I recently had the opportunity to try out the beautiful Zeiss Otus lenses. There are currently only two lenses in the range – the 55mm f1.4 and a 85mm f1.4 and they were designed by Zeiss to give the best possible performance for stills – especially when coupled with the latest generation of 30+ megapixel sensors like the one in the Nikon D810. They aren’t designed specifically for video but this hasn’t stopped many users sticking them on the front of their large sensor video cameras.
Even thought benefits of true Cine lenses are well known I would say that the majority of large sensor video shooters are using stills glass for video. There are negative and positive aspects of using stills glass in video. The positives are affordability, good optical quality and generally smaller size. On the downside most have a short focus throw and lack a manual aperture. Of those lenses that do have a manual aperture most have click stops which can’t give a smooth iris transition unless professionally modified. There are a few exceptions – the new Zeiss E-mount Loxia lenses and some of Voigtlander’s f0.95 Micro 4/3 lenses give users the ability to quickly change between a clicked aperture and a click less one. Hopefully we will see more of these hybrid stills/video lenses in the future.
I am not a big fan of electronically controlled aperture found on almost all new lenses from Canon, Nikon, Sony, Panasonic, Sigma, Tamron and others. I own some of these but much prefer using glass that has a physical aperture ring on the lens. There are many situations where I want to be able to adjust aperture very quickly or make small adjustments and I just don’t find electronic aperture control does this smoothly or quickly enough.
My personal favourite stills glass for video are the Zeiss ZF2 Nikon fit lenses. They give a lovely sharp image, feature a slightly longer focus throw than most and have a manual aperture. Being designed for Nikon the focus rotation is in the opposite direction to traditional video and cine lenses. They also lack lens stabilisation or auto focus capability. The lens has click stops on the aperture by default but are easy to modify for use for video. I had mine de clicked and added 0.8 mod pitch cine gears added to allow them to work with a follow focus. These work for me but I recommend you choose glass that suits your shooting style, budget and the type of work you do – some people just can’t handle the ‘opposite direction’ focussing.
The Otus lenses dwarf their ZF2 counterparts
Given my positive experiences with the ZF2 lenses I was keen to see if the much hyped Otus lenses were really that much better. Both the 55mm and 85mm I borrowed were in Nikon mount. The first thing you notice is they are large heavy lenses. Compared to my 50 and 85 ZF lenses they are enormous. Build quality is superb – they have a full metal housing and (although I’m not rushing to test) they give you the confidence that if you were to accidentally drop one it wouldn’t break. The Nikon mount version does focus the ‘opposite direction’ and features a manual iris control but with click stops. If you get the Canon EF version the focus direction is the same as Cine lenses but there is no manual aperture. Both the 55mm and 85mm lenses have an aperture range of f1.4 to f16.
I used both the lenses on my Sony F55 with a MTF Nikon to FZ adaptor. The Otus lenses felt solid – so solid in fact that it gave me the feeling that I was using a cinema lens instead of normal stills glass. It does have a shorter focus throw than I would like for video use (although more than most other stills lenses) and I do wish it had a de-clicked aperture, but that is as far as negative aspects go. As far as the image goes……wow! I almost instantly fell in love with these lenses once I looked through the viewfinder. I have used a lot of lenses over the years including vey expensive stills and PL lenses but the Otus to me stands out. They are absolutely tack sharp but they also have an almost surreal fall off to them. It is hard to explain but the background just seems to melt away in a very subtle and soft way. Out of focus highlights blend into other parts of the scene seamlessly.
The 85mm quickly became my choice of lens for interviews. I used it in conjunction with a Tiffen Glimmer Glass filter to give it a slightly softer look. By shooting wide open I was able to make small rooms appear a lot larger and give them the appearance of depth that they obviously didn’t have. Below are a few screen shots from a recent project – sadly it isn’t out yet so I can’t provide the actual video clips. These grabs haven’t been colour corrected, sharpened or touched in any way. They were shot in a standard gamma and not in any type of log profile.
