Best quality cameras for video
Panasonic Lumix GH6 review: the ultimate hybrid?
The mirrorless filmmaking world may have become more focussed on full-frame cameras since the GH Lumix series emerged, but the Panasonic Lumix GH6 shows that there’s still life in the Micro Four Thirds sensor format. Small and lightweight but packed with a remarkable array of video options and excellent image quality, the GH6 also boasts superb handling and image stabilization and perhaps the best contrast-based autofocus yet seen on a Panasonic camera. It’s a dependable stills camera, too.
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Huge range of video options
Unlimited recording times
Excellent image stabilization
Multi-angle tilt-and-swivel screen
Autofocus still lags behind the best
Larger and heavier than GH5 II
Some features not available until firmware update
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Last year’s Panasonic Lumix GH5 II was just the appetizer: for would-be filmmakers looking for a small camera with huge creative potential, the Panasonic Lumix GH6 is the true main course.
And what a feast it is: the new flagship in Panasonic’s Lumix G range of mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras based on the Micro Four Thirds mount, the 25.2MP GH6 fits a dizzying array of movie skills into its compact body. There’s 5.7K video at 60fps and Apple ProRes 422 HQ recording, 7.5 stops of in-body image stabilization, 4-channel XLR audio recording and a monitor that can be tilted in almost any direction.(Image credit: Future)
With full-frame cameras proving popular with filmmakers right now, some might question whether a Micro Four Thirds camera like the GH6 remains an attractive proposition. To us, its appeal is clear: while full-frame sensors might perform better in low light, make it easier to achieve a shallow depth of field in shots and deliver a wider dynamic range, Micro Four Thirds cameras are generally smaller, lighter and more affordable. And because the sensor is smaller, it’s easier to stabilize more effectively.
- Panasonic GH6 (Black) at Walmart for $1,729.95
All of the above applies with the GH6, and its thoughtful design, superb handling and the sheer wealth of video options on offer make it a tool that’ll suit all but the most demanding of mirrorless movie makers. It’s no slouch when it comes to still photography either – its contrast-based autofocus performance (while still not as impressive as some hybrid systems from Panasonic’s rivals) seems markedly improved over the GH5 II’s, and small touches like the dual tally lights and record buttons make a difference too.
After a couple of weeks with the GH6 we’re left in no doubt that this is Panasonic’s most powerful Micro Four Thirds camera to date, and the best MFT camera for filmmakers full-stop. It's also one of the best YouTube cameras out there right now, and certainly one of the best video cameras.
Price and release date
The Panasonic Lumix GH6 is available to buy now for a body-only price of $2,199 / £1,999 / AU$3,699. If you don't have any Micro Four Thirds lenses to get started, you can also get a 12-60mm zoom lens kit for $2,799 / £2,199 / AU$4,799.
That makes the GH6 slightly more expensive than the Panasonic Lumix GH5 II, another video-focussed hybrid mirrorless Micro Four Thirds model. That camera costs £1,499 / AU$2,499 body only or £1,699 / AU$2,699 with the same 12-60mm lens.
The GH6 is also pricier than the full-frame Panasonic Lumix S5, an L-mount mirrorless model that costs $1,999 / £1,799 / AU$3,199. It isn't Panasonic’s most expensive video-centric mirrorless camera, though: the Netflix-approved Panasonic Lumix S1H L-mount camera launched for $3,999 / £3,599 / AU$5,999 (body only).(Image credit: Panasonic)
In terms of rivals, the GH6 is in a similar bracket to the Sony A7 IV ($2,499 / £2,400 / AU$$4,299), Canon EOS R6 ($2,499 / £2,499 / AU$4,499) and Nikon Z6 II ($2,600 / £2,549 / AU$4,399) but, depending on where you live, slightly cheaper than all three.
The Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K Pro ($2,495 / £2,254 / AU$3,935) is also an interesting alternative given it can also record Apple ProRe, but it does lack many of the creature comforts (like continuous tracking autofocus and a functional stills shooting mode) that the GH6 provides.
Your decision on whether to go for the Panasonic Lumix GH6 or one of its many rivals could also hinge on the discounts we see in the incoming Black Friday camera deals. While the GH6 is a relatively new camera, we did see the Lumix GH5 II get some impressive discounts in Amazon's Prime Day sales earlier this year. So if you're on the fence, we definitely recommend waiting to see what the Black Friday deals bring.
The GH6’s body shape is immediately familiar: it’s that well-worn, DSLR-inspired design used by most of Panasonic’s Lumix G series. It might not be particularly original, but it works: there’s a big textured grip to wrap your right hand around while your left supports the lens, and a nice clear OLED electronic viewfinder with 3.68-million dots for composing, previewing and reviewing your shots no matter how bright the weather conditions.
Speaking of weather conditions, the body is sealed against dust and water ingress (it’s not officially IP-rated as far as we can see, but Panasonic calls it “dust and splash resistant”) and is built on a rugged magnesium alloy frame for toughness. It’ll also work to temperatures as low as -10ºC/14ºF.
Image 1 of 3(Image credit: Future)(Image credit: Future)(Image credit: Future)
The physical buttons, wheels and dials are thoughtfully positioned, and as frequent users of the GH5 II we found the GH6 to be pleasingly familiar to control and use. Panasonic has considerately placed a second video record button on the front of the camera (the first is up on the top plate), which is really helpful for vlogging and other self-shooting work. There are also tally lights both front and back to make it clear when you’re recording, which you don’t get on the GH5 II.
The 3-inch touchscreen is the best we’ve seen on a recent Panasonic Lumix GH model, with a super-flexible design: not only does it flip and twist, it also tilts – just like the screen on the full-frame Panasonic Lumix S1H. Not only does that give you greater scope for shooting at unusual angles, it also lets you attach both a USB and a full-size HDMI cable to the GH6 without blocking your view of the screen.
The body itself is lightweight and compact considering its impressive array of specs – a key benefit of the small physical size of its image sensor. Without a lens attached but with an SD card and battery inserted, the GH6 weighs just 823g, and measures 138.4 x 100.3 x 99.6mm, which makes it only slightly bigger than the GH5 II. The added bulk here seems to come as a consequence of the new forced-fan cooling system, which causes the screen to bulge out from the back slightly. But it’s still a fairly trim package overall, with handling that makes it a joy to use in the vast majority of situations.
