It is time for a good old fashioned EOSHD article. Everything you’ve seen so far on YouTube is meaningless – yes it is. Comparing one shot to another this way is no longer representative of the camera. Our camera’s capabilities far outstrips what you can see via YouTube. At best it’s a comparison of grading styles.
Back in the days before LOG recording, your camera’s colour science was baked in and you were reliant on it. Since then, most footage looks very similar in LOG before it’s graded, and the main difference you’ll see on YouTube is how two cameras have been graded to match, or how the default picture profile and white balance compares. Then, on top of that it will all be converted to H.265 at a very low bitrate for streaming, even in 8K. In fact 8K looks dreadful on YouTube if you really examine it. So how can we really judge what a camera and codec as powerful as 12bit N-RAW is doing?
The answer is to have a good pixel peep. Freeze a frame, and look at it up-close at full resolution, without adding noticeable compression. This is what I set out to do here, to examine the texture and look of the image in 8K N-RAW on the Nikon Z9. Does it really have an advantage over the Sony A1 in H.265? Does N-RAW as a “film stock” really LOOK like RAW if we compare it to the Sigma Fp-L in uncompressed Cinema DNG? It’s time to find out.