Taking the Hybrid Highway

More and more professional photographers these days are having to respond to customer demand to take a closer look at filmmaking, but which cameras should you be checking out?

The creative world is changing rapidly, and if you’re not keeping up then there’s a real risk of seeing your work drift away to competitors who are more up to speed. There can be few professional photographers in any genre who haven’t had clients ask them at some point for some motion input on a job and, with the whole world of video exploding right now, this scenario is going to be played out on an ever more regular basis, and you need to be ready to meet that rising demand.

What this all means is that more and more pros are starting to look at taking a hybrid approach, and the encouraging news is that it’s becoming ever-easier to do exactly that, with the entry point to filmmaking becoming increasingly more accessible. Pretty much all of the major camera manufacturers these days have models that come with excellent video capability, while accessories such as continuous lights, microphones and gimbals are all well within the financial reach of most professional businesses.

But for many, of course, it’s not just about the gear, it’s about the skills that need to be acquired and the fear that, given many professionals might be venturing into hitherto unknown territory, you could potentially end up spending your money on something that, ultimately, has taken your budget and isn’t suitable for your needs. 

This is where it pays to take a step back, to think carefully about where you want your business to go and to pay a visit to a reputable retailer who will take the time to walk you through your options without just trying to make a quick sale. 

In particular it pays to have someone with knowledge of a wide range of brands give you an informed overview of what your options are, so that you end up investing in a system that ticks all the right boxes and which is capable of growing as your own filmmaking skills start to develop. And there are some big calls to be made, as feature sets that once were exclusively found on high-cost cinema cameras increasingly start to turn up on more affordable mirrorless models.

Choosing Your Kit

“It’s been really interesting seeing how high-end features and image quality has slowly trickled down over the past few years into the more affordable and smaller cameras on the market,” observes CVP’s Technical Marketing Manager Jake Ratcliffe. “There are now so many awesome cameras on the market from the likes of Sony, Blackmagic, Canon, Panasonic and Fujifilm. This means you can get into the world of shooting video at a whole new level and get some great results. Lots of hybrid cameras come with very solid filmmaking features now, which means photographers can shoot video with whatever primary camera system they happen to be using.

“All the big players in the stills market deliver different pros and cons with their hybrid cameras, and it could be that your choice of which model to go for will be determined by which lens system you’ve invested in. However, I have had the opportunity to work with a number of the latest mirrorless models that are out there, and the ones that have really stood out for me recently have been the Canon EOS R6 Mark II and R5 C, Panasonic’s S5 II, the Sony A7 III and the Fujifilm X-H2S. Nikon has also produced some very video-capable cameras lately, and offering RAW recording in the Z 9 is a really big deal.”

Sensor size has been something of a battlefield over the past few years, with many assuming that full frame is definitely the way that professional filmmakers should be looking to go, while others point out some of the advantages of working with smaller sensor sizes, which offer their own raft of advantages to the pro filmmaker.

“The debate between sensor sizes can be quite a lengthy discussion,” Jake agrees, “as smaller and larger sensors both have their own particular pros and cons. Full-frame sensors have been all the rage in the video and cinema world over the past few years, but with ARRI releasing the ALEXA 35, Super 35 sensors have come right back into fashion again, which is great! 

“You need to look carefully at what you’re planning to do with your filmmaking to make an informed choice about which sensor size you want to go for. One of the biggest reasons to shoot Super35, which is very close in size to APS-C, is the phenomenal lens choice that you have, and these are not only widely available but highly affordable as well.”

Mention of the Fujifulm X-H2S is also interesting since, up until the launch of this camera last year, the Fujifilm X System wasn’t especially geared towards professional photographers looking to take a hybrid approach. All of that has now changed, with a set of filmmaking features on board the new model that have genuine appeal for those that want to take their video production seriously.

“The X-H2S is a fantastic hybrid camera,” agrees Jake, “with great photographic and video features. This camera is a big step up in the video department from Fujifilm, and they’ve added a really rich range of video focused features, such as a 6K 3:2 open gate mode, 4K 120p, internal Apple ProRes recording and 4:2:2 10-bit options. Whether it’s the right camera for you will come down to what lenses you happen to have and the kind of subjects you’re shooting, but there’s no doubt at all that this is a very solid hybrid option.”

