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Mattias Burling

The Canon C200 is here and its a bomb!

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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

Exposure is a funny old thing with this camera in RAW so far. I took it out for a walk last night around Friedrichshain in Berlin, tough conditions. The max ISO I'm wanting to push this too at the moment is around 1600, and when there isn't enough available light to overexpose the image you're going to have noisy shadows. Here's a screengrab before and after noise reduction – it's most obvious in the car windows. The noise reduction did an incredible job.

WALKING_alexcars2.thumb.jpg.a4e5636f82d08829e228381f622dfb9d.jpgWALKING_alexcars2_nr.thumb.jpg.5eb8d61ffdbb8374dba46337490046cd.jpg 

Either way, while middle grey should be exposed at around 38% with CLOG3, I'm tending to want to overexpose and bring down the exposure in post. The highlight retention is really impressive, and it helps combat the noisy shadows.

edit: The upload seems to have crushed the image a fair bit, but the noise is still visible.

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That's shot at ISO 800. It must have been underexposed. But there's a fair few other shots as well with similar noise patterns in the shadows. Others look pretty good. I really wouldn't want to go too high with RAW lite though, 3200 would be the absolute maximum unless you're planning to use de-noising software for every shot in post.

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4 hours ago, webrunner5 said:

So what ISO is that shot at? That sounds like a heck of a big limitation if 1600 is max on a Canon Cine camera!

How and when did ISO 1600 become a limitation in any cinema camera?

36 minutes ago, Gregormannschaft said:

That's shot at ISO 800. It must have been underexposed. But there's a fair few other shots as well with similar noise patterns in the shadows. Others look pretty good. I really wouldn't want to go too high with RAW lite though, 3200 would be the absolute maximum unless you're planning to use de-noising software for every shot in post.

What lens did you use? With Raw, you need a fast lens for so many shots. I’ve ended up shooting mostly with one or two fast primes just in case I am shooting a high contrast scene with a lot of shadows... or shooting way into magic hour like this shot. 

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Can someone who owns a C200 measure the diagonal (or the length and width) of the image on the LCD?

The screen is 4" but it looks like the viewable area is smaller. Just wondering if I can get away with using an old loupe and maybe cutting off a few pixels, rather than buying the $600 Zacuto.

53 minutes ago, mercer said:

How and when did ISO 1600 become a limitation in any cinema camera?

What lens did you use? With Raw, you need a fast lens for so many shots. I’ve ended up shooting mostly with one or two fast primes just in case I am shooting a high contrast scene with a lot of shadows... or shooting way into magic hour like this shot. 

YMMV. While I wouldn't rate the Alexa over 1600 ISO (or the Red MX or Dragon over 800 ISO without noise reduction), I once saw a DP shoot with the Alexa at 1600-3200 ISO to get an intentional "film grain" effect and it looked really good. But he was using a ton of light to be fair (about a dozen HMIs, including a 12k). Furthermore, the C500 was the best low light cinema camera of its generation, useable up to 3200-4000 ISO, and for those of us who can't afford to rent super speed lenses, the extra stop matters even more. So I could see 1600 ISO being a limitation for some lower-budget DPs, and for some documentary use, and a disappointment for those who are shooting doc or need the extra stop to carry a lower budget further and who are used to the C500.

But I think the better question is total light available, not ISO. Because we're assuming perfect metering.

For instance, this video looks fine up to 25,600 ISO:

https://vimeo.com/220223129

But if there were NDs to keep the exposure consistent, it would look terrible at 25,600 ISO.

The above screen grab at sunset has massive scene dynamic range, and will challenge any sensor that's noisy in the shadows. I think that's a limitation of the camera's dynamic range more than a limitation of low light.

@Gregormannschaft, you mention placing 18% gray at 38 IRE, but what part of the image above did you meter at 18% gray? I'm assuming you used an external light meter, but did you use a spot meter or an incident meter? If you used a spot meter, which area did you meter at 18% gray? If incident, how many stops underexposed is the shot? The sky looks significantly brighter than 18% typically would, though who can guess after post-processing, and the foreground looks much much darker. If I'm exposing with a spot meter (which I usually reserve for slide film, I use an incident meter for video since I'm a bit of a hack), I typically expose the darkest part of blue sky, dark grass, lighter than average bark, or red brick walls around 18% gray, since those values are typically fairly similar to a gray card. In the image you've posted, the sky seems a bit overexposed and the foreground/shadows very very underexposed. I'd consider than an issue with dynamic range more than low light. But I agree the shadows are noisy, and also agree that if you're forced to shoot in such poor light, that's about the best exposure you can expect but something like the Alexa would serve you better.

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8 minutes ago, HockeyFan12 said:

Can someone who owns a C200 measure the diagonal (or the length and width) of the image on the LCD?

