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Are Sony sensors ruining video with the 'Sony look'?


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21 hours ago, omega1978 said:

Thank you. Ok when you compare Arri Alexa Classic( with some vintage lens ) with S1 and a 24-70 Tamron( that ads a lot of Contras ) i think as consumer we are in a good position for what we pay 😜

I'm skeptical.  Just because something is the best of the available options doesn't mean that the available options were the best ones that could have been created.

During the last decade we've gotten a 16x increase in sensor resolution (8K vs 2K) combined with a radical price decrease (compare the launch price of the Canon R5 or the UMP 12K with the launch price of the original Alexa), and yet we haven't even matched the colour science or dynamic range.

The fact we have gotten radical "improvements" but still view the decade-old Alexa as having superior image quality means that the last decade was spent improving things that didn't matter, or at least weren't the most critical.

It's like if I cooked you a meal but you found that it tasted quite bad, and I said I was going to work on it.  I come back a decade later and you taste the food and it still tastes bad, and you ask me "you said you were going to improve your cooking - what happened" and I replied "I did improve my cooking - now for the same budget I can make a huge amount of the food that tastes like that".

10 hours ago, MicahMahaffey said:

I think they still look good and different than my sony cams not just because of how its processes, but the fact that theres no phase detect autofocus on the sensor. 

Looking at side by side comparisons of current sensors, the contrast detect autofocus on the lumix cams gives the footage a much more pleasing look. 

If you crop in on a sony, you get like halos on edges from the sensors auto focus system. This gives sony cams a subtle feeling of digital sharpness. 

The edges you see when you zoom in are to do with the amount of sharpening, noise reduction, and compression being applied to the image, which Sony has (prior to the A7S3) had a pretty poor track record of.  The autofocus system of a sensor has nothing to do with compression artefacts.

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11 hours ago, PannySVHS said:

I am surprised that S1/H,5 footage on youtube does not do the camera justice. The colour out of this cam is awesome. Unfortunately I have not shot much with it since last summer. S1 is best bang for the buck by far in my opinion.

I’ve seen some utter trash (a lot of what is out there) and some really wonderful stuff.

What it comes down to is what it often/usually comes down to and that is the skill of the operator + the glass used + the grade.

The typical reviewer tests will rarely showcase anything to it’s best other than by accident, but those folks who actually own something and work with and at it, can demonstrate something far superior by design.

I don’t claim to be any kind of expert but with the combination of camera choice (S1H) + lens choice + diffusion filter + tweaked profile in camera + basic initial tweaks in editing before final light grade, using a LUT I created from a photography Lightroom preset I created, used at 25-30%, I’m getting a consistent end result that I really like.

And the YouTube anyway... All kinds of nasty compression etc.

I only upload to Vimeo and in 4K.

It’s all still a work in progress, albeit somewhat limited progress because of the limited chances to actually get out and shoot real projects that are almost impossible to recreate from home.

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11 hours ago, PannySVHS said:

I am surprised that S1/H,5 footage on youtube does not do the camera justice. The colour out of this cam is awesome. Unfortunately I have not shot much with it since last summer. S1 is best bang for the buck by far in my opinion.

I’ve seen some utter trash (a lot of what is out there) and some really wonderful stuff.

What it comes down to is what it often/usually comes down to and that is the skill of the operator + the glass used + the grade.

The typical reviewer tests will rarely showcase anything to it’s best other than by accident, but those folks who actually own something and work with and at it, can demonstrate something far superior by design.

I don’t claim to be any kind of expert but with the combination of camera choice (S1H) + lens choice + diffusion filter + tweaked profile in camera + basic initial tweaks in editing before final light grade, using a LUT I created from a photography Lightroom preset I created, used at 25-30%, I’m getting a consistent end result that I really like.

And the YouTube anyway... All kinds of nasty compression etc.

I only upload to Vimeo and in 4K.

It’s all still a work in progress, albeit somewhat limited progress because of the limited chances to actually get out and shoot real projects that are almost impossible to recreate from home.

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11 hours ago, PannySVHS said:

I am surprised that S1/H,5 footage on youtube does not do the camera justice. The colour out of this cam is awesome. Unfortunately I have not shot much with it since last summer. S1 is best bang for the buck by far in my opinion.

I’ve seen some utter trash (a lot of what is out there) and some really wonderful stuff.

