Category: Tests

Only a few years ago S-LOG was a $3800 upgrade for the Sony CineAlta F3, itself a $15,000 camera. S-LOG made its debut on the Sony F35, a workhorse of Hollywood.

Now Sony have put this on a $2500 consumer camera along with the best full frame sensor I have ever used for video. How good is it? Very!!

I am sharing a pack of LUTs for the A7S which can be applied in Premiere, Resolve, etc. for an instant cinematic look to your A7S S-LOG 2 footage.

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Three LUTs are provided in the zip. Dynamic – for best dynamic range, will suit a low contrast shot requiring high dynamic range and plenty of shadow detail. Also good for low light. Vivid will give a punchier look to those shots that benefit from it like a sunset and where some dynamic range can be scarified for higher contrast and saturation. S-GAMUT is for when shooting S-LOG with the Color Mode of S-GAMUT and compensates for the purple tint to reds I find I am getting in this mode. For the Dynamic and Vivid LUTs you must set the camera colour mode in PP7 to ITU709 Matrix.

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Sony A7S rig

All the high ISO footage from the Sony A7S so far have been highly compressed and streamed on YouTube. Here we have not one but two stages of very aggressive noise reduction being applied to the images. If you want to see it without the heavy compression removing all trace of noise, here’s a full resolution JPEG shot at ISO 12,800 from the camera courtesy of DCFever

You can download it below…

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Blackmagic Production Camera 4K sample - no FPN noise

Above: my sample showing no fixed pattern noise in low light at ISO 400 on the Production Camera – it’s all about the grade

Almost all Blackmagic Production Camera users have experienced fixed pattern noise – a banding effect or grain texture over the image – and they are quite upset at Blackmagic over the issue. But is the fixed pattern noise problem on the Blackmagic Production Camera a case of faulty cameras OR is it a limitation of the spec?

This is a complex issue and every user seems to report something different. However in my own experience with the camera and of looking at the experiences of others I have to say that all units look to perform in the same way. It is a limitation of the spec, not a case of a large number of faulty units being shipped out.

Yet many users – over 200 of them – are now putting pressure on Blackmagic to acknowledge a hardware or quality control ‘fault’ and to do hardware replacements. Sorry but I just don’t think this is right.

It is best to look at how to handle the camera in order to avoid the FPN in the first place…

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My full review of the Panasonic GH4 (final retail unit) is coming next week. Until then I am enjoying Philip Bloom’s views on the camera here!

A big thanks to B&H Photo & Video in the US for shipping internationally a GH4 unit with no recording limits, I got it before it was even available in Europe. Delivery took just 2 days! Impressed! Also thanks to Susanna, the star of my video above shot in Berlin.

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All tests based on pre-production model

Here we come to some areas which aren’t perfect on the GH4, but which nevertheless are both a step forward from the GH3. I like what Panasonic have started here with 96fps slow-mo. This is the first consumer camera to deviate from the video standard of 60p to give us a genuinely useful creative tool which sets the ball rolling for improvements in future models.

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Sony A6000 with Zeiss 50mm F1.4 on Speed Booster

Sony A6000 with Zeiss 50mm F1.4 on Speed Booster

Buy the new Sony A6000 on eBay

Pre-order the new Sony A6000 for $648 at B&H

The Sony A6000 is the best Sony consumer camera yet for video. A Nikon D5300 in a mirrorless body, with far more features, the image quality is closer to the FS700 in 1080p than to a NEX 7 or A5000. The pristine sharp EVF, a magnified focus assist which can be activated whilst recording (rare!), peaking, zebra, 16:9 screen and of course the mirrorless form factor. This is arguably the best current ‘cheap’ camera for video, de-throning the GH2 and GH3. At just $650 it is an absolute bargain.

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PSR20007b

gh4-3

The GH4′s internally recorded 4K files can be converted to a chunky 2K 10bit ProRes 4444 image which grades extremely well.

To test this theory I call on colourists to have a go at it.

Arri Alexa ProRes files are available from their FTP server. Details below.

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Above: GH4 test footage shot in 4096 x 2160 Cinema 4K DCI mode. Academy 1.85:1 aspect ratio. CineLikeD profile for best dynamic range.

Tip jar EOSHD just $5 if you think this article is useful

Below: Cooke S4i Mini (uncoated Panchro/i version) on the GH4 with Ciecio7 PL adapter (buy it on eBay here)

GH4 Cooke PL lens

Andrew Reid (EOSHD) and Frank Sauer (Filmmaker) are shooting with the Panasonic GH4

On Day 1 of shooting with the GH4 we did a location scout at the Spreepark abandoned theme park in Berlin. The park has granted us paid access to do a proper shoot with the free runners so I am going to save the location scouting footage for when it comes to that edit and the final piece. Frank is near Frankfurt now with the GH4 to shoot a piece with a new aerial drone and gimbal (similar to MoVi) and I have been out shooting with the GH4 around Berlin to get an idea of the image quality when it comes to 4K. I’ve also tried grading the 100Mbit/s 4K codec in Premiere to see how well it holds up. Here are the results in glorious 4K!

Disclaimer 1: This GH4 is a pre-production model. Firmware version is v0.5. The image quality may not represent the final camera.

Disclaimer 2: Because I don’t have NDs big enough or good enough for the Cooke lenses yet, most shots were shot at higher shutter speeds than 180 degrees (1/50)

Tip: if you don’t have a Vimeo Plus account to download the original file and pixel peep I’ve uploaded some short GH4 4K clips here in ProRes LT format. Try grading them and looking at the detail 1:1!

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The Digital Bolex has stumbled into the world. It is alive. Now it must find a place for itself. Most importantly of all – is this new replicant Bolex actually convincing?

