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Why is the RED SCARLET Four Times the Cost of a Canon 5D Mark III?

We already know what the Canon 5D Mark III can do, and there’s a good bet you’ve seen plenty of RED SCARLET videos online, but why such a cost difference between the two? Obviously one only shoots 1080p in H.264 but can be pushed quite a bit in lower light, and one can go all the way up to 4K at 24fps in RAW, but its ISO can’t be pushed quite as far. What if the stuff you’re shooting is just going to the web, do you really need all that extra resolution and detail? Will it make a difference in the end? Check out a test below from Robureau comparing the two cameras visually.

Both of these were color corrected to match, and the Mark III was kept near the same ISO as the SCARLET:

Check out some screenshots of the video straight from the web:

Certainly it’s not really all that fair to compare the Mark III to a RAW 4K camera that costs at least 4 times as much, probably more after you really get it rigged up. It’s very often said that you can’t tell much from web video, or that the kind of camera you use is pointless because it’s all getting compressed down to nothing and people watch it in a small window anyway. Well, the screenshots above were taken from one of those small windows, and it’s clear to me which camera is which — and I would assume it would be pretty obvious to any of you without the identifying overlays.

I think the really interesting tests are going to come with the BMCC vs. the RED SCARLET, and how well those two will compare on the web. The Mark III may not be the best to compare against the SCARLET, but that’s exactly what Blackmagic is trying to do with their Cinema Camera: go up against the big boys and come out relatively unscathed.

What do you think? Are the results surprising at all even in a compressed window?

Link: 5D Mark III vs Red Scarlet-X — Vimeo


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Description image 162 COMMENTS

  • Looking forward to some nuanced, reasonable discussion on this comparison.

  • This is a joke right? I know the EPIC/SCARLET has more resolution than a 5D3 but come on…that’s the worst DSLR footage I’ve ever seen. Did they purposely not focus the camera.
    Is this a scaled/blow up comparison or something. Seriously…this test looks flawed.

    • Look at my D800/Mark III/Mark II comparison, the D800 I know for sure is not resolving a true 1080p, and it’s much sharper than the Mark III or Mark II.

      • Agreed with all of that.

      • Joe,

        Could you explain how the D800 isn’t resolving at true 1080p? I scanned through your comparison test article. I saw some comments on the digital noise, but didn’t see anything specifically about the resolution. Did I miss it somewhere? Thanks.

        • It would if it was doing a proper downsample, but it’s throwing away lines to get to 1080, which hurts resolution a little. The highest-resolving cameras are those with three 1080p sensors, or those that have sensors of around 3-4K and above and have the proper downscaling technology built-in. The latter is because of debayering – each color isn’t represented in every pixel, and thus it must be interpolated.

          • Have you tried measuring how many lines D800 can resolve in film mode? I saw some result somewhere in a blog post where people have measured the D800 around 800-900 lines of resolution. My eyes already tell me that there’s a lot more res in the D800 footage I’ve shot myself compared to the 5Dmk3 footage I’ve seen, but some exact measurement would be interesting to see.

            • I put the Mark II/Mark III and D800 on a resolution chart early last year, but it wasn’t something I felt comfortable posting since I didn’t really have a proper lens to not only get the most resolution possible, but also line up the chart with the cameras correctly. From my testing though the D800 was somewhere between 100-200 lines more. In the end the exact number of lines is kind of pointless – if you put cameras up against each other you can usually tell which one is resolving more detail if they are significantly different, and if they’re close, it doesn’t really make that much of a difference.

          • Would also be interesting to see the resolution of D800 compared to the resolution of GH3.

          • Thanks. I figured it was something like that. Maybe Nikon’s next generation of cameras will do it properly. I’d also love to see them come out with a picture profile similar to the Technicolor CineStyle.

      • Joe how are you sure that the d800 is not resolving to true 1080p, even though it has clean uncompressed as an option. The d800 has a Sony Sensor Just like a GH3 pushing it’s specs paired up with nikon optics, i take and here your word on a lot of subjects, love the site, info etc, but cant say that i would neccessarily agree with this one.

        Also back to subject most pictures used for examples up top are not good examples comparing 5d with A red. A common person looking at both on web side by side may not notice but there is a difference in Red and 5D on 1080p but its mainly only noticed on minute details IMO, details like wrinkles in like a face, or hair folicles , non crushed blacks at times etc. No you really dont need a RED for WEB work, I sometimes laugh at how many badly directed music videos i see with BTS footage of REDS, which end up as end result looking bad video material, not becuase of the camera, but because of poor camera movements, grading ETC. Most DPS and music sets/labels require a RED more so than a ALEXA, just because most execs believe it will make a video that will 90 percent be seen on tv or web. One would be better off buying a budget friendly camera and learning post work and the art of film making

        • I’m sure because I put it up on a resolution chart, otherwise I wouldn’t say definitively one way or the other.

    • I think 5D was actually in focus… Yes, compared to RED it really seems out of focus…

      Now BMCC vs RED, That’ll be interesting.

      • Ditto. Excited for a BMCC vs Scarlet test.

        • I own a red, and have been shooting all week on a bmcc, for a well known childrens show.

          Image wise the bmcc, is like a 1080p red/f3 hybrid. Ergonomically atrocious. Such a pretty picture……. :)

          Thats literally what it comes down to. The cam makes you want to shoot yourself in a professional environment. As a crash cam, or personal shooting camera, unmatched compromise between size and image quality. Fun little thing.

      • yeah why hasnt that happened yet? as well as BMCC vs alexa?

    • I agree with Scott. I’m a 5DIII owner, and while I won’t compare its quality to that of the Scarlet, I will say the footage used to compare the two is dreadful. Looks like they tried to auto focus it and missed the mark.