The 55 and 85mm Otus lenses aren’t cheap at $3,990 and $4,490 respectively, but in my opinion they are worth every cent. Lenses are an investment and given the build quality and extraordinary optical performance the Otus series will give you a lifetime of use. If you already own Zeiss ZF or ZE glass you will find they match well in terms of colour and contrast very well.
My friends at newsshooter.com have asked me to write this review of the Canon CN7x17KSA cine-servo zoom lens. To call it a “review” is technically probably not correct. I’m not a lens expert, I don’t shoot charts or count lines of resolution, If you want that detail I’m sure it’s out there somewhere on the web. What this article will be is my thoughts on this lens from the point of view of a shooter, someone who’s been working with this lens for the last month or so. I’m not on the pay roll of Canon, they haven’t given me this lens for free, they didn’t even loan it to me for this evaluation. That’s right I own this lens, I bought it with my own money, a lot of my own money. Which brings me to the first point; a lot of people complain this lens is too expensive. B&H list it at $31,350 US and that is a significant investment for any owner operator. The DSLR revolution and subsequent flood of high quality affordable cameras has drastically reduced the cost of entry to this game. The plummeting cost of cameras hasn’t necessarily been matched by the price of lenses. A lot of people in the low to mid end of this business, including many people working in broadcast TV that have made the swap to shooting on S35 digital cameras are making do with using photographic lenses. Stills lenses are fine in many circumstances but all have their limitations. The way I see it at $31,000 Canon CN7x17 is actually a bargain. Its’ closest competitor in specs is the Fujinon Cabrio 19-90 T2.9 and that’s listed on B&H at USD $39,800, and even then only a few years ago s35 cinema lenses with this focal range would have been hugely expensive (not too mention just plain huge!). In the broadcast world where I’ve been working for the last 17 years B4 mount 2/3inch lenses were the go to lens. A standard DigiBeta or XDCAM Documentary kit would have included 2 lenses like the Canon HJ22x7.6 and Canon-HJ14x4 with a price tag of USD$37,000 and $35,000 respectively. I’m not saying that the cost of the CN7x17 is chicken feed, but I’m a professional, I make my living out of this equipment, I need professional equipment and my clients expect it. I’m prepared to pay for that and I charge accordingly. In the era where the latest camera tech is redundant in 18-24 months, an investment in glass is a much more long term proposition. Lens technology has moved a lot slower than cameras but I hope we continue to see the price/size/weight drop in the coming years.
Ok enough about money, on to the lens it self. The Canon CN7x17KASS is a 17-120mm T2.95 “cine-servo” lens. As the name suggests it has a class leading 7x zoom range. The “cine” in the name refers to the fact that its a “cinema” lens with a S35 covering image circle of 31.7mm. And the “servo” refers to the fact that the lens includes a broadcast style servo for control of zoom, focus and iris. It’s the servo that I think points to what the true target market for this lens is and that’s the Broadcast sector. For years Canon B4 mount lenses like those mentioned earlier were the staple of broadcast crews. Since the DSLR revolution many like myself have changed over to Super 35mm sensor cameras like the C300, F5/55 and Amira but without a viable zoom lens option. Canon have obviously drawn on its years of experience building ENG/EFP B4 lenses and cinema zooms to build this hybrid lens just for us.
The lens is available in either PL or EF mount
It comes in either PL mount or EF mount. The mount is exchangeable between the two but only by a Canon service centre and at a cost. The reason for this is because there are a bunch of electronics built in to either mount, but more on that later. Clearly its not something you’ll be doing all the time but it’s handy for protecting your investment if and when you change camera systems. It will be interesting to see if Duclos lenses develop a user changeable “multi mount” like they do for the Canon 15.5-47 and 30-105. I would imagine that this will come at a cost of the inbuilt electronic interface but fingers crossed.
The lens has an 11 blade iris and this has become standard across Canon’s cinema lens line. An 11 blade iris reduces highlight artefacts and helps produce beautiful round out of focus bokeh.
