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View Full Version : Canon 7D, meet the Billups VFX and ToNi charts (dynamic range)



Barry_Green
10-13-2009, 12:30 PM
Today's testing was to see what the 7D can deliver as far as total dynamic range. To do so, I used my brand-spanking-new DSC Labs Billups VF/X 28 chart, and also my DSC Labs ToNi chart, in combination.

Billups VF/X chart:
http://dsclabs-us.intelex.ca/UserFiles/product/BillupsVFX.jpg


ToNi chart:
http://www.dsclabs.com/images/Toni%20050511%20E2W%203ins.jpg


Now, you'll see that both charts offer grayscales, so -- why use two? Mainly because I really wanted to design a scene that has extreme differences between light and dark. Massive, huge differences. So, I put the Billups chart over the ToNi, and lit the scene with some low-wattage fluorescents, and then I aimed two HMI lights at the Billups (and flagged the light off the ToNi). That way I had about 725 watts of HMI blasting the Billups, and 130 watts of fluorescent barely lighting up the ToNi. The ToNi has a cavity black on the left side, that's actually a hole in the chart with a cave made from black velvet (or something) so it's a complete "black hole" of light, giving us a perfect absolute-black reference.

I then adjusted the lights, spotting in or flooding out, and testing with my spotmeter, until I got the range I was looking for. In this test scene we have readings ranging from f/0.7 all the way up to f/38 (at ISO 200). That's a total range covering 11 and a half stops. That should be more than enough to exceed the range of the 7D, thus we should be able to determine the 7D's actual ability to render from dark to light using this setup.

(and yes, after going through this process, I also immediately ordered a Stouffer 41-step wedge to make this so much easier next time!)

But, anyway, back to the 7D... I configured the 7D as Stu Maschwitz recommends on his ProLost blog for flattening the 5D (http://prolost.com/blog/2009/8/3/flatten-your-5d.html). Contrast -2, highlight tone priority on, and Neutral style. I put the camera on 1080/24p mode, used the stock lens, ISO 200.

I then shot the charts at multiple shutter speeds, which caused the predictable but annoying artifact of rolling-shutter bands scrolling throughout the footage on any shutter speed higher than 1/60th. Grrr. But, I worked around it, selecting frames where the bands weren't visible on the chips of the charts. I chose multiple exposures to see how far in the shadows we could see before crushing, and then by stopping down, how far into the highlights before clipping, and taking multiple shots into account, trying to figure out the actual f-stop differential between being able to render detail, and losing detail completely. The goal here was absolutely to push the highlights into blowing out, and the darks into crushing; if we can see blown-out highlights and crushed darks, then we know that what remains in between them is the usable dynamic range.

So this chart is not going to look as "pretty" as the marketing chart at the top of the post -- it's not supposed to. We want to see some blown-out parts, that tells us we've hit the max. We want to see some crushed parts, that tells us we've hit the minimum.

And note, this is not about "usable" dynamic range, this is about absolute maximum, top-to-bottom, the same as would have been found using a Stouffer. For comparison, the Red One was found to deliver 11.3 stops of total dynamic range from top to bottom; an EX1 does about 10.5 stops, an HPX300 does about 10 stops.

So how did the 7D do?

http://dvxuser.com/barry/7D-HTP-bright.jpg
On this chart, it has blown out highlights on the top left of the Billups, and what appears to be crushed shadow detail on the darks in the ToNi. From visual observation, I'd say that it looks like we're seeing detail in all the light chips of the ToNi, crushed at the first dark chip; I put an "X" on the darkest chip I think is individually discernible. That means we're rendering down to the f/2.0 level. And we can discern detail in the whitest chips of the Billups VF/X over to just barely the 4th-brightest (with the "X"), which puts the f-stop reading at about f/22.5. That gives us a total visible range of about 7.5 stops.

