Watch This Epically Unfair Battle Between a $50 Camcorder and a $50K Cinema Camera
This camera comparison video is totally unfair, but it does teach us a little about why expensive cinema cameras cost so damn much.
Usually when you watch cameras battle it out in a comparison video, you're looking to see which one has the best image quality, color, and dynamic range. However, the team over at Corridor Digital put two contenders in the ring, a $50 Sony Handicam and a $50,000 RED Epic Dragon cinema camera, knowing full well that one would utterly clobber the other, but also knowing that such a drastic difference in image quality could teach us all about why the cost of pro-level cinema cameras is so high.
Okay, the Dragon is better than the Handicam. (Where's my award for excellence in cinematic journalism?) That's obvious, but that's kind of the point of the entire video. It's not about figuring out which camera performs better, it's about figuring out where cinema cameras out-perform consumer/prosumer cameras specifically and explaining why they do.
The team tests resolution, overexposure, underexposure, color depth, dynamic range, compression, and color accuracy, and of course, the Dragon dominates in every category. However, it's incredibly helpful to listen to Corridor Digital explain exactly how and why the Sony camcorder falls short, as well as when you're most likely to see these less than stellar results, because many times the side-by-side doesn't look all that different (at least not "$49,950 different"). It's when you zoom in, add contrast, or apply a color grade that you're really able to tell that, yep, there's a ginormous difference between a dinky little camcorder and a hulking cinema camera that has been used on some of Hollywood's biggest movies.
But let me get one thing straight: it doesn't matter if you've got a $50 camcorder or a cinema camera worth $50K. Whatever camera you have access to is the best camera you can have, and things like low resolution, poor dynamic range, and wonky color science never stopped history's greatest filmmakers, so don't let it stop you!