The lens is 4k compatible and as mentioned previously covers an image circle of 31.7mm. That has us covered for Super 35mm and most cameras currently on the market. But it won’t cover a full frame camera like the 5D. I’ve had no experience using it on a RED Epic or Dragon but from what I’ve read it will cover the Epic’s Mysterium-X 5k sensor but there are some issues with Dragon at 6k. Mathew Duclos posted this on the topic over at reduser.net
“6K Full Frame – Hard corner clip @17mm. By 40mm, soft vignette and usable
6K 2:1 – Practically same as above
6K Widescreen – Soft vignette @17mm, ok by 20mm
6K HD – Covers well, very minor light falloff (expected) at 17mm
Anything less than the 6K HD frame size on the Dragon and you’re all good.”
Calling it a T2.95 is not strictly accurate, its actually a T2.95-3.9 as the lens does exposure ramp 1/2 a stop as you zoom. However the ramp only occurs in the last 30mm of the zoom range, from 90-120mm. Some shooters I’ve spoken to consider this a deal breaker. For me it’s not a big deal, I consider it a small price to pay for such a wide focal range.
The focus throw is 180 degrees. This differs to the rest of Canon’s cinema lenses that all offer 300 degrees rotation. I’m told this is all they could manage with the torque limitations of the compact and light weight servo motors. Some of the cinema guys may not be happy with this, but for me it’s a plus. 180deg is a much more manageable focus throw for the single person operator working without a focus puller or indeed, a follow focus. I’ve tried doing a focus pull on a lens with a 300 degree throw and it requires a high level of contortion of your left hand and arm. It has markings in both feet and meters on the focus barrel.
The lens features a macro focus adjustment
It also includes a macro focus adjustment and back focus adjustment like the ENG lenses. This is a pretty unique feature for a cinema lens (I think) and super handy as it allows focusing to within a few inches of the front element of the lens. While on the topic of focus, I’ll mention that the focus barrel has two sets of gears. There’s the cinema standard .8 pitch so you can use a follow focus or 3rd part focus motor and a .5 pitch gear for the servo to drive. However the zoom only has the .5 and the Iris .4 pitch gears. Again this might annoy the cinema folks hoping to use their preston motors on the lens to control zoom and iris in remote applications but I’m sure its relatively easily overcome with adaptor gears or rings. For us broadcast guys (and girls) it’s not a problem, the servo has everything we’re used to for remote operation. In the base of the servo grip are 3x 20 pin Hirose connectors that allow connection of industry standard focus and zoom demands. Ideal for a studio or crane set up. The third port is for a 16bit Met data output for some hi-tech trickery I don’t really understand. The Servo itself is an impressive bit of tech with full digital control via a small LCD panel and joy stick control built into the unit. It allows you to make a heap of adjustments to the speed of the zoom, the start and end points of a zoom as well as program set and repeatable moves. For less precise adjustments of zoom speed there is also an easily accessed dial located just to the left of the record trigger that we ENG shooters will be familiar with. Zoom speed can be set to ma minimum of .5 second up to a maximum of 300 seconds.
