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Is a6500 1080p footage Better When Recorded Externally?


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Noticed the Atomos Ninja Flame 4K recorder is on sale for $595 and am thinking of getting one for my a6500. 

But I am wondering if it would really make that much of a difference - in particular, to the quality of the 1080p footage.

I have searched around the internets and it seems like maybe it doesn't help much with 1080p footage; maybe the only benefit is that it reduces compression artifacts, which are apparently not that high to begin with when using XAVC S codec internally.

The other benefit is the brightness of the monitor.

Anyone using an external recorder with the a6500 (or a6300) and see any real world benefits in terms of IQ?

Looks like the Ninja Flame can record 8-Bit 4:2:2, and as far as I understand, the a6500 / a6300 can output 4:2:2 from HDMI port. Any real world benefit? 

Thanks in advance.

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38 minutes ago, Alex Uzan said:

No, you won’t get any real benefits.

The sony a6300/6500 1080p is awful. Worst than any other camera I own. Such a pity since it’s 4k is the better one. I had to buy a gh5 for work (long recording), and I can see that I lost something in IQ.

Thanks for the input.

Ok, well I guess I will just continue to use my a6000 for when I need 1080p (mostly for 60fps in sunny conditions so no need for the high iso capabilities of the a6500 sensor).

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There are certain circumstances in which UHD @100 mbps is a problem: Slog. Even if you bravely try to ETTR all the time, in the real world and in situations of wide dynamic range you'll nonetheless sometimes capture the noise floor. Not necessarily shadows beneath car tires but for instance parts of faces that happened to be heavily backlit. This noise then clots together as macroblocks with banding. You could live with a little noise, but those areas ruin the recording, and you usually see them when it's too late. The GH2 once had all-intra hacks with absurdly high data rates (like 172 instead of 24 mbps), and the fans raved about the added detail. But there wasn't more detail. The hack just preserved all of the noise. The shadows looked more natural, and if there was too much noise, you could perfectly Neat it. 

A ProRes capture means less compression artifacts, so I wouldn't say it's completely useless. Would I want to schlep a recorder on top of my compact little camera? Definitely not. I try to expose better, and I accept around 5 % rejects where I failed.

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2 minutes ago, Axel said:

There are certain circumstances in which UHD @100 mbps is a problem: Slog. Even if you bravely try to ETTR all the time, in the real world and in situations of wide dynamic range you'll nonetheless sometimes capture the noise floor. Not necessarily shadows beneath car tires but for instance parts of faces that happened to be heavily backlit. This noise then clots together as macroblocks with banding. You could live with a little noise, but those areas ruin the recording, and you usually see them when it's too late. The GH2 once had all-intra hacks with absurdly high data rates (like 172 instead of 24 mbps), and the fans raved about the added detail. But there wasn't more detail. The hack just preserved all of the noise. The shadows looked more natural, and if there was too much noise, you could perfectly Neat it. 

A ProRes capture means less compression artifacts, so I wouldn't say it's completely useless. Would I want to schlep a recorder on top of my compact little camera? Definitely not. I try to expose better, and I accept around 5 % rejects where I failed.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experience.

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2 minutes ago, ntblowz said:

A63/6500 1080P quality is bad, especially when I cut with sharp cameras like C100MKII, the difference is sooo obvious!  my old A5100 have sharper 1080p output.

Thanks for the feedback. Yeah, I wish there was an aps-c sensor camera that had the 1080p output of the original a7s 

Maybe I should just pick up an original a7s and use my APS-C lenses on it for 1080p??? (Since I already have several Sony aps-c lenses and since I am too cheap to buy a Sony 16-35 f/4 lens)

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  • 1 year later...

Hi, old topic but my question is related. I know the 1080 is bad, and that it's probably not any better on a external monitor but what about filming in 4K internal and simultaneously recording HD externally? Or does it always send out the same crappy HD IQ?

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On 1/21/2019 at 7:45 AM, T@M said:

Hi, old topic but my question is related. I know the 1080 is bad, and that it's probably not any better on a external monitor but what about filming in 4K internal and simultaneously recording HD externally? Or does it always send out the same crappy HD IQ?

I haven't tried, but I don't think you can record 4K internally and HD externally, can you???

I would imagine that you can only record an internal "proxy" file at a lower resolution if you are recording externally. But don't want to swear by that.

And I am not sure there would be any real benefit anyway since (pretty much) the only reason to record in 1080p on an a6500 / a6300 / a6400 is for the higher frame rates so you will have slow motion. But if you were ABLE to record internally to 4K then you would be stuck to the lower 30fps max frame rates, which (pretty much) defeats the purpose of shooting in 1080p.

To be honest, if I need to shot in 1080p, I either use my a6000 or I shoot at a very narrow depth of field on my a6500 which kind of helps to "hide" some of the nastiness in the out-of-focus areas.

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  • 1 year later...
On 1/21/2019 at 12:45 PM, T@M said:

Hi, old topic but my question is related. I know the 1080 is bad, and that it's probably not any better on a external monitor but what about filming in 4K internal and simultaneously recording HD externally? Or does it always send out the same crappy HD IQ?

Hi, I was messing around with my Ninja V and  my Sony a6400, and I notice that when I put the HDMI on 1080P output in the HDMI Menu, and the camera is set for 4K 25P Recording,  I can record HD 1080 25p on the Ninja V and with much better resolution. Anyone that has this configuration, please try it out.

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Hi, I was messing around with my Ninja V and  my Sony a6400, and I notice that when I put the HDMI on 1080P output in the HDMI Menu, and the camera is set for 4K 25P Recording,  I can record HD 1080 25p on the Ninja V and with much better resolution. Anyone that has this configuration, please try it out.

You need to select on the menu 4K output select: Memory card+HDMI.

You loose face tracking but I always use manual focus.

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8 hours ago, Leonardo said:

Hi, I was messing around with my Ninja V and  my Sony a6400, and I notice that when I put the HDMI on 1080P output in the HDMI Menu, and the camera is set for 4K 25P Recording,  I can record HD 1080 25p on the Ninja V and with much better resolution. Anyone that has this configuration, please try it out.

You need to select on the menu 4K output select: Memory card+HDMI.

You loose face tracking but I always use manual focus.

Yeah downscaled 4k looks better but that doesn't allow you to get 60fps 

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While we're talking about the a6xxx's, has anyone had any problems with playback in Windows or Premiere?

I find that Windows seems to play the clips from my a6400 (HLG) back with extreme overexposure. A clip with proper exposure will playback almost completely white. Once I bring them into Premiere the colour is fine, but changing the playback speed gives stuttering playback in a very strange way. It''s almost like every individual GOP is split in half and played back to front. So for example, it'll play back frames 16-30, then frames 1-15, then frames 46-60, then frames 31-45, etc, etc.

This is on two different machines both with Windows 10 and Premiere Pro 2019 & 2020.

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