Panasonic Gh4

Dec 162013

How  to Shoot RAW video on a Panasonic GH1, Panasonic GH2, or Panasonic GH3

Currently, as of Decemeber 2013, I am not aware of any Panasonic GH cameras with RAW video capabilities. I just wanted to get that out of the day in case you came here wondering if you can shoot RAW video on Panasonic cameras. The good news is: the GH2 and GH3 are badass cameras, so aside from true RAW video, you won’t be disappointed. Oh, and if you continue reading, don’t get anal if I call the EOS M or Black Magic camera a DSLR. Its just easier to lump everything into one big group.

Canon 50D: The best RAW Video Camera value on the market

The canon 50D is without a doubt the best bang for your buck if you want to shoot RAW video. The 50D can be easily purchased for under $400 used on eBay, sports a very rugged build (much more solid than the 60D, which I own), and is an excellent still camera in case you are into photography.

The Canon 50D is the best budget camera for shooting RAW video simply because it can can continuously shoot 24 frames per second at a resolution of 1584 x 1058. No other camera in that price range can shoot RAW anywhere near that resolution. The video quality will not be as great as on a 5D mkIII, because there will be more noise (smaller sensor) and aliasing, but who gives a #$&^!, your shooting RAW video at a resolution beyond 720p for under $400…

The second best RAW Video value? I’d say The Canon T2i or the Canon 7D, depending on how much money you have to burn.

The Canon T2i is very cheap (used) and can shoot 24p continuously at a  resolution of 960×540. It is an excellent entry DSLR for video and for photos. The 7D is a legendary camera when it comes to video. It is built well, it sports 1080p video out monitoring (very few Canon cameras can do this), and it shoots decent RAW video (lower resolution than 50D, but higher than all the canon rebel DSLRs).

Canon vs Black Magic: Why Canon is Better

Okay, I must admit my statement claiming that Canon is better than Black Magic is kind of scandalous. But let me explain my logic: Canon has Magic Lantern Support, Black Magic does not. Sure the Black Magic Cinema, and the Black Magic Pocket cameras will shoot better video, but honestly the benefits of Magic Lantern outweigh the superior video quality of Black Magic Cameras.

With a Canon camera, all you have to do is fork over a couple  hundred bucks, install Magic Lantern, and you are ready to shoot RAW video with an extremely powerful tool. Installing Magic Lantern on your camera allows you to expose your shots better, focus more accurately, and customize tons of aspects beyond the factory defaults such as resolution, frame rate, etc… Also, if you want to shoot with Canon Lenses, you will need a special adapter for the Black Magic Pocket Camera because it only supports MFT lenses. The Cinema Camera supports EF (Canon) and MFT lenses.

Canon vs Black Magic: Why Black Magic is Better

Oh gosh, you thought I was biased didn’t you. It’s okay, I forgive you. The black Magic cameras are better for several reasons:

  • They flat out shoot better video.
  • They can record in CinemaDNG RAW and ProRes which means you can just drag your ProRes files into your editing software and work quickly and efficiently (much less troublesome than on Canons’ via Magic Lantern RAW files).
  • The Black Magic Cinema Camera (BMCC) can shoot at 4k continuously. Canon DSLRs can’t even get close to that.
  • The Black Magic Pocket Camera (BMPC) is tiny! It is similar to the Canon EOS M (which also shoots RAW via Magic Lantern). Though the BMPC is a bit bigger and heavier than the EOS M, it shoots much higher quality video.

If you have the money to build a professional set up (follow focus, high quality monitor, etc…) get a Black Magic Camera, you will get better video quality and a camera that is designed to shoot RAW (easier workflow). If you don’t have the money for such luxuries, get any Canon you can afford with Magic Lantern on it.

Do you want to learn more about RAW video on Canon cameras?

I certainly can’t do the topic justice, check out the AUTHORITY on Canon Raw video recording at Magic Lantern’s website. The RAW video forum is particularly useful, and there is even a nifty diagram that shows all the RAW video capabilities of the Canon DSLRs.

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