About 4 years after the 5D mkIII, the 5D mkIV is here! Which given Canon’s product cycle, makes it exactly on time. Now, I’m not going to pretend for a second that I haven’t been a Canon fanboy since the late 90’s and the XL1, through my first DSLR, the Canon 10D through the game changing 5D mkII. When you’re dating Canon for a long time, you learn to wait. Forget all the rumour sites, unless you really like disappointment (8k 5Dmk4? REALLY??) all they will do is waste your time and keep you from actually shooting.
Which brings me to pre-answering the most interesting question… Canon 5DmkIV vs Sony A7sII ? Actually… wrong question. The real question is Canon 5Dmk4 vs Sony A7R2. Because no matter how much all of us want Canon to make the 5D into a video monster… it’s not. It’s a still camera designed for still photographers that just happens to have some video capabilities. And the A7r series is a closer match up to that.
I’ll be honest, even though Canon has had more time at the plate, the 5D4 loses on most counts. No IBIS. No LOG. 4k only in APS-C mode (though Super-35 has always seemed to be good enough for feature films.) It loses in resolution to the A7rII and in ISO to the A7sII. Dual Pixel AF vs Phase Detect? Near tie. Dual Pixel RAW? Don’t convince yourself that this has any Lytro-esque capabilities, go read DPReview’s article on it.
So does it beat either of Sony’s top offerings? No. Definitely not. However…
It feels good in my hands, I like using it – and that’s not to be underestimated. As much as I’m in awe of the Sonys, I don’t like using them. I like the Canon. It feels like what a photo camera should feel like. It makes me want to take it with me on a trip. Like an old favourite hat, I already know it’s got a place in my backpack. It’s got that great solid grip that has been with me since my old EOS 35mm cameras (but better!) The buttons make the night right clicking sounds, the shutter snaps like a shutter (cameras have those) should snap. And of course, all my Canon lenses work without fail.
I like it. I dig it. I’d buy it.
Nevermind. Keep your 6D and for the price difference just buy an A6500 for shooting 4k video…
What is the best camera on the market?
We talk to a lot of clients about what cameras they should rent or buy, but we don’t really talk much about what cameras WE would buy ourselves. So here’s a quick breakdown of what cameras would the Gearbase Camera Rentals staff buy with our own money for our own use?
Sony RX100 mk anything. Simply the best camera that will fit in your pocket. It’s up to the mkV. Buy it and never look back.
All purpose budget
Sony A6500. We took the A6300 to NAB 2016 as an “all in one” camera and the 6500 adds IBIS. Amazing low light for the price as well.
All purpose budget production
Sony A7r II. Yeah, R not S. This was a matter of much debate in the office, but I’m writing the post so I get to choose. Why the R over the S? Phase Detect AF and 46MP stills with medium low light performance trump the terrible AF and amazing low light of the S model. You really can’t go wrong with either
Sony FS7. One of the only cameras we agree we’d all spend our own money on. This may change if the C100 mk3 ever comes out, and the FS5 is a budget contender.
Commercial production/broadcast on a low budget.
A used Canon C300. It’s possibly the best 1080 Super35 broadcast friendly camera ever made and you can get one for under $4000 from time to time.
So you want to get hired?
Canon C300 mk2. It’s not the best camera, but producers love Canon, and you may get the work to pay off the extra $10,000 over the Sony FS7 that does the same and more.
Best cine came for the buck
Red Raven – The Ursa Mini 4.6k could have been a contender… except for all the problems it has been having and of course shipping 1.5 years late or so. We love the Raven, though it still costs over $12,000 kitted out.
GoPro Hero 5 Black is still the best picture quality in the size range, but I find myself going to my tiny Sony AZ1vr mini w. live view remote for actual action stuff. OK I own 3 of them. The Sony X3000 will be out soon with OIS in 4k and that should steal GoPros crown.
Best used video camera deals.
Cameras of yesterday used to be garbage. Now they are dusty Academy Award winners at crazy Ebay prices.
used Cine – Red ONE. 4k Raw. Kits for under $5000. This camera was good enough for Peter Jackson, and if you are reading this, you’re not Peter Jackson so… Runner up, Red Epic MX for around $10-$15,000.
used 1080p – Canon C300. Possibly the best 1080 camera ever made, $4000 and dropping.
used bargain – Canon 7D. Sub $500, full manual control, Super-35 sensor (more or less). If you can’t tell a story with this most basic tool, you should find a new career.
A7s2 vs A7r2 Which is better to rent for your next short film or video production?
Who cares – they are both awesome! Both are huge improvements over the mkI of each.
What’s new and better?
First, thankfully, the ergonomics are better! I could barely hold the old A7s without a half cage. Yes I’ll still want one for the mkII versions, but at least it’s pretty good without. The grip is so much nicer. Far from as comfy as Canon or Nikon, but usable.
Next, obviously, 4k internally. Remember you need SDXC not SDHC cards to get every recording mode! No idea why Sony went that way, we’ve got some fast SDHC cards… but there you go.
IBIS – In Body Image Stabilization. You aren’t replacing your Ronin M yet… but it sure is nice to be able to buy cheaper non image stabilized lenses. It’s really quite good and actually with a bunch of practice and steady hands, you might be close to fooling people into thinking you’re on a Movi.
The A7s2 hasn’t improved over 400,000 ISO. We’re arguing in the office whether it’s cleaner at high ISO than the A7s, or if we’re just imagining it is. Either way, it’s still amazing to see in near darkness.
The A7r2 is really quite a superb still photo camera (as well as 4k video of course) and the Phase Detect AF knocks it out of the park over the A7s2. I’d still rent the Canon 5Ds R if I only needed stills and not video, but the A7R II is a perfect blend of photo and video quality.
So, which should you buy, the A7s II or the A7r II? Beats me… I bought both! 🙂
If you want to get hands on with them, shoot us an email, you’re welcome to pop in and take a look. If you want to rent one, just email with the dates you need and we’ll hook it up! Prices and packages are listed on the DSLR page.