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Dynamic Range: How big is the difference?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
As crazy as it may sound, Im between buying a Nikon 1 series (V2 or a possible V3) and a 5DmkIII to play with small RAW clips.

Dont care about sound and time limitations. Dont need it for low light.

The Nikon has the advantage of 4k resolution. How big is the resolution of the 5d RAW videos with the latest Magic Lantern firmware? I know that the 7D can do 2k videos, but I can only find 1080p videos from the 5D.

And the most important part:

- The Nikon has a color depth of 12 bits, and the 5d has 14 bits. How big is that difference? I've been watching comparisons all around and it seems like those 2 stops are not a big advantage.
post #2 of 9
a Canon 5D3 shooting RAW is currently the way to shoot 1080P video.

I only shoot RAW stills - jpeg is, quite frankly, 'orrible. All reports are that the same comparison between RAW and H264 can be made.

Using ML, a 5D3 can even be coaxed in to 14stop DR (but I wouldn't) vs the standard 5D3 video DR of 9 stops.

The only downside of the 5D3 is the 24fps limitation in RAW - it may go faster with mjpeg mode - check this.
post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 
Pepster, the thing is I want a camera for small RAW clips. Dont need audio and low light.

So the battle is:

NIKON V2: 4k RAW @ 60/30 fps and 12-stops of dynamic range - 1k USD

VS

5DmkIII: 1080p RAW @ 24fps and 14-stops of dynamic range - 5k USD

It looks like for my needs the NIKON may be a better option. Its cheaper, smaller, has better resolution and frame rate. The only advantage of the 5D is the 2 stops of dynamic range. I want to know if there is a REAL difference between 12 stops and 14 stops. Looking at Blackmagic (12 stops) and 5D comparisons it looks like the difference is unnoticeable

* Another important thing: we already know that 2014 will be THE year for 4k video cameras. There is already a 4k Panasonic GH-series in the works and a 4K RAW Nikon - so Im afraid of buying a camera that is not "future proof", specially if it costs 5k+. I think its not worth investing on 1080p cameras anymore, specially if the videos are compressed. Maybe a cheap 1080p RAW camera, but 5k is a lot of money.
Edited by thedest - 9/18/13 at 7:23pm
post #4 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by thedest View Post

Pepster, the thing is I want a camera for small RAW clips. Dont need audio and low light.

So the battle is:
Quote:
NIKON V2: 4k RAW @ 60/30 fps and 12-stops of dynamic range - 1k USD

VS


5DmkIII: 1080p RAW @ 24fps and 14-stops of dynamic range - 5k USD
The 5D mkIII is actually $3,500, not $5k. It's also about 12 stops of DR unless you're using DUAL ISO or HDR Video mode. HDR video can extend the DR to about 17 stops, but it's a pain to process and is not good with much motion. The DUAL ISO needs to be used selectively as it can introduce some bad aliasing if you go too far with it.. Another thing to be noted is that the 5D3 is about 11.74 stops at ISO 100. 11.64 stops at ISO 200. 11.4 stops at ISO 400. 11 stops at ISO 800. 10.5 stops at ISO 1,600. About 9.7 stops at ISO 3,200 and 8.9 stops at ISO 6,400.

BlackMagic Cinema Camera is about 13 stops at ISO 800, which is about the exposure equivalent of the 5D3 at around ISO 1600. \
Quote:
It looks like for my needs the NIKON may be a better option. Its cheaper, smaller, has better resolution and frame rate. The only advantage of the 5D is the 2 stops of dynamic range. I want to know if there is a REAL difference between 12 stops and 14 stops. Looking at Blackmagic (12 stops) and 5D comparisons it looks like the difference is unnoticeable
I'm not sure what good frame rate is if it only last two seconds though. lol. Two stops of usable dynamic can make a huge difference, but is scene dependent. If you have a scene that only has 11 stops from the brightest to the darkest areas within the scene it will minimize the difference between 14 and 12 stops, but if you have a scene that has about 14 stops of dynamic range those two extra stops can mean the difference between having completely unrecoverable & clipped highlights or shadows or having them available for grading in the RAW file & it's a big difference. Alexa is about 14.5 stops and that's a big part of why it's so loved.

