At the Cloud Foundry Summit, Boston, I upped my game and brought three cameras along with me –  Panasonic GH5, GH5S and G9. The last one I got only a week ago and this conference was a great opportunity to test this camera in the field. I didn’t disappoint. Thanks to it’s amazing IBIS and trigger-happy shutter release button, I ended up carrying this camera to take all hand-held shots and picture. I slapped a 12-35mm lens on it to get greater reach.

But the real game was played in in video recording arena. I came to value the continues recording feature of GH5/s as my interviews with Richard M Stallman and Dr Nic Williams of Stark & Wayne went beyond the 29.59-minute threshold. I used Samsung Note 8 to remotely control Lumix G9, so I could hit the record button in case, my interviews crossed that limit.

I recorded 11 interviews at the show and only two went over 30 mins limit. But there was one thing that left me thinking. Autofocus. GH5/S are not known for great autofocusing and since I was in the interview myself, I could not be behind the three cameras to keep everything in focus. While G9’s autofocusing is on par with Canon and Sony, I had to use PC tethering app with GH5, so I can keep myself in focus. GH5S was shooting the guest, so I had set the focus manually. I wished if these cameras have great face-detection autofocus like G9, then I didn’t have to worry about using all these tethering apps.

richard-stallman
Interviewing Richard M Stallman, the founder of Free Software Foundation & author of GNU GPL.

Ever since I came back from the event, and I heading to Denmark to cover KubeCon, I have been thinking of getting Sony a 7iii as the third camera. I moved away from full format Nikon and Canon (I sold Nikon D750 and Canon 6D M2) to get GH5/s. With Sony, I will regain amazing low light performance (though GH5S does magic in low light) at the same time the second best autofocusing in the market.

Sony A 7 iii will give me the extra room to shoot in low-light. I will be able to record shows where I need some autofocusing (such as standing interviews where guests move in and out of focus). It will also allow me to record slow-motion shots with autofocus. I need those for b-rolls.

I know crossover between two different systems is a pain. But I have never been a one system guy. Never. I deliberately go out of my way to ensure that I am not tied to or dependent on one system. I also tend to stay away from fanboyism. I have Sony PS4 Pro, Microsoft Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and Nvidia Shield. I use Linux, macOS and Windows on my desktops. I use iPad Pro, Pixel C, Chromebook. I carry, Note 8 and iPhone X and also have Pixel phones. The point is, I want to have a diverse ecosystem. I won’t mind having both Sony A 7iii and Panasonic GH5/S family.

I think there are some features in Sony A 7 iii that may add value to my existing GH5/S combo:

  • Better autofocus
  • Autofocus during slow-motion (which will allow me to record graceful b-roll shots)
  • Great low-light performance due to full format
  • Great selection of ‘expensive’ lens

However, there are some serious issues with Sony cameras:

  • No flip out screen so I can’t keep an eye on recording status. But even with Panasonic GH5, I do use tethering to keep myself in focus, so I won’t be losing anything with that.
  • Complicated menus
  • No tethering app for PC
  • Expensive and heavy lens

As expected, there are some trade-offs and some benefits. It all boils down to which one is more dominant. Sony also means I will have to invest a new class of glass and those are not only expensive but also heavy. I am torn between advantages and disadvantages.

That’s where I need your help. What are your thoughts?

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