Let me be honest to start out, I have owned a C300 and Red Scarlet, and at the time in both knowledge and career I had no business owning those cameras. Just wanted to start out with that. Also this post is about cameras, wish it wasn't, but think I have learned something that I want to pass along.
As we approach NAB 2015, great things are happening in our industry, crazy, amazing thing. Cameras are freaking amazing, we have tons of choices, and they help us capture amazing stories. And for the most part the technology is really getting cheap. But we are also dealing with pressures as owners, DP's, "video dudes" to keep up with the newest and greatest. Yes, I feel this too, in fact I was close to sending in my hard earned money on the newest Arri offering, and I spend way to much time looking at the craziness that Red is promising. Hoping for the "perfect" camera that will never come.
I write this to hopefully help you think long and hard about that next camera purchase. First off, does your talent match what the camera can do? If not, don't buy. Second, who is pushing you to get the latest and greatest? For the most part, the pressure that I was feeling and do feel, is from peers, not clients. What is great about the twitterverse is that we can really learn and connect with people in our industry, but it will also brings peer pressure. Pressure to have the newest and greatest gear, because you are looking at other people that have it. This is a reality that I find myself in, you might be different. But I would challenge you to really think about that expensive camera purchase long and hard, and be honest with yourself. Are your clients or potential clients asking for it? If not don't buy. And lastly, can you pay it off in 6-8 months? If not dont buy.
So you might be thinking that I'm all about not buying that newest/coolest camera but I'm not. I've been thinking a lot about "rules" for myself about cameras and have come up with two.
1. Buy under 8k and over 30k. The lower range you get a great quality camera that shouldn't kill the bank and upper range shouldn't go out of style in 6-8 months, you might get 18 months plus, and hopefully higher day rate.
2. Look at previous generation of cameras, they are stinking great still! FS700 with 7q, C500 with 7q, C300, C100, Red Epic, F3, the list goes on. These cameras still rock, and around NAB people like to sell and the value of these cameras go down, so keep an eye out for deals.
So think logically before you buy, be honest with yourself, and go get the camera that works for you.... After you buy those lights, tripod, and lenses, and grip that will last longer than any camera :)