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4K Comparison: Canon 1D C vs. Sony F55, and New Firmware V1.10 for the F5/F55 is Out

03.13.13 @ 1:31PM Tags : , , , , , , ,

Hot on the heels of the unscheduled recent firmare update, V1.03, Sony has issued V1.10 for the F5 and F55, which addresses a number of issues. Since the AXS-R5 recorder has its own internal processing and is considered part of the camera, it also needs the same firmware update to be applied separately. We’ve also got a recent 4K test done by the guys over at cinema5D that intercuts Canon’s 1D C with the Sony F55. Click through for more on both.

Thanks to cinema5D for putting out this video showing off the 4K of the 1D C and F55:

Both cameras could be matched easily in post production. Contrary to our expectations the Canon 1DC could be underexposed even more than the F55 (talking usable dynamic range). On the other hand the noise and 10-bit image of the F55 is obviously more clean and stable due to its powerful new xavc codec.

I think both cameras look good, and the 1D C certainly has a major size advantage for a lot of situations. Obviously rolling shutter can be an issue for pretty much any CMOS camera out there, but thankfully this is something Sony has figured out with the F55, and it should perform just as well as a CCD in terms of image skew. Interestingly enough, they also mentioned that the 1D C delivered footage that was better to grade and more usable than the C300, and while the C300 has a number of shooting advantages over the 1D C, that’s definitely promising for being able to intercut with a camera made specifically for video.

As for the F5 and F55, here are some of the improvements with the new V1.10 firmware:

  • Corrected; the “black edge on highlights” issue. This fault may occur on high-brightness transitions when shooting with HyperGamma or S-Log2 gamma
  • New software prevents the camera from occasionally freezing when holding down any of the following keys: PREV, EXT, F.FWD, F.REV, PAUSE, STOP & THUMBNAIL
  • Acquisition Metadata Sets for Video Camera Parameters – may be incorrectly registered as “S‑Log2”. Version 1.10 correctly registers the value as: “Content Video”
  • Audio Rec Port name correction
  • Salvaged Clip Playback improvements
  • Fixes SxS card corruption when using Content Browser for Mac V. 2.0

Improvements for the AXS-R5 recorder:

  • Improved stability when the AXS Memory card is ejected too early
  • Improved stability when recording unexpectedly stops
  • Embedded Audio Control Packet on the HD-SDI signal from AUX OUT terminal

You can find links to the firmware updates below, but be sure to head on over to the Sony forum to make sure that you are installing them correctly.



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Description image 41 COMMENTS

  • I’m sorry but I have to call this test out as absurd. First off, you’re putting terrible glass on a Cine camera. How can you realistically test a 30k body with a $500 piece of glass, like the Samyang, or a 1k Zoom like the 24-70 which is soft. At least put on the Canon Cinema Primes if you’re restricted to an EF mount.

    Next, it’s always difficult to tell how much credibility to give these tests when the color grades for the corrected parts are done so poorly. Which professional post house? There is a range, and these grades look awful and amateurish. Also, I’m not sure who would ever be shooting in a way where 5 vs 4 stops under makes a significant difference. I mean, if you’re that out you have a whole other host of issues.

    Finally, I hesitate to trust anything sponsored by a company which has a vested interest in selling both products, and then excludes something like the Scarlet. This is a potentially great side-by-side, but completely unhelpful without comparing to other major players in this space and price ranges right now. I’d love to see the F-55 up against an Alexa, a Red, hell even an F3. This gives me no information against which to judge it, because I don’t really know anyone who would realistically choose between shooting on a 1DC and an F55.

    Sorry for the negativity, its just when you look deeper into this video/review/etc from Cinema5d it just makes no sense, at all.

    • They are not claiming it to be a scientific test. It’s not meant to precisely test them, but simply put them in a shooting situation and see what they come up with. It’s also not an either/or situation, it’s not necessarily about choosing one over the other, because realistically you’re probably not doing that, but I think it’s a good test to see that the 1D C can intercut with the F55.

      As for B&H sponsoring them, that’s exactly what you want, they get access to the cameras, but they don’t have Sony or Canon breathing down their neck making sure the results aren’t too bad. B&H doesn’t interfere with product reviews, whereas I can’t necessarily say the same thing about getting the cameras straight from the companies themselves.

      • First, I did not claim it was a scientific test. I claimed it was meaningless, absurd. I get that you’re defending your post, but please don’t use an equivocation or shift the goalposts as though it is a rational response to my statements. It’s rude and I’ve seen you do it to others who comment negatively about a post. Sometimes you’re justified, in this case you’re not.

        I didn’t indicate a lack of understanding of what they were doing, or attempting to do, or even held them to an unfair standard such as the Zacuto shoot outs. I am holding them to a standard of baseline competence. What they did isn’t even a “shooting situation,” since you would never use those lenses; it’s like putting Aquatreds on an F1 and seeing how fast it can go. I expressed puzzlement; because I was shown an ad for B&H which then made a lot of professional claims, none of which they provide the evidence to substantiate, and there is a substantial amount of hand-waiving and appeals to authority.

