Friday 7am London time sees the release of a firmware update for the Sony FS5 which optimises the performance of internal recording, fixing the issues spotted by early adopters of the camera including myself (Andrew Reid) and Paul Antico.
Above: my sample showing no fixed pattern noise in low light at ISO 400 on the Production Camera – it’s all about the grade
Almost all Blackmagic Production Camera users have experienced fixed pattern noise – a banding effect or grain texture over the image – and they are quite upset at Blackmagic over the issue. But is the fixed pattern noise problem on the Blackmagic Production Camera a case of faulty cameras OR is it a limitation of the spec?
This is a complex issue and every user seems to report something different. However in my own experience with the camera and of looking at the experiences of others I have to say that all units look to perform in the same way. It is a limitation of the spec, not a case of a large number of faulty units being shipped out.
Yet many users – over 200 of them – are now putting pressure on Blackmagic to acknowledge a hardware or quality control ‘fault’ and to do hardware replacements. Sorry but I just don’t think this is right.
It is best to look at how to handle the camera in order to avoid the FPN in the first place…
After a very limited initial release, the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera is slated for an end of September ship date in greater quantity. The good news is that the extra time has given Blackmagic some leeway to tweak the camera.
As I recently found with my FS100 Macs really seem to hurt your AVCHD footage from Sony cameras and the Panasonic GH2… But especially the Sony FS100.
It is no wonder these cameras often get a bad reputation for limited dynamic range, crushed shadows and blown highlights – when you are only seeing the middle part of the full 8bit range of luma.
This Rec.709 portion of a 601 space (16-235 instead of the full 0-255 the FS100 shoots in) is incorrectly remapped to 0-255 by Quicktime. Therefore apps that use Quicktime at their core like Premiere, trip up. This makes a huge difference to the image. When fixed, you recover over 10% of your dynamic range, highlight and shadow detail, along with a much smoother roll off to whites and blacks.