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Andrew Reid

Best small camera for 1080/60p - Panasonic GX7 and A6000 review

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Trafficarte, please refer to the tests I posted in this thread around early April. They are mostly just stills from the videos, but you can clearly see the quality differences. Maybe this weekend I will post all the videos on vimeo if I have time.

Edit: by "this" thread I actually meant the other a6000 thread (the one with many pages)

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Trafficarte, please refer to the tests I posted in this thread around early April. They are mostly just stills from the videos, but you can clearly see the quality differences. Maybe this weekend I will post all the videos on vimeo if I have time.

Edit: by "this" thread I actually meant the other a6000 thread (the one with many pages)

 

It would be far more meaningful / helpful to see actual video footage shot with both cameras.

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Anyway, I'm eating my words at the moment. I love the image I can get from the D5300 but boy were you right about the GH4 all those months ago. Sigh ... if only I'd come to the HDSLR party 6 months later I would've spent my money on one GH4 instead of a G6 & D5300, which now look a bit HV20-ish in comparison.

 

The GH4 is blowing my mind. Someone just uploaded some raw 10-bit 422 from a Ninja to your GH4 review thread and it is beautiful to grade. Also, part of me now actually prefers the GH4 in low light to the 5D because of the grain quality - the 5D has a bit of FPN I really don't like. Colours aren't as good but hey, your June 3rd 'surprise' may help the low light issue? 

 

I need to stop coming here: Trying not to jump to the GH4 but posts like these aren't helping. xD

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Rumblings from my eagle eyed moderators have suggested previously that "iag01" is behaving like a Sony staffer designed to infiltrate forums to talk up Sony's products. I have my eye on you sir.

 

Posts like these certainly suggest as much....I'm afraid if you don't get the facts straight from now on, I'll have to take action. The A6000 does produce moire and aliasing!

 

Well, suppose he/it could be a troll, or maybe he's just another harmless fanboi. Not much different from the equally annoying Nikon and Panasonic fanbois whose similar antics and topic littering all over the place doesn't seem to bother you nearly as much. 

 

I'm not taking sides, just observing. Your participating in some nerdy bickering between the fanboys isn't really improving the slowly degrading signal to noise ratio of this forum, is it. You start sounding like one of the bickering gadget geeks. Post like this tend to suggest as much...  ;)  

 

FWIW, most of your readership do have their own bullshit detectors, too, you know, so no worries.  :)

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[...] The A6000 does produce moire and aliasing!

 

Hello,

 

I am a new member and a Sony 5N user (and neither a troll nor a Sony Fan Boy)...

On the Nex 5N, moire is cleraly visible.... It is highly noticeable when you shoot some brick wall... by accident or if you shoot in an industrial area....

I also had the opportunity to shoot with Pana GM1 and it is true that this camera is almost moire free... And I assume that GX7 and GM1 are similar (at least for moire)...

 

I am a little confused because in your A6000 "hands on" review, you told that the A6000 was almost moire free and now, you say that moire is clearly noticeable....

So I am wondering how much moire is noticeable in A6000 footage. Regarding moire, is A6000 closer to Nex 5N or to GM1?

 

Thanks for your advice...

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In early April I bought a a6000 temporarily to do some tests and satiate my curiosity about whether or not it could replace my GX7. The larger sensor and nice grip, along with stabilized 35mm and 50mm lenses were attractive to me.
 
All shot at 25fps with similar picture profiles and dynamic range settings, though the outside clips may have had more shadows lifted on the GX7. Noise reduction and sharpening were turned off on both cameras.

Sony clips are first and have had their white level pulled down from 255 to 235 to bring out some highlight detail that would otherwise be hidden.
 
Less compressed, 1080p video: sebcastilho.com/uploads/a6000vsGX7_video_quality.mp4
 
My findings:
  • The Sony has a noticeably higher moire and aliasing issue on details like the bricks and roof in the first shot.
  • The Panasonic has much more detail, most notable on the face at the end, in which the Sony does not display any of the fine pores or wrinkles. Also check out the grass, fence and tree in the first shot.
  • In extreme low light, the Panasonic still has slightly more detail, but the noise is also more distracting than the Sony. I believe this is due to Panasonic's more accurate readout of the sensor. Whereas the Sony by nature is softer anyway.
  • Both cameras are pretty accurate colour-wise and can be dialled flat or whatever to your liking. However the a6000 has trouble keeping highlight detail.
Finally, there are a couple of distinct advantages of the Panasonic's detailed video. I can digitally stabilize and rescale without the image becoming really soft. I can denoise without losing too much detail. And I can use budget lens filters without worrying that they'll degrade my image a lot.

