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Possibly giving up my Sony a7s for Samsung NX1


j_one
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Hi all!  I've been following this forum for almost a year now, so I thought I'd finally jump in and join discussions!  Glad to be a part of the great community here.

I've been an owner of an a7s for about 3 weeks now, and I'm loving everything about it, from low light abilities to its dynamic range (8-bit or not).  There's just one big deal breaker that has me ready to sell it to a potential buyer tomorrow on craigslist: the colors from the camera.  To be frank, I despise the color rendition.  I've taken great measures to ensure that white balance is on point with my scenes, and that my exposure reflects what has produced great results for others online.  Even still, I find that color accuracy is just plain off, usually containing too much red/yellow, and other times just plain iffy.  Accurate, vibrant skin tones mean a lot to me, and this camera just didn't give them like others do in lower budget cameras (canikon, apparently samsung).  I now see why people say this camera's picture looks like film; DoF aside, the colors feel like a vintage film stock!

 I don't only work on narrative projects.  I have corporate work that I do almost on a weekly basis, so it's important that I have a camera that produces accurate, vibrant colors right out of the camera (if not fairly close).  So as a result of my frustrations spending weeks tweaking and experimenting with slog2 and cine2/cine4 profile settings (as well as neutral) in my grade, I'm switching to the NX1.

If any of you have an opinion that contests this decision to switch for the sole reason of COLOR, please voice it!  I understand that every shooter is different and has different needs/taste...I'd just like to hear what the rest of you have to say.  Because I am hesitant.  The a7s is still an excellent camera.

Pros and Cons relevant to me as a shooter
_______________________________________

a7s:

++ Untouchable low light (makes looking a photography and light totally new, fewer situation limitations)
++ ​Dynamic range

+ Full Frame (I can do without, s35/apsc is enough for me)
+ Film Look (color wise, subjective)
+ Full Sensor Readout, Quality 1080p (contests some 4k that is downscaled in this camera price range)
+ Small files, codec that is easy to edit/grade

- In terms of grading, irritating "log" profile that is Slog2 (Sgamut is an ugly color space without a proper conversion LUT, which the a7s doesn't seem to have made specifically for it.  Overexposing around +2 stops helps skin tones but not by much)
- Weak battery
- Not much of a stills camera compared to competition (IMO)

NX1:

++ Best 4k APS-C
+ More accurate colors
+ Layout/Ergonomics 
+ 28 megapixels
+ Well supported/growing firmware
+ h.265

- transcoding h.265
- Limited Dynamic Range

So do I throw in the towel, or do I keep this amazing camera and subscribe to Color Grading Central and continue to get my color correction/grading skills up?
Thanks again guys!

 

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I think you need to try a NX1, and see if the colors you can get out of it (before and after grading) gives you satisfaction. Colors is a very personal matter so I think it would be very difficult to advise you.

Personally I have experienced colors problem with the NX1 when working with low end lighting. But for everything else I'm very happy with the colors it produced. I only wish there was a less compress / color grading friendly codec. H265 is very compressed, and for now there is no way to edit natively so... I'd say: get one and see if you like what you can get out of it. 

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I'd just get the NX1. It ultimately comes down to what you need and if what you need is good color/skin tones then the NX1 is the camera you'll want. If you need extreme low light the the A7s is for you. So if you can pass on the low light then the NX1 is definitely a great replacement. Plus you get internal 4k! 

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From what I already see yes the nx1 looks to have excellent colours, better than the a7s certainly and perhaps close to Canon. It's highly subjective, for exanple I thunk the Nikon colours are the best I've ever seen, even more than C300/Reds. It might come from their extensive experience in perfecting stills colours which translated directly to video, even from the first d90. These vibrant colors are just unmatched, not acccurate, but most pleasing for my eye. It's subjective. 

 

Don't take my word about the nx1 as I still havent used it well, the problem is nobody has made a camera comparison between these all new cameras for us to see and be done with it. 

Just point the camera at a person, chose same settings, highest IQ, flattest log profile, and post TIFF grabs for us to compare how these cameras look different. 

 

I am still waiting on a simple comparison shots (with people) about the GH4/A7s/NX1/5Draw

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Even still, I find that color accuracy is just plain off, usually containing too much red/yellow, and other times just plain iffy.

I have the same issue with my rx10, it doesn't look bad until I try to mix the images from this camera with my gh3 and then yellowish red skintones are just too different, even after whitebalancing properly.  

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I've found the key to getting accurate skin tones on the A7s to be ALWAYS do a good manual white balance, and using the right picture profile.

Like you, I do corporate work where you can't get away with arty skin tones. When required you need a straightforward look that just looks right and doesn't draw attention to itself.

I tried S-Log and I'm still finding my way into it, but I'd recommend Kholi's picture profiles from another message board. I won't link to it here as I'm not sure if that's against the rules, but you can find it easy enough with a google search or drop me a message and I'll point you in the right direction.

This profile really gave me colour which matches almost exactly with my 5D mk2. It's from a guy called Spreeni who slightly modified one of Kholi's profiles. It's a cine2 profile which is relatively flat but perks right up with minor colour correction and is much easier than S-Log 2 to deal with. Try this out before you drop your A7s altogether. And remember to do that white balance! I recently got an Expodisc 2 and it's really helped a lot.

 

Black Level: -11

Gamma : Cine2

Black Gamma > Range: Wide , Level: +7

Knee > Mode: Manual , Auto Set > Max Point: 95 , Sensitivity: Mid, Manual Set > Point: 105%, Slope: 0

Colore Mode: Pro

Saturation: +6

Color Phase 0

Color Depth > R+3, G-3, B+1,, C-3, M-1, Y-0

Detail > Level, -5 Adjust > Mode; Manual, V/H Balance: -2, B/W Balance Type3, Limit: 0, Crispening:0, hi_light Detail: 0

 

White balance: No Grid setting needed !