The screen is 4" but it looks like the viewable area is smaller. Just wondering if I can get away with using an old loupe and maybe cutting off a few pixels, rather than buying the $600 Zacuto.

YMMV. While I wouldn't rate the Alexa over 1600 ISO (or the Red MX or Dragon over 800 ISO without noise reduction), I once saw a DP shoot with the Alexa at 1600-3200 ISO to get an intentional "film grain" effect and it looked really good. But he was using a ton of light to be fair (about a dozen HMIs, including a 12k). Furthermore, the C500 was the best low light cinema camera of its generation, useable up to 3200-4000 ISO, and for those of us who can't afford to rent super speed lenses, the extra stop matters even more. So I could see 1600 ISO being a limitation for some lower-budget DPs, and for some documentary use, and a disappointment for those who are shooting doc or need the extra stop to carry a lower budget further.

But I think the better question is total light available, not ISO. 

This video looks fine up to 25,600:

https://vimeo.com/220223129

But if there were NDs to keep the exposure consistently dark, it would look terrible. 

The above screen grab has massive scene dynamic range, and will challenge any sensor that's noisy in the shadows. I think that's a limitation of dynamic range more than a limitation of low light.

@Gregormannschaft, you mention placing 18% gray at 38 IRE, but what part of the image above did you meter at 18% gray? I'm assuming you used an external light meter, but did you use a spot meter or an incident meter? If you used a spot meter, which area did you meter at 18% gray? The sky looks significantly brighter than 18% typically would, though who can guess after post-processing, and the foreground looks much much darker. If I'm exposing with a spot meter (which I usually reserve for slide film, I use an incident meter for video since I'm a bit of a hack), I typically expose the darkest part of blue sky, dark grass, lighter than average bark, or red brick walls around 18% gray, since those values are typically fairly similar to a gray card. In the image you've posted, the sky seems overexposed and the shadows underexposed. I'd consider than an issue with dynamic range more than low light. But I agree the shadows are noisy.

Cheers for the input, I'll measure the C200 monitor in an hour or so and post results back here. 

On the exposure, I used a pop up 18% grey card and used the waveform monitor + spot feature of the camera – it basically highlights an object you select on the waveform monitor, which in this case was the grey card. I've found it to be really useful but felt like I was underexposing most images from the other night. I was being careful not to clip highlights with zebras at 100%, but feel like that was really throwing my shadows under the bus.

I've looked around and there are a bunch of great tests done by Clockroom Media and they reckon that 5000 ISO is the max ISO you'd want to shoot at with the camera – so I was probably underestimating the camera. Although they did an interview shot at 32,000 and used Neat Video to produce great results.

Either way, haven't shot much CLOG and feel like I'm still very much learning it's limitations.

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55 minutes ago, Gregormannschaft said:

Cheers for the input, I'll measure the C200 monitor in an hour or so and post results back here. 

On the exposure, I used a pop up 18% grey card and used the waveform monitor + spot feature of the camera – it basically highlights an object you select on the waveform monitor, which in this case was the grey card. I've found it to be really useful but felt like I was underexposing most images from the other night. I was being careful not to clip highlights with zebras at 100%, but feel like that was really throwing my shadows under the bus.

I've looked around and there are a bunch of great tests done by Clockroom Media and they reckon that 5000 ISO is the max ISO you'd want to shoot at with the camera – so I was probably underestimating the camera. Although they did an interview shot at 32,000 and used Neat Video to produce great results.

Either way, haven't shot much CLOG and feel like I'm still very much learning it's limitations.

Thanks, very interesting. In theory that should work almost exactly as an incident meter would (though with the limitation that whatever's facing the camera is lit by whatever source is hitting it frontally, so a bit trickier to meter for some lighting set ups that aren't front-lit, but if anything that would likely promote overexposure).

Are there zebras or false color for RAW clipping or just for CLOG3? I supposed the clipping point might overlap, so maybe either way would work. I wouldn't need a spot meter at all if I had false color, but I'm not talented enough to light without an incident meter.

I would personally expect a much brighter image than what you posted if the footage were exposed with an incident meter at key (or a gray card at key, same result), so perhaps overexposing a bit is a good idea. I do remember from my days shooting slide film I'd try to get the darkest part of the sky at 18% gray to get a vivid sunset, in which case everything else would be a black silhouette in lighting similar to what you posted. But I also noticed with the Sony F5 that 2000 ISO base was really more like 1000-1200 ISO and if you exposed that way you had a ton of DR, double what slide film had at least; the A7S also benefits from a stop or two pull (imo). I'm not a big ETTR fan because I think it changes the color of some objects and can cause banding with some codecs, but it does seem like a good idea with digital cameras to overexpose a bit, and the more experienced members of this forum all advocate ETTR.

