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Sony FS7 vs. ARRI Amira


jcs

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Other than the magenta bias for the FS7 and green bias for the Amira, the FS7 looks pretty decent in color and highlight tonality (no CC other than what is noted). Once Sony fixes the firmware issues, the FS7 looks to be a decent camera for the price. In the comments it looks like Nate sold his F55 to get an Amira. Even though the F55 can now closely match the Alexa in post, clients are asking for ARRI so he switched to Amira.

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 The fs7 is on fire.  Especially enjoy Ed David's perspective. (Ed has a recent American Cinematographer interview)

"The whole campaign of "Sony Skintones looks like crap" has been going on since the f900 vs Panasonic Varicam days - back before log recording.
I find Slog 1 and slog3 with sgamut3.cine and sgamut to look really damn good right off the bat.

Canon log - skintones to me look great.
Red log gamma - again skintones look great in daylight lighting - get a little funky in tungsten lighting.

but yes it's good lighting and good exposure.

A7S skintones - I've found using the CINEMA or PRO setting to give the best skintones easily.

anyway the worst things I've found with Canon C300 and C500 is highlight handling - same with the red epic mx and red one mx - you can't overexpose without the highlights looking as crappy as say the af100 or the hvx200 highlight handling - the dark ages of digital cinema on a budget.

The Amira stuff I've seen does have this orange feel.

At first I thought the sony f55 ftg looked bad - including stuff I shot on it but then I started to watch Nate Weaver's and Grugs work on it and I was so impressed I started using it.

The FS7 and Amira are in their infancy - I'm sure once more people like you guys work with it, test it, and color it, we'll see what the cameras are possible of.

And I, who used to hate the look of Red footage, find that dragoncolor and redloggamma graded well can look so incredible.

The Age of Adeline trailer I saw, shot with dragon and anamorphic glass looked so good to me.

Some stuff shot on alexa like that film "The Canyons" was some of the worst looking footage I've ever seen. Same with "They Came Together" and that guy I think shot "Wet Hot American Summer" which looks incredible.

so it doesn't matter what camera it is, it's going to either look like s*%t or good, depending on lighting, lenses, and grade, and exposure of the image and the talent of the DP. "

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Guest Ebrahim Saadawi

I think the best way to test cameras including colour science is to shoot at LOG and only correct contrast of both images to the exact same point, just luma, using curves. This is a good test though, the fs7 looks great really.

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sam- yeah the FS7 is looking better & better as more footage is posted. A7S- Pro and Cinema appear to be variants on the Rec709 profile with differing levels of saturation (primary change) and a red bias (Pro) vs. green bias (Cinema), etc. SGamut can look OK in post using one of the SGamut LUTs. I'm still experimenting to see if there's any advantage to using SGamut + LUTs. The Amira is supposed to be exactly the same as Alexa: sensor and color science.

Andrew- it's a camera test the way working DPs shoot: Gene (FS7) and Nate (Amira) are both pro DPs working in LA. The cameras were both set to default settings, and then compared in post with default settings to get both cameras to Rec709 for delivery. No grading was done to show what the cameras look like with... no grading. A second video with slight grading to match the footage would be helpful. In any case, it's clear that the FS7 and Amira (and Alexa) could be cut together. When the Odyssey 7Q came out, Gene was kind enough to bring his FS700+O7Q to our studio and do some very helpful tests (his in-camera FS700 skin tones look pretty good too: https://vimeo.com/63245456). We ultimately went with a GH4 and m43 native lenses for 4K run & gun shooting, however now that the O7Q is about the same price as a Shogun (on sale), it's a bit more interesting for 4K studio shoots (can work with FS700, GH4, A7S). If Canon doesn't step up with a competitive 4K camera, the FS7 might be the best deal for in-camera 4K+slomo+decent-color for 2015.

Ebrahim- yeah, a helpful test with limited variables. As noted, a follow up with minor color tweaks would be helpful- here's a frame after tweaking to match (only global changes- no masks or secondaries):

FS7_Amira.thumb.jpg.ca1235301051c375594e

I'm not a colorist and can understand why the best are highly paid- it will take some time to become an expert. On my X-Rite i1Display calibrated Dell 3007 and Dell 2405 monitors these two frames look reasonably close. The remaining differences can be fixed with secondaries/masking. As is I wouldn't have a problem cutting between these two cameras. As part of this exercise, I will say the Amira was easier to work with, even after H.264 compression (I pulled a frame from Gene's uploaded original on Vimeo).

It looks like both cameras were rolling at the same time- which forms a stereoscopic 3D image (cameras were a bit too far apart, but it works):

FS7_Amira3D.thumb.jpg.165181db8a3a0d1d54

If you relax your eyes and look into the page until you see 3 images, then focus on the center image: it will be 3D (hyper stereo).

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The reality is that how the camera responds to grading is what matters, not what the default Rec 709 LUT looks like. You can use a different one. It would turn a test like this on its head.

Pros grade their footage and tweak skintones! That's reality. It's a huge variable.

I have struggled with this dilemma in my own camera tests. In doing an A/B shot test I tend to try and match them as close as possible. But it always comes back to hardware aspects like dynamic range, noise, sensor size, rolling shutter, etc.

The 4K cameras are much easier to match in the grade because you have more data to work with especially on the FS7 and Amira.

Like I say, use a different 'default workflow' like in real life, and you could match these as close as makes no difference, but I am sure the Amira's image has some advantages not revealed by this test.

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I think the best way to test cameras including colour science is to shoot at LOG and only correct contrast of both images to the exact same point, just luma, using curves.

Unrelated to the Amira, but I did a test shoot with the FS7 this past weekend (SLOG3), comparing it with the Canon C100 (Wide DR), and the 5D3 (raw). I standardized everything as much as I could during the shoot, but I'm not sure how best to treat the footage in post for a direct comparison, especially when dealing between a mix of LOG and non-LOG clips. I could grade everything to look about the same, but I don't see how that would be useful to anyone. How would you tackle this, Ebrahim? Perhaps this deserves its own thread...

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Unrelated to the Amira, but I did a test shoot with the FS7 this past weekend (SLOG3), comparing it with the Canon C100 (Wide DR), and the 5D3 (raw). I standardized everything as much as I could during the shoot, but I'm not sure how best to treat the footage in post for a direct comparison, especially when dealing between a mix of LOG and non-LOG clips. I could grade everything to look about the same, but I don't see how that would be useful to anyone. How would you tackle this, Ebrahim? Perhaps this deserves its own thread...

Perhaps post some sample images (and perhaps links to originals somewhere) so we can compare ourselves and share the results?

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Guest Ebrahim Saadawi

Yes I I would just shoot the same scene at highest quality codec settings in their standard LOG gammas with the same WB and exposure settings, post two 1-second native files to people. If I want to match them, avoid any edits that affect colour. Just a Luma curve to  match good contrast. Then from there if I want to look at how respond to ''grading'', i would grade one and copy/past to the other. 

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