|Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II|
With the recent spate of new camera announcements, one might have expected something new from the major manufacturers on the video front.
Not so fast.
Yes, Canon now offers a new super high resolution full frame still camera to compete with the Sony A7r - but it offers nothing new for video.
There's a new version of the mirrorless Canon EOS M - but they won't be selling it in the States.
Samsung has announced the NX500, a new 4K mirrorless NX-1 "mini me" for a great price - but they've stripped the NX1 not only of its viewfinder and headphone jack - but also its microphone input. Fail.
And the new Canon T6i has now caught up with 2013-era still/video cameras, adding wi-fi and fast video autofocus (but still no 1080/60p - and, of course, no headphone jack).
In my view, the only recent announcement that might be exciting for filmmakers is the new $1099.99 list Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II. With its 5-axis stabilization, new fully articulated LCD, 1080/24p/60p, 50mbps bit rate and headphone jack, Olympus finally appears to be taking video seriously.
The handheld walking clip at 9:10 in The Camera Store's review of the E-M5 Mark II is very impressive:
Except for the 30 minute continuous clip length limit, the OM-D E-M5 Mark II is now very competitive with the Panasonic GH3 for videography and filmmaking. Links for pre-ordering the silver (or black) Mark II are up now at Amazon and Adorama.
Unfortunately for Olympus, the GH3 is a two year old camera and the street price is now below $800. In my view, Oly is going to have to step up its game just a little more to catch Panasonic in the hybrid still/video race.
My suggestion - a 4K version of this camera (with 5-axis stabilization) that lifts the 30 minute continuous recording limit. Such a camera would certainly give Panasonic's GH4 a run for its money. OM-D EM1 Mark II, anyone?
All of that said, despite the good news from Olympus, the other major manufacturers don't seem interested in fixing the problems that still bedevil video-capable large sensor interchangeable lens cameras in 2015, e.g. weak codecs (no in-camera RAW), rolling shutter, no XLR inputs, the lack of built in stabilization, no affordable power zooms and no built-in NDs.
The Blackmagic URSA comes close, but it has no stabilization, no NDs and it's a 20 lb. camera. The JVC GY-LS300 looks like it produces high quality, gradeable 4K video - but it lacks internally recorded RAW and a global shutter (as does the Sony PXW-FS7).
What we need is a "usable" (10 lbs or less) Blackmagic Camera with a viewfinder, stabilization and compatibility with Panasonic power zooms - or an affordable Canon Cinema EOS camera with RAW, a global shutter and a power zoom - or something like the FS7 from Sony with RAW and a global shutter.
Perhaps we'll see some progress at NAB. I hope I can convince the Board Chair here at HCR to let me go this year :)
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