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Which Camera Do You Like Most in Zacuto's 'Revenge of The Great Camera Shootout'?

06.15.12 @ 2:23PM Tags : , , ,

Following a series of in-person screenings around the world, this year’s installment of Zacuto’s Emmy-winning series The Great Camera Shootout is finally available online. The shootout puts the Apple iPhone 4S, Panasonic GH2 (Hacked), Canon 7D, Canon C300, Sony FS100, Sony F3, Sony F65, RED Epic, and Arri Alexa through their paces in a slightly different format than previous years — this time, each camera’s respective DP was allowed to change the lighting to simulate optimal conditions for that particular camera, but they’re providing a “blind” test for the first episode. UPDATE: I’ve added a poll for those who have watched the test. Choose which ones you like the most and we’ll find out which is which in episode two!

First, watch the test. Then vote below! Part two of the shootout is live, which means the cameras are no longer a secret — which also means the poll is closed as voting is no longer anonymous.

You can see what others chose after you vote, but by default it’s formatted pretty terribly by Google. I’ll compile the results in a week and present a better graph. The answer key will be revealed in episode two, which will go live July 15th; part three will go up a month after that.

Also, be sure to read Joe’s thoughts on seeing the shootout in person (I was scheduled to see it in NYC, but got sick and would have thrown up on the screen had I gone — which, you could argue, some of the cameras did anyway).

Link: Zacuto’s Revenge of The Great Camera Shootout

Disclosure: Zacuto is a NoFilmSchool advertiser.


We’re all here for the same reason: to better ourselves as writers, directors, cinematographers, producers, photographers... whatever our creative pursuit. Criticism is valuable as long as it is constructive, but personal attacks are grounds for deletion; you don't have to agree with us to learn something. We’re all here to help each other, so thank you for adding to the conversation!

Description image 71 COMMENTS

  • I think the test is great, I think all the talking is over the top…was way to sentimental for a camera test

    • yeah I think the idea of it is great but the execution is a bit over dramatic music and everything and i just can’t stand the face of Phillip Bloom

  • I think it is awesome to hear from all of the talented cinematographers/legends, but a little more “test” would have been great, and now having to wait another month for the results… oh well. It is appreciated nonetheless.

  • The difference readily perceivable in the theater aren’t all that evident online. Expecting to learn anything from watching the web version of the tests would appear to be a waste of time.

    • At the same time… I’m interested in seeing which cameras are preferred AFTER vimeo compression.

      • I also saw the test in person, but having just watched it on the biggest Apple display I could find (at the store), the only conclusion for this viewer is that for any filmmaker who thinks the web is her future, camera technology is the silliest and least rewarding preoccupation, of all the available obsessions.

        Even in the theater, the difference between my first choice (Alexa) and last (iphone4) wasn’t great enough to be decisive, for the typical low-budget feature — at least, not with these sitcom setups. An iPhone could probably give a talky interior drama a perfectly acceptable realization.

        But on the web — the differences are almost trivial, and certainly wouldn’t be decisive in finding an audience.

    • Watching the web version of something is becoming a more legitimate test because more and more work is strictly going to the web. As I said in my previous post, it was clear to me which cameras performed better on the big screen, but if your work isn’t going on the big screen (and to a lesser extent television), there may not be much gained from spending a lot more money on buying or renting a better camera. As we watch more movies and other media in compressed form on small devices, it’s becoming a more relevant way to see the differences between cameras.

      • Álex Montoya on 06.15.12 @ 7:58PM

        Joe, after reading your comments I believe you shouldn’t waste any money on anything higher than a 550D.

        • I’m not sure why my comments seem to bother you personally so much. If you’re happy with what you’re using, use it. I made my thoughts pretty clear on using different camera systems based on the project, the audience, and the final delivery method – whether that be theatrical, TV, web – or a combination of any of them.