    • Frankly, I’m surprised the 5DIII footage looks as good as it does – granted web compression came into play here. When I’ve compared source footage from various DLSRs up against that from RED cameras, DLSR footage reminds me more of homemade MiniDV SD, whereas RED is like a high quality Blu-ray. Not trying to flame here, just trying to point out that no matter sensor resolving power/resolution, line skipping/low dynamic range/jello/H.264 compression just looks bad to me. Additionally, web compression seems to disguise a lot of those flaws while simultaneously dampening the quality of feature grade material. A lot of first time RED users I’ve run into tend to be surprised at how blurry their footage is when shot on their “awesome” Canon 24-70. I remember the first time I reviewed 4K RED footage(shot on Zeiss optics), I was both simultaneously in a state of complete awe, and half pissed off at how much time and money I’d wasted working on projects with DSLRs. I’m not talking about the cost of the cameras here; I’m talking about all the the related production costs (talent/location/production crew/permits/props/discardables/Post/etc) as well as the massive investments of time. Seriously, try doing a Google search for R3D files, download & install RedCine-X from, and then look at a few frames for yourself and judge for yourself. Make sure you’re viewing at 1:1. Also remember, when working with a bigger canvas in any medium(painting, sketching, etc), low production values and bad artistry stand out way more than when working on smaller canvases (aka 8bit 8~10stop sub-HD bad codec vs 16bit 13+stop Quad-HD/4K/5K good codec). Thank You

    • I had the same feeling. 5D seemed to be defocused ever so slightly. But the again, it might be because of line skipping. So glad the C100/C300 don’t do this.

    • I always think that when I see DSLR footage compared with big boys such as a Scarlet or an F35 or even a C300. My conclusion is that DSLR footage is sharp enough… as long as you don’t run side-by-side comparisons.

  • the better question is why is the 1DC 3 times as much …

    • Because its sharper, shoots 4K and by the way, is a better pro stills camera for sports, events and fashion.

      • The 1DC is an awesome camera. It is alot better than people realize. Ranks high on the food chain. Just my 2 cents.

    • Well, I’d first start by asking why the 1D X is almost twice as much. I think you’ll find plenty of reasons to support that price difference, though all of them are going to be relevant to the still photography side of the camera. Remember: the 1D X is pretty much the best full-frame stills camera on the market. The 1D C just takes the 1D X and adds a headphone jack, heat sinks, new firmware, and overclocked processors to enable the 4K 4:2:2 recording.
      As much as I love Philip Bloom’s recent 1D C review, I have to disagree with his assertion that the 1D C is more of a video camera than a stills camera. As he pointed out, it still lacks many basic video camera functions such as focus peaking, zebras, and focus punch-in during recording, all of which are software-related features (I’m still perplexed as to why Canon wouldn’t add those functions in, seeing as this in their ‘Cinema’ line…).

  • That is the worst 5d3 footage I’ve ever seen. We have take our 5D3 and do all the post production on it and it looking great when put with Red Footage that is 2K. This test doesn’t look right.

    • ummm… That makes me thinking about it.

      5D with great optics and resources (professionals and gear) for good lighting, art, editing and color treatment makes all the difference.

      You can’t think you’ll have that quality only grabbing the camera with some glass and going out shooting… But people still think they can… Ok.. Not an easy task.

    • Jorge Cayon on 01.31.13 @ 3:53PM

      Looks like crap. What from that video stood out as great? With what seems like unlimited resources, and they choose to rap about how to move weight and be criminals. Seriously, dudes that are worth millions and are famous like them can’t honestly expect people to accept this. I mean it was shot in a studio, how gangsta is that? I think gangsta rap hit the end of its own Moore’s Law type of thing. The best thing about this production was quick cuts to the gold plated 20lbs. dumbbells and Snoop.

  • I feel like the real question you’re asking is, “What camera best suits the needs of web delivered content?”. And judging from the cost of both cameras, I’d be inclined to say “neither”. For all of the fanfare about the 5D mark iii, it’s not really much bang for the buck. And while the RED Scarlet is a much better camera for serious work, a lot of that quality gets lost on small screens and web compression.

    I’ll stick with my hacked GH2 for web delivered content until something comes along that truly blows it away in terms of quality/price. And that might be a while.

  • I think the Scarlet is overpriced considering you can’t shoot 5K @24p so you really can’t call it a 4K camera. The 4K coming from a Scarlet is gonna have a better image due to RAW & Resolution which wil de-bayer in Red Cine-X for a perfect 2K or 1080p file.

    Your paying for….

    -Production Build and Design
    -Modular System
    -No Rolling Shutter

    If the content is there it doesn’t matter but there are times when I watch a great video that moves me and towards the end mentally reviewing the video I can be like “man I wish they had better glass” As a filmmaker you gotta use what you have and run with it. So yeah it probably doesn’t matter only to stupid nerds like us =)

    I own a Scarlet just cause I’m sick of shooting on DSLR. I have interest in a GH3 since it’s handy for personal and commercial work not to mention its a contrasty sensor like the MX and cuts well for shots you can’t fit a Red in (Crash-Cam, OctoCopters). My DSLR got stolen a few years back and I haven’t had much interest in re-investing. The 1DC is cool but I wouldn’t pay over $5k for that thing, it still has rolling shutter issues and it looks DSLRy plus the media is stupid expensive to shoot 4K on a 1DC.

    At the same time any Director or DP here in Hollywood has a DSLR kit in a Pelican 1510 case ready to go. And allot of times it’s all they need and they make better profit margins. I’ve learned it costs money to be nerdy. Having owned a Scarlet for over a year and a few weeks I can say I’ve been happy but the transition can be difficult. Some old clients aren’t willing to pay more so you have to find clients who can help win your investment back while making the bills.

    If I didn’t own a camera and needed one I would buy all the Red support and rent the brain for super cheap until you could get a BT Scarlet for $4k. Buy all the glass and a 6D or D600 just to have something to fall back on. $4k BT Scarlets are coming but prob not til the end of the year or 2014.

    • I agree with a lot of that. Almost everybody in LA carrying Scarlet or above also has a DSLR, which right now are either the 5D3 or D800. (I haven’t tried the GH3 and don’t know anyone that owns one).
      A lot of successful DPs still successfully using their 5D2s and 7Ds as B and C cams. I know one local cam op who has a C300 and 3 5D2s that shoots a lot for major cable.
      It makes sense to carry a DSLR backup, but if you can make the jump to a better cam, do so.
      As to the 1DC comments, those I’m not sure I agree with, but ok, you already have a pretty decent 4k cam.

      • Mark I saw Bloom’s review on the 1DC and he stated that the cards are $650 which only hold 30min worth of footage. Most shooters who go Dolo carry enough cards so you don’t have to dump. Unless you have $$ for more cards or AC then it’s an issue for most.

        1DC also uses MotionJPEG which is gonna need compression much like the Red but theirs not proprietary app pretty much Adobe or Resolve.

