The best entry-level camera for shooting video

“Which camera should I buy?” is the question we receive the most. It’s hard to answer this question because not everybody is shooting the same kind of projects. Preferences are different and somebody who’s shooting news needs another camera than somebody who’s filming commercials.

The title of this post is a bit over the top since there is no “best” camera. While working with this new camera I just realized that it has a lot of features other cameras in the same price range are missing.

Watch the video review below:

Here is also a graphic chart that shows the pros and cons of the Sony RX10. Some of them weren’t featured in the video because I simply forget to include them. For example the ability to get incredible macro shots or the fact the camera needs to reboot when switching between PAL (Europe) and NTSC (US) which can be annoying.

One of the first videos we shot using the RX10 was a commercial project for THOMAS COOK GERMANY. I usually like to have complete control over my settings which includes focusing manually. The last time I used auto focus was in 2009 with an HDV camcorder. Since the RX10 has continuous auto focus in video mode I gave it a try and was impressed by the overall performance. I knew it would be ideal for this project because we had to film a group of people walking around Berlin taking pictures. Everything had to be shot spontaneously without telling people: “Can you please do that again – you were out of focus!” The video below is a recap of this Instagram photowalk and also features some slow motion shots. Everything except two or three shots was filmed hand-held:

The video was edited and graded in Premiere Pro using Filmconvert and a few other tools which shows very well that the AVCHD codec isn’t as bad as most people are claiming. Of course some artifacts and blocking is visible but when comparing it to the Canon and Nikon DSLRs in a 1.000-1.500 $ price range the image still seems to be the best especially when it comes to sharpness and detail.

The RX10 isn’t a low light monster which means you should keep the ISO below 3200 otherwise the video can get very noisy. I shot a few interviews at ISO 1600 and 3200 which looked okay but I also had good lighting so the image noise wasn’t as visible as when filming in dark areas. Here are sample clips from ISO 160 to ISO 12800 which is not useable for video:

Sony RX10: Low Light ISO Samples from Fenchel & Janisch on Vimeo.

This camera really is great for shooting family home videos because of the auto focus or for travelling because of the small form factor and the fact that you don’t need to carry five lenses around all the time as well as the good image stabilizer. We already used the RX10 on a shoot in Bangkok and it really is ideal for run-and-gun-shooting. Some of those shots are in the video review but we will also be releasing a Bangkok video this summer.

If this camera isn’t enough for you because you are doing more professional work and maybe even need 4K / UHD than the new Panasonic GH4 or Sony A7s are the two new models which you should take a look at. If there is a camera house in Germany renting one of those I will give it a try for sure even we don’t need 4K yet.

You can get the Sony RX10 here!

Written by Moritz Janisch

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