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ajay

Highlight Roll-Off: GH5, GH5s, A7III and X-H1 and ???

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I'm looking for input here and hopefully not start some kind of a war of opinions of which camera is best.

Here's my scenario. I've been filming for a few years now using the Canon 1DX Mark II and a GH5. I do primarily outdoor filming of nature and quite often I am faced with harsh lighting conditions.  I also do not have a budget to purchase a camera such as the C200 and I do occasionally need to shoot in low light too. Also, form factor matters to me. Big-Ass cameras such as Black Magic's "Ursa Mini" just won't work with long telephoto lenses. (Thought about looking for a used model, but not good size-wize.)

Since January, I have been on the fence regarding the GH5s. I see some examples in which highlight roll-off looks pretty good but many others in which it looks no better than the GH5. Low-light looks good, but it's that highlight roll-off (possibly lack of dynamic range) that keeps me from purchasing one.

And there are the others...The Sony A7III looks rather temping. Although it is 8-bit, Slog2 (A7III) looks better to me than Vlog-L (GH5s) at least in high-dynamic, outdoor scenarios. And then there's the X-H1 which looks better as well regarding dynamic range and highlight roll-off.

Maybe I'm just being too picky for cameras in this price range, but it's driving me nuts. Please note, I have great respect for the GH5 and GH5s. I think they are great cameras and take fantastic footage but not so sure about contrasty lighting conditions.

Thoughts?

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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

You just can't beat a FF camera for DR, and DoF, and a Sony for Low Light." Sony advertises 14 stops of dynamic range in video mode when using S-Log2 or S-Log3 profiles for the A7 mk III." 

Now this is stated about the Fuji X-H1, "According to Fujifilm, the combination of ETERNA and DR400% brings the total dynamic range capability to 12 stops and is comparable to F-Log." Trouble is as of now AF is terrible at DR400%.

The DR for the GH5 ehh Cinema5D tested it at 10 Maybe 11 stops tops. Sounds about right. I can't find any real figure for the GH5s.

I think I would sell the GH5 and buy the Sony A7 mk III. Colors look pretty good on it also. And the low light on it is better than the Sony A7s mk II. And that is with 24mp. Crazy.

 

 

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The major improvement i noticed - based on footage put up is that high light roll off was much improved going from GH5 to Gh5s. But you never know if the person shooting was protecting their highlights or not. 

 

 I love the gh5 and use it daily for commercial work - the only criticism i have is that you have to be really careful with highlight protection.  But The Gh5 is simple an incredible set up when you know how to use it well.

 

 

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I might be wrong, but I think the best way to truly see how the highlights roll off is not only to see the clips before and after grading, but also to have a look at the waveform monitor, which few YouTubers do. In the end, I would just go by the best practitioners, like Filippo Chiesa, who understands lighting and grading.

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This is interesting.

Alister Chapman

July 23, 2015 at 6:40 am

Reply

"Well most cameras that shoot raw or log don't actually have any highlight roll off. The light response is uniform up to the clip point, unlike cameras with more conventional gammas that do actually alter the response to highlights with a knee or similar.
What you see with most modern log or raw cameras is the effect of a greatly extended dynamic and highlight range that allows you to capture the way the light in the scene itself rolls off which is why its looks so much better than the electronic roll off in traditional video cameras."

It is a reply in this article.

http://noamkroll.com/why-highlight-rolloff-matters-more-than-dynamic-range-which-affordable-cinema-camera-does-it-best/

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I have always wondered if increasing the highlight setting on some cameras such as Panaosnics and Fuji's could actually make the highlight rolloff better. I've never tested it but in theory it seems like it would reduce the abrupt clipping, making it more of a rolloff. 

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3 hours ago, webrunner5 said:

I think I would sell the GH5 and buy the Sony A7 mk III. Colors look pretty good on it also. And the low light on it is better than the Sony A7s mk II. And that is with 24mp. Crazy.

 

Careful now.. A73 fudges low light results by applying heavy NR but the low light king is still A7S2:

A73 still the overall better all-rounder hybrid..

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3 hours ago, jonpais said:

I might be wrong, but I think the best way to truly see how the highlights roll off is not only to see the clips before and after grading, but also to have a look at the waveform monitor, which few YouTubers do. 

Its quite informative to take frame grabs from YouTube clips and bring them into FCPX and look at them on the scopes and see how much some people often leave behind and how other people are eeking out everything thats there.

You can do it in real time too if you attach your Atomos as a second screen on your computer and display the YouTube window on that ;)

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7 hours ago, ajay said:

Thoughts?

  • bmmcc - 13 stops, raw, decent low-light with sb

  • a7xx - ~13 stops, but a lot of work with cg (less for daylight), good ('best' for s-models) low-light

  • x-h1 - 12 stops with eterna profile ( better colors to start with, whole 0-100 range for storing data, easier to use in low-light), good low-light with sb option, and from my experience with x-t2 its easier to protect highlights (codec stores good amount of shadow details)

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4 hours ago, jonpais said:

In the end, I would just go by the best practitioners, like Filippo Chiesa, who understands lighting and grading.

For sure, Flippo really makes the GH5s shine. If you can control the lighting, you can certainly create scenes in which make this camera a great choice. When shooting outdoors unfortunately you have little control other than shooting slightly underexposed to prevent highlight clipping. It's a tricky scenario at best.

