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After all those years still no camera can come close to Alexa's DR


ntblowz
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So CineD finally tested the DR on Alexa Classics, and the test came out 13.8 which is really close to Arri's stated 14 stop DR, while all other camera state high DR but actual result is much more tame. 

They should really use Arri's DR test as standard.  DR claim is a wild west out there atm it is ridculous!

 

https://www.cined.com/arri-alexa-classic-mini-lf-lab-test-rolling-shutter-dynamic-range-and-latitude/

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  • ntblowz changed the title to After all those years still no camera can come close to Alexa's DR
3 hours ago, androidlad said:

Sony A1 scores 13.2 stops, not that far behind.

The C500ii gets 13.1 stops, also not that far behind: https://www.cined.com/canon-c500-markii-lab-test-dynamic-range-latitude-rolling-shutter/

Of course, combined with the Alexas colour science and that incredible latitude, the total package is really something else.

Perhaps the biggest challenge in the camera market is that each camera that has a significant strength is marred by being absolutely terrible in four other ways.  It's rare for a camera to be the best, or even in the top-tier, in every category.

Although I suppose that the Alexa has its share of flaws - size, weight, and price being a few that quickly come to mind!

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Other cameras have rivaled the Alexa for dynamic range. Even though Red loves to exaggerate its DR figures (18 stops my ass!), the Monstro has a comfortable 13.5 stops in the right hands. The Venice also rocks at least 14 stops in X-OCN Raw. 

What the Alexa has that no other manufacturer seems to get right is the highlight roll-off. Every camera, no matter how many stops of dynamic range it has, will eventually have to photograph pure white. Whether it's the harsh glare of a set of headlights or the shimmering heat of a desert at noon, at some point, the image will burn out. The Alexa does it better than anyone. Highlights are a clean white, no tints, no fringing. That's really Arri's real achievement, even above the dynamic range. That's why people keep shooting Alexa Minis, even at 2K despite all the choices available.

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Which coat pocket do you keep your Alexa in?

As long as there is ENOUGH DR for the job does it really matter?    I just looked at the A7siii test they did and it is not too bad at lower ISOs but they got 12 usable stops of DR at ISO 16000!      

 

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10 hours ago, noone said:

Which coat pocket do you keep your Alexa in?

This is my problem.  Whichever pocket I check, it's in the other one.  With it being so hard to find it's practically like I don't even own one at all! 🙄🙄🙄

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There's no real demand for 14 stops of dynamic range. Big productions that need it have it and those who can't afford don't. Clients paying $500 for a video don't care about dynamic range. The other half is of course brand recognition. Many clients don't even know what dynamic range is but they'll know what Arri or RED is. If you shot something on any decent hybrid they'd not know the difference if they weren't on set to see that you were using $2000 stills camera. 

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3 hours ago, TomTheDP said:

There's no real demand for 14 stops of dynamic range. Big productions that need it have it and those who can't afford don't. Clients paying $500 for a video don't care about dynamic range. The other half is of course brand recognition. Many clients don't even know what dynamic range is but they'll know what Arri or RED is. If you shot something on any decent hybrid they'd not know the difference if they weren't on set to see that you were using $2000 stills camera. 

Grab an old pro film video camera from Canon or whoever and take that along with you...Then use whatever camera you like (just got a couple of decent looking old Canon cameras in at the op shop i volunteer at...they are pretty much worthless but most will not know that).

 

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6 hours ago, TomTheDP said:

There's no real demand for 14 stops of dynamic range. Big productions that need it have it and those who can't afford don't. Clients paying $500 for a video don't care about dynamic range. The other half is of course brand recognition. Many clients don't even know what dynamic range is but they'll know what Arri or RED is. If you shot something on any decent hybrid they'd not know the difference if they weren't on set to see that you were using $2000 stills camera. 

There may be a third factor at play, although it would be invisible to film-makers.

That would be where clients have a keen sense of what the image they want looks like, and they learn that all the examples of the shows they like were shot on the Alexa, so they just know to ask for that.  Sure, they wouldn't know what the letters "DR" are as an acronym, and they wouldn't know what "Dynamic Range" means as a pairing of two words, but they might know what it looks like.

