are beyond anyone’s expectation.
Stunning Low Light Performance
This small and portable camera is amazing when it comes to low light photography. The mind boggling ISO range of 50-409600 is just unbelievable on a device like this. Images do turn out to be pretty noisy at the highest setting, but till ISO 102400 everything remains under control. You would love doing astrophotography with this camera. Exposing the sensor to longer duration and setting the ISO to maximum will capture light from distant stars that are located at the center of milky way galaxy.
Wide dynamic range and startling low light performance make this camera great for video recording especially during night. Slow motion videos can be captured at 120 frames per second, but at a lower resolution. Depth of 8bit per pixel seems to be little low however, it gets compensated with the high dynamic range.
Full Frame Sensor
The Sony Alpha a7S features a 35mm lens that captures the subject at 12.2 MP. Low megapixel count is a bit disappointing, but it helps in making the camera more sensitive to light. 4K videography is possible, but you will require an external recorder to do that. Another attraction is the S-Log 2 recording that evenly distributes the highs and lows over the image. The Picture Profile 7 gives the flattest results, but also allows for some flexibility.
There are 25 focus points on this camera, which are really quick at focusing and tracking the subject. Features like Zebra Pattern and Focus Peaking are also available on this device.
Mirrorless cameras can easily be carried around without any sort of problem. This device offers a nice build quality with the same attractive finish that was also featured on the earlier versions. All the controls are located at user friendly place except the dials, which are really hard to reach for the people with bigger hand. Also, the hand grip is much small and forces the users to squeeze the palm.
This camera houses a 3 inch LCD panel that can be tilted up and down. Thanks to the resolution of 0.9 million dots that the images and videos become easy to shoot. You also get an electronic view finder at the top, but it considerably lags in low light environment.
People love DSLRs because they get the option to choose from different lenses on them and this mirrorless camera is also loaded with that capability. The best thing is that all the lenses that this device supports are generally smaller and more compact than their DSLR counterparts.
Wi-Fi and NFC Connectivity
The list of connectivity options is one of the most important things that play a very important role in video production. Luckily, the Sony Alpa a7S also offers Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity options. You can transfer the captured files directly to cloud or any other compatible device. Mini HDMI port is a little disappointing because it can get easily damaged and this matters a lot when you are using an external recorder for 4K shooting.
Bad Battery Performance
Sony’s A7 series is famous for low capacity batteries and this device is no different. Its battery will only allow you to capture 380 snaps on a single charge. My advice would be to purchase at least two extra batteries if photography is your profession.
- Amazing low light performance
- ISO range of 50-409600
- Great dynamic range
- Good for astrophotography
- 25 focus points
- 4K capable (but needs an external recorder)
- Wi-Fi and NFC
- Produces noise
- Rolling shutter problem
- Low megapixel count
- Not good for on the go photography
When compared to DSLRs, this camera is a viable option. I would love to travel in rural India with this camera and shoot night sky as the light pollution is minimal there. It is also great for shooting documentaries and short films. However, the problem arises when you start doing on-the-go photography. Fast camera movements result in curvy and disgusting images. Also, holding this device in hand becomes a little comfortable during longer sessions as the dials are at a really annoying place. The other bad thing is that to do 4K shooting you would need an external recorder, which will be no less than a headache for a person who only does occasional videography.
Panasonic HC-X1000GC 4K Video Camera
When it comes to video shooting, no device is better than a professional camcorder. Over the last few years, 4K video cameras have changed a lot. Now professionals are interested in a device that can record in real 4K quality. Currently, the Panasonic HC-X1000GC 4K is one of the few professional cinema grade video cameras that offer 4K recording at reasonable price. While most of the high quality camcorders come at a price tag of more than 2, 00,000 rupees, this camera can be purchased for a much lower amount of 141600 rupees only.
4K Recording At 60 FPS
Perhaps the greatest advantage of having this camera is that you will be able to record 4K videos at 60 frames per second. This capability is not available on other 4K recording devices of this segment. This professional camera also offers much flexibility allowing one to shoot at various formats and rates like:
- 4096×2160 pixels (4K), 100Mbps
- 3840×2160 pixels (UHD), 100 or 150 Mbps
- 1920×1080 pixels (full HD), up to 200 Mbps
Moreover, while shooting in full HD the image does not get cropped rather the processor just down scales the 4K information coming from the sensor. The result is crispier and original size footage. It is also capable of recording in AVCHD format if your PC is not that powerful.
Fully Functional Professional Camera
This 4K camera is loaded with all those feature that you would expect on a high end camcorder. It supports dual channel audio recording and has got two XLR ports. Three lens rings allow greater control over the video quality. The ND filter comes with three options, which help in controlling the situation even if the sun is really bright. Focus peaking is another feature of this video camera that makes focusing the subject much easier.
User Friendly Design
It is an ENG camera, which means you will have no problem in finding or operating the controls while shooting videos. Plastic doors on some of the buttons prevent the users from accidentally changing the settings. The analog dials on the audio panel are easy to operating when you are busy looking at the subject through viewfinder. Also, the two white balance presets enable the users to instantaneously jump from one tone to the other.
The most striking of all is that this camera offers dual SD card slots on the right side. This feature also allows to do background recording on the non-active SD card.
Disappointing Low Light Performance
Because of the small sensor, quality of the videos really gets degraded. In low light conditions, the camera fails to capture a lot of details and also suffers from dynamic range problem. The shot video will be crispy, but the details will be lacking. Moreover, the 18.7 megapixel size remains useless as the camera records video at the maximum of 8.85 MP only.
