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Is there untapped potential in the 28mm fixed compact arena
Old 10-31-2016   #1
emraphoto
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Is there untapped potential in the 28mm fixed compact arena

so i have been thinking a lot about the 28mm (equiv) compacts. the Coolpix A in particular (though it seems the GR and X70 are near misses as well) and how with a little tweaking, the platforms could be superb video cameras.

if there is a classic, all the masters blah blah blah fixed focal length for video it would certainly be 28mm. google it, lot's of great cinematographers swear by it. so all the manufacturers are already off to the races in terms of hardware with superb lenses designed for the sensor and loads of sensor real estate. all three of them though, are hindered by the lack a few, simple fixes.

in the Coolpix A for example

1/ control ring manual focus with peaking during video recording

2/ robust video codec, transfer speeds etc

3/ VR/Stabilization/Whatevertheycallit

i dont think audio jack's are all they cracked up to be and if you want great audio in a small package buy 2-3 Zoom H1's for the price of 1 shotgun mic. synch in post.

i also don't believe a 'fastest in the world and can track a mosquito at dusk' AF system is necessary, though it may contribute to marketability. this sort of thing is big kahuna important to the reviewers and serial commenters but i argue control ring manual focus with great, and adjustable peaking is far more important.

the rear LCD with the addition of a Zacuto, is the finder you want. trust me

the coolpix already comes with an attachment for filters so a pair of ND's is doable.

in the case of the A, i have often considered sending my thoughts to Nikon (believing they would need my guidance of course) in the hopes that maybe, secretly there remains a glut of Coolpix A parts about and with some firmware jiggery pokery they could release a Coolpix A Cinema version. i reckon they could charge a little less than the last time around, pssst Nikon, and sell bucket loads of them. all the hipster movie makers would flip their moustaches! a super 35 sized sensor in my pocket with the 'classic' focal length of all my film school heros... fugeddaboutit!

what say you aspiring cinemaheads? pie in the sky or might just work? get in touch with Nikon or leave them alone and get a new hobby?
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Old 10-31-2016   #2
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Until the next generation* GR , have a look at the GX85 with 15/1.7 ( okay I know it's not a fixed lens camera ... but it's small ). It's replaced my Ricoh GR as a carry around.

Amazing for fast AF, IBIS, Zebra, Peaking , 4k 100Mb/s video.

* However NB. Ricoh have consistently expressed their distain for video in the GR - so don't bet the house on it filling the mould you want.
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Old 10-31-2016   #3
Rob-F
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I think a dedicated digital ultrawide might make more sense. something in a 18mm or 21mm equivalent, perhaps?
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Old 10-31-2016   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob-F View Post
I think a dedicated digital ultrawide might make more sense. something in a 18mm or 21mm equivalent, perhaps?
Sigma would be the only company bold enough to make it - as they already had done so, giving us the DP0.
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Old 10-31-2016   #5
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In my experience, electronic manual focus (at compact level) is almost useless for videography - the lack of any absolute focus points on the barrel makes it impossible to pull focus consistently while filming. A small interchangeable lens camera with adapted manual focus lenses will do far better.

Your film school heroes probably rarely ever used a 28mm equivalent, by the way - a 28mm lens is a 42mm equivalent on 35mm cine (22x16mm or 22x13mm), and 18mm lenses (28mm equivalent) were not common in the "great era" of cinematography (the pre 1970s 18mm cine lenses I can find in my literature appear to be 16mm coverage - 35mm ones must have been rare if they existed at all).
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Old 11-01-2016   #6
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Well, foolishly I assumed the lens focal length equivalents were a given. Yes, the compacts in question are 18mm, or something close, and that was not a common focal length. Thank you though for the clarification. Let's just close our eyes and imagine they are the full frame 28mm for giggles. I was truthfully wondering if I should add a focal length/sensor crop equivalent disclaimer to the original post... thought it was a given.

