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A7Rii Skin Tones + 1DC quick compare


Nate Mook
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So this is absolutely not a scientific test, but I was curious how the A7Rii would hold up to my 1DC, which I believe gives a wonderful cinematic image, especially when filming people. Chalk it up to Canon's color science, a great sensor, 4:2:2 color, whatever -- but at current used prices I think the 1DC is a steal (and it takes amazing stills) That said, it's also getting long in the tooth, and the A7Rii was an attractive potential upgrade, especially with 42mp stills, IBIS, and small body that makes gimbal work manageable. But I wondered how it would fare image-wise, especially when it comes to skin tones.

I didn't want to use S-Log2 or C-Log, since I don't have any experience grading S-Log2 and I know it can be a challenge, especially on the 8-bit codec. So I shot my 1DC in the neutral profile with sharpness and saturation down, which is what I normally do when not using C-Log. I did my best to match it on the A7Rii -- Andrew's EOSHD Flat settings (Cine4, Black levels up, Detail down, Saturation down a bit) come quite close actually, but I used Pro gamma as Cinema gamma just made the reds look off.

Again, this is by no means a scientific or extensive test, and I did very little grading (no LUT, just a single color correction layer in FCPx). And I'm sure someone could do a better job matching the shots, but this at least gives you a sense of the general differences. My big question was whether I could easily get an image out of the A7Rii that could compete with the 1DC without a ton of post work.

Both cameras are using the same white balance, ISO, and aperture, although the crop factor is slightly different due to APS-H vs APS-C. I used a Canon 50mm/1.2 on both cameras, and both are handheld with no loupe to stabilize, making it easy to tell which camera is which due to Sony's IBIS.

Although I did a number of tests, here's a quick comparison for those interested. This is 4k scaled down to 1080p to make it easier to share: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/2135/1DC-A7Rii-Test.mov

Here's a frame grab from FCPx that's higher-res (1DC is zoomed slightly to match so will look less sharp when viewed at full res): https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/2135/1DC-A7Rii.jpg

My personal opinion thus far: The A7Rii can indeed put out a beautiful image when filming people, although it's still not quite as gorgeous as the 1DC. This could be because the 1DC is slightly softer (maybe due to the low-pass filter, so perhaps the A7Sii could be better) and the A7Rii sensor detail just doesn't benefit skin (most photographers end up smoothing skin a bit, I imagine), or due to color, or maybe I just need to spend more time tweaking Sony's insane number of settings.

It seems like the 1DC has smoother highlight roll-off, and just gives a touch of softness that benefits people, making it *feel* a bit better to me, even if it's technically inferior.

That said, it's close (some might prefer the A7Rii look). And with the A7Rii I gain a lot of great video features the 1DC does not have. Don't know if I'm quite yet ready to retire my Canon and go all in on Sony... but it's tempting and I will be keeping an eye on FS5 firmware updates.

Curious to hear from anyone else who has worked with the A7Rii or A7Sii when it comes to filming people.

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Thanks for this Nate. This is a comparison I've been very interested by lately.

im another owner of both the 1DC and recently the A7rii although I haven't had time to perform any straight comparison tests yet.

im determined to shoot s-log on this camera (a7rii) if it kills me, although I'm still getting that feeling that the 1DC has just inherently more natural and cinematic colour, or at least it's easier to get there with the Canon. S-Log so often gives me a sinking feeling when I first apply a Lut to it, while seeing a Lut on the 1DC footage is so satisfying as it comes to life. Then tweaking the canon footage is a joy, while S-log seems like a struggle to get it look half way normal.

i traded my old a7s for the 1DC after not getting along with the colour but I've been drawn back to Sony by the size of the camera and the video features. Really hoping it works out as the 1DC is incredible but a bit big to lug around with me all the time in the kind of work I do. 

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Really hoping it works out as the 1DC is incredible but a bit big to lug around with me all the time in the kind of work I do. 