The lens is heavy and should be used with a lens support
So on to using the CN7x17. Atattching the lens to the camera body is as straight forward as mounting any PL or EF lens. I would highly recommend using a lens support though so as not to damage the mount. The lens includes a 1/4 20” mounting hole and a separate 3/8 16” adaptor for using your choice of support. Personally I use the Letus quick snap lens support and it works great. Providing power to the lens and receiving data from it depend on the choice of mount as well as the type of camera your using, the good news is that most options seem to be covered. Firstly, the PL mount as that’s what I’m familiar with. There are two options for power and data in this configuration, the first is via a standard 12 pin Hirose connector familiar to users of B4 ENG style lenses. On cameras such as the Arri Amira you simply plug the connector into the camera and away you go with power to the servo, lens data in the VF and record trigger via the servo grip. On cameras where the 12 pin connector is not used, like the Sony F5 and F55 you simply plug the connector back into the lens and then it passes power and data through the Cooke-i technology ports built into the lens mount (you need to first enable ‘Type-c’ on the camera menu under ‘lens interface’). Again you have servo power, lens data in the VF and record stop/start control. For lenses with an EF mount things get a little complicated. With a EF mount camera such as Canon’s own C100/300/500 data from the lens passes through the mount and will appear in the VF/LCD. However, power for the servo will not, nor will (I believe) the record trigger on the lens. To power the lens from a C series EF mount camera you need to use an external power source like a V-lock or gold mount battery and an adaptor cable from D-Tap or Lemo (or whatever your power source has) to the 12 pin Hirose. Fortunately there are lots of these cables about there, try e-bay for a start. If you think it’s strange that the full functions of the Canon lens isn’t available on the Canon cameras you’re not alone. I can only assume that when Canon developed the electronics in the EF mount it was purely for stills camera functionality. No one would have ever envisaged needing to power a lens like this. Whether it is addressed in future Canon Cinema EOS cameras I can’t say. For further information on how to set up this lens with different cameras check out this video from Able Cine:
The 17-120mm lens compared to Canon EF glass
In the brochure, Canon themselves describe the lens as “compact and light weight”. While I take their point that in the world of cinema the lens is positively a miracle of miniaturisation, in my world it’s a total beast in both size and weight. Canon claim the weight at 2.9kg (6.4lb), but either they’re being optimistic or my lens got stuck in to some Katsu curry on its way from Japan to me. By my scales the lens weighs just over 3.1kg with servo and 2.9kg with servo removed. It’s also long at 254.9mm in PL mount (EF is a bit longer) and without lens hood attached. That’s a porker in comparison to its competition; The Fujinon Cabrio is 223mm in length and 2.7kg (servo attached). Canon’s own 15.5-47 Cine Zoom is 214mm and 2.2kg and the old B4 work horse the HJ22x is 219mm and a feather weight 1.6kg. In defence of the CN7x17 its has larger zoom ratio to the first two lenses and of course covers a S35 sensor as a posed to the HJ22x’s 2/3inch. But it needs to be taken into consideration when considering this lens. It’s length makes shooting in tight places like a car interior difficult, and the weight makes it difficult to achieve a balanced rig on the shoulder. Adding to the second point is the fact that the bulk of the lenses weight is located in the front 1/3 of the lens (ie behind the front element). I say difficult to achieve balance, not impossible. This depends largely on the camera you have behind it and the accessories you use. I shoot on Sony’s F55 and use the Zacuto Z-VCT base plate. This allows me to push the camera along way back so the point where the lens mounts to the body is just about on top of my shoulder. This in turn means I need to push my EVF forward. For this, I use the Vocas top handle which I mount backwards putting the EVF in just the right position. This setup is very balanced and I find, despite the fact it weighs about 11kg (fully rigged with matte box, V-lock battery, radio RX ect), I can comfortably hand hold it much longer than I can a light weight C300 rig. Like I said this works for my rig on the F55. I’d imagine achieving a “balanced rig” with a camera as small as the C300/500 or the FS7 would be quite challenging. Conversely I’d love to try it out on the Amira as I think the extra length and weight of the Amira would make it a pleasurable combo to use.
It is easy to remove the servo motor from the lens
Pushing the camera back this far does have its drawbacks though. The whole combo is so far back that the Servo control is too close to your head to comfortably hold onto. I find that after extended shooting with using the servo grip in this configuration my right arm fatigues quickly. I personally don’t find this a big deal. I’ve never really been a fan of servo zooms and prefer to operate the lens manually in “cinema mode” so I remove the servo and attach a set of moose bars to the 15mm rods instead. The servo is easily removed with just 3 screws and it’s off. There are convenient “storage” holes the the screws can be screwed back into on the body of the lens for safe keeping and also a dust cap for the electronic interface. Reattaching the servo is a similar easy 60 second job – just line it up and screw it down. Canon claim that there is no need to recalibrate the servo once attached. The first time I removed mine and reattached it I found that It wouldn’t zoom through the entire range using the servo, stoping around 50mm. There is a simple procedure outlined in the manual to recalibrate the servo to the lens. It involves entering the menu on the LCD of the servo unit. It’s a straight forward process and once completed my lens worked fine again. One complaint I do have with the lens is that when the servo is removed the iris ring is un-dampened. What I mean by this, is that the Iris ring has almost no resistance in its movement, making it very easy to accidentally bump when operating the camera. With the servo attached, this isn’t an issue with the servo mechanics providing some level of damping to the iris ring.