One example of that is how women have more refined perception of colour than men, meaning they see clearer than men do, but mostly won't know the technical terms.  Most of the people I run into in real life that have a honed sense of taste / aesthetic such as visual artists, interior designers, etc have very astute perception but lack the technical vocabulary to explain it.

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If a client has the money to be that refined they will also be hiring a production company that is bringing in heaps of lighting, which would be used regardless of what camera was being used, reducing the necessity of dynamic range. 

Even watching the Wandering DP's videos where he breaks down commercials(usually shot on the Alexa LF). He has pointed out how you always frame the sun out of the shot. 

I do think color is very important which is what really sets the Alexa apart from everything else image wise that is. When you aren't paying big bucks no one really cares, or they can't afford to at least. 

The Alexa Classic is in the 6k range, affordable. I saw one for a bit over 4k recently. The 14 pound payload has kept me away though. Combined with the fact that big clients will want at least the Alexa mini. Even if the image quality is stellar the industry has moved on to bigger and better things. The Alexa mini LF is the big boy on campus now.

Using the Pana S1 and emotive colors Alexa luts is good enough for what I do. Gets me strikingly close to an Alexa without paying the premium or carrying the weight lol. I'll definitely buy the Alexa mini in 10 years when it gets down to 5k, or whatever the dollar equivalent to 5k is in 10 years. 😪 Of course the Alexa mini in 10 years won't be worth much salt to clients. 

I love the idea of using minimal lighting and minimal gear. You can get really nice stuff with an Alexa and just natural lighting. But no client wants to see that. Looks cheap. 

I do recall a show where they shot with the Alexa and all natural lighting(or mostly natural). Don't recall the name of it.

Of course there is the revenant. 

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Confirmed: https://scitechdaily.com/females-distinguish-colors-better-while-men-excel-at-tracking-fast-moving-objects/

"Females Distinguish Colors Better While Men Excel At Tracking Fast Moving Objects.

... females are better at discriminating among colors, while males excel at tracking fast-moving objects and discerning detail from a distance ... 

... men and women tend to ascribe different shades to the same objects ...

Males require a slightly longer wavelength than females to experience the same hue. Longer wavelengths are associated with warmer colors, implying that colors like orange might appear redder to a man than a woman. Likewise, green appears a bit yellower to men than women. Men are also less adept at distinguishing among the shades in the center of the color spectrum, like blues, greens and yellows.

Men could detect quick-changing details from afar, and could track thinner, faster-flashing bars within a bank of blinking lights. The team associates this evolutionary advantage down to neuron development in the visual cortex, which is boosted by male hormones. Testosterone means that males are born with 25% more neurons in this brain region than women.

The findings support the hunter-gatherer hypothesis, which states that the sexes evolved distinct psychological abilities to fit their roles in prehistoric society. The advantage would have allowed males to detect predators or prey from afar, and identify as well as categorize these objects more easily.

Female gatherers may have become better adapted at recognizing static objects like wild berries."

3 hours ago, kye said:

One example of that is how women have more refined perception of colour than men, meaning they see clearer than men do, but mostly won't know the technical terms. 

From the article it seems that women see shades of color clearer and men see details at a distance clearer.  Something to consider when working with clients of the opposite sex: their image priorities may not be the same yours.

Also, in everyday life, when you pitch your partner on why you guys need to get an "upgraded TV"...

If it to a women:

"We should get a new OLED TV.  See how much better those colors look when compared to the Samsung QLED..."

and if to a Man:

"look at that tack sharp resolution of that Samsung QLED, looks much more detailed than the OLED TV from across the room."

11 minutes ago, TomTheDP said:

Using the Pana S1 and emotive colors Alexa luts is good enough for what I do. Gets me strikingly close to an Alexa without paying the premium or carrying the weight lol.
 

Emotive color is awesome! Looking forward to when it is available for all of my cameras...

 

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1 hour ago, TomTheDP said:

If a client has the money to be that refined they will also be hiring a production company that is bringing in heaps of lighting, which would be used regardless of what camera was being used, reducing the necessity of dynamic range. 

Even watching the Wandering DP's videos where he breaks down commercials(usually shot on the Alexa LF). He has pointed out how you always frame the sun out of the shot. 

I do think color is very important which is what really sets the Alexa apart from everything else image wise that is. When you aren't paying big bucks no one really cares, or they can't afford to at least. 

