The Buyers guide to...Which cameras shoot raw video?

Nikon's Tim Carter answers questions about the Nikon Z6 and Z7
Buyers Guide

Raw footage, also called raw video, is simply the unprocessed data that comes from your camera’s image sensor. Like raw still image files, raw video gives you the flexibility to adjust elements like brightness, contrast, white balance and more post-capture.

The ability to record raw video gives you lots of control and flexibility over the look and feel of your final film.

While the title of this post asks which cameras can shoot raw video, what we really mean are small cameras. Cinema cameras can record raw video, but we’ve left them off this list. What we’re discussing in this article are the new breed of mirrorless cameras that are aiming to bring cinema camera functionality to the masses.

The growing importance of video – and vlogging – has seen traditional camera manufacturers race to bolster the video specifications of their key models. Companies like Nikon, Panasonic and Sigma have used firmware updates to enable their cameras to support raw video recording.

Managing the large file sizes and intense editing that comes with shooting raw video isn’t for everyone. But for those who do want to shoot professional-looking footage, the option to have that power and control in such a portable camera body is a huge benefit.

As more cameras that can shoot raw video are released we look poised to see a revolution in filmmaking much like we saw in stills photography at the dawn of the digital age.

We’ll update this list as more announcements are made, but for now these are the current (small, mirrorless) cameras that can shoot raw video.

Which cameras shoot raw video?

Canon EOS R5

Canon EOS R5 review

Price when reviewed

£4199

$3899
Website: Canon

For

  • 45Mp full-frame sensor with full AF coverage
  • 12fps/20fps continuous shooting with continuous AF
  • Uncropped internal 8K video recording for up to 20 minutes

Against

  • 8K video will require lots of storage capacity
  • Camera Type: Mirrorless
  • Announced: 9th July 2020
  • Sensor: 45Mp Full-frame Dual Pixel CMOS AF II
  • Processor: Digic X
  • Lens mount: RF
  • Sensitivity range: Stills: ISO 100-51,200 expandable to ISO 50-102,400, Movies: ISO 100-25600, expandable to ISO ISO 51,200
  • Metering: 384-zone metering with Evaluative metering (linked to All AF points), Partial metering (approx. 6.1% of viewfinder at centre), Spot metering: Centre spot metering (approx. 3.1% viewfinder at centre), Centre weighted average metering
  • Shutter speed range: 1/8000sec-30 seconds and Bulb
  • File formats: Raw + Jpeg/HEIF, MP4
  • Maximum continuous shooting rate: Mechanical shutter: 12fps, Electronic shutter: 20fps
  • Maximum video resolution: Uncropped, internal raw recording 8K video at up to 29.97fps in 4:2:2 10-bit in Canon Log (H.265) or 4:2:2 10-bit HDR PQ (H.265), Uncropped internal recording 4K video at up to 119.88fps in 4:2:2 10-bit in Canon Log (H.265) or 4:2:2 10-bit HDR PQ (H.265) 4:2:2 10-bit in Canon Log or 4:2:2 10-bit HDR PQ, 4K output over HDMI at up to 59.94fps
  • Autofocus system: Dual Pixel CMOS AF II phase detection with 5940 points in stills and 4500 points in movie mode
  • Viewfinder: 0.5-inch 5.76million-dot OLED electronic viewfinder with 120fps display and 0.76x magnification
  • Screen: 3.15-inch 2.1-million dot vari-angle touchscreen
  • Autofocus: Dual Pixel CMOS AF II with Advanced Animal AF (recognising dogs, cats and birds) supported in all video modes with 100% coverage and up to 1053 'AF segments'
  • Stabilisation: In-body image stabilisation (IBIS) that works with lens IS and enables up to 8-stops of shutter speed compensation
  • Storage: Dual slots, 1x CFexpress, 1x SDXC UHS-II
  • Dimensions: 135.8 x 97.5 x 88mm
  • Weight: 650 g / 738 g with card and battery