Shooting with the lens is a real pleasure. The ergonomics and layout are really well designed. The iris, zoom and focus rings are located closely together and fall easily under your thumb, index, middle and ring fingers. This makes adjustments to exposure, framing and focus really quick and means your hand isn’t constantly moving up and down the lens barrel to make adjustments and potentially introducing unwanted camera shake. It might sound a strange thing to make a point of, but I’ve shot regularly with the Zeiss LWZ.2 zoom and compact zooms (CZ.2) as well as the Angenieux Optimo DP series and found the spacing of the iris, zoom and focus rings not as instinctual. In run and gun, off the shoulder situations this sometimes resulted in me accidentally adjusting framing when I meant to be adjusting focus.
Like I said at the start of this post I’m not going to go into technicals about the image quality, I’ll leave that to others far more qualified than me. I will give you my thoughts on the image though. First off it’s sharp, very sharp. To my eye it’s much sharper than my L series zooms. I can’t see any degradation in the image quality at any apertures or focal lengths. I’m sure some pixel peepers will point out where I’m wrong here with resolution charts and 100% image crops to back them up. That’s fine, I’m sure they’re right. I’m just talking about how it looks to my eye. I find it has the same creamy almost ‘romantic’ look in saturation and contrast that you find across the range of Canon lenses. I’ve had no problems matching it to my other Canon glass. The lens has some lovely flare properties. I wouldn’t say it flares easily or excessively like some older lenses, but when it does it’s a pleasing result. There is some focus breathing present, but it is minimal and I find it well with in the realm of acceptability.
So in summary do I like the Canon CN7x17 and is it worth the money…. yes. Of course I’m going to say that, I’ve laid down a lot of my hard earned cash for it. But honestly, this lens is a dream and is something I’ve been waiting for since I was swept up by the DSLR revolution all these years back. As a documentary shooter having one lens that covers a focal range of 17-120 makes it perfect for the majority of work I do. No more being caught out on the wrong lens or worse still being caught out whilst changing lenses. You could almost shoot with just this lens. In fact that’s what I recently did on a documentary shoot for Al Jazeera. The style of the film was very ob-doc with most of it shot on the run. The crew was very small, just me and a producer. The ‘A’ camera was my F55 and by using the 2k centre crop feature of the camera I had 17-240mm covered in just the one lens. No messing about changing lenses, no carrying bags with extra glass. To be honest at the time the 17-120 was the only PL lens I had. I’ve since added a wider lens (in the form of a rehoused 11-16) and am looking to add a rehoused 70-200 or 80-200 as well. But for this film 17-120 was the perfect range for a predominately hand held doc shoot. In fact 90% of the film was shot with the 17-120 focal length.Very rarely did I make use of the centre crop for a longer focal length. Having said that, is this the perfect all rounder lens? No, no piece of gear is. Because of its size and weight it’s not suitable for shooting in tight places or if you wanted to keep a low profile. I’ll be keeping my Canon DSLR glass for those occasions.
Benjamin Emery is a freelance lighting cameraman and cinematographer based between Singapore and Doha. You can check out more of his work at benjaminemery.com or @benjamin_emery on twitter.
In what is surely a sign that new cinema EOS cameras are on the way, B+H have today announced a massive price drop on the Canon C300. All flavours of the camera have been reduced. You can now get the standard C300 in EF for $6499 and the Dual-Pixel CMOS AF or PL versions of the camera for only $6999.
Perhaps the best deal, however, is on the C300 with a complete Zacuto Recoil system for $7999. The Recoil is my favourite support system for the C300 and I would recommend it to anyone wishing to shoot on-the-shoulder shots with the camera. The Z-finder works incredibly well and transforms the LCD screen into a pretty good EVF.
