Selection of a Travel Video Rig

I’m way behind on blog posts!

So I’ll have to catch up somehow…  [Go the bottom of this post to see its continuation.]

I am currently trying to assemble a good still-and-video-kit for our traipse to France in July (so I have a couple months yet), but I want to get ahead of the game.  The first order of business is to decide on whether to use a Nikon or Sony platform.  The Nikon stuff is going to be much better quality-wise, but the Sony stuff is going to be a lot easier to carry and move around.  The Sony stuff might also not be as much of an attraction to thieves (but I’m not sure that should even be an issue).  This image doesn’t really do the size difference justice.  The Nikon is way bigger and heavier.


The lens on the Sony a6500 in this image is 12mm f/2.8 Zeiss glass (but with the 1.5 crop factor of the smaller sensor, it equates to 18mm focal length.  The lens on the Nikon D810 on the right is a 14-24mm f/2.8 zoom (no crop factor interferes), but it is one heavy piece of glass!  In both cases I have lots of lens options to choose from, but more on teh Nikon side than on the Sony side.  If I’m comfortable with manually focussing, I can put the Nikon lenses (properly called Nikkor) on the Sony with an adapter (I just hate to risk forgetting that I have to manually focus).

There are other pros and cons too though.  The Nikon has better quality primarily because the sensor is large and contains 36 mega pixels of sensor density.  The Sony’s sensor is have the physical size but contains 24 mega pixels of density.  Because of this difference the Nikon requires more storage space for saving these gigantic image files.  At the moment, only the Sony has realtime telemetry and it wold take more ‘hardware’ to telemeter the Nikon (I think – I need to research that some more).

Another major difference is the way the two cameras’ monitors work.  The Sony has a small monitor that tilts (so that one can take low-perspective or high perspective shots) while the Nikon’s monitor does not move at all and is fixed in place on the back panel of the camera.  The monitor of the Sony has a partial touch-screen and can focus by touch and can adjust ISO and some other camera settings too.  The Nikon has no touch-screen controls.  To operate the Nikon in video mode the operator has to set the live-vie control to Video and then only the monitor can be used for scene monitoring (the Sony can do this either with the monitor or the electronic view finder).

Power-wise the Nikon is way ahead of the Sony with long-lasting batteries (and twice that long-lasting with its battery grip in place, but that adds more weight).  the Sony batteries drain really fast, but I have a half dozen of them if I need them.

With regard to video, the Sony can record half an hour of 4K in one stretch, and I don’t think the D810 can record much 4K at all, but that’s another feature that I need to research.  In fact I know how to use the Sony, but I need to study up on the Nikon in general.

Both cameras have HDMI output connections (albeit difference sizes) and both can be used with an external monitor of one sort or another but the Nikon needs more hardware to do that (I think I mentioned that already).

I haven’t tested the Sony in the dark but with an ISO limit of half of that of the D810, I am guessing that the Nikon will do much better in low light levels.


I acquired a number of support pieces for the a6500 (SmallRig cage, L-bracket and even a NeeWer 7″ HDMI monitor).  The monitor arrived yesterday and is unacceptable for my planned use (no battery, screen ‘damaged’ (a screen protective film is double over and clamped by the bezel at one of its corners).  The other structural support elements seem to work find but…

Well I’ve decided that I don’t want the Sony a6500 so it is going back to the store for a full refund (it’s less than 30 days old).  I’ve got way too much money invested in cameras and I am going to be paring the ‘collection’ down.  The a6500 did not give me any better feel than the a6300 that it replaced (and which was sold in an online forum to help fund the a6500). So all of the aforementioned support articles are going back to since they don’t fit anything except the a6500.

If the Nikon 7500 (which has a possible ISO of 1,640,000 (!!!!), but it’s a DX sensor not available until June (so there is still some thinking in process).  Either way I’m basically starting from scratch.  At the moment I am planning on using the D810 for the project.


Well the D7500 is apparently not all it’s cracked up to be.  I won’t be buying one anytime soon.  I’m sticking with my D810 for ‘away’ shots/videos and the for the time being with the Sony a5100 for the selfie videos (I’ll worry about integrating the formats later).  The Atomos Ninja Blade should easily work with both of them.  (It does not work well with the Nikon 1 options as their HDMI is not at all clean!)

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s