A few weeks ago, after learning about the R5, I rushed to my local camera dealer to inquire when it would be available. He responded by saying he had an open box Canon C200 for just $5,000.00, like new, with full manufacturer’s warranty. I’ve seen what this camera can do and it’s pretty amazing. But it only shoots RAW or 8-bit, no 10-bit C-log. And I’ve heard Canon RAW files are pretty taxing on my Mac. In the end, I passed up on the camera, even though it’s 1000X more capable than I’ll ever be.
For those not familiar with the C200, here’s an example of what it can do.
But how about if you were a wildlife filmmaker/photographer for National Geographic?
So it becomes clear that if you shoot both stills and video, an ILC might be the best option available.
What if you primarily shoot video? Well, the list of reasons for preferring mirrorless over a cinema camera are many. Perhaps you’re just a hobbyist. Cinema cameras are costlier and bulkier than mirrorless. The R5 and RF lenses are weather-sealed so they can withstand harsh environments, something that can’t be said for most cinema camera rigs. The R5 has eight stops of stabilization with select lenses, while cinema cameras have no IBIS. No cinema camera has the most advanced AF system on earth, dual pixel AF II, along with its incredible animal eye AF, indispensible for wildlife shooters. Finally, during the pandemic, when crew sizes must be kept to a minimum, a single-operator camera like the R5 comes in handy. Which is not to say that mirrorless will ever replace cinema cameras, but the S1H has been approved by Netflix, meaning that mirrorless cameras have at last come of age.
Speaking of cost, it was thanks to the Canon 5D Mark II twelve years ago, and later, the Sony alpha cameras, that once again popularized the full frame look; manufacturers took notice, and now nearly all boast full frame cinema cameras in their lineups: however, prices for the most part remain sky-high – mid-range full frame cameras run $12,000 and up and that is just for the body alone. At the time of this writing, only one manufacturer sells a full frame cinema camera for under $5,000.00, the Chinese brand Z Cam.
Incidentally, in spite of the 12-minute recording limitation of the 5D Mark II, it was neverthess used to shoot several TV series, most notably the entire episode of “Help Me” and portions of the seventh season of the popular medical drama House.