by Sebastian Wöber | 3rd October 2016
The Fujifilm X-T2 mirrorless camera is quickly becoming a candidate as the new gold standard in affordable 4K video. But will it be replacing the famous Sony a7S II as the best mirrorless video camera for cinematic shooting? Fujifilm X-T2 – Best Mirrorless Video Quality? Video shooters live in good times. Every few months, a new video shooting mirrorless camera rocks the market and gives us better cinema-like quality and features. Last year, the Sony a7S II quickly became the best mirrorless video camera you could get, with a nice 4K image, numerous useful video features and impressive lowlight performance. Just two weeks ago, the Panasonic GH5 was announced and raised the bar once more with its specs, offering internal 4:2:2 10bit in 4K, though this camera will only see the light of day in 2017. For now, the Fujifilm X-T2 has landed on our desk and stands a serious contender against the Sony a7s II as the new gold standard. Let’s take a look. We recently tested the Fujifilm X-T2 in a documentary style situation (check out our review). Few people expected that this camera would be quite so interesting for both photographers as well as video shooters. This is only Fujifilm’s first attempt at implementing 4K video into one of their mirrorless cameras, yet they got a lot of things right, and even since our review some new features have been implemented via a firmware update: Now you can get extended dynamic range (H-2, S-2) when recording internally. Comparison: Fujifilm X-T2 vs. Sony a7S II Both the Fujfilm X-T2 as well as the Sony a7S II are designed as mirror-less cameras in a photo body. The Fujifilm X-T2 has the Fuji X-Mount and houses an APS-C sized sensor. The Sony a7S II has the Sony E-mount and houses a full-frame sensor. There are fans for both sensor sizes, but in terms of the lens-mount, there are only a few adapters for Fuji right now, while there are many options for Sony E. This could change in the future, if user interest for Fuji X-Mount adapters rises. In our cinema5D Test Lab we have tested and compared many cameras. In this review we will take a closer look at how the Fujifilm X-T2 sensor performs in comparison to the one in the Sony a7S II. Fujifilm X-T2: Max Resolution: 4K UHD Max Framerate 4K: 29.97fps Max Framerate HD: 59.94 Log Gamma: F Log Sensor: Aps-C Mount: Fuji X Codec Bitrate 4K: 105mbit Price: About $1600 Sony a7S II: Max Resolution: 4K UHD Max Framerate 4K: 29.97fps Max Framerate HD: 120fps Log Gamma: Slog2 & Slog3 Sensor: Full-Frame Mount: Sony E Codec Bitrate: 95mbit Price: About $3000 Use the Fujifilm X-T2 with “F Log” The Fujifilm X-T2 has some unique properties, most notably “F Log”, Fujifilm’s very own log gamma setting that creates the most neutral and natural image with the highest dynamic range. Unlike the Sony a7S II which records Slog 2 (or Slog 3) internally, Fujifilm has restricted F Log to external recorders. Why did Fujifilm decide to do that? We actually talked to Jun Watanabe from Fujifilm about this recently, and it seems that they are open to implementing internal F Log should user interest be there (see the whole interview here). Considering that the Fujifilm X-T2 comes at half the price of the Sony a7S II, and how beautiful the X-T2 image is (more on that later), it’s still quite a valid option to connect a $1300 external recorder (eg: Atomos Ninja Flame) to it, in order to get that nice 4:2:2 8bit F Log image in 4K. The Fujifilm XT-2 has a micro hdmi connection to output F Log in 4K to external recorders. Back at the editing desk you will notice that the XT-2 has the same problems when it comes to external recording as the Sony a7S II in Slog2 gamma. In practice, this means you will lose 1 stop of dynamic range unless you find a way to turn those video levels into their proper values. This can be done with our Slog FIX LUT either during recording or in post with no quality loss (Get it here). Flip out lcd monitor on the Fujifilm XT-2 If you use this camera for internal recording only, the X-T2 also offers some very nice film simulations (picture profiles) and still has very good image quality. But if you are dependent on a Log gamma for your post workflow, you will need an external recorder. We hope Fujfilm will include internal F Log in a future firmware update. Dynamic Range A good dynamic range rating allows us to capture a larger range of shadows and highlights in high-contrast scenes. An important property when it comes to evaluating the best mirrorless video camera. We’re testing with a DSC labs XYLA-21 transmissive test chart. For this review we used the Fujifilm 56mm F/1.2 lens instead of the Zeiss 50mm Cp2 macro (more on how we test HERE). Our software measured about 12 stops of usable dynamic range on the Fujifilm X-T2. This is very similar to the rating of the Sony a7S II and Canon C300 mark II. Here’s a screenshot of the dynamic range of a few popular cameras compared. Usable Dynamic Range (SNR 1/0.5) – Blacks adjusted in the chart above for your convenience. 