Ever wondered how the Canon 7D REALLY looks like next to an Arri Alexa or Sony F65? This video brings you the answer.

We took these shots from our extensive Beauty Filter Test and placed them side by side so you can get a feeling for how the cameras compare in the studio setup we had. Note that this is not a thorough camera review, but just an opportunity to watch the same high detail, high dynamic range scene on these 6 cameras with the same high quality PL lens and the same lighting, graded professionally to match.

Please make sure you download the source clip on vimeo

Let us know in the comments which images were a positive or negative surprise for you and why.

Our lighting setup
Key: The subjects were lit with 2x 2KW Fresnel lights through a 1x2m 1/2 WD softbox from the right.
Fill: From the left we used a slightly dimmed down Dedo 650W with a Softbox.
Back: As backlight we used an Arri M18 (daylight) with a 1/4 CTS extended high up and lit through the window in the back.
On: The lights visible in the scene are a soft 100W buld, a clear 200W bulb, a 60W linestra (the long one) and a snake light wrapped around a tripod.

Lenses
All cameras were equipped with a PL mount (7D with PL modification, FS700 with PL adapter, C300 PL version) and shot with the Zeiss UltraPrime 35mm at an aperture of 4.0.
Since all sensors vary in size the cameras were moved forwards or backwards in order to get matching frames.

If you would not like to download the clip but observe the individual frames there are high quality screenshots of each camera at the bottom of this article.

Cameras used in order of appearance (all shot at 24fps):
Arri Alexa || HD 1920×1080 (Quicktime ProRes 444 LogC)
Red Mx || 4K 16:9 3840×2160 (4K REDRAW, redgamma, redcolor)
Canon EOS 7D || HD 1920×1080 (Canon H.264 mpeg-4, Technicolor Cinestyle)
Sony F65 || 4K 4096×2160 (4K Sony RAW, S-Gamut, Slog2)
Sony FS700 || HD 1920×1080 (NXCAM AVCHD mpeg-4)
Canon C300 PL || HD 1920×1080 (Canon XF Codec 4:2:2 mpeg-2)

Grading
The shots from all cameras were graded and matched at Listo GmbH in Vienna on Filmlight Baselight by a professional colorist.
The shots were not graded metrologically perfect but rather the way the colorist would grade footage from each camera as a base to prepare for final grading.

The colorist had some interesting remarks to some of the cameras. While some things are obvious to see in the video above we can’t see if it was difficult to get there or not.

Sony FS700: We realized that the curve of the Sony FS700 was very hard to control in comparison to the other cameras. The camera clipped in the highlights as well as in the blacks.

Canon C300 PL: Looked very nice before grading even started. In our filter test which we will publish tomorrow you will also see that the camera requires less filtering as it already looks quite nice out of the box and makes the scene more believable/filmic without enhancements.

Sony F65: The colorist was very impressed by the possibilities that lie within the depths of Sony’s F65 material. While it was hardest to use this camera (needed two special assistants, a special baseplate and a night of rendering footage after recording), it also provided the most color information and sharpness among all cameras. The colorist called the image extremely “neutral” and also liked the filmic grain.

Red Mx: A lot had to be tweaked to get the footage look right. The camera has little dynamic range and is weak in the shadows. We chose this camera because it is still widely used and affordable.

Canon 7D (Technicolor Cinestyle): It was surprisingly easy to match the colors due to the cinestyle profile. The color information is very weak though and lets the faces appear smeared, skin tones are quite bad, sharpness is horrible, but the dynamic range is not bad.

We will not go into details about how each camera performed during shooting or how easy it was to setup. This comparison is only focused at evaluating the image in the given controlled environment.

In terms of price versus image quality for me the Canon C300 PL stood out as among the most pleasing while at the same time modestly priced camera. Which would be your camera of choice solely based on the images seen here and their relative price?

Questions some will most likely ask:
Q: Why didn’t you use X new camera for the test?
A: The camera wasn’t available at the time the test was conducted.

Q: Why did you use the IRND6 filter on all the shots?
A: For our Beauty Filter Test we used the filters we received from Tiffen. An IR without ND wasn’t provided. It can be argued that an ND filter is commonly used and therefore provides a good test environment as combo filter anyway.

The music was kindly provided by The MusicBed: http://c5d.at/1r4

And here are all the cameras compared in the form of screenshots:
alexa 1024x576 Camera Comparison: Arri Alexa   Red Mx   Canon 7D   Sony F65   Sony FS700   Canon C300

redmx 1024x576 Camera Comparison: Arri Alexa   Red Mx   Canon 7D   Sony F65   Sony FS700   Canon C300

canon7d 1024x576 Camera Comparison: Arri Alexa   Red Mx   Canon 7D   Sony F65   Sony FS700   Canon C300

f65 1024x576 Camera Comparison: Arri Alexa   Red Mx   Canon 7D   Sony F65   Sony FS700   Canon C300

fs700 1024x576 Camera Comparison: Arri Alexa   Red Mx   Canon 7D   Sony F65   Sony FS700   Canon C300

c300 1024x576 Camera Comparison: Arri Alexa   Red Mx   Canon 7D   Sony F65   Sony FS700   Canon C300

ACTRESS ON THE LEFT: Sabina Schreib
ACTRESS ON THE RIGHT: Sonja Chan
HEADS OF PRODUCTION: Georg Geutebrück, Sebastian Wöber
CAMERA ASSISTANTS: Jacob Kohl, Ralf Woltron
DIT SONY F65: Thomas Cervenca
SCRIPTING: Laszlo Vancsa
MAKEUP: Verena Feichtinger
ON-SET PHOTOS: Wolfgang von Bánowski
CONSTRUCTION: Horst Pitschuch
LIGHTING TECHNICIAN: Franz Bruckner
COLOR CORRECTION: Willi Willinger

Watch it on Vimeo

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Helgi Piccinin Reply
Helgi Piccinin August 27, 2013

It seems they are asking a password to watch the video.