The good thing is you can magnify the subject 20 times because of the 4-Drive Leica Dicomar Lens System. Zebra pattern and histogram can also be used to give perfect exposure to the view field.
High Resolution Display
The 3.5 inch display of this video camera packs 1.1 million pixels and proves to be much useful during the operation. You can slide the display panel inside the top enclosure to prevent any kind of damage. It features a capacitive touch panel because of which browsing through the menu becomes easy. The viewfinder of this camera sports 1.2 million pixels and can be tilted upwards.
Great Connectivity Options
The best thing that you would like about this device is that it offers a bunch of connectivity options. Live HDMI feature allows the users to use an external display as the main screen of this camera. To transfer data, Panasonic has also featured a USB 3.0 port on it. The camera can also be remotely operated using a smartphone as it features on-board Wi-Fi connectivity. Also, NFC can be used to trigger auto-sync with a smartphone or tablet.
Decent Battery Backup
While shooting outdoors, battery backup is a major concern for every videographer. But you will not have to worry about that as this camera comes with a 5800 mAh battery and can record 4K videos for six hours on a single charge. If your usages are more, then feel free to purchase an extra battery unit.
- Two SD card slots
- Inbuilt IR emitter allows to do Night Vision recording
- Background recording support
- Histogram and Zebra pattern
- Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity
- Can record in MOV, MP4 and AVCHD formats.
- Easy to use
- Huge display
- Dual audio channel
- Three ND filters
- Long battery life
- Records 4K videos at 60 frames per second
- Sensor is really small
- Fails to capture details in low lighting conditions
For those who are just starting with their video production career, this camcorder can be an affordable solution. It is easy to use and offers a number of great features. This Panasonic camera is also suitable for on-the-go recording and it will be loved by the news industry. Moreover, this device will remain useful many years from now as it can record in 4K quality. You would also not have to worry about the remaining storage because it features two SD card slots.
Finally, in my opinion, Panasonic should have made this 4K camera a little more desirable by putting a bigger sensor in it.
Panasonic Lumix GH4K – 16MP Digital SLR Camera with 12-35 F2.8 lens
The Panasonic Lumix GH4K has already impressed many experts around the world. It is considered one of the most affordable and portable video recording cameras that shoot in 4K quality internally. More surprising is the fact that it is a mirrorless camera. Truly speaking, it is a device that can be used for 4K quality video recording and real HD image shooting. The price of 137,900 rupees is not much as the professional 4K cameras with the set of features that this device packs will cost you more than 5 Lac rupees.
Digital Live MOS Sensor
At the heart of this camera is a 16.05 MP Live MOS sensor capable of recording 4K videos at 4096 X 2160 pixels. The 49 area auto-focusing system is really fast and can focus on the subject before you would know. However, it suffers a lot while tracking the subject, so you will be forced to rely on manual focusing during video recording.
The camera also gives the option to choose from various video codecs including MP4, MOV and AVCHD. The maximum bitrate that can be achieved during 4K recording is 100 Mbps, but this number jumps to 200 Mbps in the case of full HD recording. It also offers great variability while selecting the video resolution. Panasonic also sells an optional 4K recording unit specially design for this camera for those users who want to go deeper into professional videography. With this unit, chroma sub-sampling of 4:2:2 can be achieved at 10 bits.
Although this device is primarily focused on videography but it also performs great on the front of photography. The background processing helps in achieving high contrast ratio and successfully preserves the dynamic range. Both colors and small details are accurately reproduced. Mechanical shutter of this camera will allow user to shoot images at 12 frames per second while electronic shutter can capture 40 images every second.
From the outside no one can actually tell whether it is a mirrorless camera or a DSLR. Moreover, this device also feels much comfortable in the hand. Control buttons and dials are located at easy to reach places. The grip is big enough to fit in the hand of any size. The outer shell is made of magnesium alloy that provides durability. There are number of customizable buttons available on this mirrorless camera that can be used to trigger any function of users’ choice.
3-inch High Resolution Display
The 3 inch display of this camera houses more than one million dots. It can also be flipped out and tilted according to the position of the user. However, when an external microphone or HDMI cable is attached the panel gets stuck and cannot be opened. It is a serious flaw that Panasonic has overlooked. The viewfinder houses an OLED panel and offers crystal clear view of the subject.
Like many other cameras in this price range, the device also comes with Wi-Fi connectivity. Dedicated application can be installed on smartphones through which this camera can be operated remotely. Real time HDMI output is supported that becomes much beneficial while doing high level video shooting. Moreover, the Lumix GH4k is also equipped with NFC.
Not So Great Battery Life
The 1860 mAh battery that comes along is not that great and can only help you shooting 530 images in one session. If you are recording in 4K, then the camera will require at least two additional batteries for a full day shooting.
- ISO range of 100-25600 (ISO 64000 is also achievable while recording motion picture)
- Records 4K internally
- Full HD videos at 200 Mbps
- Additional customizable function buttons
- 49-area auto focus system
- High resolution view finder and display
- Live HDMI output
- Remote control through Wi-Fi connectivity
- Continuous auto focus is not impressive
- Mechanical shutter produces a lot of noise
- Poor focus tracking system
Certainly, the Panasonic Lumix GH4K would be the first choice for anyone interested in entry level video production business. What’s more intriguing about this camera is that it is not only a great 4K video recording device, but also an amazing snaps shooter. The photography world has been dominated by Canon and Nikon for many years now, but all that is changing with the advent of mirrorless cameras from Sony and Panasonic.