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GH3 vs GH2 Low Light High ISO Lens Tests

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Just did some lens tests with the GH3 vs GH2 w/ Flow Motion v2.02 hack.  Information below:

 

GH2 vs GH3 Night Lens Test

Panasonic GH2 w/ Flow Motion v2.02 Hack, Vivid -2,-2,-2,-2
Panasonic GH3, Vivid -3,-5,-4,-5

Lenses used:
Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 25mm F1.4
Canon FD 50mm F1.2L
Canon FD 85mm F1.2L
Canon EF 100mm Macro F2.8

Perspective is different even though I used them on the same tripod.  GH2 is 1.86x sensor crop, GH3 is 2x sensor crop.

 

In very dark situations the GH3 is noticeably brighter, about 2/3 of a stop.  I tried to compensate by making the GH2 1 stop ISO brighter.  But by doing so makes the GH2 have more noise and have "milky" blacks.  Color correction is very difficult with the GH2 even with the hack.  The GH3 does much better in this regard, although detail might be a little lower.

 

http://youtu.be/KM_6ZKCFuPs

 

http://youtu.be/6pwNZxfa1uM

 

http://youtu.be/_UK0Ck7jQbM

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EOSHD Pro Color for Sony cameras EOSHD Pro LOG for Sony Cameras

The first thing i notice really is the highlight clips look much better on the GH3... Like they roll off smoother.  I was never concerned about the Gh3 having good detail, I figured it would.  The problem for me was always the roid raged digital sodomy assault in the highlights on the GH2.   I tried exposing for the highs, and pushing the lows in post like the "GH2 Dynamic Range Myth" video suggested, but even with the high bitrate, it just looked dirty.   I was hoping the Gh3 could get close to a "Cinestyle" type of Profile to shoot in..  I've yet to really see it, but I've heard "Natural" with contrast dialed back -5 is pretty good, but I'd like to see a comparison vid. 

 

Actually...  That's a good idea.  I think I'll start a new post.  lol.

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I'm going to test different settings to see how "flat" you can go.  But Cinestyle on the Canons aren't a great solution with an 8 bit color space.  I've tried and even though you can color grade it to some degree, it just falls apart.  Let's face it, 8 bit codecs have to shoot as close to final color as possible.  GH3 although better in dynamic range still has the problems because of the 8 bit codec.   I did a sky test and there is still banding, although not as bad as the GH2.  So no matter what you think about low light, day light, whatever the root of the problem is the 8 bit 4:2:0 space that you have to work in. 

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I'm going to test different settings to see how "flat" you can go. But Cinestyle on the Canons aren't a great solution with an 8 bit color space. I've tried and even though you can color grade it to some degree, it just falls apart. Let's face it, 8 bit codecs have to shoot as close to final color as possible. GH3 although better in dynamic range still has the problems because of the 8 bit codec. I did a sky test and there is still banding, although not as bad as the GH2. So no matter what you think about low light, day light, whatever the root of the problem is the 8 bit 4:2:0 space that you have to work in.


I figured. You can't cheat it. I hear the argument about Cinestyle being a Log profile in a tiny room.... but personally I always had better results with it than without it. I never pushed it into CSI Miami territory either though... Lol.
It sucks, for sure being locked down in bandingville. Dynamic range will always be the bane of these camera's existence. There are workarounds like Cineform, editing in 32 bit, etc.. But that's a terrible pain in the ass and it wasn't there from the get go. So maybe it's not worth even messing with. Lol. I hate thinking I'll be waiting on the BMC for another year, but these issues won't be concerns finally.

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I've tried to do a bunch of tests, but there's no getting around the banding.  I say the GH3 is maybe 2-3 times better, especially in the mid-tones.  But when you get close to blowing out, well it steps quite badly.  I think the GH2 even with the hacks had way worse banding.  Again I will try out a "flat" profile, but I haven't found anything acceptable yet.  Unfortunately it is still 8bit 4:2:0.  I hope all the manufacturers will see the folly of 8bit profiles.  Even 10bit would be good.  But until then we just have to shoot around the limitations of these cameras.  I believe the GH3 is in the right direction.  I would have easily paid $3K if the GH3 had 12bit 4:4:4.  I know I'll be getting the MFT BMCC camera when it comes out in volume, maybe after NAB?  I hope so.

