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Andrew Reid

Nikon D5300 Review and why DSLRs are dead for video

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Guest 89e2bdf5797fbbdc17c2cc6da1413fa0

Hey Matt. How many stops better is the D5300 compared to the G6 with Speedbooster? Would it be possible for you to test? TIA

I do want to do some g6/D5300 side-by-sides, but atm it's quite low on my list. I don't want to guess at figures but it is noticeably better. The thing is that it's all a bit subjective anyway. The Pocket for example has very low noise at high ISO's but I would choose the D5300 over the Pocket because the colours remain very good in low light, whereas the Pocket gets really washed out. This is true to a degree with the G6 - it doesn't suffer from macroblocking in low light to the degree that my old 600D did, and detail is there, but it's not 'punchy' in low light like the D5300. One of the main reasons I started looking at the D5300 was because I wanted a low light camera to compliment my G6. I'm glad I got it for many other reasons now, but it hasn't disappointed in the low-light department. It is clearly better IMO, even when the Speed Booster is involved.

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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

The camera manufacturers have tried to move Heaven and Earth to get full-frame image quality out of APS-C and MFT sensors.  They haven't been able to do it.  The difference isn't just in people's "heads"  That's why Sony came out with full-frame mirrorless.  Of course, full-frame has its own drawbacks (large mirrors, lenses and the difficulty of creating a video frame from spread out pixels).  Anyway, when I compared my NIkon d600 vs a Panny G5, like you, I found the colors more real from the full-frame sensor, but "cleaner", due to the closeness of the pixels from the G5.  Of course, shallow DOF is better with larger sensors too.

 

 

I agree.  You can't change physics.  There are more full frame DSLR/mirrorless cameras than ever.  Sony even has a full frame camcorder now.

 

Michael

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I am not the biggest fan of full frame video. Perhaps because it has been overused since the Canon 5d2 when we came from one extreme (small sensor camera) to another extreme with full frame. The habit of completely blurring the background until the subject was like floating in a mist and more than often being out of focus if he moved 5 cm in front or back was really annoying. I think that the Apsc Cine 35mm look is a good balance between subject isolation and focus. If an actor is in an environment he should at least be part of it.

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 The habit of completely blurring the background until the subject was like floating in a mist and more than often being out of focus if he moved 5 cm in front or back was really annoying....  ....If an actor is in an environment he should at least be part of it.

 

I like that now that APS-C has been invented 100+ of photographic teaching is wrong.  When I was in high school taking photography one of the first lessons was how to use depth of field.  I used a 50mm 1.8 lens on a full frame camera.  Actually we didn't call it full frame.  All consumer film SLRs were "full frame" back then.  Any effect can be abused.  That doesn't make the camera used in the abuse a PoS.  Full frame is about more than just depth of field.  It also means if you want a 50mm field of view all you have to do is drop $100.  If you want a 17-40mm field of view you can pick up a weather sealed premium lens for about $800.  Full frame means less distortion and cheaper lenses.  Full frame is versitile.  Reasonably priced OEM parts work as intended without utilizing third party adapters with varying degrees of functionality.

 

As far as depth of field is concerned I would rather have the option of having limited depth of field built in and stopping down than being stuck with a limit on depth of field or having to use an expensive third party adapter.  My problem is the cost of good full frame bodies.  The cost of the bodies are prohibitive for people like me.

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Guest 89e2bdf5797fbbdc17c2cc6da1413fa0

Someone on Vimeo just asked me about what D5300 video settings I use. For my own benefit I decided to answer quite comprehensively (it helped me get everything clear in my head and made me realise there are still a few things I'm not sure about). I thought I'd post it here for other's benefit, and to see if anyone had anything else to offer (or suggest might be done differently).

I also started a forum thread on this topic in the D5300 Vimeo group so that it can be a more permanent resource for people to see/add to: https://vimeo.com/groups/d5300/forum/topic:261998

 

 

I can't claim that these are THE best settings, but this is what has been working best for me so far:

 

In the menu:

Picture Control (profile): I'm currently of the opinion that a Neutral profile is best most of the time. I don't think Flaat is necessary, but I do think you loose out on a lot of perfectly useable detail in the shadows/highlights by shooting with the Standard profile - and for no good reason unless you don't want to grade. You can always put contrast back in post.

 

I set all of the following to OFF in the menu: Active D-Lighting, High ISO NR and Auto ISO sensitivity.

 

WiFi and GPS: OFF!!!!

 

In 'Movie Settings':

Frame rate: You can use whichever frame rate you want (and even switch between PAL/NTSC in the SETUP menu). I really haven't noticed a difference in quality between any of them, though I haven't done or seen any critical tests.

