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DSLR Video Quality Rank - January 2015

Andrew Reid

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Last February I made the first EOSHD video quality charts 2014. This was an at-a-glance chart of image quality delivered by every camera I can possibly think. This year I've decided only to include the cameras I've direct experience of shooting with in my own filmmaking projects, with only a few exceptions such as the Sony F35 and Canon C300. I've also removed cameras that have been superseded by very similar ones (such as the GH2 by the G6, sharing the same sensor).

Here are the results...

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EOSHD Pro Color 5 for Sony cameras EOSHD Z LOG for Nikon CamerasEOSHD C-LOG and Film Profiles for All Canon DSLRs

Can't really see any justification for the F35 on the list other than "it's a bargain" in which case the FS700/OQ7 is a better bargain (4K 120fps raw!) and better suited for this forum.

The F35 is truly a beast, no one on the indie scene is gonna use that.

The rest looks good, though I think the NX1 has a lot to prove away from it's "on paper" specs. Looks like iPhone footage, to me.

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Incredible write up. I own a BMPC4K, 5D Mark III, LX100 and a couple EX3's. I agree with your ranking 100%. I was going to sell my 5D for the A7S but after a recent shoot with the 1DC I fell back in love with Canon. I also debated the FS7 but dont know if I can pull myself away from the DSLR world. I think I will wait for the 1DC Mark II. Hopefully we will get simple things like peaking and zebras. I would also love full frame 4K from a Canon DSLR with C-Log. The lack of 4K 30P in the 1DC is the only thing holding me back as I shoot for broadcast here in the states and most stations require 30P. 

I love my BMPC but find I only use it in higher budget shoots due to the build of the camera and the amount of light it requires. The 5D is the one getting the most action and I am tired of the mushy soft image. The LX100 was a recent purchase and I put it to work asap with an underwater shoot using the wonderful Ikelite. The LX100 image is stunning for how small the camera is. I wish the LX100 had a log like profile though the image is just too saturated and contrasty and even dropping those in camera you get issues afterwords. The EX3's are just true workhorses. The image I HATE but its a quick camera for live event and backdrop interviews and more news style productions. Small file sizes, built in ND's, XLR's and incredible battery life make it a breeze to shoot with. 

Cant wait for Canon to release some new cameras. I hate to say it but I think I may be a canon man. We will wait and see. 

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FS700 + O7Q, FS7? Both cameras can provide a 1.1x crop in 4K (SpeedBooster), the 4K has more real detail than the 1DC, XLR pro audio, tons of fastmo/slomo options, built in NDs, etc. The FS700+O7Q can also do 12-bit RAW, including bursts of 120fps 4K, continuous 2K RAW (up to 240fps), and very high quality 4K and 1080p ProRes (10-bit 422). The FS7 does up to 180fps in 422 10-bit XAVC (1080p), up to 60fps 4K. It also supports ProRes and RAW with the interface unit (extra bulk, but worth it for some productions). The 1DC is only 8-bit with a 1.3x crop, no XLR audio, no 4K slomo, and very large files with an ancient codec.

For faster turn-around, Canon has the best look out of camera- looks the most filmic, etc. However, once the camera is understood, it's possible to do whatever you want in post for a filmic look using 3D LUTs, Filmconvert, from-scratch in Resolve/SpeedGrade, etc.

ARRI/Canon produce the best looks with the least effort so far, however Sony is catching up. Here the F55 matches the Alexa: http://www.hingsberg.com/index.php/2014/06/f55-matches-arri-alexas-color/

Sony cameras do indeed take a bit more research and work in post, but once figured out, do very well against ARRI/Canon, along with many more useful features. At which point the FS7 can closely match the Alexa in post, it will deserve the top spot on any list which includes cameras in the $8000 range.

Things will get interesting when Canon releases a new camera to compete in this space. If they follow their traditional business model, they'll leave out critical features provided by Sony/Panasonic, and thus leave the door open for Sony/Panasonic (and now perhaps Samsung) to get their out-of-camera color science for skin tones closer to Canon (Nikon is also doing well here).

Sony's F65 can look better than Alexa in terms of color, including skin tones (not clear how much work that takes in post). Examples: Oblivion and Lucy. If the F55 can match the Alexa for skin tones using just software (in the test above, I was surprised that the F55 looked better to me), it's clear that the A7S/FS700/FS7 can look even better than they do now with firmware+LUTs-in-post. After many hours of testing the cameras side by side, it's clear that the A7S's sensor (and even the FS700's) are superior to Canon's sensor in the 5D3 (apparent even when using RAW).

