External recordings on Sony a7 series cameras are awesome for several reasons, but unfortunately the image is crushed and there can be a loss in dynamic range when recording externally via HDMI. The famous Slog problem cuts off blacks and highlights and gives you a wrong Slog 2 or Slog 3 image. But we’ve developed an extremely easy fix. This LUT can be applied either during external recordings or even in post and give you back the full dynamic range of a true Slog image. The Slog Problem Explained Back in March, I wrote a scientific article on the crushed blacks phenomenon concerning the Sony a7S, Sony a7S II, Sony a7R II and Sony a6300 cameras. Basically, the contrast information is saved incorrectly on external recordings via HDMI, thus defeating the whole purpose of a standardized Slog Gamma. This phenomenon has been the main reason why some people have avoided using external recorders with these cameras. There is a fix that involves either DaVinci Resolve or level filters in Premiere that I described here, but these can impact your rendering time considerably. [Important UPDATE:] You do not need this on the Convergent Design Odyssey Recorder as their latest firmware provides a fix in the form of a “Legalize HDMI” function you will find in the INPUTS menu. The C5D Slog Fix Here is better way to fix the Slog Problem at any stage of your workflow, and it’s the fastest we have found in the form of our very first official C5D LUT. Essentially, it recovers any Slog 2 or Slog 3 files recorded externally, and gives you back a true Slog image with the cameras full dynamic range. On top of that, this LUT gives you the unique possibility to burn the correct Gamma right into your external recordings. By loading this LUT onto an external recorder like the Atomos Shogun, you can fix the Slog problem during recording, work with a correct file from the start, and save the additional rendering time otherwise needed in post production. This Slog Issue is especially problematic in Slog 2 Gamma, as it kills some of the highlights and thus reduces the dynamic range of the image where it matters (highlight rolloff in critical shots): 100% crop of 4K image (Slog 2 Gamma) This is how the Slog affects the dark areas of the image and how the Slog Fix recovers the correct Gamma: 100% crop of 4K image (Slog 2 Gamma) In our tests, an external recording with the C5D Slog Fix LUT on an Atomos Shogun was virtually identical to a file otherwise transcoded in DaVinci Resolve by changing the Video Levels manually (See more sample images below) Note: We cannot be held responsible for wrong use of the LUT. Please test this yourself before implementing into your own workflow. We decided not to give away the C5D Slog Fix LUT for free, but if you buy us a cup of coffee it’s yours to use in your projects. We’ll also be happy for a higher contribution if you feel this fix helped you in your work. DOWNLOAD IT HERE [UPDATE:] As cinema5D reader Corey Robson pointed out, there is an alternative method on the Atomos Shogun, that gets you half way to the goal: The Shogun offers a “5D MkIII” Color Corrector option in the “Source” window. While I do not know the science of it, the tests showed that it recovers some of the highlights, but not the true Slog Gamma. If you’re working semi professionally it should be “good enough”, as the highlights are most important. For those who want to use a second LUT as a preview on the Shogun, I would recommend this method instead of the C5D LUT, or alternatively the C5D LUT can be used in post for a 100% accurate result. Sample Images Sony a7S – Slog 2 – Internal H.264 Sony a7S – Slog 2 – External – unfixed Sony a7S – Slog 2 – External Fixed with Slog FIX LUT in post Sony a7S – Slog 2 – External – Fixed with Slog FIX LUT burned in, on the recorder FAQ Do I need this if I don’t use Slog 2 or Slog 3 Gamma? No. The Slog Problem is only present in external recordings with Slog 2 and 3 Gammas via HDMI. What about external recordings via SDI? External recordings via SDI are not affected. Please don’t use the Slog Fix on those. Will this work even on files that have already been recorded? Yes. You can use this on files you have recorded with an external recorder in the past. The files were only saved with the wrong metadata and the information can be pulled back with the help of our LUT or the workarounds described here. Who is it for? For people who want to retain the original Slog 2 or Slog 3 Gamma in order to grade accurately, match cameras or use pre defined LUTs. If you apply LUTs meant for Slog 2 or 3, you