Nikon Z6

Nikon Z6 review

Price when reviewed

£2079

$1996.95
Check current price
Website: Nikon
  • Camera type: Full-frame (FX) mirrorless
  • Lens mount: Nikon Z
  • Sensor: Full-frame (FX) 24.5Mp backside illuminated (BSI) sensor
  • Autofocus system: Hybrid with phase and contrast detection
  • Phase detection points: 273
  • Viewfinder: 0.39-inch 2,360,000-dot OLED electronic viewfinder
  • Screen: 3.2-inch 2,100,000-dot tilting touch-screen
  • Dimensions (W x H x D): 134 x 100.5 x 67.5mm / 5.3 x 4 x 2.7-inches
  • Weight: 675 g / 1 lb. 7.9 oz with battery and memory card but without body cap, 85 g/1 lb. 4.7 oz. camera body only

The Nikon Z 6 has hybrid autofocusing. This is a change from Nikon’s DSLRs which use a dedicated phase detection sensor for shooting with the viewfinder and contrast detection focusing for Live View and video shooting.

The Z 6 has 273 AF points that cover around 90% of the sensor. As a result, you can focus on areas much closer to the edge of the frame than you can with a DSLR. This means you don’t have to use the focus-and-recompose technique. In addition, you can track subjects around more of the imaging frame.

Like the Z 7, the Z 6 has five AF point selection modes. However, the choice changes a little depending upon whether you are In Single AF (AF-S) or Continuous AF (AF-C) mode. In AF-S mode you have the choice of Pinpoint AF, Single-point AF, Wide-area AF (Small), Wide-area AF (Large) and Auto-area AF.

Switch to AF-C mode and you’ll find Single-point AF, Dynamic-area AF, Wide-area AF (Small), Wide-area AF (Large) and Auto-area AF available.

In Auto-area AF, the camera attempts to detect the subject automatically. If you press the OK button a tracking point becomes visible. You can then move this over the subject, press OK again, and the camera will attempt to track it around the frame. This operates in both AF-S and AF-C mode but it only adjusts the focus in AF-C mode.

Read our full Nikon Z6 review

Nikon Z7

Price when reviewed

£2299.00

$3399.00
Check current price
Website: Nikon

For

  • High-quality sensor
  • Excellent user interface and control layout
  • Weatherproof build

Against

  • Single XQD card port
  • Images slow to appear after shooting
  • Battery life could be better
  • Camera type: Full-frame mirrorless camera
  • Sensor: Full-frame (FX) 45.7MP backside illuminated (BSI) sensor
  • Lens mount: Nikon Z
  • Autofocus system: Hybrid with phase and contrast detection
  • Phase detection points: 493
  • Storage: XQD/CFexpress
  • Viewfinder: 0.5-inch 3.69-million-dot electronic viewfinder
  • Screen: 3.2-inch 2,100,000-dot tilting touch-screen
  • Dimensions (W x H x D): 134 x 100.5 x 67.5mm / 5.3 x 4 x 2.7-inches
  • Weight: 675 g / 1 lb. 7.9 oz with battery and memory card but without body cap, 585g/1 lb. 4.7 oz. body only

Nikon had already given its Z6 and Z7 cameras an impressive arsenal of video specs. Nikon embraced video technology with its first full-frame mirrorless offerings, and the Z7 can record 4K UHD (3840 x 2160) video. It’s also possible to shoot Full HD video at up to 120p.

An HDMI port is provided for connecting an external recorder. When this is used 10bit 4:2:2 video can be recorded with N-Log. The video that’s recorded internally is 8bit, so saving to an external device increases the range of colours that are captured. Once the bit depth is set to 10bit via the HMDI options in the menu, you cannot record video to an internal card.

Then, last year, Nikon released a new firmware update adding the option of raw video recording to the Z6 and Z7. Co-developed with Atomos, the firmware update – which will set you back about $200 – enables the Z6 and Z7 to record 12bit 4K UHD and Full HD raw video via HDMI to certain Atomos recorders.

Other features of the Z7 include N-Log, which results in very flat footage that’s designed for post-capture grading. It’s especially useful when you’re shooting with more than one camera as it makes it easier to match the footage.

Timecode, focus peaking and zebra display are all available.

The Z7 can shoot Timelapse movies. However, there’s also an 8K Timelapse option that allows sequences of images to be recorded and edited together post-capture.

