August 28, 2014

Put Your Eyes to the Test: Can You Tell the Difference Between Today's Top Cinema Cameras?

12 Camera Shootout - Film Cyfrowy
Let's take a walk down memory lane. Remember two years ago, when Zacuto and Kessler put together what might be considered the most epic camera shootout ever conceived?

I sure do, but not because of the results or any one camera being superior to the others, but because it drove home the point that we live in an era where any camera — from the iPhone 5 to the Sony F65 — can produce professional results as long as the person behind the lens knows what they're doing. With that said, digital cinema technology has come a long way since the 2012 shootout. RED released the DRAGON sensor into the wild. Sony released the F5 and F55. Canon, the C500. Multiple new mirrorless cameras have come along. Oh, and the folks at Blackmagic managed to churn out a few cameras as well. For that reason, it's time to take a step back and see how all of our best modern cameras compare to one another aesthetically once their images have been graded.

Let's take a look at today's contestants and the recording formats used for each camera:

  • ARRI Alexa - ArriRaw
  • RED Dragon - R3D 6K
  • RED Epic - R3D 4K
  • Kineraw Mini - CinemaDNG 2K
  • Sony F55 - MXF 4K
  • Sony FS700 + Odyssey 7Q - CinemaDNG 4K
  • Canon C500 + AJA KiPro Quad - ProRes 4444 4K
  • Canon 1DC - MOV 4K
  • Canon 5D Mark III (with Magic Lantern) - CinemaDNG
  • Blackmagic Production Camera - ProRes 4K
  • Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera (represented twice with a PL adapter and a Metabones Speed Boster adapter) - CinemaDNG
  • Lumix GH4 - MOV 4K

Like the 2012 Zacuto shootout, all of these shots have been subjectively graded (and grain has been added) in order to make the most out of each image, thus making it even more difficult to tell which is which. Each shot is labelled with a number from 1-13. I recommend grabbing pen and paper, jotting down each camera in the test, then trying to put the appropriate shot numbers next to each camera. You might have to watch it two or three times, or pause on each shot, because they don't last long enough to look at them critically. Anyhow, here's the video:

https://vimeo.com/103418495

Do you have your selections? Here are the answers:

https://vimeo.com/103784456

Now that you've seen which cameras are which, it's time to take a look at a test that could be classified as a bit more helpful than those subjectively graded comparison videos. In this next video, you get to see not only the ungraded footage from each of the cameras in this test, but also how each camera handles overexposure and underexposure:

https://vimeo.com/104037800

So there you have it, a basic test of today's most advanced digital cinema cameras. Did you guys get the correct answers? Are tests like these even relevant anymore now that most every camera on the market is capable of fantastic results?

Your Comment

128 Comments

I thought the Dragon did a pretty good job of mimicking the Alexa, the rest of them each had their distinctive looks for better or worse, but it seems like Red is chasing the Alexa look and is pretty darn close.

August 28, 2014 at 10:40PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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derek

Man, really? I thought the Red stuff stood out as being not even close to what the Alexa is producing... Arri is the hands-down winner here, with maybe Kineraw and Sony F55 coming in second

August 29, 2014 at 10:35AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Brad T

When I looked at the the second test, I saw the opposite. The Dragon was the closest to the Alexa in overexposure. The overexposed white wall retained almost all detail on the Alexa and clipped a little bit on Dragon. It was fully clipped on f55. Interesting the Dragon places middle grey in log higher then F55, but still retains more highlight detail on the top end. The Alexa still outperforms all, but if you want the next best thing, it would be Dragon.

August 29, 2014 at 1:17PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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ryan

Your wrong. The white wall is cropped at the bottom in the F55 footage in comparison to the Red Dragon which gives the illusion of looking clipped. The test is completely unscientific and useless for meaningful comparisons.

August 30, 2014 at 9:12AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Mike

just look at the detail of the twigs in the flower vase, you can see the stems clearly in alexa, they are visible in dragon and are gone in f55

August 30, 2014 at 4:43PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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ryan

This test would be more meaningful if we had access to the RAW files. You can recover quite a bit of highlight detail with the F55 and with Cine/Slog3 the color profile is almost identical to the ALEXA.