Features and autofocus
Being a video-first hybrid, the connectivity of the GH6 appears to have been given lots of thought.
There’s a full-size HDMI Type A that can output video up to C4K 4:2:2 10-bit at 60fps, headphone and microphone ports and XLR microphone compatibility (via the optional DMW-XLR1 accessory), while the USB-C port with 10Gbps transfer speed that can also be used as a constant power supply, a battery charger and (following a recent firmware update) for direct recording to a 2TB external SSD.
There are two card slots, one for standard SD and the other for CFexpress Type B cards (a first on a Lumix G camera, and vital for recording video in some of the more demanding formats like ProRes). CFexpress cards are expensive, so do factor that in when budgeting.
Image 1 of 3(Image credit: Future)(Image credit: Future)(Image credit: Future)
The contrast-based DFD autofocus setup is similar to that of the GH5 II, with a wide range of options available, including automatic tracking of moving objects and detection settings that will recognize and track human, animal and eye/face subjects. The tracking generally works well – a lot better than on previous Panasonic cameras, we feel – but you do occasionally notice a “pulse” when the AF system is hunting down a lock.
This just seems to be a side-effect of contrast detection, and one that users will need to accept, but the GH6 does seem markedly better here than the GH5 II. One useful way you can avoid too much hunting here is to use the new autofocus limiter option, which lets you set a range for the AF – it won’t attempt to focus on anything outside of that; handy if you’re filming a subject that isn’t moving about too much.
A lot of filmmakers use manual focus, of course, and the GH6 is impressive here, too: when you begin to twist the lens ring to focus, the screen or viewfinder shows a zoomed-in preview of your subject to help you get things perfect, and you can also turn on focus peaking to identify the sharpest areas in a contrasting color.
Last and certainly not least, the GH6’s 5-axis image stabilization system has been given an algorithmic upgrade over the GH5 II’s, and Panasonic claims it now offers up to 7.5 stops of correction – to the point where you can shoot a 100MP photograph in the image-stacking High Resolution mode handheld (previously, a tripod was required).
We tried that and it worked really well, but it’s superb for video too: if you want to record to-camera vlogs while walking, or film moving subjects with an almost gimbal-like steadiness, the GH6’s stabilization makes it one of the best cameras we’ve seen at smoothing out motion in a way that seems natural.
Video and image quality
There’s a truly mind-boggling level of customizability to the video here. We were impressed by the GH5 II’s wealth of formats, resolutions and frame rates, but the GH6 takes things to even greater heights.
The lengthy list of video options might seem like overkill to the casual user, but filmmakers will be rubbing their hands together at the creative possibilities offered by the likes of Apple ProRes, 5.8K anamorphic, 5.7K resolutions and variable frame-rate recording, as well as the fact that almost all the recording modes are 10-bit rather than 8-bit.
At launch, ProRes 422 and 422 HQ is available only for 5.7K recording (at 60/50/24fps), but a forthcoming firmware update should add options for using it at lower resolutions including Full HD and Cinema 4K ProRes. Currently, you can also shoot 4K at up to 120fps and Full HD at up to 240fps (ideal for slow motion playback and speed ramping) and 10-bit Cinema 4K 4:2:2 at up to 60fps.
Panasonic has included a wide range of picture profiles (called “photo styles” here) including Cinelike D2, Cinelike V2, Like709, V-Log and HLG. So there’s a lot of scope for filmmakers who want to color grade their footage afterwards.
The GH6 also comes with a new feature called Dynamic Range Boost which Panasonic claims expands V-Log’s dynamic range from 12+ stops to 13+ stops. In testing, we didn’t spot a big difference coming from using it, but we suspect it’s something that will be more noticeable to those meticulously grading and color correcting their footage in Premiere, Final Cut Pro or Resolve.
Unlike some of its mirrorless rivals, the GH6 shouldn’t experience overheating issues that limit the length of its recording times and necessitate a long cooling-off period before recording can resume. Panasonic has fitted it with a new forced-fan cooling system which it claims will remove all overheating problems, so the only thing limiting recording length should be storage capacity. We certainly experienced no issues with heat during our testing period.
The only imaging issue we suspect the GH6 might face is its low-light performance. The small physical size of the sensor on Micro Four Thirds cameras often means their light-gathering abilities seem limited in comparison to the larger APS-C and full-frame sensors employed by other mirrorless cameras. But if you're aware of that and are willing to work around it, we can’t see it being a huge barrier to achieving good results. As you can see from our test footage above, our twilight shots came out fairly well.
Image 1 of 5(Image credit: Panasonic)(Image credit: Panasonic)(Image credit: Panasonic)(Image credit: Panasonic)(Image credit: Panasonic)
While the video side of the GH6 is definitely the one getting all the attention, like previous GH Lumix cameras it’s a hybrid camera with a lot of thought put into the still photography side of things. There’s a mechanical shutter, the standard M/A/P/S selection of shooting modes and a wide range of options for specialist stills shooting, including the aforementioned 100MP image-stacking High Resolution mode and some extremely fast burst shooting (up to 75 shots per second with the electronic shutter).
The small sensor size and relatively small ISO range (50-25600 for still photography in extended mode, or 250-12800 in V-Log) hint at the GH6’s main issue when compared to full-frame rivals: it’s not particularly comfortable in low-light situations. It will do a passable job, but we wouldn’t advise anyone to shoot an indoor wedding or concert photos with one of these – it’s far more comfortable outdoors in abundant light.
Should I buy the Panasonic Lumix GH6?(Image credit: Future)
Buy it if...
You need a lightweight video monster
With a massive range of 10-bit ProRes and anamorphic video options, several built-in color profiles, improved audio, unlimited recording times and an impressive 7.5 stops of image stabilization, the Panasonic GH6 is a real beast of a video machine. That you get all this in a body that weighs less than a kilo and fits in a small camera bag is extremely impressive, and one of the reasons Micro Four Thirds still has a place in video production.
