Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Andrew Reid

An astounding Sony A7S low light test by Philip Bloom

Recommended Posts

This is making me wonder which is better, realistic low light that uses the actual light in the scene, which is also going to be artificial at night (street lights or candles etc) or additional lighting techniques to simulate night.. in other words, what is going to look more "real" to a viewer, the one that is more real or the one that is more fake? I'm gonna guess that most people would criticize reality of looking fake, but you could use the A7s for either scenario. 

 

The A7s footage can be made to look more real by by selectively crushing some of the blacks while leaving the areas needing/wanting High ISO illumination intact.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
EOSHD Pro Color for Sony cameras EOSHD Pro LOG for Sony CamerasEOSHD C-LOG and Film Profiles for All Canon DSLRs

I can see what people mean about the footage looking unusual but I don't mind it all, it just reminds me of when I've taken long exposure photographs after sunset, it looks like the same thing but in motion.

 

Perhaps it's just something people will need to get used to? It only looks "wrong" if you compare it to daylight footage, the nature of the light is very different after dark and we are unused to seeing it but that doesn't mean there's anything inherently "wrong" about the way it looks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Can someone explain to me the creative benefit of the low light performance of this camera?

 

I'm a bit curious, as all I can work out that it would benefit me would be if I wanted to film at night a well lit scene, but had no lights. Then I could just make it look well lit. Which is really awesome! But that's the only benefit I can work out at the moment...?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

about the "now i can see" video:

unfortunately the dynamic range is very poor, and "now i cannot see",

or better saying: now I can see the other side of the moon, but the first side is gone

before a7s I had the good highlights and dark shadows
now with the a7s I have the shadows but the lights are gone, blown out forever

at 1:01 the carroussel is ok, but the faces are dark, more DR please.

we need a camera which can merge the 1:15 image with the 1:20 image into an extended dynamic range image to show the lights without clipping and the sea together.

at 1:58 I would like to see the buildings without clipping, more DR please...

at 2:03 i would like to see the fire and face without clipping while lit the cigarrette, more DR please.

just look at the 2:25 image. where are the buildings? more DR please.

what about the 2:39 image? "total clipping of the heart"

"total clipping of the heart"
(Blowout Tiler)

turn around every now and then
I get a little DR and know I've got to get out and cry
turn aound every now and then
I get terrified about low light but then I can't see the sky

turn around every now and then
sony got my money but gave me a clipping background
turn around every now and then
I ask where is DR because it is so easy to increase the pixel count

turn around bright eyes
don't forget to see the dark parts
turn around bright eyes
don't forget to see the lights

And i need more DR tonight
An i need it more than ever
and if DR is so tight
we will be ML HDR forever

and we'll only make it right
when we have more dynamic range
because the beach is bright
but the background is so strange

I really need you tonight
HDR is a must tonight
HDR is a must daylight

Once upon a time there was a hidden dark face of the moon
But now the bright face is blown away
Nothing I can say
A total clipping of the heart

Once upon a time there was light in my life
But now there's only sony in the dark
Nothing I can see
A total clipping of the heart

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Can someone explain to me the creative benefit of the low light performance of this camera?

 

I'm a bit curious, as all I can work out that it would benefit me would be if I wanted to film at night a well lit scene, but had no lights. Then I could just make it look well lit. Which is really awesome! But that's the only benefit I can work out at the moment...?

 

Keep on working out, surely you'll find other benefits eventually. That's the whole point of creative benefits, isn't it. Your imagination, skills, good timing and a bit of luck together with the given tools at your disposal will create that magic serendipity. The creative benefits are up to you. 

The point being, no one can explain "creative benefits" to you exhaustively, because creativity is subjective. People can explain the technical benefits of low light performance, which you have already figured out, and the rest is up to you. It's up to you to make something cool of it.

