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Possibly giving up my Sony a7s for Samsung NX1


j_one
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The reason we (and by 'we' I mean a collective we) do camera tests is to discover the latitude of our stock (or in the case of digital - the latitude/dynamic range of the sensor). That way, we can make informed decisions about how to light our scenes.

Of course - having more dynamic range gives you a lot more flexibility with your lighting choices, but lighting your scene makes much more of a difference to the look of your footage than any small tweaks of settings in-camera or in post.

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I used the A7s and the NX1 for 3 weeks in parallel and just sent back the NX1. It's not a bad camera at all - no, actually it is in many point a better camera than the A7s. But I don't know - every time I look at the videos and stills of the A7s it is something "magic" that the NX1 didn't have. I can't even say what it is. With the Picture Profile I found at dvxuser the skin tones are good - altough the ones from the NX1 are better. NX1 is MUCH better in terms of rolling shutter when comparing the 1080p modes (A7 in FF mode). Also the handling of the NX1 is better. I was at a point where I was ready to part with the A7s, but I really regretted it while packing this thing up ... so I had a second unboxing afterswards... :D It was hard to send back the NX1 too but at this point (as a beginner) I can't - by any means - justify keeping two expensive cameras. Gonna invest the money into a Gimbal and some lighting now :)

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Agreed completely with jax_rox: test cameras and lenses to inform lighting. My students do camera/lens/noise tests for their story/scene/lighting situations. They also test different lights for look, too.

For example, one of the a7s shoots is night interior and they want to use practicals with "moonlight" coming in the window, so they will likely bounce an HMI fresnel in through a window to replicate moonlight and bring up the level in the room, and then have 100 watt bulbs in the lamps on dimmers to help create pockets of light and shadow. But they could use LED panels coming in, or gelled tungstens, or even a kino-flo, depending on the final location/block. 

In their case, the noise/lens/camera tests are to see which cameras/lenses let them get everything they want in the shot: especially readable shadows and highlights because they are going to be moving the character from shadow to light, and from warm to cool look. For schedule/talent reasons, they will not be able to re-light for every set-up beyond flying a small light to help fill in for MCU/CUs, and there again, they'll be testing lights for look: china ball, led, kino-flo, lowell, etc. It's not the ideal situation, but the schedule of the talent is beyond their control. They will have hair and make-up, fwiw. All our shoots with professional actors do.

That said, these are high school students, so they don't all care enough to do the work to test these things, and most shoots aren't using professional actors. Many are just happy to grab a 70D, a couple reflectors, a couple friends, and a variable ND filter. Their look "choices" are pretty much limited to picture profile: neutral, standard, cinestyle, etc. But for the three projects I've mentioned, the students are very serious with great ambitions, so I'm trying to help them get the most professional look possible while preparing them for the real world of filmmaking as much as possible. 

Of course, for my own personal work filming family and friends on outings, at parties, etc, I don't have time or interest in lighting the scene; I want to capture the moments. Because many of these moments are low light -- dinners, parties, evening walks, etc -- I love what the a7s lets me capture that the GH4 and a6000 don't. (And by don't, I mean I can't capture a look I find enjoyable and acceptable due to noise in low light.)

All that said, if you happen to work on the Sony lot, Sony is running a sale until the end of march where most things are 50% off (actually, 25% in addition to their normal 25% discount). So the a7s is $1250, the 55 1.8 is $500, etc. The new lenses aren't discounted. I know DPs, directors, and producers shooting at Sony who have grabbed the a7s this month. I know one DP shooting there who bought two and insisted they be consecutive serial numbers, so the sensors match as much as possible because he might do 3D work with them.

Again -- none of this means the a7s is "better" than another camera for anyone else or that it is without challenges. And ideally, people can light their shoots when they want to. But that isn't always possible or desirable or necessary, either. When I watch Kendy Ty, I don't find myself thinking, "If only he had lit this, it would have worked." I'm pretty much just caught up in watching the film. But again, other people might not dig his work, just like others don't dig the a7s. It's all good. Just shoot.

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Yeah. Pretty crazy deal. Wish I worked for Sony this month. That discount is certainly an upside to shooting on the Sony lot. Of course, you pretty much have to shoot on Sony cameras there, so no Alexas, etc. But who can blame them? If I were Sony, I'd do the same thing.

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I'd probably think most of the "internet camera nerds" don't bother using lighting, or very little. Whether this comes down to shooting style/hobby/lack of interest... Don't know.

I can be a camera nerd who surfs the net on a daily basis to feed my latest craving. But I also see cameras/footage being critised where proper, good lighting was NOT utilised. How many actually realise that a camera produces superior images with a good set of lights, or a knowledge in how to mould natural light? 

A lot of the "skin tone" footage on the net with the A7s sucks because the operator raised the ISO to 20,000 in locations with weird colours/no colours, and didn't bother to consider light at all. 

Lighting is far more important than cameras. You start to realise that your tool has much better colour, dynamic range, resolution and motion than you thought. Even if you use a flat piece of foil to reflect the light on your subject, every little helps. 

My order of importance for every shoot: 

1. Idea 

2. Subject (actor, location etc)

3. Lighting

4. Lenses

5. Camera

So onto your subject, whatever camera you use, start with lighting first. You will get much much further with your filmmaking and produce much better images this way :) 

My honest opinion is - those who are serious but don't consider lighting, you might as well not bother! 

 

100% agree with this. 

To be honest, I've known a few people who can't be bothered with lighting. It's way above the camera choice. 

Onto topic though, this is a thread about camera choice. The first thing I think about when choosing cameras though is lighting. Same with lenses.

 

 

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If you want to see what the NX1 produces in daylight with the tiny (but good) 16-50mm PZ lens, edited natively in H265 with no grading and standard settings, here is an example:

 

 

​PowerDirector?

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If you want to see what the NX1 produces in daylight with the tiny (but good) 16-50mm PZ lens, edited natively in H265 with no grading and standard settings, here is an example:

 

 

​That's one ugly image........ Burnt blacks, clipped whites all in Razor Sharp resolution....... NX1 reminds me of Samsung 4K cellphone footage

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​That's one ugly image........ Burnt blacks, clipped whites all in Razor Sharp resolution....... NX1 reminds me of Samsung 4K cellphone footage

You forgot to add "imo".

But I am interested in that phone you are talking about. Please share a link. I would buy it instantly if you say it will give me the same results as I get with my NX1.

 

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You forgot to add "imo".

But I am interested in that phone you are talking about. Please share a link. I would buy it instantly if you say it will give me the same results as I get with my NX1.

 

 

This footage looks like everything I DONT want in a camera, poor dynamic range, razor sharp and ugly skin tones + color science. Compare your footage to something like this shot on a BMCC and maybe you might see something, maybe not

 

 

 

Peace

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This footage looks like everything I DONT want in a camera, poor dynamic range, razor sharp and ugly skin tones + color science. Compare your footage to something like this shot on a BMCC and maybe you might see something, maybe not

 

 

 

Peace

So no link to the phone?

 

(don't need to compare, have shot plenty on my bmpcc, bmcc and my favorite, the bmpc. But I don't see how any of them are relevant to this discussion.) 

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