But wait -- there's more! What happens if we use Premiere's Shadow/Highlight effect to crank up the shadows and drop down the highlights -- is there more detail there than meets the eye? There sure is! Check this out:

http://dvxuser.com/barry/7D-HTP-bright-w-shadow-highlight-effect.jpg

There's definitely a lot more shadow detail there than met the eye initially, and this is detail that can be yanked back in post. Looks like there's nothing in the highlights to be recovered (which, frankly, is to be expected; I was using Highlight Tone Priority and should have already been extracting the most from the highlights). But in the shadows, we can dig in quite a ways, all the way to the f/1.2 mark. That gives us another 1.5 stops of dynamic range, making the total range the camera can image, about 9 stops.

Is that 9 "usable" stops? That's up to you to decide; those deeper stops come at the expense of quite a bit of noise. But they're there.

On a Stouffer, the Red One resolves about 11.3 stops, but most users seem to put the "usable" range at about 9. On the 7D, I'd say it resolves 9 stops, with a "usable" range of about 7.5, maybe 8. Not too shabby, seeing as the 7D costs 1/10th the price.

How does it compare against a comparably-priced video camera? I ran the same test with the HMC40, and found the HMC40 (with DRS on (http://dvxuser.com/barry/HMC40-bright-DRS-On.jpg), equiv. to HTP, in CINE-D) to deliver a range from about f/32 on down to f/1.7, or a total range of about 9.5 stops, and when digging into the shadows with Premiere's Shadow/Highlight feature enabled (http://dvxuser.com/barry/HMC40-bright-DRS-On-Shadow-Highlight.jpg), you could technically discern all the way down to the f/1 block but that's really pushing it. It also brought out some cleaner separation of the top steps, adding maybe 1/2 stop at the top and bottom, bringing the total potential dynamic range to 10.5 stops. However, the shadows are so noisy and grainy that I wouldn't say it's got 10.5 "usable" stops. In terms of visibly usable stops, with DRS off (http://dvxuser.com/barry/HMC40-bright-DRS-Off.jpg), I'd call it 8.5 without DRS, 9.5 with DRS.

f64manray
10-13-2009, 12:38 PM
Is that 9 "usable" stops? That's up to you to decide; those deeper stops come at the expense of quite a bit of noise. But they're there.



Is the auto lighting optimizer feature disabled on the 7D. That can introduce noise.

Barry_Green
10-13-2009, 12:50 PM
Is the auto lighting optimizer feature disabled on the 7D. That can introduce noise.
It was on, set to "standard". Not even sure whether it affects movie recording, does it?

Sttratos
10-13-2009, 12:53 PM
So you actually think using highlight tone priority is good?
While the consensus on Auto Lighting Optimizer seems to be to disable it, Highlight Tone Priority is still up for debate with fans in both camps. Interesting that you think it is a good thing.
About the EX1, I have always read it is supposed to have 10.5 to 11 stops but in reality I don't think you can really use all that. If the 7D has about 8 usable stops this is not bad at all as you said.
The 7D is certainly a great little camera and I have been using mine along with my EX1 a lot lately. It can't replace the EX1 but it surely makes "prettier" pictures.
Thanks for the test.

Sttratos
10-13-2009, 12:54 PM
It was on, set to "standard". Not even sure whether it affects movie recording, does it?

Yes it does. The consensus is to leave it off. It adds noise.

f64manray
10-13-2009, 12:55 PM
It was on, set to "standard". Not even sure whether it affects movie recording, does it?

i've read in another thread it should be called the auto optimising ruiner. They did not have a good experience with it. Once they disabled it, no more noise in shadows. Might be interesting to see if disabling it also affects the trumpet chart results.

Kholi
10-13-2009, 12:56 PM
Highlight Tone Priority is bad for anything else outside of highlights if you're concerned about noise. This would be a good chance to test this out with charts but I'm pretty certain.

David G. Smith
10-13-2009, 12:57 PM
Thanks Barry. Your test above has to be one of the most helpful so far. Much more "Real World" usable than the resolution charts, in my opinion.

I learned how to expose images by starting out shooting a lot of reversal film stock, and then got into negative film stock. As a rule of thumb with shooting reversal, under available light situations, I found that if I exposed for the highlights, then let the shadows fall off as they will, I got a more pleasing image, to my tastes. I also found that the opposite, exposing for the shadows and letting the highlights go, worked well for exposing color negative stock.

