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spectralsepia

GH5 versus Nikon D850 versus...others?

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Hi all,

I am upgrading from a Canon 70D to a something, and could use some experienced advice. I almost exclusively shoot video, and 75% of the time it's on blackwater dives - open ocean, at night, shooting fast and transparent critters with a macro lens. Because of that, my main considerations are ::

:: smart and fast autofocus that can find and track the subject

:: stabilization

:: image quality (of course)

I want to shoot in 4k because my world intersects with documentaries often, but I'm not trying to be a professional, I just really want to show people all the weirdos down there in their full beauty. Maybe occasionally have some of my footage in b-roll for real productions.

I know I love the footage off the d850, but the GH5 is much more affordable, and I think I like the footage but it's also hard to tell from online test videos. I'm okay with the image quality being slightly less than the D850, but if its substantially less, I think I'd rather spend the money and work on my manual stability (I read that the Panasonic has stabilization and can shoot 60fps for more stabilization flexibility).

Any thoughts or guidance are appreciated, especially from anyone who happens to have used both! I'm also open to other options, but I'm a beginner at color grading so I have a strong preference for makes/models that give good colors out of the camera. I tend to not love the image quality out of the mirrorless cameras, but I've seen some pretty non-blackwater footage with the GH5.

Thanks in advance for any and all help! :)

 

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I have no experience in black water dives but autofocus needs light no matter which system so I supposed once you introduce video lights in the mix it is not black water after all?

With video lights in the mix get a GH5 over a Nikon D850 the video quality is substantially better as nikon has limited experience in video as it is not their focus and it shows.

If instead you require something to focus in dim light I think your chances are slim may want to look to Sony A7SII but all cameras in low light switch to contrast detect and that is not helping autofocus

 

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sorry i should have specified that i have a pair of very powerful video lights. but still need very fast AF tracking because the creatures are crazy fast.

i understand that video is not nikons focus but the footage is absolutely stunning out of the d850. id love to see some footage from the gh5 looking comparable if you know of any online!

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sorry i should have specified that i have a pair of very powerful video lights. but still need very fast AF tracking because the creatures are crazy fast.
i understand that video is not nikons focus but the footage is absolutely stunning out of the d850. id love to see some footage from the gh5 looking comparable if you know of any online!
Go on my channel but there is no Blackwater
Nikon are not popular at all for video especially DSLR

Sent from my SM-A505FN using Tapatalk

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One of the reasons the critters are crazy fast is because of your video lights. With stills and strobes, the solution can be to use a red light for focus so the critters are not as energetic. That addresses the problem from a different direction than spending on the latest autofocus.

I don't know what the equivalent video solution is.

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i appreciate the creative thinking but you carry big lights on blackwaters anyways, and theres really no getting around having the lights on for filming. ive still managed to catch plenty of video with creatures going fast, but my life would be a lot easier with a faster autofocus.

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1 hour ago, spectralsepia said:

i appreciate the creative thinking but you carry big lights on blackwaters anyways, and theres really no getting around having the lights on for filming. ive still managed to catch plenty of video with creatures going fast, but my life would be a lot easier with a faster autofocus.

If I remember correctly in live view the D850 works with contrast detect so it won't focus better than any other mirrorless cameras. Same thing any DSLR. You need a mirrorless with phase detect to retain PDAF and video

Perhaps you need to think about different strategies...

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I guess your assuming the AF will be very good on the D850 and indeed it is for stills, but when shooting video the mirror is up and it reverts to contrast detection AF and I believe that is quite sluggish, see this review for example:  https://photographylife.com/reviews/nikon-d850/3

The dual pixel AF sensors in the Canon cameras seem to have a better reputation for video AF, the 5DIV only shoots 4K in crop mode.  The newer 90D does so using the full APS-C frame.  I don't know how they compare to the GH5 AF.  What lenses were you hoping to use for this?  macro or some type of wide angle zoom?

 

 

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12 minutes ago, ChrisRoss said:

I guess your assuming the AF will be very good on the D850 and indeed it is for stills, but when shooting video the mirror is up and it reverts to contrast detection AF and I believe that is quite sluggish, see this review for example:  https://photographylife.com/reviews/nikon-d850/3

The dual pixel AF sensors in the Canon cameras seem to have a better reputation for video AF, the 5DIV only shoots 4K in crop mode.  The newer 90D does so using the full APS-C frame.  I don't know how they compare to the GH5 AF.  What lenses were you hoping to use for this?  macro or some type of wide angle zoom?

 

 

Some canon DSLR actually have AF pixels on sensor and the 5DIV is one of those. I think also the C300 and other professional video and the 6DMKII

None of those however can track objects moving very fast in the frame. The idea is that you pan the camera and the relative speed is still fairly slow

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19 minutes ago, ChrisRoss said:

I guess your assuming the AF will be very good on the D850 and indeed it is for stills, but when shooting video the mirror is up and it reverts to contrast detection AF and I believe that is quite sluggish, see this review for example:  https://photographylife.com/reviews/nikon-d850/3

The dual pixel AF sensors in the Canon cameras seem to have a better reputation for video AF, the 5DIV only shoots 4K in crop mode.  The newer 90D does so using the full APS-C frame.  I don't know how they compare to the GH5 AF.  What lenses were you hoping to use for this?  macro or some type of wide angle zoom?

