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The Search for a Perfect Camera

Im in the market for a new camera and its been a struggle to decide which one I want. Being a techie, Ive analyzed every spec and feature from all the cameras, weighed cost and portability, and compared it to the gear I already have. And still no answer.

But since Ive done the research, I figured Id share my thoughts with you and maybe it will help me make a decision. Before I decide, the best thing to do is rent each camera from LensRentals.com and test it out myself. While Ive considered it, I don’t have any trips or shoots scheduled for the rest of the year where I can put them to the test. Ive already shot both stills and video with the Nikon D750 (and wrote about it here), and shot video with the Panasonic GH4.

Nikon D750

I really like the Nikon D750 and it would be a nice complement to my Nikon D7000 that I travel with now. The low light capabilities are pretty good, its full-frame (biggie), and shoots great video in 1080p HD. Unlike the other cameras, Ive spent some time shooting this camera when it first came out for another article.

  • Full Frame
  • 24.3mp
  • 1080p 60fps
  • WiFi Enabled for transfers

Panasonic GH4

Panasonic has a great product with the GH4. Its a micro four-thirds sensor, very small form factor, and its nearly waterproof. Rich Harrington and Doug Daulton have each shot 4K video with this camera extensively and they rave about it. Levi and Pamela have been shooting stills on it and are making great images. We shot video interviews for the Whats in Your Bag and Story Behind the Photo series with the GH4.

  • Micro Four-Thirds
  • 16mp
  • 4K 30fps, 1080p 60fps
  • 4096 x 2160p / 24 fps (100 Mbps)
  • WiFi Enabled for transfers and shooting remotely

Sony A7s II

Ive been very interested in the Sony A7 line of mirrorless cameras. They offer all the perks of a micro four-thirds camera in terms of size and portability, but have a full-frame sensor. From what Ive seen, the A7s shoots pretty good stills, but really shines for video. The low megapixel count actually packs less pixels on the sensor, creating fantastic low light performance. Ive even seen it used as the primary camera on CNN broadcast network.

  • Full Frame
  • 12.2mp
  • 2 stops better dynamic range than A7r II
  • Wifi Enabled for transfers and shooting remotely
  • 5-way sensor stabilization
  • 4K 30ps, 1080p 120fps

The hold-up for me is the 12.2mp image sensor. Ideally Id like a few more megapixels, bringing me to look at the

Sony A7r II

The A7r II seems to be the best of both worlds. The 42.4mp sensor is the highest resolution of the A7 series, or of any mirrorless camera to date. It shoots 4K video internally, but doesn’t have terrific low light performance. Why? With so many pixels crammed onto the sensor, its too dense to allow a lot of light to pass through.

  • Full Frame
  • 42.4mp (highest in any mirrorless camera)
  • Wifi Enabled for transfers and shooting remotely
  • 5-way sensor stabilization
  • 4K 30fps, 1080p 60fps (but rumored to overheat after 45 mins)
  • Phase Detection Autofocus – 399 points

Wrapping up, Im not really sure which way to go. A perfect camera doesn’t exist yet. Each camera has its own strengths and weaknesses. Im totally open to using a platform other than Nikon if its the right tool for the job. Glen Dewis is also going through this struggle of choosing a camera that works for him.

In a perfect world I could purchase both the A7r II for great images and the A7s II for great video, but while Im not looking to spend nearly $6000 right now, it might be something to consider long term.

Do you shoot with any of these cameras? Or are you considering buying any of these cameras? Let me know in the comments below.

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