New Kit on the Block

New Kit on the Block

Our TCC freelancer and cameraman, Oli Cohen, speaks to us during London Film Festival to run through his predictions on newly-released camera kit.

With LFF upon us and the dust settling after IBC and Photokina, a few stand-out pieces of new kit emerge. For me, there are two main considerations with new kit: how it can improve the quality of my work and how it can make my life easier.

There have been quite a lot of new kit announcements so far this year. Here’s a roundup of the main attention grabbers.

Canon’s EOS C700 Super35 format Camera

The most interesting camera announcement for me has to be Canon’s C700. It’s their new flagship cinema camera. For a while I’ve wanted Canon to release a high spec, shoulder mounted, ergonomic camera. They’ve finally delivered and it’s a quality product, but of course it comes at a cost.

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Canon C700

Unusually there are two versions of the camera, one with a global shutter and one a CMOS sensor. The C700 allows internal 4K recording up to 60fps and 2K/HD up to 240fps. It’s a serious contender to Arri’s Amira and the Sony F55. Unlike the Amira it does true 4K and unlike the F55 I imagine it will be easy and pleasant to use. As a C300 Mark 2 owner, one of the things I’ve come to love is Canon’s unique focus guide feature, especially with the latest firmware update. It now works with Canon Cine’s primes and it helps a lot. This technology has been brought across into the C700 too.

Whilst the C700 seems fantastic and it would be great to own one, it is a massive outlay especially with all the accessories. Will there be a demand for it to help justify the cost? As an owner operator that’s a big consideration. And how will it fit into the industry? It’s been designed as an A Camera for high end productions so it faces tough competition from Arri, Sony and Red. It seems like a great all-rounder that will work well for both dramas and documentaries. For the time being though, I am very happy with my C300 Mark 2 and the image it produces.

DSLRs and Mirrorless

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5D Mark 4

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Fuji XT2

Canon has also brought out the 5D Mark 4. Unlike the Mark 3 you can now record 4K as well as full 1080p in 60fps. Ultimately it’s a great stills camera with video features. With many photographers choosing mirrorless cameras these days the new Fuji XT2 looks interesting. It’s a decent price and it also does 4K video. I like the look from the Fuji cameras and I have an XT10 for personal photography because of its small size but I still prefer using a 5D for stills. The 5D is just more annoying to carry around. Panasonic have also announced the GH5. It gives us a taste of things to come.
It can record a 10 bit 4:2:2 image as well as 4K up to 60fps which is a first for this kind of camera. It won’t be available until next year though.

Drones and Action Cameras

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GoPro Hero5 Black

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DJI Mavic

No sooner than Go Pro announced the Karma which is their first ever drone, DJI stole the show with their latest product the DJI Mavic. The Mavic is a 4K drone that folds up into the palm of your hand yet has pretty much the same level of spec as the Phantom 4. The fact that the Mavic will neatly fit inside your camera bag along with other kit makes it very attractive indeed especially for overseas jobs. It’s much more discreet too. If I didn’t already own a Phantom 3 Professional, I’d get one of these things straight away.

GoPro also have a new action camera, the Hero5 Black. What’s particularly interesting is that you can now talk to this camera and control it with voice commands which I think is great, especially as GoPros in the past have been fiddly to use and they’re often placed in unusual, difficult-to-reach positions. I hope that being able to talk to technology is the way forward for the industry.

Lights, Monitors and Lenses

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Small HD 1303 HDR panel

Arri’s new Skypanel LED soft light seems like the best thing in the market. It’s powerful and has hue and saturation control for fine adjustments, but it’s heavy and expensive. In contrast F&V’s Ultracolor Z400s soft bi-colour LED panel has great specs but it’s very portable and cost effective.

Arri Skypanel

Small HD have brought out some great new monitors, most recently the 1303 HDR which they announced at IBC. The 13” size seems like a good compromise. It’s not too big to be a pain to drag around. I can see this monitor getting added to my wish list.

As for lenses, both Canon and Zeiss have finally brought out new lightweight, affordable zooms for large sensor cameras. Canon have the CN-E 18-80mm t4.4 and Zeiss have the brand new LWZ.3 21-100mm/ T2.9-3.9T which costs a fair amount more. This market will definitely be an interesting one to watch.

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Zeiss LWZ.3