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Shooting Real Estate Video with the Sony A6300 or A6500

In: 
Published: 18/07/2018
By: larry

Ken in Georgia says:

These days, I'm getting more and more requests for video. I have a Nikon 5300 with a Sigma 10-20mm but I am not getting the video quality my clients expect. I have been looking at the Sony A6300 or A6500 but I don't want to drop and a grand or so if I don't have to. I have a Zhiyun Crane 2 that does struggle a bit with the 5300 weight. I have researched. Made decision matrices and basically gotten myself flustered. Should I take the Sony A6300 or another hardware route entirely?

As you've found, the Nikon D5300 will do video but it is 5-year-old technology and Nikon has never been known for its outstanding video. However, the Sony A6300 and A6500 shoot 6K video which is down-sampled to 4K. I think you and your clients would be much happier with if you moved up to at least the A6300.

The primary difference between the A6300 and A6500 is that the A6500 has 5 axis stabilization and will shoot faster still frames (for details see this video). Some would argue that for shooting interiors the A6500 is not essential. But the difference in cost is only $200.

As for a lens, I would recommend a Sony 10-18mm f/4.

18 comments on “Shooting Real Estate Video with the Sony A6300 or A6500”

  1. Wanna know what the Sony A6300 with the Sony 10-18mm looks like? Here is a video I shot entirely with that combo, except for the aerials what were shot with a DJI drone. Everything was shot 4k. I then Down Rez to HD. That makes it look way better than shooting native HD.

    Shot with Sony a6300 with Sony 10-18mm
    Beholder 3-Axis Gimbal Stabilizer
    --------
    Edited in Premiere in HD (4k - Down Rez)
    Kodak film stock effect
    Red Giant video effects
    Color corrected DaVinci Resolve
    Graphics in After Effects

    https://www.hawaiirealmedia.com/VIDEOS/MAUNA-LANI-KAMILO/1

    Lee

  2. I agree with Larry and Lee. I was shooting with my Canon 80D which was not bad but had real problems with low light and darker areas of rooms. So I bought the Sony A-6500 but paired it with the Rokinon 12mm fixed focal length lens that is as sharp as a tack after seeing the results a FaceBook friend was getting with that combination. For RE work I find this combination works really well. And I was happily surprised in the quality of the still images. The Sony sensor tends to blow out the hight lights fast but has such a deep reservoir of information in the shadows, that I had to change my exposure system and now expose for the highlights and can then bring up the shadows in post. In fact for stills, I open in Photoshop, do my perspective and lens adjustments, then open in Luminar as a plug in, and between the two I can usually get what I want from one image without needing HDR which really speeds post processing. (Never thought you'd hear me say that did you Larry?)

    But I bought it for video and I am very pleased since you can't use those little flash units that you may be using for stills. And the Sony works very well in low light. You can even crank the ISO up to 800 with little grain increase. Even at 1600 there is very little. But at anything over 800 I am finding the image just starts to get a bit soft. So while I generally shoot between f-8 and f-16 outside using a ND to bring down the bright California sun exposure, when shooting the interiors, with this Rokinon lens, I can open up to f-2.8 keeping the lens fixed at infinity and while I loose sharpness in the fore ground, the rest of the room is pin sharp.

    With Sony lenses, you can use the auto exposure. But with a manual lens like the Rokinon, you can't. But you can use the auto ISO which does the same thing but does not change the f-stop or shutter speed. This is an advantage when doing walk throughs. You just have to keep track of what ISO it is using.

    And on my also new MOXA Air stabilizer, the lighter mirror less camera body is easily handled. And since the Rokinon lens is small and light, the whole stabilizer rig is not heavy and balances easily and quickly on set up. I did find I needed to get a Manfrotto/Arca Swiss style slider quick release which helps in balancing (I received a faulty MOZA that had a sliding mount on the camera platform but the replacement did not). Actually I bought the Neewer version which was only @16.95 from Amazon. Not machined but works fine and makes balancing much easier since you can just slide the camera back and forth when balancing the unit.