5000 ISO maximum would be similar to the C500. I do think the C200 appears to have very noisy shadows, likely noisier than the C500 and certainly with a different (imo worse) texture.

 

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49 minutes ago, HockeyFan12 said:

Thanks, very interesting. In theory that should work almost exactly as an incident meter would (though with the limitation that whatever's facing the camera is lit by whatever source is hitting it frontally, so a bit trickier to meter for some lighting set ups that aren't front-lit, but if anything that would likely promote overexposure).

Are there zebras or false color for RAW clipping or just for CLOG3? I supposed the clipping point might overlap, so maybe either way would work. I wouldn't need a spot meter at all if I had false color, but I'm not talented enough to light without an incident meter.

I would personally expect a much brighter image than what you posted if the footage were exposed with an incident meter at key (or a gray card at key, same result), so perhaps overexposing a bit is a good idea. I do remember from my days shooting slide film I'd try to get the darkest part of the sky at 18% gray to get a vivid sunset, in which case everything else would be a black silhouette in lighting similar to what you posted. But I also noticed with the Sony F5 that 2000 ISO base was really more like 1000-1200 ISO and if you exposed that way you had a ton of DR, double what slide film had at least; the A7S also benefits from a stop or two pull (imo). I'm not a big ETTR fan because I think it changes the color of some objects and can cause banding with some codecs, but it does seem like a good idea with digital cameras to overexpose a bit, and the more experienced members of this forum all advocate ETTR.

5000 ISO maximum would be similar to the C500. I do think the C200 appears to have very noisy shadows, likely noisier than the C500 and certainly with a different (imo worse) texture.

 

The C200 is strange in that manner. You're recording a CLOG2 signal, and yet, you can only monitor in CLOG3. Very odd. I've read CLOG2 should really be exposed around 2 stops over, whereas CLOG3 is around 1 stop over. The extra stops of dynamic range of CLOG2 is in the shadows, but from what I've read, and seen, there's a lot of noise down there. 

I'll have to wander out and do another test, as I'm pretty sure, despite trying to expose for the grey card, I was underexposing the whole time. 

Oh, and the monitor (the viewable screen space) is exactly 5cm X 9cm.

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1 hour ago, Gregormannschaft said:

The C200 is strange in that manner. You're recording a CLOG2 signal, and yet, you can only monitor in CLOG3. Very odd. I've read CLOG2 should really be exposed around 2 stops over, whereas CLOG3 is around 1 stop over. The extra stops of dynamic range of CLOG2 is in the shadows, but from what I've read, and seen, there's a lot of noise down there. 

I'll have to wander out and do another test, as I'm pretty sure, despite trying to expose for the grey card, I was underexposing the whole time. 

Oh, and the monitor (the viewable screen space) is exactly 5cm X 9cm.

It looks very underexposed to me but I wasn't there. And I haven't seen the ungraded image so I can't say. I found my light meter correlates pretty well with the C100 and C300's internal meters in Canon Log 1, and produces results similar to what Canon's white papers would predict, but that does result in a significantly darker image than most people shoot, and I wasn't very scientific about things at all. Pro DPs have informed me my meter (758 cine) might as well be junk, and the pros either use Pentax digital spot meters or Spectras. :(

Regardless, it matched pretty well, but I found myself underexposing significantly more than online sample footage.

Looking at Canon's white papers:

https://learn.usa.canon.com/app/pdfs/white_papers/White_Paper_Clog_optoelectronic.pdf (page 6)

The original C300 has a 5.3/6.7 over/under at base ISO (850) in Canon Log. So 5.3 stops in the highlights, 6.7 in the shadows.

The C300 Mk II (and C200, presumably) has an over/under of 6.3/8.7 in Canon Log 2 (at ISO 800):

exposec300markii.jpg

So it gains a stop in the highlights, and gains two stops in the shadows. Not sure I buy it. The C300 seemed to have 12 stops for real, but the C200 doesn't seem to have 15 stops for real...

Arri Log has a 7.4/6.6 over/under, at 800 ISO on the Alexa Classic:

tumblr_inline_muutox5OTm1r514oc.jpg

I don't trust that either. The Alexa Mini in my experience has FAR more highlight and shadow detail than that would indicate, and Arri's newer charts show 7.8 stops over at 800 ISO (and internally but not publicly Arri rate the Alexa Mini's sensor at 15+ stops, not 14+ stops–even 15+ seems conservative to me.) I'd guess 7.8/8+ for the Alexa Mini based on my experience with it, and with a more aesthetically clean noise pattern than the C200. That said, the Alexa has very noisy shadows, much like the C200, and much noisier than non-cinema cameras with noise reduction or highly compressed codecs like dSLRs, and possibly noisier than would be acceptable to most on this forum, especially at 3200K.