12 stops is very a good rating for a cinema camera. Many videographers today praise the Canon C300 mark II for its dynamic range qualities and when we take a closer look, the Fujifilm X-T2 isn’t far behind. High end cinematic productions still use the Arri ALEXA, as it outperforms all other cameras we have tested with its 14 stops of usable range. Image Quality This is where the Fujifilm X-T2 blows away most other cameras we have tested. The image of the X-T2 is very homogenous, clean and has a high resolution that dissolves lots of detail with a nice filmic grain. In the shot below you can see that the Fujfilm XT-2 offers slightly more detail than the Sony a7S II and seems to have better aliasing properties than both the Canon C300 mark II and Panasonic VariCam 35: Image resolution. 100% crops from 4K images In the star graphic above, the a7S II and X-T2 look very similar. However, when you compare the image detail of other shots of the X-T2 vs a7S II (see below), you quickly see that the Fujifilm X-T2 always produces cleaner and more accurate shots: Image detail. 100% crops from 4K images In practice, of course most users will downscale their images to HD, and for this purpose all mentioned cameras perform admirably. Still, the kind of quality you get out of the Fujfilm X-T2 is impressive and leaves even our beloved Sony a7SII behind. This is also true for internal recordings and certainly makes the XT-2 one of the best mirrorless video camera when it comes to image quality in 4K. The only comparable camera in this field is the wonderful Sony a6300 (see our test here). the a6300 however has strong weaknesses in other areas. Despite the lack of internal F Log, as mentioned earlier, the Fujifilm X-T2 comes with a variety of film simulating picture profiles in-camera. This is a very nice feature that we haven’t seen on any other camera yet. Others do offer “video picture profiles”, but none of them simulate filmic colors and contrast. Here are two different film simulations, recorded internally (105mbit H.264): Fujifilm X-T2 colors. 100% crops from 4K images As you can see image quality is just as impressive for internal recordings as it is when recording external 4K with an Atomos Ninja Assasin, like we did, or any other external 4K recorder. And HD Quality? Image quality in HD is not as impressive as in 4K mode. It is comparable to the Sony a7S II, but unfortunately there is also a lot of aliasing which creates lots of moire artefacts in contrasty image areas. The Sony a7S II performs better there and also offers 120fps, while the X-T2 only reaches 60fps. Below is a shot of the star chart and sieve comparing HD on both cameras: 100% crops of HD image Best Settings for Video on the Fujifilm X-T2 Fujifilm X-T2 Settings Menu Accessible via the “Q” button. Sharpness Sharpness should always be set to -4. Otherwise artificial sharpening is added in-camera and gives you a video-ish look. If needed, you can also add sharpness in post. H-Tone and S-Tone These two settings add a smooth highlight and shadow rolloff and increase the dynamic range of your image when set to -2 and -2. This was recently enabled via a new firmware update. Film Simulation There are several film simulation settings available for in-camera looks. Try them. We liked their “Ns” setting best. All other settings (besides “white balance” which you set as needed) should be left untouched for best results. You should always shoot in 4K and downsample as needed later on, to get the best results. Rolling Shutter The Sony a7S II suffered from severe rolling shutter effect, a phenomenon also referred to as “jello”. Unfortunately, the rolling shutter that we see on most CMOS sensor video cameras is also present on the Fujifilm X-T2, but in comparison it is less pronounced than on the a7S II. Lowlight The Sony a7S II is an absolute miracle when it comes to lowlight performance. In comparison, the Fujifilm can’t reach the same high ISO’s but holds up well until ISO 3200, which is not bad in comparison to other mirrorless video cameras. Unfortunately, beyond that the X-T2 should be used with caution, because there is heavy and visible noise reduction going on that does not even look nice when downsampled to HD. We wish it could be disabled. The following shot compares the Fujifilm X-T2 in F Log (ISO 800) and Sony a7S II in Slog 2 (ISO 1600) at both their base ISO’s and then at higher ISO’s. 100% crop from 4K image The a7S II retains image detail much better up until high ISO’s. This is especially visible in motion. Conclusion If you thought the Fujifilm X-T2 is just another ordinary attempt by a stills manufacturer to implement video as an additional selling point, then you were wrong. This small mirrorless camera shows us how image detail and an organic in-camera look is supposed to be executed and in our opinion brings it into the class of best mirrorless video cameras. The 4K (UHD) image from the Fujfilm X-T2 is nicer and cleaner than that of the Sony a7S II, and outperforms our favourite low cost 4K camera in the rolling shutter test while achieving the same dynamic range rating of 12 usable stops. When it comes to HD quality and frame rates, internal log recording and lowlight, the Sony a7S II still has the upper hand. Considering the availability of E-mount adapters for Sony, available accessories (like the Sony XLR-K2M audio module) and the compatibility of the Slog 2 gamma, the a7S II currently remains our camera of choice and holds the position of best mirrorless video camera. For those interested in the built-in film simulation, outstanding stills camera performance and superb image quality at half the price of the a7S II, the Fujfilm X-T2 should be a clear winner. Whichever you choose, both are outstanding cameras that leave most competition behind. Only the Sony a6300 is another camera you should look at if the budget is tight (see our a6300 review here). We hope this review helped you. Please consider getting your gear from one of our recommended retailers and let us know your thoughts in the comments.Read more