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I'm going to test different settings to see how "flat" you can go.  But Cinestyle on the Canons aren't a great solution with an 8 bit color space.  I've tried and even though you can color grade it to some degree, it just falls apart.  Let's face it, 8 bit codecs have to shoot as close to final color as possible.  GH3 although better in dynamic range still has the problems because of the 8 bit codec.   I did a sky test and there is still banding, although not as bad as the GH2.  So no matter what you think about low light, day light, whatever the root of the problem is the 8 bit 4:2:0 space that you have to work in. 

 

you may have factored this in to the equation, but in a recent topic over on PV someone suggests that working with 8bit footage within a 32bit environment allows significantly more headroom when grading our limited 8bit colour palette.  I recently made the switch and now only use 32bit colour effects.  I notice less banding since.  if you are yet to try it, you should give it a go.  500% better results and you can go a lot further with your colour correction if needed.

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you may have factored this in to the equation, but in a recent topic over on PV someone suggests that working with 8bit footage within a 32bit environment allows significantly more headroom when grading our limited 8bit colour palette. I recently made the switch and now only use 32bit colour effects. I notice less banding since. if you are yet to try it, you should give it a go. 500% better results and you can go a lot further with your colour correction if needed.

That was Shian Storm! The guy who put out ColorGHear. Lol.. This topic always turns into a heated debate everytime as to the relevance of shooting flat, transcoding or working 8 bit footage in a larger colorspace. I've A/B'd in After Effects 8bit space, then switched it to 32 and clearly had more positive results.. (Especially with Canon footage.) Alas, there's always an Astro Physicist on a forum who spits his coffee all over the screen when he sees it, & does a Princess Bride: "That's Inconceivable!" ..Then proceeds to leave a 5000 word reply telling you it's all in your head, because the specifications don't equate to the number of maximum color values allotted within an 8 bit space, thus truncating the blah blah f-ck me hey Macarana..

I'm looking right at it! Lol..

I see banding mostly on a wall as the light gets darker. I'm testing Low Contrast filters to try and maximize DR going in without using a flat profile on a GH2 & aggrevating it. (Mainly because it doesn't give you many options in cam.) Those don't really work like I was hoping. You really have to lock your shots down and compose around the filter rather than the other way around.

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For Adobe users this banding has never been a problem, only since using this forum did I realise it wasn't common knowledge!

 

  • Edit 8-bit natively in Prmeiere.

 

  • Send to After Effects and set project to 32-bit. Each frame is treated as uncompressed RGB with plenty of colour levels. Note the lack of banding when pushing colours.

 

  • Add film grain. Noise tricks the output codec into using more data, and breaks up those nasty flat digital stripes that can appear in the final output. Removing sensor noise can leave a stripey result too, so always put some movement back in.

 

Easy as that. Always do your finishing in a finishing programme, in 32-bit and 8-bit source footage is pretty good. We could do with more bits, but it's pretty good when you know how to make the most of it.

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I've been using Premiere Pro and AE CS5.5 for over a year with no problems.  So I know about the 32bit editing space.  Even editing to ProRes4444 will result in better results.  However I abandoned the film grain because the GH2 was just unrecoverable, the banding just so bad.  However after taking a few shots with the GH3, the banding is much less.  It is still there, and you can see it in my video.  But now adding grain does help to some extent.  It might also depend on the grain plug-in, I'm just not familiar with the good ones out there.  If anyone can suggest some good ones please let me know.

 

http://youtu.be/do1E_IJ4qv0

 

BTW this was shot with an old ISCO 2x anamorphic projector lens (HUGE).  Was super cheap, but it's because it has haze and fungus.  That's why the first shot isn't so great.

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