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The Great Shootout is Here!

composite1's picture
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As promised, today Tony Wiess and the Zacuto Team released part I of "The Great Shootout" where the top performing DSLR cameras go head to head in comparison against motion picture film. In this first episode, film latitude (the ability for film to be over or underexposed and still get an acceptable image) is examined. Though DSLR's use a video sensor instead of film, the sensitivity to highlight and shadow detail can still be measured in the same manner. Watch as the DSLR's perform against film in this series of tests and hear top flight pro's from George Lucas' Skywalker Ranch, the American Film Institute (AFI) and others from the motion picture industry give their comments. I think you'll be surprised!

http://www.zacuto.com/shootout


CraftersOfLight's picture
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Wonderful episode. I am fan of Panasonic and was disappointed in its models performance in this first part. But then that is what this series is supposed to bring out of these cameras.

When is the next part of the series due out for viewing?

Life is not a guided tour nor a destination.
It is a journey. Take the time to enjoy your family, friends and surroundings.
Build memories. Share experiences. Travel at sight speed not light speed. (C)


composite1's picture
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Crafters,

Wow, I'm surprised anyone took a look at this. Seems like the 'what camera should I buy?' crowd would be interested not to mention those of us looking to 'level up' our overall production values.

Don't be too disappointed with your cam's performance. One thing the first ep showed and was mentioned that all the cameras are good. Some however are better in certain areas and others get unique looks in certain conditions. That's pretty much what filmstock does. If you noticed, film was also better in some areas but couldn't hang with the Canon's or the Nikon in low light. Though it's still early in the shootout, it is plain that no camera will be the 'do-all' rig. It will come down to overall capabilities and how the image holds up on the big screen.

The next ep should be up on April 7th. Apparently one of the topics they'll be focusing on is low-light shooting. I'm looking forward to seeing that. I'll put it up asap as long as Derek doesn't 'snag' it first! Don't think I didn't notice you putting up that blog input about the shootout right after I posted it Derek! Funny.

H.Wolfgang Porter, Composite Media Producer Dreaded Enterprises Unlimited, Inc. www.dreadedenterprises.com


CraftersOfLight's picture
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I keep going back to this one to watch/look at what they are looking for. Doing this to better understand some of the common video quality issues with actual comparison examples is great training IMO.

As far as camera performance, I do not own that particular camera they are demonstrating but I do like the Panasonic cameras. My disappointment in this demonstrated model was with artifacts like the halo rings around the light in the reading scene, almost like the color/shading resolution was too coarse for the image. within my limited experience this appears it would occur in many other areas as well to varying degrees.

It would be nice if they went into a little more detail as to why such artifacts occur. But then again that is not exactly what the series is about.

Life is not a guided tour nor a destination.
It is a journey. Take the time to enjoy your family, friends and surroundings.
Build memories. Share experiences. Travel at sight speed not light speed. (C)


composite1's picture
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Crafters,

Really, it's all about the CMOS chip engineering and what the overall design goals of the sensor was. It all comes down to chip and pixel sizes. Not to mention how the light data is interpreted and reprocessed. Truthfully, I think Canon and Nikon just got lucky in their initial design because neither company had any idea these rigs would get snatched up for the film & television production industry. They made these rigs for photogs and wanted the imagery to hold up at high-res blow-ups either through projection or print. Panasonic it looks like didn't come in from that angle and had more of a 'video' minded design and for straight video, their imagery looks damn good!

Don't sweat it, your 'horse may place or show' better in the next round!

H.Wolfgang Porter, Composite Media Producer Dreaded Enterprises Unlimited, Inc. www.dreadedenterprises.com


XTR-91's picture
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From what I've heard as being first introduced by Canon, DSLRs have made it a long way into the world of focal videography. They have, very effectively, set the new standards for what you'd expect of video out of a still picture camera. If I was moving into professional videography spending just over a grand on a cam for primary video, I'd give the DSLRs some good thought, and then realize how lacking they are in terms of manual/video controls. In my opinion, they're great if you're prime photographer looking to move into some aspect of video production, and they also produce great images (and video). But in the position of a videographer I'd still rather shoot natively, unless a broad range of focal options is very necessary. Still learning how to accomplish the "great shootout" with what I own.


composite1's picture
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"I'd give the DSLRs some good thought, and then realize how lacking they
are in terms of manual/video controls."

XTR,

Actually that's not exactly true these days. Canon has officially put in a number of manual controls in their firmware updates and there are several third-party firmware hacks that give controls over picture quality and audio levels.

As I mentioned in the earlier post, DSLR video was an afterthought intended for photogs to do their podcasts with and shoot their photos with the same rig. Since the MkII, each Canon model has gained more and more manual controls for video as the photo engineering department has had their 'duh' moment as filmmakers and videographers are giving their input on what the rigs need for video.

