How Far Can You Push the Blackmagic Cinema Camera in Low-Light?
While I thought the John Brawley sample files were enough to gauge how well the camera would do in lower light situations, many were not satisfied and wanted a real test of the Blackmagic Cinema Camera in a no/low-light situation. Frank Glencairn received one of the early release cameras and he’s been shooting quite a bit with it. He’s working on a true low-light test between the FS100 and the BMCC, but in the meantime, he’s given us a RAW image to play around with and see how far the camera can be pushed.
Here is the original shot that Frank graded and cropped (in JPEG). This is probably closer to what the scene looked like to the naked eye. Be sure to click on both images to see the full-size stills:
Here is my quick grade with noise reduction and a little sharpening. Click on the images to see the full-size JPEG. This probably wouldn’t hold up as well in motion but hopefully it gives you a sense of what information is actually there:
As you can see there is a bit of noise in the shadows. This is to be expected with this camera since there is no in-camera noise reduction happening. The most remarkable part of the RAW workflow is being able to recover a scene like this and apply your own noise reduction. The tree was gone in the initial photo but I was able to bring it back.
This is by no means a definitive test, and the grade I did is rather unpleasing to look at, but if you wanted to know where this camera stands in terms of low-light performance, this gives you a pretty good idea (with some noise reduction). I think you can push this camera about 2 stops (to ISO 3200), and get a decent image as long as you’re using noise reduction from Resolve or from a program like Neat Video.
Below are links to this image as well as some more that Frank has uploaded so far.
- Low-light Scene CinemaDNG File
- Daylight Scene CinemaDNG Files
- First Hands on the Blackmagic Cinema Camera – Test Diary – Frank Glencairn
[via EOSHD Forum]
- Blackmagic Cinema Camera Gets Its First Real Low-Light Test. Watch Footage from 'Afterglow'
- Blackmagic and John Brawley Release RAW Cinema Camera Files for Download
- Why is the Blackmagic Cinema Camera Such a Big Deal?