By Jacques Crafford

There’s no such thing as the perfect camera… but the Sony Burano comes pretty close.

For the first time in History, we have a camera with internal NDs + In Body Image Stabilization. Why is this release such a big deal? In this article I’m going to share my experience working with the Sony Burano and also who I think it’s for. I was part of the Launch Film for the Middle East Africa region. At first my role was to shoot the behind-the-scenes promo film but in the process I got upgraded to Colorist on the final production. After seeing the camera in action and grading the footage I just had to shoot with it and Sony gave it to me for a few days.


To put it simply, the Burano brings you the best of both worlds. Solo filmmakers can use it without the need for extra hands yet it’s still a fully fledged high end cinema camera that will sit well on big productions with big crews. On the image front you basically have a “mini Venice” but the added functionalities make it super attractive for smaller teams and productions on a budget.


The option to shoot natively with E-mount lenses with fully functional autofocus removes the need for a focus puller and extra gear like focus motors etc. The internal stabilization means less support gear but more stable shots. Support gear like this & focus systems can drastically slow down a production so the Burano is all about efficiency.


But all these features aside, why would one pay the premium price for a Sony Burano if you can manage with something like an FX3 or FX6. For me the 8K resolution and variety of frame rates is not the determining factor but rather 16 BIT internal RAW. The extent to which you can push a 16 BIT file compared to 10 BIT is a pretty big deal. Having more freedom to push the codec into different directions gives you more creative choices. Here’s an example of a scene I shot with the Burano. The image on the left is a standard Rec709 conversion from Slog3 and the Image on the right is the final look.


The gym had a wooden floor with a nasty red cast on the talent. With 16 BIT raw I could easily correct the skintone to something more natural. Colours have more flexibility to be manipulated into an alternative look! RAW also gives you great control over correction like White Balance, something you have to nail in-camera on 10 BIT because severe corrections will degrade the footage, not the case here.


Just like Venice the dual base ISO is at 800 and 3200. I think 3200 is the sweet spot for low light performance on commercials and movies where one has control over the light. With the FX3 & FX6 in many scenarios one has to stop down or use ND filters to compensate for the second base of 12800 except when there’s simply not enough light. Having worked with the FX3 & FX6 for many years now I can confidently say that the Burano performs better at the second base ISO compared to the FX3 & FX6. Another thing that also stood out is how the Burano sensor is able to deal with difficult light. I did a shoot using the Burano handheld and the FX3 on the gimbal and in some scenarios where I shot backlit, I could really see the Burano handling the light better. So for me it’s not just all the extras, ports and cable options that elevate the camera into a higher budget class.


So who is the Burano for? I think this is a great camera for working DP’s to own and offer as a value added service on projects. The Venice has exploded in popularity on Hollywood and Commercial sets & having a “mini Venice” on offer can increase your opportunity to be hired and earn a higher income per project. I also think it’s a dream camera for documentary work especially for those high end on-the-go projects and work in remote locations where having a team is logistically not possible! The Burano will do well in production houses doing agency work and I can also see rental houses picking them up.

There is no camera in the world that has everything for everyone all in one body. For some, the Burano would be near perfect but it depends on your needs. All I know is that I want one and I can’t wait to shoot with it again!

About Jacques Crafford

Youtuber & Independent Filmmaker specializing in commercial, travel & adventure films. An educator at heart, Jacques finds great passion in teaching from practical experiences.

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