          There’s one thing that’s clear: I watched this test with a theater full of working people, and many of them chose the GH2 over cameras like the F65, Alexa, or Epic. Plenty of people are also picking that camera online. What does that tell you?

          • Álex Montoya on 06.15.12 @ 9:47PM

            I’m a happy 550D user myself. I even told you some weeks ago that the video quality is very comparable to the one of the 5D, which you denied. Anyway, I use for my personal stuff.

            What I’m saying is that’s a good idea to shoot in the best possible format you can afford. Even if your final destination is the internet, it’s a good idea to shoot better footage than crappy 720ish h264 compressed quicktimes. I don’t know what you use to shoot but I want my films to stand the test of time.

            That and that you seem to have some bias against Red. You can’t say that it was silly to spend 17500$ five years ago in a Red One and the recommend the FS700 which does more or less the same (shoots higher frame rates but doesn’t shoot RAW) and will cost 8000$ plus 4K recorder. That certainly sounds silly.

            And 4K is not just for delivery. I have extensively used in all my films the possibility of reframing, slow zoom ins or using the same shot for a medium shot and a close up, saving time and money on set. But I guess that’s silly as well.

        • I didn’t deny anything, I was simply stating a fact. This was my exact quote:

          “The Mark II is actually higher resolution in video than the cameras that share the same 18mp sensor – but you would be correct in saying that the Mark III is about the same as the Mark II.”

          I completely agree with you – and I’ve said it multiple times, shoot with what you can afford.

          I’ve got nothing against RED at all, and if I could afford it and it could pay for itself, I would probably own a Scarlet because I think the flexibility and high bit rate RAW workflow is very powerful (one of the reasons I’m excited for the Blackmagic Cinema Camera). But at the moment I can’t afford it, and it wouldn’t make sense financially. To be honest, it wouldn’t make my work any better – I would just have some more flexibility. That’s what I’m trying to say, no camera is going to make any filmmaker a better filmmaker.

          We all want our work to stand the test of time, but realistically, if we grow as filmmakers, our earlier work should pale in comparison. If the piece is good and people like it, it’s going to stand the test of time even if it was shot on Mini-DV.

          I’ve seen your work, I know you’re a good filmmaker and you know what you’re doing. All I’ve been saying is that there are more important factors to worry about than the camera. If you shot on IMAX film and your cinematography and lighting are beautiful, but the acting is miserable and your sets are cheap, no one will remember your movie anyway. Let’s move back into productive conversations, wouldn’t you agree?

        • Haha! My feelings exactly! The biggest difference is whether I learn to manipulate a 550D well or not. If I’m good, and I use Magic Lantern’s tools to properly underexpose Technicolor – I can get amazing results. And if I don’t, I can get shit. Give me an Alexa and I can replicate the experience ;-)

  • and they dropped film completely as if it is not a choice anymore…

    • Here is a response from Steve Weiss about the choice to leave out film:

      “We left 35mm film out because sadly, it’s becoming a dying format. I love film, spent lot of my career shooting on it and still love it but so much of TV and films are using digital cameras, none of the DP’s I had in the program are really shooting on film except maybe Stephen Goldblatt and Janusz Kaminski and even Stephen is starting a huge new project that is going to be digital.”

      So it was left out because less and less DPs are choosing to shoot on it.

      • Steve Weiss truly believes film is dead. Watched this zacuto rigs showcase a while ago and at one point(7:37) he says “back in the film days”. so there you go

        • It’s not dead, but it’s on the way out, and for anyone who doesn’t believe that, look at all of the DPs who are shooting digital and not planning on going back. I think what Roger Deakins said was really telling, for a guy who basically said he’d shoot film forever.