will not get the correct results without fixing your files first. Do I need this on the Sony FS7 or FS5? If you’re using an external HDMI recording you will also need this on a Sony FS7 and Sony FS5. If you’re using SDI as an output interface you will not require the fix. Will I lose color information or quality when I use the LUT on a recorder (burned in)? No. According to our tests the results are the same as if you would apply the fix in post. Note that in general there is a slight variance between externally recorded colors in comparison to internally recorded H.264 files on Sony cameras. We think the external recordings with our LUT look more color accurate. Download the sample images above to compare them and see the nuances. Make sure you use this workflow properly before burning the LUT into your recorded files. How do I use this on an Atomos Shogun? 1. To use the C5D SlogFix for monitoring purposes: Copy the C5D-SlogFix.cube file to the root folder of your Atomos Shogun Media (An SSD or harddisk) Tap the yellow “…” icon at the bottom right hand side of the screen Tap on one of the 8 LUT slots (preferably an empty one) Tap on the folder icon In the new window that opens tap the “C5D-SlogFix.cube” file twice. This will load the LUT onto your Atomos Shogun recorder To monitor tap the LUT slot now associated with the C5D-SlogFix and tap the monitoring icon on the top right hand side to switch monitoring on or off The C5D-SlogFix.cube file can be deleted from the media 2. To burn C5D SlogFix into your file (RECOMMENDED for a faster grading workflow): Follow the monitoring setup of 1 After your camera is connected, tap the “hdmi” icon in the top left hand corner In the window that opens, under the section “RECORD 4KUHDp…” tap on “3D LUT: Off”, so that it shows “3D LUT: On” There should be a red, flashing icon in the top right hand corner that says “MON LUT” Make sure the C5D-SlogFix LUT is selected in the yellow “…” menu Download Click the image below to get the C5D LUT Slog Fix:Read more
FilmConvert has announced support for the Sony a6300, offering accurate camera profiles to start your film stock emulation look on the sub $1k 4K mirrorless camera. FilmConvert made the announcement earlier this month, and we’ve had a chance to apply the new profile to our existing in-the-field test of the Sony a630 above. Click here to read the full article on our first impressions of this camera. Like many Sony cameras nowadays, the a6300 caused a bit of a stir on announcement, bringing APS-C log 4K recording in a mirrorless body at an even cheaper price (sub $1000) than the Alpha 7 series, not to mention its super fast auto focus. In addition to our First Impressions article, we’ve also lab tested the Sony a6300, and taken a good look at its low light capabilities. We’re already seeing accessories like cages starting to pop up, and now support in the post production sector from FilmConvert demonstrates even further that third party vendors are taking note of this camera. In case you hadn’t heard of it, in a nutshell FilmConvert is both a standalone software and extension app for NLE systems like Premiere Pro, Final Cut and Sony Vegas that offers realistic film stock emulation. You start with a base camera profile, tell the software what camera you are using and pair this with a film stock of your aesthetic choice. Grading can then be applied to tweak your desired look. It’s support for the initial process enables you to accurately apply film stock looks to the Sony a6300. Support includes all flavours of S-log 2 and S-log 3, as well as 709, Cine 1 and Cine 4. Download here.Read more
Sonyalpharumors has brought to light a source claiming to have unlocked the recording limit on Sony Alpha, RX and NEX cameras as well as lifting the language menu fix on region bound cameras, such as bodies bought in Japan. Here’s some information about this latest Sony Alpha Hack—and a warning to those of you that are tempted to try it. Sony Alpha hack – proceed with caution It seems that user ma1co on Personal View has dabbled in Sony hacking in the past, now claiming this practice has been put to good use in removing the 30minute recording limit of Sony cameras like the A7S, A7R, RX100, and A6300. It’s done by reverse engineering the Play Memories app, meaning any camera that utilizes the Sony software can benefit from this hack. Click here to see the full list of compatible camera bodies, but in a nutshell, the A7S, A7R II & IIs, as well as the A6300 and RX bodies, are all in there. Some filmmakers will be well acquainted with hacking cameras; Magic Lantern was (and still is) a tremendous asset to Canon DSLRs, packing a shed load of extra features into the otherwise outdated camera bodies, not to mention the Panasonic GH2 hack for increased bit rate recording. This should be taken with a caution, however. Firstly, we have no first-hand confirmation that this hack works, there is simply a sufficient amount of feedback on the Personal View forums for us to think it’s worth notifying you, the readers (including the above picture) as this could develop into something great.