 

'Movie quality': set to HIGH.

 

Microphone: Manual sensitivity

 

'Manual movie settings': ON

 

 

Because I have mainly Nikkor manual-aperture primes that don't communicate with the D5300 at all, I'm always in Manual mode on the top dial. I have tried using my Tokina 11-16 with a complicated setup that involved Auto ISO, a minimum shutter speed setting and either aperture or shutter priority (can't remember which). Auto-exposure worked well in the brief house-walkthrough test I did.

 

I'm using Auto WB quite a lot.

 

Make sure your display is set to movie mode in live view: using the "info" button on the top of the camera, cycle through until the translucent 16:9 letterbox bars appear.

 

Several of the important settings above can be accessed quickly using the "i" button next to the VF.

 

You can snap out of focus assist (magnify) using the OK button.

 

 

I'll leave discussion of using non-manual glass to others.

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Just a little anecdote... I just shot an interview with the 5d3, just regular h264 (not raw). 

 

Had it on my plasma monitor while editing and then a seasoned VFX- artist walks into the room (they were doing vfx for a red epic shot 5k commercial), looks at the screen and blurts out: "Man that looks really good, very sharp".

 

Okay, I had added a slight bit of sharpening in Premiere but I still found it quite funny considering how soft people think the 5d3 is. He had just been watching local tv in SD so I guess that also made a difference. Plasma tv's also just tend to look really good.

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Guest 89e2bdf5797fbbdc17c2cc6da1413fa0

Just a little anecdote...

Despite all the silly bickering that goes on on this forum, the fact is that we're all completely spoiled for choice and all of these cameras, even the lowly Rebels, have put a cinematic image into the hands of anybody who wants it. 

 

For the scientists amongst you (and yes, I should be working):

 

post-33209-0-64259100-1393014007_thumb.j

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I can't claim that these are THE best settings, but this is what has been working best for me so far:

 

In the menu:

Picture Control (profile): I'm currently of the opinion that a Neutral profile is best most of the time. I don't think Flaat is necessary, but I do think you loose out on a lot of perfectly useable detail in the shadows/highlights by shooting with the Standard profile - and for no good reason unless you don't want to grade. You can always put contrast back in post.

 

I set all of the following to OFF in the menu: Active D-Lighting, HDR, Long exposure NR, High ISO NR and Auto ISO sensitivity.

 

...

 

I'm using Auto WB quite a lot.

 

Active D-Lighting, HDR and long exposure NR don't have any effect in video mode so you may as well leave them at whatever settings you would otherwise have them set to for stills. High ISO NR does affect video though. I'm not sure about auto ISO. I wouldn't use auto WB. It's bound to make the WB vary somewhat from shot to shot depending on the colors that appear in the frame, so could make it harder to match shots in editing.

 

As for picture controls, I think all this talk about flat profiles is a bit off the mark. What makes more sense to me when dealing with an 8-bit codec is using a profile that spreads the tones that contain the detail you're most interested in as widely as possible over the histogram. Normally, that should mean getting it to look as close to how you want it in the final grade. For a very low contrast scene though, you could give yourself more room to play with by using a higher contrast profile than usual. If you have to increase contrast in some tonal range in the grade, you'll run out of in-between tonal values and end up with banding effects, but when reducing contrast, you won't have that problem.

 

I think the word 'contrast' is a source of confusion here, so I think it's worth saying something about that. What people think of as a low contrast image is really a trade-off in contrast between the mid tones on the one hand versus the shadows and highlights on the other. In other words, a 'low contrast' image corresponds to a tone curve that is steep in the shadows and highlights, and less steep in the middle. If you use a picture profile with this kind of tone curve, it will produce a file that records more of the tonal gradations the sensor differentiates in the shadows and highlights than in the mid tones, which isn't necessarily a good idea if the mid tones are much more important than the shadows or highlights because you leave yourself with fewer tonal gradations where you want them.

 

Rather than just use one ideal picture profile, I think it's better to choose different profiles for different shooting conditions. I've made a few of my own using the ViewNX2 software that comes with the D5300.

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Guest 89e2bdf5797fbbdc17c2cc6da1413fa0

Active D-Lighting, HDR and long exposure NR don't have any effect in video mode so you may as well leave them at whatever settings you would otherwise have them set to for stills. High ISO NR does affect video though. I'm not sure about auto ISO. I wouldn't use auto WB. It's bound to make the WB vary somewhat from shot to shot depending on the colors that appear in the frame, so could make it harder to match shots in editing.

