How To Decide What Cameras To Invest In

June 24, 2015
red dragon

by Benjamin Potter | Creative Director, CLICKON

With a gazillion cameras on the market from $500 upwards of $50,000, it’s no surprise that companies get overwhelmed when choosing what cameras to invest in. The truth be told, no camera will ever be right for you.

These days, every job requires something different. If you do everything from commercials to film to corporate video, you’ve likely perfected an array of different filming techniques that has made you feel like the jack of all trades.

A lot of production companies make the mistake of investing in expensive cameras such as the Red Dragon, Sony F55 or Arri Alexa for that one big commercial they get every blue moon. After splashing out tens of thousands of hard-earned dollars on kit, they realize that most other jobs don’t require such heavy pieces of machinery.

If you’re not one of the top ten production companies in York City, London or Los Angeles, it really isn’t worth buying a top end camera. Let’s assume you do 3 commercials a year and a six-part TV show for Travel Channel. The rest of the year is taken up by corporate videos and web adverts. You’re better to invest in equipment that makes your bread and butter work all the more profitable, e.g. Canon 5’s or Sony FS-700’s. If you’re lucky enough to get a commercial or two – and maybe a TV show if you’ve massaged enough shoulders over the year – rent a Red Dragon.

The main reason Red Dragon’s or Sony FS-55’s are a nightmare to own isn’t just their retail price. They are expensive to insure, they are massively complex to use, storage space is huge, and they require more post-production. Invest in less expensive kit that still shoots at an awesome format. My favorite is the Sony FS-700 as it can shoot up to 4K and 2K super slow motion. With the right lenses, most people can hardly tell the difference between this and a Sony F55.

Don’t be caught up in the snobbery of how expensive is your camera. You can get A LOT out of middle-tier camera if you have creative people at the helm.