          “First film I’ve shot digitally, because, frankly, it’s the first camera [Arri Alexa] I’ve worked with that I’ve felt gives me something I can’t get on film. Whether I’ll shoot on film again, I don’t know. [Shooting on Digital] gives me a lot more options. It’s got more latitude, it’s got better color rendition. It’s faster. I can immediately see what I’m recording. I can time that image on set with a color-calibrated monitor. That coloring goes through the whole system, so it’s tied with the meta-data of the image. So that goes through the whole post-production chain, so it’s not a case of being in a lab and having to sit and then time a shot on a shot-by-shot because this has already got a control on it that’s set the timing for the shot, you know?

          Am I nostalgic for film? … I mean, it’s had a good run, hasn’t it? You know, I’m not nostalgic for a technology. I’m nostalgic for the kind of films that used to be made that aren’t being made now.”

  • H appears at least in this test, to be the most film like to me. H / F were my favs and the most organic to my eyes, E & D were the most artificial and digital looking. What the hell was up with the shutter on D??

    • Funny enough, Roman is the only one talking about the cameras so far, most of the rest can’t talk coz they waiting for a chance to pounce if their preferred camera is not named the best. As of now they still can’t tell which is their favorite one. As a noob, it is very frustrating for me when I see all blogs gradually descending into slug-fests of fan-boys against fan boys, shedding so much heat but no light.

      • If you haven’t, you should read my thoughts on the cameras in the test. I couldn’t care less where each of the cameras placed, I was watching each one with a specific checklist and I selected those that fit that checklist, and also just “felt right” to me. I know I was the only person that picked the FS100 first at the theater but from a subjective point of view it just felt right to me. Doesn’t mean it necessarily was technically better than any of the others, but also keep in mind the test was designed to be subjective.

        • No disrespect to you at all sir, just referring to the trolls that rule the blogs. I however hold this site and ur work in high regard, otherwise I wouldn’t be checkin it everyday : )

  • There is a clearly visible difference even on the web, but not enough that you couldn’t make any of them work for this kind of shot. Check out the actor in the green shirt. Camera B displays a clarity and lack of artifacts on this subject that the other cameras cannot match. Since the key lights were not moved, nor their color temperature changed, this seems like a valid comparison. Also, when he moves late in the shot, several cameras show visible twinkling on the sides of his head. Both defects seriously degrade the overall impression that the scene makes.
    I suspect that a shootout with action moving across the field of view would have revealed much stronger differences.

    • You’re in for a big, big surprise, if B was your favorite. (And for the record, each shot was custom-lit. and custom graded) Zacuto has not yet shown the shots with a uniform lighting setup and a one-light grade.)

      • I think people have been saying B was the GH2

      • The comments at around 6:00 indicates that the key lights were fixed by location and color temperature. Since the actor I referred to is in the background, it is possible that increasing fill light affected the look. Still, his features are clear as rendered by B, and not so clear by the other cameras, dramatically so in some cases.

        • What you can see in B and not the others is due strictly to the lighting and grading used by the “B’ team.

          If Zacuto releases the first portion of the test — one lighting setup, and one-light grade for each camera — you’ll see a very different comparison, where the shadow and highlight handling of the different cameras is much more obvious, and that green shirt will almost disappear with the B camera.

  • Like Roman I thought H had a nice film-like curve to it and also APPEARED sharpest of all of them, although there was seemingly less noticeable resolution difference than I was expecting among most of the cameras versus in the last one of these shootouts. More accurately, there seemed to be more noticeable artifacts even in the sharp-looking ones. Camera I in particular seemed to have the most distracting idiosyncrasies among the “sharp” images; it seemed to be over-sharpened in post which was presumably responsible for part of this. It also had the weirdest “bokeh” I’ve seen when the window was defocused but that’s probably not the sensor’s fault.

    D and G seemed to be the fuzziest. D seemed to get sharper in the closer shot but overall it just didn’t look very good. I could look past the fuzziness in G.

    I thought dynamic range was a bit hard to judge because there seemed to be a lot of weird color correction in the backdrop that made it a bit hard to recognize blown-out highlights, and the compression seemed to really hurt the blacks in almost all of them.

