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Canon 5D Mark II raw dynamic range versus Sony FS5


Andrew Reid
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Goes to show that Sony (and others) still have a way to go...surely no camera in 2016 should need to be wrestled with or need an external recorder just to get comparable natural looking colours from a hacked DSLR from 2008?. Despite the ML workflow and all its clunkiness - it is proof still that colour and dynamic range from full fat 14bit raw (even at 1080p) can kick many modern day 4k cameras to the curb in simply delivering nice looking images. I suspect it's very possible to get close with a compressed format if the colour science is more accurate to start with - using up limited bits, just to get a neutral or pleasant image sounds like an ass-backward situation.

If ML were legally allowed (or even had a returned email from Canon) - I could imagine a partnership that could lead to a camera that tapped into the ability of recording 14bit raw to CFast, but with ability to simultaneously sidecar record compressed video and audio. Then have an elegant ability to conform raw media for export after cutting and grade. It could literally be done by using existing DSLR components lying around Canon workbenches and employing ML coders for a month or two! (hmm...probably) It would simply be a case of liberating the hardware limitations in the camera that ML have no control over.

Saying that - I've been lucky to shoot lots of FS7 and Amira recently and the FS7 is a pretty wonderful camera and a good example of Sony getting things right....and not too much of a stretch from the FS5 price tag. Seems that Sony massively succeed when not trying to cram their magic into boxes that are too small to work without hobbling their internal codecs.

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And now another quick shot

Again the 5D2 supremely film-like but I really do think the FS5 edges this one for mood.

You can bring the shadows up A LOT in S-LOG 3 without noise being a problem.

Ignore differences in DOF, I don't have my Speed Booster with me.

5D2 Magic Lantern 14bit RAW at 24p, ISO 200 - 35mm F2.0 (1856 x 1004 upscaled to 3840 x 2160)

5d2MLraw-24p-indoor.thumb.jpg.fb484cf296

Sony FS5 SLOG 3 8bit at 25p, ISO 3200 - 24mm F2.8 (3840 x 2160)

fs5indoor.thumb.jpg.d96a3ed4f2f0c42ef0ab

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That's pretty much spot on now.

Shame it could not quite hold onto the sky and trees, but I think pretty good for space saving 8bit convenience versus mighty 14bit raw.

Thanks! I'm definitely no grading expert, but it felt like the image held together quite well (at least better than my Nx1). Apart from gamma adjustments and white balance tweaking the major things I changed was to desaturate reds, and shift the blueish greens more towards yellow.

Strange about the highlight though, because it was different in your first jpg, maybe I messed up there. 

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Where the 5D is really good in 24p raw, is for faces - very soft and flattering on default Resolve Cinema DNG settings, you don't need to work at it to get that, it just IS.

Same in Adobe Camera Raw, very nice.

If you want instant perfection for faces and skin tones shoot 14bit raw on the 5D Mark II.

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Are you using the VAF-5D2b filter with your 5D II? So you still prefer 5D II raw over the 5D III?

I have the old VAF-5D2 (not the B version), it's good, but unless I'm shooting an architecture-heavy shot which is unusually prone to noise, I don't like to soften the image with it and it makes accurate focus tricky in the magnified assist. Also it has the softer edges on wide angle lenses, although I believe the B version is improved in that respect.

I rate it highly, but the moire really is minimally noticeable most of the time on the 5D Mark II in raw and it almost in a funny way makes for a more detailed image.

The VAF-5D2 brings the 5D Mark II's image in line with the 5D3's image in raw. You can barely tell them apart with the filter installed. The 5D2 is a bit noisier. That's the ONLY difference. Both a bit on the softer side though, which is why sometimes I prefer the rough and ready non-filtered image of the 5D2 in raw.

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The VAF-5D2 brings the 5D Mark II's image in line with the 5D3's image in raw. You can barely tell them apart with the filter installed. The 5D2 is a bit noisier. That's the ONLY difference. Both a bit on the softer side though, which is why sometimes I prefer the rough and ready non-filtered image of the 5D2 in raw.

I really like what 5d3 raw does with faces. I find it has just about the perfect amount of sharpness. And I've yet to see a better HD/2k camera for narrative in terms of image quality. Interesting that the 5d2 can be made to match this. Is 5d2 raw usable at iso 1600 with proper exposure?

