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Sony A7S saturation test and skin tone test - with film convert


Ed_David
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I don't know how many times I have to say this. I don't like the colours I'm seeing from the A7S. I haven't seen ANY footage from the camera that hasn't elicited this reaction from me. There isn't anything you can say to that!

 

You can't "call me out" on preferring the C100 colours to the the A7S. It's my choice. I'm not talking tech or specs or side-by-sides, I'm talking about my own personal, subjective, aesthetic preference. I'm 100% open to seeing a grade I do really like, but so far that hasn't happened. It's a huge disappointment to me because otherwise this is my perfect camera.

 

Let's stop arguing. I am linking some of the videos which I think have great colors (ie not lifeless) in case you are not following the Vimeo channel. If you have seen them then nevermind, otherwise tell me what you think.

 

Edit: couldn't embed vimeo for some reason

 

_http://vimeo.com/groups/243026/videos/102902760

 

_

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Let's stop arguing. I am linking some of the videos which I think have great colors (ie not lifeless) in case you are not following the Vimeo channel. 

 

Indeed. Cool. I have seen one or two of these, but not all of them. Thanks.  :)

 

With no desire to continue any arguing, my honest, 100% truthful response is the same. These videos have the same "issues" (to my eye) that all previous A7S videos I've seen have. It's obviously just a personal thing, but I really, really don't get anything close to the kick I can from, say, footage from the 5DIII (even non-RAW), C100, GH4, - in colour terms. Sorry  :)

 

As I've said a few times elsewhere, I don't have the same reaction to low light footage from the A7S - in general low light stuff seems to be fairly rich and punchy to my eye. The night-shot video here was the same (I liked the colours). My personal conclusion, for myself, is that I would probably only buy this camera to compliment a GH4. I'm sure I'd use it a lot more than just at night if I did, but the GH4 would be my good-light workhorse, I'm pretty sure of that.

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I don't really understand this argument, at least as it relates to the camera itself.  All of these clips that are being posted are going through very heavy LUT's and grading, with what would usually be considered VERY stylistic color correction.  It's a choice being made by the posters in some cases because they are seeing how far they can push it and in other cases for whatever aesthetic.  Look at Ed's other work - it's not like he doesn't KNOW how to make something look not hipster or teal/orange; that some of his A7s videos are that way are a choice he's making with that particular video.  I don't see how it really reflects on how the camera's "color science." 

 

Of all those examples above, the only one I like much is the darwinfish mitakon which really doesn't look all that desaturated to me, and maybe the first video which is pretty nice. 

 

Anyway, it would be nice to see some videos that aren't going through a LUT, that ARE showing the default color in a mode that most users will be using.  I'm not going to spend 10 minutes color correcting every single clip for my own work - I want something that works and looks acceptable with minimal fuss.  For me on Canon DSLR's that was the FilmPS picture profile.  I don't shoot for masterbatory purposes, I shoot to support my family and pay my mortgage and save for retirement.  Whatever gets the job done and makes both the client and me happy.  This camera looks like a great day to day shooter covering a WIDE variety of lighting situations with increased sharpness over Canon DSLRs and lighter weight and lens flexibility.  Most of the "test" videos so far though aren't exploring that aspect; I think this is because people are still feeling it out. 

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I think we are forgetting something in the quest for the perfect native in-camera color. Since we stopped cutting movies on movieola's, we have been able to freely adjust final color on computers. The real issue is the latitude of correction that you have in post, and that directly relates to image quality in terms of number of colors, random noise (grain), and usable dynamic range. If you have a high quality image that has color issues, you can easily fix that. Moire, banding, macroblocks or scanlines you can't... even with the add noise trick. 

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The "no comment" was just me saying I didn't want to voice my opinion, in the hope of avoiding more argument. I am not and have never made any comment about resolution. I'm interested in discussing the colours of the A7S.

 

To me the difference in colour is night and day. You'd have to be "silly" not to see it (to use hmcindie's earlier description of me because of my attitude to the A7S' colours :P ). Look at the cyan spot on the Kodak Grey Scale card. It's a greenish turquoise, whereas from the GH4 it's as I'd expect - a blue hue. The GH4 colours are also far more "punchy" and full. Look at the clapperboard colours - the colour separation in the GH4 clip is very obvious, whereas in the A7S footage they do not "ping" against each other. Of course this could be put down to profile or grading differences, but as I've said repeatedly this has been consistent in every A7s clip I've seen. I'm no expert - I'm happy to be proved wrong, but don't tell me you can't see any real difference - that would make you silly.  :P

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I think we are forgetting something in the quest for the perfect native in-camera color. Since we stopped cutting movies on movieola's, we have been able to freely adjust final color on computers. The real issue is the latitude of correction that you have in post, and that directly relates to image quality in terms of number of colors, random noise (grain), and usable dynamic range. If you have a high quality image that has color issues, you can easily fix that. Moire, banding, macroblocks or scanlines you can't... even with the add noise trick. 