    Honestly, they all looked both better and worse than I thought they would and I can’t really judge them fairly because I can’t help but guess witch ones are which.

  • You mean I have to wait a MONTH for part two?! I ranked my top three (in no particular order as picking between them is a little hair-splitting) as B, C, and F with H a strong runner-up, (though B is a bit too warm for my taste, I liked the overall image). Weird seeing D with almost no discernable bokeh. Also, putting a dark-complected woman in a yellow top in front of the reddish wall (black and white striped skirt to top it off) was pretty genius. The woman stepping outside also had some interesting results.

  • Almost positive D is iPhone (no bokeh) and G is 7D (softer image). I think the best image quality is from B, F, and H. Wouldn’t be a shock if B was GH2, but would be if GH2 was F, which I think looks most filmic (I’m thinking Alexa).

  • Stu Mannion on 06.16.12 @ 1:53AM

    I picked F as my favourite after watching them multiple times, followed by E and then A. It’s weird how watching them over and over changed my perception (focusing on the details) and had to remind myself to ask which one feels the most organic.

  • Robert Anthony on 06.16.12 @ 4:41AM

    I thought B was sharper and brighter, but I got the impression that they simply increased the light to accommodate less dynamic range. B looked too “Video-ish” – not filmic – I ranked it 8 out of 9 with D coming in ninth.

    I thought F was the winner with H coming in 2nd. Then A, C, E

  • Shocked that people like B best! Yes, well lit, but there are harsh jaggies and stair stepping all over the window framing and the lamp. View it at 1920×1080 if you can’t see them. C & F are clean. H is clean but feels harsh. Because the lighting of each was up to the cinematographer, it’s difficult to compare them — so many different styles and desired outcomes in play. Really not wanting to wait a month to find out which was which…

  • Gregg Toland on 06.16.12 @ 9:32AM

    Glad Zacuto have produced this test and I don’t mean to be too negative but…

    1: Far too much DP waffle. A raft of meaningless platitudes. Did anyone learn anything useful from any of these vague assertions and statements of the obvious? Overall this felt like padding (of the self aggrandising variety).

    2: Ugly lighting and composition during the interview sections (imo obviously). Looked more like corporate video not cinema. Ironic given the subject matter, possibly.

    3: The test scene (when it finally arrived) looked horrible. Even if it was designed to test latitude etc it could have been more aesthetically pleasing and less distracting. As it was it wouldn’t even pass muster in a 90s soap opera. Making all of these cameras look so bad was quite an achievement.

    • In a certain sense I agree that this episode could have been a much more scientific and sterile. But that would no doubt defeat the point of what Zacuto is trying to accomplish with this test.

      As someone who’s studying cinematography and trying to learn everything he can, I found their “DP waffle” and the subsequent platitudes to be somewhat enlightening. I wouldn’t say that I learned anything in particular, but the attitudes and personalities required to do the work that these people do became very apparent. Not to mention that there’s an inherent sense of sentimentality between these guys, and a strong sense of the people who have preceded them, that makes the cinematography community feel like exactly that, a tight-knit community rather than a technical profession.

      Perhaps this stuff is just filler to the more experienced folk, but to me it’s pure gold.

  • Gregg Toland on 06.16.12 @ 9:35AM

    Oh and some of the credits were misleading, e.g. Bruce Logan was not the DP on 2001 (he was in vfx).

    Hope the next episodes deliver more meaningful content (camera comparisons).

    Sorry about the negativity :-/

  • The best part for me is that most of the people making this happen are over 20 years old.

  • This is how I scored them (after watching each clip side-by-side against every other clip i.e. 64 times over).

    B: 16
    A: 14
    C: 11
    G: 8
    E: 7
    F: 7
    H: 5
    I: 0

    For a lot of the scenes, my choice was quite arbitrary. It’s very hard to pick a ‘better’ picture in a lot of cases. But I can’t wait to find out what Camera B is (and Camera I).

