Trying to decide what camera to upgrade to.
Hello, I'm an amateur videographer, music video director and attempting to get into short films but am not exactly sure which camera to upgrade too. I currently have a Canon SL1 which is a cheap beginners camera that just doesn't meet my standards. I've been trying to decide between the Canon 80D and Panasonic G85 which both seem to be good cameras, but want an opinion/recommendation from someone who knows more about cameras than I do. I have a budget of about 16-18 hundred dollars. Autofocus isn't important, low light should be usable and not extremely noisy, 4K isn't required but is always nice to have, and just a clean designed camera that will work and do what I need it too.
Any help/recommendations/tips would be really appreciated
Any help/recommendations/tips would be really appreciated
I suggest you do some reading on dxomark.com. They compare the raw capabilities of most modern cameras and are the defacto standard source of thise information. You mentioned lowlight performance, neither model you selected is particularly well regarded as a low light camera.
With regards to 4k video.... I hope you have a beefy PC. 4k video takes 4-5 times the cpu capacity to process. It also takes a correspondingly larger amount of ram, disk space, and so on.
What size camera do you want? How important is 4k video?
If you want a simple recommendation, get the Nikon d7500. It has class leading low light performance. It is capable of 4k video, although manual focus works best in video because video AF speed is bad (still image AF speed is great). With the excellent 18-140 lens it is around 1550. Add a 35mm f/1.8g fr ~200 for better low light.
If you want the best video focus speed, I prefer the Panasonic GH series. The panasonic GH4 is around 1200 for the body (same price as the Nikon) and much better at video. Unfortunately it is much worse at still images. The Nikon's superior sensor, and better lens selection make it better at every aspect of photography.
I think it is a mistake to consider video and not value AF performance. I highly prefer AF in video. I love SLR cameras. I used to shoot Canon (and Sony) but went to Nikon for the low light performance (over Canon) and lens selection (over Sony). But as much as I appreciate what a SLR can do, I think they are a terrible idea for video unless you are very dedicated or very good. Several TV shows and many commercials have been made with Canon and Nikon SLR cameras. But this is by really top-notch video-graphers with devices (follow-focus, etc) to assist them. For more casual videos, AF is critical.
If video is most important:
Get a GH series camera or maybe save up for a Sony a7s II.
If stills are the most important:
Get a Nikon SLR, such as the d7500
If you want a tweener (and accept it will suck slightly at both):
Get a Canon 80d.
How important is video? The two models you mentioned are the two best video focused SLR types (neither is an SLR). But they are very different cameras.
The gh5 is a high end, weather sealed (if you use weather sealed lenses) video focused camera with a smaller m4/3 sensor.,
The A7s II is a high end low light specialist camera with excellent video capabilities. It is low megapixel (only 12mp), it is not super fast (5fps), it is full-frame.
The gh5 will have a "deeper field of view" (Depth of Field or DOF). The smaller the sensor, the greater the DOF. This is proportional to the crop factor (relative size of the sensor). This is good or bad depending on your goals.
The a7s II will have a shallow DOF. Making for much greater subject isolation.
With some cameras you can have both. The very high megapixel full-frame cameras. For example the Nikon d850 (super expensive, wish I had one) has 46mp in full-frame. It supports a 46mp full-frame and a 20mp 1.5 crop mode. This crop-mode is the same image as if you manually cropped the image in photoshop. So you can also get a 15mp m4/3 image out of every d850 image.
How I shoot.
I value stills over video, but I also shoot a lot of video.
For still I use a Nikon d750 24mp full frame camera. My backup camera is a Nikon full frame d700 (12mp). Nikon and Canon have by far the best lens selections and I like a nice collection of lenses.
For event video, I tried a Panasonic gh4 and gh3, I kept the gh3 because I didn't need 4k video and the gh3 was 1/2 the price. I paired the GH3 with a couple of primes (lenses with no zoom). So depending on where I am placing the tripod relative to the event, I typically use a f/1.4 30mm or 45mm f/1.8. I can record the entire multi-hour event on a single take.
For sports video, I use a Sony RX10. It is weather sealed. It has a decent f/2.8 integrated lens which goes from reasonably wide (24mm equiv) to reasonably long (200mm equiv). Like every other thing which is not a GH series camera (or a cam-corder) it can only record 29.5 minutes every time I press the record button. So I have to press it 3-4 times for a football game, twice for a soccer game, and so on.
I was tempted to get a f/2.8 weather sealed lens for the GH instead, but the Panasonic 35-100 f/2.8 is the equivalent of a 70-200mm lens and there were times where I was set up closer to the action and didn't want to change lenses back and forth. Plus the 35-100 cost the same as the rx10 (1000 for each). So budget played a role as well.
If I had no budget (or damn near no budget) for video I would get the Sony a7s II and Sony FE 24-240mm f/3.5-6.3 OSS for general use and the 70-200 f/2.8 for when I could plan my location better or the weather was nasty. But only for locations where I could re-start the recording every 30 minutes or so.
For locations where I could not re-start my recordings, I would get a GH3 and pair it with a couple of f/2.8 zooms and a few primes for low light.
But if some one offered to trade me a a7s II or gh5 for my less expensive d750, I would keep the d750. But that is because I go on photo outtings many more times than I go on video ones.
Example of subject isolation:
I wanted to show just enough of the background to hint at where he was, but the viewers attention to remain on the boy not the landscape:
I wanted to show more of the background in this one:
A large sensor camera can achieve deeper DOF if you want it to. A small sensor camera can never match what can be done on the larger sensors.
In my opinion, the most important thing to consider is how the camera feels in your hands. Technical specification is of little relevance if you keep missing shots because of unintuitive button layouts or menu navigation.
The second thing to consider is that when you buy a camera with inter-changeable lenses, you're buying into a ecosystem and it's very difficult and expensive to switch to another one.
The best thing you can do is to try the cameras which interest you.