    The Panasonic also makes a very fine mirror less body but it cost quite a bit more than the Sony. I have limited budgets too. So I went with the Sony. But it has proven to have a steep learning curve since the user interface is a different planet from my Canons that I have been using for more than a decade. And so many customizable settings that it made my head spin. But YouTube is filled with tutorials about how to set up the camera for most filming situations, you will soon get the hang of it if you decide on the Sony, either one.

  3. Larry,
    Thank you for posting my question (without my 80mm joke)
    I have actually LOST business due to a lack of quality video
    I have purchased the mirrorless Cannon m50 for it's weight and 4K capabilities, fully articulating screen and the promise of a greater lens availability.
    Shooting my first video today.

  4. Hey guys, I just purchased the D5300.

    do you guys recommend I purchase the Sony 10-18mm lens or the rokinon 12mm? I can afford either and will be shooting both stills and video. Which lens will provide the sharpest image?

  5. Funny, I have a D5300. I have used it for stills but never tried the video. Was actually thinking about upgrading to the A6300 or A6500. Regardless, for video I recommend a dedicated video camera. Couple years back, I got a Canon XA20 (no longer in production) and have been thrilled with it. The 2 channel onboard audio mixer is one reason why. If you're going to do serious video, I think you need it. I paid $2000 for my XA20. You can get a current model, like the XA11, now for only $1299.

  6. Rokinon 12mm vs Sony 10-18.. Sony is a great lens, quite a bit heavier than the Rokinon. Have both. Use the Sony for stills and Rokinon for video (not always but most of the time) Rokinon is not autofocus, have it set for infinity and then back off a bit and have it taped. At 5.6 the focus is everything. For stills 98 % of the time the Sony focuses. (I think I get more lens flare with the Rokinon, but can frame better with the zoom)

    I have 1 6000 and 2 6300's. For video I use Crane 2's and the Rokinon is a lighter package. For Sony you need non telescoping barrels so the 10-18 and 18-135 are the only zoom lenses to have (telescoping barrels affect the weight distribution when used with a Crane or other stabilizer.

    I have 3 Canon 5D mk II's sitting on the shelf so you understand I am a full frame shooter that's moved to Sony mirrorless. Trouble with mirrorless is harder to keep dust out of (that's why 3 bodies, three lenses, cheaper than the time spent cloning out dust) I would not buy the 6000 again (no 2 sec time delay when shooting brackets), wish I had 3 6300's and don't see the justification for the 6500 (yet)

    Mike... aperture priority for stills 7.1 at 320, manual for video walk through's. movie mode when videoing 1 scene, like doing a speaker at CE)

  7. I've been shooting real estate video with the a6300 since it came out and I've never looked back. I started on a Canon T2i, which was a great camera, but realized after a couple of years that the quality just didn't compare with the 4K footage Sony was putting out. I purchased the 6300 and the 10-18mm 4f and haven't wanted or needed anything else. I cut my teeth in HD video in film school on the Canon 5D MKII, when it first came out back in 2008/2009 and I have friends that have since upgraded to the MKIV, but even now, the a6300's 4K capabilities shine above the rest, IMO. Last year I needed a 2nd camera and thought about getting the 6500 but couldn't justify the need for the upgraded touch screen and 5 axis gimbal so I purchased another a6300 and I'm glad I did (I use the 2nd camera for other projects).

    Here's an example of my most recent shoot: https://youtu.be/RIvgeJHOB8A

    And one of a slightly different kind of real estate shoot (the realtor asked for an "art piece" so we changed things up a bit and hired a dancer; truth be told, I also used the Sony 18-105 in some shots): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kKZ4eRP7d1Q

    My settings: after years of testing what's best and what works/doesn't work, I'm now defaulting to 8f (sometimes I drop this to somewhere between the 6 - 7f range or lower but only if there's just no light and I can afford to focus only on certain features in the room), auto ISO (yes, auto ISO; I used to set my ISO manually and sometimes I still do but I've found with the contrasting differences between dark rooms and large, bright windows with beautiful views, I've found that if I shoot them from the right angle, or pan, then I can film the room with the light I need then slowly ease into a window view without unnatural, dramatic changes or shifts in the ISO), and I try to keep my shutter speed to 1/50. I shoot everything in 4k 24fps, slow it down if needed in FCPX, but I typically don't have to slow too many shots down if I keep my pans slow and smooth when I'm shooting onsite. I then export to 1080p or 720p depending on the realtor's requirements. I sometimes use a Kessler mini jib but my goto has been Edelkron Wing 3 for push-ins and slides and more recently, the Zhiyun Crane 2 (I love this thing!), which will likely replace every slider, jib and tripod I own.