    Someone’s posted a downloaded zip file with still frames on Red User, btw.

  • Yes definitely confused why anyone would like B, it looks like like plastic to me. I liked H the most followed by F, then its a hard tie between C and E. My initial guesses, were H=alexa, F=red, B=GH2, G=7D, D=Iphone4…

  • Camera B is the most well-lit, so I’m thinking GH2 since the cinematographers said they had to light it up more to compensate for lack of DR. I don’t think they needed to do that because the iPhone seemed to do okay without the extra lighting (no blown out window, we know its camera D), and GH2 certainly has more DR. I like the overall clarity of the image, but the jaggies on the windows bother me (could be compression artifacts) and if that was on the big screen, would be very noticeable. It also looks the most video-ish, so camera B looks best is some regards, worst in others. It could be the Red or F65 downrezzing (unless they shot 1080p). F looks most filmic to me, and I’m thinking Alexa. The online poll has camera B in 1st and camera F is 2nd, everything else is far behind, so if it reflects the audience poll in the theaters, B would be the F65 and F the Alexa, but B could very well be the GH2.

  • My quick impressions:

    A Flat but very usable

    B High color, high contrast, great sharpness but a bit plasticky

    C Quite nice and professional but not cinematic

    D is for Dismal. iPhone. Lighting alone isn’t enough, people.

    E Not enough DR, quite poor

    F Nice color, but a bit bleached out. Chilly, papery.

    G Rich color, some highlight oddness, but nice enough. Brownish.

    H Very very good DR. I am impressed!

    I Dark, brittle, not flattering

    In order of preference: H G B C A

  • Stu Mannion on 06.16.12 @ 7:27PM

    Who wants to start guessing what they are? I have no insider knowledge but I’ll have a stab at the ones I’ve got a feeling about:

    A – ?
    B – GH2?
    C – Epic – pretty sure. I think they’ve stuffed this one up in post with too strong windows. Also the HDRx gives a weird motion blur.
    D – iphone – yep
    E – FS100?
    F – Alexa?
    G – 7D
    H – F65?
    I – ?

    • I watched it on a tiny netbook without knowing all the cameras on test but I also picked out the alexa (F) and the Red (C). Then I gave up when the tests kept coming, wondered if I’d succumbed to confirmation bias and figured I’d have to rewatch it on a larger monitor.

      The scene looked like TV drama and the Alexa? (F) hit that look 100% but it’s not something I’d ever want to replicate. It’s interesting you picked up on the REDs ghosting, I didn’t notice that on my screen and just called it based on the color rendition (improving that hideous day-glo attire).

  • I can say with 100% certainty that C is the Epic. because of the HDRx ghosting artefact when moving quickly in front of the recovered window.

  • If camera B is the GH2, that would be a shocker since it is easily winning the online poll for best image, but I still have a few problems with it–the jaggies on the window and a video-ish look. Clarity and sharpness would more suggest the F65 or Red Epic, and the jaggies might be due to downrezzing (unless they shot at 1080p, then the jaggies would be inexcusable on such pricey cameras). F really seems to be the Alexa. Hope there’s spoilers soon because I really don’t want to be thinking about this (and I will, being the geek that I am) for the next month,

  • I felt like I was watching a michael moore film for the first 16 minutes, I couldn’t get to the tests. I’m all for free information, just not vague propaganda about future opportunities for up and coming filmmakers. I found it so funny when they answered the question is talent born or is it learned and no one advocated that it was born, when at the same time there was one woman and one minority in the doc vs a dozen or so white male cinematographers.

    • … What does nobody answering the question as talent being innate have anything to do with “one woman” cinematographer being among “white male cinematographers” ? What is your point guy?

  • My point is nepotism, if “talent” was only factor that created successful dp’s then you would see a more diverse group of filmmakers.