Vlad Box Reply
Vlad Box August 27, 2013

`What is the password?

Sebastian Wöber Reply
Sebastian Wöber August 27, 2013

I knew there was something left to do. Pass removed.

Gregory Wozniak OXs Reply
Gregory Wozniak OXs August 27, 2013

7d probleme focus? ?

Reply
Chris Quevedo August 27, 2013

the video says password required :-( can’t watch it

Reply
Sebastian Wöber August 27, 2013

Sorry, try now

Reply
Chris Quevedo August 27, 2013

nevermind, works now

Vlad Box Reply
Vlad Box August 27, 2013

The organic look of the RED is to me the one, but I shoot a lot with the 7D and in some instances by playing with the lighting contrast I can achieve that same organic look. Also depending on the lens, Nikon gives me a bluer cast and Canon maybe warmer (not so keen on canon glass) Great stuff.

Shubhkaran Singh Reply
Shubhkaran Singh August 31, 2013

I liked the F65 look on Oblivion even F35 was a great on Tron legacy but I can’t afford any of them haha! not even 7d.

Reply
marklondon August 27, 2013

I also have worked with F65 files. They’re astonishing.
Great test, cheers.

Reply
Jacob Callaghan August 27, 2013

Did you use slog on the fs700?

Reply
Myles November 16, 2013

I would also be interested to know if slog2 was used. I presume – since they didn’t bother to answer your questions – that it wasn’t…

Reply
Sebastian Wöber November 18, 2013

It wasn’t out at the time the thing was shot. It was posted a year after shooting…

Reply
Oscar August 27, 2013

The F65 wins this test in my opinion…
It´s almost as good as my 5D3 RAW :) but only close.

Reply
Martin August 28, 2013

i enjoyed this video, but i cant stop wondering, why doing such a huge test in that “controlled” lighting situation?
I mean, some scenarios with high contrast and/or low light could give us more juicy information IMO.
Even the 7d looks decent in this scenario :)

Reply
Sebastian Wöber August 28, 2013

I totally agree. As mentioned in the test and article this is only part of the larger beauty filter test which we post today.

Reply
Martin August 28, 2013

Got it
I just saw the newer post.
The “Camera comparison” text in the post title confused me.
Thanks!

Reply
Mike August 30, 2013

7D look like crap, FS700 looks like video, Alexa u can clearly see the diffusion the OLPF adds… Red & F65 bets IMO…

Reply
Luc September 1, 2013

imo…

Red is the best, although the reds are a bit contrasty and dark (nothing some redcode tweaking couldn’t fix),
Alexa is second, more nuanced than Red but a tad muddier,
FS700 is third, a bit too electric to my taste (videoish),
F65 and C300 are ex aequo at fourth, looks washed and bland,
7D is last, muddy, washed, undefined, but hey what do you expect from an older prosumer product. Considering the difference in price range too, in the field it can still take decent shots.

Thanks for posting this test!

Reply
Simon Bailey September 1, 2013

Why was the Nikon D800 not in the test. You cant say it wasn’t available at the time.

If you dont count the Magic Lantern hack then there isnt a better DSLR for video, so why pick a 7D to test?

Just because seemingly everyone went out and bought a 5D a few years ago isnt a reason for Nikon to get the coverage it deserves. The D800 has an amazing sensor.

Reply
Sebastian Wöber September 2, 2013

Good point. We picked 1 DSLR and chose the 7D as it is the DSLR currently most used by professionals with the 35mm sensor size that all cameras in our test had.

Reply
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Reply
Dr Dimento September 12, 2013

All I can say is other than the Sony they all looked pretty much the same and since the 7D is like 1/10the the price of the others, why not. The Red to me had NOTHING over the 7D. The clarity and smoothness was absolutely appealing. I’m glad I have one :-)

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Highline Studios October 4, 2013

Great post – the Alexa wins for me – it just looks so natural and rich. Would love to see the 5d3 stacked up as well – instead of a 7D.

Reply
Carlos October 8, 2013

Good comparison. I was surprised to find the FS700 was closer to the Red, Alexa and F65 than either of the Canons. I expected more of the C300, which looked as muddy as the 7D on this test. I wonder how the Blackmagics would behave on this comparison.

Reply
Alexiss October 30, 2013

Ohh nice test and good comparison,
RED for me in this test is the best , F65 and Alexa.

thanks for sharing.

Reply
Nuno Dias November 13, 2013

Couldn’t see any difference between them. Waste of a test.

Reply
elan santiago November 13, 2013

Problem with focus,
The lighting set up is not good enough to define shades and high light to see how the camera respond to different lighting situation.
Pro-design very boring .

Thank you

Reply
dio December 11, 2013

alexa…and where is 35mm film ..the best i’ve seen..

Reply
Jason March 10, 2014

You know what – looking at this I came to an epiphany – all these cameras do a great job and there is no reason (except for rolling shutter) to even condor spending 30x the price of the 7D anymore. They all look good – sure, you can spot the problems if you LOOK for them, but if a good story was told using any of these cameras – it wouldn’t matter what camera you were using – they are all good enough in my book (coming from a Sony F55 owner)

Reply
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