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.. a camera comparison between these all new cameras for us to see and be done with it. 

Just point the camera at a person, chose same settings, highest IQ, flattest log profile, and post TIFF grabs for us to compare how these cameras look different. 

​ok, but why the same settings, Ebrahim? On the contrary I would wish an experienced shooter would demonstrate us what the cams are really capable. I want them to shine in their best light, the normal crap comes early enough with the first 'test' clips, LOL

We have seen enough of this pseudo objective multi cam tests before and to be honest, most of them have been quite worthless. You would handle a Nikon completely different than a Canon during a portrait session for example, because the sensors have different capabilities, which could work sometimes against you if you didn't tweak the finetuning a little bit. But this wouldn't work without experience...

Tests and reviews are allways biased, sometimes deliberately... and sometimes simply by personal preference. You didn't want me shooting that comparision for example, just because I strongly dislike this crazy colour issues with the Sony, it makes me really sick... :-)

 

@ TO

two suggestions: Never ever buy a cam without testing it before: Only you could decide if it's the right for YOU. Rent it before. Been there, too, lost a heap of money, too.

While testing the NX, I would advise to share some footage, maybe another user has found an easy solution?

I assume you have allready read the 4,876 threats on dvxuser.com? :-)

 

 

 

 

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I've had the NX1 for a week or so now, and i'm a little unconvinced. Maybe i've been spoilt by the FS700/7Q or maybe the transcoding is losing some detail... But I find the image a bit muddy on high detail landscapes, which surprised me. These were locked off too, so no question of motion blur. I also found the skin tones a bit pink and unnatural.

I'll be giving it a good run through this week though and hopefully get a few more sunny days. Hopefully Adobe will allow for H265 soon, so I can make sure the transcoding is not the problem (I am 99% sure that is causes issues, and I have tried all the different free and paid transcoders)

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I think keep the a7s - rent or borrow or steal a NX1 - do a test side by side.  Don't base your desire on other people or forums.  It is indeed highly subjective.

 

the reason I like the NX1 is because it's small and light and the battery lasts forever and the screen is excellent and right away very nice skintones.   But the a7s has nicer motion.  SO yes, don't give up - just yet.  Don't listen to any of us.  Trust your gut.

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But the a7s has nicer motion.  SO yes, don't give up - just yet.  Don't listen to any of us.  Trust your gut.

​Funny hearing this from you, Ed... The motion of your NX1 videos looks like film!! I've seen loads of videos of both cameras, haven't tried the NX1 because it's hard to find in some countries of Europe (hard to buy, imposible to rent) and my impression (gut feeling) was that NX1 had better motion, don't know, there's something less "filmic" about the latest SONY's, they seem to need a really flat profile to sell the whole film effect, with a normal profile they look like video to me (my gut speaking here).

So, I agree 100%... In our gut we must trust!!

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​Funny hearing this from you, Ed... The motion of your NX1 videos looks like film!! I've seen loads of videos of both cameras, haven't tried the NX1 because it's hard to find in some countries of Europe (hard to buy, imposible to rent) and my impression (gut feeling) was that NX1 had better motion, don't know, there's something less "filmic" about the latest SONY's, they seem to need a really flat profile to sell the whole film effect, with a normal profile they look like video to me (my gut speaking here).

So, I agree 100%... In our gut we must trust!!

​I feel like the grass is always greener... For me its difficult to compare if you are just going to watch peoples videos on internet... Their talent, budget, equipment isn't always the same... Cities don't look the same, dont project the same feeling, aren't as cinematographic. I got an NX1 but kept my GH3 & GH4. If the A7S had internal 4k I wouldn't hesitate to get one. In the end it is extremely difficult to chose ONE camera. But it can quickly become a budget issue if you"re going to start a collection :) 

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​I feel like the grass is always greener... . In the end it is extremely difficult to chose ONE camera.  :) 

Very easy: Imagine your house is burning.

Which is the one you would grap?

For shooting of course, not only for saving.

:-)

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​I feel like the grass is always greener... For me its difficult to compare if you are just going to watch peoples videos on internet... Their talent, budget, equipment isn't always the same... Cities don't look the same, dont project the same feeling, aren't as cinematographic. 

​Well... Ed's or Andrew's videos (just talking about the NX1 ones) are a great example of simple "one man band" pieces, where budget and equipment doesn't count that much, talent and knowledge does. But after doing this for some time you do start to draw the lines, knowing where the "goodness" is coming from, if it's great lighting, a good lens, composition, the image of the actual camera, a bit of all... If you see something with spot on lighting, you start to see the great work behind it, you know it's not the camera. I think post production and settings are the tricky ones nowadays, given their huge impact on the final image...

PS- I have been lucky enough to shoot in NYC, Lisbon and Sintra, all lovely cinematic places... 

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Don't forget to check out the Nikon D750 as an option. Just finished a 3 day production for a music video with it and really pushed its to its limits. The Colors are spot on accurate, super easy to grade in post, flat profile gives you huge dynamic range that has a really nice roll off in the highlights. Rolling shutter, Aliasing, Moire hard to find even in my hand held shots with a higher shutter speed.  Also combined with the Ninja 2 I get very clean 1080p. I used to own 5D mark III, and Magic latern Raw which was very nice colors with 14bit raw, but nightmare to work with that hack. But I am getting very similar results with D750 and the ninja 2 (even though its only 8bit color), plus more no more rolling shutter and clipping at 11 stops.    

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