    For all the nobodys including myself who want to make feature films, and make enough money to make more, they shouldnt be watching pipe dream docs like the first half of the shootout, the reality is the amount of films that are distributed each year in whatever genre of film your interested in are limited, meaning there is limited money and limited seats at the table. If you’re a nobody, you will be competing with sons and daughters of writers producers and directors in the industry. Unless you are a genius, which theres a 99% chance that you’re not, its a unbelievable uphill battle to break into the industry on your own, and I think a doc like this like to glamorize the summit without mentioning the climb.

  • If the GH2 did so well in this test, imagine what the Black Magic camera, which addresses the two main points that prevent GH2 from being considered “professional”-the narrow dynamic range and the 4:2:0 color space, would be able to do. The Black Magic could probably look indistinguishable to the Alexa, but that will be for a future test (Zacuto 2013?).

    • Will Thomas on 06.17.12 @ 7:27PM

      I hope there is a Camera Shootout next year. From the video it sounds like this might be the last one. IDK

  • I do not wanto be disrespectful, but who the hell likes the “B” camera best ?!

    Every single comment I have seen from the real professionals around the web has “F” and “H” in front, usually in no specific order.

    And it’s not difficult guess what cameras those are. Hint: neither of them is Epic. Actually if you are looking the most filmic look answer is easily “H”.

    Oh, and yes, the plastic-fantastic-B is GH2.

  • My answers are: H,F,A,C.

    Those who go with gut pleasing eye responses choose B, but I watched it once full screen, did screen shots of each (right when door opens and then when couple look to screen rt) and compared, then watched two more times.

    B was lit most, you could easily tell, it looked like a soap stage. I liked that they used fill on the faces and they did a professional job. It was sharp, but aliased on the window grids and looked a bit too saturated, some banding can be seen in the shadows. It felt “digital” to me and by that, I mean post heavy edited. As a wannabe colorist, I can tell power windows and masks from non, and B had a lot of post work done.

    As a result, B looks most polished but not most filmic. Like I said, I think of B as a soap stage and H as natural sunlit. H also had the most detail, pop in the skin by far but F seemed more crafted.

    I’ll give a word of advice: watch that left lamp in all of them. The lower bitrate and compressed color, it turns completely grey. The more high DR and color depth the camera, you see a nice warm middle gradation to grey.

    Another hint: B, G and I have aliasing and moire.

  • I’m a huge GH2 fan (I own one), but I’m afraid that camera B is the GH2. The jaggies on the windows and the muddled details of the panel on the left to the plasticky look of the scene really bother me. I think the GH2 can do better–part of it was the lighting, looks too artificial and soapy. If the GH2 is C, F, or H, I would be very proud and the little bugger could indeed stand next to the Alexas and F65s of the world, given the right conditions. Still, as long as the GH2 is not D or G, it does indeed provide a lot of bang for the buck (D does too if it’s the Iphone, but its clearly at a lower level IQ from the rest).

  • Just since no one’s said this yet: I think H is almost surely the C300. The sharpness is because it’s not re-sampled from 1080p; that and the slightly bluish highlights seem to make it obvious. On the other hand, I would be a bit surprised if the C300 looked better than the F65 (although I don’t know much about Sony cameras), but my guesses would have to be:

    A – F7
    B – GH2
    C – Epic
    D – iPhone
    E – F65
    F – Alexa
    G – 7D
    H – C300
    I – FS100

    The truth is that I think it’s possible to get a usable image out of every single one of these; some of them are suitable for more limited uses than others, but none of these cameras are bad enough that I wouldn’t want to watch a film made on any of them. On the other hand, almost all of the cameras have situations that they wouldn’t be best suited for. Right tool for the job, etc.

    • If H is the C300 I’m buying one. I think H is the F65.

      My guesses as of now:

      A – F3 with SLOG
      B – GH2
      C – Epic
      D – iPhone
      E – FS100
      F – Alexa
      G – C300
      H – F65
      I – 7D

      But many are convinced G is the 7D. I don’t think so, its brown cast says C300 to me. But the resolution may give it away, and possibly they had the colorist make it look like a C300 which they normally work with. In any case, I liked it second to H, most likely because I shoot Canon and it’s what I’m familiar with.

