The Best Camera For You: Sony F55 vs. Canon C500 part 2

To continue from yesterday’s conversation comparing the Sony F55 to the Canon C500, let’s go into:

 

Functionality

For people who are coming from shooting with the Canon C300 and switching over to the C500 or anyone who has been shooting in HD for a long time and is now getting clients who are requesting 4K footage and they decide that they either want to rent a package or buy it, they’ll find it very easy to migrate to the C500 because the menu structure is almost exactly the same.  There are of course a few new capabilities that are newer, it will have a few more options than what you’re used to with the C300 but other than that the learning curve will be so simple.  It’s the same body, same menu structure.  The only thing you might miss on the C500 that you used to have with the 300 is there used to be a removable handle which had a few remote buttons.  That is gone now with the C500, so you might miss that if you really liked that feature.  The reason it’s gone was to make room to add the output capabilities to go to external recorders.

You also get the C500 in two flavors:  EF mount for Canon lenses and PL mount for the Cine lenses.  This takes care of two markets.  1)  The casual shooter/videographers, anyone who is used to DSLRs and just wants to shoot on something a little nicer will be familiar with these lenses already so that’s a big plus.  The only thing is you have to know to order it in EF rather than PL because you can’t change out the mounts like you can with the Epic or the Scarlet.  So that’s one thing to keep in mind.  Market 2) Which is the higher end market, would be the big documentary market.  The high-end productions that require Cine lenses.

With the Sony F55, in the past their menu structure wasn’t very well thought out. You used to have to take 10 steps just to reach one menu item.  Whereas now it seems they’ve really listened to customer feedback and it’s a lot easier to use.  If you’re used to working on an Alexa you will recognize the menu structure in the 55 because it’s basically modeled after the Alexa.  But if you are a casual shooter and you’re used to working with DSLRs then the learning curve might be a little steep because you’re almost starting from scratch if you’ve never worked with this type of interface.  That being said, they really thought it out a lot better than their previous cameras.

 

Technology

The F55 has a bit of an edge as far as shooting in low light and skin tone reproduction.  The problem with a lot of cameras is that if your shooting fast motion you get a sort of jell-o effect and what the F55 does is it has a full-frame scan which does is exactly that.  It takes a full scan of the image in front of the lens and allows you to move the camera back and forth and allows the movement in front of the camera to do just about anything without having that undesired effect.  You don’t have that with a DSLR or any camera similar to a DSLR, it just doesn’t have that capability.  It’s really advanced technology , aside from the resolution and the color rendition.  It’s great for productions that are doing affects work and matte work which would need a sensor like that, they don’t have to worry about this problem.  So that might be a reason for someone to choose the F55 over the C500.  Though the C500 also works well under low light, it doesn’t have as much latitude as the F55, but only by a hair.  So it’s pretty much neck and neck in that aspect.

With the F55 if you pair it with sub-par lenses you’ll still be okay as far as picture quality because the sensor is so capable, you can get away with that.  So that’s definitely something to think about if you are on a tight budget, you can trim it down with cheap lenses on the F55 and will still look great.  Especially if you’re going for the RAW 4K, it’s really not going to matter what lenses you use, but of course that’s a stylistic choice anyway.  With the C500, the technology on that sensor is not as advanced as the one on the 55, therefore the colors and the details aren’t going to be as forgiving if you’re thinking about going with the cheaper lenses I would advise against it.  Unless, of course, you have an amazing DP and Gaffer who can tweak things on set with lighting and such to compensate and make it work.  Otherwise, if you really want to capture the best image possible you really have to do your homework and figure out what stylistic liberties you are willing to take without hurting the end result.  That being said, again, it all depends on the type of work you are going into.  Green screen, visual effects, anything like that, you definitely want to go for the RAW recording with either Canon Cine primes, Arri ultra primes or Angeniex glass.

 

Conclusion

In the end, it really just comes down to how you build the camera up and what you need the camera to do.  It will all come into play when thinking about what camera is best for your project.  If you’re a doc guy, you will certainly be looking at the F55 mainly because it comes with a shoulder pad in the kit but also because it comes with a convenient view finder.  The C500 is great for studio work and anything where you will be on sticks most of the time.  Each camera has it’s pros and cons and they’re each designed with a certain type of shooter in mind.

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