Yes I knew that about HDR and long exposure - don't know why I put them in!  Are you sure about Active-D? I thought I'd read about needing to turn that off somewhere. Auto ISO does work for video and can be quite useful for auto exposure if you want to keep your shutter and aperture values fixed (can't remember if you do this in aperture or shutter priority though).

 

I use a greycard for critical stuff in mixed lighting conditions, but for casual stuff auto WB has been OK. I use the sunlight, shade and tungsten settings mostly though.

 

What makes more sense to me when dealing with an 8-bit codec is using a profile that spreads the tones that contain the detail you're most interested in as widely as possible over the histogram. 

This is the problem with the D5300 for me with my un-chipped primes - I have no metering, let alone a histogram! So in some ways I guess me choosing the Neutral profile is a way of picking the best middle ground. Also (as with the WB) for casual stuff I'm less inclined to switch profiles often and I've found Neutral works for me in most situations. TBH, I'm yet to do a grade with the 5300 in which I've run into any serious problems with the image degrading from pushing it to far (not that I have intentionally pushed it too far). I'm not the most discerning person with this stuff, but I've just been editing some G6 footage and it falls apart really quick comparatively.

As I was saying, I find that the Neutral profile lets in a decent amount of detail in the shadows and highlights of my 'average' shots, but without stretching the contrast too much. A lot of D5200 footage I've seen (which had to use a standard profile to avoid banding) looked just a little too crushed for my taste. 

 

 

Rather than just use one ideal picture profile, I think it's better to choose different profiles for different shooting conditions. I've made a few of my own using the ViewNX2 software that comes with the D5300.

Agreed. The first two shots of my video below wouldn't have been possible without Flaat_11 (the sun was so bright that morning!). I hadn't even seen the ViewNX software! I'll have to have a play around with it.

 

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I like that now that APS-C has been invented 100+ of photographic teaching is wrong.  When I was in high school taking photography one of the first lessons was how to use depth of field.  I used a 50mm 1.8 lens on a full frame camera.  Actually we didn't call it full frame.  All consumer film SLRs were "full frame" back then.  Any effect can be abused.  That doesn't make the camera used in the abuse a PoS.  Full frame is about more than just depth of field.  It also means if you want a 50mm field of view all you have to do is drop $100.  If you want a 17-40mm field of view you can pick up a weather sealed premium lens for about $800.  Full frame means less distortion and cheaper lenses.  Full frame is versitile.  Reasonably priced OEM parts work as intended without utilizing third party adapters with varying degrees of functionality.

 

As far as depth of field is concerned I would rather have the option of having limited depth of field built in and stopping down than being stuck with a limit on depth of field or having to use an expensive third party adapter.  My problem is the cost of good full frame bodies.  The cost of the bodies are prohibitive for people like me.

 

As others have mentioned, motion film cameras were never "FF", so unless you go for the feel that was created by Digital FF DSLR's in the last few years, you might as well stick with APS-C or similar for video. Besides if you want ultra-thin DoF, you can accomplish that with something like a speedbooster & sigma 18-35 f1.8 zoom. In the end, FF or APS-C doesn't mean much. There are other qualities far more important to get great video/film.

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Are you sure about Active-D? I thought I'd read about needing to turn that off somewhere.

 

 

It's never worked with video on any Nikon. Pretty sure that's still the case with the D5300.

 

 

This is the problem with the D5300 for me with my un-chipped primes - I have no metering, let alone a histogram! 

 

You can still view a histogram even when using a lens that doesn't give you metering. Just take a test still or video, then in playback mode, press the up arrow to cycle through the information views you have enabled. By default the histogram view isn't enabled, so you have to change the settings under MENU->PLAYBACK MENU->Playback display options. I have it set up like this:

 

☠None (image only)
☑ Highlights
☑ RGB histogram
☠Shooting data
☑ Overview
 
This will give you histogram, RGB histogram and blinkies views in playback.
 
The histogram is calculated after the picture style and white balance settings are applied even when shooting a raw still, so keep that in mind.

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Guest 89e2bdf5797fbbdc17c2cc6da1413fa0

You can still view a histogram even when using a lens that doesn't give you metering. Just take a test still or video, then in playback mode, press the up arrow to cycle through the information views you have enabled. By default the histogram view isn't enabled, so you have to change the settings under MENU->PLAYBACK MENU->Playback display options. I have it set up like this:

 

☠None (image only)
☑ Highlights
☑ RGB histogram
☠Shooting data
☑ Overview
 
This will give you histogram, RGB histogram and blinkies views in playback.
 
The histogram is calculated after the picture style and white balance settings are applied even when shooting a raw still, so keep that in mind.