      I also think B benefited from its placement in the viewing order. The very flat A was beat up by the contrasty and sharp B, making B seem like a revelation. To get an accurate population survey you need to randomize the order of presentation of the samples, which Zacuto did not do for this. A may be a very good camera that the colorist was too conservative adjusting.

      • I’m fairly positive that G is the 7D; in the foreground shot it’s softer than the iPhone, and the color is graded a bit too heavily suggesting that it takes a bit of work to get a good image out of it. In theory, the C300 should be the sharpest or one of the sharpest images, since its sensor is made to resolve exactly at 1080p so it wouldn’t be re-sampled for this video. The 2K cameras will probably look softer since there’s really no good way of down-sampling by less than a factor of two. That said I do think G has a very nice filmic image whose biggest flaw is appearing right after the absurdly detailed F.

        On the other hand, I still agree that H is probably too good to be the C300, but I do think there are reasons to think it might be. I think it falls between F and E in terms of quality. Whatever F and H are, I want them.

        It’s funny; the first time I watched the test I thought “meh, they all look good” but now I am becoming obsessed with knowing which cameras are which.

      • if G is anything but a 7D I will feel very sorry and sad for that camera. G is a moire hell. Look outside, the far right window if a shimmering moire cascaded dream. Look at the right and left chrome table bottom legs that are parrallel to the wall: their edges are full of moire. Finally, watch the left front lamp shade stem, especially as the camera cranes down. Look familiar to our ‘beloved’ canon DSLR issues?

        Another hint: B, G and I all have some aliasing. B and I on the back window grid.

        B is one of the WORST people – it looks like a soap stage with so much fill light, takes me out of any scene into a set. BIG DIFFERENCE.

        If I were saying which set looks best, that is a different story. I’m looking at which SCENE looks best for a story.

        • OK wrap my last three down then.

          G – 7D
          H – C300
          I – F65

          I suppose the “unnamed Sony technicians” weren’t as effective as named pro’s at getting the most out of their camera if the F65 is I. But overall, this confirms my dislike for the Sony look, and my like of the Canon look. Even if Canons are now seen as common and pedestrian they do have a subjective punch that impresses me. I admit that F is a technically superior camera but again it just seems a bit chilly to me and not warm and sympathetic like the Canons (even the 7D) do. And C has stunning resolution and clarity but does not look what I consider cinematic.

          My 5D3 as you all know hasn’t much resolution but sharpens fine in post and has very little moire or aliasing even after sharpening. That C300 is a knockout though, I’ve done sound on shoots where they were used and the ops had no complaints at all working with them. If H is the C300 then that clearly is the only camera I’d rent right now (unless I needed slo-mo).

          • Weird exchange there. G was obviously 7D, and there was enough information that H was F65.

            I don’t think there was any doubt about these cameras (I knew all of these)

            D Iphone
            G 7D
            B GH2 (part 1 clearly said they are using extensive lighting)
            F — Alexa
            H — F65

            It was the rest was the cameras that were unclear.

  • Hey Koo,

    REALLY off-topic here, but I just wanted to reply to your last post…

    How come NFS hasn’t covered “Dear White People” yet? I think the story of its conception and popularity from the perspective of aspiring filmmakers would be right up NFS’s alley… Even if one disagrees with it on social or political grounds, from a marketing perspective it’s genius.

  • I just can’t wait to see the footage of each camera taking the scene in without any light. Us Indie folk are going to buy a cheaper camera or DSLR so this part of the test shows us with enough skill in set design, rigging, gaffing and post color grading and effects (windows, masks, ect) one can *possibly* mask the problems of the cheaper cameras.

