Tagged: Review

I’ve been talking about GPU upgrades so I thought I’d post some rendering tests I did awhile back on the GTX 670 and the GTX 285 with CS6. Adobe CS6 is a bit long in the tooth now that CC is out, but I still know a lot of people who use it. The specs on both of these systems are what I would consider middle and lower end respectively in todays market.

I used two timelines, the first I’ll call the “Easy timeline” which is comprised of a 2 minute and 42 second clip with a few audio tracks, a few video tracks,  no major effects, simple transitions, and a few color corrections made. This would represent a basic film, cut, and edit type of situation. The second test timeline I’ll call the “Complex timeline” which is composed of a 2 minute and 36 second clip with 3 audio tracks, 14 video tracks, complex nested sequences, AE timelines, and dozens of effects. This would represent a music video, composting, or a motion graphics situation.

Here are the specs on the two test computers:

Desktop editing system one:

Desktop editing system two:

Number one will set you back around $700 or so used on ebay depending on your motherboard, power supply, and case selection, while number two will set you back around $350 to $400 used depending on the same factors.

Note: Some of the parts are old enough on these systems that you would most likely have to find them used, that includes the GPUs.

For each test I exported the clip using Adobe’s standard Mpeg2 1080p 29.97 preset and timed the render process with and without the Mercury Playback engine GPU acceleration. Above is the Easy timeline with a total length of 162 seconds.

Editing system one: without MPE GPU acceleration enabled, it was able to render the Easy timeline in 133 seconds, with MPE GPU acceleration enabled the Easy timeline rendered in 117 seconds. Even without GPU acceleration, system one was able to render at 21% faster than real time playback, with GPU acceleration that number Jumps up to 38% faster than real time playback.

Editing system two: without MPE GPU acceleration enabled, it was able to render the Easy timeline in 155 seconds, with MPE GPU acceleration enabled the easy timeline rendered in 141 seconds. Without any GPU acceleration it was able to render 4.5% faster than real time, with acceleration it was able to render at 15% faster than real time.

Add the GPU acceleration to the mix and there is a noticeable jump in rendering speeds.  If most of your work is simple editing with few complex effects and your average timeline isn’t longer than 15 minutes, you probably won’t need the extra boost in rendering speed. The GTX 670 definitely provides an advantage over the GTX 285, but you’ll have to decide for yourself if it’s worth it to spend an extra $150 on the 670 upgrade. You could render that 20 minutes timeline in 12 minutes (GTX 670), 17 minutes (GTX 285) or 20 minutes with a low end graphics card.

I used the same render settings on Complex timeline (Mpeg2 1080p 29.97) as I did on the Easy timeline and timed the render process in the same manner. The Complex timeline (above) has a total length of 156 seconds.

Editing system one: without MPE GPU acceleration enabled, it was able to render the Complex timeline in 27 minutes 46 seconds (1666 seconds), with MPE GPU acceleration enabled the Complex timeline rendered in 9 minutes and 55 seconds (595 seconds). That’s a very impressive jump in rendering speed and really shows how much heavy lifting the GPU can do.

Editing system two: without MPE GPU acceleration enabled, it was able to render the Complex timeline in 38 minutes 45 seconds (2325 seconds), with MPE GPU acceleration enabled the Complex timeline rendered in 11 minutes 34 seconds (705 seconds). That’s still a very nice improvement to render speeds over the base system.

This test really shows how much the MPE GPU acceleration can do for render speeds even on a lower end system. However, I was less impressed with the 18% speed difference between the GTX 670 and the GTX 285 rendering the Complex timeline. The 670 wins the battle for speed but loses the battle for value. You can buy a used GTX 285 for around $60 v.s. the GTX 670 at around $230 used, is an 18% speed gain worth the price difference?

That’s not quite the end of the battle though. Timeline playback is also a very important issue to address. I can set Timeline playback on the GTX 670 to 100% quality without any playback issues on the Easy timeline, and 50% quality on the complex timeline and still get real time playback.

The GTX 285 stutters a bit on the Easy timeline at 100% quality, and plays smooth at %50. On the complex timeline, even at the lowest quality settings, playback is choppy after about 30 to 40 seconds. Pre-rendering effects in the timeline was really the only way to get smooth playback on the GTX 285 running the Complex timeline.

Conclusion

Although the GTX 670 does provide a noticeable rendering speed increase, it’s biggest value for me is real time playback. With the MPE GPU acceleration enabled most GTX cards (1GB and above) will provide a good boost to rendering speeds. If you’re work doesn’t require much more than 3 or 4 video tracks and some basic editing, the best value is going to be one of the lower priced cards like the GTX 285. On the other hand, if you use a lot of motion graphics, multi-cam, and AE projects in your timeline, spending the extra money on something like the GTX 670 or newer is definitely worth consideration.