Video/digital has always seemed to me more like reversal stock, where, when push comes to shove, I expose for the highlights. It looks like this won’t change anytime in the near future. Of course the lesson should be, expose for the highlights, and bring fill light!

Kholi
10-13-2009, 01:20 PM
Also... ISO 200 = Noisier or exhibits more artifacts than 320, especially 160.

Barry_Green
10-13-2009, 01:29 PM
I learned how to expose images by starting out shooting a lot of reversal film stock, and then got into negative film stock. As a rule of thumb with shooting reversal, under available light situations, I found that if I exposed for the highlights, then let the shadows fall off as they will, I got a more pleasing image, to my tastes. I also found that the opposite, exposing for the shadows and letting the highlights go, worked well for exposing color negative stock.

Video/digital has always seemed to me more like reversal stock, where, when push comes to shove, I expose for the highlights. It looks like this won’t change anytime in the near future. Of course the lesson should be, expose for the highlights, and bring fill light!

That's exactly how I've been approaching video. Treat it as reversal stock, expose for the highlights, let the rest fall where it may.

I normally would disable functions such as DRS and HTP, but as Stu specifically said to do it, I figured I shouldn't argue and put it on. It can add a little noise, it gains up the lower tones without gaining up the higher, but as to whether it's overall a "good thing" or a "bad thing", I'm sure you'll find proponents on both sides.

Having it turned completely off would give a more representative view of what the sensor by itself delivers, but -- the DRS adds a lot to the HMC40, so I figured we should see what the 7D can do with its version.

rich_r
10-13-2009, 01:37 PM
Barry, would you consider posting this information with an HMC40 slant in the HMC150 sub-forum. I suspect many users there would be very interested in this information.

Barry_Green
10-13-2009, 02:38 PM
Well, a different thread for the 40, yes, that would make sense... I only put the 40 in here to give a basis for comparison at the $2,000 price point, but yes this test was focused on the 7D; I can certainly start up a new thread for the 40 over there...

Sumfun
10-13-2009, 02:56 PM
Thanks for doing the tests for us, Barry. These tests represent a more objective way of looking at the camera's output (vs. looking at test footage). I think we really need both to judge the strengths and weaknesses of each camera.

You're spending a lot on test charts, so I'm hoping we'll see more of these in the future.

Barry_Green
10-13-2009, 05:09 PM
The next test should be verrrrrrrrry interesting. I'm actually running it twice, because I was so gobsmacked by the results the first time, I'm assuming I *must* have done something wrong...

Ian-T
10-13-2009, 05:13 PM
LOL Is "gobsmacked" a good or a bad thing???

David G. Smith
10-13-2009, 05:30 PM
So, for the "Barry Green 7D Book" can we expect dynamic range manipulation, with test chart verification, in the body of the book or as an appendix? And.... where can I pre-order?!!!

Kholi
10-13-2009, 05:43 PM
Does it involve Native ISOs (160, 320, 640) and Highlight Tone Priority along with Otpimized Lighting off?

Did you do the High ISO highlight detail retention test by chance? Cause that would be sweet. I still have this insane theory that 640 retains more highlight detail than 320 and 160.

Barry_Green
10-13-2009, 08:33 PM
LOL Is "gobsmacked" a good or a bad thing???
Well, I guess it all depends on what you're hoping for. I'll say that i was surprised enough that I'm re-running the test to make absolutely sure I didn't mess it up somehow. The differences were that substantial from what I was expecting...

It might rain in the morning, if so, I won't be able to run the test until the sun comes out again...

ydgmdlu
10-13-2009, 08:35 PM
No clues on what sort of test you were doing?

Barry_Green
10-13-2009, 08:37 PM
Does it involve Native ISOs (160, 320, 640) and Highlight Tone Priority along with Otpimized Lighting off?
It'll involve native ISO, HTP off, and Optimized Lighting off, yes...


Did you do the High ISO highlight detail retention test by chance? Cause that would be sweet. I still have this insane theory that 640 retains more highlight detail than 320 and 160.
No, that's on the list of things to get to, but that's not what's fascinating me at the moment... I'll get to it though.