August 30, 2014 at 7:08PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Mike

Kineraw over Red Dragon? Hahaha, get this hothead outta here.

August 29, 2014 at 11:27PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Natt

Kineraw is having a party on her shirt with that moire. If it weren't for that I might pick one up.

August 30, 2014 at 12:23AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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nate

Gee, the Canon 1DC seems to have 4-bit color (look at that round red thing on the left). Of course we have to consider the grading, but the GH4 looked better than I thought would be.

August 28, 2014 at 10:54PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Rodrigo Molinsky

Agreed! The shadow change on that round red object looked horrible on the 1DC.

August 29, 2014 at 4:54PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Dave Osbun

It's a TRAP! All this has been recorded with a phone!

August 28, 2014 at 11:02PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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and not a Samsung

September 3, 2014 at 2:27AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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andy

Very well done comparison. The only guesses I got correct were the BlackMagic cameras.

August 28, 2014 at 11:04PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Zach

It was not a fair fight, GH4 was not properly set, it can give lot more room to play with cinegama D and gamma curves applied, it could easily give much more dynamic range than it did. Also Something went wrong with the FS700, especially recorded into the Odyssey. Also the BM 4K could also be much better exposed and Color corrected, that was also an error.

Now for the good stuff Alexa rules in color and highlights, by far, and the test clearly was shot with that in mind, RED's are good but at least for me nothing to justify the price, 6k passes unnoticed at least in my monitor, maybe in 4k big screen projection will make some of us feel different, I liked F55 and BM4K better that global shutter really pumps my eyes out with some natural organic feeling it's hard to describe, I believe that better setting in camera would give much better results than showed.

It's out of this world, how a $1700dll camera can compete with $50000dll camera really with some imagination and skill woy can really make a movie with professional look out of the GH4 outstanding really.
4 years ago that was just not a reality.

All and all very nice test, thanks.

August 28, 2014 at 11:26PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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LEO

I could't agree more. They did not adjust basic pedestal values and CineD's settings correctly. I think the owners of those expensive cameras don't want to make their investments look outdated.

August 31, 2014 at 10:15AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Luis Mazza

I see a test comparing Alex image to the rest...meaning they took the time to set it up and left the rest almost untouched. In my opinion Alexa it´s only aperture log-C, WB and let´s shoot. To get the same quality with all the other cameras we really have to set them up properly and by people that use them everyday.

September 2, 2014 at 5:28PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Augusto Alves d...

How is this comparison legit if they used different glass?????? Please, someone tell me the answer to that.

September 3, 2014 at 1:02AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Clint

*Correction: Speed boosters, or adapters and crop factors do have relevance to the tests. Native ISO of FS700 is not 2000, its 500. Also, the gamma settings for each camera can effect final result. Its a good test overall, but I think the results could be tweaked to make notable differences.

September 3, 2014 at 1:15AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Clint

After the 4 K upgrade to the FS 700 the native ISO is 2000.

September 3, 2014 at 3:38PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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stony

Highly informating. From this I can update all the new informations. Thank you for your kind informations.

August 28, 2014 at 11:13PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Narayanaru.v

I was honestly pretty surprised at how well the Blackmagic Pocket and the Kineraw Mini held up. You can also really tell how Canon's codec implementation is becoming a more apparent weakness next to their competitors.

August 28, 2014 at 11:16PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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I thought the same thing about the BM Pocket, I mistook it for a higher end camera.

August 29, 2014 at 1:05AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Marshal

why is the pocket a surprise? It has a natural looking cinematic image compared to most other cameras without having to do much to the image.

August 29, 2014 at 1:51AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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VinceGortho

I thought the BM Pocket and Kineraw cameras showed too much noise in the model's green shirt. It looked like each individual strand of thread was twitching.

August 29, 2014 at 4:56PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Dave Osbun

I call bs - I'll wager these shots have all been pushed to look as similar to each other as possible and not to look the best they can be on their own. Also, something is seriously wrong w/ the post process - there is tons of moire and aliasing in the hair from the dragon shots I know from experience should not be there. Here are stills w(only super minor tweaks and pretty much straght off camera) from a lowly Scarlet MX shoot I did a few weeks ago and look at the difference in detail: http://postimg.org/gallery/bhou1osm/

August 28, 2014 at 11:29PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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That was the point of the test, to show how much each camera can be pushed to reach the same result, I agree with LEO, definately shot the GH4 wrong, but that impressed me more, because of how close they got it with poor settings.