Sigma fp

Sigma fp review

Price when reviewed

£1799

$1799
Check current price
Website: Sigma

For

  • Small for a full-frame camera
  • Excellent interface
  • Rig-ready

Against

  • Brick-like shape without accessory grip
  • No viewfinder built in
  • Fixed screen
  • Camera type: Mirrorless
  • Sensor: 24.6Mp Full-frame (35.9x23.9mm back-illuminated Bayer CMOS
  • Lens mount: L
  • Screen: Fixed 3.15-inch 2,100,000-dot electrostatic capacitance system touch panel
  • Viewfinder: No
  • Sensitivity range: ISO 100-25,600 expansion settings of to ISO 6, 12, 25, 50, 51,200 and 102, 400
  • Maximum continuous shooting rate: 18fps for 12 images
  • Video resolution / frame rate: 3,840×2,160 (UHD 4K) / 23.98p, 25p, 29.97p, FHD (1,920×1,080) / 23.98p, 25p, 29.97p, 59.94p, 100p, 119.88p
  • Video format: CinemaDNG(8bit / 10bit/ 12bit) / MOV:H.264 (ALL-I/ GOP)
  • Autofocus system : Contrast detection with 49 points
  • Image stabilisation: Electronic
  • Shutter type: Electronic only with speeds 30-1/8000 sec and Bulb
  • Storage: SD/SDHC/SDXC UHS-II or Portable SSD via USB 3.0 connection
  • Dimensions: 112.6 x 69.9 x 45.3mm
  • Weight: 370g body only, 422g with battery and SD card

Sigma normally uses a Foveon sensor in its cameras but it has used a conventional chip with a Bayer pattern coloured filter array for the fp. It’s a back-illuminated sensor with 24.6million effective pixels on its 35.9×23.9mm surface and there’s no low-pass filter.

Video-wise, when connected to an external SSD the fp can shoot 4K (3840×2160) footage in CinemaDNG format with up to 12bit colour. Alternatively, when an SD card is used, the more common MOV format is available.

A new firmware update pushes its 4K raw video support further and introduces new features such as raw video playback and support for Full HD raw video at 120fps.

There’s also a collection of colour styles that can be applied to stills or video: Standard, Vivid, Neutral, Portrait, Landscape, Cinema, Teal & Orange, Sunset Red, Forest Green, Foveon Classic Blue, Foven Classic Yellow, Monochrome.

The low saturation Cinema and Teal & Orange settings are particularly interesting for videographers.

Panasonic S1H

Panasonic Lumix S1H firmware update adds raw video data output via HDMI
$
Check current price
Website:

For

  • Shoots 6K raw
  • Records 4K at 60p
  • 14 stops dynamic range

Against

  • Largy body size
  • Sensor: 24.2MP full frame CMOS
  • Video: 6K (5.9K) 3:2 24p, 5.9K 16:9 up to 30p, C4K/4K UHD up to 60p
  • Autofocus: 225-area DFD contrast AF
  • ISO: Dual Native ISO; 100-51,200 (50-102,400 exp.)

In early 2020 Panasonic announced that via a strategic partnership with Atoms it had developed new firmware for the Lumix S1H that enables the camera to output a maximum 5.9K/29.97p RAW video data to the Atomos Ninja V.

Shortly after this announcement, the Panasonic S1H became the first ‘Netflix-approved’ camera on the market.

The S1H is aimed at serious filmmakers, but its price tag is under the the £4,000 threshold, and it packs some serious firepower.

Panasonic’s flagship full-frame mirrorless camera offers 6K video recording and 10-bit 60p 4K/C4K, aided by a 35.6 x 23.8mm, 24.2-megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor. It can record 6K at 24p at a 3:2 aspect ratio, 5.9K at 30p in 16:9, as well as 10-bit 4K/Cinema 4K footage at 60p using the Super 35mm image area.

As if that isn’t enough, it can record 4:2:2 10-bit 4K footage at 30p over the full image area.

The Panasonic S1H also delivers 14 stops of dynamic range – the same as Panasonic’s cinema cameras – along with a slew of other video specifications aimed at professionals such as Panasonic’s V-Log/V-Gamut log modes, HDR in HLG (Hybrid Log Gamma), 4:2:2 10-bit HDMI output and Anamorphic 4:3 modes.

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