        I can’t tell anything about the two cameras, how they compare, how they hold up in color correct, or what their value is relative to the rest of the market. Frankly, I can’t even tell that the two can intercut. Perhaps they can intercut when shot on glass which cannot resolve for the sensors, but then again, pretty much anything shot on the same lens can intercut with a decent grade. But how can I even evaluate that possibility with these horrible crushed black grades? Based on what they show, you’d have to be blind to think they can intercut. Look at the highlight roll off on the fluorescent lights in the bike shop; look at the entire image the 1DC looks like a DSLR, and while the F-55 looks significantly better, its almost like its been badly graded to look like a DSLR. And then, how does what format the cameras shoot in have anything to do with how long it takes to grade the files? You can’t output a DPX? And your experienced colorist doesn’t have his own LUTs based on F-65 color science? Is it really all that different?

        They make these absurd assertions; the 1DC is more grade-able than the C300? Based on what? Their professional colorist who I think did a terrible job? They claim there’s no detail in the blacks in the 1DC since the Canon cuts them off, but we can recover -5 stops, whereas the F-55 rolls them off and can recover -4 stops? This doesn’t even make sense as a logical claim. What is the criteria for “recoverable”? How can you recover footage if it is clipped?

        What do I know? Two guys got to play around with two cameras, B&H paid for it, and then it got posted here, and I think its bad content; borderline linkbait.

        That’s all I’ve got to say.

        • I don’t really mind the glass just as long as its the same glass for each camera. In fact, I am interested to see how the images look on cheap glass. And, since it’s a comparison test and not a camera test, I can only be interested in how the images compair to each other just as long as the same person performed the comparison.

        • well that escalated quickly

        • I appreciated your very intense and passionate response MD – really did. You obviously know exactly what you are talking about, pointed out things I would not have thought about and opened my eyes. Don’t have to defend your actions, as your insights are clearly superior to mine. Agreed – the first thing I would have said is: What is the glass. I have seen other F55 productions (and comparisons vs RED and Alexa) and they blew me away – unreal wonderful qualities. This did not have it as I was expecting. Now I know why and for that, I am grateful. Thanks. Dave

    • I’ve stopped giving all these “this vs that” shootout things too much thought – though the well done one’s can be a big help, like the Zacuto Shootouts. The only reason I mention them is the candid approach they have to showing the work and process that goes into it.

    • I have to agree about the color grading. It really didn’t bring out the best for either camera. To my eye the 1DC looked a little soft compared to the Sony. But I can’t tell if that’s because of the lens used.

    • Agree. I don’t want to see color graded footage from someone who clearly likes the look of DSLR footage. We’re here to pixel peep, don’t crush your blacks.

    • @MD are you saying the Canon 24-70mm is 1K, as in ability to resolve or price? Indeed it’s softer at the edges than the center but to say it resolves 1K resolution is a gross misstatement. Canon would be unable to literally sell absurd quantities of this lens if this was the case. Why don’t you do a search for Canon 24-70mm MTF tests to find out more. Additionally the lens is not 1K in price.
      Now, I agree these “test” are hardly scientific and that NFS should take a little heat though the title said “comparison”. I also agree the grades aesthetically imho do not make either camera shine, exactly the opposite.

  • Just to be clear, the original article says the 1DC “files” are more usable to C300, not “footage”. Big difference.

    • Here is the quote:

      The Canon still delivers very gradable and easy to use files (According to our experienced colorist: More usable than C300 footage).

      They say right at the end, C300 footage.

  • Jordan Carr on 03.13.13 @ 3:16PM

    What is with people doing “tests” then back tracking and claiming “this isn’t really a test” and “it isn’t scientific” and “nothing can be judged from this.”

    So what is being accomplished besides website / video traffic and controversy. Or is that the point since “nothing can be learned from the test.”

    What am I missing?

    • Personally, the only info I look for from these kinda videos are button layouts, durability reviews, and the physical stuff. How’s the menu? Port placement? Does your cheek his a thing when your eye is on that other thing? Other than that, quality wise, there’s not too much to be gained.

  • Jordan Carr on 03.13.13 @ 3:19PM

    And I am not being sarcastic either….really do agree with Ken, Alex, and MD. This is kind of crazy. Just because someone has access to gear doesn’t mean they are qualified (or know how) to “test” it.

    My neighbor owns a Jaguar XF supercharged – but he can’t drive worth crap and I wouldn’t trust him to TEST it vs a BMW or Infiniti. Make sense?

  • 30K Sony pro-camera but they did not use 16-bit RAW ?

    The whole point of F55 is, that you can shoot 16-bit RAW with the optional recorder. Every serious production (no matter how small) can afford to rent the 4K RAW-recorder, if the camera used is not allready having one.

