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Sunday, May 06, 2012

The Camera We All Want But No One Is Delivering


I had some high hopes about this NAB and new cameras. Lets face it, we all did actually. In some respects the dslr revolution has stopped evolving. Canon has expensive and really expensive new offerings but has totally missed the market that started it all. Nikon has at best modest offerings, but since you can't mount any EF glass onto their bodies thats a lost cause. I'm not sure you can even mount PL glass to Nikon bodies.


Panasonic ? GH2 is cool but its M4/3's. They had no new large sensor camera at NAB this year and the AF100 is again M4/3's. 


Sony ? Ok, the FS100 continues to be the maybe camera in my eyes. Its a bit pricey, but not crazy to the point of where the pay off time on the camera is very long. F3 ? well its a year old, but looking more than over priced by a crazy amount and the new FS700 spanks its pants off for 1/2 the price. The F3 is a very nice camera, but not for $16K and the C300 does better in low light for the same price.
BMD camera ? I'l probably add one to my camera collection because its price is right and I can use it on some ENG type jobs. Its smaller than M4/3's bigger than 2/3" means easy focusing compared to S35 sized cameras. It has SDI out to feed the truck and takes audio in so it all stays in sync. Its a great basic video camera. However, because the sensor is small, its not going to replace the look of my 60D's
Lets look at my package today. I started with a T2i to test the waters. I still had a JVC HD100 and that camera worked a lot. While somewhat pleased by the T2i, I also saw its short comings. This was mainly in the non-native ISO's that made the camera noisy. As soon as the 60D came out, I bought one, selling the T2i and not looking back. Its was good as the 7D for a lot less. It continues to be the sweet spot under these conditions : APS-C / S35 sensor vs overall image quality vs PRICE !
I now have 2 60D's and love them for the image quality vs price EXCEPT for the alaising and moire problems. You just never know when its going to bite you on stuff like fabrics, slightly off horizontal lines, ect. Really its pretty ridiculous when you consider it. There are other cameras in this price range without the problems.
So where is the $1,000ish APS-C /S35 size sensor camera without moire and aliasing problems ? for now it doesn't exist. I'd even go to $2000 or so. The 5D MkII is too dated, the 5D MkIII is too soft unless you mod the camera and remove the 2nd low pass filter. Then this camera starts to shine at almost reasonable price. However, its still not what I want. The sensor is too big. Canon has no APC-C camera that's not $8K or more and makes artifact free images. The next cheapest camera is the Sony FS100 for $5K. However, add on a Metabones EF adapter, some batteries and bits and you are at about $6500. The onboard codec is ok for some work and it shoots to SD cards which is even better. However for best quality add on another $1100 or so for an Atmos Ninja to record 8bit ProRes. Not great, but perhaps livable and still a bit expensive.
The reality is this : the sub $2K APS-C sensor market is completely wide open and unguarded. Any company that comes along with a camera with this size sensor, a decent codec and a EF mount is going to clean up. There is huge pent up demand here and no one is responding. Canon could do it, but some how I expect they are going to miss the boat. They are gonna do an FCP X move.  I actually think they have just plain old gotten greedy thinking that the dslr folks will just pay ANYTHING for a better camera. While I'm sure C300 sales have been very strong initially, I"ll also bet they taper off nearly as quick as people like me just sit and wait. Hopefully the wait won't be much longer for a 70D model that makes reasonably a sharp artifact free 1080 image… or some company will.  If anyone may come along, it could be Panasonic, or some Chinese company we've never heard of that just drops a bomb. O f course Canon can claim they didn't see it coming as the loose customers to the upstart. In the words of Mr. Jobs "If you aren't prepared to cannibalize yourself, your competition will."