I'm in the same boat, I'd love to have something a bit smaller and more video-centric. I plan to play with S-Log over the next couple weeks -- curious to hear how you find it and your thoughts once you get a chance to compare both cameras. My current feeling is the 1DC ultimately puts out a better image, but if it's only slightly better, the other benefits of the A7Rii might outweigh that for the type of work I do.

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Just had a look at your comparison. I'm surprised to see how soft the 1DC is on that screen grab. It looks to me like we're seeing motion blur from the shaking of the 1DC while the Sony is much better stabilised. I wouldn't expect the image to be that different in sharpness otherwise.

so did you shoot the Sony in Andrew's picture profile? Looks incredibly close to the 1DC in colour. Very impressive.

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Just had a look at your comparison. I'm surprised to see how soft the 1DC is on that screen grab. It looks to me like we're seeing motion blur from the shaking of the 1DC while the Sony is much better stabilised. I wouldn't expect the image to be that different in sharpness otherwise.

so did you shoot the Sony in Andrew's picture profile? Looks incredibly close to the 1DC in colour. Very impressive.

Some of that softness at full-resolution is due to the 1DC image being zoomed slightly to match the APS-C framing. Since I was most concerned with color and how it would look when viewed at 1080, I wasn't overly focused on the sharpness. And yeah, it's possible some of it is from the handheld shaking with no stabilization.

Here's another frame grab with the 1DC not zoomed beyond the UHD timeline: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/2135/1DC-A7Rii-Test2.jpg

The Sony is PP6, Cine4, Pro Gamma, Black Level +8, Black Gamma Level +7, Saturation -4, Detail -7, Knee Auto. It's not perfect and I'll need to spend more time testing the dozens of adjustments, but surprisingly close in both daylight and 3500k indoor light at night.

The Sony is also shot in M (not Movie) mode. I need to do some more testing, but it seems the Movie mode has slightly different color rendering (possible I had a setting off and could be completely wrong, so need to confirm..).

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6 years later. This isn't really fair because Philip Bloom "grades" everything to look like this… But I do see a lot of Sony footage that looks like this.

Yeah, you can always stylize footage and give it a creative look to fit the mood of a film (and agree, a lot of Sony footage is stylized). But I'm more curious about whether it can give a natural and cinematic look, something clients will see and go "wow, that's beautiful".

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You did a nice job matching. I would like to see how you do in different scenarios.

 

 

Indeed, I'll film some more in the next few days in different locations/lighting and compare both cameras. I only have Canon lenses, so perhaps that puts the A7Rii at a disadvantage, but the newest metabones adapter seems to be working solidly.

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Guest Ebrahim Saadawi

I have a request since you have access to a 1DC + A7rII. 

Shoot at C-LOG vs S-LOG please to show the full potential of both cameras. Ungraded (Leave the grading boring grading us nerds to fix), export JPEGs files from NLE (not screenshot), or TIFFs just to be safe it exceeds both codecs of the cameras (jpeg does, though).

-A head-shot, skin

-On a tripod

-Same lens, IS off on lens & IBIS off in a7rii 

-Focused on eye-ball wide-open with 10x Live-view, 

-Then closed it down to f5.6/f8

-Same shutter speed.

-Same ISO (800), (or if their exposure still varies, alter one camera's ISO to match the other)

-Same WB Kelvin & tint

-Same frame-rate 25p

-S35 UHD mode on A7r and APS-H 4K on 1DC

-Match the two head-shots by moving the tripod (prime lens) or zooming the lens (zoom lens)

-Canon Log, no any additional in-camera settings (one extrs shot with Portrait dialed all down would be lovely -my fav. 1DC skin profile/gamma)0

-S-lOG2 no additional settings (unless S-log2 keeps a bit of sharpening then disable)

-Record a couple of seconds

-Export from NLE to a TIFF/JPEG at full 4K resolution and upload to Google Drive. 

(Sorry long list, just want two grabs without variables)

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You did a good job in matching the skin tones across two very different LOG profiles.

It proves again it can be done!

Canon LOG is just easier but once you get S-LOG all the way there, it's easy to keep it there. You don't need to keep reinventing the wheel once you have a workflow and a LUT that suits you.

Skin tones are very sensitive to what you do with the red channel.