* *Update – I’ve had a good body of users & peers come forward to confirm that this does in fact work. Secondly, hacking any camera comes with significant risk and voids any manufacturers warranty. This applies to the Sony Alpha Hack, too. What works for one camera line and their respect hacker is completely different to another (particularly a brand new source). And lastly is a warning on the actual feature itself. The recording limit is in place to allow the Sony cameras to fall into a different, cheaper tax band, but many users will know that bodies like the A7R II can suffer badly from overheating and will shut down long before the recording limit is reached. As an occasional video user of the Sony Alpha cameras in B/C/D unit form, I rarely record clips on the A7R II or A7S II longer than a minute or two, therefore, won’t have any use for the Sony Alpha hack in its current state. However if there is anyone out there that is in a position to test out the hack, do let us know how you get on. This is certainly something to keep an eye on, with the potential of other features opening up as the hack develops. Via SonyalpharumorsRead more
The Sony Alpha a6300 is a new pocket-sized mirrorless camera that has some serious video potential on a budget. Johnnie reviewed the camera a few days ago and earlier today Nino published a lowlight test video. We’re currently looking at the strengths and weaknesses of the camera in our test lab and have decided to compare the Sony a6300 vs. Sony a7S II. For less than $1,000, we definitely weren’t sure what to expect from this camera. For the price range, decent 4K recording and an acceptable low light performance would have been great. However, numerous reviewers—ourselves included—have actually found that the Sony a6300 is performing brilliantly; in fact, it plays in the realm of cameras like the a7S II! Comparison: Sony a6300 vs. Sony a7S II Of course, no camera is without its flaws. That’s why we decided it is time to take a look at what the tradeoffs are when choosing to use the a6300, in an attempt to get an idea of just how good it is. For that, we needed a comparison point. Time for an exclusive a6300 vs. Sony a7S II article! Dynamic Range An often overlooked and a difficult attribute to quantify, I’ve decided to start by looking at the dynamic ranges at play in the a6300 vs. Sony a7S II debate. More often than not, we find that this is where many camera sensors fail to amaze—after all, a good dynamic range rating allows us to capture more shadows and highlights in hgh-contrast scenes. We’re testing with a DSC labs XYLA-21 transmissive test chart (more on how we test HERE). Our software measured about 11 stops on the Sony a6300, compared to about 12 stops on the Sony a7S II. Above you can observe the two shots subjectively. 11 stops is a good rating for a camera. Most professional cinema cameras nowadays get between 10-13 stops in our tests. Additionally, we see that the two cameras have very different noise characteristics. The Sony a6300 was shot at iso 800 (native) and there a stronger base noise than on the very clean A7S II. In this a6300 vs. Sony a7S II test, it is apparent just how clean the A7s II is, giving it the edge over the a6300. [Update:] However, the noise at base ISO on the Sony a6300 is no reason for concern. You should simply know, that you have less room for pushing the dark areas during grading. Another point to note is that, unlike the A7S II, the Sony a6300 has no difference in dynamic range between S-log2 and S-log3. However, the a6300 uses an 8-bit codec so we’d recommend avoiding S-log3 altogether; use S-log2. Lowlight and Noise Before we go any further, I have top say that we were very impressed during this stage of the test. So far, the a7S II is the camera which has shown the best low light capabilities of any camera that we have tested—and the Sony a6300 gets surprisingly close! The shots below are 100% crops from a dark area in our subjective test chart. We can see that both cameras