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Official Atomos Shogun thread (4K, A7S, GH4, NX1)


Andrew Reid
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to come back to the main issues of this thread, here are the results of my personal shogun tests and experiences:

1) do i need a shogun?  yes, except a too glossy display it seems to be a great, useful, future proof product which is a great companion to every camera even only as a monitor.  if they implement 4k60p as promised it could still be in the bags alongside with future camera releases in 5 years.

2) is the shogun better than its competitors like the (new) odyssey?  yes, when it comes to shooting good 4k footage.  aside from several detail features mainly because it has the only 1080p screen, which is helpful for 4k quality.

3) do i need the shogun for a specific camera?  for the a7s it's essential, as otherwise there's no 4k.  for the 1DC highly recommended because of all the peaking tools and having a flexible screen, although it doesnt work as a recorder.  for the gh4 it could go without as the onboard screen can do a good job, and the internal recording looks the same in real world.  for a c500 it technically would not work as a recorder.  for all 1080p cameras a cheaper monitor would do it.  the only 1080 job that makes sense with the shogun is on red cameras, who have a massive internal sensor crop when shooting 1080.  the shogun can finally allow 1080 wide angle shots with a scarlet or epic, although not with red raw codec.

4) which camera is the best companion for the shogun?  aside from the price, for lowlight and overall features it would be the canon 1dc.  for more than 5k and higher frame rates, it's the red epic (not dragon because of noise and redcode limitations).  as the red onboard monitors have some more camera-specific features, i would only use a shogun for wide angle 1080p master recording (see above).

5) which budget camera is best for the shogun?  right now sony a7s, because it tops the other competitors with its full frame and lowlight abilities.

6) after buying the shogun, which camera should i buy that i don't have yet?  probably none. if sony comes up with a sony a7s2 that has internal stabilization as the new a7, that would be a very useful new feature that tops the old model.   canon did show that they can deliver top quality (like with the lowlight abilities of the 1dc already two years ago), it's just a question of time when they make it available in cheaper products.  i think it might happen in 2015!  two days ago i received the new 100-400 lens, that is so good and sharp that i really think about selling my 200-400/4.  it mainly did show that canon now is willing to charge only 1/5th of the price of the same quality they did offer in expensive products two years ago.

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​Well, that much is evident!

your scientific advice is:  "you have to bring both cameras to UNCOMPARABLE settings, so you will have a valid comparison that for sure shows the clear favour towards the a7s (i have never tested or seen)".  yes, that's how professional and fair tests are done.

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You've definately under exposed the A7S shot on the left. You can either take my advice or leave it, but the way it stands at the moment it isn't acceptable to have such biased and incorrectly setup tests posted on my forum.

S-LOG needs to be 2 stops to the right on the A7S exposure meter, you can raise the ISO in low light to achieve this. Shoot ISO 12,800 for example and expose to the 1D C shot at ISO 3200 in Resolve and you will have a cleaner image than under exposing S-LOG at ISO 3200.

S-LOG to the Shogun isn't working optimally yet so you should be using CINE 4 in low light with the black levels +15.

And actually I never ever said the 1D C didn't have a good low light image. What I said is that it's not better than the A7S in low light and it's $12,000. Facts my friend.

You are applying a flawed setup to your test and passing it off as a real world result. I find it quite disingenuous actually.

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being an early adopter is no fun - here's a review of Shogun's build quality:  so lesson for this story, being an early adopter is never easy.  always wait for reviews.  and thank people who bear the burden and purchase the product so you don't have to.

The color peaking. It's far too sensitive with no way to change it. You see every speck of sensor noise with color on it, so the whole image (in a scene with any low light/noise) takes on the color of the peaking. The peaking seems to only be a few pixels wide, so it's not a horrible thing (and it's usable), but it does need the ability to dial it back. 

No LUTS right now; future firmware apparently (who knows when). There's a C-log "LUT" (like Visual Assist on those cameras) and you can mod lift/gamma/gain to make the picture a little easier to work with but that's it. I was not at all happy to see that. The software on it now is almost identical in functionality to what the Samurai Blade had on it with the addition of 2:1 and 1:1 punch in. That's it. Clearly they have more work to do; playback isn't even enabled yet.

The basic picture quality is actually very very good. Think of a super bright color calibrated iPad Air. That's just what it looks like - shiny glass cover and all.

I found the build quality to be relatively poor compared to their previous products and the Odyssey 7Q. It's all plastic, albeit ABS plastic it's plastic nonetheless. There's almost no metal on it except the screw holes. It feels very light, plasticky, and like it won't last if it's dropped. The front glass will certainly shatter, and that glass has no protection. The glass is also quite shiny and reflects everything (though not as badly as say, a BMCC.)

I also got horrible battery life out of it; the included battery fully charged got me maybe 30-45min.

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Yeah the battery life is weak with the small Sony batteries. But you can use a v-lock adapter if you want to use an external battery or... just put a much larger Sony battery on the back and carry 3 more with you.