So, for the record. Pretty much every 5D3 and BMCC comparison you're seeing is not 14 stops vs 12 like you mentioned. It's about 12 stops rated (depending on the ISO) vs. 13 stops rated and that doesn't include "usable dynamic range". When you factor that it it's entirely possible both are closer to 12 at ideal ISO (excluding the use of dual ISO for DR extension). The 5D3 has much better range in the dark end in of RAW images and the BMCC has a bit better in the highlights.
Quote:
* Another important thing: we already know that 2014 will be THE year for 4k video cameras. There is already a 4k Panasonic GH-series in the works and a 4K RAW Nikon - so Im afraid of buying a camera that is not "future proof", specially if it costs 5k+. I think its not worth investing on 1080p cameras anymore, specially if the videos are compressed. Maybe a cheap 1080p RAW camera, but 5k is a lot of money.
There's already a 4k Video camera coming out for $3,995. The BlackMagic 4k Production Camera. Sell the software included and it'll be about $3,200. I don't know what 1080p RAW cameras cost $5k or where that figure came from though. BlackMagic Pocket Cinema Camera is 1080p RAW for $995. BlackMagic Cinema Camera 2.5k RAW is higher than 1080p for only $1,995....about $1,300 if you sell the included software. Then the 5D3 is about $3,500. Heck you can even throw speedbooster on both the BlackMagic Cameras, making them about 30% wider field of view and one stop faster and still be way way below $5k. Just not sure where this $5k figure came from for $1080p RAW unless you're specifically referring to the 5D3 and area also including lens costs as well as media?

Edited by MTyson - 9/20/13 at 11:23pm
post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 
Yep! Im including media/battery costs.



Everywhere I look people are talking about the 5D having 14 stops. Where did you came up with 12 stops?

- The BMCC 4k (or even the 2k) has a great price and features, but what keeps me away from it is the form factor. I want a camera for small clips in a family vocation. For handheld shooting. I cant imagine me holding a big blackmagic on the beach. What do you think about handheld shooting with them?

- The BMPCC could be an option, but I dont know if 1080p is future proof. Next year we will probably see a lot of prosumer 4k cameras. How many stops do we have in the ProRes 422 of the pocket-cam?

Thanks for the big answer!
post #6 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by thedest View Post

Yep! Im including media/battery costs.



Everywhere I look people are talking about the 5D having 14 stops. Where did you came up with 12 stops?
Color bit depth is not dynamic range. Also, only some people have started talking about it having 14 stops very recently because of the new Dual ISO feature. Before this past couple of months no one ever said the 5D3 had anywhere near 14 stops. Almost no one even uses DUAL ISO. I plan to. It's a great feature, but for video you have to use it carefully and splitting it like ISO 200 and ISO 1600 can introduce some of the worst aliasing your eyes have ever seen. I don't know if they've found a way to manage this better with better processing, but last I saw for video is was best used only in certain circumstances.

Under normal circumstances the 5D3 absolutely does not have 14 stops or even close to it....excluding DUAL ISO, HDR Video and HDR photo modes of course. DXOMark is one of many who rated it. They list all of their findings in their graphs and charts.
Quote:
- The BMCC 4k (or even the 2k) has a great price and features, but what keeps me away from it is the form factor. I want a camera for small clips in a family vocation. For handheld shooting. I cant imagine me holding a big blackmagic on the beach. What do you think about handheld shooting with them?
Yes, that's its flaw. I've owned the BlackMagic Cinema 2.5k MFT model. It's very awkward to hold handheld and it's heavy. It can be done, but it's not the best handheld experience ever. lol. They're definitely made for a cage or a rig. After that its easy. Their 4k camera also has global shutter, so no rolling shutter/jello whatsoever.
Quote:
- The BMPCC could be an option, but I dont know if 1080p is future proof. Next year we will probably see a lot of prosumer 4k cameras. How many stops do we have in the ProRes 422 of the pocket-cam?

Thanks for the big answer!