You want reliable build and easy handling
The Panasonic Lumix GH6’s design is another strong point: the camera itself is built on a rugged magnesium alloy frame and is dust- and splash-proof, while its shape and control layout makes it a joy to use. Front and back recording buttons and tally lights, as well as a multi-angle tilt-and-swivel screen make it easy to shoot whether you’re in front of or behind the camera.
You shoot video more than stills
The still photography performance of the Panasonic Lumix GH6 isn’t at all bad, but we think its 25.2MP sensor and autofocus system is designed very much with video in mind. If you primarily shoot stills photography and need resolution and/or autofocus accuracy and speed – say for sports or wildlife shooting – then you’ll find better options elsewhere.
Don't buy it if...
You want the advantages of full-frame
The GH6’s tiny Micro Four Thirds sensor is no slouch: it’s capable of delivering excellent image quality in most conditions and its size works as an advantage when it comes to image stabilization performance and the general bulk of the camera. Still, full-frame cameras (which Panasonic also produces) do fare better in low-light situations and make it easier to achieve a shallow depth of field with smooth bokeh – a signature prized by many filmmakers.
You want the best autofocus performance
While Panasonic’s 'Depth From Defocus' contrast-based autofocus system works better here than on previous models, there’s still the sense that it’s lagging slightly behind the hybrid systems used by Sony, Canon et al when it comes to continuous autofocus. If you need the fastest, most accurate AF system, another brand might better suit you.
You aren't a demanding video maker
While the GH6 is relatively affordable for its level of performance, it’s still quite a bit pricier than other Lumix G models like the Panasonic GH5 II. It’s worth asking yourself if you need the extra performance and sheer level of video options it offers: the GH5 II is also a capable video performer and slightly lighter and smaller, and the difference in price compared to the GH6 could buy you an extra lens, external microphone or other useful accessory.
- Check out our guide to the world's best YouTube cameras
Panasonic GH6: Price Comparison
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Sam has been writing about tech and digital culture for over 20 years, starting off in video games journalism before branching out into the wonderful worlds of consumer electronics, streaming entertainment and photography. Over the years he has written for Wired, Stuff, GQ, T3, Trusted Reviews and PC Zone, and now lives on the Kent coast in the UK – the ideal place for a camera reviewer to ply their trade.
Sony A7S III | TechRadar
Sony hasn’t just improved one or two aspects of its A7S series; with the new A7S III, it’s made an across-the-board set of upgrades that result in a camera that’s the best of its kind. It handles beautifully for video thanks to its articulating screen and touch display, while a full-sized HDMI port and excellent IBIS head the list of other treats. It’s significantly dearer than the A7S II was when it launched, but if you’re a videographer in need of big physical pixels and excellent low-light performance, this is as good as it gets.
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Class-leading low-light video
New Touch UI
Fully articulating touchscreen
Impressive battery life
No overheating issues
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The Sony A7S III is finally here, and boy does it deliver. With huge improvements to handling and connectivity, a pin-sharp viewfinder, and, of course, hugely impressive low-light performance across both video and stills, it's the finest hybrid video camera you can buy. Indeed, it's one of the best video cameras, as well as one of the best YouTube cameras available right now.
Of course, this all comes at a price, with the A7S III costing $3,498 / £3,800 / AU$5,999 for the body only. But, thanks to a long-awaited new 12.1MP back-illuminated full-frame sensor, it's a best-in-class low-light 4K video camera, and with an also-new Bionz XR processor that brings 8x faster performance and an expandable ISO of 40-409,600, not to mention a class-leading 15 stops of dynamic range, the specs definitely impress.
The fully articulating screen is one of the many other stars of the A7S III show. Sony teased this on the Sony ZV-1, but now it’s finally made its way to an A7-series camera. Perhaps an even bigger deal for frustrated Sony fans is that it's finally opted for a full touch UI, making interaction with the camera much more intuitive.
Being a Sony camera, the A7S III also delivers excellent, customizable autofocus, with 759 phase-detection AF points and eye-tracking across animals and humans, which Sony claims to be 30% faster than on the A7S II. This is combined with in-body image stabilization (IBIS) and Active stabilization, which marries optical and electronic systems with a small crop-factor.
The 12.1MP sensor resolution means the A7S III can’t record 6K, let alone 8K, video, instantly putting it behind much of the competition in terms of outright resolution. What it can do, though, is record for a very long time, and in very low light. That’s the key reason you’ll be picking up an A7S III, which wiped the floor with the admittedly (much) cheaper Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K in our tests.
- Sony A7S III (Black) at Amazon for $3,498
Image 1 of 3(Image credit: Future)(Image credit: Future)(Image credit: Future)
With images captured at sensitivities between ISO 2000-4000 looking like they were shot nearer 200-400, the A7S III is a liberating camera to use, and, naturally, you can boost the ISO much higher. Even when we set the ISO in excess of 40,000, it still produced usable footage for certain types of video.
Sony has also improved focus speeds on the A7S III, and it partly puts this down to the sensor sensitivity performance, which enables the camera to identify subjects in lower light than sensors with inferior sensitivity.
This is more than just a video camera though, and stills captured indoors look stunning, with simple incidental shots in dimly lit environments exhibiting an ambience and clarity usually missing from out-of-the-camera photos.
When it comes to power, the new Z battery delivers what Sony claims to be a 60% performance improvement over the Sony A7S Mark II's NP-FW50, which translates to up to 95 minutes of video capture, on paper. While we had a fair amount of variability in our device’s battery life, it comfortably captured 4K video for in excess of 75 minutes in our tests, which is great going compared to much of the competition.
The sticking point with the A7S III is always going to be price – it's a hefty investment, especially if you want to couple it with decent glass and fast storage – but the camera itself is the best in its class.
Sony A7S III release date and price
- Retails for $3,499 / £3,800 / AU$5,999
- Launched September 2020
The A7S III was released in September 2020 and is now available to buy either directly from Sony or from major retailers for $3,499.99 / £3,800 / AU$5,999 for the body only.