Plastic has an upside in that it is very light. Shogun weighs very little, that's good. That said, I think there should be an upgraded model made, with upgraded build quality.

The firmware is still early days that's true. Plenty to be added via firmware updates.

For now though I am just happy to get such a lovely screen and the massive bump in image quality. It's well worth the $2k. And the punch-in zoom & waveforms work really well. Haven't tried peaking yet. Not really needing it!

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You've definately under exposed the A7S shot on the left. You can either take my advice or leave it, but the way it stands at the moment it isn't acceptable to have such biased and incorrectly setup tests posted on my forum.

S-LOG needs to be 2 stops to the right on the A7S exposure meter, you can raise the ISO in low light to achieve this. Shoot ISO 12,800 for example and expose to the 1D C shot at ISO 3200 in Resolve and you will have a cleaner image than under exposing S-LOG at ISO 3200.

S-LOG to the Shogun isn't working optimally yet so you should be using CINE 4 in low light with the black levels +15.

And actually I never ever said the 1D C didn't have a good low light image. What I said is that it's not better than the A7S in low light and it's $12,000. Facts my friend.

You are applying a flawed setup to your test and passing it off as a real world result. I find it quite disingenuous actually.

​in the test both cameras have been at iso 6400, f4, 1/50, in their best s-log mode, shot with an otus 55 and the results seem to be equally bright.  even when i make the 1dc much brighter in post it still has less noise.  1dc noise reduction internally even has been turned off, while the a7s seems to have a permanent high iso noise reduction (which might explain why the results checked on large screens or crops often look a bit less detailed).  with the advice you describe above we would have to test a million different combinations to be fair.  if someone gives me a detailed comparison and workflow how i can get a similar sharp, but significantly less noisy image out of the a7s when it comes to the iso range of 3200-12800, i pay him 500 euros.  right now, other than the price, the combination of 1dc and shogun only has the lack of 4k60p and a shogun firmware update.  other than that i wouldnt trade it - and if you give a shogun and both cameras to 100 filmmakers and tell them: use it for a month, then you can keep one of the cameras for free (but cant resell), i am pretty sure that 95% would keep the 1dc.

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I've already given you one.

Expose the A7S with the exposure meter on the LCD so that it is 2 stops over (to the right). Doesn't matter if ISO has to go up. Just do it.

Then in the grade, pull the blacks down so they are the same level as the 1D C shot.

Even better, use CINE 4 in the picture profile and Cinema, not S-LOG 2, for low light shooting.

You're bringing 2 stops under exposed mush out of the very darkest shadows and claiming that it looks bad. No s***!

I don't care what happens when you give 1000 chickens free chicken feed from Canon. The 1D C is not free it is $12,000 and the A7S is $2200. That may not matter to you but it does to everyone else.

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Hi Andrew, I would be very interested in knowing your first thoughts at the NX1 / Shogun combination ?

I am thinking of getting one too, but so far I am a bit disappointed about the battery life (from what I read). 

However it would really make the workflow easier...

Thanks and Merry Christmas !

 

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to come back to the main issues of this thread, here are the results of my personal shogun tests and experiences:

1) do i need a shogun?  yes, except a too glossy display it seems to be a great, useful, future proof product which is a great companion to every camera even only as a monitor.  if they implement 4k60p as promised it could still be in the bags alongside with future camera releases in 5 years.

2) is the shogun better than its competitors like the (new) odyssey?  yes, when it comes to shooting good 4k footage.  aside from several detail features mainly because it has the only 1080p screen, which is helpful for 4k quality.

3) do i need the shogun for a specific camera?  for the a7s it's essential, as otherwise there's no 4k.  for the 1DC highly recommended because of all the peaking tools and having a flexible screen, although it doesnt work as a recorder.  for the gh4 it could go without as the onboard screen can do a good job, and the internal recording looks the same in real world.  for a c500 it technically would not work as a recorder.  for all 1080p cameras a cheaper monitor would do it.  the only 1080 job that makes sense with the shogun is on red cameras, who have a massive internal sensor crop when shooting 1080.  the shogun can finally allow 1080 wide angle shots with a scarlet or epic, although not with red raw codec.

4) which camera is the best companion for the shogun?  aside from the price, for lowlight and overall features it would be the canon 1dc.  for more than 5k and higher frame rates, it's the red epic (not dragon because of noise and redcode limitations).  as the red onboard monitors have some more camera-specific features, i would only use a shogun for wide angle 1080p master recording (see above).

5) which budget camera is best for the shogun?  right now sony a7s, because it tops the other competitors with its full frame and lowlight abilities.

6) after buying the shogun, which camera should i buy that i don't have yet?  probably none. if sony comes up with a sony a7s2 that has internal stabilization as the new a7, that would be a very useful new feature that tops the old model.   canon did show that they can deliver top quality (like with the lowlight abilities of the 1dc already two years ago), it's just a question of time when they make it available in cheaper products.  i think it might happen in 2015!  two days ago i received the new 100-400 lens, that is so good and sharp that i really think about selling my 200-400/4.  it mainly did show that canon now is willing to charge only 1/5th of the price of the same quality they did offer in expensive products two years ago.