retain detail at high ISOs. While the Sony a6300 is a bit grainy and has some minimal noise reduction artefacts, there is actually very little noise in the traditional sense—especially when the price is taken into consideration! Left: Sony a6300 Slog 2 | Right: Sony a7S II Slog 3 It seems as though there is intense noise reduction going on in the Sony a6300. Maybe this is how they managed to get such good lowlight results with this camera, even though the super35mm sensor used is much smaller than the Sony a7S II full-frame sensor and should be much more noisy. When we look at a moving image, the noise reminds me of the results of temporal noise reduction, which can be found in software like DaVinci Resolve. This algorithm calculates the difference in noise between adjacent frames. I’m not saying this is what’s happening here, but lowlight images show a kind of unnaturally slow moving noise, which might be an issue for some. Overall the lowlight behaviour is really impressive on this camera. It gets close to the performance of the Sony a7S II, though at ISO 25600 the Sony a7S II clearly retains more detail than the Sony a6300. Keep in mind that due to the sensor size you can use a Metabones Speed Booster and a full-frame lens with the Sony a6300 and win another stop in lowlight. This is what Nino did during his Sony a6300 lowlight test. Image Quality Here is a blown up shot of a tube test chart. On this chart fine lines get closer and closer together. This way we can see when aliasing kicks in or, in other words, when detail can no longer be correctly resolved on the vertical axis. What we see is that the Sony a6300 resolves similar fine detail as the Sony a7S II. The Sony FS7 obviously produces a cleaner image in terms of aliasing but that is to be expected. Codec Compression Artefacts on the Sony a7S II What we also noticed in this chart, however, is that the codec compression on the Sony a6300 is much better than on the Sony a7S II which eventually leads to a much cleaner image on the a6300 (look at the number “25” above). The Sony a7S II image falls apart and doesn’t resolve contrast details very well. Images like the one above look mushy and clouded due to some problem in the compression algorithm of the camera. The Sony a6300 doesn’t have this problem and is the winner in the a6300 vs. Sony a7S II comparison in this regard. One thing to note though is that there is a slight in-camera sharpening on the Sony a6300 even though “detail” was set all the way to the lowest number and there is a slight magenta tint in all shots. Rolling Shutter As mentioned in our initial review, unfortunately the rolling shutter effect (also referred to as “jello”) is quite terrible on the Sony a6300. In fact, with a readout speed of about 34 milliseconds from top to bottom, it is the most severe rolling shutter we have ever measured on a camera! Even worse than the Samsung NX1’s 30ms. In comparison, the Sony a7S II has about 25 milliseconds and the Sony FS7 has 14. Less is better. HD Images and Slow Motion 100% crop | Image Resolution in Full HD Sadly, this is another point where the Sony a6300 fails. The camera can shoot in full HD resolution, but the image is very soft and dirty in terms of aliasing. The Sony a7S II is much closer to the quality of the original a7S. The Sony a6300 can shoot slow motion up to 120fps in full HD. A crop of about 80% of the sensor is used in this mode. Unfortunately, the quality is almost identical to the one observed in HD mode at normal recording speeds—and in both modes, low light performance isn’t great. Sony a6300 vs. Sony a7S II Conclusion All in all, the Sony a6300 is a truly surprising camera. Who would have thought that a budget camera would perform so well when compared to the quality of the highly recommended Sony A7S II? When we compare the Sony a6300 vs. Sony a7S II, we see that the latter has slightly better quality in terms of dynamic range and low light capabilities, but the Sony a6300 certainly excels when it comes to fine image details and sharpness. Only the rolling shutter of this camera is below expectations and the HD quality is, for all intents and purposes, not recommended which makes the camera less suited for broadcast use. Overall, we’d say: Stay away from this camera if you are looking for a good HD mode and if you do lots of fast handheld shots, as the rolling shutter may become too apparent. Besides those two points, if you are looking for a camera that shoots great 4K with a quality that matches the Sony a7S II, at a much lower price-point and the form-factor of a small pocket camera, then the a6300 is a great pick. In combination with a Metabones Speed Booster, this is probably the best affordable 4K camera on the market right now—highly recommended! [UPDATE:] Note that we have not tested NTSC 30p mode. Other testers report that in 30p the camera will crop the image and give you more noise and worse lowlight performance, but better rolling shutter. If you require 30p we recommend you test the camera before you buy.Read more