Barry_Green
10-13-2009, 08:40 PM
No clues on what sort of test you were doing?
Clues? Where's the fun in that?

Well... a side-by-side camera test, wherein one camera gets its *** handed to it by another, and another test that shows how a particular new camera release is capable of absolutely astonishing quality...

ydgmdlu
10-13-2009, 08:41 PM
So, again, when can we expect to see the results? :)

You're gonna kill us with anticipation!

Barry_Green
10-13-2009, 08:47 PM
Depends on the weather... if it complies, then sometime tomorrow. Otherwise, I have to wait for a nice sunny day...

ydgmdlu
10-13-2009, 08:55 PM
Looks like there will be rain all day tomorrow where you are, and probably until the weekend. D'oh!

ydgmdlu
10-13-2009, 08:56 PM
Well... a side-by-side camera test, wherein one camera gets its *** handed to it by another, and another test that shows how a particular new camera release is capable of absolutely astonishing quality...
OK, last question, I promise: Will it significantly change the way that we think about (and perhaps how we work with) this camera?

Terry_Lasater
10-13-2009, 09:23 PM
This is the first I've heard of "native ISOs". Will someone clue me in? Thanks.

ydgmdlu
10-13-2009, 10:00 PM
An image sensor is designed for a certain level of sensitivity. This is the "native ISO." To get all other ISO values, including higher AND lower ones, gains and offsets are used, which add noise. Certain values require more complicated adjustments and thus result in more noise.

On the 5D and 7D, the "native ISO" is speculated to be 320, based on noise tests. 160, 640, 1250, and 2500 offer the least noise, compared to 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, and 3200.

Kholi
10-13-2009, 10:13 PM
This is the first I've heard of "native ISOs". Will someone clue me in? Thanks.

http://www.dvxuser.com/V6/showthread.php?t=185471 -- This thread honestly deserves a sticky as it needs to be covered and understood by everyone.

Not only that, my running theory also considers that higher and cleaner ISO's retain more highlight detail than lower ISOs. However, I don't have the technical know how to pull it off.

It'll be interesting to see what Barry has discovered about these three things in conjunction (native ISO, HTP, Light Optimizer) in conjunction and contrast/comparison to the GH-1 and HMC-40.

My initial guess-- since Barry won't tell us anything, that's all we can do for now-- is that the 7D @ ISO 320 with the other options disabled permits the 7D to capture an atonishing view of another dimension located within the crevices of cardboard boxes found behind Wal-Mart Superstore dumpsters.

SonicStates
10-13-2009, 10:34 PM
My initial guess-- since Barry won't tell us anything, that's all we can do for now-- is that the 7D @ ISO 320 with the other options disabled permits the 7D to capture an atonishing view of another dimension located within the crevices of cardboard boxes found behind Wal-Mart Superstore dumpsters.

An admirable theory.
Currently, however, I am more interested in seeing more information regarding the "one camera is going to get its *** handed to it", comment from Barry...I cringe in anticipation clutching my GH-1 in one hand and my heavily stressed credit card in the other...

ydgmdlu
10-13-2009, 10:37 PM
An admirable theory.
Currently, however, I am more interested in seeing more information regarding the "one camera is going to get its *** handed to it", comment from Barry...I cringe in anticipation clutching my GH-1 in one hand and my heavily stressed credit card in the other...
I don't think that the GH1 has anything to do with it. I don't think that Barry has his GH1 back in his hands yet. And I think that in the part that you quoted, the 7D was the camera that got "its *** handed to it." BUT, the "test that shows how a particular new camera release is capable of absolutely astonishing quality," that sounds more like the 7D.

Just my hunch, anyway.

marco0782
10-13-2009, 10:53 PM
Did you set the contrast all the way down on the 7D?


Marco

SonicStates
10-13-2009, 10:53 PM
:thumbsup:
I'm looking forward to seeing the astonishing footage in any case.

Kholi
10-13-2009, 10:58 PM
I don't think that the GH1 has anything to do with it. I don't think that Barry has his GH1 back in his hands yet. And I think that in the part that you quoted, the 7D was the camera that got "its *** handed to it." BUT, the "test that shows how a particular new camera release is capable of absolutely astonishing quality," that sounds more like the 7D.