I do wonder if shooting in the GH5's HLG might be a better choice than VLOG-L for brightly lit scenarios? Or...just deal with Sony's ergonomic and crappy menus and go that route.

Thanks to all that have responded.

10 minutes ago, Vladimir said:
  • bmmcc - 13 stops, raw, decent low-light with sb

  • a7xx - ~13 stops, but a lot of work with cg (less for daylight), good ('best' for s-models) low-light

  • x-h1 - 12 stops with eterna profile ( better colors to start with, whole 0-100 range for storing data, easier to use in low-light), good low-light with sb option, and from my experience with x-t2 its easier to protect highlights (codec stores good amount of shadow details)

 BMMCC...I forgot about that one. I will re-investigate. Thank you.

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Last time I had one of my GH5Ss outside it was plenty bright. To the point where I couldn’t see my external SmallHD monitor which is daylight viewable. There was snow, grass and lots of sunlight. I recorded in VLogL and had no trouble getting good highlight roll-off. Have you used this camera? The ‘S’ might look like the GH5... but they are very different cameras. 

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37 minutes ago, DBounce said:

Last time I had one of my GH5Ss outside it was plenty bright. To the point where I couldn’t see my external SmallHD monitor which is daylight viewable. There was snow, grass and lots of sunlight. I recorded in VLogL and had no trouble getting good highlight roll-off. Have you used this camera? The ‘S’ might look like the GH5... but they are very different cameras. 

Yes, the GH5 itself has the worst rolloff of the bunch. The S has good clipping correction, and I intend to bring the accelerated Alexa style rolloff to the S in the future (need to get a hold of one for measurement)

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3 hours ago, ajay said:

If you can control the lighting, you can certainly create scenes in which make this any recent camera a great choice.

Sorry, had to change the above statement ever so slightly.

3 hours ago, ajay said:

When shooting outdoors unfortunately you have little control other than shooting slightly underexposed to prevent highlight clipping. It's a tricky scenario at best.

...for brightly lit scenarios...

Have you looked into N.D. Filters and/or Variable N.D. filters?

For indoor - low light... LED lights?

 

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8 hours ago, jonpais said:

Concerning the GH5s, @Neumann Films says the GH5s has better highlight roll off than the GH5. 

There were comparisons where the GH5s not only showed lower noise levels, but more structure and color in highlights in comparison to its predecessor. But these were all high ISO.

Maybe they're identical at Base ISO?

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1 hour ago, DBounce said:

I recorded in VLogL and had no trouble getting good highlight roll-off. Have you used this camera?

No, I haven't and that's why I started the thread. I wanted to hear from those in-the-know. I have thought about renting one before I buy. Thanks.

24 minutes ago, mkabi said:

Have you looked into N.D. Filters and/or Variable N.D. filters?

Have you looked into N.D. Filters and/or Variable N.D. filters? Yes. I do use them but not sure if this would solve the issue. It has to do with shooting in sunlight with shadows. I can't always shoot during the golden hour when light is more subdued. Thanks.

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54 minutes ago, ajay said:

I do use them but not sure if this would solve the issue. 

Try it. Experiment, because I don't know your shooting situation, subject matter... etc.

56 minutes ago, ajay said:

It has to do with shooting in sunlight with shadows. I can't always shoot during the golden hour when light is more subdued. Thanks.

May be I'm reading into this too much.

Obviously, no one can wait till the golden hours (early morning or late afternoon) to shoot every single time...

But, the question... is Golden hour what your looking for? Meaning.... is that the situation you would want all day long? Or do you feel that you want maximum amount of light such that shadows are not affected - Golden hour is affecting shadows???

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5 minutes ago, mkabi said:

But, the question... is Golden hour what your looking for? Meaning.... is that the situation you would want all day long? Or do you feel that you want maximum amount of light such that shadows are not affected - Golden hour is affecting shadows???

Golden hour is not what I am looking for in a camera. It's just that without wider dynamic range, you end up giving up something (lights or darks) in high dynamic lighting scenarios. At least the way I perceive things with these cameras.

I know a lot of people did not like the fact that the GH5s did not have sensor stabilization, but I was more disappointed that the dynamic range of the GH5s was only marginally better than the GH5. The sensor has got 14 stops, yet VLOG-L and the other baked-in profiles do not take advantage of what the sensor can do. I'm sure Panasonic, Sony and the rest of the manufactures do not want to eat into their higher-end cameras, but I would gladly pay an extra $1k for well-designed mirrorless camera that offers 13 stops of dynamic range. It would be a pleasure to use such a camera.

For the work that I do, I often shoot with very large telephoto lenses. Besides smaller mirrorless cameras, the only camera that comes to mind that ergonomically fits the bill for me is the Canon C200, but then I'm looking at a 10k investment by the time I buy Cfast chips and batteries.

Maybe I should just wait and see what the A7SIII has to offer whenever that camera is introduced.

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3 minutes ago, ajay said:

Maybe I should just wait and see what the A7SIII has to offer whenever that camera is introduced.

I would think is just about has to be a 10 bit camera to keep the GH5, especially the GH5s from eating into it's sales. And even 4k 60p in it. But I don't see how they are going to do it without making the body a bit bigger for heat dissipation?

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