 

 

about the "now i can see" video:

unfortunately the dynamic range is very poor, and "now i cannot see",

or better saying: now I can see the other side of the moon, but the first side is gone

before a7s I had the good highlights and dark shadows
now with the a7s I have the shadows but the lights are gone, blown out forever

at 1:01 the carroussel is ok, but the faces are dark, more DR please.

we need a camera which can merge the 1:15 image with the 1:20 image into an extended dynamic range image to show the lights without clipping and the sea together.

at 1:58 I would like to see the buildings without clipping, more DR please...

at 2:03 i would like to see the fire and face without clipping while lit the cigarrette, more DR please.

just look at the 2:25 image. where are the buildings? more DR please.

what about the 2:39 image? "total clipping of the heart"

 

I'm pretty sure Mr. Bloom was merely trying to make a point with that video clip, not cinematic art or technical perfection. As such the clip works just fine, but obviously it's not intended for extremely pedantic viewing. Or for the most pedantic of viewers, ftm. 

 

Now we (well, most of us, anyway) have established that one can get shots in pretty low light with that camera. It's up to each of us to make something useful and good looking with that feature. If you have no use for that feature, feel free to ignore it, or the whole camera.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And i need more DR tonight
An i need it more than ever
and if DR is so tight
we will be ML HDR forever

 

+++ 

 

OT: The video of music videos very rarely has any right of it's own. There are exceptions like Michel Gondry, David Fincher or Chris Cunningham.

 

Here is a clip that exposes the ridiculousness of the typical music video's visuals, enjoy:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am aware of that thanks!! That's why you should try and shoot raw on the 5D3 instead. It is some of the best HD you can get.

 

Yes full pixel readout is reason A7S has longer rolling shutter scan. More data to read out. It isn't that it is a slower sensor, far from it.

 

But the comparison is 100% relevant.

 

One takes 25ms, one takes 30ms. Is that hard to appreciate!?

 

Perhaps, but the rolling shutter on both the GH4 and A7s look pretty bad to me:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't care less what anyone says, I'm excited about the a7S as the full frame will be a great creative tool for the shots I want to pull off... and secondly, the dynamic range and low light will help me battle the issues I regularly experience with my GH3. 

 

I have ideas. Rolling shutter isn't going to stop those ideas from happening. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

... help me battle the issues I regularly experience with my GH3. 

 

I have ideas. Rolling shutter isn't going to stop those ideas from happening. 

 

Glad to hear that.

 

What issues with the GH3 exactly stopped your ideas from happening?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Can someone explain to me the creative benefit of the low light performance of this camera?

 

I'm a bit curious, as all I can work out that it would benefit me would be if I wanted to film at night a well lit scene, but had no lights. Then I could just make it look well lit. Which is really awesome! But that's the only benefit I can work out at the moment...?

 

 

Sure.  Usually you're balancing DOF (aperture) and ISO to get a properly exposed shot (in all light conditions).  With this camera the only consideration the aperture, not the ISO, as it's usable to a much higher number than any other camera.  So when composing in poorly lit scenes, you're thinking only about what sort of DOF you want, and you don't have to be wide open any more.  See the scenes out the car and several other here; clearly he's stopped down and getting considerable DOF, which wouldn't be possible with most other large sensor cameras, and small sensor cameras wouldn't be properly exposed with these levels of light (or very very noisy):

 

Dynamic range is generally high for this camera, so we're having to make fewer choices about what to lose, highlights or shadows.  The image is more detailed, than, say Canon DSLR (it's direct competitor).  It has a full frame sensor and reads the entire sensor, which is a first for a full frame.  It has a proper aps-c function built in, multiplying the apparent number of focal lengths you have with you.  It has the ability to do 120fps at what appears to be a pretty sharp 720p.  It's half the weight of a canon full frame DSLR. 

 

If you can't figure out what to do those things creatively to increase the quality of the work you're outputting, you might consider a different line of work.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Can someone explain to me the creative benefit of the low light performance of this camera?

 

I'm a bit curious, as all I can work out that it would benefit me would be if I wanted to film at night a well lit scene, but had no lights. Then I could just make it look well lit. Which is really awesome! But that's the only benefit I can work out at the moment...?

