Which is a better option for a low budget digital feature Sony EX3 or a canon 5d

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    • #49749


      I am working on my debut indie film project, and would just want to hear the take of fellow film makers, as I am very focused on the look of the project and although i will be taking the film through a CC and Grading process, I am keen on knowing Which is a better option for a low budget digital feature Sony EX3 or a Canon 5D to get source look right…

    • #203574

      I would say the major difference is depth of field. the 5D will give you shallower DoF than the EX3. If you want shallower DoF, then go with the 5D.

      The 5D MkIII allows you to output through HDMI, so you can actually get less compressed video than previous generations. But the EX3 allows you to output via HD-SDI, so you can get really nice video from that connection as well.

      So I think it comes down to the look you hope to achieve: shallow DoF vs deep DoF.

    • #203575

      Thanks Rob… for the feedback… Cheers 🙂

    • #203576

      how many lenses do you plan to buy or rent if you go d-slr?
      they add up… and the d-slr is kinda limitied if you’re only planning to use the kit lens…

    • #203577


      The EX3 is much more expensive than a 5D(II or III combined.) Rob’s right about the DoF issues. Prior to picking out a camera, have you broken down your script/project yet? After a proper breakdown of what the project requirements will be gives you a much better idea of how you want to shoot it. Knowing how you want to shoot your project will make it much easier to pick out a camera.

      Is this a documentary or a narrative film? With doc’s you don’t necessarily need shallow DoF. In fact, shallow DoF sometimes takes away the ‘grit’ from the look of a doc. If it’s a narrative, shallow DoF will give you the ability to ‘isolate’ your talent from the background which is important during dialog and focusing the audiences attention.

      Both cameras are good choices but the other question you need to answer is; what’s your primary distribution method? No matter what it is, you want to capture good imagery but do you need 1080i for a web show? Are you planning on showing it on a large screen (i.e. movie theater?) Is the film going straight to DVD or Blu-ray? Those are all valid questions and the type of camera you pick will influence the process for obtaining the final product.

      If nothing else, you can pick up a 35mm adapter kit to go with your EX3. If purchasing an EX3 and all its supporting gear doesn’t make you blink, the addition of an adapter kit, mattebox and filters won’t hurt as much either. Just remember, you’re going to need a significant amount of support gear to get the 5D to capture imagery at its full potential too!

    • #203578

      You know that it’s really not just narrow depth of field vs everything in focus. Until DSLRs were invented one of the complaints about cameras designed for video was that focussing was difficult! It seems the whole world believes that a really shallow DoF is critical for ‘quality’ when all it’s critical for is a shot where the background is not intended to be looked at. I find it extremely annoying when a shot is framed and I cannot see accurate detail in the background. Watching feature films does not mean watching Shallow DoF all the time – many movies have rock sharp background and foreground. Indeed, I’d go so far as to say there are more sharp backgrounds than narrow. With an ND filter and open lens, you can have a pretty shallow DoF on a real video camera that has all sorts of useful features, and few drawbacks. Move the camera further away from the subject zoom in, and your background is nice and soft. Given the choice of an ex3 or a DSLR, I’d choose the EX3 every time, and I actually don’t like them much to use. If you don’t know the exact things you’ll need to shoot – I can’t advise you, but I do know it would have to be a very special requirement to convert me to losing the features I love and accepting a DSLR. I do appreciate lots of people disagree, and that’s fine – but personally, I like sharp pictures back and foreground unless its for a special effect, not for every shot – I find it tiresome.

    • #203579

      I just shot a feature with only a Cannon Mark II. Personally the depth of field is very limiting. For instance on 1 scene I shot 2 talent about 3-4 feet away attending a concert. I had to be to the side as this was a real concert. As with all concerts I’ve been too there was very little light (even using a reflector) so we needed as fast a prime as we could and obviously that is a short lens for the distance and framing. I was not able to focus on both of the talent. I am not sure if the shot was “ruined” or not, I am still hoping it was usable. If I had a video camera this probably would not have been an issue. So yes I agree with what everyone else has commented above. BTW the Black Magic Camera is slated to be released the end of this month. That may be the best option if you are buying a camera at this price point.

    • #203580

      I teach no-budget filmmaking and I think about these sorts of questions all the time. I would agree with just about everything that everyone has said, and of course, without more info on your project, it’s hard to generalize. But of course, I will! The first thing I’d say, from a no-budget perspective, is use the camera you can get your hands on. The 5d is less expensive to buy and lots of people have them. If using the 5d means you’re going to get your project made, that camera should work, keeping in mind the issues stated above with dof and some other issues. I would recommend the 7D or even one of its less expensive cousins (60d, t2i, t3i, t4i); your dof isn’t as extreme and personally, I’ve seen several recent projects on the big screen at festivals shot with these cameras and they all looked terrific. Forget the nonsense about rolling shutter and line skipping–those artifacts may be there, but if you’re making a low-budget indie festival film, nobody will notice or care, for the most part. To make these cameras easier to use, you can add PL adapters, cinema lenses, matte boxes, follow focus, etc.

      I shot my last feature on the EX1 with a Letus adapter and we were extremely happy with the results, and the workflow was a breeze. But to get the needed shallow DOF with that rig was cumbersome. That rig was heavy, a pain to build and not very ergonomic. So, you will have sacrifices and work-arounds with any of these technologies, but the good news is they can all do a pretty terrific job. Far cry from the days 10 years ago when we were trying to get cinematic results using a PAL PD-150!

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