What it comes down to is what it often/usually comes down to and that is the skill of the operator + the glass used + the grade.

The typical reviewer tests will rarely showcase anything to it’s best other than by accident, but those folks who actually own something and work with and at it, can demonstrate something far superior by design.

I don’t claim to be any kind of expert but with the combination of camera choice (S1H) + lens choice + diffusion filter + tweaked profile in camera + basic initial tweaks in editing before final light grade, using a LUT I created from a photography Lightroom preset I created, used at 25-30%, I’m getting a consistent end result that I really like.

And the YouTube anyway... All kinds of nasty compression etc.

I only upload to Vimeo and in 4K.

It’s all still a work in progress, albeit somewhat limited progress because of the limited chances to actually get out and shoot real projects that are almost impossible to recreate from home.

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22 minutes ago, MrSMW said:

Posted 3x for effect 🤪

If it's worth saying, it's worth repeating, right?

also, if it's worth saying it's definitely worth repeating.  

25 minutes ago, MrSMW said:

What it comes down to is what it often/usually comes down to and that is the skill of the operator + the glass used + the grade.

The typical reviewer tests will rarely showcase anything to it’s best other than by accident, but those folks who actually own something and work with and at it, can demonstrate something far superior by design.

I completely agree.

To put things into perspective, here's a video from the GH1 that I saw shared recently.  To my eyes, it look better than almost everything I see posted in the last couple of years.

1080p camera, 1080p upload, from a camera that is so old it doesn't change hands much anymore, but when it does it can be had for about $100.

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@kye Two years or so back we had a thread with classy classic 8bit stuff. We were discussing how gh1,2,3 and even 4 shooters did much better than gh5 fans on vimeo. How they were rather artisitc than unimaginative techconsumers and advocats of putting anything dull in slow motion. Here is a repost of a video I posted back then, if I remember correctly. If not, anyway, one of my favorite GH1 clips on vimeo. Your example above is a splendid demonstration of craft and love for the image, showing a convincing image for sure.

 

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I think Sensors are there, but the video modes are not. Once the Sensors can do the same readout in video mode as they can with photos it will be game over. The Fuji APSC line up as well as Sonys or any of the current full frame cameras give within a half stop to the same dynamic range as the Arri Alexa when taking RAW stills. 

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12 hours ago, PannySVHS said:

@kye Two years or so back we had a thread with classy classic 8bit stuff. We were discussing how gh1,2,3 and even 4 shooters did much better than gh5 fans on vimeo. How they were rather artisitc than unimaginative techconsumers and advocats of putting anything dull in slow motion. Here is a repost of a video I posted back then, if I remember correctly. If not, anyway, one of my favorite GH1 clips on vimeo. Your example above is a splendid demonstration of craft and love for the image, showing a convincing image for sure.

 

Yeah, that's a great looking video!

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14 hours ago, TomTheDP said:

I think Sensors are there, but the video modes are not. Once the Sensors can do the same readout in video mode as they can with photos it will be game over. The Fuji APSC line up as well as Sonys or any of the current full frame cameras give within a half stop to the same dynamic range as the Arri Alexa when taking RAW stills. 

I think you raise an interesting point about the pipeline.  The video files that many cameras produce are only a pale impression of the capabilities of the sensor, and that is definitely the case when cameras have 8-bit low-bitrate codecs.  

Do you think this is also true for the RAW shooting cameras we now have, such as the BM or Prores-RAW cameras?  I ask the question because although I don't think that anything should be missing with those setups, I wonder if there's something you're aware of that I'm not?

In terms of DR, I think that we are most certainly not there.  I still think that there is benefit to having more DR than even an Alexa has, at least, when shooting fast in uncontrolled circumstances.  For example, I would like to have perfect exposure on a subject while also being able to have the sunset in the background, whereas (IIRC) even the widest DR cameras still clip more of the sunset than you'd want if the subject is placed at the right IRE for skin tones.

The Alexa (apart from being generally regarded as more capable than ARRI suggest) employs a simultaneously-combined-dual-gain architecture combined with 10-year old sensor tech.  The latest sensor tech has gotten a lot closer to that performance using a single-simultaneous-gain architecture, but if we took some of the zillions of pixels we now have and sacrificed them to implement that architecture, we could easily leapfrog the Alexa DR, which I think would create absolutely stunning images beyond what we have seen from current sensors in anything other than their sweet-spots.

