Choosing the right camera can be one of the hardest decisions you will make and possibly one of the most expensive one too. In the last 3 years, I’ve gone through over 10 different cameras before finally being happy and content with what I have now.
The competition is fierce and it’s only going to get worse, but that’s good for us as consumers. I started shooting with Sony cameras 3 years ago when the a7S came out. I knew I wanted to jump into 4K because of the growing craze and Canon didn’t have anything — with the exception of their Cinema line, which was way too expensive for my budget.
Prior to shooting with Sony, I had a Canon 5D Mark II that I loved, but I never upgraded to the Mark III because I felt it was an evolutionary upgrade rather than revolutionary. So I waited for Canon to release something better, but they never did.
Sony offered a ton of new features that were geared towards video guys — features that you’d need to spend a ton of money for on a cinema camera from Canon. Sony kept cranking out cameras like there was no tomorrow: the Sony A7RII, Sony A7SII, Sony A6300, Sony A6500, etc. Meanwhile, Canon remained dormant and let Sony take a lot of their market share.
Fast forward to August of 2016 and Canon unveils the 5D Mark IV. It was supposed to be the camera that would reign supreme in the DSLR world. After all, Canon pretty much started the video DSLR craze. Everyone had high expectations, but after Canon announced its full specs, people (including myself) were very disappointed.
I even went on Twitter and bashed it. We waited so long for this camera, and we get a camera that doesn’t even shoot 4K in full frame. Seriously, Canon?! I’ve always had a soft spot for Canon cameras because it’s because of them that I got started in filmmaking. So part of me wanted them to bring out the big guns but felt let down.
I had lost hope for Canon, deep down I felt they didn’t care for us video guys. That’s until my buddy let me borrow his 5D Mark IV, and oh boy did my opinion change. I couldn’t believe how beautiful the image right out of the box was from Canon. That same image would require me to put in time post-processing on Sony just to make it look the same. Here was this camera on which I had literally not touched anything, and the image was nearly perfect without the need to even color correct.
Then I started messing with the autofocus, I’ve always heard how Canon’s Dual Pixel AF is amazing but never really experienced it first hand. Oh boy, what a treat! As someone who shoots YouTube videos and sometimes I’m doing things by myself, autofocus is a HUGE deal. Gone are the days where I had to put something in the frame where I would stand and then manually focus, just to later find out that I had shifted a bit and moved so the image is soft. Nope, just turn on camera, turn on AF, and boom… ready to shoot without having to worry if I’m in focus or not.
I was also one of those who complained about the codec and how large the file sizes are. Well, if you’ve ever worked with Prores or even RAW files, you’ll notice the file sizes are even larger with those. Heck, when I was shooting with my Sony cameras, I was using an external recorder (Atomos) and was recording in Prores, and the file sizes were huge.
You have to understand that Canon records at 500/Mbps while Sony records at 100/Mbps, so there’s more information, which in turns means it’s easier to grade and also less work on the CPU, so editing becomes a breeze. Sure, it’s not the most efficient codec but I’ll gladly take larger file sizes for a better editing experience.
Battery life was another thing that stood out on this camera, I can easily get by with 1-2 batteries. Sony, I’ll need at least 5-6 for a whole day shoot. Overall, Canon did a lot of things that simplified my workflow for my YouTube production. At the end of the day, I love cameras period, no matter who the manufacturer is. I’m a true believer that there’s no such thing as the perfect camera, only the right camera for the job.
I own several cameras from various manufacturers, but I’m also a true believer of working smarter, not harder.
About the author: Armando Ferreira is a filmmaker and editor who makes popular YouTube videos about filmmaking, tech, and gear. You can find more of his work on YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.