If the A7R II looks to sharp remember you can always add a light gaussian blur in post!

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I have a request since you have access to a 1DC + A7rII. 

Shoot at C-LOG vs S-LOG please to show the full potential of both cameras. Ungraded (Leave the grading boring grading us nerds to fix), export JPEGs files from NLE (not screenshot), or TIFFs just to be safe it exceeds both codecs of the cameras (jpeg does, though).

-A head-shot, skin

-On a tripod

-Same lens, IS off on lens & IBIS off in a7rii 

-Focused on eye-ball wide-open with 10x Live-view, 

-Then closed it down to f5.6/f8

-Same shutter speed.

-Same ISO (800), (or if their exposure still varies, alter one camera's ISO to match the other)

-Same WB Kelvin & tint

-Same frame-rate 25p

-S35 UHD mode on A7r and APS-H 4K on 1DC

-Match the two head-shots by moving the tripod (prime lens) or zooming the lens (zoom lens)

-Canon Log, no any additional in-camera settings (one extrs shot with Portrait dialed all down would be lovely -my fav. 1DC skin profile/gamma)0

-S-lOG2 no additional settings (unless S-log2 keeps a bit of sharpening then disable)

-Record a couple of seconds

-Export from NLE to a TIFF/JPEG at full 4K resolution and upload to Google Drive. 

(Sorry long list, just want two grabs without variables)

Sure, may take me a few days to get to it, but happy to do so at some point this week!

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Sure, may take me a few days to get to it, but happy to do so at some point this week!

Thanks Nate for all these tests.

We have shared some a7rii settings here:

http://www.eoshd.com/comments/topic/9191-playing-with-sony-a7r-ii-heres-my-fav-picture-profile-post-yours/#comment-103712

Its amazing that Sony has provided a method to match cameras with the picture profiles and very few people actually play with it. It would be of great great value if while you are doing the test that Ebrahim suggested, to try and match the colors of a7rii with the 1dc by playing with color phase and color depths (probably with a cine gamma so you can see it in camera...). Then people can just use these settings if they wish to have a 1Dc profile with their Sony's. No need to color grade every time!

Edit: Find the color matrix that best matches the Canon colors before start playing with the settings... I would guess Pro, Cinema or Movie would be it. 

You will find more information on the picture profiles in the following link: 

http://helpguide.sony.net/di/pp/v1/en/contents/TP0000909111.html

From here:

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://docs.sony.com/release/Help_C198100111.pdf&ved=0ahUKEwis8M2Y1JHKAhVQ7GMKHfnyDW8QFggnMAQ&usg=AFQjCNFq1tYWvMsGfbF0GLBSTj4mcktgsg&sig2=tg-TYrEDf3hhv7gSIbV9tw

Again, I would be grateful if you could play with the picture profiles.

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Guest Ebrahim Saadawi

Sure, may take me a few days to get to it, but happy to do so at some point this week!

Me and the enire community thank you for this

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  • 5 weeks later...

Nice! The a7rII is considerably better color wise than the first a7s (I wonder how it compares to the a7sii?). Though I did get goodish a7s colors by using someone's custom profile. Slog was always a huge drag for me.

When I opened your first comparison, I liked the left image more. Assumed it was the 1Dc and it was. I guess it's the slight amount of more magenta on the a7r that gives it away? I'd also love an s-log to c-log comparison. There should be a huge amount of more color information in the 1dc file being 4:2:2 jpegs.

 

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4 hours ago, hmcindie said:

Nice! The a7rII is considerably better color wise than the first a7s (I wonder how it compares to the a7sii?). Though I did get goodish a7s colors by using someone's custom profile. Slog was always a huge drag for me.

When I opened your first comparison, I liked the left image more. Assumed it was the 1Dc and it was. I guess it's the slight amount of more magenta on the a7r that gives it away? I'd also love an s-log to c-log comparison. There should be a huge amount of more color information in the 1dc file being 4:2:2 jpegs.

 

So far I've really liked the colours from SLOG3 and Slog3.Cine on the A7SII, skin tones seem pretty natural.

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