Do You Need a Production Camera for Video or Is a Mirrorless Enough?

With stills cameras encroaching more and more on dedicated video camera territory, the lines are becoming blurred, and the choices are no longer straightforward.

My work has taken me in the direction of video in recent months and that trend looks set to continue. Fortunately for me, my stills camera also doubles as an excellent mirrorless video camera too. While it's not perfect for high-end productions, it does more than well enough for most projects.

In this video, Sidney Diongzon compares the Sony a7 III with the Canon C200. The former is primarily a stills camera than can also do video, the latter is a dedicated cinema camera. In most regards, for video, the C200 comfortably wins. However, if you also have the desire to shoot stills, weight is a consideration, or your budget isn't the best part of $10,000 for a body and lens, then the a7 III starts to creep into frame.

As of now, I'd say that if you're creating primarily video, the solution is still heavily weighted towards the C200. But with the announcement of the R5 and its staggeringly high spec, these decisions are going to become less straightforward. The R5 seems to be aiming at having it all and the answer to the question "do you need a production video camera for high-end video?" isn't necessarily "yes." It's already the case that with bodies from almost all manufacturers, you can create great quality video content. Which then raises the question of how much of an impact the R5 might have on C200 sales.

What do you think?

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Usually for me it's not so much pure video specs, it's things like build-in ND, long battery life, proper scopes and waveform monitor, XLR inputs, secure ports like BNC vs mini-HDMI, not overheating, no record time limit, ergonomic grips, things like that, that just make a production video camera work reliably all day long. If I choose a mirrorless it's usually because I'm trying to shoot stealthily.

Plus better codecs for more recording time, faster post-processing. Time is money.

Surely a pure film camera is better suited (workflow wise) for film production then a mirrorless. But they tend to be more expensive and the IQ- gains need the proper development in Post. PLUS: some mirrolress option offer superb IQ in a small package (Panasonic, Fuji).
For small productions some mirrorless can achieve basically the same IQ at lower cost and footprint. But for bigger productions its mostly about workflow and expandability and ease of use, not about price and size.

But its interesting, in the Past, the IQ was VASTLY different. Now, in 95% of shots i can make a fuji look pretty close to an alexa (at least to nontrained eyes)...thats just incredible

Nicolas KIEFFER's picture

Yeah, many interesting things for video are now available in photocameras, but we have more seen improvments in the video part of actual photocameras than photo features !