The Home of Professional Cinematographers since 1996

CML- CMIR Camera Evaluation 2015

Lighting & Lens details...results in detail follow the credits :-)


Exposed at T5.6

The flowers are 11.8 not 11 as indicated.

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 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 Cooke 50mm 5i lens
The B4 mount camera had a 20mm DigiPrime and the C mount cmaera had an antique 25mm T1.3

JPG's and DPX's were exported from Resolve by Josh our DIT during the shoot, I then made the RAW files in the manufacturers own software.

A lot of people helped make this happen, these are some of them...

 

 

Well I'm expecting some serious backlash from these figures but all cameras
have been treated exactly the same way.

All cameras were set to the manufacturers recommended EI.
Readings were taken with a Minolta 6, a Pentax Digital Spot and a Sekonic
(I don't know the exact model but a very recent one)

Lighting was with Trucolor XH (2 * HS) with 3200 and 5600 panels, backlight
was from matching Matchstix.

The levels for the Dragon Skin Tungsten tests should all be read bearing in
mind a one stop offset, so plus one is really zero and plus four is really
plus three. This was due to a problem getting enough level for 400 EI
Tungsten. The daylight tests are what they say.

CT readings were taken with a Minolta CT3 and a Sekonic, the Minolta gave
3200 and no M/G shift and 5600 again with no M/G shift, the Sekonic agreed
with 3200 but read 5900 for the 5600 light.

The scene brightness range is 7 stops so taking that 7 and adding the plus
and minus values will give us the usable filming range. This is very
different to the values produced by a Xyla chart which as far as I’m
concerned is only good for manufacturers PR blurbs and has no use in real
filming situations.

White clip levels were easy to find as were the "unity" levels i.e. The
levels where no gain alteration was required, this gives us the "real" EI
of the camera.

Shadows were a different matter, with most it was possible to discern the
small chip within the black on the chart down to levels that gave so much
noise they were unusable.

I therefore established a point that showed clearly using the vector-scope
in magnify mode and when a camera reached that noise point that was the
level I have published. The pictures may well be usable below this point
but there has to be some kind of even playing field. In fact what happens
after this point varies hugely from camera to camera and this is totally
down to personal preference.

The Varicam had serious issues with shadows blocking up and just for the
hell of it I tried using the Sony Slog3 IDT at levels below the point that
the Varicam IDT had failed. This gave very surprising results.

I have listed the cameras in order of cost and this is how the video that
will go online tomorrow will run¦

The Sony F65 is Tungsten only because my DIT managed to destroy the
Daylight rushes, he was distracted playing with the pictures from all the
cameras, maybe this is a clear argument for an unthinking data monkey who
just copies and checks that it has copied¦

F65 Tungsten

+3.5 Red is not clipping at +4 but Blue and Green are.
Unity + 0.5 this would indicate an EI of 500 to 640
-1 noise base
DR is therefore 11.5

Alexa Tungsten

+4 although there is no clipping compression does come in from +3
Unity 0 so an EI of 800
-3 noise base
DR is therefore 14

Alexa Daylight

+4 with the same highlight compression as tungsten
Unity 1 so EI of 1600, I have double checked this as I always use 400
which gives best SNR
-4
DR is therefore 15

Varicam PL Tungsten

+3.5 actually a little above this but not +4 say +3.66
Unity 0
-2 Noise base
DR is 12.5

Varicam PL Daylight

+3.5 with the same comment as tungsten
Unity 0.5 so EO of 1000 to 1200
-2 noise base with Varicam IDT
-3.5 noise base with Slog3 IDT
DR is 12.5 with Panasonic IDT or 14 with Sony!!

Dragon LLD Tungsten

+4 noting a curve change above +3
Unity +1 so an EO of 400
0 noise base, very noisy as measured but visually less so
DR measured at 11

Dragon LLD Daylight

+3.5
Unity +.5 so EI 500 to 640
-2
DR therefore 12.5

Dragon Skin Tungsten.

+3
Unity +1.3 so an EI of 160
0
DR therefore 10

Dragon Skin Daylight

+3
Unity +.5 so EI of 250 to 320
-2.5
DR is therefore 12.5

Canon C500 Tungsten

+2
Unity 0 so EI 800
-2
DR is therefore 11

Canon C500 Daylight

+2
Unity –0.5 so EI of 1000 to 1200 this matches my shooting experience of 1200
-3 maybe 3.5 it's very close
DR therefore 12

OK let the flames begin.