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Should a Panasonic GH5 user buy Sony A 7iii?

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At the Cloud Foundry Summit, Boston, I upped my game and brought three cameras along with me –  Panasonic GH5, GH5S, and G9. The G9 I had just purchased only a week prior and this conference was a great opportunity to test this camera in the field. It didn’t disappoint. Thanks to its amazing IBIS and trigger-happy shutter release button, I ended up using it for my all hand-held photos and videos.  I slapped a 12-35mm lens on it for even greater reach.

But the real game was played in the video recording arena. I discovered great value in the non-stop recording feature of GH5/S as my interviews with Richard M. Stallman and Dr. Nic Williams of Stark & Wayne went far beyond the 29.59-minute threshold. I used my Samsung Note 8 to remotely control Lumix G9, so I could hit the record button in case my interviews crossed the time limit. I recorded a total of 11 interviews at the show.  Out of those, only two went over the 30-minute time limit.

One feature kept me thinking: autofocus.

GH5/S are not known for their autofocusing capabilities. I had to use the Panasonic mobile app to remote control GH5 and GH5S to ensure everything was in focus. G9 did an excellent job of keeping up with focusing. I wish the other two cameras had decent face-detection autofocus like G9 then I would never have to worry about using tethering apps.

richard-stallman

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

Since I returned from the Summit, I have been contemplating purchasing the Sony a 7iii as the third camera. Sony a 7 iii will give me the extra space to shoot in low-light. I will be able to record shows where I need more autofocus (such as standing interviews where guests move in and out of focus). It will also allow me to record slow-motion shots with autofocus, which I need for b-roll shots.

I am fully aware of the pain that comes with the crossover between two different systems. But I have never been a one system guy. Never. I consciously go out of my way to ensure that I am not tied to nor am I dependent upon 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, Galaxy Note 8, iPhone X and also have Pixel phones. The point is, I want to have a diverse ecosystem. I wouldn’t mind having both Sony a 7iii and Panasonic GH5/S family.

Pros of Sony a 7iii

A few features in Sony A 7 iii that will 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
  • A great selection of ‘expensive’ lenses

Cons of Sony a 7iii

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
  • The touchscreen is not fully functional
  • No tethering app for PC
  • Expensive and heavy lenses
  • Overheating in 4K mode

As expected, there are some trade-offs and some benefits. It all boils down to what features you need or require, and what compromises you can or cannot make. Going with Sony would also mean that I will have to invest in a new class of glass. Sony glass is not only expensive but also heavy. I am torn between the advantages and disadvantages.

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

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