I know that early on I stated that I did not want this to become a “gear” site. That is still the case. That being said, I just wanted to share an observation.
In the past two years of the NAB Show (National Association of Broadcasters), there have not been any ‘new’ camera announcements. This is opposed to a few years back, when it seemed that new cameras where being released faster than “Steph Curry’s three’s” (that was a basketball analogy)!
What does this mean? Well it could mean a couple things: 1) manufacturers are going for longer product cycles or 2), we are finally reaching a “plateau” with regard to camera systems.
In either case, I think this is a good thing. Why? For one, I hope it will bring the focus back to what really matters, what a camera is really intended to do, to simply be a vehicle to transport what I, the “storyteller”, want to convey to the audience.
Additionally, longer product cycles, makes me, the “customer”, more confident about my investments. It shows that the manufacturers are really trying to offer me something worthwhile, something that they want me to hold on to for more than a few months!
My ‘Dream’ Camera
Wait?! So what’s “my ‘dream’ camera”? The answer to that is really related to the point that I feel we have finally reached a “plateau” in terms of camera development (No, I’m not talking about 8k, because let’s be honest, no one needs that!).
To illustrate the point, look at a sampling of the most recent camera releases (in order of release, left to right)…see anything similar?
Yes, while there are a few new ‘tricks’ (dual pixel auto focus, internal RAW recording, sensor stabilization, etc) that differentiate one from the other, in general, where it really counts, they are really all “one and the same”:
- 4k Resolution … 4k as an acquisition format (I say that because as a display or consumption format, we’re not quite there yet), has become standard.
- Super35 Sensor … while on the high-end, large format (Vista Vision/Full Frame, Medium Format, and even 65mm) photography seems to be the new ‘craze’, for the most part, Super35 has become the de-facto acquisition format for low to mid-level productions.
- Compact Form Factor … early on, there were three primary form factors to choose from; 1) ENG shoulder mounted style, 2) small handy-cam style and 3) DSLR/Hybrid cameras. Now, it seems we’ve settled onto a compact form factor that leverages qualities of all three (the side handle/grip evens seems to have become a de-facto standard as well!!!).
So, which one is my ‘dream’ camera? Read on…
Of the options listed above, the newly released Panasonic EVA-1 is the closest to my ‘dream camera’:
- 4k, Super35 Sensor
- Natural color science (if it is in fact is similar to the Panasonic VariCam)
- Professional I/O (XLR, SDI, TimeCode, & Gen-lock)
- Compact body design (easy to transition to a slider or gimbal)
- Widely available media (SD Cards)
However, it is still not my ultimate ‘dream’ camera. Why? Because there is still one area where I think manufacturers can improve on … Component Integration!!!!
Very rarely do we ever ‘just’ shoot with a camera. In most production environments, we often need to add additional accessories like audio receivers, wireless video transmitters, and the like. These all add to the additional bulk and complicate any setup (multiple batteries to monitor, different battery types, etc).
I want a camera that eliminates all that. A camera that let’s me focus on the most important thing … what’s happening in front of the camera!
With the above in mind, say hello to … “The Chosen One”!
Ok, [SONY/CANON/PANASONIC/FUJI] … balls in your court. Who wants to make this?!