US readers can head to B&H Photo if you're keen on picking one up, while in Australia, the A7S III began shipping in October 2020 and can be picked up from Aussie retailer CameraPro .(Image credit: Future)
That’s significantly more than the Sony A7S II cost at launch, and also more than the Canon EOS R6, which costs $2,499 / £2,499 / AU$4,499. Video-focused cameras tend to cost more than comparable stills cameras, however, and at the price the A7S III is in good company with the 6K Panasonic S1H, which costs $3,999 / £3,599 / AU$5,999.
The A7S III also launched alongside Sony’s new CFexpress cards, which promise to deliver read speeds of 800MB/s and write speeds of 700MB/s. These retail at $199.99 / £210 / AU$369 for the 80GB card, $399.99 / £400 / AU$699 for 160GB and $119.99 / £130 / AU$249 for the card reader, but if you find those prices even more eye-watering than the cost of the camera itself, don’t worry – you can shoot on high-speed SD cards using the A7S III’s other card slot.
- Overhauled design with new touch interface
- Brand-new 12.1MP back-illuminated sensor
- Up to 15 stops of dynamic range with S-Log
One of the big new changes from the A7S II is the arrival of fully articulating screen. Sony teased the feature on the Sony ZV-1, but now it's finally made its way onto an A7-series camera, and not a moment too soon.
Fortunately, the breaks from tradition don't stop there. Perhaps a bigger deal for long-time Sony devotees, and indeed critics, is that the company has finally opted for a full touch UI, and it works beautifully.
These design and ergonomic changes are coupled with other impressive flourishes as you work your way around the body of the camera, from the full-sized HDMI port to the inclusion of a dedicated record button on the top plate.(Image credit: Future)
It's hard to find anything to complain about when it comes to the refreshed design of the A7S III – it really does feel like a compromise-free zone for video – but we’d expect nothing less at this price.
The A7S III features a 12.1MP resolution spread across a brand-new full-frame sensor. Sony’s decision to keep the resolution low is single-minded. With competition from Canon climbing up to 45MP and packing 8K video capture, the A7S III resolutely sticks with big pixels and a 4K cap. Its task is simple – to be the best 4K video camera it can be, excelling when it comes to high-ISO, low-light capture.
Being a Sony camera, the A7S III also delivers an excellent, customizable autofocus system, with 759 phase-detection AF points and eye-tracking across animals and humans that claims to be 30% faster than on its predecessor. This combines nicely with optical and electronic stabilization, with the latter coming with a small crop factor.
There are plenty of other highlights: the A7S III can receive an analogue and digital input from its hot-shoe mount, capture 16-bit raw over HDMI when recording at 4K/60p for the first time, and it features a 9. 44MP viewfinder – proving that photographers haven't been entirely forgotten about.
Build and handling
- Fully articulating 1.44 million-dot screen
- Bright, sharp 9.4MP viewfinder
- Plenty of on-body controls
The Sony A7S III is a relatively compact but solid bit of kit. With a similar body construction to the A7S II, you’d be forgiven for missing just how much of an overhaul this is going on first impressions.
For starters, one of the custom buttons above the grip has been swapped out for a large record button, setting the scene for this camera's strong emphasis on video shooting. There’s still a control wheel at the top of the grip, and this is joined by an on-off switch, a C2 button, and dials for both mode and exposure (both of which can be locked).
Despite the A7S III not having an official weather-sealing rating, Sony has assured us that it can handle drizzle, and all the ports are under rubberized covers, on the left-hand side of the camera when it's held lens-forward.
These ports include a full-sized HDMI port – a real boon for videographers – plus a USB-C port and micro USB port (it's an interesting choice on Sony's part to feature both), not to mention a headphone jack and 3.5mm microphone jack. If you’re longing for XLR audio-in, you can opt for an XLR-K3M hot-shoe accessory from Sony, for up to four audio inputs. On the right-hand side are the memory card slots and an NFC point.
Image 1 of 3(Image credit: Future)(Image credit: Future)(Image credit: Future)
Buttons and dials are plentiful on the back of the camera, dotted around the screen like a candy trail. Starting from the top-left, there’s a C3 and menu button, with the latter firing up the welcome touch UI. Venturing past the eye-piece, the C1 button, AF-on and AEL buttons line up neatly. Below, a handy four-way joystick makes navigating menus in traditional Canon-style a breeze, while an Fn button, four-way jog-dial, select, gallery and trash button round things off.
And then there’s that screen – articulating beautifully, angling around and up like a dream. With a 1.44 million-dot resolution, it’s sharp enough, and we found it viewable outdoors in all but the brightest environments.
The touch UI also deserves a special mention here. With a logical hierarchy of menus, it’s easy to operate with a finger or the four-way jog-dial. We’re still scratching our heads as to why Sony didn’t introduce this sooner, but the fact remains that it's a very welcome inclusion – although one thing we don’t understand is why the display isn’t in the 16:9 aspect ratio given that the A7S III is a video-focused camera.
Putting video to the side for a second, the A7S III’s bright, sharp viewfinder is a photographer’s dream, with crisp clarity, excellent coverage and ample brightness. And whether you’re shooting stills or video, the Sony A7S III handles well because it offers so many controls and top-end specs.
If you’re a seasoned Canon user, the grip might feel a touch claw-clasp inducing at first, though the A7S III still pulls through a fair amount of comfort and weight to counterbalance most lenses. The dials are all in the right places, and there are no less than three ways to navigate menus, so while this is a seriously comprehensive camera, the learning curve is anything but steep, whatever system you're coming from.
- Shoots 4K video at up to 120p
- S-log color profiles offer up to 15 stops of dynamic range
- Expandable sensitivity range of ISO 40–409,600
One of the first things you'll notice about the Sony A7S III is how well it performs in low light. Ramping up the ISO is not a stressful experience – in fact, it’s incredibly gratifying, with the camera able to handle high sensitivity mind-bogglingly well.
The A7S III's low-light capabilities make sense. Sony has created a brand-new 12.1MP sensor which has huge pixels spread across a full-frame, 35mm surface area. On paper, these specs aren’t new, but with twice the readout speeds of the A7S II’s sensor, a back-illuminated structure that's able to ingest more light, and a new Bionz XR processor powering things along, the low-light boost isn't a surprise.(Image credit: Future)
That sensor resolution means the A7S III can’t record 6K video, let alone 8K, instantly putting it behind the Canon EOS R5 on that front. What it can do, however, is record for a very long time. As with the Sony ZV-1, we had no issues recording for in excess of 30 minutes, with the only limiting factors being the card capacity, battery life and heat – and the fact that we never experienced any overheating warnings or issues on the pre-production A7S III we tested bodes well for the final retail unit.