Focus pulling on compacts is definitely not one's best option. I disagree on the total statement though as I have a LX100 and the manual focus interface is quite user friendly. I was working on the belief that expecting focus pulling capability in a pocket ready camera was a bit of a stretch
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Old 11-01-2016   #7
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Two comments here. One: YouTube. This is a huge market for compact video cams, as everyone wants to be the next Casey Neistat. As such, there is a run-and-gun aesthetic to YouTube that's become acceptable, that breaks the traditional Hollywood conventions about what is acceptable. So a lot of the longstanding rules are being broken, and that's okay. Hollywood isn't YouTube, but YT is growing like crazy and many creators, while not getting rich, are monetizing their YT channels and receiving enough income to make it a full time job.

Okay. And then there's 4K video, and even higher formats coming in the future. It's crazy. There's this convergence happening with the low-end, skateboarder YT aesthetic and 4K technology and aerial platforms, with the likes of Hollywood people like Chase Jarvis shooting vlogs now. Don't be surprised to see people shooting run-and-gun YT style video with high end Red cinema cameras.
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Old 11-01-2016   #8
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I wouldn't look to niche still cameras for what you want... the focus of these cameras will always be still photos. Video, on these cameras in particular, are always an afterthought and will continue to be so. Why not look into a Sony RX100 MK IV or V?
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Old 11-01-2016   #9
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What about a Pana GM5 with 14mm lens? Not fixed lens but you can use it as a fixed lens camera.
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Old 11-01-2016   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jsrockit View Post
I wouldn't look to niche still cameras for what you want... the focus of these cameras will always be still photos. Video, on these cameras in particular, are always an afterthought and will continue to be so. Why not look into a Sony RX100 MK IV or V?
Pretty much exactly what I was thinking. And if you really want to focus on video and something small why not a BMPCC with a few little add-ons?
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Old 11-01-2016   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FrozenInTime View Post

* However NB. Ricoh have consistently expressed their distain for video in the GR - so don't bet the house on it filling the mould you want.
I absolutely love the GR, but this is absolutely true, Video for Ricoh has always been an afterthought in the range. It's something you have in mind when you buy in.

Thankfully for me it's not an issue, but it's worth keeping in mind.

Going back a bit, and down in Sensor size, the first few Sony RX100s started at 28mm. and their video output is surprisingly good (for my use).
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Old 11-01-2016   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nukecoke View Post
What about a Pana GM5 with 14mm lens? Not fixed lens but you can use it as a fixed lens camera.
I'm not really looking for a new camera. I teach film making in a college and as a result, I have loads of gear at my disposal. I also have a panasonic lx100 and a pair of GH4's for video in my own kit bag.

My point was, with large sensors and a classic cinema focal length (equivalent) it would seem the bridge to a great, pocket cinema camera would be short. Firmware mostly.

As far as the 'youtube asthetic' consuming all the quality left in film, I think that's a touch on the curmudgeon side of things.

These are not alternatives to an Alexa or Scarlet/Dragon etc. But as a pocketable, super 35 cinema capable camera, they aren't far off.
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Old 11-01-2016   #13
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Originally Posted by BlackXList View Post
I absolutely love the GR, but this is absolutely true, Video for Ricoh has always been an afterthought in the range. It's something you have in mind when you buy in.

Thankfully for me it's not an issue, but it's worth keeping in mind.