August 29, 2014 at 1:09AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Marshal

I agree. I think there are too many variables in each set up to get a real concise test. The Arri and RED both has smoother colors in the chart, less noise overall. Still we are going from RAW to a Vimeo codec, and I think there could have been a more dynamic scene for the test. Nice frame grabs btw!

September 3, 2014 at 1:24AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Clint

that gh4 was a surprise awesome really good i really like the kineraw too

August 28, 2014 at 11:30PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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sebastian roland

Would love to see this run again with BMPC4K RAW and the new 1.9 firmware that fixes the calibration. Wasn't crazy about how it held up in this group. Not sure if it was grading or footage issue. Still, happy to see how well it holds up in terms of moire pattern on the model's shirt compared to some others.

August 28, 2014 at 11:41PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Christopher Kou

That is something that interests me as well. I wouldn't mind seeing the BMDCC 2.5k RAW thrown in the mix.

August 29, 2014 at 1:24PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Jeremie

This test proved two things. 1. The Alexa rules. 2. Everything else is not an Alexa.

August 28, 2014 at 11:47PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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jim

If you want 2K camera over 4K - sure.

August 29, 2014 at 11:29PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Natt

2k was, is, and will always be enough resolution. The fact that 4k often has to be softened with filters to achieve a more cinematic look is proof.

August 30, 2014 at 12:02AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Dave N.

What is wrong with you people?

August 30, 2014 at 1:56AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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tony

I learned you can't go wrong with ANY of them! Get your hands on one of the and create your masterpiece!

August 29, 2014 at 12:35AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Terry_mickie

Just imagine -- Monet, Goya, and Dali started a 1000-page flame war on www.nopaintschool.com forums arguing qualities of the brushes. Dali was all about horse hair as it had the untamed spirit of the steppes, Goya was all about about using heirs of French nobility for the quirkiness such hair infused the canvas with, and Money was using the heir from under his own armpits to show he has given himself fully to the paining. They trolled their fans by swapping the brushes and creating their respective masterpieces; still some fans argued they knew Goya's painting was heavily Monet's, Monet's heavily Dali's and so on. Because, as one fan said: you clearly tell, duh!

My point is that it is time the industry admits that the cameras have the same picture quality to an untrained eye. Your abilities to light, frame, and tell a story have far more pronounced impact on the footage than the camera you use. I submit to you that the camera is not even Top 5 factors influencing your work.

August 29, 2014 at 12:39AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Firef1y

+1

except for kodak film they are all pretty much the same

August 29, 2014 at 9:54AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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DIO

To the average viewer, probably true, although I do think that in darker settings, digital can begin to fall apart if you don't know what you're doing, so that the end product can look pretty miserable, even to an untrained eye.

August 29, 2014 at 10:39AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Brad T

This perception that camera doesn't matter because you can get good quality out of a low cost camera is crazy! Just watch a real DP make a selection on camera for a real film with the director and AC, its usually an extensive project where multiple camera formats and lenses and filtration are tests. PT Anderson shot The Master mostly on 65mm because of how it performed in pre-production tests against 35mm, but the camera he was on was 2.2:1 native aspect ratio. He wanted a 1:85, so the cropped in on the negatives, and they used retrofitted medium format lenses for their sharpness. Thats a pretty discriminating selection for camera and it shows in the feel of the movie. He shot with some of the most risky heavy expensive cameras in the biz to get his look. Many films are shot on Alexa, but its after extensive testing of epics and f65s and c500s and dslrs. Here's what I don't get that filmmakers don't get, EVERYTHING MATTERS in your film, EVERYTHING, what camera was used, what lens was used, what color the main characters hat is, where the extras are blocked, whats on the wall in the background, everything. It ain't painting! I'm not saying you should be testing high end cameras and lenses all day, but if your budget is low you should be testing the A7s, BMCs, and DSLRs to see which format meets the requirements of your narrative best. Do your due diligence.

August 29, 2014 at 12:05PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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ryan

I agree. But to say that one is better or worse or getting caught up in fire about it is just stupid. The fact that you could use any to do a stunning job is nuts though. Budget is not the constraint it was back in yonder day.

August 29, 2014 at 4:17PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Kent

This proves that unless you are shooting a specific shot or you have a good technical excuse, none of them stand out. Dialog based movies can be shot even with a good phone. I have been doing research on cameras to decide. They are all so close to each other, that audience will not notice the difference, the brain will compensate for the faults of all kinds and the most importantly, a god camera will not win anyone the Oscar.
Let us put both feet on the ground first.

Here are my criteria for low budget films I will shoot in the near future:
1. Full-frame sensor,
2. Low inherit digital faults i.e. Moire, rolling shutter etc.
3. Wide range of ISO capability and low noise,
4. Good colour and picture quality,
5. Fully compatible raw format with major editing software,
6. Cinema compatible settings i.e. frame rate etc.
Other stuff like microphone jack etc. comes after because I figure, if I get most of these listed above, I will get most of the features as well.

Good stove doesn't make the owner or the user a good chef. I refuse to get caught up in these small details until I start playing big, if I ever will! Good and the cheap is possible in digital now!

Cheers.

August 29, 2014 at 1:03AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Huseyin K.

It's odd that you say any camera would do and then go on to conclude that you require a full frame raw shooting cinema camera which is natively compatible with all major editing software. What camera would that be exactly?

August 29, 2014 at 1:21AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Check out the above camera's prices.

ARRI Alexa ---> $30,000
RED Dragon ---> ~ $25,000.00 +
RED Epic -------> $30,000+ Sky is the limit
Kineraw Mini -------> ~ $10,000.00
Sony F55 -------> $30,000.00
Sony FS700 -----------> $8,300.00+++
Canon C500 -------------> $20,000.00 +++
Canon 1DC -----------> $1,2000.00
Canon 5D Mark III ---------> $3,500.00 +
Blackmagic Production Camera -----------> $2,500.00+++
Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera ------------> $1,000.00 +++ %100 to 200% more with gear
Lumix GH4 ------> $1,700.00

And the winners are:
- (not on the list) Sony Alpha a7S
- Lumix GH4
- Canon 5D MKIII
Even,
- Canon 5D MKII

The difference between Arri and Sony Alpha is minimal for most projects. For the price of Arri or other up there with it, I can buy my camera, shoot my movie and have a nice vacation with my family. If the budget is 500,000 Dollars or more, than knock yourself out!

August 29, 2014 at 8:45AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Huseyin K.

Where did you find KineRAW Mini (the old model) on sale at 10.000 USD? The new Kinefinity KineMINI 4K body price is just 3.500 USD.

August 29, 2014 at 10:31AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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The first page I found that price from a European site in British Pound and converted. Now I can see the US pricing from a different page after becoming a registered user. http://www.kinefinity.com/product-category/kineraw-cameras/?lang=en

Thanks for the heads up and I am sorry for the mistake.

August 29, 2014 at 11:05AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Huseyin K.

A Canon 1DC is NOT $1200!!

August 29, 2014 at 5:00PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Dave Osbun

He misplaced the comma ($12,000).

August 29, 2014 at 9:54PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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DLD

To get the Sony A7s working to compete at 4K is well over 6000 dollars so I would take it off the list for value

August 29, 2014 at 5:31PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Silton

Most of those can be met by the Sony a7S except for the rolling shutter and raw internally...

August 29, 2014 at 5:50AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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This is a useless comparison. An econobox can loaf along @ 55mph in the slow lane just as well as a supercar, does that mean they're equivalent performers?

August 29, 2014 at 1:53AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Hardy Wallace

you can't tell sh*t from the crappy playback window on this webpage. You need to these these tests on high end calibrated monitors

August 29, 2014 at 2:11AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Danny

Higher-quality original file can be downloaded for each of them from Vimeo.

