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jgharding

Specs vs Reality

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After ejecting yet another Sony camera that looked great on paper (RX10ii) I thought I'd make a little comment about this...

its been replaced by a Canon XC10. On paper a crazy idea, but in reality it's an upgrade. No ultra high speed, but no problem TBH. Slow lens? Yeah, but great colour great battery life, brilliant menus and autofocus...

If you look on paper at the specs and the choice looks silly, but actually use the cameras and all becomes crystal clear.

Sony menus are so bad they ruin the experience of the cameras for me. The build quality is also questionable, probably partly due to an obsession with miniaturisation that is becoming counter productive.

The colour is so obviously Sony because it's always missing something. The F65 looks great, but once you get down to consumer/pro crossover level I'm afraid it's just a bit piggy unless you want a kind of odd bluish Kodak emulation on everything.

its not that you can't make it look nice, it's that it restricts you to a certain look that isn't always suitable, so I find unless the situation is very controlled I can't cut it with Canon C footage to my satisfaction.

its so disappointing because Sony specs are great, and their innovations like the memory CMOS for high-speed footage, as well as continuous ND are brilliant.

But every time I get one of these things into a high-pressure situation or back into post I just feel let down.

i actually WANT to like them, but I don't! So I'm venting.

ill add some XC10 footage to the pinned thread shortly...

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EOSHD Pro Color for Sony cameras EOSHD Pro LOG for Sony CamerasEOSHD C-LOG and Film Profiles for All Canon DSLRs
6 hours ago, jgharding said:

After ejecting yet another Sony camera that looked great on paper (RX10ii) I thought I'd make a little comment about this...

its been replaced by a Canon XC10. On paper a crazy idea, but in reality it's an upgrade. No ultra high speed, but no problem TBH. Slow lens? Yeah, but great colour great battery life, brilliant menus and autofocus...

If you look on paper at the specs and the choice looks silly, but actually use the cameras and all becomes crystal clear.

Sony menus are so bad they ruin the experience of the cameras for me. The build quality is also questionable, probably partly due to an obsession with miniaturisation that is becoming counter productive.

The colour is so obviously Sony because it's always missing something. The F65 looks great, but once you get down to consumer/pro crossover level I'm afraid it's just a bit piggy unless you want a kind of odd bluish Kodak emulation on everything.

its not that you can't make it look nice, it's that it restricts you to a certain look that isn't always suitable, so I find unless the situation is very controlled I can't cut it with Canon C footage to my satisfaction.

its so disappointing because Sony specs are great, and their innovations like the memory CMOS for high-speed footage, as well as continuous ND are brilliant.

But every time I get one of these things into a high-pressure situation or back into post I just feel let down.

i actually WANT to like them, but I don't! So I'm venting.

ill add some XC10 footage to the pinned thread shortly...

I'm with you on this. 

I shoot Sony because their specs please my client base. "Gimme slow mo!" Etc. 

I sold my RX10 II after 2 months as I hated it. I was sold on the specs and after real world usage I thought it was incredibly disappointing. Advertised features such as Slog2 and the 240fps was borderline rubbish. 

That said, I've got an A7SII and it's a lot of fun. It's great for a lot of my work and has seriously helped lift my lower budget stuff to another place. However, anything that depends on beauty/skin tones is a very hard day on the Sony. 

I do actually believe a lot of the "colour" problems come down to inaccurate white balance readings by the camera. On the A7SII, it's just plain wrong. I'm still yet to find a solution. 

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Specs mean nothing. They do NOT tell you what the image will look like. Often "high spec" cameras suffer in Image Quality while "low spec" cameras shine. 
That's all you need to know.

As for High Frame Rates - that's not really a "spec" in the way we most often use that term when we're talking about cameras. Frame rate is really more like a "product category".
Would you compare "specs" of one vehicle that has a cargo bed - like a pickup truck - to the "specs" of a vehicle that had no cargo bed? Of course not. They are 2 different product categories, even though they both have 4-wheels and a motor etc,...

You pick your desired product category first. Then maybe, if it's NOT a camera, you compare specs.
But if it's a camera - you LOOK AT THE IMAGE, because that's the whole point of the device.

