Yet another "what camera to get" question
December 7, 2013 12:41 PM   Subscribe

I'm going on a long, once in a lifetime trip, I have a hodgepodge of older gear and some reasonable skills. Please share your opinion about what video enabled camera to get.

I will be taking an 8-9 month sailboat trip from south-central Alaska to the Pacific northwest starting in April 2014, ending in November 2014. The goal is to go to wild and unvisited places--and share our adventures with the world.

Given the accessibility of incredible video tools, it seems silly not to carry a decent cam of some sorts. This is of course compounded by budget and portability, add into mix that in a box I have a bunch of Nikon D glass and all the extra parts (tripods, flashes, filters, bags, you know...) a couple of GoPros w/SRP ND and Cyan filters, and two iPhones (a 4--with an Olo 3:1 and 5s).

The goal is to capture the trip and adventures with the idea that we would create a web series about the trip, sort of a run-n-gun, self-made documentary.

I have buckets of videography skill, gained from hundreds of hours of underwater video shoots, all on, wait for it, mini DV--remember when the three chip cam was marvel of modern technology? I have decent edit skills are from back in the FCP2/3 days.

So the final puzzle piece that is driving me nuts, is what kit? I have a ~$2k budget and the old gear mentioned above, lots of DIY skills, the time and tools to make sliders, booms and cages ala the Frugal Film Maker.

So what cam would you take with you, knowing that the driving factors are budget, image quality, portability, ruggedness--it will be wet and nasty at times!

As an extra, it would be great if it could take stills as well.

More info: Cams I've read up/considered: BMPCC; Panasonic GH3, GM1; Sony NEX--but which one? Sony A7 and A7r--a bit out of my budget range.

TLDR; I'm going on a long, once in a lifetime trip, I have a hodgepodge of older gear and some reasonable skills, what cam should I carry along?
posted by Fuzzy Dog to Technology (2 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
posted by bizwank at 1:05 PM on December 7, 2013 [2 favorites]

I have an idea that might be worth looking into; I'm attempting to keep costs down and use the lenses you already have:

The Panasonic Lumix GH2's firmware can be upgraded via a modified/hacked firmware upgrade, turning the camera into a (reportedly) very nice video camera. An adapter for the GH2 runs at about $30 on eBay, which allows the GH2 body to use your Nikon lenses. This would essentially give you photo + video while using the lenses you currently have.

I know that the easy route is to just get a Nikon body, but the hype on the video quality from the GH2 firmware modification/hack makes me think it might be worth the hassle. Read up and see for yourself, then compare the cost of a Nikon body (with high-quality video) to the $495 it costs for a used GH2 body.

Wikipedia info on the model, with a little blurb on the hack.

Software to do the hack.

Discussion thread on the topic of modifying one's firmware (IE the hack; a little old but helpful still.)

Body on Amazon for $495 used.

Adapter for using Nikon lenses on a Panasonic DSLR.

Specs from manufacturer.

If nothing else, the trip sounds amazing and I hope you'll post here, when you get back, with links to your videos. Good Luck!
posted by MansRiot at 11:35 PM on December 7, 2013

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