Well, we have to remember that almost no one has 4k or views in 4k & won't for some time. Even if they do how many will care one iota? Virtually none. 4k makes a bigger difference on a 40 foot screen than a small one. Most people will still not have 4k over the next several years. Almost every delivery format is 1080p or less, especially online. Almost all web delivery is 1080p or less. 99.9% of all TVs owned are 1080p or less. Avatar was shot in 1080p. Made nearly $3 billion dollars. I'm into filmmaking and I couldn't care less about 4k, to be honest. It's a memory/bandwith hog that belongs in cinemas only right now and unless you're screening on a 20-40 foot screen it's mostly a waste considering that ultimately it's going to be downscaled back to 1080p so real people can see it. Resolution is the most overrated aspect of image quality. Dynamic range and color are hands down more important at this point. They are the real difference between a consumer video look and a cinematic film look, not resolution. The only reason I care about 4k at all is for A) reframing shots and adding post stabilization for hand held shots. B) Chroma keying. In time I'd like 4k, but right now....it's just not ready.

The Pocket camera should have about the same stops of DR or very close at ISO 800. So 13, and at least 12. The good thing is it does high dynamic range at higher ISO, so in moderate light where you have to bump up a DLSR to 1,600 ISO losing stops of DR, the BMCC is still at its maximum DR. Add a speedbooster and you get a wider field of view, add a stop of light and basically have a native ISO 1,600 with 13 stops of Dynamic range for under 2k. The only cinema cameras with high native ISOs are the Sony F5, Sony F55 and Red Dragon cameras....that I'm aware of.
Edited by MTyson - 9/21/13 at 12:42pm
post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all that info, really useful.

The only thing that I dont agree with you is about 4k videos. Well, not specifically 4k, but something higher than 1080p. Its really usefull. Even using 1080p monitors. The images are always crisp and full of detail, you can reframe, zoom, stabilize etc - and Im not planning on making videos for the internet or broadcast. Its for myself, so having the best possible quality is important.

So @ ProRes 422 the Blackmagic will have the same DR of the RAW file? Thats really amazing. Makes shooting RAW not that important! Do we have numbers of the REAL resolution of the BMPCC videos?
post #8 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by thedest View Post

Thanks for all that info, really useful.

The only thing that I dont agree with you is about 4k videos. Well, not specifically 4k, but something higher than 1080p. Its really usefull. Even using 1080p monitors. The images are always crisp and full of detail, you can reframe, zoom, stabilize etc - and Im not planning on making videos for the internet or broadcast. Its for myself, so having the best possible quality is important.
You're welcome, and regarding the 4k/higher than 1080p, I mentioned about the refaming/zoom/stabilizing being a prime benefit. However, those are pluses, but not necessities, imo. Stabilizing in post is definitely a nice option to have, but if you have a stabilizer it's not so much a concern then. The BMCC 2.5k model is sharper than the Red Epic when scaled back to 1080p. Quite a bit in fact. It does not have an OLPF.
Quote:
So @ ProRes 422 the Blackmagic will have the same DR of the RAW file? Thats really amazing. Makes shooting RAW not that important! Do we have numbers of the REAL resolution of the BMPCC videos?

I take that back. It's actually said to be about a stop less assuming you're still shooting at ISO 800, which is the BASE/Native ISO. So, about 12 stops. Still above any camera under $5,000 that does not record RAW video. Also, it has great color science, which can be overlooked as a benefit. Having the same DR in RAW vs ProRes doesn't necessarily make RAW not that important though either. Not that you NEED RAW.. I mean you can get a great image out of flat film log for sure, but RAW gives you far more freedom to push and pull the image in ways you just can't with compressed video. You just have a lot more freedom and more options to do things in post that you can't really do with even a flat film log. So, it really depends on who's doing the grading as well. I'm not sure if there's any numbers on the BMPCC resolution, but it doesn't use an OLPF, so it's pretty darn sharp/detailed. Canon DSLRs are sharper and more detailed at 896x480p RAW than 1920x1080p H.264 native recording, so you'll definitely get much sharper 1080p than they record natively. No worries. lol. wink.gif

Here's some Pocket Cinema footage:

(make sure to click to view in 1080p)


Another video:

http://vimeo.com/75136268
post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 
I know that video. Its really nice and filmic!

Mtyson, since you probably have better technical eyes than I do, can you please take some time to take a look at those videos?

They were shot on the Nikon V1 @ 4k RAW 30fps - 12 stops of DR. I wonder how much better the blackmagic would perform. Im not convinced that 1 stop of DR could make a huge difference, but I could be wrong!

Forget about the limitations of those cameras. I'll buy them just for fun, no serious work. I just want a great image quality.

https://vimeo.com/61441075#at=0
https://vimeo.com/70959751
https://vimeo.com/67656132
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