 

Yes because the GH4 footage is 10bit it's not really a fair comparison (alas the A7S is not capable of 10bit). But even in 8bit I find the GH4 to have more pleasing colour reproduction (it's not really very far from its 10bit look IMO).

 

I was interested to read Ed David say he valued 422 more than 10bit vs 8bit when it comes to grading. Can anyone explain why this would be? I understand the difference between colour space and bit depth, but don't really understand the significance for grading ...

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Yes because the GH4 footage is 10bit it's not really a fair comparison (alas the A7S is not capable of 10bit). But even in 8bit I find the GH4 to have more pleasing colour reproduction (it's not really very far from its 10bit look IMO).

 

I was interested to read Ed David say he valued 422 more than 10bit vs 8bit when it comes to grading. Can anyone explain why this would be? I understand the difference between colour space and bit depth, but don't really understand the significance for grading ...

 

I'm not sure what he meant by that comment, bit depth makes a huge difference with 4:2:2 compression, it could be that he was comparing it to 4:2:0? I did a video that shows the differences of these depths and chromatic compression. Each sequence was saved out at the respective bit depths as dpx, then in some cases, chromatic compression was applied via ffmpeg, then the sequences were imported as-is and 2nd half was a 4k to 2k reformat in float space test, then it was exported. 

 

you need to pause to see the differences in HD.. it goes pretty fast. 

 

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Cool video  :) The most obvious thing is that 10bit helps massively with banding. 422 vs 420 doesn't seem to make too big a difference with banding. Any other differences between 420 and 422 are maybe too subtle for my eye here. On first watch at least ... Interesting - thanks.

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Believe it or not, there has been extensive testing on noticeable contrast or banding and test show that 12bit is the minimum for the "just noticeable difference" or JND. But I think 10bit is good enough for footage because footage has noise. CG really requires 12bit minimum. 

 

That test didn't have noise added before, so it's not exactly the same with footage. 

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The "no comment" was just me saying I didn't want to voice my opinion, in the hope of avoiding more argument. I am not and have never made any comment about resolution. I'm interested in discussing the colours of the A7S.

 

To me the difference in colour is night and day. You'd have to be "silly" not to see it (to use hmcindie's earlier description of me because of my attitude to the A7S' colours :P ). Look at the cyan spot on the Kodak Grey Scale card. It's a greenish turquoise, whereas from the GH4 it's as I'd expect - a blue hue. The GH4 colours are also far more "punchy" and full. Look at the clapperboard colours - the colour separation in the GH4 clip is very obvious, whereas in the A7S footage they do not "ping" against each other. Of course this could be put down to profile or grading differences, but as I've said repeatedly this has been consistent in every A7s clip I've seen. I'm no expert - I'm happy to be proved wrong, but don't tell me you can't see any real difference - that would make you silly.  :P

Nope, your "no comment" was actually more in the vein of "I rest my case." If you got an opinion just say it, don't beat around the bush.

 

I also noticed the GH4 part was a little more saturated, but what of it? Flatter profiles usually carry more dynamic ranges, which weren't shown in the preview clip. Now if the GH4 had both punchy colors and the same or more DR as the A7S I would be very impressed.

 

And there's nothing wrong with the cyan patch in the A7S clip. It's just less saturated. Just google "cyan" and you can see all shades of it, not just "blue." In fact, cyan is a mix of blue and green, so there's nothing abnormal about the greenish color in the A7S patch. As for better color separation, well, the A7S profile is flatter, so that's to be expected from out of camera footages.

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Thanks to Kholi's pic pro profile and film convert - the saturation is quite incredible out of this camera and the skin tone looks so good.

 

Now we are starting I think to see the reason why this camera is going to be the 5d Mark III killer.

Gorgeous footage. Really well done. Love the colors.

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Dpreview has a comparison tool for comparing camera output for raw, JPG, and video.  The a7S colors are off for JPG's and video, especially the skin tones, which have a yellowish cast.  Other colors are off, too, but not in a consistent way where you could just adjust white balance.  When looking at the a7S raw images, though, miraculously, the a7S colors look fine!  They compare very well with Nikon and Canon.  That says to me that Sony's JPG and video color processing stinks.

 

Michael

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