Richard Cook © 2019

CAMERA INFORMATION

Below is some general information on some professional cameras and equipment that may be helpful. (In the future I may do some more involved camera reviews).

C300

The C300 produces excellent pictures and its low light capabilities are very good. I feel its a camera that has to be used with care and with very high quality optics to get the best out of it. With Canon CN cine primes/zooms or Zeiss optics its picture quality is at its best.  Ergononics of the standard body are hopeless, I have built various brackets/plates/handles etc to make the camera fast to work with. Timecode is a great way to sync this camera to separate sound recording.

Dual recording of the CF cards is very usefull and cards are so cheap they can be used like tape.

This cameras drawback is its low bit rate of 50mps so its not ideal for heavy post production work however as most TV productions need pictures that are ready to use with the minimum amount of post and colour grading this camera is ideal.

 

Ideal lenses, Canon CN primes 14/24/35/50/85/135

CN zooms 15.5-47, 30-105, CN7

Panasonic P2 AJ-HPX3100

The P2 3100 has some of the most pleasing picture qualitiy of any camera for TV production. it records 100mps at 1080 HD, is very fast to work with and ideal for rough changing conditions like "Extreme fishing," its perfect for Hand held camera work and can easily be hand held all day. It is the main camera used on ""Grand Tours of Scotland."

This camera will cover 85% of all camera work and only falls down in very low light and achieving a shallow depth of field.

If youre getting flung about offshore in rotton weather trying to cover fast action this is your camera!....(you will need rain deflectors and waterproof covers).

 

Lenses HJ11/HJ22 & 18x

Sony Fs7/F55/F5

The Sony Fs7/F55/F5 are great cameras, and very versitile with the FZ/E lens mount, this enables all sorts of glass to be fitted to the camera. They need to be very well protected in adverse conditions as they are not well sealed againt dust or moisture. 

Ideal for using LUTs (Look up tables), this method of shooting has to be arranged before the edit as this will involve extra work and cost in post production. Standard picture profiles can also be used like any other camera for a fast turn around in the edit. (If your shooting Log and slow motion its worth noting that this camera can be very hard to focus as LUTs can not be applied to the VF off speed). 

The FS7 is very lightweight, but the E mount is very under engineered and moves about with heavy lenses so they must be well supported. The camera has no built in timecode so you will need the XDCA-Fs7. 

Canon CN7 17-120 lens on Sony FS7

Red Dragon

I have used all the Red cameras a great deal starting with the Red One. I have to say an ace bit of kit that I enjoy shooting with,  the RAW image quality is fantastic, its a camera that is very reliable, small in size and versitile. It is great for high quality slow motion. The ability to put almost any lens onto the body and its small size means it fits the Ronin MX and can be ideal for working in cramped spaces. The body is very well built.

Footage is easily dealt with in modern edit suites but like the F55 the amount of shot data can mount up quickly so this needs to be planned for in advance. The Dragon will shoot up to 6.5K.

The lens mount and OLPF can easily be changed on site,

A new Red Epic W camera has just been announced, it looks very impressive, shoots upto 8K Raw and or ProRes. 

I have found Red Europe a first class company to deal with.

Canon C300 MK2

The Canon C300 MK2 is new on the market..

It shares many features of the first C300, for instance its small and great to travel with, It also has the added bonus of AF with the Canon EF stills lenses. Its a very small unit that is great for car interiors or lugging up hills.

The 4K and HD picture quality is first class, Alan Roberts has just given this camera Teir 1 for outstanding HD image quality. This is always subjective but I think the C300 Mk11 has a better look than many other cameras out there. This camera will also be far better in post production than the old C300. It also matches very well with the Arri cameras. The image quality has impressed me a great deal along with the face detection auto focus.  Auto Focus with EF stills lenses seems to work well.

It uses the new CF fast cards, these are not the same as the standard CF cards used in the older camera. The batteries have been changed as well.

The only thing letting it down is the lack of full sensor slow motion for higher frame rates, having said that the unit is far lighter and smaller than the F5.

Arri Amira

Finally a S35 camera that has actually been designed to be used! It has a viewfinder that works and is in the right position! Interchangable lens mounts and great ergonomics. A first class documentary camera which along with the Red Dragon I like very much. The image quality like all Arri cameras is excellent. It is best suited for use with S35 lenses but can work with EF or B4 mount glass. Slow motion to 200fps at 2K, 60fps at 4K. (it can get heavy).

Lens information 2/3" chip cameras

Lenses for the 2/3" B4 mount chip cameras are generally limited to two manufacturers, Canon and Fuji. Both are great and offer tremendous flexibility for broadcast work, For the vast majority of jobs you only need to travel with two lenses, I like a wide zoom like the HJ11 Canon and the HJ22 Canon which is the long lens and will give you more reach than a standard zoom.

Coupled with the Likes of a Sony or Panasonic 2/3" camera these lenses allow you to work very fast and in conditions that would be much more difficult than with a S35 camera e.g C300 or FS7. 

 

S35 Lens information

S35 cameras have enabled all sorts of lenses to be used with broadcast cameras. The high end zoom lenses from for instance Canon, Zeiss or Fuji are all superb and are well suited for film and TV work. Due to the laws of physics these lenses are bigger slower and heavier by quite some margin as opposed to a 2/3" chip lens. The zooms on S35 lenses also come in shorter ranges so for instance two lenses I like very much and use a great deal are the Canon CN 15.5-47 and 30-105 they are two compact zooms that offer a constant aperature, no focus breathing, close minimum focus and excellent image quality but like everything else in the camera world you dont get something for nothing and the downside is you will be changing lenses more often. 

The Canon CN7 is a first class servo lens that tries to offer much of what a 2/3" chip lens would have done, its very sharp but does ramp exposure from about 90mm to 120mm, poor close focus distance and has a much smaller zoom range than a 2/3 chip lens.

I like to work with cine primes as much as possible, they have excellent image quality and with practice lens changes can be very slick. The Zeiss CP2/Canon CN and Cookes are all excellent primes, Samyang/Rokinon make cheaper sets of primes but I have found the quality between lenses variable and not that sharp wide open.

 

Many types of stills lenses will fit on S35 cameras, Some like the old Nikkors, Contax and Leicas are very good, but the big problem with the vast majority is image shift, breathing during focus, inaccurate registration and colour inconsistency. 

Generally most modern lenses have no continuous iris control, many are run through a motorized system that changes exposure in 1/3 or 1/2 stop steps. Often shots are lost by being unable to rack the iris especially in the fast changing light levels of the Scottish weather. Stills photography zooms have very short ranges and can ramp very badly. The other problem they also have is no tracking, So they will need to be refocused at each focal lengh. They can be very difficult slow and cumbersome to use. The IS on the Canons works well.

I would question the image quality of some of the older and cheaper lenses, There is a big difference between a £200 plastic stills lens that rattles when you move it and a proper £12000 broadcast lens!

The long telephotos like the Canon/Nikon 300mm or 500mm and some macro lenses do not have as many of the above problems and work very well.

The autofocus and IS on the C300 mk11 might be a game changer coupled with the newly announced 18-80 canon zoom. 

 

 

 

IBE HDx35 Mark 11

The HD35 is an adaptor for using 2/3" chip B4 lenses on a S35 camera body. I think this is a good bit of kit with good image quality upto 4K at the long end of say a 18x or HJ22 Canon zoom, however it gets softer the wider you go and will fall apart image wise with the doubler and if the lens is wide open at the wide end.

Sony also make a version that is similar in performance. Mechanical non optical adaptors dont work well as the B4 lenses are designed to focus on a 3 Chip block.