Autofocus for photo and video benefits from 759 phase-detection focus points, not to mention advanced eye-tracking that's 30% faster than on previous Sony cameras.
Is it as good as Canon’s Dual Pixel AF? Well, it’s different. For video, specifically, Sony gives you beautifully granular control over your focus speeds. You really can get that pan-focus effect with autofocus by touching the display when you slow down the focus speed, and it works very well, whether you’re focusing on a flower, an apple, a cat or indeed a human.
Sony partly puts this improved focusing down to the sensor's sensitivity performance, enabling the A7S III to identify subjects in lower light than cameras with inferior sensitivity.
When it comes to power, the new Z battery delivers what Sony claims to be a 60% improvement over the performance of the A7S II's NP-FW50 – up to 95 minutes of video capture, on paper.
While we experienced a fair amount of variability in our review unit's battery life, it comfortably captured 4K video for in excess of an hour in every test we conducted, which is excellent compared to much of the competition. That said, we’ll have to wait until we get a final retail version to conclusively assess battery performance.
In addition, thanks to the inclusion of a USB-C port, the A7S III takes advantage of fast charging tech, powering up four times quicker than via an old-school micro USB connector. What’s also fantastic is that Sony doesn’t impose its shiny new, ultra-fast, ultra-expensive memory card format on you – but it does support it nonetheless.(Image credit: Future)
Priced comparably to CFast cards, these CFexpress cards (which deliver 800MB/s read and 700MB/s write speeds) are beauties. Thanks to the A7S III's dual-format card slots, though, you can also use SDXC V60 cards. That means two memory cards at any given time in the camera, and you can mix and match depending on what you have. You only really need the ultra high-speed CFExpress cards for Sony’s S&Q recording format at 4K resolution.
With other Sony hangovers missing from the A7S III – buffer issues, clunky menus and the lack of an articulating screen – this camera makes us, as camera enthusiasts and professionals, feel heard. Sony has finally taken note and shaken things up.
This sigh of relief is compounded by new features and enhancements that make day-to-day shooting and video capture a seriously future-proofed treat – for example, there's support for the new HEIF photo format, H.265 video capture, and clean 16-bit raw output at 4K 60fps.
While the sticking point with the A7S III is always going to be price – it's undoubtedly a big investment before you even start shooting if you want to pair it with decent glass and fast storage – the camera itself doesn't leave many itches unscratched.
Video and image quality
Moving on to image quality, we compared Sony’s camera directly with a Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K at ISO 16,000 and f/2.8, at 25fps at 4K resolution. While the Blackmagic appears to have exposed the scene a touch better than the A7S III, there’s no contest when it comes to noise handling: the A7S III is the clear victor.
If you aren’t familiar with the Pocket Cinema Camera 4K, its low-light handling is well-regarded in the industry thanks to its dual-native ISO – and it comes with an affordable price tag, at less than a third of the price of the A7S III.
That said, the A7S III soars ahead, with virtually no visible image noise despite the footage having been captured in the dead of night, while the Pocket Cinema Camera captures totally unusable, grainy footage.
While the comparison footage was shot on a tripod, the rest of our time with the A7S III was spent capturing handheld video in middling light. With ISO settings ranging from ISO 2000-4000 delivering results that look nearer to ISO 200-400, the A7S III is a liberating camera to use.
Even when we set the ISO to in excess of 40,000 the results were still usable for certain types of video, blowing the lid off a whole a range of possibilities when capturing content across challenging lighting conditions – for example, fireworks, candlelight, and of course wildlife photography at dusk.
Another area that’s seen improvements is rolling shutter. Sony cameras have historically struggled in this department, but the A7S III’s new sensor and faster readout speeds result in the jelly effect being hardly noticeable, unless you’re a seriously aggressive panner.
All this talk of great focus performance and noise handling suggests that this is more than just a video camera – and it is. The 10fps continuous AF/AE works beautifully when eye-tracking a person walking towards the camera, and it also did a great job with a tabby cat, although it struggled with a black cat when positioned slightly off-angle.
Image 1 of 8In our burst shooting test, the A7S III did a good job of tracking our cat (1/80s at f/2.8, ISO12800)at (Image credit: Future)The AF again worked well here, despite the gloomy conditions (1/125 at f/2.8, ISO12800) (Image credit: Future)The AF continued to work well in burst mode, until the cat got too close for tracking (1/125 at f/2.8, ISO12800) (Image credit: Future)Here you can see the amount of shadow detail that it's possible to recover in programs like Lightroom. (Image credit: Future)Our ISO tests revealed how impressive the A7S III's low light capabilities are – this is shot at ISO8,000... (Image credit: Future)...followed by the same shot at ISO10,000. (Image credit: Future)Shots at ISO12,800 exhibit an impressive lack of noise or artifacts. .. (Image credit: Future)...and even still shots at ISO16,000 is distinctly usable. (Image credit: Future)
Stills captured indoors look stunning, with simple incidental shots in dimly lit environments packing an ambience and clarity usually missing from out-of-the-camera photos. In turn, if you’re a wedding photographer-cum-videographer, and need a camera that can capture mood across both, then provided you’re prepared to sacrifice pixel-power, the A7S III is a top performer.
Between the fantastic high-ISO performance, IBIS and electronic image stabilization, handheld shooting on the A7S III is a great experience too. The stabilization won’t totally counterbalance hand-shake, especially when you're using a large lens, but if you can find a thigh or ledge to rest on, you can get some fantastically steady footage.
Should I buy the Sony A7S III?(Image credit: Future)
Buy it if...
You need stellar low-light performance
The Sony A7S III combines a new sensor and processor with beautiful image processing and excellent dynamic range, to deliver class-leading low-light performance.
Your Sony lens collection is in a good place
The high price of the A7S III is only really going to be palatable for many if they already have a fleshed-out series of Sony’s excellent accompanying glass – if you’ll need to build out your kit around the A7S III, you could easily spend several thousand dollars or pounds to cover all your bases.
