This is an age old question that anyone reading this has answered many times. The problem is we can never answer it for ourselves. It is so much easier to spend someone else’s money than our own. I recently helped a good friend and colleague Tom Guilmette answer this very question. And it should be noted that Tom has had his hands on most every piece of imaging nextlevelness in the States at one time or another. He didn’t need to know what each camera could do feature wise, he needed assurance that whatever he bought would serve him well in his daily work.

And so my advice to him was the advice that I will give to you. Get the right camera for the job. His choice was between a RED One and a Sony PDW-F800. Yours may be between a 5d Mk2 kit and a Sony PMW-EX1R. The best answer applies to both. Think about what you will be doing with it.

The reason Tom didn’t get the RED is because he could leave his house the next morning and make money with the F800. His clients (including myself) preferred its workflow vs the RED because, contrary to popular belief, not everyone in the broadcast world wants to deal with huge uncompressed footage. The RED was just not live sports friendly and at the end of the day, that’s one thing that Tom is really good at shooting. He would be completely neglecting one of his biggest talents as a shooter by not having a camera that he can sit on the sidelines with.

So I encourage you to think about what you want to shoot before you buy anything. If you are locking off shots and/or moving slowly, maybe its a 5d Mk2. If you need to run and gun a bit more, maybe a more traditional camera is a better idea. Don’t believe the hype. As an owner of both a 5d Mk2 and and EX1 I can tell you that I love them both for their respective purposes.