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Andrew Reid

Sigma Fp review (part 1) and interview - Cinema DNG RAW internal recording!

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2 hours ago, Brian Williams said:

Having recently gone from X-T3 to the FP, and the fact that I’m on holiday in Denmark with my family at the moment with the FP, I’d say go for the X-T3.

Not to say I’m disappointed with the FP at all, but the fact that I’m having to edit all the day’s footage each night in Resolve so that I can clear out the T5 for the next day’s footage isn’t the most convenient. And having the T5 strapped to the camera also takes away from the compactness of the camera. And I’d even be willing to shoot with the internal 8bit for the sake of losing the SSD, but, damn, fast sd cards are so much more expensive for way less capacity than the T5.

Plus, for stills, at night, the FP’s AF isn’t ideal.

Can you record 8 bit to the SSD?

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10 hours ago, Brian Williams said:

Having recently gone from X-T3 to the FP, and the fact that I’m on holiday in Denmark with my family at the moment with the FP, I’d say go for the X-T3.

Not to say I’m disappointed with the FP at all, but the fact that I’m having to edit all the day’s footage each night in Resolve so that I can clear out the T5 for the next day’s footage isn’t the most convenient. And having the T5 strapped to the camera also takes away from the compactness of the camera. And I’d even be willing to shoot with the internal 8bit for the sake of losing the SSD, but, damn, fast sd cards are so much more expensive for way less capacity than the T5.

Plus, for stills, at night, the FP’s AF isn’t ideal.

What you could do instead of being forced into a daily edit, is to simply convert the RAW to a LOG format, and archive the files on a 4TB drive for after the holiday.

Or try SlimRAW transcode app.

Uncompressed 4K RAW is always going to be challenging for travels and shooting a lot... It's meant for sparing use on an art project or short film.... it might even be better to shoot 10bit LOG when the next firmware update comes out because there are times when the sheer file sizes of RAW are just going to be a headache. In same way there will be times when an X-T3 gets a shot that the Fp's autofocus would be too much of a slouch for, but conversely times when the Fp will give you a wow factor that APS-C is too limited for.

In terms of the stills I like the Fp as a gentleman's 'artist's tool' but one that is down to earth... practical.... taking it slow, not too showy. Bit like a Leica M, but way more flexible.

In terms of the video I like how unique it is. A mini S1 with RAW. How great is that!! Cinema DNG 4K is real RAW, and it's full frame, and it's there on my SD card or SSD when I want it.

13 hours ago, Anaconda_ said:

It's on the radar, but aside from IBIS I feel like the XT30 has the upper hand for personal usage...

That said, I am to-and-fro-ing between the 3 Fuji's. This week I can get XT30 and kit 15-45 for 600e, which seems too good to be true... or swap the lens out for 35mm f2 for 860e - but then its worth springing the extra for the XT3 35mm f2 for 1222 euros... And so the terrible cycle continues.

I had the X-T30 briefly and it's a bargain. However, the X-H1 is so much more. The feel when you pick it up is amazing, really high-end, and ergonomically it's Fuji's best camera aside from maybe the GFX 100. The X-T30 feels REALLY cheap in comparison. I can nail manual focus all day through the EVF on the X-H1 even at F0.95, and I can reel off handheld shots as if it's on a tripod. For locked-down handheld shots the IBIS is even better than the best (GH5 / Olympus)

You can tell the X-H1 was a narrow margin camera for Fuji and that they make more money on the X-T3... The way it is engineered, the springy almost silent shutter, the quality of the components is out of this world.

It'll be a tragedy if it does not get an update in 2020 with the X-T3's sensor.

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13 hours ago, thebrothersthre3 said:

Can you record 8 bit to the SSD?

Yup.

Recording RAW is a pro choice, there's no way around that and for holiday videos and snaps as you've found, isn't ideal. Maybe once they include some kind of log recording through firmware it would be better suited to that. But i see this as a sensor in a box and you build everything around that.

The cinematic DNG test that Lars posted back there is perhaps some of the best footage that's been publicly shown from the camera. These are very challenging scenes for any camera and the fp does a fantastic job. However their post workflow isn't ideal - i see exposure wavering between frames which is either a factor of the firmware version they are using or the fact that appears to be batch processed through lightroom.

