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


Ed_David
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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.

Wait, what? I'm not seeing any yellow cast in the A7S video stills.

 

http://***URL removed***/reviews/image-comparison/fullscreen?attr29_0=panasonic_dmcgh4&attr29_1=sony_a7s&attr72_0=1080&attr72_1=1080&normalization=full&widget=131&x=0.6482927576175164&y=0.17170596393897378

 

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2czwxn7.jpg

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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.

 

Come on dude, I thought you wanted to stop arguing? You're telling me what I meant by a comment!? I'm the one who wrote it!! I even put a bloody smiley face next to it in the hope that you got that it was intended in a friendly way! You are reading everything I say as confrontational ... there isn't anything I can do about that. It seems like the only thing that will stop you from taking issue with my comments about the A7S is if I say that I am wrong, I do actually like the colours the A7S gives. But that would be a lie ...

 

By the way, I've spent about 15 years studying painting (I have a doctorate in fine art in fact). Please let's not get into an argument about what different colours are. All blues have green in them - that's how the colour spectrum works - just as all greens have blue in them. The name cyan actually means "deep blue" in Greek. But you are right that there are different hues of cyan. My attitude to the A7S cyan is, once again, a personal one. I feel more comfortable with the GH4's cyan. What I said is there is a difference. You haven't acknowledged that.

 

As for your comment about profiles, flatness and saturation, I've already addressed that in the comment of mine you quoted. Please read it again.

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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

 

colour science is a myth.  just another thing for people to talk about on forums.  Tweek the wb or do slight curves, problem solved!

 

That is probably true of RAW footage Richard, but compressed footage - as Michael has pointed out with the A7S jpegs - is different. You have to throw stuff away to compress footage, so that means to one extent or another the manufacturer has to choose how they want their colours to work when compressed. I'm not going to claim to understand any more about it, but in real-world terms it's obvious that some cameras have different "colour science" to others. Hell, even 5D RAW vs Blackmagic RAW tends to end up with noticeably different results, even when graded to death ...

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The yellow cast actually appears in almost 95% of cameras in low light conditions

Interestingly, Samsung camera NX300 appears to do a great job in white balance

 

2qtepz4.png

 

 

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My suggestion is we stop arguing about this and try grading the test footage I posted above (I think you can download the original file on Vimeo) and have a go at grading it. Not to prove anything, but to possibly learn something for ourselves about the cameras ...

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Dang, if I had either camera I'd like to think I'd actually go out and have fun making something with them instead of arguing about the rather irrelevant differences between color casts of the sensor.

 

In a priority list of things to worry about when making a movie, the color characteristics of a 2014 digital sensors should be somewhere around page 12 of a 13 page list.  If you're a specialist that's been hired as a DP, bump that up a little bit, maybe to page 10.

 

If you're just the colorist TECHNICIAN on a film production, then you got something to actually fret about.  Anybody here doing work with a budget that supports such a production crew luxury?   I know I'm not --and will probably never have that opportunity.

 

Honestly, if a magenta or cyan color is getting in the way of you being a DSLR/mirrorless film maker, then I'd have to wonder if you're the type that's doing the whole film making thing wrong.

 

Sure, knowing about the color is important, but this minutia tech analysis on a indy film level is really so pedantic that it becomes farce.  If you want to make films, worry about things that matter.  

 

On the other hand, maybe you don't want to be a film maker.  Perhaps you might just be the type that wants to just own a camera so you can play with the technology and then justify/rationalize your ownership of said camera by championing the product in on-line forums.  

 

I don't really see the enjoyment in that, but it appears to be a popular pastime.  There sure seems to be a deep need of some camera owners to get affirmations that their brand or model is the best.  I just don't get it.  Modern cameras do it all, just in slightly different ways.  Grab any of them and they'll be a good enough tool to realize your story.

 

Anyway, I'm a bit hypocritical.  I just typed all this nonsense to procrastinate from my storyboards.  Time to stop being distracted and get back to work.