 

This is great, I'll have to give it a try. It's a bit of a pain to have to do this workaround for casual shooting, but much better than nothing for critical stuff. BTW do you know for sure that readings from a still will translate accurately to video mode?

 

Do you have any D5300 stuff online yet? There's so little online it would be great to see some ...

 

Thanks

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BTW do you know for sure that readings from a still will translate accurately to video mode?

 

It's a good question. I just tested by taking a video and a still of the same scene using the neutral profile. Their respective histograms have peaks in the same places, but the video's histogram looks smoother. That makes sense given that the video was 8-bit and the still was 14-bit raw.

 

 

Do you have any D5300 stuff online yet? There's so little online it would be great to see some ...

Nothing yet. Only got my hands on it last month, but I'll let you know when I put something up.

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As others have mentioned, motion film cameras were never "FF", so unless you go for the feel that was created by Digital FF DSLR's in the last few years, you might as well stick with APS-C or similar for video. Besides if you want ultra-thin DoF, you can accomplish that with something like a speedbooster & sigma 18-35 f1.8 zoom. In the end, FF or APS-C doesn't mean much. There are other qualities far more important to get great video/film.

 

I was adressing a poster who was saying the Full frame look was undesirable.  I don't care when it started to appear on the video side.  It's ridiculous to argue that there is something wrong with the full frame look.  If that statement was true over 100 years worth of photographic art is terrible.  Which of course it is not.  To be honest with you I still shoot quite a bit of medium format film.  To me 35mm film is small potatoes.  You want to talk about shallow depth of field?  I've got to really think about what I'm doing and nail my focus when I'm using my 150 mm Zeiss lens wide open.  I think this conversation highlights the reason Canon and Nikon have so far chosen to focus on their core market... photography.  They aren't going to lose their core customers to cater to someone who thinks there is something wrong with full frame.

 

 

Err apart from the 50mm, FF lenses are definitely not cheap.

 

 

I never said "cheap."  I said "cheaper."  Everything is relative.  Can you tell me which 4/3 lens costs $800 has a 17-40mm field of view, is metal and weather sealed, and takes excellent pictures?

 

All these cameras have their strengths and weaknesses.  That's why there is a discussion.

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I like that now that APS-C has been invented 100+ of photographic teaching is wrong. 

In fact you are confirming what I was saying. We are talking about cinematography and not photography here!!!!!!!!!!! The standart for cinematography is Cine 35mm, which actually is about the same as APSC. So yes the standard is APSC in most motion picture film for more than half a century.

 

As a professional photographer, I can tell you that even if photo and video share many many traits, in practice there are some big difference. Photography is an instant, video is time and continuity. For example if you take 4 photos for a portrait and that one is focused, you photo session is good. But if you are filming someone and that he is in focus only 1/4 of the time you filmed him, your video will be bad.

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In fact you are confirming what I was saying. We are talking about cinematography and not photography here!!!!!!!!!!!

 

We are discussing asthetics.  My eyes don't care whether you call something a video or a picture.  If the background is distracting my eyes want it blurred and out of the way.

 

Guys full frame wasn't used in the movie industry because of practical concerns.  It was not some asthetic decision.  I don't know why people are trying to reimagine the story.  You guys realize IMAX film exists.  It's gotten pretty good reviews... except the motion sickness from the enveloping experience.  If shooting with IMAX film was as easy and cost the same as shooting with 16mm film it would be used in the majority of film productions.  We all know this.

 

 

Photography is an instant, video is time and continuity. For example if you take 4 photos for a portrait and that one is focused, you photo session is good. But if you are filming someone and that he is in focus only 1/4 of the time you filmed him, your video will be bad.

 

So moral of the story is regardless of what camera you choose learn to use your equipment.  Again as someone who shoots medium format film I am amazed at the number of people who think 35mm permanently has razor thin DoF.  Change the apeture and/or subject camera distance.

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In fact you are confirming what I was saying. We are talking about cinematography and not photography here!!!!!!!!!!! The standart for cinematography is Cine 35mm, which actually is about the same as APSC. So yes the standard is APSC in most motion picture film for more than half a century.

I hear what you are saying regarding APS-C sensor size similar to 35mm film, but perhaps full frame helps make up for other DSLR deficiencies, such as dynamic range, to give it more of a film look.  Also the film industry probably used very expensive lenses on their film cameras, that full frame can more easily mimic at a cost independents and amateurs can afford.  Even beyond bokeh, for some reason, full frame does look more filmic to my eyes under most conditions.  It's subtle, but it's there.

 

Michael

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