If you want to find out more about what Jake thinks about this first toe in the water of the serious hybrid market from Fujifilm then take a look at the in-depth review he carried out on this model recently and check out his test footage by scanning through on the link provided opposite.

Cut Price Cinema

Even given the fact that prices for highly capable hybrid cameras are comparatively affordable these days, there’s no denying that they will still call for a fairly sizeable investment which, at a difficult time when many of those in the industry are feeling the effects of the cost-of-living crisis, might be a step too far for some.

There is a way, however, of easing yourself into the world of pro-level filmmaking without having to disrupt the cashflow quite so much. Taking advantage of the current buoyant market for used kit could get you on the hybrid ladder for a lot less outlay than you think, particularly if you’re trading in kit you’re not using on a regular basis at the same time. CVP now has a vibrant used section online and in-store, and there is plenty of highly capable filmmaking kit available at bargain prices, backed up by the security of buying through the channel of a reputable retailer.

“Buying used equipment can be a great way to get more for your money,” agrees Jake, “but it can also be a bit of a minefield if you’re not careful. If you buy kit privately online you could get a bargain, but you could also find that you’ve invested in kit that’s been heavily used and abused, and you’ll have no comeback if it subsequently breaks down.

“This is why buying through an outlet such as CVP can be a much better experience. Every bit of used kit that comes through our doors will have been professionally evaluated and serviced by one of our experienced staff, using our state-of-the-art equipment. Pretty much all of our used kit also comes with a 90-day warranty, which offers you some extra peace of mind. We’ve got a constant stream of unique and interesting kit flowing through our used and ex-demo section, so if you want to see what we’ve currently got in stock then head over to”

One extra bonus of buying through a reputable used kit site is that you also have the opportunity to move on your own used gear at the same time as investing yourself, and CVP can facilitate this as well. You simply need to head to the website, fill in a simple form and then, if you’re happy with the valuation you receive, you send in the kit using the provided pre-paid shipping label and you’ll then receive either cash or a store credit. It’s a safe, fast and reliable way to upgrade, and a huge bonus for professionals looking to keep their stock of gear up to date and relative to their needs.

The great thing about the used market is that it’s highly fluid, and if you’re looking for something specific you need only to keep your eye on your chosen used kit sites to see when something you need might come in. Or perhaps you could be inspired by what’s on offer: as we went to press there was kit in the CVP used section such as a Sony A7 II (body only) for £1194, an ex-showroom Canon EOS C200 body for £3300, numerous lenses such as an ex-showroom Meike Prime 35mm S35 Cine Lens for a cut-price £590.50, a Sony DWT-B01/6267 digital wireless radio microphone transmitter for £930 and even well-priced recording media, such as an ex-showroom SanDisk 512GB CFexpress card for £414. 

It could prove to be an exceptional way to get yourself moving towards a lucrative extra revenue stream in your business and, by doing so, you’ll be amongst the many photographers currently making the move towards becoming a more rounded creative professional. 


Mirrorless models such as the video-orientated EOS R5 C from Canon come laden with all the features you need for filmmaking. 

Fujifilm has taken a giant step forward with its  X-H2S mirrorless model, which offers a raft of cutting-edge video facilities for the pro.

The latest mirrorless models can come with high-end video  features, such as the RAW recording facility offered by the Nikon Z 9. 

Good quality gimbals are attractively priced these days, and add a huge degree of flexibility if you’re looking to  shoot your video on the move.

Modern mirrorless hybrids such as the Fujifilm X-H2S, above, and the Canon R5 C, below, have opened the door to high-end video features to a fresh audience. 

CVP offers a range of fully tested used filmmaking kit,  which ranges from camera bodies and lenses through to mics and memory cards.

Sony A7 II, Meike Prime 35mm S35 Cine Lens, SanDisk 512GB CFexpress card, Canon EOS C200, Sony DWT-B01/6267 digital wireless radio microphone transmitter

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