by Sebastian Wöber | 18th December 2015
The new Sony a7S II and Sony a7R II are currently leading the list of most powerful affordable large sensor cameras (Check out our comparison Review). To make those cameras work with third party accessories, a good camera cage is often a must. Read on to find the best Sony a7S II Cage (and a7R II Cage) out of 8 we tested. Review by Sebastian Wöber & Johnnie Behiri In August we reviewed the best cages for the original Sony a7S and now we take a look at cages for the new a7S II and a7R II cameras that share an identical body design. There are more cages out there that we didn’t test. Here we’re reviewing the ones that manufacturers sent to us in time to meet our publication deadline. We followed the same basic review guidelines of our first test, but also took reader comments into account. In particular Metabones adapter support was one review point that some of you were more interested in. We tried to keep it short, but this review is extensive. That’s why we split the reviews for each single cage into a separate page. Do you Need a Cage? In the age of small cinema cameras the camera cage has become the most popular accessory by now. But it is not always a good idea to follow the trend. First here’s a checklist to see if you really need a cage for your application. Mounting accessories on your camera? Cages provide mounting points (standard threads and coldshoes) so you can mount stuff. This is the main purpose of a camera cage, as the Sony a7 cameras by themselves don’t provide any other mouting points, besides one single hotshoe on top. Protection and Ergonomics. Cages protect the camera and can enhance the ergonomics, by offering a more handy form-factor or handle rec-triggers. On the other hand they add weight and some of thembulkyness. So if lightweight and compactness is your #1 concern, think again. HDMI cable protection. The original Sony a7S offered external 4K recording. As the new a7S II and a7R II have internal 4K, HDMI protection is less of a necessity. However if you intend to use HDMI for external screens, EVF or recording, then a cage that protects the HDMI port is essential. Lens Mount Support. If you use larger lenses or rigs with focusing gears, a solid lensport is a good idea. Sony’s native E-Mount is not the most sturdy of mounts and many shooters work with a Metabones adapter to use Canon EF mount lenses on the a7S II and a7R II. Why this Cage Comparison? Because there are huge quality differences between cages and you will not be happy with just any of them. Most of them actually are not recommended. Don’t just order a Sony a7S II cage blindly. You should weigh all the pro’s & con’s of the cages we present, so you can decide which of them will tick most or all your boxes. In our conclusion we will tell you which one we liked best, which ones we recommend and which need improvement. Structure of Each Review: Ease of assembly and disassembly. How securely is the camera attached to the cage? HDMI cable protector design. Do we have access to other outputs on the side? Is it possible to use the Sony XLR-K2M audio module? Can we easily access the lens release button? How well can we attach a tripod plate? How good is the included Rod Support? Metabones Mount Quality. The top-handle design. Overall ergonomics. Conclusion How We Rate We rated each point as follows: Double-green: In some rare cases we decided to give a double-green rating for outstanding performance/design. Green: The product performs as it should. Orange: There are some issues, but it’s ok. Red: The product didn’t live up to our expectations. Double-Red: Something is wrong here and should be addressed by the manufacturer. The Cages we Reviewed Simply click on the name of the product to get to the review page or find the conclusion at the end of this article. Products reviewed in alphabetical order. 8Sinn a7RII / a7SII Cage Came-Tv Rig for a7SII / a7RII Movcam a7RII / a7SII Cage Kit Moza Cage for Mirrorless Cameras Shape Sony a7S II / a7R II Cage Skier LiteCage for A7RII / A7SII Tilta for Sony a7 Cage ES-T17 Varavon Cage for a7R II, a7S II GO TO PAGE 2 → Links to each Cage Review: Page 1: Introduction Page 2: 8Sinn a7RII / a7SII Cage Page 3: Came-Tv Rig for a7SII / a7RII Page 4: Movcam a7RII / a7SII Cage Kit Page 5: Moza Cage for Mirrorless Cameras Page 6: Shape Sony a7S II / a7R II Cage Page 7: Skier LiteCage for A7RII / A7SII Page 8: Tilta for Sony a7 Cage ES-T17 Page 9: Varavon Cage for a7R II, a7S II Page 10: WinnerRead more
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