In 99% of cases there seems to be little benefit to using 10bit other than more difficult to edit, larger file sizes.
Sony go 8K finally – with the Alpha 1 (a1) mirrorless camera announced today. It is the most technically advanced camera Sony has ever released, and also the most expensive. It has a 30 minute limit in 8K mode due to heat, but a proper structure inside the camera to dissipate it more quickly. The camera is $2000 more expensive than the Canon EOS R5, but likely more dependable rather than the toy-like will-it-won’t-it get through a shoot reliability we have come to expect from Canon. Technically the Alpha 1 has a number of advantages over the cheaper Canon body. 8.6K oversampling and 4K/120p 10bit 422 ALL-I come from a faster sensor readout due to a stacked DRAM architecture and the world’s first electronic shutter that eliminates banding & flicker. The 30 minute limitation applies to 4K/60p as well but the 4K/24p mode is likely to record for longer. It is not known yet whether the 4K at regular frame rates on this camera comes from a pixel binned output or a full 8K sensor output.
The codec options are similar to the A7S III with 10bit 422 ALL-I at high bit rates, 10bit 4:2:0 XAVC HS in 8K (H.265). S-LOG 3, Creative Looks and S-Cinetone (hopefully the A7S III will also be getting S-Cinetone via firmware update). Real-time eye AF works in 8K and the new stacked Exmor R sensor enables an incredibly fast readout with minimal rolling shutter. We get 5.5 stop 5 axis IBIS and a large 9 million dot EVF.
Here’s the full headline specification for video shooters:
- New 50.1-megapixel full-frame stacked Exmor RS™ CMOS image sensor in combination with an upgraded BIONZ XR™ imaging processing engine
- Full frame 8K (up to 30p) 10-bit 4:2:0 XAVC HS video recording with 8.6K oversampling for extraordinary detail and resolution, in addition to 4K 120p and 60p 10-bit 4:2:2 movie shooting capabilities
- 8K slightly oversampled from 8.6K. In Super 35mm 5.8K oversampling for 4K.
- S-LOG 3, Hybrid LOG Gamma (HLG), Creative Looks
- S-Cinetone color matrix as seen in FX9 and FX6 to deliver expressive cinematic look
- Fast sensor readout enables up to 120 AF/AE calculations per second (double the speed of the Alpha 9 II, even during 30fps black out free continuous shooting)
- World’s first 240fps 0.64-type 9.44 million-dot (approx.) OLED Quad-XGA electronic viewfinder
- Silent, vibration-free electronic shutter
- World’s first anti-flicker shooting with both mechanical and electronic shutter
- 15+ stops dynamic range for video
- 5-axis optical in-body image stabilization for a 5.5-stop shutter speed advantage
- Industry’s fastest built-in Wi-Fi, SuperSpeed USB 10Gbps, 1000BASE-T Ethernet and more
- A hefty price tag of $6500 (US)
Ever since Canon began disappointing us in 2011, we’ve been waiting for that historic moment where they turn the corner. Long-time readers of EOSHD will remember with fondness the first time we shot RAW video on our Canon 5D Mark III DSLRs thanks to Magic Lantern and now finally there is an official solution. And what a solution it is.
We have waited a long time for today – a true Canon 1D C sequel. This is also the first time since the 2012 Canon have released a ‘cutting edge’ DSLR for filmmakers. There’s good news and bad news – of course it costs $6500, has no EVF or IBIS by nature and many will say the form factor is obsolete compared to the full frame 10bit mirrorless competition.
Canon’s Larry Thorpe has published an excellent technical white-paper with the camera, so let’s take an in-depth look at the video specs…
The sensor for the A7S III has leaked on the EOSHD Forum, with 4K/60p and an HDR mode in 4K and at 15 megapixels thanks to a Quad Bayer pattern. If you care to take a look at the specs here – you’ll notice a few interesting things. There is only a small megapixel boost from the old 12 megapixel sensor (which rules out 8K) but a completely different architecture with 60 million photosites in a Quad Bayer arrangement, so in this respect the sensor represents a big step up in resolution and colour capture data from a standard bayer sensor.
In a surprise move, the affordable G9 will be getting a huge video upgrade. The new firmware bumps the 8bit 4K mode of the G9 up to 10bit 4:2:2 internal. There are also further AF improvements for the GH5 and G9, along with manual exposure control in high-speed movie mode on the S1, improvements to highlight rolloff in V-LOG and CFExpress card support – these cards offer up to 2000Mbps data rates, 300% faster than even XQD… Perfect for internal 4K RAW should Panasonic choose to implement this next.
How about a new kind of camera benchmark – Netflix. Their production guidelines for original 4K content have been updated to include the Panasonic S1H. According to Netflix the S1H’s image in DCI 4K mode at 400Mbit 10bit 4:2:2 ALL-I plays in the same ballpark as pro cinema cameras costing many times more.
The Canon 1D X Mark III marks a surprising turn-around for Canon’s video capabilities, at least at $6000.
Although you can already shoot full frame 4K RAW on the Sigma Fp for $2000 and full frame 10bit 4:2:2 LOG on the Panasonic S1, if you do have the extra $4000 going spare down the back of the sofa, and need worse ergonomics, fewer features, no EVF and potentially some cropping, the 1D X Mark III might be a tempting choice.