Just my hunch, anyway.

Or HMC-40 =)

KeeganFlynn
10-13-2009, 11:33 PM
Well, I won't be surprised when it's the little HMC40 handing the 7D its ass in this new test if we're gonna go by the latest stuff Barry has done.

Stephen Mick
10-13-2009, 11:34 PM
First of all, like many of you, I thank Barry (and others like him) who put these tests together so we don't have to. :D

But with all the discussion going on, I had a thought… (Take it for what it's worth, if anything.)

It's great to have data and tests, and they certainly satisfy an important need, but are there really a large group of people trying to decide between the 7D (or GH1) and the HMC-40? I mean, beyond the fact that they both shoot stills and they both shoot video, aren't they two fairly different products?

- One's a large sensor camera, the other is not.
- One has well-designed and implemented audio capture, the other does not.
- One offers shallow DOF and greater control over it, the other less so.
- One offers strong low-light performance, the other not so much.
- One has interchangeable lenses, the other has a fixed lens.

Do the 7D and the HMC-40 live in the same price range? Sure, and one might say that's reason enough to compare them. But again, I haven't come across any threads where people are trying to choose between the two. I'm not saying those people aren't out there, they may be, I just haven't heard them yelling.

Now, I'm not saying that tests aren't intriguing to a degree, they are, and they're often very useful to the community at large. And I certainly appreciate the effort and level of detail that Barry puts into them. But the HMC-40 and 7D aren't really in the same consideration set, in my mind. When Barry gets his GH1 back…well those are tests that are certainly going to be more consistent with my needs.

Other people's mileage may vary, of course.

mhood
10-14-2009, 04:17 AM
I have to wait for a nice sunny day...

That sounds like the HMC40 to me.

philiplipetz
10-14-2009, 05:01 AM
Stephenmick asked if anyone is trying to decide between a 7d, GH1 and a HMC40. I am. Returned a 7d (mistake?, possibly but no artidulating screen and 12 minutes AGHHH!), have lots of FD lenses for a GH1, love the ONBOARD XLR sound and waveform on the HMC40. I need it for a talking heads interview film, with lights when possible but also some indoor working in their environment shots. Real trade offs. So following Barry's work avidly and it will help me pull the trigger on a purchase that I will have to live with for several years. Thank you Barry, seriously you are God sent.

Also have to consider the reaction of interviewees when I show up with different equipment. Have any of you guys used DSLRs for interviews and gotten feedback from your subjects?

Ian-T
10-14-2009, 05:03 AM
I bet it's the GH-1. Honestly, if it were not for the codec and mudd issues I think it could be capable of more (in terms of its image). 1080p looks pretty sharp.

Stephen Mick
10-14-2009, 06:25 AM
Stephenmick asked if anyone is trying to decide between a 7d, GH1 and a HMC40. I am.

Also have to consider the reaction of interviewees when I show up with different equipment. Have any of you guys used DSLRs for interviews and gotten feedback from your subjects?

Good to know that there are some having to make the choice between those cameras. The HMC-40, as great a little camera as it is, just seems an odd duck compared to the 7D and GH1.

And as for your question…

I recently shot an interview with two 7Ds. We did get a bit of, "wow, you're shooting with a stills camera?" But once I turned the camera around and played back the clip, the response was just, "wow."

And on the same shoot, we walk in the door to scout the location, and the first thing we hear (from the manager of the interviewee) is, "cool, you guys are shooting with the 7D? I've been thinking of getting one."

mhood
10-14-2009, 07:01 AM
I have found that the vDSLR is less intimidating than a conventional camcorder for non-professional interviewees. They seem to lose the typical camera fright around a "still" camera. Also, I don't embellish with gobs of dressing (i.e., matbox, rails, FF, etc.)...just the camera on a tripod.

philiplipetz
10-14-2009, 07:03 AM
All roughly same price point, but different compromises. None ideal. So it really is a test of what is most important, IQ, usability, overheating, sound, low light, form factor, interchangeable lenses, resolving power or recording format. At this price point you must give up something and the cost/benefit ratios are not well known.