        If the 1D C was at $4750 I think they’d be flying off the shelves

        4K won’t be standardized until 2016 is my best guess when the PS4 drops, so til then 1080p is still viable for web at least. TV not sure how well thats gonna work out.

        • I’m lost as to your point? I’m just guessing its not the right cam for you.
          Re the price: As JUST a stills cam its worth 8k. The 1DX is selling well with pros at the price. So the enhanced video, up to 4K, is only an extra $4k. That’s not a bad add-on if you intend to also use the camera for stills.
          As for MJPEG, here’s a dirty secret in pro photography – a lot of people shoot JPEG first with the RAW as BACKUP. Sure, the post options are limited, but if you know what you’re doing the chances of needing to correct a shot drastically beyond vibrance and sharpening is actually rare. Its why major productions’ version of what a 5D will do is different from the average user. Its why you armed with an Alexa are not suddenly going to be Roger Deakins.
          So shooting MJPEG is limiting because its sweet spot is much smaller than RAW, but not to the point its unworkable for most of the people who will purchase this camera. They will probably have access to a RAW 4K machine, but are buying/renting the 1DC for a different purpose.
          As to the media cost, a) that is no issue for those likely to buy this cam, and b) that’s today. By NAB we will see several asian brands come out with cheaper cards.
          The 1DC is not a perfect ’3.5′k cam. Its just very exciting to have that ability at that size and price. Which we’d all like to be less, but they didn’t rush that 25P update out because there’s no interest in this cam.

        • Neill Jones on 01.31.13 @ 5:37PM

          PS4 is out this year

        • Media for the 1DC is affordable. 128 GB [30 minutes] cards at 1000x can be had for $240 a piece. Not sure where you are getting the $650 number.

          Scarlet media, propriety SSD, 128GB will set you back $1250 for typically 46 minutes.

          DSLR’s and RED cameras are just two different cameras.
          The more expensive one has better resolution? No s**t.

          • I only shoot SanDisk when it comes to CF, BH has the 128GB for $650. Are you looking at the Lexar? There maybe a shortage of the SanDisk? Where are u getting $250 for a 128GB thats a steal.

    • >you really can’t call it a 4K

      Just like 35mm scanned at 4K res. In reality it’s about 3,5K

    • No rolling shutter on the Scarlet?

  • john jeffreys on 01.31.13 @ 3:44PM

    The best part is that in a year or two you can get a 4K super-35 RAW camera for the cost of a 5D Mark III

  • The camera to beat right now is the C100. You can take it anywhere, you don’t need light (you don’t always have the time or a choice), has ND-filters, has mic, shoots to dual SD cards (relay or backup), battery lasts for ever, can be hand held like a DSLR, native EOS mount and a great 4k sensor that shoots perfect enough 1080p and just over $6k.

    Seriously, people dismissing this camera probably haven’t used it. The BMCC is a really nice effort and it’s great that it exists but it is such a niche product compared to the C100. Seems awkward and clunky in comparison. Granted, images are beautiful, but you’re also paying the ultimate we-don’t-have-a-codec-yet price.

    And the C100 can do anything a Scarlet can do when delivery is 1080p and probably 5-10 times as fast. But I can probably think of a few scenarios where Scarlet would struggle against the C100 in available light.

    I think RED is great but they need to bring a sensor to market that is clean up to at least 3200.

    I you think the C100 is over priced you need to get your bearings straight.

    • How about slow motion or 4k?

      • 4k: no argument there. I also stated for 1080p delivery in my post when I compared to Scarlet.

        Slow motion: I have used the FS700 and it was great fun. But it was sad at the same time. SloMo is such an instant crowd pleaser, but it gets old really fast. It has its good uses in commercials and what not, so if that is your main business then sure. But then again… the FS700 is performing very well here….

        But actual amount of footage shot in 4k or SloMo is dwarfed by normal vanilla 1080p 24/25/29.97 fps.

        • Agree the c100 is a nice Cam indeed for what it does, Its not 2k 2.5k nor is it 4k but at the same time “it is what it is” and ” does what it does” Basically its a C300( Underated amazing Cam) WITH an external recorder, take away the recorder, xlr, nd filters and the c100′s price is not justifiable at all.

          The only thing that sucks about the c100 in my opinion the 422 8bit color space limit, dont get me wrong its nice but at the same time, i feel Canon could have gave us the option of 10bit 444 for a better dynamic range, more details in black and better highlights paired with an already amazing low light pedigree

          • 8 bit is not optimal, but I don’t think it’s thaaaat easy to fix. It’s more a codec issue than anything else.

            Both C300 and C100 are 8 bit as a consequence of their respective internal codecs—not because Canon thinks 8 bit is super great. I would have liked a 10 bit signal out of the HDMI though.

            But again, I don’t think it’s as simple as Canon limiting the cameras just for the sake of, even if I’m not ruling it out. I think it’s dependent where Canon has chosen to tap the Cameras for the signal. In this case after the conversion to 8 bit but before encoding. Could that easily be changed in the design process? Maybe, but again maybe not…

        • I think slow mo is over used too. Unfortunately though, I’m one of those over-users. My main winter job is shooting skiing and snowboarding, TGR, Standard films, Warren MIller, RedBull etc. In the off season I do a little bit of everything but it almost always needs some kind of slow motion, recently was 2nd cam on a ford spot and shot and directed a web spot for a helicopter manufacturer. I still use a P2 for the majority of the the long contract snow winter travel work and it doesn’t have 1080p slow motion either. But that generation of camera has also been out for 7 or 8 years. I’m not saying that it will hold it’s own against a c100 but it seem like at the rapid rate of technology advancing the big companies (maybe excluding sony) should be trying harder. I’d buy and epic if I had the cash, but would more likely go for a scarlet. I think if you had enough work to pay off the c100 and or upgrade in a year it’s probably a great choice. I’m the kind of person that uses stuff until it breaks or at least a few years. I’d hate the idea of having a 720p camera in 2016.

          • I’m keeping an eye on RED. They have many rights and lots of wrongs.

            I actually bought a Scarlet but cancelled the order before it shipped. I’m glad I did now.

            But I really like the concept of one single camera that shoots both still and video raw. I don’t need crazy resolution for stills. Dragon would probably be a great camera for me if they can fix power and media. Then I could live with sub optimal ergonomics. They are kind of cool after all. That’s gotta count for something…

            But I feel that RED hides a little bit behind the “we make motion picture cameras” concept. It’s kind of a catch all for all the little things that are difficult to solve, but where other more established brands are still trying.

