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Andrew Reid

Sony FS700 - the image quality verdict - incredible 14 stops of dynamic range in AVCHD

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Above: 240fps at 120mph by Bill Totolo shot on the FS700

Adam Wilt over at ProVideoCoalition has done the first really comprehensive look at the Sony FS700′s image quality with a lab test. So far we’ve had field reports but nothing that goes into depth about image quality. How does it perform?

[url="http://www.eoshd.com/?p=8332/"]Read full article[/url]

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This is great news! However, something seems to be holding the FS700 back - 8bit colour-space perhaps? I'm not sure what it is, but it's something. Regardless, I'm still confident in my Blackmagic purchase - 13stops of DR + 10bit/12bit is where I feel it's at. Dynamic-range is important (the most important for me), but colour-space sits an ultra-close second.

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This article makes me want to bug my rep again today, despite my calling him on Friday. The wait is KILLING me.

One thing I've noticed about all the FS700 vimeo videos is that the picture profile seems very important. I've seen some very plastic looking, over saturated FS700 tests that just scream video. I initially though the C300 had a better out of camera look, but then I saw this FS700 test which looks as nice as the C300 -- lower saturation, great skin tones, cinematic, semi-muted treatment. He shot it with a modified Cinegamma 1 on his first time out with the camera.

https://vimeo.com/45059023

It's interesting how everyone is comparing the FS700 to the C300. I think the image is comparable for sure; maybe a slight nod to the C300. But people seem to forget that all the amazing, dramatic slow motion stuff you cannot even come close to achieving on C300. Maybe not so much for narrative, but for doc work and beauty shots, the slow motion is HUGE. Adds so much to the drama to the shot.

Plus FS700 costs $7000 less  :)

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I saw that Wellington FS700 test earlier, but to be honest, didn't like it much. Everyone with an FS700 seems to be over-exposing. Believe it or not, this is the best FS700 footage I've seen to date: https://vimeo.com/44984653

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Blackmagic Design claims 13 stops, but hopefully they're being conservative. If the sensor's the BAE one mentioned here and elsewhere, it may be closer to 14 stops. But then again, it costs half as much as the FS700.

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Hey Junius, I saw that low light clip also and really liked it. Very muted and understated which I like.

Here's an example of something I think looks pretty video on the FS700. Just looks a bit saturated and plasticy and contrasty; especially the bamboo scene. Not as much character in the treatment as the Wellington clip IMO.

https://vimeo.com/44265009

I actually thought the attached car racing clip suffered a bit from video-syndrome. Looked a bit too bright and contrasty, but different strokes for different folks. And since the camera is new, everyone is just trying to learn it. Great stuff will be made with this camera.

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[quote author=gene_can_sing link=topic=926.msg6727#msg6727 date=1341242601]
It's interesting how everyone is comparing the FS700 to the C300. I think the image is comparable for sure; maybe a slight nod to the C300. But people seem to forget that all the amazing, dramatic slow motion stuff you cannot even come close to achieving on C300. Maybe not so much for narrative, but for doc work and beauty shots, the slow motion is HUGE. Adds so much to the drama to the shot.

Plus FS700 costs $7000 less  :)
[/quote]

The biggest difference I've noticed between the two is that is with skin tones. I still haven't since a nice closeup from the fs700 that is anywhere close to what you get with the c300, or even the 5d3 for that matter.

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Great footage. Just waiting for some BMCC tests (Charts, real scenes) to make my final decision. Interesting how far I'm now from a canon DSLR...

FS 700 seems a great choice for my next camera, those built in NDs, proper XLRs, cine gammas, great DR, awesome slo-mo...

Can I use an external recorder and capture 10bit 4:2:2 footage?

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The AVCHD codec is excellent.  I played with some footage from a sony handicam (consumer video minature camera) and the video holds very good.  I tried this about a year ago and was surprised.  The footage looked quite amazing.

With respect to the FS700,  the footage has a certain look to it.  I noticed some people are desaturating the image too much and getting a partial "dirty" look to the video (I'm no expert and I am guilty to doing this too at times). Alot of posted video does look videoish and has highlights blown too much (perhaps people only using the camera for brief time periods so not exposing images properly due to not being familiar with the camera?).  No disrespect to the camera or others.  I love what Sony is doing here.  Some footage looks very good.  It'll be interesting to see what people come up with once they have the official camera in hand.  They'll have time to experiment with different picture profiles and will have proper time to experience the camera. 

From what I have seen from the limited BM footage, the useable dynamic range looks amazing.  Brawley has stated the dynamic range is close to the Alexa.  The color is supposed very close to the Alexa too.  Still early to make a true assessment.  Footage supposedly coming soon.

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[quote author=gene_can_sing link=topic=926.msg6727#msg6727 date=1341242601]It's interesting how everyone is comparing the FS700 to the C300. I think the image is comparable for sure; maybe a slight nod to the C300. But people seem to forget that all the amazing, dramatic slow motion stuff you cannot even come close to achieving on C300. Maybe not so much for narrative, but for doc work and beauty shots, the slow motion is HUGE. Adds so much to the drama to the shot.

Plus FS700 costs $7000 less  :)
[/quote]

$7000 less is a big deal! That's the main gripe I have with Canon's cinema stuff. It is designed exclusively for the 'old' video industry. A time of bloated costs, way before DSLRs came along. Lovely camera otherwise though.

Slow mo in narrative - Anti Christ by Lars Von Trier springs forcibly to mind. He made graphic use of it throughout the film, which is beautifully shot but disturbing and not an easy watch.

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[quote author=markm link=topic=926.msg6736#msg6736 date=1341250687]
If I was serious about making a film I would choose the BMC.

The FS700 is 8 Bit 4.2.2 out. I'm not sure if that could change if it ever gets its 4k option.
[/quote]

8 bit per sample. Lots of colours (16.7m I think?) and 255 shades of each. Seems enough for me. 10 bit is overrated.

Your screen is likely 8 bit too. Well my Dell U2711 and MacBook Pro use 8 bit LCD panels. JPEG and raw stills look fine with 255 per colour sample as does C300 footage.

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[quote author=Andrew Reid link=topic=926.msg6743#msg6743 date=1341266579]
[quote author=markm link=topic=926.msg6736#msg6736 date=1341250687]
If I was serious about making a film I would choose the BMC.

The FS700 is 8 Bit 4.2.2 out. I'm not sure if that could change if it ever gets its 4k option.
[/quote]

8 bit per sample. Lots of colours (16.7m I think?) and 255 shades of each. Seems enough for me. 10 bit is overrated.

Your screen is likely 8 bit too. Well my Dell U2711 and MacBook Pro use 8 bit LCD panels. JPEG and raw stills look fine with 255 per colour sample as does C300 footage.
[/quote]

I think Macbook Pros use 24 bits per pixel, but each pixel is represented by three 8 bit elements(red green blue).  When you play back you footage from a c300, since each photo site records only 8 bits in one color (RGB), then the remaining information is interpolated from neighboring photosites.

I think you are confusing photosites with pixels.

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[quote author=Junius link=topic=926.msg6744#msg6744 date=1341268080]
Will you still be buying a BMC, Andrew? Or put the money towards an FS700?
[/quote]

Still buying a BMC, but the pricing is rather different. The FS700 is 3x more. I'll see how the FS100 + BMC pans out. If the BMC is not working for me, I'll be tempted to sell both the FS100 and BMC for one FS700.

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[quote author=HurtinMinorKey link=topic=926.msg6745#msg6745 date=1341270906]
[quote author=Andrew Reid link=topic=926.msg6743#msg6743 date=1341266579]
[quote author=markm link=topic=926.msg6736#msg6736 date=1341250687]
If I was serious about making a film I would choose the BMC.

The FS700 is 8 Bit 4.2.2 out. I'm not sure if that could change if it ever gets its 4k option.
[/quote]

8 bit per sample. Lots of colours (16.7m I think?) and 255 shades of each. Seems enough for me. 10 bit is overrated.

Your screen is likely 8 bit too. Well my Dell U2711 and MacBook Pro use 8 bit LCD panels. JPEG and raw stills look fine with 255 per colour sample as does C300 footage.
[/quote]

I think Macbook Pros use 24 bits per pixel, but each pixel is represented by three 8 bit elements(red green blue).  When you play back you footage from a c300, since each photo site records only 8 bits in one color (RGB), then the remaining information is interpolated from neighboring photosites.

I think you are confusing photosites with pixels.
[/quote]

Wrong camera to make that point with.  The c300 uses 4 discreet photosites per output pixel.  Therefore it doesn't need to debayer (interpolate).

Also when people refer to 8 bit, that of course means 8 bit per channel (if they know what they are talking about).

I personally think capturing 10 or 12 bits per channel is an advantage even though the output is only 8 bits per channel:  It leaves more room for adjustments with less chance of banding etc.

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If you can find a sensor that will deliver that, nothing prevents you from recording 20 stops of light on an 8-bit H.264 stream. You'll just have poor gradation, with something like 16 values per stop of light in the midtones.

If you use a 10-bit codec, this problem dissappears, since you now have 64 shades per stop of light in the midtones.

RAW is a completely different beast. It's not about dynamic range or color depth, but about preserving everything the sensor records, and making your choices in post. Of course, it usually also means 12-bit, 14-bit, or 16-bit, but it's usually on a linear color space, and I'm not sure I'd prefer 14-bit linear if I can get 10-bit log instead. Of course, you can also record 10-bit log RAW (the cinemaDNG standard supports things like this), and that would be my preferred option: the flexibility of RAW, with the gradation and bitrate savings or 10-bit log.

And I want high bit depths even if my monitor can't display them, because I'll need them if I push the colors in post (otherwise, banding and codec issues will show up).

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