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New year, used gear!

Posted on Feb 3, 2024 by Samara Husbands

The 2024 resolution you will want to keep is trading up to a camera with more megapixels. Specialist platform MPB has you covered

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If your New Year’s Resolution is to up your filmmaking game with a better camera, MPB is the right place to go. An upgraded camera can bring a whole new level of quality to your movies and help you realise your creative vision. Often, the only downside is the credit card bill that lands heavily on your desk. 

But stay smart and you can save a significant amount of money. It’s about deciding what camera your business needs and sourcing it used to guarantee a worry-free working life. 

You can still buy the latest and greatest while saving a chunk of change if you buy used. But if you really don’t need the very latest model, a used version of a previous-generation camera is where vast savings can be made. 

The high-tech cameras of recent years do not lose the ability to create top-quality films. Matching a camera to your needs saves serious money compared to buying the latest kit brand new, and is a far more sustainable option to keep cameras working for longer.

But what should you buy if it’s time to play the resolution game? We take a look at what’s available on the used market – and what’s worth your money right now.

The 12K option

If you absolutely must have the highest-resolution machine on the market, there is only one option – the Blackmagic Ursa Mini Pro 12K.

The Aussie firm makes cameras that always offer amazing performance and a rugged build at shockingly affordable prices. So with MPB offering a range at a large discount, it’s the cheapest way to get your hands on a fully featured cine camera for not a lot of cash. 

The 12K version has a Super 35 of Blackmagic’s own design that gives stunning results, especially when downscaled or recorded in 4K. It’s a camera that’s in demand but MPB often has stock on the shelf.

The 8K question

Of course, 8K is still a massive amount of resolution, and there is plenty of room to crop down to a 4K timeline. There is also a choice of cameras from mirrorless to full-blown cinema cameras.  

While 8K mirrorless bodies are much newer and therefore in shorter supply, there is still a choice of cinema cameras. Even from a boutique brand like Red, one of the most lusted-after names on Earth. 

At the time of press, there were 42 used Red cameras for sale on the UK MPB site. All come as kits complete with expensive accessories, offering a serious saving over new. This includes 8K cameras like the full-frame Ranger Monstro for £12,799, plus a choice of the Epic-W Helium or Weapon Helium for as low as £2899.

If you want a mirrorless camera capable of the magic 8K then Sony has the A1 and A7R V, Fujifilm the X-H2, Nikon the Z 9 and Z 8, while Canon has its EOS R5 – and MPB has a staggering 33 of them in stock all at prices from £2349.

And for serious filmmaking, the EOS R5 C has the same sensor as the R5 but with cooling and more specs for moviemaking. Currently, there’s a pair in stock at £3500. Both of the Canons shoot Raw Light, too, for ultimate flexibility in post. 

Nikon has upped its video game with the full-frame Z 9 and Z 8 cameras that shoot internal Raw. Both have a stacked sensor for speed – the high-res Canons don’t.

The Z 9 has a deep, pro DSLR-style body and you can snap a used one up for £4100, while the Z 8 has a more conventional mirrorless form factor so is better for filmmaking. There are currently two in stock, even though the camera is so new, priced from £3750. 

Sony’s flagship A1 is also in plentiful supply. It doesn’t shoot Raw internally, but has a wide range of codecs and frame rates. MPB currently has 11 in stock from £3999. And the newer A7R V can shoot 8K, costing from £3349 at MPB which has five in stock.

For fans of cropped sensors, the Fujifilm X-H2 is also 8K capable. It’s also a bargain bought used, with eight in stock starting at £1499. It’s a cost-effective way to go large!

The joy of six

A 6K-resolution camera is often one of the most useful, as it offers plenty of room for cropping and files don’t take up as much memory space as 8K. You’ll often find faster frame rates, with significantly more cameras to choose from.

At this resolution, Red’s Komodo is a cinema camera many yearn for, and MPB has six in stock from £5170 which includes lots of accessories. There are also stocks of Red’s Weapon and Dragon-X cameras, too.

Sony’s full-frame FX9 is also 6K, and the workhorse of high-end productions everywhere. Originally incredibly hard to get hold of, MPB has two in stock from £7630. 

For a hybrid of a mirrorless and a cinema camera, the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K Pro is a fantastic machine and a total bargain. With a Super 35 sensor, EF mount, internal Raw/ProRes capture and internal ND filters, there are 14 used at MPB from £1799.

If it’s a conventional mirrorless camera you’re after, Panasonic’s full-frame S1H and Micro Four Thirds GH6 are both up to the job – and, as they have been around for a while, at bargain prices. The S1H costs from £1599 and the 5.7K GH6 from £1269. MPB also has stocks of the latest S5 II X, with four on the shelf at £1899. 

Four on the floor

The vast majority of cameras nowadays are capable of 4K. From camcorders to cinema cams and mirrorless, there’s a huge choice. For mirrorless, the Sony A7S III is hard to beat.

As the camera has been around for a couple of years, they are plentiful and cost from £2899 used. Or look at the more filmmaking-based FX3 which has the same sensor and costs from £3750. 

Canon fans should take a look at the EOS R3 thanks to its stacked sensor, available now from £4100. And the Nikon Z 7 II is
a great buy from £1789.

But 4K is also where plenty of cinema cameras come in, such as Canon’s Cinema EOS range. The C300 III is a current 4K camera with a Super 35 sensor, but the best buys are the legendary C300 Mark II, with impressive 4K DCI recording. Snap one up from £1790.

For Sony users, there is a wide choice of the FS5 and FS5 Mark II, as well as FS7 and FS7 Mark II Super 35 cinema cameras. There are even stocks of the legendary full-frame FX6 – quite possible the hardest camera to buy new for many years. But you can snag one used from MPB right now for £5739. It’s a great way to kickstart your 2024!

Originally featured in the Jan/Feb 2024 issue of Pro Moviemaker.

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