In the end I kept the GX7 because I felt the a6k would be a downgrade in video quality and also it had a worse menu system and controls. Also the RAW didn't really seem any better. See raw files: sebcastilho.com/uploads/a6000vsGX7_raw_photos.zip

*Disclaimer* I am not a professional film maker. My career is in animation, but film making is an increasing hobby of mine. These tests were done as scientifically as I could at the time. When I made the comparison, I'd had the GX7 for about 4 months. Before then I'd owned and used extensively several other cameras including a Canon 550d, Sony NEX 6, Nikon d5200 and Sony RX100

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@Inasuma thanks for the test but can't say it definitively proves anything far as camera merit. I will say the GX7 definitely has a finer noise structure and is more detailed so to speak. Saying that I still like the image and feel of the A6000 better "Subjective right?". I think some people automatically think when a image is so-called sharper it equates to a "better" image,not true. It's just like lenses,a particular lens may be sharper but that doesn't mean it has the character or renders more pleasing imagery. 

 

I also wouldn't call the little moire and aliasing a "issue" for the A6000, It may be present but far from a issue. I have had the A6000 a while and have yet to encounter any real issues with that. You also didn't mention specifically what your in-camera settings were. I have had the A6000 for well over a month and I'm still trying to discover the best combination of settings to dial in. In all honestly I don't think you can have these cameras for a short period of time "non exclusively" and think your going to get the best out of them. For example, just yesterday I learned if I set the A6000 to natural picture profile, -3 -3 -3, with DRO on level 5 you get the flattest and most neutral image,with no apparent degradation. Good for daylight shooting.

 

Far as the A6000 user interface,though not perfect I find it hard to have a real issue with it. It's quite easy to navigate,touch-screen would have been great but all in all I find it quite pleasing and quick to use.

 

Final words,I do wish the A6000 had a more robust codec and that the hdmi out actually translated to better image quality "via ninja". I also wish the body was textured like the Nex-6 and that it didn't suffer from potential overheating. I guess if all those wishes were granted it would be the perfect camera for me but in a imperfect world I have to make it work "as is". I ultimately think the GX7 and the A6000 are both great cameras whose true super powers get unleashed by even greater shooters,who also know the limits of their tools.

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Well it seems that some of you are working with the gx7 for quite a long time. But did you ever notice an overheating with that camera ? I mean if I stay to film for quite a long time (nearly 2 hours), it will stop my camera to make it colder ?

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GX7 VS A6000 which is better or more capable is truly in the hands of the shooter in addition to some factual specs. I suggest people go shoot something and bring it back here afterwards to show the merits of the cameras. I have yet to see any video evidence that clearly shows the superiority or inferiority of either camera "image wise". I know after I shot the two videos I posted here it cleared up a lot for some people which I hope was helpful. Lets start shooting and let the cameras speak for themselves, it's the only way to get a true account of the cameras abilities. 

 

Edit: After thinking about it more I would say overall I may give the GX7 a slight advantage in actual video use. What I mean is I have never known for a PanasonIc to overheat in video mode GH1/GH2/GH3 so I have to give respect for that. It also may be true the AVCHD is better implemented but yet to be proven visually. All in all I just like the overall image of the A6000 better.

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Inazuma, thanks for posting this A6000/GX7 comparison video.  I much prefer the image coming from the A6000.  In looking, for example, at the horizontal edges of the brickwork in the large building on the right, you can see very distinct aliasing/jaggies in the GX7 footage.  This is also evident on the weatherboards of the smaller/closer building.  This issue is not visible in the A6000 footage.  This aliasing in the GX7 footage is ugly and gives it a very abrasive look.  The A6000 has a little moire but, overall, the image just looks more organic.