The post How much does a GPU really affect your Adobe Premiere workflow? appeared first on DSLR Film Noob.

All credit is given to author DSLR Film Noobdeejay scharton

In the second part of our 4th episode of ON THE COUCH, we have representatives from the two largest camera manufacturers in front of our cameras – Peter Yabsley from Canon and Fabien Pisano from Sony.

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In a very friendly discussion between two big competitors, we talk about new cinematography related products that Canon and Sony have to offer. The little 4K wonder Sony A7S is a topic, and so are upgrades for the F5 and F55 line which provide additional functions like ProRes recording. On the Canon side of things we talk firmware updates for the C100 / C300 and the new continuous AF that’s now possible after the upgrade. We talk about the 17-120mm servo lens for S35mm cameras that Canon announced at NAB. The relevance of large sensor cameras compared to small sensor cameras and the different use cases are also topics, as well as new offerings by the two manufacturers in the small sensor arena.

The most insightful part of our talk is about industry trends and where everything is moving – with 4K being widely adopted from manufacturers and cameras getting smaller and more versatile, we talk about new markets for the two Japanese giants that would have been unthinkable only a decade ago.

For our entire NAB 2014 coverage, click here

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All credit is given to author cinema5DNino Leitner

I mentioned last night that I was very impressed with the Sony a7s low light performance. But sometimes you really have to see it to believe it. Sony was kind enough to let me hang out at their booth and shoot these high ISO tests. They wouldn’t let me use a memory card in the prototype camera but they did allow me to shoot the display monitor as I shifted through the ISO range.

The Sony a7s blows everything else out of the water. Low light performance on the a7s is simply outstanding. I don’t know when I’d ever need to shoot at ISO 80,000, but the Sony can do it and it does it better than the c100 or 5d mark III by a huge margin.

I’ll keep you posted on my continued fun at NAB.

The post Sony a7s high ISO testing up to 80,000 – I’m in love appeared first on DSLR Film Noob.

All credit is given to author DSLR Film Noobdeejay scharton

Changing my mind about the Sony a7s

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I was a little disappointed with Sony a7s announcement yesterday. I was hoping for internal 4k recording and that seemed to be the biggest disappointment for me. I had almost marked the Sony a7s off my list until I had a chance to play around with it this afternoon. Even though the internal 4k recording option was pretty much a no go, the low light performance was, for a lack of another term, amazing.

I spent 45 minutes at the sony booth playing around with the a7s today and I was basically blown away. I’ve shot on the 5d mark III for years and I trust it for shots up to ISO 6400, the Sony a7s blows it out of the water. Ian and I shot from ISO 32,000 all the way up to ISO 80,000. Even at ISO 80,000 the noise was less than a 5d mark III at ISO 6400. The Sony a7s is incredible in low light and puts the c100/c300 to shame.

While I’m disappointed with the lack of 4k internal recording, I think low light performance makes the Sony a7s an all around winner for 1080p applications. The added benefit of adapting Canon lenses makes the Sony a7s a great option for future upgrades. I’ve added the a7s to my list of things to buy.

The post Changing my mind about the Sony a7s appeared first on DSLR Film Noob.

All credit is given to author DSLR Film Noobdeejay scharton

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It looks like the story of 2014 is taking shape in the form of very high quality 4K on large sensor mirrorless cameras. Last year for me it was raw on the 5D Mark III which excited me the most and before that it was the Blackmagic Cinema Camera. This year is more exciting on the tech and creative front than any I can remember.

Here’s my look at how the GH4 and A7S compare in detail for 4K cinematography…

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Sensor size

  • GH4 – 1.5x crop (4K mode with Speed Booster) / 2.2x crop without Speed Booster
  • A7S – 1.0x crop (full frame mode)

Pixel size

  • GH4 pixel size – 3.7 µm
  • A7S pixel pitch – 8.4 µm (possibly greater)

The GH4 is a 1.5x crop with Speed Booster compared to full frame photographic. That is Super 35mm size. Without Speed Booster it is a 2.2x crop in 4K mode. You can still get the Super 35mm cinema look with most glass at this size of sensor. It is way bigger than Super 16mm (3x crop) or ‘small chip’ (5x crop or smaller).

The pixel pitch on the A7S depends on the gapless micro lenses and architecture of the sensor but in theory 12MP on a full frame CMOS should be around 8.4 µm. Much larger than even the 5D Mark III’s 5 µm pixel sizes and far larger than the GH4′s 3.7 µm. This should result in usably clean ISO 12,800 on the A7S while the GH4′s maximum usable ISO is around 3200, 6400 at a push if delivering 4K for 2K with noise reduction in post.