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I remember a discussion I had on the DVXuser forums where I told everyone (over a year ago, when ML and RAW arrived) that the FS700 looked like shit compared to the 5d III raw and also that the 5d raw was considerably sharper (because it responded to sharpening way better) and had more dynamic range. And people didn't want to believe it. I didn't bother myself with any screencaps but you can pretty much see the difference in these Andrew's captures (5dmarkII isn't that far off from the 5dIII, most visible difference would probably be the amount of aliasing on vertical lines)

The same thing with the A7s II and the 5d III raw. The A7s II at 4k has those huge compression artifacts and the difference in sharpness is staggeringly small. Also the shadows of the a7s II (especially in log mode) are almost devoid of information.

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I remember a discussion I had on the DVXuser forums where I told everyone (over a year ago, when ML and RAW arrived) that the FS700 looked like shit compared to the 5d III raw and also that the 5d raw was considerably sharper (because it responded to sharpening way better) and had more dynamic range. And people didn't want to believe it. I didn't bother myself with any screencaps but you can pretty much see the difference in these Andrew's captures (5dmarkII isn't that far off from the 5dIII, most visible difference would probably be the amount of aliasing on vertical lines)

The same thing with the A7s II and the 5d III raw. The A7s II at 4k has those huge compression artifacts and the difference in sharpness is staggeringly small. Also the shadows of the a7s II (especially in log mode) are almost devoid of information.

I think the FS700 looks pretty damn good if you tweak the color profiles a bit, and sure is a hell of a lot more reliable than the 5d3 raw, and a zillion times better for 1080p60/120/240.  Each camera has their own strengths and weaknesses.  But don't underestimate how good the FS700 looks in good light esp. with the Speedbooster + good glass, or with the Odyssey 7Q and raw.

Also hmcindie - if I were getting paid work guess which one I'd grab?  The one that can shoot ultra slow mo, 5 hours straight with a single battery, has built in XLR and ND filters, and is rock solid (no worries about memory cards too slow or random ML lockups)?  The FS700 every time.

Reliability and 95% of the IQ trumps questionable reliability, time wasted swapping batteries, screw on variable ND filters for each lens, having a EVF or loupe (and carrying batteries for the EVF), crappy audio to sync in post, huge turn around time converting, etc.   Let's say I shoot 1 wedding per week every week of the summer - both cameras will give stunning results for the client and which one will be easier to deal with?  The 5d3 in raw sure sucks ass in varying lighting conditions - god forbid you want to use autoISO in raw mode - enjoy the huge exposure shifts!

I will not argue IQ as obviously the raw ML wins.  But it's not a zero sum game - the FS700 looks great.  I make plenty of money in my regular IT job that I can pretty much get whatever body I want - have owned mutliple GH2's, 1dc, AF100, 70d, 5d3's etc.  I stick with the FS700 due to the ease of use and high speed shooting.  It just...works.  Shot a wedding with a 5d3 in raw mode and ran out of CF space pretty early on, and I had 4 64GB cards on hand.

But to each his own.

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I think the FS700 looks pretty damn good if you tweak the color profiles a bit, and sure is a hell of a lot more reliable than the 5d3 raw, and a zillion times better for 1080p60/120/240.  Each camera has their own strengths and weaknesses.  But don't underestimate how good the FS700 looks in good light esp. with the Speedbooster + good glass, or with the Odyssey 7Q and raw.

I think he was talking about pure image quality... And yeah, the FS700 without the 7Q doesn't even come close to the 5D Raw. The FS700/7Q combo is pretty rad though. There are tons of awesome pieces done with that setup.

The 5D3 Raw is just incredible. The image looks so nice and balanced with hardly any effort spent in post.

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I think he was talking about pure image quality... And yeah, the FS700 without the 7Q doesn't even come close to the 5D Raw. The FS700/7Q combo is pretty rad though. There are tons of awesome pieces done with that setup.

The 5D3 Raw is just incredible. The image looks so nice and balanced with hardly any effort spent in post.

I shot the 5d3 raw from around May 2013 to early 2015.  It's great for 24p shots with basically static lighting, and does take some time in post to extract the files to DNG and grade.  However, if you're shooting scenes where any sort of drastic lighting changes occur, you cannot really use auto ISO as the exposure flicker is a huge issue.  Even with all the tweaks I continued to have issues.  So forget following a subject from a dark to light scene in one take - the exposure shift is pretty sudden.  Yes the IQ is unmatched even with the 1dc downscaled to 1080p, but would you trust it for paid work?  Even on stable releases I would still get the occasional hard lockup where the battery had to be removed.  It's just too beta for me and not worth the extra eye candy.

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