You shoot long video clips
With its humble 4K capture, there’s less strain on the Sony A7S III’s sensor and processor – and in turn, we didn’t experience any overheating issues when testing out the camera, nor were there recording limitations. For video shooters, it's one of the best mirrorless cameras around.
Don't buy it if...
You need a lot of pixels
Whether you’re talking about photos or videos, the Sony A7S III captures them with comparatively low resolution when compared to the Panasonic S1H, Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K or the EOS R5, which climb up to 6K, 6K and 8K respectively.
You want maximum bang for your buck
If you need an affordable 4K camera, you can get better-value options than the A7S III, especially if you know you’ll be shooting primarily in well-lit conditions. The Blackmagic Pocket Cinema camera is an excellent-value alternative, although you will be massively sacrificing on ergonomics and low-light performance, not to mention stills capture.
You’re a daylight photographer
If you shoot in a studio and can control lighting, like shooting on a tripod, or need pixel-power, avoid this camera. Far better value can be found in the likes of the Nikon Z7 , Fujifilm X-T4 or Sony's own A7R IV .
Sony A7S III: Price Comparison
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Basil Kronfli is the Head of content at Make Honey and freelance technology journalist. He is an experienced writer and producer and is skilled in video production, and runs the technology YouTube channel Tech.
Best video cameras | Articles | Photo, video, optical and for photographers.
Fortunately, many cameras these days have very advanced movie features. What began as simple 640 x 480 pixel videos a few years ago, more like animated GIFs, has evolved into a truly advanced technology that can compete in image quality with specialized video equipment. Below is a list of cameras that, along with excellent photos, allow you to shoot really high-quality video.
Our choice: Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5S and DC-GH5
Both versions of the Lumix DC-GH5 camera from Panasonic were chosen as the winner. The Panasonic GH5 and GH5S support UHD and DCI 4K video at 60p (with 10-bit 4:2:2 chroma subsampling available in some modes) and offer a wider range of moviemaking tools than most of their closest competitors. This includes both the vectorscope and oscilloscopes, as well as zebra, focus peaking, and on-screen live preview for anamorphic and Log shooting. For many photographers, most of these terms may not be familiar, but videographers use these tools all the time in their work.
Equipped with a slightly larger dual gain sensor (allows for noise reduction at higher ISO speeds), the GH5S captures beautiful video in a wider range of lighting conditions than the regular GH5. This, plus the flexible handling of its 10-bit Log footage (the GH5's VLog-L is only available at an additional cost), makes the GH5S our go-to camera for video.
Instead, the standard GH5 offers built-in sensor-shift image stabilization. This is a more reliable choice for everyday shooting without special training and a tripod, as well as for just "watering" (as videographers sometimes say), that is, shooting everything around and indiscriminately. The 20-megapixel sensor makes this model the best option for taking photos in addition to videos. Autofocus of both models is not very reliable in video mode - this is perhaps the main disadvantage of both models.
Below we will take a closer look at the GH5 and GH5S separately.
Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5
20-megapixel MFT-format CMOS sensor.
3.68 million dot OLED viewfinder
- Professional video features.
- Magnesium alloy housing with weather protection.
- Excellent viewfinder and movable touch screen.
- Autofocus in the video sometimes prowls.
- Viewfinder resolution drops during high-speed shooting.
The Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5 is a hybrid camera suitable for photography and video, but still more interesting in terms of video shooting. Its 20-megapixel MFT-format sensor captures 4K video at 60p, with professional-grade features such as 4:2:2 chroma subsampling and 10-bit color.
The GH5 is large enough for a Micro 4:3 camera, but has excellent ergonomics and a weather-resistant body. There is a dual SD card slot, a handy joystick for menus and autofocus, and an excellent electronic viewfinder.
Autofocus is great for photos, but in video mode it sometimes lurks and, in general, its implementation lags behind competitor systems.
The GH5 utilizes the full width of the sensor to capture super-sharp 4K video at up to 60p. The GH5 can record 4:2:2 10-bit footage to a memory card, capturing twice the color information and 64 times the color depth of cameras shooting 4:2:0 8-bit video. The model received a whole set of professional tools, including vectorscopes and oscilloscopes, and the VLog-L profile is available as a paid upgrade. An advanced image stabilization system makes it easy to shoot video handheld.
From a photography standpoint, the image quality of the camera is excellent, with pleasingly rich colors. RAW files are very detailed, and the camera matrix allows you to effectively pull out the details in the shadows.
GH5 is more versatile than DC-GH5S. It offers excellent video performance as well as highly advanced still photography.
Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5S
10.3-megapixel CMOS sensor with various aspect ratios.
DCI/UHD 4K video at 60p.
3.68 million dot electronic viewfinder.
- Shoots DCI 4K at 60p.
- Extended range of movie shooting functions.
- Matrix with different aspect ratios.
- No image stabilization.
- Autofocus in video is not very reliable.
- Poor photo resolution by today's standards.
The DC-GH5S is a video-focused hybrid photo/video camera from the GH series. She received a matrix optimized for 4K, which allows you to shoot UHD and DCI video at speeds up to 60p. However, this larger chip, which maintains its field of view in both formats, did not allow the camera to use the built-in image stabilization system.
The body and controls of the DC-GH5S and GH5 are the same: a DSLR-style body with many customizable buttons and an extended touch interface for silent video operation. The GH5S is also one of the few cameras with oscilloscopes (waveforms).
The camera's autofocus is not bad enough, but not 100% reliable: focus may jitter and the subject may be lost during tracking.
The GH5S produces very impressive video, with a good level of detail in a wide range of lighting conditions. 10-bit shooting along with V-Log L and Hybrid Log modes provide good flexibility for subsequent color grading. 60p and 50p 4K can be recorded to a memory card in 8-bit or output via HDMI in 10-bit.
Photo-wise, JPEGs look quite good, with much better color than older Panasonic models, and RAW files have enough dynamic range to justify the addition of 14-bit footage. However, in general, a video-optimized sensor does not provide the photo detail that we expect from advanced cameras today.