If the 5D4 has 4K and a decent codec (422 10-bit), at least 60p slomo, it will be very appealing to be able to use Canon lenses without adapters (and hopefully with high-quality autofocus- extremely helpful in many situations, especially 4K shooting of dynamic scenes). If Canon drops the ball, there's now lots of other compelling options for video. For stills, the 5D3 is currently the best for the money.

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A very random list. 

1DC has a garbage picture yet you made it number one because you just bought one. You didn't mention its second biggest con (second to soft version of 4K) being its storage media being ridiculously expensive.  Another con a useless eyepiece making the 1DC have poor ergonomics. The A7s has a gorgeous eyepiece with OLED screen making ergonomics a dream being able to hold it to your face as DSLRs were designed. It doesn't get any more comfortable than that. No more need for a z-finder. Another conn 1.3 crop....  No 120fps.  No XLRs, the A7s with the KLM1 audio module I have dual XLRs, to the shogun sharp 4K 4:2:2 uncompressed to be saved as ProresHQ with LUTS coming. 

Also SLOG2 is dead easy to hand grade, you don't need LUTS. They are a bonus should you want.

Your list has many non DSLRs yet no Sony F5 or C100, C300 or C500.

I don't have one but the FS7 clearly has far more bang for buck than anything on your list.





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Of course this list will upset tons of people. I can't speak for the 1D-C, but I think the main problem of this list is that the picture quality will vary depending on the context of the filming. 

However I think its fair to place the NX1 above the GH4 (as owner of both).

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I can't believe you came out with this list today. I have a channel on vimeo called 50mm. And about a week ago I was convinced that a pocket cinema camera with a speedbooster was going to be my next upgrade. I currently own a hacked gh2 w/speedbooster which gives it a 1.34x crop and a sharp picture. but poor color reproduction and low dynamic range. I am yearning for RAW (coming from a VFX background). but I remembered the jump from my t2i to the gh2 which was very noticeable for lense choice. my .72x speedbooster would give a 2.3x crop in the bmpcc and I just can't do it again. The bmpcc speedbooster for canon glass is $659! fuck that's a heavy investment for a piece of glass that will only work with one camera. 

Then I started coming across 5d mark ii raw videos.And last night I went on a binge looking for every Raw 5dmkii video I could find. There is a certain aesthetic to FF which is not matched by many cameras. The Fact that you can get 1080p (2.35) raw with that  sweet sweet Bokehlicious depth of field, a fine noise grain and excellent color science. Plus probably the most used professional stills camera in the last decade. The image coming off of 5dii and 5diii just feels super sexy to me. 

https://vimeo.com/114574497  5d3 RAW

https://vimeo.com/groups/192251/videos/117056139  5dII RAW with VAF

https://vimeo.com/108711721 5dII RAW with VAF

https://vimeo.com/84603397  5dII RAW NO VAF

https://vimeo.com/70954407  5dII RAW NO VAF


https://vimeo.com/74610043 1DC porn

I hate to say this but I have to agree with Caleb I am becoming a Canon man again too, it just took me longer to mature. And that jerk Andrew Reid forced me to buy the GH2 when I was completely happy with my T2i back in the day. :)

Great Comparison Definitely Biased toward FF. :)


I also wanted to mention that I hate magenta as much as Paul Giamatti's character in sideaways hates Merlot. and I have noticed the 5d mark iii has more magenta than the 5d mark ii. This is also the reason I never got a GH3 and why I'm not getting a GH4.

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hey andrew,

now look what you`ve done!

you put an f35 in a list that is titled "DSLR! video quality rank"....

now the forum explodes with questions about the c100, c300, fs7, and jcs even lectures about the f65!? brilliant! :-)



... just googled f35 + odyssey q7..... very interesting.....


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Hi, I'm just wondering what to do next since I'm going to get a mirrorless camera but quite uncertain which one to choose by now. Even more uncertain after reading this article.

I currently own a 5Dmk3 that I'll keep along with my 6 lenses and was heading to a GH4. My ratio is 60% photography and 40% video. My initial choice of the GH4 comes from their variety of lenses to choose, 4K capability and also important, tiny and very lightweight.

My final question would be "Which REALLY lightweight and portable camera would you choose for both photography and video?"



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