Which wins? Clearly for low light the A7S is going to be wonderful. The GH4 has a sensor size which is better suited to the Super 35mm cinema standard and APS-C lenses, while for the full frame look the A7S is obviously the way to go. The Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 on Speed Booster with the GH4 will give you a similar look to a Canon 24-70mm F2.8 on the A7S but to achieve a look close to that of a 24mm F1.4 or 50mm F1.2 is much harder. The GH4 will have the more manageable focus though as soon as anything moves. That’s quite important. Some of the A7S’s advantage in low light is reduced if you have to stop down to F5.6 or even F8 just to get manageable depth of field.

In 4K mode both cameras do a 1:1 pixel readout of the sensor, outputting all pixels in the 16:9 4K window with no binning or line skipping. This means moire and aliasing as we’ve experienced it is a thing of the past. On these cameras it will be reduced to the levels seen in JPEG still images – that is to say it just no longer a problem for everyday shooting.

Codec

  • GH4 4K codec – 100Mbit IPB (long-GOP) H.264 in Quicktime MOV
  • A7S 4K codec – N/A
  • GH4 1080p codec – 200Mbit/s ALL-I H.264 in Quicktime MOV
  • A7S 1080p codec – XAVC-S at 50mbit/s

HDMI output

  • GH4 – 4K 10bit 4:2:2
  • A7S – 4K 8bit 4:2:2

Grade-friendly picture profile

  • GH4 – Panasonic CineLikeD
  • A7S – SLOG 2

The lack of internal 4K recording on the A7S is very disappointing. The recorders to make use of this won’t be available for a while and will cost as much as the camera body again. The GH4 ships in late April and records 4K out of the box with no rig. It is very good 4K out of the box as well. It grades superbly and makes for excellent 2K delivery also.

The HDMI output of the A7S is key to why this camera is attractive but here too the GH4 is better specced. It can deliver 4K in 10bit as opposed to just 8bit on the A7S. It is a shame Sony did not push the boat out just a little bit more on the A7S’s 4K recording side. For 1080p it seems very good though, finally dumping AVCHD and going XAVC-S. SLOG 2 is also a welcome addition. This is flatter than CineLikeD on the GH4 though I question the wisdom of shooting too flat with an 8bit codec. It requires a more forceful grade and that will introduce banding.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Mount and lensing

  • GH4 – Micro Four Thirds
  • A7S – E-mount (FE)

Lenses define the overall look and feel of the GH4 and A7S far more than any other aspect on the spec sheet. Sony E-mount has the better compatibility with Canon EF lenses but you cannot use the Metabones Speed Booster on full frame. This is designed for crop sensors. PL adapters exist for both mounts but the GH4 has the sensor size better positioned to make use of cinema lenses designed for Super 35mm. My Cooke S4i/Mini lenses for example will not cover the full frame sensor of the A7S so if I want to use these for 4K I need the GH4.

I enjoy seeing the edges of lenses not just the sharp centre. This goes for all sensor sizes. On Super 16mm with the Digital Bolex I preferred to use C-mount lenses designed for the format for example, where you have a bit of softness and fall off at the edges and a sharp middle. This to me is attractive. Ditto on full frame, I like to see the edges of my Canon 50mm F1.2L where the bokeh begins to curve and go elliptical. Both the GH4 and A7S have lenses which are great matches for the sensor sizes. On the GH4 the Voigtlander 17.5mm and 25mm F0.95 will look beautiful. With Speed Booster on the GH4 my current favourite is the Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 which gives me a look close to the 24-70mm F2.8 on full frame but not quite as wide or as long. It’s very sharp and great in low light. The A7S arguably has the best rendering of the widest range of lenses, because there’s just SO MUCH full frame glass out there, from decades of photography, new and old. My favourites are the Canon L series (24mm F1.4L, 85mm F1.2L, zooms like the 70-200mm F2.8L IS) and of course the look of an Iscorama anamorphic on a Helios 44M is incredible on full frame. I still use a lot of vintage stuff when I want more flare and lower contrast. All the lenses I recommend will shortly feature in my A7/A7R/A7S lenses guide which you can pre-order now.

It’s worth noting that Panasonic have the most video optimised lenses for the GH4 but Sony are working hard behind the scenes on some rather appealing offerings like this -

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Image from DPReview

Audio and connectivity

Both cameras feature external XLR bolt-ons and the Sony solution is the most elegant. The GH4′s solution takes the form of the YAGH interface unit, which is ergonomically not great and requires external power. However you do get the added benefit of full size HDMI and HD-SDI ports with this. There’s no solution for HD-SDI on the A7S.

Both cameras use Micro HDMI ports on the camera body itself to deliver 4K video externally. This is the worst connection known to man. Far better would have been a full size HDMI connector with proprietary locking device which secures the jack to the chassis of the camera rather than just to the internal circuit board. The problem is more of an issue on the A7S as the GH4 can record 4K internally. If the jack falls out on the A7S you lose the shot. If it falls out of the GH4 you just lose the monitoring. That said when outputting 10bit 4K over HDMI on the GH4 for recording, you can’t record to the SD card simultaneously as a backup.

