BMPCC vs Canon DSLR: Dynamic Range in Natural Low Light High Contrast Scenario - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 02-16-2014, 07:39 AM - Thread Starter
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After all of this dynamic range talk I thought I'd do a simple test once I got a card fast enough to shoot RAW with my BlackMagic Pocket Cinema Camera and do a dynamic range comparison test against the Canon T2i (ie; pretty much the same DR as the rest of the Canon's shooting H.264 video) to show the power of RAW and having more dynamic range. This is to show there are many natural lighting scenarios where the ratios are extreme enough to benefit from high dynamic range.

I shot the BMPCC with the standard Canon 18-55mm zoom kit lens (nothing spectucular) and matched the angle of view the best I could based on crop factor of each camera. This high contrast scenario was simply a bathroom lit with a single 40-watt incandescent lamp. The shot was underexposed by at least a couple of stops on the BMPCC to save as much highlight detail as possible while being able to retain a decent level of shadow information. The Canon fell apart on both ends as would nearly any DSLR/Video camera not shooting RAW.

Canon DSLR (Sharpened in post):




BMPCC (A few RAW grades):








And here is the Canon with 1 stop exposure increase to improve shadow detail closer to the BMPCC (at the cost of highlight detail, of course):






TWO LIGHTS:


CANON T2i:


ISO 100:



ISO 200:



ISO 400:



ISO 800:



BMPCC


ISO 800:




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post #2 of 6 Old 02-16-2014, 10:14 AM
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The next time I shoot that very 'common' type of subject above, I'll be sure to have someone loan me a BMPCC! wink.gif

You are simply proving why I can't get too excited about those extra stops of DR. Again, not to say there may be certain instances where it may come in useful (shooting light bulbs in a bathroom or that infamous couch in front of a window), but for the vast majority of shooting situations, I find it a big yawn and hardly worth the extra effort one must go through. Each to his own as they say. smile.gif
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post #3 of 6 Old 02-16-2014, 11:37 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Ken Ross View Post

The next time I shoot that very 'common' type of subject above, I'll be sure to have someone loan me a BMPCC! wink.gif

You are simply proving why I can't get too excited about those extra stops of DR. Again, not to say there may be certain instances where it may come in useful (shooting light bulbs in a bathroom or that infamous couch in front of a window), but for the vast majority of shooting situations, I find it a big yawn and hardly worth the extra effort one must go through. Each to his own as they say. smile.gif

lol. biggrin.gif Well, I tend to find a many shots in which a DSLR/Videocamera struggles with the lighting ratio, which is a big part of why I have been ecstatic over the BMPCC and RAW. You get performance on par with the most expensive cameras in existence for small fraction of the price if you have decent shooting and grading. Hard to complain too much even though it does come with certain caveats. cool.gif

My test is to show how easy it is to exceed the dynamic range of a typical DLSR/Camcorder's sensor shooting compressed video. This can and will happen in many natural lighting situations where the lighting ratio from light to dark is too high enough, which happens all the time in normal lighting situations for me. I've ran into so many shots inside and outside where BMPCC renders exposure range so vastly superior to DSLRs/Camcorders. My problem and the reason for a test like this is because the importance of dynamic range on overall video quality has been downplayed by some after comparing entirely different shots of different cameras with entirely differently lenses, exposure settings, etc & that is a terrible way to judge; I feel judging that way is a bit like judging projectors based on screenshots with different photographers using different cameras, lenses, etc. Not the best way to judge, imo. smile.gif

When you stack a DLSRs/Video cameras up side by side with similar settings, lens and decent grading you see the real differences and there are many many high contrast natural lighting scenarios such as this in which the BMPCC will trounce just about everything under $15,000 that doesn't shoot RAW. Of course I always say to each their own and BMPCC still aren't for everyone, but I think it's better for people to see A and B comparison rather than two entirely different videos. smile.gif
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post #4 of 6 Old 02-16-2014, 05:01 PM
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I have that same light fixture x4 in my condo!
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post #5 of 6 Old 02-16-2014, 06:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MTyson View Post

The shot was underexposed by at least a couple of stops on the BMPCC to save as much highlight detail as possible while being able to retain a decent level of shadow information.

Thats the wrong way to shoot with the BMPCC. The correct way is to overexpose as much as possible. Simply because you can always bring the exposure down without compromises. If you underexpose to keep highlight detail you will bring more noise and less shadow detail.

Try to record the same scene overexposing the image as much as possible without clipping.

And when sharing that kind of comparison, dont forget to share the original RAW frame grab. Remember that we can always learn new grading skills when sharing them with other people.
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post #6 of 6 Old 02-17-2014, 04:39 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by thedest View Post

Thats the wrong way to shoot with the BMPCC. The correct way is to overexpose as much as possible. Simply because you can always bring the exposure down without compromises. If you underexpose to keep highlight detail you will bring more noise and less shadow detail.

Try to record the same scene overexposing the image as much as possible without clipping.

And when sharing that kind of comparison, dont forget to share the original RAW frame grab. Remember that we can always learn new grading skills when sharing them with other people.

Thanks, but yes, I'm aware of exposing to the right technique and normally that works great, but it doesn't work as well when the part you're intentionally trying not to clip is already very close to starting to clip at the 100% level. biggrin.gif The single bulb lighting scenario in particular was extremely challenging even for the BMPCC given such a high contrast ratio. It didn't take much more exposure north before the 100% zebras started popping up & the test was done to show how much highlight detail I could save while maintaining a good level of darks that on a DSLR would typically be crushed beyond all repair in this scenario, but is salvageable on the BMPCC.. I exposed until most or all of the 100% zebras disappeared for maximum highlight detail while still maintaining some shadow information. I was willing to live with the extra noise in the shadows to protect the only highlights in this particular case, especially knowing that I could simply add just a little ACR noise reduction to help regain more usable dynamic range on the dark end..

I'll try to see if I can get a RAW up for grading this time or next time. Didn't think to put one up, but yes. I always like when someone puts those up, because you can get so many different results with a DNG. smile.gif
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