Since photography became popular in the mid 1950’s, two major brands, Canon and Nikon, have held the top spots in the consumer camera market. But with the start of the new millennium, many users want more from their digital camera, including video capability. Within the last 5-7 years, more companies have gotten into the camera game and excelled at video. Canon and Nikon, along with Sony and Panasonic, have released cameras where video and photo abilities are of equal importance. Let’s see who is winning the video race as of Fall 2016 and what may come in the near future.
Canon, Nikon, Panasonic and Sony all make great cameras for video, Canon’s top contenders are the newly released 5D Mark IV and 1Dx Mark II. Nikon has its D5 and D500 and Panasonic’s top cameras for video are its GH4 and G7. Sony’s top cameras for video are the A7s II, the A7r II and the A6300. These cameras have different sensors, both in size and megapixels, different bodies and features, and different lens compatibility, all of which make them good contenders for top quality cameras for video in 2016.
Each of these cameras have different features and specs that put them in different spots in the market. Canon’s two cameras have 4K video recording, Canon’s Dual Pixel Auto Focus. Audio in and out, as well as the ability to external record video, but only at 1080p. Externally recording video has its benefits, which can be seen here.
Nikon has similar features, but with some key differences. You still get 4K and audio in and outs, but the autofocus in video movie is not as developed. You also get to externally record, but at full 4K resolution, which is a plus.
Panasonic also retains similar features seen in both Canon and Nikon. You still get 4K video, audio in and out, and the ability to record externally in 4K, but there are some extra features as well. You get things like Zebra stripes, slow motion video and picture profiles. Video professionals insist on having these features in their cameras, so Panasonic did the right thing in including them.
Sony, the final manufacturer making moves in camera for video also includes many features for video in the above mentioned cameras. 4K video, autofocus in video mode, picture profiles, audio in and out, external recording in 4K and slow motion. A comparison with some of the cameras mentioned earlier in this article can be found here
There is more that sets these cameras apart however. Canon, Nikon and Panasonic all have a flaw that can prove fatal for those looking to buy an awesome camera for photo and video. All three of these manufacturers crop the video in order to record 4K content.
Sony is the only manufacturer to execute 4K recording properly, without the need for cropping. So it begs the question. If it is possible, why isn’t everyone doing it? A possible answer to this could be that these manufacturers do not think their consumers care enough for it. Another reason could be that the issue can be worked around, therefore it is OK that the crop is present. This article looks at the reasoning from a technical perspective.
If I were to pick a camera to user personally, it would more than likely be a Sony. The A6300 and the A7s II are my favorite. They both do everything I look for in a camera for video. There are many other aspects besides technical specs that go into the purchase of equipment. It will be interesting to see if these shortcomings will be enough to get video professionals to switch brands.