Time to find out.

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YouTube Preview Image

The Sony AX100 takes the relatively large 1″ sensor from the RX10 and puts it in camcorder form factor with built in ND filter. However it appears that in reading out all the pixels on a 20MP sensor, Sony have created a skew-monster in rolling shutter teams. What’s remarkable about this video is that the panning and trains aren’t even moving very fast. This is some of the worst rolling shutter I’ve yet to see on any camera available on the market.

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In my opinion the Canon 7D is currently the best budget solution for shooting raw video. There’s plenty of used bodies going for $750 on eBay here – and that is practically a steal for 14bit raw video from a Super 35mm sized sensor… Stills camera is a mere bonus!

So to the big question – does the Mosaic Engineering VAF-7D filter completely cure the 7D’s raw video of moire and aliasing?

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d4s-full-throttle

I decided to get my hands on a Nikon D4S at a local store in Berlin, to see if the much hyped ‘new image processor’ gives a real improvement in video quality. Nikon have made a lot of marketing noises about this ‘HD-SLR’ and video. It’s a camera which according to their management “started out as a small update but became much bigger”. Hmm.

This isn’t a comprehensive review of the D4S, rather it seeks to answer one simple question that Nikon themselves so far have been dodging. Has video got better on it?

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gh4 and external HD-SDI XLR unit

Based on a pre-production model

Since the GH1 I have been shooting with Panasonic’s mirrorless system for video. Without this series of affordable cameras my early work as a cinematographer and filmmaker simply wouldn’t be the same. The GH4 marks a much needed major leap for the line, the first to shoot 4K to an efficient internal codec AND output 10bit 4:2:2 1080p over HDMI to an affordable external recorder like the Atomos Ninja!

On a visit to Panasonic I got to see the camera, see 4K sample footage and give my feedback. Here’s an account of what I saw…

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(The anamorphic footage starts around 10 seconds in)

The new SLR Magic Anamorphot 50 jointly developed with the help of EOSHD is here in it’s final non-prototype form and I’ve shot the above video with it (Sony FS100). This should give you an idea of how the flare moves around during a shot and the general anamorphic aesthetic you are able to get with the adapter.

Also part of the fun of the adapter is that like the Iscorama it sings with certain lenses, which all have a different look. I’ve been trying it out with a bunch of them…

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Download the original file at Vimeo

Note: This is an early-days test I did quickly before a shoot today. A larger one encompassing more cameras (GH3, D5200, 5D Mark III, Blackmagic Pocket Camera) and scenes will be on EOSHD during the coming week.

The Sony RX10 appears to play in the same ballpark as the Sony FS100. Is this the new budget king for semi-pro videographers?

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KineRAW MINI

The €3199 KineRAW MINI is the latest affordable raw cinema camera to be released. Featuring a 4K Super 35mm sensor it is a rival to the Blackmagic Production Camera and an alternative to shooting raw on the 5D Mark III with Magic Lantern. It shoots 2K / 1080p Cinema DNG uncompressed raw internally.

Having now spent more time with the camera for the full review (coming soon), I was curious to see how 5D Mark III raw video stacks up against a dedicated cinema camera with a sensor purpose built for video – not stills.

With the help of a new EOSHD test scene, we’re about to find out -

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5D Mark III raw tonality

To learn more about using raw video on the 5D Mark III, get your copy of the EOSHD 5D Mark III Raw Shooter’s Guide here

What is the real advantage of installing Magic Lantern for raw video on your Canon DSLR, specifically the powerful full frame 5D Mark III?

Is it possible to finally SHOW it? Yes it is.

Here is the most in-depth comparison yet between the standard video mode and raw and why the image quality is worth your attention.

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I would really love to see how this lens does against a $47,000 + tax cinema lens like the Optimo 15-40mm T2.6 because I honestly think it would come close.

Blackmagic must share a similar philosophy, because the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera gives an image that in many ways exceeds the $15,000 Canon C300 especially when paired with the Metabones Speed Booster.

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Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera

Camera supplied by CVP who came through and fulfilled my pre-order from NAB in early April. Personal note: I was saddened to learn of the death of CEO Phil Baxter earlier this month and in Phil’s memory a fund has been set up which will donate a pot of cash to the Make A Wish Foundation UK charity. This charity helps fund memorable experiences for young people fighting life threatening illnesses. Donate here even just a small amount helps further the dreams of those kids.

The Blackmagic Pocket Camera is finally at EOSHD HQ, and comes from one of the first new batches to ship since the white orb sensor calibration issue was resolved. Have they fixed it? Let’s not get too caught up in things like that for the moment. For me this camera is all about the lenses.

I’ve been a Micro Four Thirds shooter since day one with the G1 back in 2008. This was the first camera to tempt me away from Canon and over the last 5 years I’ve been building a rather ridiculously obsessive collection of Micro Four Thirds glass for my GH1, GH2 and lately the GH3, as well as c-mount glass.

The best c-mount glass is mainly vintage Super 16mm from the 60′s and 70′s. Classics like the Kern Switar 26mm F1.1 for instance, which an ex-BBC cinematographer once described to me as being “made by spacemen” such was the performance before the technological era of computer assisted optics design.

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Magic Lantern’s raw recording module for the 7D is a perfect illustration of why colour depth and dynamic range are more important than resolution.

It’s also a huge step up for Canon APS-C video shooters and free.

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The EOSHD Panasonic GH4 Shooter's Guide
The EOSHD 5D Mark III Raw Shooter's Guide
The EOSHD Sony A7 Series Guide to Full Frame Lenses
The EOSHD Panasonic GH3 Shooter's Guide
The EOSHD Anamorphic Shooter's Guide - Second Edition
More EOSHD Guides