Going back to the destructive image pipeline that happens inside consumer cameras, it really makes me angry that in many cases, people have bought a sensor with X performance, an image processor with Y performance, and an SDcard card writer with Z performance, but instead of giving the overall performance of the least capable component (bottleneck), we get something like 10% of the bottleneck.  Things like having a 709 profile that deliberately clips the top few stops of DR instead of putting in an aggressive knee for example is ridiculous and is simply just an adjustment of the profile itself and requires no hardware changes at all.  

Then people start wanting to hack the camera, and the manufacturers respond by encrypting and otherwise preventing these alterations.  In effect, you are paying extra money for each camera you buy, in order for the manufacturer to prevent you from being able to get the full benefit of the product that you are buying.

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13 hours ago, kye said:

I think you raise an interesting point about the pipeline.  The video files that many cameras produce are only a pale impression of the capabilities of the sensor, and that is definitely the case when cameras have 8-bit low-bitrate codecs.  

Do you think this is also true for the RAW shooting cameras we now have, such as the BM or Prores-RAW cameras?  I ask the question because although I don't think that anything should be missing with those setups, I wonder if there's something you're aware of that I'm not?

In terms of DR, I think that we are most certainly not there.  I still think that there is benefit to having more DR than even an Alexa has, at least, when shooting fast in uncontrolled circumstances.  For example, I would like to have perfect exposure on a subject while also being able to have the sunset in the background, whereas (IIRC) even the widest DR cameras still clip more of the sunset than you'd want if the subject is placed at the right IRE for skin tones.

I'm not 100% sure. I was always much more impressed by the RAW stills than video out of any camera I've used. Maybe its just the 14 bit depth that makes the difference rather than Dynamic range. 

FLOG on my Fuji defiantly doesn't compare to its RAW photos but maybe that's not the case with Prores RAW. I just tested my S1's stills against its internal VLOG 10 bit and you are right its really close.

Not a super scientific test but I shot exposing for the skin at 0ev and then exposing for the sky in both RAW and 10 bit VLOG. 

10bit

gDSlCAM.jpg

10 bit

6jOAsZW.jpg

RAW

qb4cAzu.jpg

RAW

k12o35j.jpg

The RAW does look better but dynamic range seems similar. The rolloff in 10 bit was better as I was using Emotive color's Alexa lut. 

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DXOmark rates the Panasonic S1 dynamic range as 14.5 stops.
It rates the RED helium at 15.2 stops and the RED Epic at 14.8 stops. 

If the stills and video dynamic range are the same on the S1 it would mean the Panasonic S1 is only .3 stops behind the RED Epic Dragon and .7 stops behind the Helium. Thats pretty wild. 

I am guessing the Alexa is around 16 stops in comparison. 

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The Venice has a great look, pretty similar to Alexa LF but a bit sharper. I have noticed that cameras with on-chip autofocus (DPAF or whatever the A7S3 has) tend to have a blotchier shadow noise texture. Venice has a nice noise texture. S1 seems nice, too, but the HEVC codec smooths out all the noise. 

Alexa dynamic range is no longer that much better than the competition. It's largely that Alexas are used on sets with higher budgets. Some of the easiest footage to work with in post, though, imo.

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25 minutes ago, HockeyFan12 said:

The Venice has a great look, pretty similar to Alexa LF but a bit sharper. I have noticed that cameras with on-chip autofocus (DPAF or whatever the A7S3 has) tend to have a blotchier shadow noise texture. Venice has a nice noise texture. S1 seems nice, too, but the HEVC codec smooths out all the noise. 

Alexa dynamic range is no longer that much better than the competition. It's largely that Alexas are used on sets with higher budgets. Some of the easiest footage to work with in post, though, imo.

I'd assume the Venice doesn't have the dynamic range of an Alexa. Though it seems to be accepted on higher end productions/work. The price of it is certainly high end haha.

I am really really close to getting a Ninja V. Seems like it would solve the texture issue with 4K 60p on the Panasonic. Though less noise isn't always the worst thing tbh. 

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9 minutes ago, TomTheDP said:

I'd assume the Venice doesn't have the dynamic range of an Alexa. Though it seems to be accepted on higher end productions/work. The price of it is certainly high end haha.