Great to hear that you had no problem with interviewees when using the 7d. That was a big worry.



Good to know that there are some having to make the choice between those cameras. The HMC-40, as great a little camera as it is, just seems an odd duck compared to the 7D and GH1.

And as for your question…

I recently shot an interview with two 7Ds. We did get a bit of, "wow, you're shooting with a stills camera?" But once I turned the camera around and played back the clip, the response was just, "wow."

And on the same shoot, we walk in the door to scout the location, and the first thing we hear (from the manager of the interviewee) is, "cool, you guys are shooting with the 7D? I've been thinking of getting one."

Terry_Lasater
10-14-2009, 07:04 AM
Thanks, fellas!


An image sensor is designed for a certain level of sensitivity. This is the "native ISO." To get all other ISO values, including higher AND lower ones, gains and offsets are used, which add noise. Certain values require more complicated adjustments and thus result in more noise.

On the 5D and 7D, the "native ISO" is speculated to be 320, based on noise tests. 160, 640, 1250, and 2500 offer the least noise, compared to 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, and 3200.


http://www.dvxuser.com/V6/showthread.php?t=185471 -- This thread honestly deserves a sticky as it needs to be covered and understood by everyone.

Not only that, my running theory also considers that higher and cleaner ISO's retain more highlight detail than lower ISOs. However, I don't have the technical know how to pull it off.

It'll be interesting to see what Barry has discovered about these three things in conjunction (native ISO, HTP, Light Optimizer) in conjunction and contrast/comparison to the GH-1 and HMC-40.

My initial guess-- since Barry won't tell us anything, that's all we can do for now-- is that the 7D @ ISO 320 with the other options disabled permits the 7D to capture an atonishing view of another dimension located within the crevices of cardboard boxes found behind Wal-Mart Superstore dumpsters.

Stephen Mick
10-14-2009, 07:05 AM
(I'm not trying to sidetrack this thread, trust me. But…)

On the same recent shoot, we had the 7D mounted on a Porta-Jib Traveler set on a Sachtler 20 tripod. It looked ridiculous. Until we looked at the footage.

Hopefully Barry will have some sun soon to re-run his tests. I know many are on the edge of their seats.

ydgmdlu
10-14-2009, 07:49 AM
I bet it's the GH-1. Honestly, if it were not for the codec and mudd issues I think it could be capable of more (in terms of its image). 1080p looks pretty sharp.
I'm not sure that Barry has his GH1 back in his hands yet.

Barry_Green
10-14-2009, 11:33 AM
but are there really a large group of people trying to decide between the 7D (or GH1) and the HMC-40?
Not sure if there are any, but the reason I drag the HMC40 into this comparison is because it's been the only native-res camera I have had on hand.

Secondly, I'm very interested in seeing how the DSLR compares to a conventional video camera; has it "arrived"? Is it truly time to consider retiring conventional video in favor of this new paradigm? If the DSLR does everything the conventional video camera does, as well or better, then yeah, open the floodgates. But if it doesn't, if it is inferior in some ways, then we now have a new data point to consider and something to mark progress by.

Third, as you said, I think it's a little fun to look at both these hybrid products and ask -- how does a still camera that shoots video, compare to a video camera that shoots stills? If someone had $2,000 and they needed both, which way is a better way to spend their dough? But, heck, I may be the only one interested in that; I find the whole "convergence" thing interesting; will it really be that long before our video-enabled DSLR also makes phone calls and surfs the web? And if so, what are we giving up along the way?

Fourth -- how good is good? We've all seen amazing footage from the 5D, 7D, and GH1, but -- is it really, truly, anything better than what we've had before? The BMX video -- could that have been done on an HMC150? I think probably so. So what's the real, tangible improvement here -- if any? Obviously the price tag, yes, and the convenience of not hauling around an adapter, heck yes. But while everyone's assuming we've taken giant steps forward, and the new DSLRs are... well, "of course they're sharper, of course they have more dynamic range, of course they're this and that" -- are they? Or have we taken a step backwards? I'd like to know. So when I find that the 7D has a stop less dynamic range and significantly lower resolution than the bottom-of-the-line pro video camera, I think that's newsworthy. Not to discount other aspects that are way in the SLR's favor -- interchangeable lenses and low-noise high-ISO and native shallow DOF being the three most obvious and well-known, but -- everyone talks about those, nobody talks about the others, they all just seem to assume. Assuming is not good, generally.


