Pro video blog…Produced by Philip Johnston DoP/Editor


I had to laugh when I saw these pictures coming from Sony this morning its a feeble attempt to upstage the Panasonic GH4. Lets take a serious look at Sony’s meccano.


This Sony bracket is nothing short of a mess and very impracticable. Try mounting a tripod plate into that plastic screw head and you will be forever tightening it up.

Why Sony think this mess is any competition for the GH4 it beggars belief, Heath Robinson comes to mind, its a very ill conceived bracket from a 1980’s flash grip all because Sony choose to stick the audio onto a cold shoe, rather than design a fit for purpose cradle like the SDI/XLR adapter for the GH4.

This was the main reason I did not choose the Sony Alpha 99 and went for the GH3…the sound for these Sony cameras is a lash up and will do Sony no favours by turning out poor design like this.

Canon have proved with the C500 that its not a good idea to leave out the 4K internal recorder so why on earth do Sony think the 7s will sell leaving out its ability to record to 4K internally !

Can you imagine that bracket with an external recorder as well !!!

Once again Den Lennie has been let loose this time in my part of the world, Scotland, here is his film with the new Sony Alpha 7s…nice one Den !


Having been working in the video business since 1988 I have amassed a great amount of knowledge of both the kit and production values over the last 30 years.

4 thoughts on “The DSLR 4K choice…not if aesthetics has anything to do with it !

  1. Hi Philip,

    I have that bracket………and you are absolutely correct, but I’m a stills guy and not as fussy as a video pro! The Panasonic option is a bloody mess too, carting around a battery & associated umbilical cord reminds me of the old Metz flash days……

    Maybe these Japanese guys should go hire Jony Ive!

    HDW : The battery is a bone of contention but as I only plan to do static interviews with the adapter attached the battery is no big deal, thats why I have ordered two GH4s, one for the adapter and one for cutaways etc.

  2. This is a great illustration of how one size doesn’t fit all isn’t it. For the documentary stills guys (read: occasional video guys who don’t use tripods) the Meccano approach has an upside, it’s compact and packs small and more importantly, it doesn’t interfere with stills production. Cheers, Chris

  3. The whole DSLR as Ultimate Video Camera thing confuses me.

    SLR have two key things that make them an SLR. The through lens focus and a form factor that is ideal for holding to the eye with one hand and focus and steady with the other.

    Neither of those two things are used in DSLR As Video Camera and it is fundamentally difficult to put in things that are needed such as a reasonably isolated shotgun audio mic.

    Hence any number of expensive and cumbersome arrangements of rigs, external recorders both video and audio, handles and mounts…

    I get the key concept that the physically large sensor gives good quality and the SLR lens stock gives a source of very good quality for the money optics but if you are simply expecting it to be a great sensor and lens mount to build a system around why knacker it by putting it in an SLR body? It makes sense of you want to carry a single camera on holiday or journalism but it’s no longer a cheap alternative to bigger cameras that makes the compromise worth it. Especially as many DSLRs now seem to be marketed on video capability first with prices to match.

    The C300 family makes much more sense but a lot of the incumbents suffer from this new sector potentially eating into their high end camera sector and limit function or price accordingly.

    There is a sector in the market here but the SLR form factor is not it, I think this is very much the market Black Magic are moving in to with much more designed for purpose form factors and reasonable prices as they have no existing market sector to undercut.

    HDW : Hi Charles I can only give you my point of view, I had a Canon C300 which by design was nothing less than a medium format camera the XLRs stuck onto the LCD is an appalling design but the camera produced lovely cinematic pictures with little to no grain. The C300 was for me an interview camera with one major flaw, 720 50p, not having 1080 50p unlike Sony large sensor cameras was one the Canons Achilles heal.
    I needed a smaller interview camera for IBC and my only option was a DSLR but it also needed to be mirrorless so that wiped out Canon and Nikon, it also needed to fit my “pocket” as a trip to Amsterdam can be expensive.
    Hence my choice the Sony A99 or Panasonic GH3, but the real shock came well after IBC when I decided to use the GH3 as a “B: camera remembering the GH3 films 1080 50p @ 50Mbps…there was NO difference in quality between the GH3 and the C300 I even swapped the cameras round on that same shoot so that the C300 was the “B” camera.
    This made my mind up to ditch my beloved C300 as all my interviews are done on a tripod no one can tell the difference least of all me, the form factor of the GH3 is no better or worse that my C300 but now the GH4 is on its way I am very exited and can’t wait to get my TWO GH4s, one with the adapter and one without.
    Also remember I can use the GH3 as a stills camera and often do, so I get 2 cameras for the price of one and lastly the C300 has allowed me to buy two GH4s a luxury I would not be afforded if buying into a large sensor video camera.

  4. Hi Philip, we showed a new XLR box which will attach directly ontop of the MI shoe for video shooting applications. This will be available at the same time as the A7S. Hope this will offer another option for those wishing XLR audio inputs.
    Also…I forgot to say the new MI shoe will give POWER and take signal from the XLR box, so no cables needed!

    Best regards Bill.

    HDW : Thats a bit more like it…thanks Bill.

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