            I also wish they’d get out of the garage and work more like a normal business. But I feel they are getting better.

    • Who thinks the C100 is over-priced? In Canon’s priceline it fits perfectly.

    • Native ProRes and DNxHD support (with not too hard Raw DNG workflows out there) is the best thing any editor could hope for. I shoot, I copy, I edit. It’s awesome.

      Regarding the shots, The quality comparisons here remind me of the Zacuto shootouts. DSLRs look great, until you compare a moderately detailed shot with the same thing on a more expensive camera. Alone they look OK, then your eyes are opened.

      • Yes, that is why I’m asking: why compare against the mk3 (a camera that I also own)? The blurriness ended with the C300/C100.

        The C100 offers great ProRes workflow via Atomos Ninja if that is desirable.

        • The main reasons I prefer the BMCC to the C100: Cost. 8-bit vs 10-bit or 12-bit on the BMCC. External recorder not required to get ProRes.

          • Are you sure about cost (I assume you mean that the BMCC is cheaper)?

            I really like DaVinci and I would very much like a RED raw kind of workflow. That seems reasonable to me. But I’m not envious of Cinema DNG.

            Yes, 10 bit would be nice, but at the end of the day it’s the final exported image that counts. I would like to see a camera that produces a better 1080p image than C100. I’ll totally agree to the fact that there are a couple of cameras out there that produce “equal” or “similar” images, but I think that you need to go way high on price to find something that constantly looks better. Especially moving images. But even 1080p stills…

          • external recorder is necessary if you shoot RAW on BMC, but both atomos and the hyperdeck shuttle are great recorders. I have both and they really are set and forget. Theres not much difference with and without a recorder as far as weight and operation at least with the c100 and probably the BMC too since its gonna be rigged out anyway

          • Yes, the BMCC at $3000 is much more affordable than the C100 at $6500. You don’t *need* an external recorder if you shoot Raw, as the included Resolve can generate proxies for you to edit with if you want to go that route. And there’s no need to rig it up if you don’t want to. I use mine naked or on a tripod, with an external battery or without, but no rig. You really don’t have to spend another $5K to make the BMCC usable, and the detail you get in the image is just excellent, light years past a DSLR and certainly comparable to a C100/C300.
            The Philip Bloom review of the BMCC, for example, uses a C300 for the shots of him actually using the BMCC, and everything in that video looks good.

    • Red is clean at 3200 ISO after normal post processing and you’ll end up with a sharper image than c100 at the same iso

      • I’d like to see that. And I’m not trying to provoke here.

        I spent some time yesterday reading through a thread on Reduser where people tried to stay at ISO 320 on their Scarlets because ISO 800 were starting to get noisy. I was kind of scratching my head…

        I’d be interested in doing a shoot together with someone who shoots Scarlet/Epic. I’ll see if I can arrange that..

        Anyway, don’t forget that the Canon sensor also is 4k by Bayor standards. I’m not saying that Scarlet won’t come out sharper. But I would be pretty confident shooting against it knowing that there won’t be much between them looking at real footage. And at high ISO:s… Well, I’d like to see it first.

        • My money’s on the Canon over 800asa on anything underlit.

          • I’m agreeing, while keeping my mind open.

            But what I’m actually saying is: there won’t be the kind of obvious difference anymore, like we see in the comparison with a mk3.

            And if the images are similar… the workflow with a C100 strikes me as much cheaper and quicker.

            And I can pop a SD-card straight into my Macbook Pro retina and get actual work done basically anywhere.

            But each to their own. I don’t want a camera flame war. It’s always interesting comparing cameras, but it’s not that a mk3 will be an alternative to a Scarlet in any scenario.

          • Detail in darks, scarlet will whip c100 up and down the block all day and based on a quick test I did on my scarlet and c100 the scarlet prores 422 HQ recorded through the hsdsi with 10% neat video beats c100 on board avhcd in low light cleanliness.

          • @Ryan “up and down the block all day” =)

            OK, that’s cool if that is the case. And I’ll even grant you the use of Neat Video, because it’s the end result that counts. That’s an excellent little plugin by the way…

            It would be very nice if you could do some tests where the C100 was shot with correctly exposed Canon Log.

            I would anticipate similar IQ and that would bring me back to the quicker, more economical, stealthier workflow of the C100. But I’d be happy to be proved wrong. That would kind of make things right in the world.

            I’m with C100 now, but I’m aiming to become a RED user. But that is all dependent on RED making a real DSMC that is a camera, not a machine that shots beautiful pictures. So much to be done regarding power solution, and ergonomic design.

          • For what it’s worth: here are two grabs from a Scarlet at ISO3200 and one from a C100 at the same setting. This following the discussion above. Ryan was kind enough to actually to the test and provide the footage:


            C100 is framed slightly wider, but still shows more detail than Scarlet. And is cleaner of course, but that is expected. Scarlet cleans up nicely with Neat Video. More on dvxuser under Cinema EOS.

        • No worries just discussing. Many people use red incorrectly. 800 ISO introduces some noise into the image, but if you black shade the camera and expose properly there is no real noticable noise at 800 ISO. You can go higher, but since there is so much erroneous talk about native iso 320 or 800 on reduser, no one talks about higher iso and neat video and where the limits are. I think its online rumor that scarlet is noisy and not sensitive. I own a scarlet and a c100 and would love to run some tests but my trial of after effects has ended and I have to wait to get a copy from work to get neat video up and running again, I’m gonna post something in the dvxuser c100/c300/c500 section soon

          • Yep. I often go 3200 on my MX. With neat video and unsharp mask is almost unbelivable how far you can go.

          • I tested Neat Video with hacked GH2 and the results were unbelievable. It can kill ISO 3200 noise of this small m4/3 sensor without problem. Results are better when you prepare noise profiles and there is less camera movement, but even for run&gun it works well.

  • Mher Hakobyan on 01.31.13 @ 3:45PM

    i think this is better test RED Scarlet-X VS. Canon 5D mark III VS. Panasonic AF101E

    • That’s a great shoot out. I think the AF101E really holds its own against the RED Scarlet. The 5D MkIII, not so much.

