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Andrew Reid

The D850 is slightly better than A7R3

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Talking pure 4K quality alone, the picture seems to have an edge on the D850. Shooting a comparison now, including the GH5S and it's clear. The D850 has less moire and aliasing, more solid and convincing detail, which doesn't have as much false detail on fine patterns. It's a small but significant difference. Codec and colour seem to have an advantage on the D850 as well. I'm surprised. It's like a 'Nikon' 1D C.

I wonder why Sony put all their latest tech into Nikon's 46MP sensor and stuck with the slightly less capable 42MP sensor themselves?

There are other differences though... A7R3 has proper LOG modes not just a flat profile. I've yet to test dynamic range, will do soon.

In low light, I realised I made a mistake in the last test that focussed on the GH5S. The D850 had noise reduction completely off. It really does seem to turn it off and give you a fine noise grain. Need to retest the ISO 12,800 vs A7R3 and see the impact of noise reduction on both cameras, and whether it turns off completely on the Sony (or not) and which has the most capable system of reduction. We all know the A7R3 noise reduction in full frame 4K is pretty much magic. Does the Nikon do a similar job?

If we're talking video features and form factor it's a non-contest... A7R3 cleans up across the board especially with it's superb video AF and stabilisation.

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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
1 hour ago, Andrew Reid said:

I wonder why Sony put all their latest tech into Nikon's 46MP sensor and stuck with the slightly less capable 42MP sensor themselves?

My guess would be that there isnt enough 'extra' in Sony's latest tech to make it worth the hassle and expense of making a new sensor. If you look at DXOmark both the Sony sensor and Nikon (Sony) sensor have the same '100' score, so the benefits of the Nikon sensor are presumably fairly marginal. Sony could probably have eked out an extra point or so but the current sensor is hardly old tech especially as it has had a couple of tweaks.

So Sony focused on the myriad of other upgrades (many of which were needed) and upgraded the LCD, EVF, speed, focusing, battery and a host of other features for both video and stills. Anyways as Sony resolved most of things that werent good in the A7rii with the A7riii, I will give them a pass on not improving what they got right in the first place.

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I had a shoot (we're doing a short horror-ish flick) and we had the D850 as a c-cam for two days, then later replaced it with the A7sII. The A7sII looked significantly better than the D850. We shot in quite lowlight. The differences were:

1. Weird colors and noise patterns with the D850 (we dialed contrast low but didn't test any of the noise reduction modes)

2. Good looking slog2/sgamut3 with the A7sII. D850 couldn't touch it at all.

We also tested the D850 autofocus but it was rubbish, went back to manual quickly. Only one shot of the two days shoot in the final product came from the D850, the A7sII c-cam scored several shots in the flick (main cam was Blackmagic Ursa with lots of 5d raw mixed in).

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33 minutes ago, hmcindie said:

I had a shoot (we're doing a short horror-ish flick)

Sony colour is perfect for horror!

Quote

and we had the D850 as a c-cam for two days, then later replaced it with the A7sII. The A7sII looked significantly better than the D850. We shot in quite lowlight. The differences were:

1. Weird colors and noise patterns with the D850 (we dialed contrast low but didn't test any of the noise reduction modes)

Don't dial contrast low on a standard profile.

Didn't you use the Flat profile instead? It's like c-log!

Quote

2. Good looking slog2/sgamut3 with the A7sII. D850 couldn't touch it at all.

Couldn't touch it all, well that's a bit dramatic I'd say. When both are graded they end up with very similar dynamic range.

Nikon's colour science is excellent. S-LOG 2 is good to have, but I prefer rec2020 colour mode and HLG on the A7R3 to S-LOG2.

Quote

We also tested the D850 autofocus but it was rubbish, went back to manual quickly. Only one shot of the two days shoot in the final product came from the D850, the A7sII c-cam scored several shots in the flick (main cam was Blackmagic Ursa with lots of 5d raw mixed in).

Was it a zombie film?

Yes D850 autofocus is undead. Video at least. Stills, it's best on the market and level with D5! If you had blackmagic as A-cam and A7S as C cam, what was B-cam? Was it 5D raw? Did you also have D cam, E cam, Z cam too?! :) (Z cam = zombie cam). So many cameras. You must have more than even me! ;)

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3 hours ago, Andrew Reid said:

Sony colour is perfect for horror!

Don't dial contrast low on a standard profile.

Was it a zombie film?

Yes D850 autofocus is undead. Video at least. Stills, it's best on the market and level with D5! If you had blackmagic as A-cam and A7S as C cam, what was B-cam? Was it 5D raw? Did you also have D cam, E cam, Z cam too?! :) (Z cam = zombie cam). So many cameras. You must have more than even me! ;)

Granted, we didn't know what we were doing with the D850, I didn't set it up myself, just dialed the contrast low. (I guess  a mistake? The colours were weird, especially in the lower registers). We just got it as a test and I figured out we could play with it as the c-cam. But then when were shooting we really didn't have time to fiddle with it that much, just shot random stuff. Later when we shot more we switched it to the A7sII. We'll try to see if we test it again but properly at one point. It takes a while to get to know cameras and their strengths and weakenesses.

