2014: The year of the large sensor

Guest article

Stepping up from the DSLR…

Danny Dawson, general manager of rental house, Alias Hire, agrees. “We are seeing a massive transition towards large sensor cameras. These days, most people are training themselves on DSLR technology so it’s the natural next step” he says.

For skilled operators, these cameras offer new opportunities for creative expression. That said, the end-result isn’t easy to achieve and camera operators will need to adapt and embrace the challenges of the technology and form factor, in order to maintain focus when shooting with a narrow depth of field.

While some less experienced users may find this a challenge, others are sure to relish the task and see it as an opportunity to reintroduce a level of expertise back into the craft. One thing’s for sure, the results are redefining TV output. What’s more, technologies such as Canon’s Dual Pixel CMOS, which helps keep tighter control over focus, can help to add smoothness and ease to this skilful process.

In the early days of our professional cine camera – the EOS C300 – some within the industry doubted the widespread appeal of large sensor cameras across different genres.

We always knew that this type of technology would have a great place in dramas where there’s time to change lenses, but the reality is that we’ve seen these cameras being utilised in all kinds of productions. The results are so good that even primetime reality TV shows, where cameramen are expected to follow their subjects for long periods of time without breaking the action, are also employing these devices.

When lens changes are needed, the ability to employ a wide range of prime hardware removes the necessity of using more traditional zoom lenses, which can become cumbersome in certain scenarios. The ability to swap lenses at ease enables broadcast professionals to achieve the look they’re after without ever needing to compromise on quality.

However, there is still a demand within the industry to bring the familiar versatility of zoom lenses to the world of large sensor cameras.

Alias Hire’s Dawson believes the recent introduction of cine-servo lenses represents the next breakthrough for broadcasters looking to utilise large-sensor camera technology alongside the optical precision of a cinema zoom. “A 17-120mm lens ticks so many boxes. What we’re looking to demonstrate is that you can get away from the cumbrous process to a more fluid style,” he says.

The broadcast industry has embraced large sensor cameras over the last few years and this is a trend we expect to continue into 2015.