    • Being able to afford it and choosing to shoot with it are two completely different things. There is a reason so many productions still choose ProRes on the Alexa…

      • Yes, yes. I understand.

        BUT this was supposed to be non-biased test of cameras not production under heat from people paying the bills. They should have shot with RAW too, so everyone can make their own minds about the raw.

        RAW. MPEG4-based compression does not need any “Red Rocket” run smooth

        • It’s not biased, they tested two cameras and their compressed 4K formats. Not sure what you’re getting at.

  • vinceGortho on 03.13.13 @ 4:38PM

    Haha! I saw the heading for this article and thought, “NFS is asking for it.”

  • I agree with the others:
    This “test” is worth nothing.
    These guys are known for testing the s**t out of everything the get into their sponsored hands.
    So everybody should be aware of this when reading the names of Johhnie and Nino in the video credits.

    This right here… posted more than 3 months ago here on is worth a lot more.
    That happens when a camera is put into the hands of professionals and not “testers”:

  • “The Canon still delivers very gradable and easy to use files (According to our experienced colorist: More usable than C300 footage).’
    Thats a strong statement and would like to know what “more usable” means.

  • Eric Jolley on 03.13.13 @ 6:54PM

    Some professionals who frequent this site need a course in humility. Seriously. We’re glad you’re getting paid for your work and maybe you have access to high end post houses and cine lenses but not everyone is coming from the same place. Why not do your own test “the right way” and post it? Or if the video is beneath your abilities why not move on to the next one? So much bitching going on, not sure I understand where it’s coming from. Do you think it’s frustrating that someone has access to equipment better equipment but they don’t have your skills? Join the club!

    • Because if you don’t have the experience or knowledge to assess a video and article from Cinema5D like this, it just being posted on here might make you form uncritical opinions of the cameras, and then open your mouth and say something silly, making a fool of yourself in front of someone who knows better.

      Just as NoFilmSchool is here to help, I drop by every few days, and if I have something to say to help out, I will point it out. In this case I think telling people they should take these types of postings with a grain of salt is constructive and valuable. Many readers may simply not know any better and walk away thinking the F-55 and the 1DC are comparable cameras, who knows.

      The last thing I think I chimed in on, was a posting about following some absurd Photomatix procedure to get a fake HDR day glow look in your footage. The problem is anyone who followed the instructions and information would end up with a middling result (perhaps a good result if they spent a lot of time), but would have to spend hours upon hours, whereas a basic understanding of how color grading, HDR, and the camera involved works leads you to a much speedier, more effective, and higher quality solution, which I shared.

      As helpful as NFS is on many occasions, it’s editorial staff doesn’t necessarily have the knowledge base to call bs 100% of the time. That’s where the rest of the community can help out. If you don’t want my input, continue to antagonize me. I don’t need to provide it. I post under a pseudonym, I get nothing from discussing here, but gave three concrete objections to the Cinema5D guys putting this video and article together, and perhaps that will lead to them doing a better job in the first place; perhaps I should comment to them directly, but I like NFS so I don’t mind generating some traffic for them via my comments.

    • Second that one. Wouldn’t count on all of those bitching being accomplished pros – usually they’re brand fanboys.

  • We’re all thinking it…. i’m just saying it….. the F55 looked a lot better IMO. Especially with highlights and contrast.

  • “-Improved stability when recording unexpectedly stops”

    Improved? It should never happen in the first place.

  • Scientific or not you can still see a huge difference in resolution. 1DC looking very soft.

    I dont see how the 1DC’s 4K image even if it was soft at 4K compared to the Sony still be soft after being downresed to 1080P??

    Skin tones much better on the Sony. Cant say I’ve ever liked Canon’s skin tones tho on any of their cameras.

  • Regarding some of the comments here, I’ll quote one of the favourite Youtube comments I’ve found: “I hate myself, therefore I hate.” :)

    I find it useful that NFS gathers links/embeds to most of the camera tests around the net, so you can watch several to get a better idea of how different cameras perform.

    This test had its downsides as others have commented – but at least it was possible to see that both LOG formats seem useful. I’m certain you could have pulled nice grades out of both LOG formats.

    If the cinema5D guys show up reading comments, here’s some feedback: it would have been nice if you’d had filmed with some sharp lenses and showed a center crop of the footage at 100% for easy viewing of 4k quality in LOG as well as color graded. Would be very convenient for all of us viewers!

  • I think they should have re titled some of that… Instead of Colour Corrected, it should have been Colour Graded… there was nothing ‘correct’ about it!

  • Ben Howling on 03.15.13 @ 1:00AM

    There’s a new contender in the affordable 4K stakes! Nikon’s $200 V1 shoots up to 60FPS in 4K RAW in 1 second burst modes, and only costs $200. Not a functional cinema camera, but an incredibly cheap option for a short burst of 4K, and primed for some mods!

    Article here:

  • the grades arent great.