Yeah, B-cam was the 5D raw. I only own the 5d III and a Sony rx10ii (that was also used as a really bad d-camera). A friend works at a retail shop and got the D850 and A7sII loaned. Our DP came with the Ursa (Ehetyz, he is also here in this forum somewhere lurking like a beast).

Random screencap (this was from the A7sII, yup Sony colors love that post-apocalypse) :

 

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Film looks good! nice shot.

I'd encourage you to take another look at the D850 and shoot it with the Flat profile designed for video. Add a simple gamma curve adjustment to that in post and you can leave the colour as it is - it's perfect.

Amazingly detailed, thick files, high-ish bitrate but nice balance between file size and image quality, super colour, easy to grade, Super 35mm mode is MEGA detailed oversampled stuff and full frame looks better than I ever thought possible from 46MP. It is superbly impressive. Peaking, good audio options, high internal mic quality, plenty of manual controls, great high ISO, flippy screen, huge choice of lenses, great auto white balance and more. Definitely more a stills powerhouse than a video-orientated camera like A7S or GH5 but the image in both modes delivers like hell, believe me.

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9 hours ago, Andrew Reid said:

I wonder why Sony put all their latest tech into Nikon's 46MP sensor and stuck with the slightly less capable 42MP sensor themselves?

Oh I dunno, maybe because Sony didn't make that sensor? 
https://www.google.com.au/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=d850+sensor+manufacturer&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&gfe_rd=cr&dcr=0&ei=WZh3WvOQC6PM8gfdsZrwAQ

And according to this list (https://nikonrumors.com/2015/12/16/list-of-all-nikon-dslr-cameras-and-their-sensor-manufacturerdesigner.aspx/) some of the most important cameras Nikon has produced (The D3/s & D4/s which arguably pushed the industry towards low light ability rather than sheer megapixel count) were sensors designed in house. It goes against the grain of "Internet Wisdom", but Nikon has more of a hand in designing their sensors than anyone gives them credit for. In any case, shoot any two Nikons of the same generation and the files mix together just fine in the edit. So why does it count against them because they can get a Sony sensor package with Nikon specs and marry that to a Nikon processor and code that does the actual magic, and save themselves the time and cost of developing a sensor from scratch?  

 

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"Make" - to manufacture, build, assemble

"Design" - to spec, plan functionality of

Nikon do not manufacture sensors. They may design them, but to what extent they are custom designs is open to question. Sony is likely the manufacturer of the sensor, because it shares so much functionality, architecture, manufacturing processes and pixel architecture with the 42MP BSI CMOS in Sony's cameras.

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8 hours ago, Andrew Reid said:

Did you also have D cam, E cam, Z cam too?! :) (Z cam = zombie cam).


And was Z Cam made by.... Z Cam? ;-)

 

8 hours ago, Andrew Reid said:

So many cameras. You must have more than even me! ;)


The feature I did in Oz last year used FIVE different cameras.

Every shot was always a multicam shot. 

Live was hell for sound! (me)

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4 hours ago, Andrew Reid said:

"Make" - to manufacture, build, assemble

"Design" - to spec, plan functionality of

Nikon do not manufacture sensors. They may design them, but to what extent they are custom designs is open to question. Sony is likely the manufacturer of the sensor, because it shares so much functionality, architecture, manufacturing processes and pixel architecture with the 42MP BSI CMOS in Sony's cameras.

That makes zero sense. Apple doesn't have a chip foundry, but they did design the A series of chips that power iOS devices. Does that mean Apple's design contribution to their own chips is less important than the 3 or 4 companies contracted to manufacture those chips? You know Nikon makes machines that make semiconductors so they have some experience in that field. In fact when Nikon had that big stumble a year ago it was mainly because their semiconductor business had a really bad year. I don't know why Nikon doesn't have its own foundry -- probably because they're really expensive to build and run and they don't have anywhere near the volume required to make that work financially.

Also, apparently TowerJazz is the manufacturer of the D850 sensor: https://nikonrumors.com/2017/11/14/first-indication-that-the-nikon-d850-sensor-could-be-made-by-towerjazz.aspx/

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Nikon do not manufacture sensors. (You agree with that). They may design them, but to what extent they are custom designs is open to question.

You are quoting a rumours site like it's fact!

Nikon have no history of using TowerJazz fabs. Only Sony and Toshiba logos have been found printed on the sensor boards in previous cameras.

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8 hours ago, Andrew Reid said:

Nikon do not manufacture sensors. (You agree with that). They may design them, but to what extent they are custom designs is open to question.