August 29, 2014 at 2:16AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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avatar
Joe Marine
Camera Department

Hi Joe,

I didn't see any obvious buttons or links to download the video. Would it be for Plus members only? Thanks in advance.

August 29, 2014 at 10:50AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Huseyin K.

That is what I am trying to say. Most people who will see those movies shot by those high end cameras don't have calibrated monitors.

August 29, 2014 at 8:48AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Huseyin K.

Or calibrated TVs for that matter.

August 29, 2014 at 9:14AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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alex

Right! Even if you have your TV calibrated, the Samsung and Sony sets will look different. Also, the digital projection theaters will show the picture (usually worse than actually it is, especially in Europe) differently.

August 29, 2014 at 10:49AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Huseyin K.

I can't believe what they did to MKIII RAW image! Technicolor (?), ISO 640, which converter? Doesn't look like ACR to me...

Since the first footage I've made with ML RAW the results were so much better in terms of image quality that for this reason alone I think the test is very, very wrong. Look at the highlights! We all know dynamic range is not the best feature with Canon cameras but this is outrageous.

August 29, 2014 at 2:15AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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The biggest surprise here for me was how much better the Dragon sensor looked than the previous Epic. Overdoing it just a bit with the grain too, I think.

August 29, 2014 at 4:30AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Leigh

very good test!
I wrote down what I thought of each image. Only my thoughts.
1) Horrible It was the Alexa
2)I thought was the Alexa 3) and 4) all seemed similar
5) Good Was the F55
6) Good Was the BM4K 7) similar to 6) Red epic
8) I thought was a sony but it was the Canon 1dc 9) I thought was a sony but unbelievably the 5d3
10) No comment Pocket cam
11) Not togood Was the GH4 and 12) Also Pocket cam
13) I thought was soft The FS700

August 29, 2014 at 5:09AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Mark Morris

No one is going to read past "horrible is the Alexa," you lose all credibility with that statement.

August 29, 2014 at 4:33PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Birdman

All I did was watch the films and made a note of my impression. I watched full screen on my monitor and just looked for the image that pleased me the most. The first one (Alexa) Looked to be very contrasty and heavily graded. I usually like what I see from the Alexa But in this test it just didn't do it for me at all. I wanted to be honest with myself and this test provided the perfect blind opportunity,

The one thing that stood out to me was the BM4K looked as good as the higher end cameras.

August 29, 2014 at 7:15PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Mark Morris

I agree on Alexa. I actually ruled it out as alexa

August 31, 2014 at 11:51AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Imch

Rec.709 colour space? Well, this leaves the question how these (cinema, right?) cameras will compare in a wider colour space, e.g. DCI P3 for theatrical screenings. This will depend on the dyes used for the Bayer pattern, but also on the combination of camera and debayer software. Unfortunately, this cannot be shown over the Internet.

Why wasn't the Digital Bolex D16 included?

August 29, 2014 at 6:11AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Thyl Engelhardt

The speed-booster really gives something more to the blackmagic cameras. I'm curious to see now, when it's applied to the GH4. Plus, I expected more from the 1D..i mean, considering its price..

August 29, 2014 at 6:23AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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I was actually also really impressed with the kineraw. Wasn't as big of a difference compared to some of the others

August 29, 2014 at 6:23AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Migs

Good Comparison, hopefully this will get everyone to one good conclusion.

1.Test the camera before you use them and know their limitation.
2.Lit the set/shot properly.

Here's my 5D MkIII ML RAW stuff. As long as I lit the place properly then work on it in Post.

https://vimeo.com/102057383

: )

August 29, 2014 at 6:53AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Woww! Awesome grading! Alexa look all the way!

August 29, 2014 at 7:01PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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alex mand

This footage is awesome. You and Shane Hurlbut have pulled some of the best looking shots out of the Canon 5D's in my opinion.

August 30, 2014 at 1:20AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Dre

They added too much grain to some of those shots. Alexa and Dragon stood out to me but ... WTF, I've seen GH4 footage look tons better than this.

August 29, 2014 at 7:26AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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DLD

A well shot and graded GH4 video - on a computer screen, it's hard to get better than this.
[ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WslEc0a4r_U ]

August 29, 2014 at 7:46AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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DLD

Holy crap! That was awesome. I definitely gotta get me a GH4.

