2012: Cameras Galore

It seems near enough impossible to just pick one camera to put at the top of this page… so instead you get 31!

[DISCLAIMER: I know that the Canon C300 and the 1D-X came out at the end of 2011, but it’s near enough one year ago and they fit right alongside the others released, so I decided to include them here.]

That’s right, there have been 31 new cameras introduced (or at least announcements) to the world of digital filmmaking this year. Many of which can be considered real game changers. At the turn of the year Canon made headline news when they announced a brand new Full Frame DSLR, the EOS 1D-X (not the 5DmkIII many were anticipating). A couple weeks later they had many on the edge of their seats as they brought out  a brand new line of Cinema EOS cameras, starting with the C300. However exciting this announcement was, what seemed to catch more people’s attention was the photo of a DSLR shaped camera sitting in the new Cinema EOS range. This was not yet the end of new camera announcements, as things were just heating up!

While many were awaiting the announcement of the Canon 5DmkIII, Nikon jumped on board early in 2012 as they announced their new D4, followed by the D800 and D800E one month later. It wasn’t until March that the world was introduced to the 5DmkIII (which also coincided with the start of this blog!). Was it ever going to be possible to live up to all the hype and expectation?

From then on, nearly everyone month there seemed to be a major camera announcement (not to mention significant upgrades to current cameras or new lenses):

Affordable Options for Everyone*

This is quite the list of new options for filmmakers. The prices of these cameras range from a about £400- £20,000+.

Although some of these cameras will be well outside the budget for the average micro budget filmmaker to purchase, even the high end models can be within the budget to rent/ hire. This is incredibly significant as this impacts nearly every corner of the filmmaking industry.

Why, you might ask? Well for starters, higher quality cameras (cameras that produce better images, lower noise, better processors, less moire, less mirrors, 10-16bit RAW output, Clean HDMI out, 24-240fps, etc.) at an affordable price will typically mean more enthusiasts will be able to get their hands on these cameras. In turn, the internet will be flooded with more and more videos of people using these cameras, some of whom will produce projects that would never have been produced previously.

Now to be sure, many of these new videos will not be worth the attention of many people; however, I am willing to bet that more than a handful of these new films will have great merit for one reason or another. Perhaps some of these people will catch their ‘break’ into the industry and beginning making more worthwhile films, perhaps some of the current industry leaders in their fields will take notice and make use of some of these tools as well. Others may throw up their hands in disgust with all this new digital technology.

*no, not everyone can afford all this gear, but many people can probably find some way of getting a hold of one of these cameras (legally, of course!)

What will this mean for the future?

I don’t suppose to have enough insight into this industry to know exactly how this will affect the future of the filmmaking world; however, I have no doubt that the tools introduced to this community in 2012 will play significant roles in the years ahead. Canon has launched a Cinema EOS line, along with 3 other full frame cameras. Nikon has launch multiple full frame cameras. Blackmagic Design, previously a post-production hardware/software company, unveiled a 2.5k 12bit RAW digital film camera (both EF and M43 mount) and tacked on Davinci Resolve as part of the package. RED dropped their prices (in half!) as Sony announced F5 and the F55. Sony also released the FS700, which brought the world of 120-240fps down the the prosumer level. And let us not forget that GoPro unleashed the Hero3 with up to 4k and 2.7k video with 120-240fps in lower resolutions.

Additionally, 2012 saw the release of Adobe Creative Suite 6, with major improvements to Premiere Pro and the introduction of Adobe Prelude and Speedgrade. Alongside the release of CS6, Adobe announced the Creative Cloud, enabling the user to always keep up to date with the latest releases and upgrades of the Creative Suite for a monthly subscription. Apple’s Final Cut Pro X also received some significant updates in the autumn.

Get out there and make some films!

It can be easy to fall into the trap of feeling like you cannot make anything decent until you go out and spend loads of money on new gear. This is not true! There will likely never be an end to new gear and new technology that can be used for filmmaking. Rather than waiting until you can save up for the highest end model to go make a film, grab whatever is lying around the house (even if it is a year or two out of date), get out there and start shooting! Be creative!

While you are doing this, you can be excited that by the time you can afford some of the higher end models, there will likely be newer and better gear out there for you to spend your hard earned money on. These are exciting times indeed!

What do you think???

*thanks to 1001noisycameras.com for the timeline of camera announcements