July 24, 2012

Zacuto 'Revenge of the Great Camera Shootout' Part 2 Now Available for Download in 1080p

The Zaucto Revenge of the Great Camera Shootout 2012 has, like most Zacuto shootouts, caused quite a stir among professionals and amateurs alike. Many chose specific cameras in Part 1 that were finally revealed in Part 2, and we actually conducted our own poll before Part 2 was released that showed what the audience felt was the best scene. While surprising to some (and not to many others), the Panasonic GH2 was selected as the top scene followed by the Arri Alexa and Sony F65. The fact that a camera under $1,000 is even in the same league as two cameras well over $50,000 speaks to how far digital technology has come in the last 5 years. If you haven't seen Part 2, it's finally embeddable (below) and downloadable, and if you go to Vimeo, you can get the full 3.2GB 1080p file.

I saw the shootout in person and was already able to give my thoughts on the matter. Since I didn't have the luxury of watching the video over and over again when I made my choices, it was very telling for me personally that the cameras I picked all turned out to be the digital cinema cameras (as much as the FS100 can be called a digital cinema camera). While my number one choice was a toss-up between the FS100, F3, and Epic, I still very much liked the Alexa and F65 before knowing which camera was which. Looking back on it now, I may have moved the FS100 down slightly, but it still would definitely be in my own top 5. Of course, the great thing about the entire shootout is that personal preference plays a huge role in the scenes that were picked. In fact, our poll just proves that dedicated DPs and colorists can get a lot out of an under $1,000 camera.

Camera technology is moving forward at an incredible pace. Choosing the right camera for your film is a big decision, and it's only gotten harder now that there are so many more options to choose from. Blackmagic has thrown their weight in the game, and it would certainly be interesting to see the Cinema Camera in a shootout similar to the Revenge Shootout.

Link: Revenge of the Great Camera Shootout 2012 - Part Two: Igniting The Debate - Vimeo

Your Comment


It is definitely cool to see events like this and the impact small budget cameras can have on cinema. When it comes down to it, great lighting and composition will always be the foundation of all our shots.

July 24, 2012 at 1:01PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


I believe someone in the Zucato video mentioned this might be their last shoot-out since cameras were improving quickly enough that they would be nearly indistinguishable in the future. I'd love to see them continue. Or perhaps set up a standard environment or a set of tests to see how the latest cameras perform.

This has been a great series even if this last round seemed to test the DP/Cinematographer's choices as much as it did their cameras.

July 24, 2012 at 1:22PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


I think every camera was pretty well handled and really showed the strengths of the cinematographers first and foremost.

With that said, the FS100 really could have been handled better. It's a great camera, but man did it look bad in this test. I think it could have done much better with just a slightly better lighting / grading job. The Red wasn't all that impressive either, but I think for the most part the rest of the cameras looked fantastic.

July 24, 2012 at 1:38PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


I'd love to see Zacuto continue with cinematography shoot outs rather than camera shoot outs. Give a group of professional cinematographers the same scene and storyboard, set and actors, then free them to choose any gear they want. At the end have them explain why they made their choices. We'd learn so much seeing different professionals approach the same scene in different ways.

July 24, 2012 at 2:04PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


I watched Part 1 briefly when it was in 1080p before it got lowered to 720 (for some reason) but didn't get a chance to really make an informed opinion, so I was glad to see that I could download the 3GB version of this one.

The Epic really moved up for me after seeing how much sharper it was than everything else on the windows. I'm assuming it was down-sampled from something to 1080p, in which case whatever did the down-sampling did a great job as did the camera. The FS100, on the other hand (which always looked weird to me) really shows the dangers of a super-sharp image with a lot of aliasing. All of the edges look ridiculous. The GH2 suffers from this too, but not as much.

At this point for me I'd say the Alexa, Epic, and F65 are all fared pretty much equally and are definitely the best. Alexa had great color and latitude, Epic had great color and resolution, and F65 had great resolution and latitude.

The C300 and F3 are almost as good but weren't as good in as many ways. Without seeing the 3 GB version of the test and looking more closely I might have put the Epic in this category too but seeing the detail on the full version bumped it up.

I'd say put everything else except the iphone in the "good, but not as good" category as they all have some serious shortcomings in terms of resolution, artifacts, or latitude (or multiple).

The iphone is the only one that I see as unacceptable for a "real movie" (whatever that means these days), and that's only because of the stuttery motion (and it looked like the exposure changed automatically too).

July 24, 2012 at 4:44PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


Great article! One question immediately comes to mind...

Did the cameras capable of outputting 4:4:4 RGB image sequences, do so (out of this group, I believe that would be the Alexa, F3, and F65)?

There is no comparison between an encoded 4:2:2 image and an uncompressed RGB 4:4:4 image... In that vein, one could point out that this test didn't take into account how effective each camera was at delivering "post-friendly" footage; and until the lighting setups and post process goals are the same, this is really more about the cinematographers than it is the actual cameras.

In post-production, the fidelity of information captured by the camera ultimately defines how much the footage lends itself to the post-process... 4:2:2 footage has less information than 4:4:4 so it often requires more work and time... to ultimately look inferior. If you've ever shot a chroma-key setup with a 4:2:2 camera and a 4:4:4 camera and taken a look at the accuracy of the edging of your subjects, you know exactly what I'm talking about -- data is king.

While comparisons like this will often boil down to viewer's personal preference when left to the human eye, the computer will quickly show the differences in image fidelity when processing 4:2:2 footage vs. RGB 4:4:4 footage... no doubt about it. The information in an RGB 4:4:4 image far surpasses to the information stored in a 4:2:2 image... this makes a huge difference in post. It would be interesting to run a test where the cameras shot the same scene with the same lighting setup and then went for the same look in POST... I think the differences would become quickly apparent.

So while things may "appear" the same to the human eye in a controlled case, it is the "invisible" details that can really make a huge impact on the quality, schedule, and budget... all things the human eye can see!

July 25, 2012 at 10:03AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


That's absolutely true, the details that aren't readily apparent thanks to compression can make a huge difference when you need to pull a key or do serious color correction. In the test it's pretty clear that the color sampling helped certain cameras over others.

Each camera was recorded at the highest possible quality. If you'd like to read all of the settings they used for the test, head on over to the Zacuto site or one of the original posts for this test where we include a link to the PDF explaining all of those details.

July 25, 2012 at 10:10AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM

Joe Marine
Camera Department

I found it funny that after so many picked B as their choice, once it was revealed as a cheap camera their choices switched to Alexa and F65 etc.

Excellent idea getting their opinions first :)

July 26, 2012 at 4:08PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM