Take a look at Mattias Burling’s Blind Camera Test

One of the best camera reviews channels on YouTube is by Mattias Burling. This test mesmerised the EOSHD Forum for the past week, and I won’t spoil the results. Part 2 below contains the big reveal.

For some reason Mattias’s videos always stir a big argument within me, the creative side vs the technical side. The technical side always comes away feeling a bit forlorn, and the creative side a lot happier. Problem is, the creativity can’t be turned on like a tap! As a whole, I think both sides of me are reconciled into a kind of compromise where both are just as important. I don’t really want to shoot my best creative work on a crap camera, at the same time I don’t really want to use a great camera for shooting a load of boring old tosh.

Easy to lose sight of in the specs race, but I think lenses and colour grading are 80% of the art of a camera, especially with modern sensors all being rather good. The Blackmagic Pocket 4K for instance repeatedly lost in the vote for this Blind Camera Test, merely because people preferred the grade and colours of others… So no matter how good the codec is or whether you shoot H.264, Raw or ProRes, the grade is king.

Or rather it isn’t, because “King” implies some form of hierarchical dominance, where in fact everything is related. If you kick out the codec from under the grade, the King doesn’t have a throne.

I’m now left wondering why the world is becoming so binary in the digital age. In more analogue times, it seemed easier to accept the simple interconnected nature of things. Why the sudden temptation to say “Content is king” or “Lenses are most important”?

It’s because a point has been crossed in complexity where people have to simplify for their own sanity. If we argued for 100 different factors all equally important, we’d go mad, especially on a camera forum. If we recognised the 10,000 different variables involved, in even a simple camera test like this, we’d never have faith in the results of one ever again.

For example on EOSHD in the Panasonic GH2 days, I used to compare 2 cameras and it used to be easy. One format (1080/24p), one or two favourite colour profiles, no grading or LOG, and none of the fancy extras or advanced choice in formats we get today. Once you start introducing LOG or RAW, things immediately start to become 1000 times more complicated and you end up measuring the grading skills of the reviewer rather than the camera.

What REALLY matters in choosing a camera today? Is it price, lenses, sensor size, low light performance, dynamic range, colour science, ergonomics, anamorphic, file sizes, battery life? What a f***ing nightmare, seriously.

In the end, I really enjoy what Mattias is saying in this video. Which shoots the nicest image, according to the audience? Which does it with the least effort? And which lenses can you put on the damn thing?

The result is that you feel all cozy, and forget all about needing 8K… Until the next time!