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Mattias Burling

How about a good old Camera Blind Test?

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2 hours ago, gethin said:

I probably should keep my big fat yap shut, and I have a lot of respect for Mathias and I agree with the sentiment about technique and worrying less about specks but (obviously there going to be a but...) I try to tell potential clients that if they're comparing photographers to try and look at all their output, not just their portfolio pics. And that anyone should be able to get 20 good shots together. It's how they handle the most difficult situations and the level of consistency that is the mark of a professional, and I'd humbly like to suggest the same is true of gear.  It's when you push cameras to the edge of what they're capable of that you find out which ones work for you.  I'm constantly shooting in very high dynamic range situations. The z6 is a better fit for me than the gh5. I prefer the highlight rolloff on the z6 and like how much you can push the shadows. The same test shooting the dog backlit against a window would be more enlightening. Can you recover shadow detail, highlights, does the image still look nice with the background overexposed etc. 

I agree.  In my mind, you have to judge a camera by:

  • what it can do in the best of situations (and in the best hands) as this tells you what it is capable of
  • what it typically does in the majority of situations in the hands of people around the same skill level as you
  • and where the limits of its performance are, both in technical aspects as well as usability

If you employ a Hollywood crew to shoot the demo reel any camera will look great, but some will be much harder to get good results with than others, and we're all closer to the middle rather than the top end, so we have to be realistic in that way.

However, @Mattias Burling gives us an excellent opportunity by doing a blind test - which is to get a view of what each of us sees when we're not looking at the images through our own prejudices.  For me this is particularly useful as it reinforced some of my beliefs about myself and gave me a bit more confidence in my own judgement.  I also learned more about what I care about in an image and why.

When I looked at the images and saw one I liked, instead of saying "oh, I like that because that is from <camera X> and that is a great camera" I had to actually evaluate what I was seeing and pick it apart as to what tangible thing I was seeing was causing my reaction.  I noted that I really liked the colours of the EOS-R options, and the creamy rendering of the out of focus areas.  I disliked the aliasing or oversharpening on many shots, and in the end it was these factors that lead me to make my selections.  

Now I am armed with more knowledge about what I like in an image.  This is useful because the more I know about what I value in an image the more that I can adapt my equipment, shooting styles, and general approach to maximising those things.

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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

@kye yep I think warts and all reviews are very important. Too many reviewers will cut together the nicest looking footage: I guess that's natural. :)

for me I'd watched so much gh5 stuff I wasn't prepared for its shortcomings, (which for me was the highlight rolloff and the shadow noise). I realised in retropect all the nice footage I'd seen controlled those aspects. The thing I learnt from that (and I guess this test shows this too) is that the the perfect camera for you is not the perfect camera for someone else, and you have to modify the way you work to get the best out of a camera. That entails some compromises, and sometimes it can be a compromise too far that's makes you move on to different gear. 

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7 minutes ago, gethin said:

@kye yep I think warts and all reviews are very important. Too many reviewers will cut together the nicest looking footage: I guess that's natural. :)

for me I'd watched so much gh5 stuff I wasn't prepared for its shortcomings, (which for me was the highlight rolloff and the shadow noise). I realised in retropect all the nice footage I'd seen controlled those aspects. The thing I learnt from that (and I guess this test shows this too) is that the the perfect camera for you is not the perfect camera for someone else, and you have to modify the way you work to get the best out of a camera. That entails some compromises, and sometimes it can be a compromise too far that's makes you move on to different gear. 

Yeah, I agree.

Although, personally, I separate out the weaknesses / requirements of the camera into things that I could work on and things I can't (or have chosen not to).  For example, if people shoot run-n-gun with the GH5 and get great low-noise footage then I'm very interested in how they do that.  If they do that by having great lighting then that doesn't apply to me and how I shoot (I shoot exclusively in available light) but if they've achieved that in post then I will absolutely work my butt off to learn how to do that.  So in a way, I will use the best examples of what is possible as 'inspiration' for me to push myself and learn more about the craft.

The GH5 is a funny one actually, because for me the GH5 produces absolutely glorious images and so (for the most part) I can just look at the camera as being infinitely good, and if there's issues with my films then it's basically my fault.  I know it's not true for low-light shooting (for example) but mostly I push myself super-hard to create magic.  It means that I'm basically always disappointed with the results, but it makes me learn at the fastest rate I can, so in that sense it's still worthwhile.  Every now and then the factors I've chosen not to control will come together and magic will get recorded to the SD card and it makes me really happy and makes everything worthwhile.

I also have a big skew in my approach because I completely accept that my shooting will be far from perfect, but then I work super hard in post to get the best results I can.  In this sense I think that tests like this are great for reminding everyone that there are many cameras that produce workable images, and my personal opinion is that if you know what you're doing then you can really elevate your work by colour grading and otherwise manipulating images.

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On 7/12/2019 at 2:31 PM, kye said:

Yeah, I agree.