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Come on dude, I thought you wanted to stop arguing? You're telling me what I meant by a comment!? I'm the one who wrote it!! I even put a bloody smiley face next to it in the hope that you got that it was intended in a friendly way! You are reading everything I say as confrontational ... there isn't anything I can do about that. It seems like the only thing that will stop you from taking issue with my comments about the A7S is if I say that I am wrong, I do actually like the colours the A7S gives. But that would be a lie ...

 

By the way, I've spent about 15 years studying painting (I have a doctorate in fine art in fact). Please let's not get into an argument about what different colours are. All blues have green in them - that's how the colour spectrum works - just as all greens have blue in them. The name cyan actually means "deep blue" in Greek. But you are right that there are different hues of cyan. My attitude to the A7S cyan is, once again, a personal one. I feel more comfortable with the GH4's cyan. What I said is there is a difference. You haven't acknowledged that.

 

As for your comment about profiles, flatness and saturation, I've already addressed that in the comment of mine you quoted. Please read it again.

I think you should take all this bantering a little less seriously. They're just electronic gadgets :) Having said that...

 

The only way for me to stop taking issue with your comments is for you to make comments without any issue I can take with. You showed a very short clip and implied that the GH4 has better colors (which it may very well does) based on shaky reasonings. If you had just flat out said that you prefered the GH4 colors then you wouldn't have heard from me.

 

And what did you address about the profiles, flatness and saturation in that post besides saying that it could be the grades or profiles and then negating it by saying it's a consistent problem?

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I think you should take all this bantering a little less seriously. They're just electronic gadgets :) Having said that...

 

The only way for me to stop taking issue with your comments is for you to make comments without any issue I can take with. You showed a very short clip and implied that the GH4 has better colors (which it may very well does) based on shaky reasonings. If you had just flat out said that you prefered the GH4 colors then you wouldn't have heard from me.

 

And what did you address about the profiles, flatness and saturation in that post besides saying that it could be the grades or profiles and then negating it by saying it's a consistent problem?

 

This isn't going anywhere good. Lets have a break from each other ...

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Dang, if I had either camera I'd like to think I'd actually go out and have fun making something with them instead of arguing about the rather irrelevant differences between color casts of the sensor.

 

In a priority list of things to worry about when making a movie, the color characteristics of a 2014 digital sensors should be somewhere around page 12 of a 13 page list.  If you're a specialist that's been hired as a DP, bump that up a little bit, maybe to page 10.

 

Colour is on page one of my interest in filmmaking. And not because I'm a camera nerd (even though I am). It's because I have my own agenda. I don't subscribe to the idea there is a set formula or order of importance for "filmmaking". Art school does that to a person ...

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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.

 

Ed, I just want to say that I think this video has indeed got really lovely colours. I can still see instances of perhaps some overpowering magenta (for my taste), and occasionally neon-ish greens, but in general it's lovely to my eye. This is definitely the nicest A7S footage I've seen in colour terms. It's a shame my comment about me having a problem with the A7S' colours (in general) spilled into an argument on your thread. Sorry about that. More please!

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There's definitely something going on in the saturation in yellow through to emerald part of the spectrum, and as pointed out, trying to correct this in white balance is going to desaturate every other colour, requiring further correction before an equilibrium is found which affects, and this is important - only those of us who don't like that look, which is the people questioning the colours of the A7s. In real terms, once we have a corrective LUT, which will take all of a day to make, the issues are solved forever, but of course, this pushes the colours which gives less room for grading, how much less? 5-10% at a guess, so it's probably only going to affect those who want to really make something stylised or are just learning and need to correct for camera handling errors in post.

 

Shrugs, who really cares? It's a wonderful camera producing wonderful images that some people subjectively find gorgeous and some people find unnatural but a bit of post work can make the footage look just as you want, assuming you have the skill to use the camera and know what look you want before you pick it up and are familiar with it's tendency to boost the saturation of certain tones.

 

I don't find the image immediately pleasing because of the issues I believe the camera has and I see it in nearly every video, but I am confident I can make the footage sing to my tune in post, so if I were in the market for a new camera, this would be a genuine contender for me and I would not dismiss it on its treatment of colours. But I'm not, so take my opinion with the same pinch of salt that it is given with - spent all day making a movie and spending time with my son, so haven't given it much thought, time or effort!

