Can you guess what camera was released a year ahead of its time?
Here are some clues:
- Touch screen interface and focusing
- Tack-sharp 16-50mm f/2.-2.8 zoom lens
- Bluetooth, Wifi
- Gamma C and Gamma DR settings Mirrorless (less bulk, film in sunlight w/o hooded monitor and rig.)
- APS C sensor
- Back-side illuminated sensor
- Records 4k internally on SD cards
- Films at 120 fps at 1920 x 1080
- Records 4k at 24 fps, UHD at 30 and 24 fps, 1920 at 120, 60, 30, 24 fps
- Films at 23.98 as well as 24 frames per second
- Uses h.265 codec (what the new iPhone uses)
- Has internal image stabilization
- Magnesium alloy body
- Shoot stills at 15 shots per second
- Under $3k for lens and camera
And now it is priced at $2,199.00 ($600. off to sticker price). Its color “look” is close to Canon's. (It doesn't “lean to the green” like others).
It rolled out in Sept. 2014. It received 87% Gold Award from dpReview.com and their video tests showed it beating the GH4. It may have stalled with filmmakers because the h.265 wasn't supported natively by Adobe Premiere Pro, though it is now. (I used the free app, “Handbrake”, to convert to h.264 and I could edit the shots on my MacBook Pro.)
Since I'm a Canon shooter I didn't pay much attention to it until I learned it shot 120 fps at the full 1920 x 1080. Tony Northrup also tested it against the GH4 and Sony and its autofocus beat them both, hands down.
I had to see for myself if this camera might work for me. I'm a cinema verite, documentary style filmmaker – no focus puller. I want to count on its auto focus and auto white and I need a flip out monitor.
So, I tested auto focus in low light. Currently, the 70D is the king of auto focus. This camera came close but didn't surpass the 70D. But, judge for yourself. Below are tests I did on a camera that may have been the most under-publicized camera for filmmakers wanting 4k internal AND 120 fps at 1920.
Resolution and Noise at various ISOs ( vs 70D, 5D M3, 5D M3 with Magic Lantern)
Autofocus in low light (f/2) run and gun (chasing my dog around the house)
120 Frames per second (people jogging, mostly with Canon's EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM Lens)
One note: This camera was withdrawn from European market three months ago. Was that a strategic withdrawal from a soft market? Or is a planned alliance/licensing deal close? Wouldn't it be great to have a crystal ball and see what Canon's next entree will be? I'd like to stay with the Canon glass I have and not have to work with variable density filters to adjust f stop.
(cover photo credit: snap from B&H)