 

 

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I'm reposting my previous comment (from another trread) as it seems more suited here:

I was really tempted by all that Sony has brought to the table recently and I know that some are able to render decent images out of their consumer/ prosumer line, but I started to sense that they were dangling little carrots in their A7 line that didn't really amount to much or would actually cause headaches. Then came the FS5 with a codec wound so incredibly thin that it falls apart while needing a monster processor to cut through it with effects. Fuck that shit.
I've been running the C100 MkII for the past 3 month full time on a doc under difficult conditions. It might not be everyone's thing, but I can honestly say that at the end of the day this camera is a solid work horse with beautiful colour, resolution, and a host of tools to help one get the most out of it. I am continually surprised by what it delivers and have zero regrets buying it. If I was to move towards another camera for use under more controlled shooting environments (monitor and extras attached), it would be the 1DC or 1DX II.

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It's not that the XC10 is some kind of world-beating camera, it's just that I don't have a sense of panic about using it and it does the job well.

After a few days I'm really happy that I can set it up on 4K on a tripod, connect my phone to it for preview and wireless control, and go and man another C camera.

The RX10 ii had to be nursed through every shot, and then the results were usually rubbish.

Image and usability... they always drumpf specs

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Canon have a knack for this. When all around them is a circus of silly menus, bad ergonomics and underperforming images given the raw power under the hood, Canon with their underperforming specs have over-performing images with very good automatic white balance, well thought out menus and no frivolous stuff to get in the way on a shoot. I like the simplicity.

Clearly you get a lot more colour information in a 300Mbit or 500Mbit 4:2:2 file like on the XC10 and 1DC, plus it helps the colour science is bang on in Canon LOG unlike in S-LOG.

Clearly Sony know something is wrong otherwise they wouldn't have added 3 separate S Gamuts to the FS5 for different WB temperatures.

Sony seem hell bent on squeezing every last drop of dynamic range and colour gamut out of the image, then packing it into as small a file as possible... the end result is a bit of a car crash.

The A7S II was almost the 'dream camera' wasn't it... but I've barely felt compelled to use mine... I keep picking up my NX1 instead.

That's because the body design of the A7S II is soulless, feels awful in the hand - it has the ergonomic charm of a brick. They went backwards from the A7S and that wasn't exactly perfect to begin with.

Please Sony hire some designers from Fuji or whoever were responsible for the NX1 body at Samsung.

Then sort the menus out - it isn't rocket science.

I think they underestimate the importance of this... the shooting experience.

I feel a little bit guilty when I see someone struggling through a shoot with a Shogun bolted onto the top of a small Sony mirrorless camera... great specs and we should support the push, in the face of Canon's paralysis... but it's a horrible shooting experience isn't it...

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5 minutes ago, Andrew Reid said:

Canon have a knack for this. When all around them is a circus of silly menus, bad ergonomics and underperforming images given the raw power under the hood, Canon with their underperforming specs have over-performing images with very good automatic white balance, well thought out menus and no frivolous stuff to get in the way on a shoot. I like the simplicity.

Clearly you get a lot more colour information in a 300Mbit or 500Mbit 4:2:2 file like on the XC10 and 1DC, plus it helps the colour science is bang on in Canon LOG unlike in S-LOG.

Clearly Sony know something is wrong otherwise they wouldn't have added 3 separate S Gamuts to the FS5 for different WB temperatures.

Sony seem hell bent on squeezing every last drop of dynamic range and colour gamut out of the image, then packing it into as small a file as possible... the end result is a bit of a car crash.

The A7S II was almost the 'dream camera' wasn't it... but I've barely felt compelled to use mine... I keep picking up my NX1 instead.

That's because the body design of the A7S II is soulless, feels awful in the hand - it has the ergonomic charm of a brick. They went backwards from the A7S and that wasn't exactly perfect to begin with.

Please Sony hire some designers from Fuji or whoever were responsible for the NX1 body at Samsung.

Then sort the menus out - it isn't rocket science.

I think they underestimate the importance of this... the shooting experience.

I feel a little bit guilty when I see someone struggling through a shoot with a Shogun bolted onto the top of a small Sony mirrorless camera... great specs and we should support the push, in the face of Canon's paralysis... but it's a horrible shooting experience isn't it...

The C300 is probably the most enjoyable camera I have ever shot on. It works brilliantly, flawlessly. Focusing, especially, is fantastic. But the specs... nothing exciting! 

I'm really hoping for a 1DC II announcement this year. What should we realistically expect? 

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The used prices of the C100 mark1 is so low that Ive got a tough time not getting one.
Feels like I would give up the ridiculous detail of the NX1, Raw, etc. Instead get something I would be able to use in pretty much any situation. And most of all, with 100% confidence in the gear.