(Though I'm sure once I get the Pixel Peeper 7000(TM) -- my 16K quantum-color-calibrated 3D monitor with the one-billion-color add-on package -- up and running I'll have to come back and brag about how bad it looks.)

August 29, 2014 at 1:58PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Robert

Some exciting cameras there, fun to watch but that's about it. What was up with the Alexa? Hoy smokes. Glad they posted disclaimers but really I think we've all seen better images coming out of these cameras. The dragon, f55 to the bmpc as well as the fs700 and GH4 all looked pretty much dead. Maybe it was the rec709 (which i hate) but In reality the playing field is not this even. All the images just looked bland to me.

August 29, 2014 at 7:31AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Anthony Marino

Awesome video. And you can tell from the comments here that people have varying tastes and that also contributes to so much back and forth discussion of "which is a better camera". As for me, here are my opinions from the video, which are slave to my personal taste:

1. The Alexa is top dog.

2. My little Blackmagic Pocket, in terms of image quality, is top 4. And that is crazy considering how much it costs. Now that it finally has Audio Meters and time remaining on card, the only thing that it lacks is higher frame rates, which will never come on this model. But then you can't shoot incognito with any of the other top cameras so it is a fair trade off. For the incognito factor you would need to compare it to the A7s and the GH4, and *in terms of IQ* neither can compete with the BMPCC and its beautiful highlight roll off. But both can do higher frame rates, and the A7s even has "night vision" hehe. Those are clear advantages they both have over the BMPCC. Everything's a trade off. As for my taste and budget, after nearly a year with my BMPCC, I still find the grass is greener nowhere.

August 29, 2014 at 7:55AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Jorge

Welp I only got 1/13 correct... I'm going to blame it on the obnoxious noise and terrible grading they used.

August 29, 2014 at 10:15AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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One of the most versatile cameras on the market, the Sony F5, isn't in the test which is a shame.

August 29, 2014 at 10:49AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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JPS

Zacuto Shootout is way better. Each camera had a professional shooter that knew how to pull the best image out of the camera. This test just showed the Arri pooping on cams (except I was impressed with the 1DC footage). I can't wait to see the next Zacuto Shootout.

August 29, 2014 at 11:19AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Dre

Zacuto, at least, tested more things - dynamic range, moire, movement, color rendering, etc. And, in any case, seeing 4K and 2K cams compete against each other on a 1080p stream is silly.
.
This is a new/recent GH4 vs. A7s "shootout" and it seems to cover a more pertinent info, albeit of a much lower market niche. And it's 4K!
[ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qdMypfYrKgw ]

August 29, 2014 at 1:53PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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DLD

I like the fact that the stream is 1080. Just a reminder to all the guys rushing to buy 4K cameras that 99% of the population that'll watch your material will be watching 1080...

August 30, 2014 at 1:19AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Dre

Hi!
Sorry, but for me its very hard (impossible...) to tell any difference between most of these cameras. The only thing i noticed is that some looked a bit soft... But what else?
What are the aspects to pay attention to? Which part of the image allows to make a clear statement when comparing one of the aspects?

Regards!

August 29, 2014 at 11:27AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Bo

Goes to show you , we indies can shoot without worrying too much on quality. Now to focus on story.

August 29, 2014 at 12:02PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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To me, the Blackmagic Production 4K cam was easily the worst.

August 29, 2014 at 12:07PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Aaron

The alexxa stood out head and shoulders above the rest. After that I couldn't even tell the others apart even going back and trying to pick out the differences. Do I have bad eye? Or is the point how close they all are?

August 29, 2014 at 12:08PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Nick

It's one thing to compare a single shot, but the real proof is in shooting something like a feature.

How is the image quality under all sorts of lighting conditions?
Reliability?
Ergonomics?
How does the footage stand up in post production?
Will there be an IQ hit in the edit?
Is the footage flexible in the DI?
Is the footage suitable for visual effects?

This 'test' proves nothing.

August 29, 2014 at 12:24PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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really?

My untrained eye liked 1, 7, & 13 in that order but none were hideous. Like anything its the person not the camera that turns it into art.