 

 

Thanks this is excellent info. I almost always use a 60mm macro. It seems like the GH5 might be a better option, or maybe a Canon 90D? I’m not familiar with the latter and need to look into housing options. Is there a reason to choose the 90D over the GH5? People generally seem pretty happy with the GH5. 

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I realize with the Canon full frame I then run into the issue of needing a 60mm lens to be able to get really close, which is why I was considering the switch to Nikon instead of getting a 5D mark IV because there isn’t a full frame version. Apparently still possible with a mod to the 100mm, but not ideal. 

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There's pluses and minuses to all the options, for example the 5DIV uses crop mode, not the full sensor for 4K video - so the 100mm lens is equivalent to a 174mm lens, the 6DII uses the full sensor but doesn't have a 4K option.  The 90D does 4K on full sensor but the crop factor means the 60mm lens is equivalent to a 95mm lens. 

The Sony sounds like a reasonable package but the macro lens options are limited to a 90mm and a 50mm - but the AF on the 50mm is a  slow and the 90mm is better but still not outstanding.  Battery life is improved on latest models but more limited than a DSLR.

If you want to get really close you have the option with the GH-5 of a 30mm macro the panasonic 30mm f2.8 is a nice little lens and snappy to focus at least on my olympus.  GH5 Battery life is probably not as good as DSLR.

Just because it ticks the 4K box is not the full picture unfortunately.

If you want to see some 4K videos with the GH5, look at Bugdreamers work, I like his videos.  https://www.bugdreamer.com/

You could try PM-ing him I've asked him some quations and he responded.

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It probably won't be of much help but I did find this post on filming a black water dive (author was using a GH5s)

https://makingwavespro.com/2020/07/11/first-impressions-of-blackwater-video/

And also this article here:
http://www.divephotoguide.com/underwater-photography-special-features/article/quick-tips-black-water-video-macro

Nothing much on autofocus issues though, unfortunately (mostly locking-focus and moving with the critter)

As a sidenote, digging around there seems to be little black-water video footage - quite a few slideshows of stills, how-tos for photos, but little actual videos of the critters.

I've started compiling stuff found on youtube,  mostly from Kona and Anilao, in a playlist ( https://tinyurl.com/YTblackwaterdivingclips ) , but would really love to see more - especially dedicated footage from videographers doing this regularly, so looking forward to seeing Spectralsepia's open-access work in the future!
b

Edited by bghazzal

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13 hours ago, ChrisRoss said:

There's pluses and minuses to all the options, for example the 5DIV uses crop mode, not the full sensor for 4K video - so the 100mm lens is equivalent to a 174mm lens, the 6DII uses the full sensor but doesn't have a 4K option.  The 90D does 4K on full sensor but the crop factor means the 60mm lens is equivalent to a 95mm lens. 

The Sony sounds like a reasonable package but the macro lens options are limited to a 90mm and a 50mm - but the AF on the 50mm is a  slow and the 90mm is better but still not outstanding.  Battery life is improved on latest models but more limited than a DSLR.

If you want to get really close you have the option with the GH-5 of a 30mm macro the panasonic 30mm f2.8 is a nice little lens and snappy to focus at least on my olympus.  GH5 Battery life is probably not as good as DSLR.

Just because it ticks the 4K box is not the full picture unfortunately.

If you want to see some 4K videos with the GH5, look at Bugdreamers work, I like his videos.  https://www.bugdreamer.com/

You could try PM-ing him I've asked him some quations and he responded.

There are more macro lenses available for sony including sigma 70mm, 105mm, and Tokina 100 mm. Some people use adapted Canon lenses and reported quite usable AF performance.

In addition, there are several excellent MF lenses. Laowa 2.8 60mm and 2.8/ 25 mm 2.5-5X ultra macro looks quite good for me.

Maybe pre-focusing would also work for video.

 

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19 hours ago, gobiodon said:

There are more macro lenses available for sony including sigma 70mm, 105mm, and Tokina 100 mm. Some people use adapted Canon lenses and reported quite usable AF performance.

In addition, there are several excellent MF lenses. Laowa 2.8 60mm and 2.8/ 25 mm 2.5-5X ultra macro looks quite good for me.

Maybe pre-focusing would also work for video.

 

to be honest am not sure there is a camera that can track video AF on translucent subjects. Sony AF is interesting in many ways but in a busy frame the issues is always the same the camera does not know what or who is the subject no algorhytm can fix that without AI to save the exact shape and recognise later. We have now some success in photos but video is a long way and the type or processing in digital camera is not powerful enough you need smartphones type of chip

Manual focus you can do with any camera there is no need to go down the road of Sony

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@spectralsepia

Mike Bartick (Crystal Blue Divers in Anilao) spends much of time diving blackwater now (he's one of the pioneers for this type of diving). He's been shooting video with his D850 and 60mm lens and getting some really good results.

I know he's a member here (but couldn't easily find his ID) - he also runs the blackwater group over on Facebook.

He would have an informed view of any limitations/advantages of this set up.



 

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thank you, yes hes a friend! and strongly discouraged the d850 for video haha. thanks for all the input all - i decided to go with the gh5.

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17 hours ago, spectralsepia said:

thank you, yes hes a friend! and strongly discouraged the d850 for video haha. thanks for all the input all - i decided to go with the gh5.

Try the 30mm macro lens it should still have sufficient depth of field to cover the frame with powerful lights

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yup, that’s what i decided on! now that it’s all settled im actually getting excited! thanks for the help! i def would’ve made a bad mistake without you all haha.

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