 

So a quick example of how this could benefit you creatively:

 

You're filming a scene without permits in a dimly lit gas station at night. You want your main actor to be filling the tank as he stares off in the distance. In the background you want the viewer to see his girlfriend in the car crying. You only have time to pull off one shot before the gas station attendant will come out and shut you down so you don't have time to mark focus points and do multiple takes, etc. With other cameras you would most likely have to open the lens so wide that you could only focus on one actor at a time, thus necessitating the multiple takes while trying to get the focus right. With the a7s, you could have everyone acting the scene then you could jump out of the car, get your exposure/focus set so it's sharp, roll the camera and be out of there before anyone can stop you (if you're lucky!).

 

There are many ways to make this camera's image look great too—Philip was just trying to show how far you could push the camera's iso, not impress anyone with a perfect grade. Check out Stu Maschwitz test video to see how you can use the S-Log2 profile with a ton of ND to get daylight shots with more dynamic range—again, it's a camera test video, he's not trying to impress you with a perfect video.

 

Cameras are tools, not cults or panaceas.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

(Look at the video page to see links to his tests at other frame rates and APS-C mode)

60p does indeed look better. So the simple solution is just to film everything at that rate then?

 

Doesn't 60p skip lines? 

 

The rolling shutter on A7s looks to be comparable to GH3 in APSC mode. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So a quick example of how this could benefit you creatively:

 

You're filming a scene without permits in a dimly lit gas station at night. You want your main actor to be filling the tank as he stares off in the distance. In the background you want the viewer to see his girlfriend in the car crying. You only have time to pull off one shot before the gas station attendant will come out and shut you down so you don't have time to mark focus points and do multiple takes, etc. With other cameras you would most likely have to open the lens so wide that you could only focus on one actor at a time, thus necessitating the multiple takes while trying to get the focus right. With the a7s, you could have everyone acting the scene then you could jump out of the car, get your exposure/focus set so it's sharp, roll the camera and be out of there before anyone can stop you (if you're lucky!).

 

There are many ways to make this camera's image look great too—Philip was just trying to show how far you could push the camera's iso, not impress anyone with a perfect grade. Check out Stu Maschwitz test video to see how you can use the S-Log2 profile with a ton of ND to get daylight shots with more dynamic range—again, it's a camera test video, he's not trying to impress you with a perfect video.

 

Cameras are tools, not cults or panaceas.

 

Thank you, that's an awesome example.

 

I feel slight buyers regret for ordering a GH4 now, as I could have got this and I can see how it would make micro budget/stolen pictures filmmaking easier at times, with uncontrollable lighting situations.

 

Being able to have a deeper DOF in such a dark environment, getting people at multiple marks/distances and it still be well lit without a lighting set up and crew would be bloody handy!

 

But I suppose the ability to reframe with 4k all the time would also be a huge benefit, as I can grab shots and worry about close ups and framing later on. I'd probably get more use out of that when my GH4 turns up. Especially for run/gun one chance to film documentary work. I know the A7s does 4k to an external recorder, but that would probably make the stealing shots capability harder with the extra bulk/weight/money. I'm a light as possible kind of guy.

 

It's the first camera that's going to come to mind when I need to film in such dark environments. Environments that were basically impossible to film in before without night vision cameras!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

LOL !!! thanks Axel, this version is just hilarious, made my day.

 

"Please Sony make it right...

develop a new camcorder...

put two sensors in a prism design...

and DR will be much better...

one for dark another for light...

and we will be happy forever...

but manufacturers will die...

because nobody will change cameras never..."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Glad to hear that.

 

What issues with the GH3 exactly stopped your ideas from happening?

 

I shoot in a lot of awkward (but unique!) locations which are difficult to light... sure I light them up with all sorts of stuff but i really have to push the GH3 and this can cause some unwanted annoyances in the image. The aperture can almost be wide open, and difficult to focus with some lenses - so the a7S tools look to make this easier for me. 

 

Also I'd like to be able to get a shallower depth of field with some of my lenses for a few shots - purely a creative decision rather than for the hell of it like some do. Sure I can do some stuff with my GH3, I just need more to play with to get the look I want.

 

Lastly, the GH3 hasn't stopped me doing any of my ideas. They always go ahead regardless. I just feel the a7S will give me more creative tools to get the look I want.  Would be nice to be able to use a ridiculous wide angle as well. I love doing ridiculous things. The a7S seems ridiculous enough.  :P

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...