2020 was an unprecedented year for video professionals both in terms of the disruption to our industry and the technology available to us. The new production tools introduced this year have been unexpectedly groundbreaking, and we’re excited to highlight what we think are the most interesting and helpful tools for video and filmmakers. We’re going to help you quickly make sense of the vast amount of new pro video gear that has debuted this year, an unexpected silver lining to the pandemic cloud that has hung over our business thus far this year.
Redefining The Cutting Edge
The latest developments in gear seem all about resolution. Even GoPro just announced the new HERO9, a 5K-action camera. As greater than 4K resolution has become almost standard for new cameras, so, too, have new accessories that complement them. Lenses continue to enjoy a golden era with new lower-cost entries, particularly in cinema lenses from companies such as DZOFILM and Meike.
What unifies all of these new camera developments is that the choices in support gear and accessories—like wireless video, tripods and legs, gimbals and LED lighting—also keep expanding at an exponential rate along with camera choices.
We don’t have room in this space to cover every new camera available, so we’re going to focus on three of the hottest cameras you can buy right now.
The Fujifilm X-T4 is a superb value while offering video and still image capture that punch well above its price class—an incredibly capable hybrid for the money.
Key Specs: APS-C/S35 sensor • 4K H.265, 10-bit codec • FUJINON X-Mount lenses • in-body image stabilization • 3.0-inch, 1.62 million-dot touchscreen LCD with a vari-angle design • List price: $1,699.
Canon EOS R5
The Canon EOS R5 remains the most-talked-about mirrorless camera of 2020 because of what it offers but also its limitations. It is an astounding technical achievement that has been subject to controversy due to overheating—but the video quality cannot be dismissed.
Key specs: 45-megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor • DIGIC X image processor • 8K30 Raw and 4K120 10-bit internal video • In-body 5-axis image stabilization • List price: $3,899.
Top Of The Line
ARRI ALEXA Mini LF (V-Mount Package)
The new ARRI ALEXA Mini LF is everything that makes the ARRI ALEXA the gold standard in digital cinema cameras, shrunk down to ARRI Mini size. Pretty much the industry standard in 2020 for high-end feature and episodic work.
Key specs: Large format 4K version of the original ALEXA sensor • Native 4K recording in three sensor modes • ARRIRAW or ProRes recording in LF Open Gate, LF 16:9 or LF 2.39:1 mode • List price: $75,500.
Much like the past three years, 2020 has seen a bumper crop of new cine glass hitting the market. There are affordable, high-performance cine lenses now available for almost every removable lens camera in every mount.
DZO Zoom Lens Bundle
Chinese manufacturer DZOFILM has a background in various scientific and industrial optics. It has introduced this flexible lens pair with good specs and a very reasonable price for both PL and EF mount users in one bundle. The zoom lenses included in the bundle—DZOFilm Pictor 20-55mm and 50-125mm T2.8 Super35 Zoom—are parfocal, meaning they hold focus throughout the zoom range. Both come standard with an interchangeable PL mount and also include a Canon EF mount. A great value at $4,499.
FUJINON XK20-120mm T3.5 Cabrio Premier
The FUJINON XK20-120mm T3.5 Cabrio Premier isn’t brand new but has enjoyed a recent surge in popularity due to its superb value equation in the sub-$15k cine zoom range. This is a wide-to-telephoto zoom lens for Super 35mm cameras in PL mount. The focus, zoom and iris barrels are geared with standard 0.8 film pitch, which provides an interface for the removable ENG-style digital drive unit. The lens features ARRI LDS and Cooke /i Technology lens data with the camera. List price: $12,995.
Top Of The Line
Canon CINE-SERVO 25-250mm T2.95-3.95 EF
Canon’s new CINE-SERVO 25-250mm T2.95-3.95 EF is an impressive piece of optical engineering with a 10x native zoom range at under $30,000. This lens is designed for use with EF-mount cameras featuring large-format, super 35-sized sensors with 4K optical performance. Weighing only 6.7 pounds, the compact, lightweight lens is suitable for a variety of productions, such as narrative to EFP/ENG or run-and-gun documentary. Using a 1.5x extender, the telephoto range extends to an impressive 375mm. List price: $29,999.
LED Lighting continues to enjoy continued innovation with lots of new choices in many different price ranges that enjoy enhanced color accuracy and sophisticated effects capability.
Nanlite PavoTube II 6C
The new Nanlite PavoTube II 6C is a simple, easy-to-use, no-fuss soft source. It’s 9.8 inches long with a diameter of 1.5 inches and weighs just 9.2 ounces. The diminutive size and light weight make it a good tool for solo shooters or travel—or anyone who needs a compact, battery-powered RGBWW light. List price: $99.
The Godox VL300 is a high-powered COB LED source that outputs more light than its closest competitor, at a significantly lower cost. This is a medium-sized LED single-source Spot/Fresnel. Numerous Bowens Mount accessories are available, allowing you to turn this into whatever kind of light source you need: soft source, Fresnel with barn doors, pancake, space light or lantern. Extremely versatile, with a high output and performance ratio for the price, it can be powered with AC power or dual high watt-hour V-Mount batteries. List price: $750.
Top Of The Line
The Creamsource Vortex8 is an RGBW professional LED panel often used in large arrays for feature and episodic work. This all-new Vortex is Creamsource’s flagship product. It’s a 650W high-power, 2×1 RGBW system that features calibrated red, green, blue and white LEDs (RGBW), which allows it to produce white light in any CCT from 2200K to 15000K. The Vortex8 is a premium instrument aimed at high-end production, often in competition with ARRI’s SkyPanel S60-C. List price: $4,999.
Audio For Video
Sound for picture technology has been just as active as the introduction of new cameras, lenses and lighting in 2020.
Sennheiser MKE 200
The new Sennheiser MKE-200 takes a step forward, eliminating external windscreen and suspension systems for small mirrorless and phone-based rigs. It’s an ultra-compact and ultra-lightweight directional microphone for your camera- or smartphone-based shooting rig to make an easy upgrade in sound quality—even in noisy environments—without having to carry around a cumbersome windscreen and suspension system. List price: $99.
The Deity HD-TX is an XLR input transmitter with a recorder built-in that allows you to monitor the recording and files using headphones plugged into the device. This wireless unit is perfect for integrating a shotgun, boom or handheld dynamic microphone into your Deity Connect 2.4Ghz wireless microphone system. List price: $249.
Top Of The Line
Zaxcom Deva 24
The Deva 24 is Zaxcom’s flagship audio recorder/mixer with many innovative new features that improve sound quality. It integrates 24-track recording with versatile input/output routing, ZaxNet, NeverClip, PowerRoll and MixAhead with a fast, intuitive touchscreen interface. There are 16 analog inputs, and 12 are switchable mic or line level, each with adjustable limiter, high pass filter, input delay and 48V phantom power. NeverClip preamps provide 136 dB of dynamic range. List price: $11,995.