I am really really close to getting a Ninja V. Seems like it would solve the texture issue with 4K 60p on the Panasonic. Though less noise isn't always the worst thing tbh. 

Curious what your findings are if you do get one. If the color and texture feel any different. 6K full frame raw sounds pretty wild.

I think the Venice has a bit less DR but the color is excellent and the noise texture is really organic. I was hoping the A7SIII would be a mini-Venice but I think the processing and noise texture aren't quite there. 

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On 4/4/2021 at 8:17 AM, kye said:

 

To put things into perspective, here's a video from the GH1 that I saw shared recently.  To my eyes, it look better than almost everything I see posted in the last couple of years.

 

Wow Panasonic really nailed colour back then. When I look at this and the colour from the 5Dmkii I have to wonder what the hell happened since then? Maybe my negative perception of colour in consumer cams 2014-2020ish mostly comes from Sony dominance and the pandora's box of giving S-Log to the masses.

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6 hours ago, austinchimp said:

Wow Panasonic really nailed colour back then. When I look at this and the colour from the 5Dmkii I have to wonder what the hell happened since then? Maybe my negative perception of colour in consumer cams 2014-2020ish mostly comes from Sony dominance and the pandora's box of giving S-Log to the masses.

Nah, it's pretty bad. Do a search for even Canon C70 footage. Nothing you can find will look this good. There's tons of flat looking footage, but almost nothing with a standard balanced REC709 grade. The C300 Mkii looked good to me as well. One of the easiest cameras to get beautiful skin tone out of.

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On 4/6/2021 at 4:21 AM, TomTheDP said:

DXOmark rates the Panasonic S1 dynamic range as 14.5 stops.
It rates the RED helium at 15.2 stops and the RED Epic at 14.8 stops. 

If the stills and video dynamic range are the same on the S1 it would mean the Panasonic S1 is only .3 stops behind the RED Epic Dragon and .7 stops behind the Helium. Thats pretty wild. 

I am guessing the Alexa is around 16 stops in comparison. 

Any idea what the minimum ISO would be for the RED cameras?  I see the S1 gets its 14.5 stops at ISO 50 but it takes quite a dip at ISO 100 (though still very good 13.66).      Are people shooting videos with the S1 at ISO 50?

Just curious.

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1 hour ago, noone said:

Any idea what the minimum ISO would be for the RED cameras?  I see the S1 gets its 14.5 stops at ISO 50 but it takes quite a dip at ISO 100 (though still very good 13.66).      Are people shooting videos with the S1 at ISO 50?

Just curious.

By definition, any digital sensor (except Foveon) has 2.5 stops over 18% gray at base ISO, and that's not accounting for different channels clipping before others. Some digital cameras use 12.5% gray as middle gray to get 3 stops. The S1 has +6 stops at base 640 ISO. So I'm guessing what that actually is is base ISO (50-ish) with a digital push.

Of course, the read out for video is apparently 12 bit, which should limit the camera to 12 stops, but Panasonic claims 14, so I feel like we just don't have enough information (or I don't have enough technical knowledge) to make any conclusions based on specs alone. But I speculate 640 ISO V Log is base ISO with a digital push. This is why the dual native ISOs change with scene file or picture style or whatever it's called I suspect.

 

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On 4/6/2021 at 10:51 PM, BenEricson said:

Nah, it's pretty bad. Do a search for even Canon C70 footage. Nothing you can find will look this good. There's tons of flat looking footage, but almost nothing with a standard balanced REC709 grade. The C300 Mkii looked good to me as well. One of the easiest cameras to get beautiful skin tone out of.

Yeah I'm really conflicted about log profiles on consumer cameras. I honestly don't like the way most footage is graded these days, and the popular style of 'cinematic grading' which to me usually looks flat and weird when done by amateurs. The worst casualty has been skin tones, with rich vibrant alive tones replaced by green grey yellow orange stylised skin in 90% of videos on Youtube. 

Whether that's to do with Sony sensors or just Log profiles is a difficult question. I do know however that I have rarely seen skin tones out of any Sony camera below the FX9 that I've liked.

One of the things I'm struck by when I watch old movies shot on film - from the 70s through to the 90s - is how natural and beautiful everything looks, before every shadow had to be dark blue and every skin tone had to be sunburnt orange or desaturated grey.

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