When Barry gets his GH1 back…well those are tests that are certainly going to be more consistent with my needs.
I'm certain many folks will be more interested in that particular comparison, for sure. And that's what I wish I could have been using as the comparison all this time; I really only pulled the HMC40 into the discussion because it was the only other 1920x1080 product I had around at the time.

Yes, it's raining and cloudy. Most disappointing. But, I may have found a way to at least verify whether my original test was conducted correctly or not, so I'm gonna fiddle around with that for a little bit and if I can determine that I definitely didn't make the mistake I'm afraid I might have made, then I can post the results later today.

Stephen Mick
10-14-2009, 11:53 AM
I'm very interested in seeing how the DSLR compares to a conventional video camera; has it "arrived"? Is it truly time to consider retiring conventional video in favor of this new paradigm? If the DSLR does everything the conventional video camera does, as well or better, then yeah, open the floodgates. But if it doesn't, if it is inferior in some ways, then we now have a new data point to consider and something to mark progress by.

I'm with you on this, for sure. It's intriguing to see how any cameras stack up against each other, especially when they fit the same price point. And data is data, which is always good to have to judge where we are now against where we'll find ourselves in three months, six months or even a year.

But, as has been stated in other threads, as great and useful of tools as DSLRs are, their potential is not yet not "fully realized," in my mind. When they have proper audio handling, without a third-party software hack, no limits on recording times, and other features professional videographers and filmmakers come to depend on, then they will have "arrived," I believe.

I have used the GH1 and 7D on actual paying gigs, including one shooting with just the 7D and no camcorder "safety net." While it's certainly workable for specific jobs, I'm not retiring my EX1/NanoFlash just yet, that's for sure. And quite honestly, there are jobs where any DSLR as a primary acquisition source is just silly. (I've got 1.25TB of fly-fishing footage in DVCPRO-HD. Imagine how much storage I'd need for equivalent 7D files!)

Convergence is a beautiful thing. The ability to deliver the kind of images any of these cameras offer is truly amazing, more so when I think that only a few years ago I was shooting with a DVX. But there's still a long ways to go before the workflow and comfort level of using the 7D, the GH1 or any DSLR as an "A-Camera" catches up to the image quality. (Or at least that's my take.)

The paradigm may be shifting, but it seems to be moving very slowly.

Barry_Green
10-14-2009, 12:08 PM
Okay, I have verified that I didn't blow it. So -- posts will be coming later today with footage; no need to reshoot.

Stephen Mick
10-14-2009, 12:27 PM
I've got the popcorn in the microwave, waiting patiently. :D

johnhafner
10-28-2009, 09:31 AM
Auto lighting ruiner +1 That was my thread on cinema 5d haha.

johnhafner
10-28-2009, 09:37 AM
Barry what lens did you use on this test for the 7d?

I can tell the difference in sharpness between lenses even in Video mode so it makes a difference.

Also, did you ever re-run this test with Auto Lighting Optimizer off? ALO adds noise and overall bad image IMHO.

Finally, the default contrast settings CRUSH the blacks on the 7d with most lenses. I usually run the contrast 2-4 steps below the midpoint to bring back shadow detail.

I'd also interested to see the same test ran with a nice prime lens like the Pentax Takumar 50mm SMC 1.4 or Canon 1.8. Poor lenses DO reduce contrast the sensors sees and thus overall dynamic range can be limited by your lens choice. ( Most cheaper Zooms for the 7d have poor contrast and saturation IMHO)

Barry_Green
10-28-2009, 09:48 AM
See the Stouffer thread where I re-ran the test using the "flatten your 7D" settings, contrast at minimum, and the Zeiss ZF 50mm/1.4 lens at f/5.6. Auto Lighting Optimizer is always always off.