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34 minutes ago, Mattias Burling said:

The used prices of the C100 mark1 is so low that Ive got a tough time not getting one.
Feels like I would give up the ridiculous detail of the NX1, Raw, etc. Instead get something I would be able to use in pretty much any situation. And most of all, with 100% confidence in the gear.

Having used one regularly for 18 months I have to say it just works. I've done everything from documentaries, to through run and gun trade show videos to corporates and nothing goes wrong. Not having higher frame-rates is sometimes a bug, but I rarely care for non-promo work.

It's the greatest single achievement of AVCHD! To get files that small that look so good and grade so well... it's like voodoo. When you compare it to the FS700 for example, there's no contest.

Occasionally I use a Ninja 2 with it, but to be honest I don't often need to. Often when I have I've regretted the big file sizes, and the backup shots on the SD card grade just as well. Sounds mad but it is true! This is because the automatic noise reduction sharpening and so on in the AVCHD is actually really good. If you use the HDMI out, you're on your own. More processing time etc...

I never use Canon Log without the Ninja though.

1 hour ago, Andrew Reid said:

Sony seem hell bent on squeezing every last drop of dynamic range and colour gamut out of the image, then packing it into as small a file as possible... the end result is a bit of a car crash.
 

This seems pretty key. Canon's Wide DR profile is what I use for 95% of shoots.

It has a large dynamic range with rolled-off highlights but it doesn't push the codec too far like Clog. Clog does work with AVCHD but you're on the edge!

On the RX0 ii you have Slog2 that is too flat to work with unless you nail everything perfectly or a bunch of other profiles that don't give you decent range. It is over complicated in terms of combinations of options and underwhelming whichever you choose.

The NX1 looks amazing to me. I nearly got one. Such a shame they are offloading professional imaging.

HEY! SONY! Buy Samsung's technology and code. Then you'll be right back in the game!

At least create a colour profile that has full skintone and isn't flat as a pancake or over contrasty.

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Depreciation is also a factor.

Look at the price drop in the 5D MK iii over the years and compare to the original A7.

You buy a Sony new, it's worth half that in no time, due to the continuous trickle of new features that are held back for another upgrade.

I feel i have to apologies for this turning into something of a Sony bash, it's just that seeing such wonderful innovation, specifications and competitive pricing combined with such poor real-world performance is disappointing!

We all just want to help and if you can hit these goals, you will be truly competitive, Mr Sony...

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I've bought/rented the a7s, a7sii, a7rii, fs5 and the fs7 recently. The only one I've kept is the fs7- with firmware 3.0 it feels finally like a finished product. I'm glad I didn't buy it when it first came out . It's a fantastic camera once you manage to understand the menus and overcome the ergonomics. The images are fantastic and xavc-I is a great codec in 10 bit.

The rest are good but just didn't seem to give me the performance for the money. I've actually really enjoyed using Panasonic cameras again because of the easy to use menus, touch screens etc. They seem to have a similar concept as canon - obviously they don't have anything to really compete with a c100 but their prosumer range is very good for the money. 

Unfortuantely my clients require/love slow mo or I would be all over the canon cinema line. Give me a c200 with 1080p, 120fps, 10 bit and the ergonomics of the c100 and I'd happily pay £5000-6000 for it. The 1dxii looks great but I really need nds, xlrs etc too . 

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Here is some original footage from the Canon XC10.

The white balance is off, dull cloudy daylight coming in from the right in a low kelvin tungsten environment, which allows you to test pushing the grade around.

You'll be amazed how you can nuetralise this then push it around.

Autofocus, maximum available stabiliser. ISO500

4K - 1GB file - https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/9922139/A004C004_150124YQ_CANON.MXF

1080p - 110mb file - https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/9922139/A003C007_1501247H_CANON_01.MXF

I prefer 1080 for the most part, the oversampling 1080 is nicer than 4K bayer for me and generally more useful, but 4K is nice to have when you need it.

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For me, it's a combination of the crummy batteries / the weird colour / the 30min recording limit / the overheating / and the ergonomics that just make it less fun to shoot with than my Speedboosted GH4. I've recently sold of my Sony gear. Pleasantly anticipating the rumoured RAW video update for the GH4 and the 6K GH5 this fall.

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2 hours ago, Jesse Yules said:

For me, it's a combination of the crummy batteries / the weird colour / the 30min recording limit / the overheating / and the ergonomics that just make it less fun to shoot with than my Speedboosted GH4. I've recently sold of my Sony gear. Pleasantly anticipating the rumoured RAW video update for the GH4 and the 6K GH5 this fall.