Based on what I've seen online (tests at CML), the C200 at base appears to have 1.5 stops less highlight detail than the Alexa Mini at base, but shadow detail is similar, which correlates with the numbers above. And based on my own experience shooting with the Alexa Classic and C300, this seems pretty consistent with that.

What I'm getting at, is when you rate the C200 two stops slower to get cleaner shadows, you might get more shadow detail but you're moving your over/under to 4.3/10.7. That's 3.5 stops less highlight detail than the Alexa Mini, which is the gold standard, and which still has far less highlight detail than 5219.

I know this is all complicated/unscientific since I'm trying to dig up random figures online from sources that get them in different ways and I also think Arri is super conservative on their shadow detail numbers, so I'm throwing my own bias into it. But for me, a 4.3 over seems about accurate for the C200 overexposed two stops or shot at 200 ISO and for me it's unacceptable. I know there are DPs who can light their way around this limitation, and many on this board do all the time, but I'm not one of them. I mostly work in post, for me this is hard!

I think it's also a matter of taste. Online, it seems there's a big aversion to digital noise. Whereas with film, grain was an aesthetic choice, and it doesn't really bother me, and it seems to be less of a concern on the tv shows and features I've worked on because those are being viewed in theaters or on tv, not being pixel-peeped. I'm a bit old school and come from a film background so for me I would probably just rate at 800 ISO or 640 ISO rather than ETTR, and embrace the noisy shadows, while realizing the C200's image is too noisy for most at base ISO. And definitely noisier than I wish it were.

Pick your poison I guess. For me, I'll take highlight detail over clean shadows, and I can't think of anything else other than the EVA1 maybe that would work for me.

That said, what you posted looks much more underexposed than I'd expect. I wish my meter were better calibrated and my lenses had t-stops rather than f-stops so I could investigate this myself in a way that might be useful to others, but I don't want to spread any misinformation online if I can avoid it. So while I plan to get my hands on a C200 and see how it works when I meter it with my 758cine, I'd rather not draw conclusions for others based on that experience, as I am biased and my equipment improperly calibrated for meaningful tests.

But you've inspired me to run my own tests to figure out how I'll meter in the future, since it's all internally consistent within my inconsistent ecosystem at least. :) 

Thanks for the measurements on the screen. Looks like the Kinotehnik loupes will be a bit too small. :( The Hoodman loupes are much worse but their 4" riser might work and still be cheap.

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Those shots are so hard to expose. So you have no choice but to let the sky blow out. Pro DPs would light those trees, but I know I don’t have those kind of resources.

In Resolve, in the Raw Tab, there is a Highlight protection thing you click on and it really helps to retain some information in any blown out areas.

With my 5D3 raw files, I love Resolve for basic color correction and to transcode to ProRes 444. I then bring it into FCPX for edit and color grading... I know I should grade in Resolve but I just can’t wrap my head around nodes and don’t feel like learning it.

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40 minutes ago, mercer said:

Those shots are so hard to expose. So you have no choice but to let the sky blow out. Pro DPs would light those trees, but I know I don’t have those kind of resources.

But we can afford ND grads, which aren't perfect but can do a pretty good job.

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46 minutes ago, mercer said:

Oh yeah, I’ve never used them so I forgot they existed. Good idea. 

They aren't as good as lights would be and if you use a heavy grade they look a bit like a Tony Scott movie (which can be really good if you want that look), but I find a 2 stop soft grad can really help with challenging exposures. Of course it doesn't help if you're doing a big tilt or something or have a very uneven horizon.

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19 hours ago, Gregormannschaft said:

Here's a screengrab before and after noise reduction – it's most obvious in the car windows. The noise reduction did an incredible job.

Hey, nice mood for sure! What noise reduction did you use? What were your settings? Second shot looks perfect. cheers

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28 minutes ago, PannySVHS said:

Hey, nice mood for sure! What noise reduction did you use? What were your settings? Second shot looks perfect. cheers

Cheers! It still looks a little darker here than it did in FCPX or in the exported still before upload. I was using the Sigma 18-35 at f2, ISO 800 with a Tiffen Black Pro Mist 1/4 filter. Used Neat Video to process the noise, dropping the high frequency noise reduction to about -50% to avoid that plastic look and added some sharpening. Neat Video is incredible.

@HockeyFan12 You've inspired me to do some more tests in the same spot and mess around a little with the exposure. I'll report back later this week.

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10 hours ago, ntblowz said:

Finally get to use one, awesome camera indeed!

2955D33A-A530-469C-BA58-48ED3E70B22B.jpeg

Nice! Post back with your thoughts. The 24-105 is a pretty loud lens for AF (right? Or it might just be my lens with sand in the motor from years ago...) but works pretty well taking into account just how old it is. I picked up a Sigma 18-35 second hand for around 450 euros which is a beauty of a lens.

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