New Year, Old Gear?
Updated: Jan 10
By Gavin Pease
With the first month notched under our belt, we've given enough time for the camera and gear rumors to simmer. Though our current calender will no doubt bring new contenders, the past couple years have seen impressive and exciting new toys (tools) that will be hard to top. Moving into the new year of shoots and productions, we want to look back and appreciate the gear that's still stuck in our heads, and at the front of our lineup.
2020 in a Pelican Case
Where DSLR's became increasingly popular in the previous years for their perfect blend of affordibility, quality, and compact size, the same is now happening for another type. We are now in the age of mirrorless.
Sony continued it's dominance at this accord with the release of the A7SIII in July of 2020. Already unmathced in low-light performance, the new model extended it's stay in first place with the introduction of a new sensor and image processor. Not to mention it boasts an incredible 4k at 120fps in a compact body that brings new improvements in and of itself with the long awaited addition of a vari angle LCD Screen. For modern videography, there truly is no better option.
Canon also upped their game with the release of the EOS R5 and EOS R6. To show off that the longstanding Camera giant can contend, these models carried a full-frame CMOS Sensor. While it lags in some areas, Canon's releases serve as a more versatile photo/video hybrid with 20MP and 4k Capability at 60fps. The EOS Series has earned a trusty spot at Element 7 as our go-to BTS camera. Its sharp image quality at both ends of the spectrum gives quick freedom to capture the fleeting moments on set, and make them look as good as what's going on in the scene.
Element 7's workhorse has long been Blackmagic Design's Ursa Mini Pro. The pleathora of connections, codecs, and options make it an all-in-one video production powerhouse. On top of that, they are all laid out across a spectacularly simple User Interface we find has yet to be challenged by competitors. Documentary, cinema, music videos, corporate, and more have all been tackled by our Ursa models and we were excited to have Blackmagic continue that line with the release of the Ursa Mini Pro 12k. In tandem with new color science, the 35mm sensor registers in at up to 80MP per single frame. You'll never again have to ask "is this image soft?"
As for cinema, RED is in a tier of its own when it comes to heavyweight cameras. In June, RED introduced the newest addition to teir star studded lineup: the Komodo 6k. RED has already been our high-end frontrunner, with most of our Commercial Production fueled by our twin RED Dragons. Technical improvements of the Komodo list an integral Global Shutter, allowing for error-free image capture across an incredible 16+ stops of dynamic range. Keep in mind the human eye renders light at around 20 stops, so with a pandemic already on our hands, will we soon be adding the singularity?
What is to Come
While years prior are hard to top, technology never stops improving. We can expect another round of record-breakers and empty wallets soon to come with the announcements no doubt on the horizon. What exactly will 2021 bring us?
Still photographers will be excited to hear rumors of Canon's newest mirrorless EOS plans. According to Canon News, there are plans to unveil the new addition that is "expected to be around double the resolution of the R5". This will however come at the cost of it's hybrid tag, with a substantial decrease in video capability as compared to previous models.
Personally we're adding a lot to our own arsenal at Element 7. We're putting our money where our mouth is and fronting to upgrade to the RED Komodo series. To pair nicely with them, on its way is a shiny new set of Sigma High Speed Cine Lenses that are sure to up our game even more. All of this will be housed under the debut of Element 7 Studios soon to come in Bothell, WA.
The year is young and there are plenty more headlines to be released from the equipment companies we've come to know and love. We'll be waiting eagerly to see what new gear becomes an integral part of our sets.