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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I currently own a Panasonic SD600 (3XCMOS) it's pretty good but i do not like it's handling of the exposure latitude there is alot of blownout highlights and the low light is not that great.


This pretty much sums it up for alot of other camcorder.


So i am wondering does anyone have any tips for a camcorder which have superior latitude? A camcorder that really makes a big difference.


I have not been that impressed with the latitude of DSLR sure it seems the blownout highlights are smoother looking and the DSLRs have other problems that puts me off them so i want a real camcorder that can deliver excellent results. And i am willing to pay maybe 1500-2000$ not any more then that.


Does anybody know of any filter or any good tricks that can improve latitude?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by fusion_400 /forum/post/20833286


I currently own a Panasonic SD600 (3XCMOS) it's pretty good but i do not like it's handling of the exposure latitude there is alot of blownout highlights and the low light is not that great.


This pretty much sums it up for alot of other camcorder.


So i am wondering does anyone have any tips for a camcorder which have superior latitude? A camcorder that really makes a big difference.

Manual mode. Zebra. For the sky use UV (least effect) or POL (better effect) or graduated ND. Low light on the SD600 is pretty good. Not as good as on the Canons with "HD Pro" sensor, but still pretty good.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Ok but graduated ND is for pretty much landscape scenes only i guess?


Do you have any tips for improving picture in premiere to maybe get some highlight information back?


I simply want the most natural picture possible with true to life white balance.


I have seen incredible footage from the Sony F3 with S-log firmware but the cost is just exceedingly high.


This footage really blew me away:



And i wish that somehow you can get close to this level of performance and not pay more then 2000$.


Tremendously improved exposure latitude is the holy grail for me. I want natural/organic footage.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by fusion_400 /forum/post/20833469


Do you have any tips for improving picture in premiere to maybe get some highlight information back?

You cannot get highlights back if they are gone. Not there. Not recorded. Do not exist.


I don't know whether the SD600 changes gamma when switched to Digital Cinema mode. Canon consumer camcorders have separate 24p and Cinema Mode settings, the latter changes gamma to not clip as fast, but to retain more highlights and shades. Of course, this is done at cost of midtones.
 

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The best way to record your highlights is to use manual mode and lower your F stop so it is not blown out. Zebra pattern will tell you where it is blown out. When I had my old Sony DVCAM I used zebra and lowered exposure by 3 dB. The resulting images average brightness was darker but I was able to bring some of that back changing gamma on playback. Skys were always blue.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
But changing the gamma doesn't that brighten the whole image. I would like to keep highlights in their not blownout state and then brighten the rest of the picture.


I am really waiting for that Sony F3 S-log performance from my SD600
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by fusion_400 /forum/post/20833904


But changing the gamma doesn't that brighten the whole image. I would like to keep highlights in their not blownout state and then brighten the rest of the picture.


I am really waiting for that Sony F3 S-log performance from my SD600

Not the entire image equally!


Thats the point! To bring the mid average brightness back up because you lowered the exposure to get your highlights recorded which also dropped the mid levels. Use a higher gamma to bring the mid levels back up yet keeping your highlights. The cameras adjust to the mid/average range so it looks the same brightness on your screen in darker areas of the picture thus blowing out your top end. if you record lower you retain the highlights but then need a higher gamma to compensate for the loss in mid/average levels. The cameras would need dynamic gamma to avoid the blown out highlights. I don't think I have ever seen a camera that does this.


You could also use a combo of brightness and gamma too.


Ron
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by fusion_400 /forum/post/20833904


But changing the gamma doesn't that brighten the whole image. I would like to keep highlights in their not blownout state and then brighten the rest of the picture.

Have you ever tried changing gamma in Photoshop? It changes distribution of intensity, so you can get more near-whites or near-blacks, then you adjust levels. For editing, shoot "flat" and adjust in post. I don't think that the SD600 can shoot flat, it has very contrasty setup, great for "in your face" HD videos. On another hand, this video of mine does not seem to have very high contrast, I shot it in 24p mode and controlled highlights using zebra: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UFG2u0fkcV8 At 0:12 it looks way too flat and has no detail at all, I guess the variable ND filter is partly at fault, it reduces sharpness.
 

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I would think 3MOS cameras would yield the greatest dynamic range because all three primary colors have their own chip. Although chips are getting better and better and the Canon does have added range with their low light capabilities.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I hope that next year the followup to the HF G10 will have 50fps pal progressive or 60fps ntsc progressive resolution. Then i will buy hopefully they will have fixed some issues with the stabilizer also.
 

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All consumer grade camcorder kinda suck at dynamic range due to the tiny sensor they have. I bought a Panasonic TM90 recently and my Canon 5D2 kicks it to the curb in DR, the 5D2 has a "Highlight Tone Priority" mode to deal with the blown highlight issue...such as wedding dress in bright sunlight. This HTP feature is also available on 40D/50D/60D/7D and all 1D series, not sure about the Rebel though. Other than DSLR, I believe the next "cheapest" camcorder with good DR is the Panasonic AG-AF100 (about $4500).
 

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Your best under $10,000 choices:


Sony FS100U (same chips a Sony F3 only $4,999 for the body)


You can actually get even better highlights with DSLRs like the T2i, T3i, 60D, 7D and 5D Mark II by using the picture style "Cinestyle". It's great and it brings out the dark details. The GH2 has good handling as well from what I remember. That is pretty much a camcorder compared to most DSLRs. About as good as you will get without using a DSLR or spending a lot of money.


Underexpose your footage slightly and you can bring the brightness back up with a gamma bump. In Premeiere you can control the actual gamma curve wherever you want.


If you want the best highlight handling though save up and get you an a Red Scarlet-X. Uses the same sensor as the Red Epic being used to shoot Avatar 2 and the new Underworld as well as The Hobbit. Not to mention it cost about the same as an F3 and can shoot 4k RAW resolution as well as upto 120fps at a lower resolution.


BTW, man. I bet you in that video you posted they are using reflectors to provide the model with good fill light to balance out the ratio of light to dark. Professionals have all kinds or tricks in order to get a great image like that. It's not always pure dynamic range.
 
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