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Indeed, who am I to argue with you if you personally feel the a6000 has a nicer image :) For me the GX7 just produces an image closer to a downscaled jpeg, which for me feels more organic.

Neither cameras have a real aliasing/moire issue but I would still argue that the a6 has more of a problem. In the first clip, the roof tiles look like they have some kind of rainbow happening on them! And the bricks in the background have diagonal alias patterns. I will have to look into my encoding methods, because in the original MTS, the GX7's clip does not show crooked aliasing of the shed's weatherboards or the closer building's bricks :/ Very strange that.

No you cant get the best image out of having a camera for a short time, but remember I have previously owned a NEX 6 and RX100, so I am quite familiar with the menu system already. The settings as mentioned in the description: Natural picture profile, minimum sharpness and NR. Contrast, Saturation and DR varied between shots but I tried to keep them similar between cameras. Though it seems I may not have lifted the shadows on the a6 as much as I did on the gx7.
 
 

Well it seems that some of you are working with the gx7 for quite a long time. But did you ever notice an overheating with that camera ? I mean if I stay to film for quite a long time (nearly 2 hours), it will stop my camera to make it colder ?

 
I have used the GX7 for full days without overheating. But I never kept it on continuously for more than like 15 minutes. It's just not my style. What I will say though is that when I had the a6000, I definitely felt a lot of heat whenever I was using it. Whereas with the GX7 I feel none. Not even in hot weather (although "hot" in England is only like 23C).

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Better DR and finer detail on GX7, but I see some artefacts on the building on the left at 00:13 in the Panasonic's video and a lot of "dancing noise" in dark areas. As someone already said these are two great cameras with some limits and issues. Thanks for your useful video, Inazuma.

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Better DR and finer detail on GX7, but I see some artefacts on the building on the left at 00:13 in the Panasonic's video and a lot of "dancing noise" in dark areas. As someone already said these are two great cameras with some limits and issues. Thanks for your useful video, Inazuma.

 

I disagree regarding DR. What I see in the test (houses and tree footage) is that in the white balance in the GX7 is way too cool (the whites are bluish) and that the image is more saturated, but that doesn't mean a higher DR. I also see the GX7 to be considerably sharper, but I'm not sure about more detailed -those two concepts are often mistaken-. In the night scenes at 3200 ISO the GX7 is noticeably noisier in dark areas (sensor size maybe?). Still, as far as the tests show the image quality is pretty close.

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You may be skeptical but after shooting with Canons, Nikons and Sony's, I can definitely say the Panasonic captures significantly more detail.

 

The range in the shadows you can bring out is probably pretty similar in both cameras, but to get the same highlight detail I would have to underexpose by at least a stop on the a6000 (despite being able to pull down white level down to 235).

 

Both camera's overall colour can be dialed to your heart's content, but I believe the GX7 captures more of the fine colour detail. Such as the various colours of the weathered and mossy fence and the shed's weatherboards.

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You may be skeptical but after shooting with Canons, Nikons and Sony's, I can definitely say the Panasonic captures significantly more detail.

 

I agree, the detail coming out of the GM1 is amazing to me.  However, if you want really nuanced color and dynamic range non of these cameras can compare to RAW based imaging.  For video, these Panasonic cameras are marvelous.  They come as close to the end result of RAW in high contrast lighting as it gets.

 

A photo coming out of any Canon/Nikon will crush any of these Panasonic cameras.  There are many photographers trying to prove that MFT is as good as APS-C.  I can't convince myself.  There's a lot to like about the small MFT platform.  And certainly, there's nothing "wrong" with MFT photos.  You can just get more out of larger sensor cameras.  Like video, a question of what you're trying to accomplish.

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I follow this site for a few years now and i became a member of this forum to share my view of the image quality of the a6000. Looking to samples and reading complaints about the image quality i see a repeating pattern of the "flat -3-3-3" settings mantra. It's wrong. Sony did something wrong too: their default " high iso noise reduction" destroys your low 100 iso footage to. Disable it.