Hmmm? Didn't know this was a thing. Would be pretty sweet. Gh4 might not be perfect, image wise, but it's a real workhorse that can at least look solid in a lot of scenarios. 

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11 hours ago, Andrew Reid said:

Canon have a knack for this. When all around them is a circus of silly menus, bad ergonomics and underperforming images given the raw power under the hood, Canon with their underperforming specs have over-performing images with very good automatic white balance, well thought out menus and no frivolous stuff to get in the way on a shoot. I like the simplicity.

Clearly you get a lot more colour information in a 300Mbit or 500Mbit 4:2:2 file like on the XC10 and 1DC, plus it helps the colour science is bang on in Canon LOG unlike in S-LOG.

Clearly Sony know something is wrong otherwise they wouldn't have added 3 separate S Gamuts to the FS5 for different WB temperatures.

Sony seem hell bent on squeezing every last drop of dynamic range and colour gamut out of the image, then packing it into as small a file as possible... the end result is a bit of a car crash.

The A7S II was almost the 'dream camera' wasn't it... but I've barely felt compelled to use mine... I keep picking up my NX1 instead.

That's because the body design of the A7S II is soulless, feels awful in the hand - it has the ergonomic charm of a brick. They went backwards from the A7S and that wasn't exactly perfect to begin with.

Please Sony hire some designers from Fuji or whoever were responsible for the NX1 body at Samsung.

Then sort the menus out - it isn't rocket science.

I think they underestimate the importance of this... the shooting experience.

I feel a little bit guilty when I see someone struggling through a shoot with a Shogun bolted onto the top of a small Sony mirrorless camera... great specs and we should support the push, in the face of Canon's paralysis... but it's a horrible shooting experience isn't it...

KaPlunk!

Drops mic...walks away.

Uh-huh.

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11 hours ago, Mattias Burling said:

The used prices of the C100 mark1 is so low that Ive got a tough time not getting one.
Feels like I would give up the ridiculous detail of the NX1, Raw, etc. Instead get something I would be able to use in pretty much any situation. And most of all, with 100% confidence in the gear.

I was looking for a b cam and found a c100i with dpaf upgrade for 1300. Crazy good value.

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I don't know if I agree with all of this, because the II's (for me, the S II) are pretty rad hybrids.  

The colors on my S II seem easy to correct, natural even, if you get WB even close to right.  They are truer later into the evenings, which is useful if you are a natural light shooter.

Personally, I almost never shoot SLOG profiles to save time... I get why you all want the DR, but not every scene needs it - if you expose properly, few scenes do.  Yea, I notice the ergonomic shortcomings, in ways, but honestly, when you are running a four or five stop advantage in video modes, artifact-free, lossless (up scaled, still stunningly clean) digital zoom inside of 1.5x, 120fps with sound.... off-handed with a 200g autofocusing Zeiss lens... And a FF look and lattitude to the image... 

I remember the first time I took the S II camera out, shot about an hour into the Seattle night, and it was amazing to see how accurate and sensitive the camera was to all the signage and color profiles inside of ISO 50k.  The thing couldn't miss - focus, colors, metering - it was incredible to see the difference from my X-T1 and G7. I'm not a colorist, but attempting to account for multiple sources and reflections with a camera like this might be tough in SLOG - not in default modes tho.  I like the Sony's OOB look slightly warmed and desaturated.

Anyways, I use it as a serious hobby tool, and my other half and I like the image from it through and through.

Do I wish the S II or R II sensor sat inside of an NX1 or D750 software and hardware architecture?

Abso-freaking-lutey. I repurchased an NX1 just for daytime and well lit shooting because I liked it so much.

But let's be real.  After 5pm, I bring the S II. When a replacement hybrid from any company comes close, I'll buy it. But there's nothing like it on the radar.

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Guest Ebrahim Saadawi

My more in-depth take on the subject

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I'm beginning to think there's some fundamental difference in the sensor structure between Sony and Canon. Maybe on the analogue side? Or of course it could be in the DA conversion since Sony sensors in other cameras don't show the same ultra cool feel. Or maybe it is just in the data processing.

either way Sony seem to prioritise blue. And Blue lights clip hard on a lot of Sonys. canon seems to prioritise red. Probably wise if the codec is gonna be 4:2:0. Essentially, red is really important when shooting Caucasian skin, which is most of my work.

its weird, I can grade a C100 back from totally wrong balance to a good-looking shot with not so much trouble, but do the same on a higher-end Sony and you're losing your way pretty quickly. Zombie skin appears! 

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