The GH5S delivers some of the best video on the market for hybrid photo/video cameras. In addition to picture quality, the model boasts a large set of professional video tools. Weaknesses include the lack of built-in stabilization, as well as not the most reliable autofocus.
Alternate choice: Fujifilm X-T3
26-megapixel APS-C X-Trans BSI-CMOS sensor.
Touchscreen, 2-axis inclined.
- High quality 10-bit 4K video.
- Excellent RAW and JPEG photos.
- Convenient customizable controls.
- No built-in stabilization.
- No AF tracking in video.
- f/1.4 lenses may focus slowly.
The Fujifilm X-T3 has made our lists of the best cameras on numerous occasions, which is not surprising, since Fujifilm has managed to create a truly versatile model that is perfect for a variety of tasks. And video recording is no exception.
While the GH5 and GH5S offer more advanced video features and a wider range of additional tools, the Fujifilm X-T3 is not only more versatile, but also cheaper.
Fujifilm's mirrorless camera can shoot 4K video at up to 60p in 10-bit for post-processing flexibility. In addition, its video autofocus system performs well in a wide range of shooting situations.
In addition to top video performance, X-T3 also boasts excellent photos. Its 26-megapixel BSI CMOS sensor produces excellent RAW and JPEG images with some of the best color reproduction on the market.
It also features a set of traditional, highly customizable controls that let you easily switch between stills and movies. The only tangible disadvantage for video shooting is the lack of a built-in stabilization system. All in all, the X-T3 is one of the most interesting APS-C still and video cameras on the market today.
Canon EOS M6 Mark II
32.5 megapixel APS-C sensor.
Continuous shooting 14 fps.
- Very good image quality.
- The Dual Pixel AF system provides good focusing speed and accuracy.
- Compact but with a good range of controls.
- Limited battery life.
- Charging via USB only with special PD adapters.
- 4K video is not as detailed as the competition.
Where previous models were more of a choice for professional videographers who know how to use specialized tools and are ready for post-production with color grading, the Canon EOS M6 Mark II is a simpler and more beginner-friendly video camera.
This 32MP APS-C mirrorless camera features a compact body, Dual Pixel autofocus system and 4K video capture.
Despite its small size, the M6 Mark II has a comfortable grip and a full range of physical controls in addition to a convenient touch interface.
The autofocus system performs well in both stills and movies, with convenient and effective subject tracking and eye/face detection.
Of course, 4K video is a lot less detailed than previous models, and even a little worse than some of the direct competitors in the mid-budget mirrorless camp, but the handy touch autofocus makes it one of the most comfortable cameras for shooting amateur video. The camera also allows you to easily switch between photo and video modes with different settings for each mode.
In terms of photography, the 32. 5-megapixel sensor performs well in terms of noise, dynamic range and resolution. 9The 0006
M6 II is a great choice for amateur videography, and overall a versatile camera that's comfortable and fun to shoot with.
24-megapixel full-frame BSI-CMOS sensor.
Integrated image stabilization.
UHD 4K/30p video.
- Great photos and 4K video.
- Excellent build quality.
- High quality 3.69 million dot OLED viewfinder.
- Overly aggressive high ISO noise reduction.
- Small delays in the viewfinder make it difficult to shoot fast subjects.
- Not the most capacious battery.
The Nikon Z6, like the X-T3, has already made it to our best camera lists, last time it was the best cameras for Instagram and lifestyle photography. Unsurprisingly, both cameras are also great options for shooting video, as versatility is one of their strengths.
This is an entry-level full-frame mirrorless camera with a weather-resistant body and built-in image stabilization.
The Z6 lets you shoot 4K/30p video with great detail and tracking autofocus. The camera can also output 10-bit video via HDMI to an external recorder.
The quality of photos in the camera is also at the highest level, the only drawback is too much noise reduction at high ISOs in JPEG.
The combination of excellent photo and video quality makes the Z6 another interesting option for hobby videographers.
Sony Alpha a7 III
24-megapixel full-frame BSI-CMOS sensor.
Hybrid autofocus system.
Integrated image stabilization.
- High quality photo and video.
- Superb autofocus.
- Excellent battery life.
- Limited functionality of the touch interface.
- Confusing menu;
- Viewfinder resolution not very high.
Launched two years ago, the Sony a7 III continues to be one of the most exciting full-frame mirrorless cameras on the market, thanks in part to its excellent video quality and excellent range of advanced video tools.
This is still one of the most compact full-frame mirrorless cameras out there and works great with smaller lenses - larger lenses are a little off balance. The menu system and control customization can create difficulties in the early stages of using the camera due to its complexity. The touch interface in the model is not implemented in the best way, and the resolution of the viewfinder at the moment seems too small. On the other hand, the camera provides a very decent 710 shots per battery charge, and the autofocus system with 693 dots on the matrix covers most of the frame. There is also an eye recognition system.
In terms of video recording, the camera offers very detailed 4K full-sensor readout when shooting at 24p. There is a 1.2x crop at 30p, but the detail is still great. The model offers many additional tools, including zebra and focus picking, as well as Log profiles. Rolling shutter is well controlled, and as a bonus, there is slow motion shooting in Full HD.
In terms of photography, the camera also excels. It's one of the best cameras for shooting in low light, RAW files have great dynamic range, while JPEGs show nice colors and good sharpness.
The Sony Alpha a7 III is a solid recommendation for both professional videographers and photographers for whom video is more of a complement to photography.
Of course, these are not all cameras on the market that are well suited for video shooting. So everyone who is professionally involved in shooting video should definitely pay attention to the recently introduced Panasonic Lumix DC-S1H and Fujifilm X-T4. And on a more amateur level, the Sony a6600 and Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 VII also stand out.
* The article was prepared using materials from the sites dpreview.com, bhphotovideo.com and onfoto.ru.
Cameras for vloggers: beginner and advanced | Articles | Photo, video, optics
Choosing a camera / camcorder for shooting vlogs may not be as simple as it might seem at first glance. There are simply a huge number of cameras on the market that can shoot good video, with a wide variety of features and price tags.