  • To be honest, for web 1080p work you can match Canon and Red if you use shittier glass on Red and sharper glass on Canon in flat or similar mode. If done properly you will get away with almost unnoticeable inter cutting the footage from both cameras.

  • Isn’t the 5D MkIII known to have a soft image? Philip Bloom’s detailed review last year found that it’s footage looks good only after sharpening in post. I’d like to see that comparison, between sharpened 5D MkIII footage and a RED Scarlet. And as a hacked GH2 owner I’d also like to see that comparison as well. Not because I think the hacked GH2 will out resolve the Scarlet, but it may be close.

  • Agreed, this is some of the worst mrk III footage Ive ever seen (in terms of sharpness)… Im a scarlet owner and I know the difference In sharpness on 1080 after compression is not this big, it doesn’t make sense, something in the process was not done properly. The apparent difference in dynamic range is interesting though.

  • I have made my bread and butter from a 7d I bought at Bestbuy 4 years ago but given the choice for most shoots I would shoot RED. I love DSLR’s but I’m sick of the comparisons and claims that a 5d shot this music video or this television show, etc etc. We all saw the Zucoto shoot out we know that you can product awesome content with an iphone. Sure, if you have a perfectly controlled scene any camera will look great. For most of us, we don’t have the staff, budget, or time to get a perfectly controlled scene everytime. I’m sure many of you are like me and are normally a one man band or very small crew and are often at the mercy of mother nature or whatever poached location you end up at. I feel that people like myself are the ones too benefit the most from a RED and the latitude and flexibility, not to mention extra resolution.

    Last week I had a job moved up by 4 days with one days notice, for one of my crucial shots I was shooting out of a small MD 500 helicopter. If I had the time I originally was supposed to have I would have rented a gyro and all would have been great. If you have shot out of a piston heli they are not known for their smoothness and not to mention we had severe wind that almost grounded us. I had to go with the flow and shot 4k extra wide, made sure I was sharp, and bumped up my shutter another 180 degrees to avoid motion blur, cranked the Warp Stabilizer up in Premiere Pro and instant cineflex in 1080p. Given the circumstances the shots would have been thrown away if I was using any DSLR and instead are the most visually dramatic in the whole project.

    I haven’t had a hard time selling most of my bigger clients on upgrading to a Scarlet, rentals are insanely cheap: etc. I love DSLR’s and I’ll continue to use them but without having a guarantee of a perfect scene and I have the budget I’ll reach for a Scarlet/RED everytime.

  • Watching on the small screen known as an iPhone, just looking at the frame grabs… First frame — OK, one is obviously sharper than the other. Second, you’ve got detail in the highlights; Red has more dynamic range, but the difference isn’t amazing. The night-time shot, I don’t know if I’d be able to tell which is which. (I’m no pixel peeper… but maybe that’s a good thing!)

    Overall — meh. I guess I’d claim that, for mobile (and for everything else?), content of image and composition matter a lot more than camera, and that any ordinary person would be happy with the DSLR. They might even be happy with a video shot on SD; I’m not sure.

  • You should have made comparison with highlight priority on the 5d3, Its gives much better highlight roll-off. Introduces a bit more noise but in most situations it’s worth it.

  • The first major series to debut on the web that will not appear on television is premiering tomorrow. The landscape is changing. Having a whimsical approach to the nuanced differences between cameras even on the web will not be fruitful.

  • this test does nothing in the end….he shows us some sharp and soft stills…come on man, we will shoot with what we can and make it look the best we can….no need to bash the 5d mk3 or any camera….compare raw to raw….smfh

  • The answer is the market. RED is used by Hollywood as a primary camera………..a lot. Not so for the Mark III, or any DSLR. Sure there are examples, but once the Hollywood dollars are flowing, it’s up to everyone else who wants one to save their pennies.

    But, without a doubt, the Mark III gets more bang for the buck.

  • Kemalettin Sert on 01.31.13 @ 7:50PM

    Joe Marine you are a funny guy :) all you want is more page view for nofilmschool..congrats
    write silly articles and compare apple to oranges…

    • People always tell me I’m too serious so I appreciate the sentiment.

      • Joe or Ryan will never admit that the Scarlet sucks, because they own these cameras. The funny thing is that the BMCC crushes the Scarlet in resolution and in dynamic range, no matter what RED tries to tell you. And also the BMCC does not look so video as the Scarlet does. But I guess it’s hard to admit once you’ve spent over 10k on a camera system that it actually is worse than a 3k camera. Nothing personal, really. I love this site. But come on, admit. The Scarlet is not better than the BMCC. It’s worse.

        • Haha, for someone who loves this site you must not read too closely what I actually write. I’ve written multiple times I believe the BMCC has more dynamic range than SCARLET, but I wasn’t able to test this. Saying the camera sucks is pretty ridiculous. In terms of resolution the BMCC does not crush the SCARLET…4K gives a perfect 1080p while 2.5K only comes close.

          I’ve also said numerous times I think the BMCC delivers the best image short of the SCARLET, and it’s a tremendous value because you’re getting 3/4 the image quality for 1/3 the price. Rolling shutter is much worse on the BMCC, but not impossible to deal with. I think the BMCC’s color science right out of the box is better than anything short of Alexa, but that’s certainly not based on any scientific evidence – just from the images I’ve seen of both.

          They both have the positives and negatives. I wanted a RAW camera, but uncompressed RAW is going to be difficult for a lot of people on the BMCC. There are tradeoffs with every piece of technology.

          • Robert Duncan on 02.1.13 @ 7:41AM

            CinemaDNG is something people should care of. The camera costs only 3k but that kind of RAW is far from being affordable.

        • Is it hard to admit, Mike, that you have no idea what you’re talking about?

  • Ever since it came out the 5d Mark III looked like the softer camera canon has ever made. Even 6d is sharper

  • chris larsen on 01.31.13 @ 9:16PM

    I’m sorry but I don’t think this was shot in an objective fashion. The focus looks consistently soft on the mark III. Maybe it’s a bad grade, maybe it’s something else, but I don’t feel like someone who uses a Mark III as their main camera would make something looks this poor comparatively.

  • 1080p vs 4k. was there even any question?! How about we shoot timelapses on both and do a zoom in using after effects you think the scarlet would win? Of course not, the 5d mark3 pictures would out resolve the scarlet. 22mp to 8measly megapixels of 4k.

  • That was a test? My conclusion after milliseconds of agonizing scrutiny: One is useable, one is not – don’t matter the price.