    But guys (and girls), that is a lot of work and MONEY! If you said, “Matt pick which scene you like best and you’ll get to have the camera” the first thing I’d ask to see is the lighting chart diagrams. Then the amount of layers in grading they had to do (which Zacuto provides). Then I’d look at the scenes numerous times looking at that left front lamp and how the cameras render the glowing color and the inside vs the bright background.

    You’ll notice only a few got everything in the scene right with that lampshade a nice pink fleshy glowing color from the center illuding out. H, F did great on this. G had it slightly pink but G was pushed in saturation. Look at the ‘beloved B’ – that lamp is pure grey! TERRIBLE! Imagine what that will do to your actor’s skin tones unless you put a lot of key/fill on them (which B had to do)

  • AD Stephens on 06.21.12 @ 7:06PM

    Did anyone else just really enjoy the answers from these amazing cinematographers? I especially liked the final segment, with these top notch guys just saying ‘go out there, experience, and take note of how it feels and can be recreated visually’.

    I can see what Steve Weiss is doing with this series, and I like it so much more than the usual ‘look at this camera and what it can/can’t do’. It’s all about who’s shooting and how they can perceive the situation and what they can do to make it contextual and emotional and enhance the message in the narrative. Yes there are technical advantages for certain camera systems, and yes there are some which aren’t up to spec, some that are better for certain circumstances and some that are better for others. In which case, it’s up to the DP to use the right camera for the narrative, budget, lighting package, costume (if the camera deals with moire badly, change the costume!).

    At the end of the day there’s going to be a situation where an iphone might be the best way of telling a story.

    This first instalment was brilliant throughout, and whilst I enjoyed looking at this range of different moving images I enjoyed more the artistic perspectives of these Directors and DP’s that were interviewed.

    Can’t wait for the next one! And whilst I took a few notes and have a rough idea what camera might be which, I would so love for a huge surprise (although let’s face it, it’s fairly obvious which one is the iphone haha).

    Fantastic work!

  • It’s very strange not to see the Nokia 808 PureView and Nokia N8 in comparison shots with other mobile phones. These are possibly the best camera-phones ever made, and can be extremely useful for indie film-makers.

  • I find if very interesting to read people poo-poo B when for whatever reason, B is coming as the the fave. The reasons you have for it not being “filmic” may be correct, but when it comes down to producing something for a general audience, I would guess B would win. (For the record, C was my fave and B my second followed by H). A lot of the details you all are pointing out would never in a gajillion years be seen by the average viewer (including moire on a lamp way to the side of the screen in the background from the main action). If you’re making something for the general audience, that should be considered.

    A lot of this obviously comes down to how each scene was lit and colored. I’m sure each one could’ve been colored and lit completely differently. So we aren’t really judging cameras here (not completely anyway). We’re judging a whole array of things. It shouldn’t even say “Camera A, Camera B, etc.” It should say “Set up A, etc.”

  • its fun to guess..
    I sure hope i’m not all wrong

    A – I think it has some problems.
    the striped shirt in the back has fuzziness and details in the dark areas are flattened.
    also, not very sharp in the back, see flowers on the left in the beginning go the shot. it does have good highlights… it may be an F3.

    B – is an exceptional camera with maybe a tiny issue in the darker corners F65? ALEXA?

    C – has amazing qualities, like the stripes, or practical in foreground, it has some issue with yellowish highlights, even slightly blurry – strange… its beautiful in any other aspect. in my top 3. ALEXA/F65

    D – very bad, my iPhone4 candidate :)

    E – decent camera, no shadow detail, could be the FS100…

    F – definitely one of the top 3 cameras, my guess for the EPIC… good image, wonderful highlight retention, feels like HDRX (could also be ALEXA or F65).

    G – strange moire in far back… 7D? not very good image.

    H – good camera, strange highlights. confusing one… c300?

    i – low shadow detail, very strange focus artifacts in final part of the shot (in window) GH2? (looks too good to be iPhone).



  • Camera phones are really nice since you can take pictures anytime. ^

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