The main thing to keep in mind, a DSLR is not a video camera. It's a still camera that shoots video... damn good video! But now that they've gained popularity with filmmakers, the game is changing and set ups like the 'Shootout' are giving us a front row seat.

H.Wolfgang Porter, Composite Media Producer Dreaded Enterprises Unlimited, Inc. www.dreadedenterprises.com


composite1's picture
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Well kids, here's ep 2 of the 'Great Shootout'. Last time we saw camera latitude tests and the Canon/Nikon lines were the clear winners. Now the tests will show how these DSLR's handle low light against film and I do believe you'll be quite amazed!

http://www.zacuto.com/shootout

H.Wolfgang Porter, Composite Media Producer Dreaded Enterprises Unlimited, Inc. www.dreadedenterprises.com


NeilRussell's picture
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I couldn't get over how the Nikon handled the bic lighter test. I've read some squawks about noise in the black on some other forums, but it seems like nothing that couldn't be balanced out in editing.

DSLRs may be specialty tools for independent film makers, but for those must-have shots they are certainly worth considering.

With an increased demand I can't see how the camera makers can not continue developing the technology until the line between DSLR and camcorder starts to blur

If government is the answer, the question must have been WTF?


composite1's picture
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"DSLRs may be specialty tools for independent film makers, but for those
must-have shots they are certainly worth considering."

Neil,

I'm not so sure DSLR's can be considered 'Specialty Tools' anymore. Last year alone has been proving that these are viable filmmaking tools. If you watched the first ep dealing with lattitude, the DSLR's gave film a serious run for the money. If I remember correct that the Canon's and the Nikon were able to expose out to 11 stops! If you want a video cam to do that you'd better break out the trust fund! Right now in my opinion, except for basic camera controls the DSLR's have a serious leg up on traditional video cameras. It's too bad it took photographers to bring this tech to life.

The thing I like about the tests is that no camera is the 'do all' rig. Though I heavily favor the Canon line overall, the Nikon in low light is absolutely king! One thing I see no one's mentioned is that the Panasonic held it's color well in the low light tests though it couldn't hang with the others at the extreme ends. The different cam's really reminded me of my film days in that each one looked like a different 'filmstock'. Now if Canon pulls their head out and puts a solid Noise reduction on their rigs, Nikon would be totally knocked out of the running.

All I have to say is RED SCARLET had better have eatin' it's Wheaties or they're going to get eaten by the DSLR's!

H.Wolfgang Porter, Composite Media Producer Dreaded Enterprises Unlimited, Inc. www.dreadedenterprises.com


NeilRussell's picture
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I guess I was making that statement with too broad a context. I think it's going to be a while before a lot of indies (those that do their own shooting and DP work) jump into a DSLR with both feet.

Meaning me.

For someone with no experience with SLR still cameras (me again), learning all the ins and outs of even a basic DSLR like the T2i is going to be daunting. I'm all for giving it a try because I'm really jazzed about the images it can make. I'm seeing it as a companion to my existing HD camera.

I've been watching Scarlet with keen interest since it was first announced. Remember those pioneering days of "3K for $3K"? I'm still in even though a fixed lens appointed the way I want; side handle and pro audio module, is still going to be a bargain at $7K

If government is the answer, the question must have been WTF?


composite1's picture
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"Learning all the ins and outs of even a basic DSLR like the T2i is going
to be daunting."

Neil,

The main diff between a dedicated video cam and a DSLR in my eyes comes down to the means of acquisition. That meaning that a video rig has camera controls specific to video recording. DSLR's are like film cameras in their controls (particularly in manual mode.) Having been a photog for years as well as a vidiot, the transition to DSLR wouldn't be that tough. In fact, whether video or still I always shoot with manual settings.

With a DSLR, you'll need to learn basic exposure theory and have to spend a bit more time thinking about how you acquire your images. The old 'oh all you need is a camera' type of thinking novices have when it comes to shooting will cause you tons of grief in the field and in the edit bay. Cool thing is, you've got the gear now which puts you ahead of the game. Now, you need to pick up some books on basic photography and videography for now the lines between the two are blurring.

H.Wolfgang Porter, Composite Media Producer Dreaded Enterprises Unlimited, Inc. www.dreadedenterprises.com



composite1's picture
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Took a while, but they've finally released ep 2 so here it is. This ep deals with the DSLR's and their light sensitivity. I think you'll be blown away at what you'll see!

Zacuto Great Camera Shootout 2010 Webisode 2: How Sensitive Can You Get? from Zacuto USA on Vimeo.

Eventually, ep 3 will come out as it is way overdue. Keep you posted.

H.Wolfgang Porter, Composite Media Producer Dreaded Enterprises Unlimited, Inc. www.dreadedenterprises.com