  • what picture profile did you use? I shot two music vids this weekend with an epic as A cam and 5d mark iii with cinestyle profile as B cam. hands down i prefer the epic’s image. but one surprise was when shooting the talent in front of a window showing a garden and the sky, the epic went all white, while the 5d mark iii, showed the flowers outside. Both were exposing the face the same. In your test the scarlet held onto some blue in the sky while the 5d mark iii went all white. So maybe give cinestyle a try if you haven’t.
    Cinestyle comes with lots of noise, crazy noise sometimes, in the greys and blacks, but it definitely held onto more highlights.
    Also, Epic constantly needed more light than the 5d mark iii. In the end they are different tools.
    My buddy with the epic was talking about wanting a 5diii (cause it’s more portable and requires less light) meanwhile I was talking about getting a scarlet or bmcc (cause I want a better codec). The grass is always greener!!!
    but maybe the new 5diii firmware with clean 4:2:2 8-bit to a recorder may be the answer. I’ll have to wait till april to find out. why april? don’t tell me it’s april fools canon! :)
    cheers, Jayson

  • mikko löppönen on 02.1.13 @ 7:25AM

    You know, the 5dmkIII has a soft image but that was ridiculous. Did they shoot that first shot through a dirty window? Looks like absolute garbage. Why are tests like these even on this site? To gain more “discussion”?

    Is this some kind off mindgames where people try to justify their purchase of a certain cam?

    Like when Corridor Digital switched to the Scarlet from the FS100 but the end result didn’t improve at all? They still light badly. This was shot with the years old Canon 7d and slowmotion with the FS700. If this was shot on the Scarlet…it would not be better at all:

    Do nofilmschool-forum viewers even really watch stuff or just hangaround taking a look at cameraspecs and really shitty test-videos?

    • This test does nothing but make 5dMk3 owners feel bad….it’s Stupid to compare raw to 1080p….do a real test….not something like this…..u ppl always do test like this with canon….how about raw vs. raw???? Ahh makes more sense….the 5DMk3 shooters will continue to make the best out of what they have….u guys want to show how a far superior cinema cam holds up against a stills cam???…..shame on you for this attempt to piss a great community….

      • I wouldn’t say it makes MKIII owners feel bad. Operators will always get the best out of what they’ve spent their money on, doesn’t matter if that’s been a £500 T2i, £2,000 5DIII or a £12,000 Scarlet. Its just a shame that people do so called “tests” like these, if you can even call it that where the operator either had no idea how to use the camera correctly, or as some have suggested, deliberately destroyed the footage to make the opposing camera look that much better.

  • on 02.1.13 @ 8:58AM

    I’m not surprised overall. I cant afford either of these cameras, so it’s a moot point.

  • The highlight response from the Red (on the second image, especially) feels decidedly video-ish to me. But I guess that’s what raw+grading is for.

  • Here is a great comparison between the 5D mkIII and the BMCC –

  • The red is better, but the footage with the car brake lights…..shows the 5D3 footage wast really out of focus….how about we test the shaper GH3 and the Red?

    • Augusto Alves da SIlva on 02.7.13 @ 6:28PM

      The footage is better on the RED just for the resoulution IMHO. Try the hacked GH2 and you will have a surprise.

  • Color grading…h.264 is about as solid as Humpty Dumpty.
    Argument over. These comparisons leave out major details.

    • Augusto Alves da SIlva on 02.7.13 @ 6:29PM

      Shane hurlbut doesn´t do that much grading to get fine image from 5D. That is the secret expose it right and WB right…why do we need tons of grading then?

      • Terence Kearns on 02.7.13 @ 7:59PM

        How can you ask “why do you need ‘so much’ colour grading”

        People do colour grading for a wide range of creative reasons and for that you need headroom in the files – the more, the better.

        • Augusto Alves da SIlva on 02.7.13 @ 8:17PM

          There you go…It is a tool…some like heavy grading and many tweak their cameras on set…Of course you can shoot as is and then post process your RAW files in post…It´s your choice.

        • Even though I love to do some pretty heavy color grading myself, the question is not stupid. Some people really do not have the inclination or time to grade extensively. It is a creative choice, not a requirement.

  • yes lets see the gh3 vs the red

  • One looks like cheap video, the other looks cinematic… plain and simple.

    • Augusto Alves da SIlva on 02.7.13 @ 6:32PM

      Everyday I see dozens of commercials shot with the 5D. Perhaps the whole wold is wrong… I still keep backups from s16mm of music videos and commercials I shot 15 years ago and if I say 5D is blurry then S16mm looks a stain… ;-)

    • hi, my name is Ademola.i am aspiring to make movies here in africa.i can use your expertize.av not been to film school or anything but i would love to produce films and direct great african stories. i believe i can do it so am reaching out to anyone who can advise me on the best way to go. my email address is am shopping for cameras and i need a great cinematic view but cheap.

  • i dont see how anyoen argues gh3 5d or any other dslr camera vs the scarlet i worked for along time with the 5d and i work with red now as well and the results are not close. you cant get the results that red gives you from these cheaper cameras. i dont think its unfair to look at how much is being shot on red in the film industry and relaize that they are right there with all the big boys. as opposed to these cheaper cameras that just dont get used. you can get work with dslrs but that doesnt mean it holds up against a professional cinema camera. period.

    • Augusto Alves da SIlva on 02.7.13 @ 8:19PM

      You can check on IMDB how many movies have been shot on Canon…it is quite surprising….not to mention cmmercials.

      • ….mostly not the whole movie was shot with a dslr…just a few shots, and mainly because of the size of a dslr.
        Dslr has too many problems for pro movie production….

  • Have you tried to make this test with a blackmagic hyperdeck shuttle 2 plugged on a MarkIII?

    • WOT?…have Canon finally been bludgeoned into providing clean HDMI out? How gracious of them!

    • hi, my name is Ademola.i am aspiring to make movies here in africa.i can use your expertize.av not been to film school or anything but i would love to produce films and direct great african stories. i believe i can do it so am reaching out to anyone who can advise me on the best way to go. my email address is am shopping for cameras and i need a great cinematic view but cheap.

  • These are 2 different types of cameras.One is a photo camera with additional video capabilities and the other is a dedicated video camera made for video.

  • You nailed it with the “Is it just for web?” statement.