August 29, 2014 at 1:07PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Ghostdog

You truly cant tell the difference .... All cameras are created equal now ..... Without this "Answers" video you well not be able to name each camera ...... No one would.

That said im very impressed with the Kineraw, did not expect it to look that good ......

August 29, 2014 at 1:35PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Nigel

Now these are the kinds of camera tests I love to see.

August 29, 2014 at 2:57PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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So glad I was able to snag a BMPCC while it was $495.

August 29, 2014 at 3:00PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Kenny

The only camera I bothered to guess at was the first shot - Alexa - I was correct. Seems also that you can almost line up the results based on the price of each camera or gouip of cameras. Basically there's ARRI and then all the other cameras...

August 29, 2014 at 3:16PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Lance Bachelder

Please be advised that I'm not a professional cinematographer and strictly shoot video for personal enjoyment. However, for many years I was a custom color (and B&W) printer and have printed many photos from slides (Cibachrome) and large format negatives (Kodak) that have been on display in museums and art galleries, so I'm a stickler for true color.

Upon watching the first video twice, two objects caught my attention: the !model's green shirt and the large round reddish circle in left side of frame. Some cameras showed noise and/or aliasing on these objects, and one camera in particular ruined the light falloff on the round red prop. This was the Canon 1DC, sample #8. The shirt looked fine but the light falloff was horrendous on that round prop!
I made the following notes after viewing video 1 a few times:
So-so image on cameras 4 & 6 (C500 & BMPC 4K)
Bad image on cameras 2 & 10 (Kineraw Mini & BMPCC w/Speedbooster)
Very bad image camera 12 (BMPCC)

I'm surprised at the shirt noise with the Canon C500. Shocked, actually.
Skin tones looked fine with all cameras.

I do plan on watching again to get a better comparison between the Sony F55 and the FS700 w/Odyssey 7Q.

Dave

August 29, 2014 at 4:51PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Dave Osbun

Interesting test - just surprised to see the F55 lose the highlights a bit compared to Alexa and Dragon. In my experience shooting on F55 and Alexa - while the Alexa has that certain magic quality with out of the box color rendition, the F55 was basically a match for it in dynamic range terms.

August 29, 2014 at 4:52PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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The question I have is what order did they color correct the footage? I have a feeling they did the Alexa first, since its the proverbial industry standard, and then color corrected everything else to match that. Whatever order they used would give a bias. The one I'm most surprised by is the 5D Magic Lantern RAW. It should look a lot better than that. I use it all the time and, frankly, find it the easiest to color correct especially for medium shots and close ups. It's only real issues is sharpness. I own a Dragon now and still haven't found the magic formula for color correcting it yet but sharpness is the one thing you don't have to worry about. Alexa is still the one to beat. I thought F55 came second to the Alexa in this test but I think a lot of it comes down to how they corrected all of them. I think they could have done a better job matching them all. It would just take a lot longer.

August 29, 2014 at 5:21PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Can some on here explain to meet what to look for or refer a visual guide bc I really can't see a difference I could explain.

August 29, 2014 at 8:23PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Nick

Stop caring about cameras. Start caring about writing good scripts...

August 29, 2014 at 8:39PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Or at the very least more creativity when filming cats, leaves or flowers.

August 29, 2014 at 9:23PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Anthony Marino

Last night, I stumbled (online) on a 2012 Turkish film called "Farewell, Kate" (Elveda Katya) directed by Ahmet Sönmez - beautiful cinematography, good acting but a rather weak script. I was still compelled to watch about 40 minutes of it. A trailer below.
.
[ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zl_VHqgYC80 ]

August 29, 2014 at 10:10PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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DLD

Timur, I've never heard of you. Do you write good scripts? Stop worrying about typing a comment on a post about camera comparisons and start writing good scripts.

August 30, 2014 at 1:16AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Dre

Aaah, a sit back and read the comments special from NFS.
This article would be perfect for this commentator on Youtube who states-
" I've always been a c100/c300 guy, even though i had a gh2, i always rented out a c100 or c300, but after getting a GH4, with an atomos ninja, recording at 4:2:2 1080p, it's broadcast quality, and the 4k downscaled, is at an amazing quality, unlike the blackmagic, it has great battery life, and doesn't need much add-ons.

