I try not to be the kind of person to say “I told you so,” but I just have to say it. “I TOLD YOU SO.”
Last week was NAB, perhaps the largest film, television and radio convention in the world. Over 100,000 people from around the globe converge on Las Vegas to learn about the latest and greatest technologies in the media industry. It’s THE show to attend if you’re into gadgets and gizmos.
A few weeks ago I gave my reasons why filmmakers should NOT purchase the recently released Canon 5D Mark III. One of those reasons was because NAB was just around the corner and I knew that new cameras would be announced that would make spending $3,000+ on a new HD DSLR questionable. Well, did I say “I told you so already?” One of the announcements causing the most buzz was BlackMagic’s Cinema camera with a Super 16 sized senor that shoots RAW 2.5K imagery. For a camera whose body will be under $3,000, this will be a hard camera to pass up.
All the big camera manufacturers had new toys to release. They all have their pluses and minuses. As you know, this blog is not big on tech reviews. There are plenty of other resources for that. No, my job is to help those of you who have an ear to hear, to make wise decisions for not only your business, but your craft as well. I’m here to be that voice of reason, sitting on your shoulder like that proverbial “angel” yelling: “What are you thinking?!”
I have to ask: why even BUY a camera anymore? For the record, the title of this post is hyperbole. I’m being overly dramatic for effect. But there’s a part of me that truly feels like that. Every 3 to 6 months there’s a new announcement. I’m not sure I may EVER want to invest in a serious cinema camera. I do a variety of jobs for clients. Some are simple, short docu-style promos I can shoot by myself in an hour or two. Others are more in-depth, larger scope productions that require a very high production value. Some projects I do are personal projects that may require a certain look. Based on all these examples of work, there may be times when a T2i will suffice. There may be times when I need a long-running camera with more traditional video features like a Sony FS100. And there may be times when I need the look, feel and post-production flexibility you get from a Canon C300 or RED. Given that, I just can’t see the logic to invest in just ONE expensive cinema camera when my needs will change.
Don’t get me wrong. I understand the pros for investing and owning your own camera:
- You get an in-depth understanding of how it works
- You don’t need to worry about condition
- You don’t need to worry about availability
- You can shoot whenever and wherever you like
- You can “look cool” by saying you own a so-and-so camera
All of these are good reasons to own (well, maybe not the “look cool” part so much). And if you have the ability to rent your gear out, all the more reason to make an investment worthwhile.
Much of this is relative as well. A $10,000 purchase for one studio may be “pocket change.” So such a company may be able to invest in multiple cameras and not have it make any significant dent. For some of you just starting out, anything over $2,000 may be financially hard.
So, I guess what I’m saying is this: think with your head, and not with your heart when it comes to making an investment in something as expensive as a camera, especially when they change as often as they do. I’d be more inclined to invest my money in great glass that you can use on multiple cameras. A Zeiss CP.2 cinema lens can be used on everything from a T2i to a RED. No matter what kind of shoot you’re doing, a good lens will come in handy.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this subject. Do you think it makes sense to invest five, ten or twenty thousand dollars or more on a camera?