    • Agreed. If you are just shooting web videos and not looking to have your feature on a 4k theater. Does it really matter? Probably not the 4X price tag for the Red. I remember learning in photography classes in college, “you get what you pay for.” In some instances, the cost verses quality = cost.

    • hi, my name is Ademola.i am aspiring to make movies here in africa.i can use your expertize.av not been to film school or anything but i would love to produce films and direct great african stories. i believe i can do it so am reaching out to anyone who can advise me on the best way to go. my email address is am shopping for cameras and i need a great cinematic view but cheap.

  • New DRAGON sensor, soom coming out on RED will be almost twice as ahead of the current RED sensor. What about those apples?????????

  • 5D Mark III is preparing the Uncompress Footage in April – check Canon site. And for be a photo camera it´s better than spend 4x more money. Except you are Spilberg. Come on!

    • hi, my name is Ademola.i am aspiring to make movies here in africa.i can use your expertize.av not been to film school or anything but i would love to produce films and direct great african stories. i believe i can do it so am reaching out to anyone who can advise me on the best way to go. my email address is am shopping for cameras and i need a great cinematic view but cheap.

  • Interesting. I’m a Canon user but not a fanboy. How is it that these camera tests always make 5D3 look a lot worse than it actually is?? Check out this video, it is a FAR better indication of a cameras (and its operators) ability than yet another one of these tests.

    • Amen to that. 5.1. It’s all in the way that you use it. I think the footage in your video is what I’m used to with my 5d2. I would like to get the 3, but frankly don’t feel a need for it.

  • Terry VerHaar on 02.7.13 @ 3:55PM

    Despite the fact that the RED footage looks better, I’d argue that you still short changed it with your lack of real grading. You don’t shoot raw and expect to deliver great footage without proper grading. If you want that, get a cheap camcorder – and shoot h.264.

    There is plenty of crappy Scarlet footage around, thanks to inept users. When done right, you can use it to shoot pretty well; at least Peter Jackson and a few of his contemporaries think so.

  • Terry VerHaar on 02.7.13 @ 3:57PM

    Haha – I didn’t mean to suggest you’d get great footage with your camcorder – just that you could get the best it has without grading. Badly articulated. :-)

  • You have to compare apples to apples. If the 5D can output to a KiPro mini or equivalent, then we have a fair comparison. As it is now, this is not a fair test. It should be scratched from No Film School or WARNING signs put up that state these are unfair tests.

    Hell, I have my FS100 and it blows the 5D out of the water. But put that KiPro on and it is a whole new ball game again.

    What is fair is the new Sony F5 vs the Red, or the Canon 1D-C.

    What we need is another Great Camera shootout featuring the Sony F5 / 55 / F3, BMC, Red Epic / Scarlet, Arri alexa, Canon 1D-X / 1D-C, Sony FS 100 / 700 with and without external recorder, Canon 5D-3 / 6D, GH3, Sony A99 and a Nikon perhaps And of course film! Always the gold standard. And all use the same Zeiss optics to remove that difference – and all record to ProRes 422 or DNxHD at 50, 110, 220 Mbs just to see what the hell they can really do. Then we will know!

    Take 5

  • So what else is new? What’s the point of this? It’s common knowledge that the Canon 5D2 (and now the Mark3) outputs soft, low resolving video because of the line skipping down-sampling of the sensor.

    A much more meaningful comparison would have been with a BMCC…or a hacked GH2…or a Nikon D800 (which produces remarkably good video, particularly with a Ninja).

    WTF is the ongoing obsession people have with Canon cameras for video? Unless you want a soft dreamy look, they are quite useless really. I used a couple of Canon 5D2′s for a year and am now back to Nikon D800′s. I will never use another Canon DSLR for video again unless they improve the resolution dramatically and get rid of the bullshit “Pink Disease” cast (relative to Nikkors and Zeiss) which afflicts their lenses.

    By the way…even their cynically overpriced “4k” DSLR is proving to be another expensive disappointment …with the so-called 4k output being quite soft and poorly resolved.

    • I think the answer to that question (WTF is the ongoing obsession people have with Canon cameras for video?) is that it opened a lot of doors to a lot of people. Red is niche. Anybody can buy and use a 5D. In the right hands, it can be stunning (thinking about Act of Valor more than any other example). It OBVIOUSLY is not even in the same league as a RED. Can the audience apart of the pixel peepers tell the difference? If they do, do they care?

  • I always have and always will use DPs, for obvious reasons. However, as a writer/director, I just purchased a Sony NEX-5N and without getting stomped too badly, is it possible to see comparison clips it and the Canon?

  • zeeshan tahir on 02.7.13 @ 6:15PM

    guys iv been using the RED one a lot these days and no DSLR come close to the kind of quality footage it gives us, for web i might consider an iPhone better than any thing else, but RED wins the battle any day.
    its costs more because it is truly meant for Cinema.

  • zeeshan tahir on 02.7.13 @ 6:19PM

    No DSLR in the world can give you the kind of latitude & depth as RED digital Cinema cameras.

  • Craig Shamwell on 02.7.13 @ 6:27PM

    First I want to say that with the Quality of the screens on most HD Computers, its ludicrous to say that just because its on the ‘small” screen instead of the “Big” screen, you can’t tell the difference, or even worse…”it doesn’t matter!” I have been auditioning a lot of video samples…on the web…from several Cameras of late, including the Black Magic Cinema Camera. Back to that in bit. There is simply more detail in every shot from the Red than the 5D. Colors were more defined and shadow details were of no comparison. Go back and look at the wisps of smoke coming form the Chimney Stacks. The light gradations while still visible on the Scarlet, all but disappear on the Canon. But again, color grading H.264 will result in a softening of the image, as I have discovered in my early days of editing. The real question begging to be asked, is not why does the Red cost so much more than the Canon…no!? The Red is better for sure! But there is a BULL in the Room and its a very big BULL that all but makes this question moot! And that BULL is the Black Magic Cinema Camera!! All of the footage I have seen so far form this camera tell me the next Question will be…”just how much will the Red and Canon Cameras come down in price with slow sales and rentals of each?” i have yet to see any RAW Color Graded Footage from the BMCC. But the HQ Pro-Res footage was beautiful…simply beautiful! For 3 grand!!!!!!!!!!! This Camera will make Canon especially have to re-think their whole approach when marketing Still/Video Cameras. Their New Line of Video Cinema Cameras will be short-lived at the prices they are now. With a very affordable line of Cinema Lens available by third party manufactures, this Camera will surely change the industry. I know that’s a big statement, but if you havn’t seen any footage from the BMCC, you will see both the camera’s in this review may soon be compared by a new standard…that’s quite old…..VALUE!!