​+1

nice...

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It is baffling me why 1D C users feel the need to defend their tool vs a $2199 consumer camera!

I'm not going to feed the argument any more.

I'll just leave you with this instead and get on with my Shogun articles http://www.eoshd.com/2014/07/25-ways-sony-a7s-trumps-canon-1d-c/

And Doug if you can expose your A7S right before doing any more tests, that would be ideal!

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​the difference between internal recording and the recording in shogun is hardly visible.  stefan czech did a technical test in his new shogun tutorial video that shows the main difference, here is a screenshot:

gh4 shogun.JPG

​Hmm, what this jpeg example shows to me is that going to 4:2:2 from 4:2:0 is more important than 10bit vs 8bit when it comes to banding.

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another frame grab from the test videos, a7s on the right, 1dc on the left.

Looks like the a7s is very soft in 4k terms. Though it's less noisy than Canon in your shot. Could you post some more 4k grabs (not split, just pairs)?

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I've already given you one.

Expose the A7S with the exposure meter on the LCD so that it is 2 stops over (to the right). Doesn't matter if ISO has to go up. Just do it.

Then in the grade, pull the blacks down so they are the same level as the 1D C shot.

Even better, use CINE 4 in the picture profile and Cinema, not S-LOG 2, for low light shooting.

You're bringing 2 stops under exposed mush out of the very darkest shadows and claiming that it looks bad. No s***!

I don't care what happens when you give 1000 chickens free chicken feed from Canon. The 1D C is not free it is $12,000 and the A7S is $2200. That may not matter to you but it does to everyone else.

the fair price current calculation is, if you see the value in your books, and the features you get:

--- sony a7s + shogun (so it can do 4k) = costs 4.000 euros, after resale you lose 1.000 euros at the moment

--- canon 1dc + top non-recording monitor (for peaking and flexible screen) = costs 10.000 euros, after resale you lose 3.000 euro at the moment.

this means with a 1dc you only pay an extra 2.000 euros on top, but have a pro photo cam as benefit and there's no need to switch to a sony mount!

i usually never participate in any internet discussion, but in this case i had to, as i never read any film blog in the last 8 years that was so negative about one product or company.  at the same time, when someone would have asked me "you can only pick one camera for the rest of your life and you can choose from all, what would it be?", in the last two years it would always have been the 1dc, for dozens of good reasons and hard facts that - like the price discussion - top the "25 reasons why the a7s is better list".

nevertheless we will do more tests here with the a7s and follow all advices regarding a better a7s performance, although your advice includes "but in grade you have to...".  of course as a user first i want to see in comparison what comes out of the cameras directly, and not how they perform when one is treated privileged in post.

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Hey Andrew, nice article about A7s and 1Dc. I noticed in a pic you had a monitor mounted to rods. What mount is that?

thanks!

​Thanks! That's my Lanparte base plate and carbon fibre 15mm rails, whilst the screen is on a hinge that came bundled with a Sony LED light. Tried many times to buy another hinge separately but can't find one. I have an articulated ball socket at the moment to mount the Shogun to my rails. Keeps it articulated and the whole thing lightweight but not ideal really. Going to experiment. Not a fan of putting it high up in the hotshoe, upsets the balance.

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the fair price current calculation is, if you see the value in your books, and the features you get:

--- sony a7s + shogun (so it can do 4k) = costs 4.000 euros, after resale you lose 1.000 euros at the moment

--- canon 1dc + top non-recording monitor (for peaking and flexible screen) = costs 10.000 euros, after resale you lose 3.000 euro at the moment.

this means with a 1dc you only pay an extra 2.000 euros on top, but have a pro photo cam as benefit

4000 euros / 10,000 euros, difference is 2000 euros? EH!

there's no need to switch to a sony mount!

Glad it's Sony mount. I can use my Canon glass on it AND my Leica M, PL Cookes, and no mirror to hit the back of my Pentax & Leica R stuff.

i usually never participate in any internet discussion

Shame at change of policy.

but in this case i had to

Really, you didn't.

as i never read any film blog in the last 8 years

Evidently.

when someone would have asked me "you can only pick one camera for the rest of your life and you can choose from all, what would it be?", in the last two years it would always have been the 1dc

I'm happy for you.

for dozens of good reasons and hard facts that - like the price discussion - top the "25 reasons why the a7s is better list".

Do feel free to make your own list.

nevertheless we will do more tests here with the a7s and follow all advices regarding a better a7s performance, although your advice includes "but in grade you have to...".  of course as a user first i want to see in comparison what comes out of the cameras directly, and not how they perform when one is treated privileged in post.

By treating the A7S the wrong way at post exposure & post, you are giving privilege to the 1D C.

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