The Alexa Classic is in the 6k range, affordable. I saw one for a bit over 4k recently. The 14 pound payload has kept me away though. Combined with the fact that big clients will want at least the Alexa mini. Even if the image quality is stellar the industry has moved on to bigger and better things. The Alexa mini LF is the big boy on campus now.

Using the Pana S1 and emotive colors Alexa luts is good enough for what I do. Gets me strikingly close to an Alexa without paying the premium or carrying the weight lol. I'll definitely buy the Alexa mini in 10 years when it gets down to 5k, or whatever the dollar equivalent to 5k is in 10 years. 😪 Of course the Alexa mini in 10 years won't be worth much salt to clients. 

I love the idea of using minimal lighting and minimal gear. You can get really nice stuff with an Alexa and just natural lighting. But no client wants to see that. Looks cheap. 

I do recall a show where they shot with the Alexa and all natural lighting(or mostly natural). Don't recall the name of it.

Of course there is the revenant. 

Good points, although there is the odd production that takes place outside of course.

In terms of the ALEXA Mini LF not being worth much to the industry in 10 years, I'm not so sure.  The real push in the industry for more than 2.5K (2K after debayering) is the move to VFX where more resolution is useful, but we reach the limits of human vision (for normal viewing situations anyway) around 2K, so the 6K capture for VFX to deliver in 4K should be fine as long as human vision doesn't radically improve.

The 'gotcha' with that statement though is alternative formats, like VR, which are viewed by the eye at a much wider FOV and therefore require a lot more resolution in the area being viewed to keep the same FOV for each pixel.  This is the current limit of 360 cameras - they sound great at 4K but when you punch in to view a 90degree FOV (roughly a 24mm lens) then you're now looking at a 1K image.  So yeah, if we're strapping two cameras back to back with fisheye lenses then you'd be wanting that UMP12K rather than a 4K camera for sure.  Of course, you'll also want deep DOF and the image planes to be as close together as possible (or you'll want three cameras 120 degrees apart) and so this leads to a very different case where the cinema camera form-factor is no longer the one you'd prefer, going in favour of the 'eye on a stick' form factor.  

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On 5/9/2021 at 9:27 PM, majoraxis said:

Emotive color is awesome! Looking forward to when it is available for all of my cameras...

 

Yeah I wish he had a wider variety of cameras. I sent him my Z-cam, which I no longer own a while back. He's still working on getting out the LUT for it. Understandable as its a tedious process and I doubt he makes a lot from it. 

 

On 5/9/2021 at 10:19 PM, kye said:

Good points, although there is the odd production that takes place outside of course.

In terms of the ALEXA Mini LF not being worth much to the industry in 10 years, I'm not so sure.  The real push in the industry for more than 2.5K (2K after debayering) is the move to VFX where more resolution is useful, but we reach the limits of human vision (for normal viewing situations anyway) around 2K, so the 6K capture for VFX to deliver in 4K should be fine as long as human vision doesn't radically improve.

The 'gotcha' with that statement though is alternative formats, like VR, which are viewed by the eye at a much wider FOV and therefore require a lot more resolution in the area being viewed to keep the same FOV for each pixel.  This is the current limit of 360 cameras - they sound great at 4K but when you punch in to view a 90degree FOV (roughly a 24mm lens) then you're now looking at a 1K image.  So yeah, if we're strapping two cameras back to back with fisheye lenses then you'd be wanting that UMP12K rather than a 4K camera for sure.  Of course, you'll also want deep DOF and the image planes to be as close together as possible (or you'll want three cameras 120 degrees apart) and so this leads to a very different case where the cinema camera form-factor is no longer the one you'd prefer, going in favour of the 'eye on a stick' form factor.  

I definitely get the push past 2k for VFX, however a lot of stuff is using minimal VFX and they are still shooting on 4k or 6k cameras like the LF. I meant the OG Alexa mini not the Mini LF, when I said it will lose demand in 10 years, like the Alexa Classic has. 

I am not sure where the Alexa LF will be in 10 years, it will definitely produce gorgeous imagery but the original Alexa Classic is still producing absolutely amazing imagery. Hard to say I guess. You'd hope a 60,000 investment is still good in 10 years.

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