  • Augusto Alves da SIlva on 02.7.13 @ 6:51PM

    Why is RED EPIC 50X more expensive than a GH2???

    • C.Shamwell on 02.7.13 @ 7:26PM

      There you go!!! Its not that “is the Scarlet that good?”…. is it thousands more good????
      Very interesting video!!

  • I agree with some of the posts in that this test does not really seem accurate from the fact that some of the Mark III shots are out of focus for some reason as if the shooter did not even manually pull focus. Outside of the color grading, there is a lot you can do with your manual settings when shooting to come up with better shots than shown here. Don’t get me wrong, I do agree that the 4K Scarlet is superior, but not so “cut & dry” as portrayed here…especially when you compare costs for shooting web content.

    • Augusto Alves da SIlva on 02.7.13 @ 8:12PM

      I agree. I shoot for HD TV and movie theaters and didn´t hae the need to shoot 4K yet. Files too big and side-by-side comparisons didn´t impress me too much. Once Canon releases the uncompressed output firmware we will have much more information on the files. I am not saying RED is not better but surely can say it is different. I am not getting into 50k cameras at this stage. Soon we will have the same quality from 1K ones. This is certain.

  • Terence Kearns on 02.7.13 @ 8:07PM

    I’m sorry, but with everything that is available as of today, there is no justification for dropping 3.5K on a 5DIII to use for video…. maybe if you are a die-hard Canon wedding stills photographer, but not for video. It does doesn’t make any sense while you have competition like the Sony A99 (1080/60p) with it’s full frame sensor and the BMD-CC with it’s superior codec options. And if FF sensor is not the main aim, even the GH3 will probably produce better files.

    We’ve already seen the 5DIII vs BMD-CC comparrison and the BMD-CC shat all over the 5D – even for web usage…. viewing the review on the web, the difference was MASSIVE.

    5DIII is for wedding photographers only IMO. It’s video function is okay, but doesn’t hold a candle to the current crop of cameras in the same price bracket.

    Lets see a review of the Sony Alpha 99 for film makers and videographers.

  • Huseyin K. on 02.8.13 @ 3:14AM

    As far as I am concerned, 5D is good enough for most projects. I don’t see a big huge difference. If you want to shoot National Geographic stuff, than RED is better. But if you are shooting people subjects, 5D is good enough. The most important thing is the content. No matter what camera we use, if we are not good in directing, using bad actors, bad sound and light systems, less than professional people to work with, that movi can be shot with a million Dollar camera, it will not mean s..t. That is my 2 cents worth…



  • zeeshan tahir on 02.8.13 @ 4:27AM

    I wouldn’t blame the people who are hobbyists & not from Audio visual industry, comparing these machines you need to carefully understand the purpose of these machines, people who do short films and stuff for the web are DSLR Fans with HD video, low aperture photo lenses and elements like ambient light get them to swear & argue upon these kind of things.

    its not just RED or alexa or panavision its the after purpose of the content you shoot on them.

  • Chris Simmons on 02.9.13 @ 12:02PM

    It’s like comparing 16mm reversal with 35mm Negative.

  • All above comments are interesting and it is apparent that most of you know more of the technical stuff than I do. However, surely the the one simple fact that affects most independent filmmakers, at least at my level, is the cost! I have to try to put out the best imagery I possibly can with the dollars I can afford for equipment….period. I would not go after business or projects that obviously require a level of quality that is unachievable with my facilities. I am not planning on doing a feature film for the silver screen, or competing in other arenas where 4K or 8K would blow my stuff out of the water. This comparison is like taking a Ferrari and a Volkswagen onto a track and asking “Is the money for the Ferrari worth the speed difference?” I will continue to make my short films and web business videos with the equipment and savvy I have and salivate at times about the cameras I wish I could afford but much more meaningful would be true comparisons of equipment withing reasonable price ranges, Just saying :-)

  • In my opinion, you don’t always need the sharpest and most detailed picture. First of all no film is shown in a 1:1 comparison with a second camera, and second filmmakers very often soften their shots for different purposes through filters or by using older lenses and whatnot.

    Of course a Red or Alexa is the better tool than a DSLR, but the DSLR is really cheap in comparison and you can still make nice looking movies with it. Only ten years ago it was almost impossible for a small filmmaker to achieve a professional look, but today we expect the 2K DSLR to be 100% on par with a professional 50K film camera? That is crazy!
    It is amazing how close the DSLRs come for such a low price, let’s be happy about that!

    I mean I have a 7D for shooting stills (which I do as a hobby) but I can use the same camera to shoot professional video and even make some money from it. How cool is that?
    Of course it is not the same as a Red or an Alexa, but it doesn’t have to be, it is just an add-on to my photo camera!

  • I totally agree with Heiko. If the story is a good story, for example, Like Crazy, Act of Valor (ok not the best example but still…), Newlyweds, then this pixel peep is a non issue. Too many people are concerned that they aren’t getting enough quality out of their DSLRs and HAVE to shoot on RED because of it and are not paying enough attention either writing good scripts for films or good concepts for videos/commercials. Who really cares if you shoot on RED and your image is razor sharp if your writing (and for that matter, your sound, your production design, and your editing) are crap?

  • Why is a Resolution test being done with L ZOOMS? Would love to see one done with Leica R or at least Zeiss prime glass.

  • Barri Hitchin on 04.8.13 @ 11:22AM

    i’m NOT impressed with either,

  • the red cameras are not point of shoot…it’s not just the camera…but the lighting package…etc…
    for a bigger project get your production company to pay for it…and rent the arri lt…Kodak film…you’ll get an image that is stunning!

  • The Canon 5D Mk III is nothing short of amazing in it’s abilities. Here’s a test video I shot showcasing the video capabilities of the camera,

  • Both cameras have there advantages. Ive used the 5D on shows where it made since to use this camera and not a larger body because of the end result, shot selection, location. Maybe it went straight to DVD or on web etc. Having said that just looking at the footage above its a big difference through my eyes at least that the Red has so much more detail and clarity.