PROFESSIONAL CAMERA Ι PROFESSIONAL CAMRA OPERATOR Ι PROFESSIONAL VIDEOGRAPHY Ι PROFESSIONAL CAMERAMAN
Video production cameras have taken huge strides in quality and features over the past few years. We’ve quickly moved from HD to 4K and beyond, with large format sensors, better low-light sensitivity and impressive off-speed frame rates being offered by all the major suppliers. Any top ten list is bound to be controversial, so we apologise in advance if your favourite camera isn’t listed here! In truth, these cameras are all excellent in their own way, and the key to camera selection is choosing the look and form factor that best suits your project.
So in no particular order, here’s our take on the top 10 professional video cameras being used in Singapore today.
1. Arri Alexa Mini
Conceived initially as a speciality camera for shoots requiring a lightweight, small body—the Mini has gone on to become a mainstream choice for all sorts of video production, including TVCs, drama and feature film production. The smaller form factor makes it ideal for gimbals and Steadicam rigs, but the design imposes some restrictions, with fewer input and output options and miniaturised connectors such as mini-lemo for audio.
2. Sony FS7
Launched in 2014, the Sony FS7 is a real industry workhorse and is quite possibly the most popular professional production camera on the market. It has a super35mm CMOS sensor and records in 4K. Unlike its bigger brother the F5, the FS7 doesn’t come with a secondary screen for adjusting settings—all adjusts are made through the viewfinder. But with features like 180 fps frame rates and the ability to record RAW (with an additional module), this camera is a powerful production tool.
3. Canon EOS C300 MKII
The Canon C300 MKII was a significant update to the original C300 with lots of improvements. The design is quirky with a top mounted LCD, and rear positioned viewfinder – which is not to everyone’s taste. While other suppliers offer better specs—the Canon still has many fans due to its attractive colourimetry and compatibility with Canon lenses.
There are many variants of the RED camera, including the latest 8K Monstro, or the more commonly used models such as the Helium, Gemini and Dragon-X. RED offers both upgrade and trade-in options on their earlier cameras, which allows owners to keep pace with the latest sensor technology.
5. Blackmagic URSA Mini Pro 4.6K
Blackmagic are an Australian company that started out making capture cards and now have a broad product range including DaVinci Resolve editing software, monitors, switchers and a good selection of cameras including the URSA. Not as common in rental houses as the other brands featured here, the URSA is popular amongst owner/operators looking to step up from DSLR or mirrorless camera systems.
6. Panasonic EVA 1
The Panasonic AU-EVA1 is a compact 5.7K super35 4K camera body with the popular EF lens mount. Similar in size and styling to the Sony FS-7, it even includes timecode inputs, a feature only available on the Sony with the add-on module.
7. Arri Amira
Arri cameras have that film pedigree and solid construction that makes them sought after in high-end television and feature film production. Even if more recent models have overtaken the Amira’s specs, it’s still favoured for that Arri ‘Look’ and the vast range of lenses available in the PL lens mount.
8. Sony Venice
Second, only to the F65 in Sony’s digital cinema camera line-up, the Venice has a 6K sensor and offers dual base ISO of 500 and 2500. It comes with a PL lens mount but can be quickly switched to e-mount.
9. Panasonic Varicam
Panasonic’s high-end offering is the Varicam system, with four models available to suit different production needs. The LT variant offers a more compact body for handheld, Steadicam and gimbal rigs. The HS is geared towards documentary and sports coverage, while the Pure model offers 4K Raw capture.
A more specialist camera than the others in this list, Phantom is the ‘go-to’ camera for ultra-high-speed filming. The v2640 model offers a mind-boggling 12,500 fps at HD quality. The recently released Flex4K is a more mainstream production camera but still provides 1000 fps at 4K and a super35mm sensor.