The Best Camera For You: Sony F55 vs. Canon C500 part 1

I was able to sit down with Dave G last week and talk about the next two cameras on our list for this series:  the Sony F55 CineAlta and the Canon EOS C500.  We had a lot to talk about so I split this one up into two parts.  To get right into the conversation we’ll start off on the topic of:

 

Basic Kit

With both of these cameras you might need certain extras to make it a complete package and that all depends on what style shoot you are doing.  If you need to do something run and gun, something handheld, one body might be easier than the other depending on how it’s built and whether or not it supports some sort of shoulder mount already.  The Sony F55, for example, our kit includes a plate and a shoulder pad so it’s already kind of set up to do shoulder work.  The Canon C500 comes with just a base plate, there’s no shoulder pad.  Your kit will have rods that you can slide a shoulder pad on but the shoulder pad itself does not.

Sony really thought it through on this one as far as what comes in the basic kit.  C500 is great too, but there are a few things that come in our basic kit with the Sony that make it more of a complete package as far as what you might be using the camera for that doesn’t come with the Canon kit.  The C500 is a big brother to the C300 and as far as what comes with the kit in our package it’s definitely a carbon copy.  Everything you get with the C300 you get with the C500, there’s no difference.  With Sony however, there are a few differences, there’s a bit of a cage and a handle.  It’s a little more attractive than the C500 as far as someone who would want to come in and rent it from us.  Now that’s just as far as the body goes.  Money-wise though, the F55 is more expensive to rent for obvious reasons.  This brings us into talking about:

 

Insurance

When you’re dealing with insurance you really have to think about everything you will need and “kit out” your package so you know exactly how much insurance you are going to need for the package you are trying to put together.  Again, this all depends on what comes with our kit or not.  Once you have your list ready and you know what you want to include in your package, in the end you have to realize that it will all add up and insurance can get pretty high.  The Canon C500 is roughly about $23,000 ­­­­­­­­­­­­for a basic kit, the Sony F55 however is closer to $30K (about $29,000). So if you are already set with all the accessories and you just want to grab the camera, if you have a $50K policy for a year you are definitely covered and ready to go.

Otherwise, you have to do your homework and think about your budget in terms of, not just how much the rental will cost you but how much insurance you are going to need for that rental.  That means, knowing exactly how much it will cost to replace any and all items in your package and looking for a policy (be it temporary or long term) that will cover the replacement of everything you are renting.  You’d be surprised how many productions overlook this step and go for the cheapest policy not realizing that anything can happen on-set.

 

Shooting

There are various ways to capture on both cameras.  You can shoot internally, to the media that’s provided, or if you want the highest resolution possible,  i.e. 4K, you absolutely need an external recorder.  That’s another rental, which goes for both cameras, C500 and F55.  So that is another element to think about when putting your package together.

Now, with the F55, Sony actually makes an external recorder.  Sony is a little more proprietary as far as their cameras go.  This recorder is called the Access R5, and because they designed it specifically to work with the F55 you can actually hook this recorder to the back of the camera without needing to hard wire it and off to the side.  You can if you want to, but you don’t have to.

Compare that to the C500 and because Canon wanted to make this camera such a compact small body to keep it light and mobile.  However, that also means you have no choice but to use an external recorder if you’re going 4K which they don’t make.  You have to use a 3rd party recorder in order to get the highest resolution you want with this camera.  Not only that but you also have to attach it in a not so convenient way.  It’s not as elegant as just clamping on like you can with the 55.  Thinking again about insurance and cost, any external recorder is a separate rental which will add to your budget as well as increase your policy.  Again, something to think about.

As far as the external recorders go, we have a new one that just came in which should be available next month called the Odyssey 7Q by Convergent Design.  They make the Gemini which are super popular and we have a bunch of those already.  They’re all for external recording, high resolution, full HD.  But the Odyssey really pushes the resolution because it’s capable of recording 4K.  So it’s a perfect pair for the C500.  It can also be paired with the Sony but it depends on what your preference is,  What you want to use it for.  Because Sony’s own proprietary recorder has been out there for so long and it is designed to elegantly connect to the 55 it would probably be beneficial to use that.  It has its own media so it might be easier to go that route for most productions.  Sony really likes to do that with their products, where they make sure you have everything you need without having to go to any 3rd party for anything.  But if you do want to go to a 3rd party your only choice really would be to go with the Odyssey because of its recording capabilities.  It’s definitely something you would need to test out but based off of the Gemini’s technology it’s essentially the same thing only smaller slimmer, the way technology tends to go.  It should work exactly the same way without adding too much bulk to your package.

(Part 2 will be posted tomorrow so stay tuned for that)

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