At the new prices the C300 is now an interesting proposition for users who were otherwise looking at the C100 mkII (currently $5499 on B+H). If you need the higher bitrate internal recording then the price of the C100 mkII plus an external recorder isn’t so different to a C300.
The only sour note for existing C300 owners is that prices for used cameras will be highly depressed as a result. Upgrading to whatever comes next is going to be a little harder if you were looking to trade-in or sell your old C300.
Blackmagic have updated both Davinci Resolve and Davinci Resolve Lite to version 11.3. You can download the updated firmware here.
The biggest new feature is the inclusion of XAVC Intra encoding which is the codec used by cameras such as the Sony F5/55 and FS7. This is however limited to people who own the full version of Resolve. Unfortunately if your using the Lite version this new feature is not available.
What’s new in DaVinci Resolve 11.3:
ARRI Alexa 65 support
Sony XAVC Intra encoding (Full version only)
Panasonic V35 IDT included for ACES workflows
Support for ACES v1.0
Support for Avid Media Composer 8.3.1 DNxHR MXF files
General performance and stability improvements
Minimum system requirements for Mac:
Mac OS X 10.8.5 Mountain Lion
12 GB of system memory is recommended and 8 GB is the minimum supported
Blackmagic Design Desktop Video version 10.1.1 or later
CUDA Driver version 6.5.45
NVIDIA Driver version – As required by your GPU
RED Rocket-X Driver 188.8.131.52 and Firmware 184.108.40.206 or later
RED Rocket Driver 220.127.116.11 and Firmware 18.104.22.168 or later
Minimum system requirements for Windows:
Windows 7 Pro 64 bit with SP1
12 GB of system memory is recommended and 8 GB is the minimum supported
Blackmagic Design Desktop Video version 10.1.1 or later
NVIDIA/AMD Driver version – As required by your GPU
Zacuto have released a firmware update for their Gratical HD EVF. The new version 1.1 offers a range of improvements that includes the ability to export look up tables (LUTs) which can be shared between other Graticals. Audio metering is now enabled across SDI and scopes can now be set to toggle between showing the raw data input from the camera and the input once the LUT is applied. It can be downloaded here.
Importantly for users of the Convergent Design Odyssey 7Q and 7Q+ the Gratical will now correctly detect the SDI signal coming from it. Below is the full list of features new to this firmware version taken from the Zacuto website:
GRATICAL HD FIRMWARE UPDATE 1.1
LUT creation is now implemented. When entering this menu, the values of any active LUT will be
shown. This includes Zacuto preset LUTs, so users will now be able to tweak the LUTs we created
LUT export is now implemented. Exported LUTs will be saved in a .zlut file format. The .zlut format
is only compatible with other Graticals.
Scopes can now toggle between two settings: raw input data from camera or raw input data plus
Gratical applied LUTs
Error message is now displayed when attempting to import a 3D LUT
Exposure Assist (zebras) now appear at the correct setting
Audio Meters are now enabled on the SDI path
Frame lines now scale correctly with anamorphic settings
With anamorphic de-squeeze on and scopes active, the video image now centers toward the scopes
Scopes can be positioned along the top or bottom of the image
Custom LUTs can now be mapped to a function button
Red line peaking and zebras are now usable simultaneously
Stored frames can now be seen without requiring a video input source to be plugged in to the
Menu transparency setting added to the menu settings menu
Joystick controls will now flip when image flip is active
Frame Lines now have current video standard names
RBG setting is removed from the display calibration menu. This setting was not providing any
unique adjustment that is not already possible by adjusting the individual R, G, and B color channels
Gratical will now correctly detect the SDI signal coming from an Odyssey
Frame.io officially launches today and I took the opportunity to speak to its founder Emery Wells. We discuss what was behind the original concept for Frame.IO, how it works, who it is aimed at and how much it will cost to use.
Frame.io is a sharing platform for video that allows you to upload all your source media, work in progress and assets into private workspaces where you can invite your team and clients to collaborate. It aims to replace the tedious tasks of using multiple programs such as Dropbox for file sharing, Vimeo for video review and email clients for communication. Frame.io aims to combine all these processes into one easy to use application. Obviously to work this way requires good internet connectivity.