Going back a bit, and down in Sensor size, the first few Sony RX100s started at 28mm. and their video output is surprisingly good (for my use).
The Sony RX series are superb video shooters. Canon G7X and many of the Panasonic also excel at the task. Whilst I couldn't give a hoot about sensor size for still photos, I do appreciate a larger sensor for video... for a number of reasons.
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Old 11-01-2016   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jsrockit View Post
I wouldn't look to niche still cameras for what you want... the focus of these cameras will always be still photos. Video, on these cameras in particular, are always an afterthought and will continue to be so. Why not look into a Sony RX100 MK IV or V?
I'm not looking for a video camera... more thinking out loud.
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Old 11-01-2016   #15
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Originally Posted by brennanphotoguy View Post
Pretty much exactly what I was thinking. And if you really want to focus on video and something small why not a BMPCC with a few little add-ons?
The Black Magic pocket camera is a fantastic machine. Again, was just thinking out loud. There are no shortage of options and I am not in need of another camera. I have an Arri on permanent loan (as I like to call it) from the school.
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Old 11-01-2016   #16
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Originally Posted by JoeV View Post
Two comments here. One: YouTube. This is a huge market for compact video cams, as everyone wants to be the next Casey Neistat. As such, there is a run-and-gun aesthetic to YouTube that's become acceptable, that breaks the traditional Hollywood conventions about what is acceptable. So a lot of the longstanding rules are being broken, and that's okay. Hollywood isn't YouTube, but YT is growing like crazy and many creators, while not getting rich, are monetizing their YT channels and receiving enough income to make it a full time job.

Okay. And then there's 4K video, and even higher formats coming in the future. It's crazy. There's this convergence happening with the low-end, skateboarder YT aesthetic and 4K technology and aerial platforms, with the likes of Hollywood people like Chase Jarvis shooting vlogs now. Don't be surprised to see people shooting run-and-gun YT style video with high end Red cinema cameras.
I honestly have no idea who any of those folks are so don't have much of a response... Sorry
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Old 11-08-2016   #17
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Ricoh is very unlikely to create a video-GR, and the best contenders for such a role would be:

- Sony RX100 IV or V
- Panasonic LX100
- Panasonic GM1/5 with Pana 14/2.5 or 15/1.7 (lacks stabilization)
- Panasonic GX85 with above lenses

Other consumer cams don't have the image quality of those cameras. The BMPCC can take some amazing footage, but it lacks the pocketability that you seem to want.

Regarding 28mm - everyone with a smartphone already shoots in this focal length, so it's very familiar to the public. But because everyone already has something like this, a dedicated small video compact with a 28mm lens is almost superfluous to the mass market. I would love seeing something like what you describe, but it would be more like a stills camera with super video capabilities than a dedicated video camera, if it's going to be marketable.
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Old 11-10-2016   #18
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Having re-read your OP, let me rephrase my answer.

There are a number of cameras on the market that already come close to what you describe, and they sell well for both photo and video. The closest would be the Sony RX100 IV or V, as it has a fairly robust 4K codec and S-log2, not to mention being pocketable. It's not aps-c/Super 35, but it does create an excellent image.

But I don't think that there is such a large market for a video-primary fixed lens camera with 28mm, given that most people would use a cellphone for the same purposes.

You mentioned the video capabilities of the Coolpix A in relation to the GR in another thread. This piques my interest. My go-to pocket video camera is the Pana LX7, or the GM1 with either the Oly 25/1.8 or the Pana 14/2.5. The GH4 is a too cumbersome for me to use as an always-with-me camera. I'm wary of spending considerably more to get a Sony RX100 IV because I'm not fond of how it physically handles.

How do you find the video quality of the Coolpix A compared with decent m43 video?
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Old 11-14-2016   #19
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all the cameras you listed outpace the coolpix where it counts. bitrates, codec, frames rates etc. i carry an lx100 and shoot a LOT of video on it. anything video equals Panasonic for me. the LX7 is a fantastic video option AND you can add the viewfinder! sheesh, coolpix A isn't even in the same league.
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Old 11-14-2016   #20
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Originally Posted by emraphoto View Post
all the cameras you listed outpace the coolpix where it counts. bitrates, codec, frames rates etc. i carry an lx100 and shoot a LOT of video on it. anything video equals Panasonic for me. the LX7 is a fantastic video option AND you can add the viewfinder! sheesh, coolpix A isn't even in the same league.
Thank you for putting my mind to rest. I'm very happy with the LX7 and GM1 for casual video, and use the GH4 for everything requiring better footage. A Voigtlander Nokton (m43 or M-mount) makes the GM1 a pocket video gem.

Your comment about the Coolpix A awakened some GAS in me; but now, thankfully, you've quenched it.
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