The native gamut of the camera is certainly beyond 709, so therefore as i guessed that workflow is going to be the nut to crack. I've shot primaries off a reference monitor in P3 and 709 and can clearly see the difference. So any workflow built around 709 (Adobe) will somehow be messing with the native gamut to squeeze it into the 709 bucket meaning colour clipping or scaling - all warning signs for me that the final image will be compromised. Another reason why the camera isn't for the masses.

I personally would not archive DNGs in any log or compressed format but slimRAW is a good choice. I don't see the point of having a camera that can dump out RAW then transcoding to a less format. Just get a camera that shoots in the format you need.

This will be sigmas marketing issue. I understand what they're aiming for but it's a small market. Steve Huff certainly has fallen for the stills side and i get my VF today i think, in which case then i can spend some time using it like that. 

cheers
Paul

 

 

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On 11/27/2019 at 10:52 PM, thebrothersthre3 said:

Can you record 8 bit to the SSD?

Yes, but once you have that SSD strapped on, you can’t help but feel the pull of that 12bit calling out to you, it’s hard to resist.

17 hours ago, Andrew Reid said:

Or try SlimRAW transcode app.

Yes, I did consider this quite a bit before leaving, but $50 is a lot for something I’m worried I will only use this once. Unless I get off my ass and start actually shooting things beyond just family videos.

 

But to be honest, I brought a GoPro Max with me as well, and have probably shot 80% of my footage with that, just shows small and versatile wins out over bigger with better IQ sometimes, and this is in comparison to the smallest FF you can get. This overcapture footage really is a lot of fun to play around with, after the fact, even if I look like an ass when shooting it.

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I downloaded the CinemaDNG RAW sample files from youtu .be Ry35hkDsfcU and they look fenomenal, 3840x2160px (4K-UHD), I reviewed the specs, questions and answers from B&H and they say it uses the full with of the sensor, which is 6,000px wide, so there has to be some sort of downscaling, what isn't clear is the algorithm (and I have asked without getting an answer on the YouTube video and on B&H) used for downscaling, for 4K (DCI/UHD) and for FHD 1080p, I'll guess that there are some options, crop, pixel binning, and as the EOS R does for cropped 1080p from 4K-UHD, crop and downsampling to 50%, but I hate to guess.

I really want to know those specs to be sure if the purchase is worth doing. Another factor that got me thinking is the possibility to import those CinemaDNG files into Adobe Premiere. On DaVinci Resolve wasn't an issue, but I couldn't figure out how to use the footage on Premiere, I used After Effects importing the files as RAW image sequence, the bad thing is that the Camera RAW dialog only appears while importing or "opening the original" you are only able to "grade" using the first frame, a workaround to "grade" the footage using other frame than the first one is opening the desired frame in Photoshop, "grading" the footage and exporting the settings to a file, then, using that settings file in After Effects RAW dialog, the good thing is that has all the advantages of the Adobe Camera RAW, which has a vast library of lens profiles, something missing (or maybe I don't know where it is) on DaVinci Resolve, the bad thing, is that exporting is painfully slow compared to DaVinci Resolve, even on a Mac Pro with a 8 core  16 thread Xeon CPU.

If some one can give me a light on how it achieves the FHD CinemaDNG RAW files, line skipping, pixel binning or downscaling, I would appreciated, because I'm hesitating on buying this camera.

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1 hour ago, RodrigoPolo said:

If some one can give me a light on how it achieves the FHD CinemaDNG RAW files, line skipping, pixel binning or downscaling, I would appreciated, because I'm hesitating on buying this camera.

They are a full pixel readout from the sensor (6K RAW), then somewhere in the image pipeline the RAW data is resampled to 4K.

There is no line skipping or pixel binning on the sensor, so it is a very crisp and clean image.

If you look at some of the stills cameras and DSLRs, they offer RAW stills settings (Med 4K, Low 2.5K, etc.) at lower resolutions too... So a similar thing happens on the Fp, but in RAW video mode, with no overheating or anything like that. Quite incredible.

Premiere support for Cinema DNG is not good, don't bother with that, and either transcoding to ProRes or editing in Davinci will serve you much better performance wise.

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2 hours ago, The ghost of squig said:

Very impressive at -3 stops, doesn't lose saturation like the Pocket 4K and X-T3 do.