The Sony Alpha a6300 is creating quite a stir – Johnnie already posted his mini documentary film shot with the entry-level mirrorless camera from Sony, and we are working on a series of further lab tests with the camera to see its strengths and weaknesses. From the specs, the camera sounds almost too good to be true: 4K internal in XAVC S on an APS-C sized sensor for below $1,000. That’s about one third of the price of the popular low-light beast, the Sony a7S II. The low-light test shoot setup Many people who saw our first review asked how it performs in low light, particularly compared to the Sony a7S II. On a rainy miserable dark rainy winter night here in Vienna, I decided to put together a versatile yet unusual handheld setup that would make the camera as light sensitive as possible. With a Metabones Speed Booster E-EF and a Canon EF L 70-200mm IS II f/2.8 zoom lens, I was out shooting a few test shots in the city center at an effective f/2.0 (gaining one additional stop of light with the Speed Booster). The base ISO of this camera is 800, but I used ISOs between mostly 3200 and 25,600 and to my surprise, the low light capability of the camera is exceptional. I didn’t do a comparison to the a7S II but it’s very very clean up all the way to 25,600 ISO. Sony a6300 with Metabones Speed Booster and the Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 Having the ability to use a Speed Booster on the Sony a6300 is a great gain because of its APS-C sized sensor, making the footage effectively look like it’s been shot on a full frame 35mm camera sensor, and adding over a stop of sensitivity. I decided to go handheld purely for practical reasons and this was not shot to win any beauty contests – I was trying to see harsh contrasts and deep shadows combined with bright lights at night, to stretch the sensor’s abilities. Please scroll down to watch an ungraded version of the UHD clip – you can also download it on Vimeo and have a play with yourself. (It’s encoded with 40MBit in H.264.) Noise reduction works differently Details of this will be highlighted in our upcoming lab tests, but we observed that the internal noise reduction of the camera seems to be working a little differently, calculating the difference between frames – which results in some ghosting with fast movement. This might be down to inferior processing power in the camera compared to the Sony a7S II. Ungraded version of the footage: Music from Music Bed: Paperchaser – The World We Made. If you find our reviews useful, please support us by buying through our links to B&H or CVP below this post. This gives us a tiny commission and keeps us going. Keeping this site running is never-ending hard work!Read more
Update: Head to our latest Sony a6300 reviews: lowlight test done by Nino and a comprehensive lab test done by Sebastian. Grading is tricky. In fact, it is an artform in itself. In my original a6300 article, I graded the footage to my liking and although I supplied a link to an ungraded version (which was downloaded hundreds of times), I kept hearing concerns from some of our followers about the low contrast grade I did. This morning, James Miller, a friend and colleague of mine whose Deluts I used for grading my original piece stepped in. He sent me 4 LUTS which were created specifically for that project and this camera. Please feel free to download those LUTs from here and grade the footage to your liking. The above video was re-graded very quickly using one of those very LUTs. Once again, thank you to everybody who watched and commented on the original film link. Camera picture profile used in this video: S-Log 2. Shot mostly on 800 native ISO, Edited on Adobe Premiere CC latest edition. Here you can find additional LUTs by James Miller (DELUTS) Music by musicbed. Title used : Your Favorite Song by Katrina Stone A huge thank you to Katharina Almer and Cornelia Rimser for allowing me to document a day in their professional life. Please support them in finding a sponsor for their sportive activity!Read more
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