Although, personally, I separate out the weaknesses / requirements of the camera into things that I could work on and things I can't (or have chosen not to).  For example, if people shoot run-n-gun with the GH5 and get great low-noise footage then I'm very interested in how they do that.  If they do that by having great lighting then that doesn't apply to me and how I shoot (I shoot exclusively in available light) but if they've achieved that in post then I will absolutely work my butt off to learn how to do that.  So in a way, I will use the best examples of what is possible as 'inspiration' for me to push myself and learn more about the craft.

The GH5 is a funny one actually, because for me the GH5 produces absolutely glorious images and so (for the most part) I can just look at the camera as being infinitely good, and if there's issues with my films then it's basically my fault.  I know it's not true for low-light shooting (for example) but mostly I push myself super-hard to create magic.  It means that I'm basically always disappointed with the results, but it makes me learn at the fastest rate I can, so in that sense it's still worthwhile.  Every now and then the factors I've chosen not to control will come together and magic will get recorded to the SD card and it makes me really happy and makes everything worthwhile.

I also have a big skew in my approach because I completely accept that my shooting will be far from perfect, but then I work super hard in post to get the best results I can.  In this sense I think that tests like this are great for reminding everyone that there are many cameras that produce workable images, and my personal opinion is that if you know what you're doing then you can really elevate your work by colour grading and otherwise manipulating images.

I agree with all of what you said :)  It was the grading workflow that was the nail in the coffin for me: I was spending way too much time getting the image to a point where it was acceptable.  I admit I have a lot to learn about grading log footage, but for what I do it was totally bonkers spending that amount of time on it.  Akin to linus tech tips shooting with RED, what a whole load of faff, for a tech a blog, they'd get better results quicker with an an a7.  THe z6 is sooooo much quicker, I have a few presets I can dump on the footage for different setups, and usually I just have to tweak the curves a bit, then onto the next.  However, I just shot a local tv ad on the z6, and I was missing the GH5: no log, no 10bit, no stupidly high bitrate, no advanced monitoring :)  Mostly that stuff is a safety net, but just knowing that the gear you use is designed more for that style of shooting, and having those more advanced options available makes you feel more in control.  It's not great working a job and feeling like your kit isn't quite up to the task (even if that is just in your head!).  

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1 hour ago, gethin said:

I agree with all of what you said :)  It was the grading workflow that was the nail in the coffin for me: I was spending way too much time getting the image to a point where it was acceptable.  I admit I have a lot to learn about grading log footage, but for what I do it was totally bonkers spending that amount of time on it.  Akin to linus tech tips shooting with RED, what a whole load of faff, for a tech a blog, they'd get better results quicker with an an a7.  THe z6 is sooooo much quicker, I have a few presets I can dump on the footage for different setups, and usually I just have to tweak the curves a bit, then onto the next.  However, I just shot a local tv ad on the z6, and I was missing the GH5: no log, no 10bit, no stupidly high bitrate, no advanced monitoring :)  Mostly that stuff is a safety net, but just knowing that the gear you use is designed more for that style of shooting, and having those more advanced options available makes you feel more in control.  It's not great working a job and feeling like your kit isn't quite up to the task (even if that is just in your head!).  

I think it's about outcomes and priorities.  If you're a working pro then a lot of it (or maybe almost all of it) is about getting the job done and getting paid and feeding your family, which is just as relevant a goal and perspective as any other, including the pursuit of art.  My goals are to have fun, shoot stuff for my family, and learn new things, so I have minimal time while shooting (because I don't want shooting to be too impactful on my experiences) but I have heaps of time in post to play with footage because I have no deadlines or expectations.

If you can get what you want SOOC then that's perfect because it's more efficient.  Film-making has more aspects to it than anyone can possibly master, which is why it's always best to focus on the things you're good at and only work on the things that you're not good to ensure they're acceptable.  Working in post is a pretty narrow aspect of the whole picture, so even though I'm into it as almost my main focus, I can understand why relatively few people overall give it the attention that I try to.  

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3 hours ago, gethin said:

I agree with all of what you said :)  It was the grading workflow that was the nail in the coffin for me: I was spending way too much time getting the image to a point where it was acceptable.  I admit I have a lot to learn about grading log footage, but for what I do it was totally bonkers spending that amount of time on it.  Akin to linus tech tips shooting with RED, what a whole load of faff, for a tech a blog, they'd get better results quicker with an an a7.  THe z6 is sooooo much quicker, I have a few presets I can dump on the footage for different setups, and usually I just have to tweak the curves a bit, then onto the next.  However, I just shot a local tv ad on the z6, and I was missing the GH5: no log, no 10bit, no stupidly high bitrate, no advanced monitoring :)  Mostly that stuff is a safety net, but just knowing that the gear you use is designed more for that style of shooting, and having those more advanced options available makes you feel more in control.  It's not great working a job and feeling like your kit isn't quite up to the task (even if that is just in your head!).  

Huge reason I like using the EOS-R for pro shooting. I've set a PP in camera and don't grade at all, just exposure adjustments. Looks fantastic.

It's very close to my workflow with stills which is also very minimal.

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