The codec is much better than the c100, for me only three things makes the C-line better for me: Better noise handling, looks professional for clients (add a matte box, cage and evf to gh4, could make it look professional) and the integrated ND filters.

I don't really need the YAGH, i record all sound separately to a zoom, 4k 8bit downscaled, or 1080p 422, is good enough for me for now. So all i need for the GH4 is a speedbooster and some nd filters.

Imo, that's not worth like £5000 more, and with the c300, i'd rather buy a c500, which is pretty close in price range. Or if we're going down that route, a Red.

But then again, if i'm working for a client, a Red or c300 will always look more pro, and get more jobs than a small GH4 "
Then a look at his work:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ApTzzibirH0&list=UUfY7kBBKZEJkaAyxWlqOCpQ

I'm off to film my dog, in the garden with shallow DOF in 4K.

August 30, 2014 at 2:12AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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barry

The Canon 1DC and 5DmIII where underwhelming, as was the overexposure on the sony fs700. Everything else was hunky-dory, though to be honest, as an owner of the BMPCC, I find the noise suspiciously low compared to the ASA 800 sensitivity used.

August 30, 2014 at 3:53AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Akos

Scratch the noise comment, rewatched looking more at the round red prop and the green shirt and yes, that is definitely more like the BMPCC I know. :)

August 30, 2014 at 4:05AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Akos

Funny how the Dragon wins in the overexposed areas but the Epic is better for underexposure. Never thought I'd prefer the BMPocket to the BM4k either... and I don't know what happened to the FS700 with that odd blue cast.
Then again I have to ask myself would I rather have a C100 and somewhere to live or an Alexa?

August 30, 2014 at 4:57AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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James

This discussion would have been so much more interesting if it took place outside of knowing the answers.

August 30, 2014 at 3:16PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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This comparison sucks unless you only shoot boringly (or un)graded, boringly lit indoor *static* setups of people sitting with colorchecker charts.

Who wants to make motionless movies about people sitting indoors with colorchecker charts??

August 30, 2014 at 5:46PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Hardy Wallace

Excellent point.

September 2, 2014 at 5:10PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Jerry

I just finished watching 28 days later. Still rocks. I even found an old post explaining how fast was shooting with DV cameras and how Danny wanted to show London through the gritty eyes of video cameras.

Some days ago I read here about that film, the time machine I found at a yardsale and saw it in full with a lot of alcohol and friends. It was shot on RED. We were laughing hard all the way to the end.

The conclusion is that a good script and capable hands beat throwing money at a camera. Get the cheapest one you can afford, find a group of friends to learn and create content until you're so good people wont care if you shoot it with an Iphone and its anamorphic adapter.

August 30, 2014 at 6:17PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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IvI

Blair Witch Project too. And those Paranormal Activity joints. Hell, the Matrix movies are all friggin' GREEN.

What makes you think the stylistic slack the public cuts well-marketed studio offerings in any way translates to amateurs? If your work looks amateurish and cheap, who's going to stick around long enough to discover the wonderful content hidden within?

The noise to signal ratio grows every day, kill or be killed.

August 30, 2014 at 8:19PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Hardy Wallace

Hardy, Are you implying that choosing a Kinemini or a GH4 over the Alexa is going to make the audience think our work will be amateur? That they will feast on the moire and the burned highlights instead of following the story? If they do is because there's no story to follow or their attention is not well directed where it should be and they're let free to wander on the screen.

I agree that the noise to signal ratio is growing, but so is the audience and the way they access content. The problem is how to show our ability on the first ten minutes. The typical viewer will stand the setup, real world description and the catalyst. If we slack, they'll leave at any point whiting those valuable minutes.

August 31, 2014 at 2:30AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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IvI

To me it's all about skintones. And I can't see any of the cheaper options in this test standing up to the more expensive. The decay is very unpleasant to see. Actually prefered Dragon to Alexa. The F55 seemed poorly graded and not really showing its awesomeness.

On this note, failing to describe the colour pipeline makes the entire shennanigans pointless.

August 31, 2014 at 3:44AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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