cinema5D had a chance to test the new Sony F55, Sony’s new flagship 4K cinema camera. As a reference we used Canon’s most advanced HDSLR.
The F55 is an interesting camera, because it is one that ticks more boxes than any other camera over the past few years – the range of resolutions, frame rates, codecs as well as the ergonomics are unprecedented. Now it’s down to actually using it to make a judgement call.
We wanted to know how the camera performs in a normal sooting environment and took the Canon EOS 1DC 4K HDSLR with us for comparison. Some interesting conclusions can be drawn here, things you might consider if you plan on shooting with either of these cameras or would just like to see what to expect.
You can download (1GB) and watch the source video in 4K on vimeo: LINK
Aside from the sooting experience itself (more on that later) most significant to us is the footage a camera produces.
During our grading session in a professional post house some of the differences between these two cameras became more clear.
Here’s a summary of what we found:
Sony F55 (Slog2, ISO 1250)
XAVC codec = about 1h footage on 128GB, 4:2:2, 4K, mpeg-4/h.264, 10-bit
- very fine, high resolution
- very clean image
- lots of detail and little noise in dark areas
- very sharp, needed to be softened.
- rescuable: about 2.5 stops over-exposure, 4 stops under (more detailed review on that next week)
Canon 1DC (C-Log, ISO 800)
MJPEG codec = about 30 minutes on 128GB, 4:2:2, mjpeg, 8-bit
- not as high resolution feel as F55
- no detail in dark areas (Canon cuts of blacks entirely), so no noise at all in blacks
- softer image than F55, needed to be sharpened a little.
- rescuable: about 2.5 stop over-exposure, 5 stops under.
Both cameras could be matched easily in post production. Contrary to our expectations the Canon 1DC could be underexposed even more than the F55 (talking usable dynamic range). On the other hand the noise and 10-bit image of the F55 is obviously more clean and stable due to its powerful new xavc codec.
The Canon still delivers very gradable and easy to use files (According to our experienced colorist: More usable than C300 footage). The 1DC can indeed deliver a fine and filmic end-result that can be tweaked around in the process. I should also mentioned that grading the F55 seems a little more time intensive as the existing LUT’s don’t develop it so well and the xavc codec is not so established yet.
Note that the same lenses were used on both cameras (except for the last shot).