This guy is not a fan. I suspect he's never graded linear raw before

His complaint about the footage not looking flat in RAW is stupid. However what do you make of the gradient issue? That does seem pretty horrid looking. 

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19 hours ago, RodrigoPolo said:

If some one can give me a light on how it achieves the FHD CinemaDNG RAW files, line skipping, pixel binning or downscaling, I would appreciated, because I'm hesitating on buying this camera.

AFAIK it's a mode on the sensor itself so the data coming off the sensor is binned in that mode. This is why the rolling shutter is so much better in that specific mode. It is also 12 bit even to SD Card.

However the FHD can show aliasing on smooth lines

IMHO you are better shooting UHD (even in 8 bit) and downsampling to HD in post. Much, much better result assuming you can achieve the frame rate you want.

The sensor (if it is the one we all think it is) does have a 4K DCI binned mode in 14 bit - this would be really nice to have. Otherwise all the cDNG formats are 12 bit max, so you will only see 12 stops max (real stops)  from the image. I have tested stills DNG with cine DNG and can quite clearly see the missing stops at the top end. I would say it's closer to 1 to 1.5 stops difference.

But....

If you look at the S1H for example (same sensor perhaps?) in 6K mode C5D is claiming 12.7 stops of range. Well the difference is that the S1H is *probably* doing highlight reconstruction as part of white balancing and baking out a movie. This would yield a few more stops on a wedge chart (it's ideal for wedge charts!). It would be interesting to see a RAW test with the S1H. But the fp will get you the same range, with reconstruction (Lightroom does it anyway and resolve it's a checkbox) perhaps more.

Colourwise it's good. I can match Red footage but the Red has more range, at least 2 or 3 stops more on a practical basis. I've shot side by side through ranges. The ISO matches fairly well as well but i would tend to expose the fp slightly higher when possible to protect the shadows.

As for those Videos - RAW is not simple to handle properly - simple as that.

The second video shows the guy really has *no idea* what he's talking about or understands what RAW is and sensors in general, it's almost comically bad.

The bad blacks - it's difficult to say without seeing the RAW he shot - i suspect it is massively underexposed and he's pulled the shadows up. The thing about RAW is that with no compression you will see each pixel the sensor saw. As there is no noise there i guess the ISO was very low therefore probably just failed to expose correctly. Because it's linear - as i keep saying - the first 3 stops are represented in 7 code values. Usually compression just screws this totally and they're expanded out and noise from compression hides this but this is what the sensor (any sensor!) sees

cheers
Paul

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20 hours ago, RodrigoPolo said:

used for downscaling, for 4K (DCI/UHD) and for FHD 1080p

I missed the question about scaling.

I know from sigma themselves that the whole 6K image is read and is scaled down on the camera. This is also done to help reduce any aliasing as there is no OLPF in front of the sensor (which would make it a terrible stills camera). Trades offs.

Is it worth it? Well i got one as a B Cam and i can rig and do things i wouldn't be able to previously. It's an amazing image. Basically a sensor in a box. I don't know anything else in that price range. Really awesome little camera.

Downsides?

- You do have to understand RAW and Post workflows
- The firmware can be improved and hopefully sigma will improve the tonality (there's nothing technical stopping them)
- The screen isn't articulated.
- It's not very ergonomic to hold.
- The VF makes it very easy to focus (i have it now) but adds bulk and of course it's in a fixed position you can't look down at the camera, always in front of your face
- No mechanical shutter for stills (but not been an issue for me yet)

Lots of SSDs needed and high capacity cards!
 

cheers
Paul

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I think you can underexpose a little to protect the highlights with this camera, and pull up the shadows a bit in the editing, I see a lot of video's with clipped whites that I feel could have been avoided if the sensor had been exposed a bit under.

Paul what do you think about this?

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6 minutes ago, Lars Steenhoff said:

I think you can underexpose a little to protect the highlights with this camera, and pull up the shadows a bit in the editing, I see a lot of video's with clipped whites that I feel could have been avoided if the sensor had been exposed a bit under.

Paul what do you think about this?

Scene dependent really and what you're looking to achieve.

- Outside with clouds - you can set zebra to 100 and when the clouds clip you can recover some of that because the green and red channels won't have clipped (getting a RAW clipping indicator for each RGB channel would be really useful)
- If it's dark and you have latitude, better to expose up and bump up the ISO and then take that down to get cleaner shadows
- But if you're going to clip the highlights you really need, then bumping up the shadows will the best bet - as you say.