Maybe I'm not asking Google the right questions, but I think you might be the only one writing articles on the internet that is so fixated in "how custom is custom" for Nikon sensors. Since no one outside of Nikon knows, it could be one way or the other... making you either a brilliant analyst or conspiracy theorist. But one would've thought that the design part of the equation is a pretty important part of the overall process.

While we're on this point, there's an assumption that because Nikon has been known to use off-the-shelf Sony parts, it means they are somehow inferior to Sony. But the results speak differently. Even here the general wisdom is that Nikon has better colour than Sony, and that mojo happens in the processing. So if 50% of your mojo is in the code that you have full control over, and you can just buy the other 50% from an excellent manufacturer -- why reinvent the wheel for your volume products? Especially since lenses play an equally important part to the image capture workflow, and Nikon has a lock on that.
 

8 hours ago, Andrew Reid said:

You are quoting a rumours site like it's fact!

Uhm, you're not quoting anything at all -- just pure conjecture on your part, unsubstantiated by even a "I can't talk about it because NDA".

Also --
http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/nikon-d850/nikon-d850A.HTM#q-and-a

"The D850 uses a brand-new image sensor. The 45.7-megapixel full-frame sensor is Nikon's highest megapixel sensor yet and is also their first backside-illuminated (BSI) full-frame sensor. The sensor was designed entirely by Nikon, although they told us that the manufacturing was contracted out, which is not unusual. However, it remains notable that the sensor, unlike some found in other Nikon DSLRs, is not off-the-shelf but rather built specifically to Nikon's specifications. As expected, the new sensor also has a built-in ultrasonic cleaning mechanism and dust-off image reference capabilities."

But maybe they're wrong too? Or maybe Nikon lied to them? Or maybe you read "built specifically to Nikon's specifications" and see that as proof that Sony is the Wizard of Oz pulling the strings from behind the curtain? 

 

9 hours ago, Andrew Reid said:

Nikon have no history of using TowerJazz fabs. Only Sony and Toshiba logos have been found printed on the sensor boards in previous cameras.

Things change. I thought the jazz section of Tower Records in Japan was called Tower Jazz, but I haven't been in there for ages. I have no idea who TowerJazz is, but gee, let's have a think about why Nikon might've contracted a different manufacture this time. Maybe they've designed something new, and don't want Sony to have it since they're now competitors in the camera space? Maybe TowerJazz offered them a deal they couldn't refuse? Maybe it was a pragmatic business decision based on cost, ability, and timing? Maybe they worked with TowerJazz engineers to work out the kinks of the new design? 

Fun diversion -- Panasonic and TowerJazz formed a company dedicated to making Panasonic chips in Japan, including image sensors.

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We know that TowerJazz didnt make the Nikon D850 sensor because TowerJazz doesnt have BSI tech yet and the Nikon sensor is BSI.

From a TowerJazz press release.

The partnership will allow TowerJazz to serve its customers with BSI technology in mass production, at competitive prices, starting in the middle of 2018. The new BSI technology is aimed to high-end photography, automotive, AR/VR, and other CIS markets. YCM provides the BSI processing for both 200mm and 300mm CIS wafers.

Of the 3 manufacturers with BSI tech we have Sony, Samsung (but they dont seem to make large image sensors any more) and Omnivision which are low end. So to speculate it is a Sony manufactured sensor is perfectly natural. But that is the problem with image sensors they are decidely high tech what with BSI, LSI, stacking and on sensor af. Consider that Canon is the 4th large image sensor manufacturer in the world but their tech is somewhat behind. Pretty much anyone can 'design' an image sensor but depending on the specs, there maybe very few that can 'manufacture' it.
 

 

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Oh man, what have I started! I thought it was a quick throwaway comment on a pet peeve of mine -- didn't think it would last this long!

Sorry Andrew, totally derailed your topic.

Look, I have no inside info or any actual knowledge in image sensors (beyond using them) so anything I add is just whatever Google tells me. But I did find this presser from 2010 from TowerJazz announcing a partnership with another company to provide BSI components:
https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20100201007494/en/TowerJazz-Soitec-Sign-Agreement-Offer-Backside-Illumination

I have no idea if TowerJazz actually shipped any BSI chips, but it seems to at least point to a capacity to ship BSI chips from around 2010. 

In any case this is the last I will add to this specific topic... I think I've done enough damage. 

 

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So back on topic

The false colour moire is there in the A7R III shot (top) but not with the D850 (bottom frame)

D850 Flat profile =/= Hybrid LOG Gamma

Certainly their most capable 4K camera yet. Better than D5.

a7r3b.jpg

d850b.jpg

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Wow, that´s gonna be a treat, Andrew! Lookin forward to your footage. Hope you come back soon. Just good to know there are people like you in this town! Of course a lot of other people are good folks too, no bad opinion about them. I think you know what I mean.

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