Of course, a good camera is an essential tool for any vlogger. After all, it is she who shoots the content that you will show on the network. However, not all models shoot in the same way, both in terms of pictures and in terms of the whole style of work. Since every blogger has different technique requirements, skills, and expectations, to say that any camera will be objectively better no matter the situation is likely to be an overstatement. Of course, with the release of Sony's new model, specially sharpened for shooting video selfies, the choice for many bloggers has become much easier, but the novelty has a number of drawbacks, including a starting price of $ 800, which can not be called a budget option. In addition, it is not entirely clear when the Sony ZV-1 will be available in our country, so we will turn to alternative options.
Sony ZV-1. Source: mobile-review.com
In this article we will consider models for a wide range of users, from beginners to experienced bloggers, including those suitable for special tasks.
Video blogging is gaining more and more popularity. And while you can save money and shoot a decent vlog using your smartphone, at some point switching to a dedicated camera can really improve the quality of the material. With the advent of live streaming on Instagram, almost everyone has become a vlogger, so good picture quality and production in general can help you stand out from the crowd and attract an audience.
The Panasonic HC-V770 is a great way to start shooting video without spending extra money on features you might not need. The camera allows you to shoot high-quality video in 1080p at up to 60 fps and slow motion at 120 fps. The 20x zoom lens offers multiple framing options and different perspectives.
This is a good place to start thanks to its excellent video quality (though not in 4K) and ease of use with automatic exposure control modes.
When you're ready to make your own exposure adjustments, you can control the camera using the dedicated dial on the front of the body. And once you decide you're ready to record higher quality audio, you'll find a microphone input on the front: separate microphones (lavaliers and guns) offer much better sound recording compared to built-in microphones.
The captured video is saved in MP4 format to the SD card. In this format, you can work with PC and Mac in most editing applications. If you don't want to mess around with video editing, MP4 files directly from your camera will work for most social platforms like Youtube.
When it comes to action cameras, the first thing that always comes to mind is GoPro. These super-compact cameras produce decent quality footage and mount to virtually any surface, making them especially popular with sports bloggers and many travellers.
A good balance between price, quality and the availability of various useful accessories makes the latest HERO8 Black an interesting option for travel vlogging. GoPro cameras are also well known for their versatility.
Optional accessories further increase the versatility of the GoPro, extending the potential for use in hard-to-reach places, with the ability to remotely control the camera. Also, GoPro mounts are usually compatible with the entire line and are supported by new models, so if you want to upgrade your camera in the future, the accessories you already bought will work with it.
For recording musical performances or quick sketches, good clear sound is the most important requirement. You can add a separate microphone to the camera, or you can purchase a device that can not only shoot videos in good quality, but also record excellent sound.
Zoom Q8 allows you to shoot HD video, but the main focus of the device is on audio capabilities. The model records sound using two condenser microphones located on top of the camcorder. They are arranged in an "X/Y" pattern for stereo recording without "cancellation phase". If your vlog is all about making or promoting music, then this camera can be a good budget option, faithfully reproducing audiovisual experiences from gigs, jam sessions and live instrument lessons.
If your vlog is about the basics of videography and cinematography, but you're not ready to spend a lot of money on a professional camcorder, the Canon EOS 800D is worth checking out.
For the EOS system, you will find a wide variety of lenses, including anamorphic lenses, to allow for a wide variety of aesthetic and compositional solutions.
This is a fairly versatile camera that also takes great still pictures, so you can learn the basics and techniques that you'll need when shooting video.
All-in-One Vlogger Camera
One of the main competitors for the new Sony ZV-1 is the Canon G7 X Mark III. Indeed, this is another camera that was initially positioned as a model for vloggers.
One of the highlights of the G7X series has always been the 3-inch touchscreen that flips up 180 degrees for easy selfies and vlogging. The Mark III added a video record button to the screen, which is convenient for starting recording in the selfie position.
The video quality leaves a very good impression. It may not be as sharp as some of the more expensive 1-inch cameras, but it's detailed enough for everyday shooting, with a little rolling shutter when moving. The camera offers a decent level of exposure control in Full HD, but only works in auto mode in 4K. At the same time, 4K is filmed without crop and with good stabilization.
The built-in microphone is suitable for shooting indoors or in quiet environments, but for better sound quality, it is better to use an external microphone, since there is a separate connector for it.
Other features specifically for bloggers include the ability to live stream on YouTube without the use of third-party apps.
In addition to video, the camera allows you to take high-quality photos, so it can be a versatile tool for vloggers who are also into photography.
For advanced videographers
If you are already experienced in video shooting and your vlog needs more advanced equipment, you should look at devices at a higher level. A deeper understanding of the video recording process allows you to take advantage of the more advanced functionality that high-end equipment offers.
An advanced camcorder in a classic form factor
Vloggers who are accustomed to a traditional camcorder-style form factor will appreciate the Canon Legria HF G50. It's comfortable and lightweight, shooting UHD 4K video at up to 30fps and Full HD at 60fps, with precise manual control using the lens control ring and large zoom button. The camcorder features zebra patterns and other video-specific features, a retractable EVF with an eyecup, and other features found on more expensive camcorders.
Dual card slot allows continuous recording of long events - recording automatically switches to the second card when the first one is full, without dropping frames. It is also possible to record material on both cards at once for safety reasons. The camera is equipped with a standard 3.5 mm audio jack and a branded hot shoe for connecting compatible microphones.
Advanced Video Recording Control
If you want an advanced level of control over the picture and the entire video recording process, then one of the most interesting cameras on the market is the Panasonic Lumix GH5. Many successful vloggers have switched to this model in search of higher video quality and more advanced control options. For the Micro 4:3 mount, you'll find a huge variety of lenses, from native models to adapted vintage lenses.
The camera offers detailed settings to get exactly the picture you want. The large enough 4:3 sensor and the fast lenses available for the system give you a high level of control over the depth of field in your video.
The Panasonic Lumix GH5 features dual memory card slots, external microphone and headphone jacks, and a fully movable display.
There is an even more video-centric version of the Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5S. It has a slightly larger sensor that allows you to shoot video in a wider range of lighting conditions, and also has more flexible processing of 10-bit Log material (VLog-L for the GH5 is a paid option).
Panasonic Lumix DC-S1H. Source: engadget.