One thing to be aware of is Frame.io isn’t a distribution platform. It is not designed to replace platforms like YouTube and Vimeo.
This from Frame.io: In July of 2014 we announced Frame.io to the world and with that, a promise of a more connected and collaborative way to create films, videos, and all sorts of multi-media.
But our journey started long before that. Three years ago my co-founder John and I decided the status quo just wasn’t going to cut it anymore so we set out to engineer the future. Along our path we’ve turned down work opportunities, relationships, and several acquisition offers by major tech companies because we’re committed to building a great business that will last.
The prices for using Frame.io are as follows:
· Free: 1 project, up to 2G of storage
· Starter: $15/month up to 3 projects, up to 10G of storage
· Professional: $25/month, unlimited projects, up to 50G of storage
· Team: $50/month, unlimited projects, up to 100G of storage and 5 team members
· Business: $150/month, unlimited projects, up to 400G of storage and 15 team members
Respected cinematographer Geoff Boyle and CML(the Cinematography Mailing List) have set out to evaluate the image quality of popular cine cameras in their annual camera test evaluation. The controlled evaluations were carried out at the University of the West of England in Bristol, UK on the 24th & 25th January 2015.
The idea of the test was to push the cameras to their limits by going from four stops over exposed to four stops under exposed – both in daylight and tungsten lighting. It appears that this inherently gives single chip sensors greater problems than those with three imagers. You can see preliminary frame grabs from the tests here.
The full results and conclusions are yet to be posted but Geoff has given away some early clues about the results. The two traditional cameras that traditionally beat out everything else – the Sony F65 and Arri Alexa are now joined by the Red Dragon and the Panasonic Varicam at the top of the tree.
This from CML: All Cameras were shot under both Tungsten and Daylight. This is not meant as a “shoot out” or a “camera comparison” it’s simply a fact finding mission, we exposed cameras either for 400 ISO or 800 iSO as requested by the manufacturers. Light levels in the daylight setting were adjusted to optimise exposure for 400 or 800 in daylight, in tungsten everything was lit for 800 and that’s why some frames indicate +1 stop as the iris was adjusted to compensate for the difference.
There is also a 5,000 ISO test as this is a major feature of the Varicam PL, we also included the Canon C500 in this test as I knew from previous experience that it was very good at 2,500 ISO. No other camera was included because they didn’t come close.
Exposure was set at T5.6. On the tungsten day we kept this level for all cameras, this meant that the 0-Stop reading on the 400 ISO cameras is actually -1-Stop
On the daylight day we changed levels, doubling the light level for the 400 ISO cameras so that exposures were constant.
The main light source was a Cineo Trucolor XS (remote phosphor LED) through a 8 * 4 trace frame to the left, and 8 * 4 bounce board to the right and either 1 or 2 12″ Trucolor MatchStix as kickers depending on the level we were shooting at.
All PL mount cameras were shot using the same Cook 50mm 5i lens. The B4 mount camera had a 20mm DigiPrime and the C mount camera had an antique 25mm T1.3
Geoff also mentions that the common idea that three sensors will give better colour reproduction than a single sensor camera has been proven to be true without a shadow of a doubt. The colour off a three sensor camera is better than any single sensor camera evaluated.
Geoff will be part of the 4K Workflows seminar at the Post Production World conference at NAB – April 15th from 9:30 AM – 4:45 PM. There he will share his latest camera comparisons. We will also be talking to Geoff about his findings on our Teradek live show at NAB.
The cameras tested were:
BlackMagic Pocket Cinema AJA Cion
RED Dragon (Low Light & Skin Tone)
Panasonic Varicam (PL)
Panasonic Varicam(High Speed Version)
Everybody wants to know ‘What’s in your kit bag?’ It has to be one of the most common questions asked of every filmmaker, DP or audio engineer. Australian microphone maker Rode’s continuing series asks this very question and in the latest episode they talk to our friend Jason Wingrove, a Sydney based director shooting TVC, documentary & high end corporate projects world wide.