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Now That Zacuto's 2012 Shootout Has Ended, Have Your Favorite Scenes or Cameras Changed?

09.3.12 @ 5:30PM Tags : , , , , ,

A lot has been said about Zacuto’s Revenge of the Great Camera Shootout 2012 — on this site as well as on many others. Almost everyone who could weigh in has weighed in, and the positives and negatives of such a subjective/objective test have really been argued ad nauseam. Now that all three parts of the shootout are available to download in full 1080p rather than just streaming, you can watch the test in the best quality possible (besides being in a theater, of course). We’d like to put forward to NoFilmSchool readers, if you’ve already seen the original test, what is your favorite scene now that you’ve had some time to think about it — and maybe even watch it a few more times (in full quality)? Is your favorite scene affected by what you know about the lighting circumstances or the objective test in the third part? Would you choose a camera solely on the subjective test or the objective test?

Here are the three parts — you can either click on the videos or click on links below to download the full files. Also keep in mind that you can skip forward in the video by clicking on the timeline regardless of whether you’re using Flash or HTML5:

I know my top 5 cameras/scenes has not changed since the first day I saw it at the screening a few months ago. Seeing the test in a theater definitely made a difference for me, as the small details can really be lost when you’re viewing at 1080p on a computer screen or TV. I think certain cameras may have moved up or down the list, but I am confident I could make a great looking film with any of the cameras that I picked — and I guess that’s really the point. It’s important not to get too worked up over tests like this. In the end they are just tools, and each project should pick the one that they feel ticks off the most boxes. The more options we have, the better we can pick the right camera for the right job based on budget, what the images look like, and how a particular camera will make our lives easier on set.

Right-click on each of these to download the full file. Part 3 is in a .vid format, but if that doesn’t work change the file extension to a .mov and then it should play correctly. Also below is the technical document that details all of the lighting changes as well as how much time was spent on the entire process for each scene/camera — which includes lighting changes and the color correcting and grading.



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  • I’m still an F3 fan though it all. Actually the 2012 shootout wasn’t what I anticipated it to be. It seemed like more of a DP shootout than a camera shootout. I wasn’t that interested in seeing what a professional DP could do with these cameras when I already knew that they could do well. I’d be interested in seeing more of a scientific test like how many stops over can each camera be pushed before blowing out, the ability to recover overexposed highlights in post from each of the cameras, how much can the blacks be lifted with an analysis of noise from each cam, workflow demonstrations and techniques from each cam, physical tours of each cam, chart tests, etc…
    This shootout seemed too artistic and not in depth technically. Yes we all know you can shoot great things with any camera so I don’t think there’s a need to show lengthy interviews of DPs telling us this. Get to the science.

    • Yeah there doesn’t seem to be a dpreview for video cameras, where they do consistent and controlled technical analysis, but the demand is absolutely there for one. The specs that get published are minimal and don’t tell much of the story. While some things are subjective, it helps to be armed with objective facts as well.

      As for the shootout, I got a lot of respect for Sony from it. All the cameras more or less seemed fairly priced relative to each other. The 7D is an old camera at this point. The empirical grades were useful, and better than the creative ones.

  • F65 and Alexa still

  • Didn’t know about the F65, but now I do and think it is a great camera. If I was going to spend 18 grand, it would probably be either a scarlet or F3

  • My first choice was a toss up between the Alexa and the F65 and I am definitely still there. Next Red and F3… couldn’t make up my mind.

    I watched all 3 episodes as they were released but, don’t remember anyone mentioning what the cameras recorded to. Did all of them record to their own respective internal recorders? I’ll assume the Alexa recorded something like 4:4:4 to SxS cards and no idea about the F65 but, for the F3, were we looking at a 35mbit 4:2:0 file from it’s internal recorder? If so, it definitely would have achieved even better results if recorded to an external. As the others would have, as well, if they were capable of doing so.

    Anybody know?

  • I don’t think my top 5 has really changed but like you mention, and a few people mention within the videos, is that this isn’t a test to say that there is one camera to rule them all or anything like that, but that it shows you what each camera can do and gives you a short list of ones that each person may favor over others.
    Based on this, I know which of these cameras I do and don’t like. And therefor I know that on a given project (and where budget allows) I could likely choose any one of those cameras I liked and be happy with what I got out of them.

  • My favorite scene? I’m not good a picking favorites – but I’ll just put forward the final monologue from Danny Devito in the film “The Big Kahuna” – just so much honesty in that performance.

    Oh wait… you meant from the shootout :P :P

  • Chris K Jones on 09.10.12 @ 6:42AM

    Iphone 4s, outshines them all when you need to call for production pizza….

  • I watched the creative test twice and the three cameras I wrote down consistently were B,C, and F (GH2, Red Epic, and Arri Alexa). Before watching the shootout I was considering upgrading my camera (a GH2) in the near future. But after watching, I realized I had unknowingly picked my camera twice. The camera market does a great job at making the consumer feel like what they have isn’t enough. The series actually helped to build my confidence. It was really funny how the audience’s opinions changed upon learning the camera models. They were so ready to defend their most expensive choice.