Before i get peck and feathered here as a fanboy of Sony: My advice and observations are valid for every hybrid camera thats capable of:
- A live histogram, very important.
- Settings for contrast, saturation,sharpness
- Manual exposure.
- Video output to a compressed format like avchd, avcx, mp4, mov, hdmi

If a camera fits the above, a simplified view of the inner workings can be:
- Photons reflected by your lovely family, cat or garden enters the camerasensor.
- The sensor sends the data in RAW quality to the onboard processor(venus, expeed, bionz, digic etcetera).
- The live histogram shows the results of your exposure, contrast and sharpness settings.
- Press record, your movie is written as 8 or 10 bit to codec or hdmi if applicable

The processor of your camera can be seen as the retarded brother of software like davinci resolve. If you always feed the retarded processor with outdated instructions like contrast -3, saturation -3, whitebalance cloudy and denoising on, the result can or will be a washed out, contrastless 8 bit mess. Post production can't help you here.

The solution is in your LIVE HISTOGRAM. Use it, because it shows you what your stupid venus/digic/bionz processor is doing to your 8/10 bit signal.

From left to right it shows the distribution of tones, From bottom to top the amount of the corresponding tone.
When exposed correctly the histogram touches the leftside, rightside and may TOUCH the top, not a full blown hit. Lowering contrast moves the histogram up to a bumb in the middle, up the contrast and the histogram gets flatter in the middle. And flat and neutral is what we want, not?

A6000 specific: Don't use negative contrast settings below zero. Especially in low light/ high iso. Believe me, you are better of with contrast +3 than -1 in lots of situations.

If the histogram shows latitude your edit and correction software will show it too.

And now something about the codec.
The statement of mr. Reid that 24 frames at 24 mb/s gives you more information per frame than 50frames 26 mb/s is NOT true.
This could be true only when using an all intra codec at minimal 6 times the filesize (at 50p) of avchd, regardless the brand of your camera.

The codec of the a6000 uses 2 b frames, so every second frame is an intra frame. Film 50p with shutterspeed 1/50, throw it on a 25p timeline and you have 25 iframes with 180 degree shutterspeed on your timeline. Denoising and compression software for example performs much better now, and you minimised rolling shutter.

If you want good enough 24p with 180 degrees shutterspeed from avchd there is only one possibility. Film 50p, as above on a 25p timeline and slow down to 24 during export. Your footage is then compatible with antique cinema projectors.
Don't use for sport and reporter style shooting.

Or, for the last drop of quality use an external recorder like an atomos or hyperdeck. Record in 24p, 25p or 30p avcd settings, set output hdmi to 50i or 60i. The pulldown function of the atomos or edit software converts this to 24/25/30p without loosing one bit of information.

Hope this long-toothed explanation will help somebody to get better iq quality from his or hers camera.

---------------

Sony a6000 specific settings.


50 or 60 fp. See above for 24,25 or 30p
High iso noise reduction off, auto slow shutter off. Menu tab one, page 5 and 7. Even at 100 iso the "High ISO NR on" destroys your frame, stupid Sony!

Zebras 100+ , menu tab 2 page 1.
The camera is capable of 110 IRE, don't worry when the zebras are slightly visible during recording, you can recover highlights in post.

Creative style settings, assign a button to it for contrast adjustments on the fly.
Starting point neutral 00-3
Contrast is a dynamic setting, look to your histogram and dial it from 0 to 3. Never below 0.
Sharpness always -3. Halos start at -2, be warned.

Autofocus settings for reporters without a focuspuller.
AF drive speed Normal. AF Track Duration high. Menu Tab 1, page 3

Now the post production.
Lower the highlights to 100 iRE, so lower the highlights by 10%
Slide the midtones as needed while looking to your waveform scope.
Dial in sharpness, your editing software can do that a lot better than stupid image processors.

Be happy.

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Really depends on the lenses you wanna use. The sigma 17-50 f2.8 for the nikon is really useful for example. You can adapt it to the Sony, but when I tried it last year, the camera just felt super off balance and hard to hold.

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Sony a6000.  Focus magnification for manual lenses.  full-time EVF.  Can change aperture on fly.  

 

I might pick the D5300 is photography was my primary use.

 

I like the size of the a6000, but agree with Inazuma, it may be an issue for you so you should handle both cameras.

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