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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.

I don't shoot for masterbatory purposes ...

Whatever gets the job done and makes both the client and me happy.  

 

Nicely articulated.

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There's definitely something going on in the saturation in yellow through to emerald part of the spectrum, and as pointed out, trying to correct this in white balance is going to desaturate every other colour, requiring further correction before an equilibrium is found which affects, and this is important - only those of us who don't like that look, which is the people questioning the colours of the A7s. In real terms, once we have a corrective LUT, which will take all of a day to make, the issues are solved forever, but of course, this pushes the colours which gives less room for grading, how much less? 5-10% at a guess, so it's probably only going to affect those who want to really make something stylised or are just learning and need to correct for camera handling errors in post.

 

Shrugs, who really cares? It's a wonderful camera producing wonderful images that some people subjectively find gorgeous and some people find unnatural but a bit of post work can make the footage look just as you want, assuming you have the skill to use the camera and know what look you want before you pick it up and are familiar with it's tendency to boost the saturation of certain tones.

 

I don't find the image immediately pleasing because of the issues I believe the camera has and I see it in nearly every video, but I am confident I can make the footage sing to my tune in post, so if I were in the market for a new camera, this would be a genuine contender for me and I would not dismiss it on its treatment of colours. But I'm not, so take my opinion with the same pinch of salt that it is given with - spent all day making a movie and spending time with my son, so haven't given it much thought, time or effort!

 

Nicely articulated. Much better articulated than anything I've said about the topic ...

 

By the way, is that an Idris Khan image you're using as your avatar?

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The Sony grass looks really messed up in that comparison. Seems to drift too much towards blue to my eyes and is kind of neon. I'd still prefer the A7s to the GH4 based on all I've seen and read but the GH4 looks much nicer to my eyes in that comparison.

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By the way, is that an Idris Khan image you're using as your avatar?

 

No, it's not - I made it! I just simply googled "tree", took the top 1000 images and combined them together. I wrote a simple little program to automate the process but haven't done anything meaningful with it yet, but "tomato slice" works particularly well, as does "banana" and "cucumber slice" (I had a food blog and used those three as the header). "Apple" is interesting as it is half apple logo's and half fruit: 

APPLE%20small.jpg

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No, it's not - I made it! I just simply googled "tree", took the top 1000 images and combined them together. I wrote a simple little program to automate the process but haven't done anything meaningful with it yet, but "tomato" works particularly well, as does "banana" and "apple" (I had a food blog and used those three as the header)

 

Look up Idris Khan and make yourself sick. He's a UK artist who does this (always B&W I think) ... his photos sell for hundreds of thousands of ££££££.

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Look up Idris Khan and make yourself sick. He's a UK artist who does this (always B&W I think) ... his photos sell for hundreds of thousands of ££££££.

 

Hehe, good on him - personally I wouldn't have the patience to schmooze the people with the money, which is why I have to work a second regular job just so I can pay my actors and crew for a day a week!

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Colour is on page one of my interest in filmmaking. And not because I'm a camera nerd (even though I am). It's because I have my own agenda. I don't subscribe to the idea there is a set formula or order of importance for "filmmaking". Art school does that to a person ...

 

I took a look at your films on Vimeo and the colors were uniformly bad. I don't think a different camera will help there. What I do think will help is just learning grading. And learning to shoot. It's way better to shoot with a slightly worse performing camera and trying to make it look good than getting an Alexa and learning nothing.

 

Unless what you are saying is that "beauty is in the eye of the beholder", which is kinda true. Still.

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I took a look at your films on Vimeo and the colors were uniformly bad. I don't think a different camera will help there. What I do think will help is just learning grading. And learning to shoot. It's way better to shoot with a slightly worse performing camera and trying to make it look good than getting an Alexa and learning nothing.

 

Unless what you are saying is that "beauty is in the eye of the beholder", which is kinda true. Still.

 

Disagree about the colors being uniformly bad and your "learning to shoot" comment is ridiculous, condescending, and needlessly rude.

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