In reality it's probably safer in a full dynamic range scene to expose 'properly' and have a bit of latitude for moving stuff around.

Just be mindful that the shadows, at the sensor side, have progressively less tonality the lower you go and all sensors are like that!

cheers
Paul

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10 hours ago, paulinventome said:

Downsides?

- No mechanical shutter for stills (but not been an issue for me yet)

 

Doesn't flash for stills depend on mechanical shutters?

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I always wonder how those test charts look when the camera is moved slightly, like normally when you have moire you could move the camera a bit to change the  moire appearance to a different pattern.

Also its clear that 6k without downsampling is the winner, to be expected.

My conclusion on the sigma image quality:

- dynamic range is not the best but still very nice because none of the pixels are compressed

-The downsampling algorithm in combination with no antialias filter can give some moire artefact and loss of resolution.

-some data is lost because its not 14 bits raw, this can show up in parts of the image when pushing.

 

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20 hours ago, paulinventome said:

AFAIK it's a mode on the sensor itself so the data coming off the sensor is binned in that mode. This is why the rolling shutter is so much better in that specific mode. It is also 12 bit even to SD Card.

However the FHD can show aliasing on smooth lines

IMHO you are better shooting UHD (even in 8 bit) and downsampling to HD in post. Much, much better result assuming you can achieve the frame rate you want.

The sensor (if it is the one we all think it is) does have a 4K DCI binned mode in 14 bit - this would be really nice to have. Otherwise all the cDNG formats are 12 bit max, so you will only see 12 stops max (real stops)  from the image. I have tested stills DNG with cine DNG and can quite clearly see the missing stops at the top end. I would say it's closer to 1 to 1.5 stops difference.

But....

If you look at the S1H for example (same sensor perhaps?) in 6K mode C5D is claiming 12.7 stops of range. Well the difference is that the S1H is *probably* doing highlight reconstruction as part of white balancing and baking out a movie. This would yield a few more stops on a wedge chart (it's ideal for wedge charts!). It would be interesting to see a RAW test with the S1H. But the fp will get you the same range, with reconstruction (Lightroom does it anyway and resolve it's a checkbox) perhaps more.

Colourwise it's good. I can match Red footage but the Red has more range, at least 2 or 3 stops more on a practical basis. I've shot side by side through ranges. The ISO matches fairly well as well but i would tend to expose the fp slightly higher when possible to protect the shadows.

As for those Videos - RAW is not simple to handle properly - simple as that.

The second video shows the guy really has *no idea* what he's talking about or understands what RAW is and sensors in general, it's almost comically bad.

The bad blacks - it's difficult to say without seeing the RAW he shot - i suspect it is massively underexposed and he's pulled the shadows up. The thing about RAW is that with no compression you will see each pixel the sensor saw. As there is no noise there i guess the ISO was very low therefore probably just failed to expose correctly. Because it's linear - as i keep saying - the first 3 stops are represented in 7 code values. Usually compression just screws this totally and they're expanded out and noise from compression hides this but this is what the sensor (any sensor!) sees

cheers
Paul

Thank you.

17 hours ago, Lars Steenhoff said:

Thanks, good points

for example I found this clip and I feel it was a bit overexposed in most of the shots

 

And is this clip you can see you can pull the almost dark shadows to a normal exposure very well

 

I have looked all over YouTube for sample footage, and most of the results show videos that are overexposed, with highlights clipped, I guess they didn't shoot RAW or didn't have a way to verify the exposition. The best video available on YouTube is this, which has the RAW sample footage available for download: 

 

8 hours ago, The ghost of squig said:

Pixel binning I guess, that was my concern, so, just like the Sony a7III, the Nikon z6, the EOS R, the DJI Mavic 2 Pro, etc. if you want sharper results, avoid downscaling, use crop mode :-/ 

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I downloaded the shot with the girl next to the water and when I push the exposure a bit you can clearly see moire in the dress around her hip.

good thing I plan on using some vintage lenses that are not that clinically sharp.

 

moire.jpg

Screenshot 2019-12-01 at 14.42.34.png

I'm happy with highlight recovery in resolve, it gets back some very hot spot on her arm.

 

 

test_1.1.1.jpg

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