    Cheers!
    - Mike

  8. I believe the G85 and the GX85 by Panasonic should be considered for this work. They do not get mentioned much, maybe because it is a smaller sensor.

  9. You may want to consider upgrading your Nikon body. That way you don't have to purchase a different set of lenses, batteries, memory cards, etc. If you wind up doing a lot of video work, consider stepping up to a dedicated video camera. The connections, controls and features of a video camera are aligned with capturing video unlike DSLRs and mirrorless cameras that are configured for shooting stills. The Sony can produce excellent video, but a good video camera won't have you drilling down menus to make common video adjustments.

  10. is there anyway for me to have a login on this website and post without me having to always enter my name, email, and website? is there like a members area I can sign up for? sorry im new here...

  11. @raghid - No, readers don't log in to this site. Each time you wish to comment you must fill in your name, email address and website URL.

  12. Just ordered the Rokinon 12mm ef-m mount. Found it on B&H used (excellent condition) for $219
    I plan to use this M50 4K set up with the Rokinon 12mm for dedicated video

    You guys are awesome

  13. I've been considering renting the GH5 and coupling my Canon 16-35/4L to it with a focal adapter. I've seen some pretty neat stuff come out of it from a friend of mine, but he doesn't shoot real estate. Right now I'm running a Canon 6D body, which technically works, but it's a 6 year old body with quite low dynamic range.

  14. I don't think a GH5 is going to do well running on an old Canon lens. For real estate, you really need auto-focus on as many auto functions as possible. The Panasonic lenses are going to work faster and better when moving around a property, especially the auto exposure. If you're shooting a documentary, you don't necessary rely on auto functions.

    I suggest pairing the GH5 with a Panasonic lens built for that camera by Panasonic.

  15. Hey guys, I know I’m considerably late to the discussion here, but I’m hoping I can touch base with a few people.

    I’ve begun doing real estate photography and bought the a6300, and later picked up both the Rokinon and Sony 10-18 lenses. I shoot all of my photos (generally) with the Sony and have had great success when mounted to a tripod. Recently a broker who continues to give me considerable business on prestigious homes, requested a video. That said, in an effort to ensure I retain her business at any cost, went out and got a Ronin-M stabilizer to boot.

    I haven’t done a video yet, but will be experimenting with the camera over the weekend because I need to be able to capture interiors while not overexposing the windows. These are large lakefront properties where seeing out the windows is equally as important as the interiors of the homes. I have seen some real estate videos where the windows get washed out. Does anyone have experience with interior videos using the a6300 (or any of the related models)? If so I would greatly appreciate any tips/advice/camera settings that you are willing to share. I’m well versed in Adobe Lightroom, color correcting stills etc. and have some light experience in Adobe Premiere Pro, but am still concerned as to the capabilities of the camera body itself, as opposed to a dedicated film camera.

    At the end of the day, if the camera *CAN* handle the difference in exposure between windows/interiors, I can proceed to continue offering this as a service. If not, it will mean lost business for the interim while I look for additional equipment that will facilitate these means.

    Thank you guys in advance, I hope somebody sees this post...lol

  16. Mike,
    I just read your post. I hope you got that video job.
    The only thing I can recommend regarding the windows is to shoot the video from the window and then back away from the window. Camera on auto ISO and About F6.5 to F8. Then get real comfortable with key frames in premiere pro. You will need them. Set them so you can adjust them as you move thru the video so you can slide things like contrast, brightness, blacks, whites, ETC. Don't be dismayed if the video doesn't look like your stills. Keep in mind that video is not a RAW file format.

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