Both cameras feature 3.5mm mic and headphone jacks along with the usual array of on screen audio meters and gain controls.

Form factor

With such small cameras you have opportunities but also some drawbacks. The A7S is the smaller of the two and it will be interesting to see how the smaller battery holds up vs the large one in the GH4. It might be nice to bulk out the A7S a bit with the Sony battery grip. In the UK the GH4 actually comes with a Panasonic battery grip in the box at some retailers for no extra charge. Both are weather proof and have magnesium alloy shells.

I am not sure the parts you need to attach to the A7S are exactly well matched in size to the compact body though… Getting a good balance is going to be a problem with this camera.

Atomos Shogun NAB 2014 (Sony Mount)

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Rolling shutter

This could be a real deal-breaker on the A7S if it does not perform well. The Sony AX100 was very poor in 4K mode with regards skew. The lower megapixel count of 12MP should help here but it is a big sensor in terms of physical size. It all depends how fast that readout is. On the GH4 the sensor readout is 50% faster than the GH3, which already had some of the least rolling shutter skew of all the affordable 1080p cameras. So a positive here for the GH4 and a question mark for the A7S.

Slow-mo

The GH4 shoots full HD 1080p at 96fps and image quality depends on the shot. For lenses like the Panasonic 35-100mm F2.8 you get a nice sharp slow-mo image for medium close-ups and people. For wide angle work at 12mm the results are less impressive because the image doesn’t resolve as sharply or as cleanly at 96fps as it does at 60fps. The 96fps rate is certainly more dramatic and Frank Sauer showed me some amazing results from his shoots using it. I’ll have more on slow-mo in the final GH4 Production Diary later in the week.

The A7S shoots 120fps but only at 720p. To be honest 1080p at 96fps looks more like 720p in terms of detail on the GH4 so this on paper might not be too much of a disadvantage for the A7S. It all depends on if it can maintain image quality at this resolution and speed. I’m expecting a lot of line skipping in this mode. The low light prowess of the 12MP full frame sensor though should come in very handy for slow-mo, because you have to use much faster shutter speeds at 120fps compared to 24fps. I’m not expecting the image to beat the FS700′s slow-mo given the price of the camera but it could be a very cool creative tool. I shot this on the super cheap Nikon V1 – resolution is not everything!

Click here to view the embedded video.

Personal opinion

I will be shooting with both of these cameras this year. I am super excited to own both of them. I’ve already shot for a week with a pre-production GH4 and loved the images. For me the pair of them each have their own purpose. Speaking personally for my own filmmaking work, the GH4 has the advantage of small size and stealth as it doesn’t need an external monitor or recorder for 4K recording and it has a sensor size compatible with my Cooke PL mount lenses. This will be useful for on-location situations that call for high image quality but discrete filming, to capture a natural mood and non-staged moments as a documentary shooter.

The A7S I will use for low light shooting mostly or when I specifically want a full frame look for a locked down shot. Overall I am expecting the image to be most exciting from the A7S. Full frame – love it. Low light – love it. No internal codec – don’t love it! Although shooting wide open on such a large sensor gains you an extra dimension of aesthetic beauty that is sometimes lost on a smaller sensor, I don’t love trying to focus it on a moving subject. I don’t like the shallow depth of field where people drop in and out of focus constantly but I do love the silky lack of noise, wide dynamic range and full frame rendering of photographic lenses that a full frame sensor gives me.

I am expecting nearly 14 stops in 4K video mode out of the A7S. By that I mean captured and baked as shot, not 14 stops that you can shift around in post like with raw, though it will be interesting to see what SLOG 2 handles like on this camera.

Well done Sony for trying something amazing here, even if in terms of some of the implementation it is a bit tepid and doesn’t quite go far enough. Let’s hope the 4K external HDMI capture solutions are as exciting as the A7S itself.

By the way – what happened to these shown at last year’s NAB? Is the A-mount one dead and did it evolve into the A7S? I’m not expecting this to be the only 4K camera Sony announce this year. Photokina comes in September, which should be pretty interesting too.

sony 4k cinema dslr sony cinema prototype

The post Panasonic GH4 vs Sony A7S compared – who wins the 4K battle on paper? appeared first on EOSHD.com.

All credit is given to author EOSHD.comAndrew Reid

Over all I’ve been pretty impressed with the image quality of the MustHD 5.6 inch field monitor. For a monitor in this price range it looks really good and the 1280×800 screen resolution is a very nice plus. The design and implementation of the sun hood and battery plates are very well thought out and the HDMI locking ports are a nice touch.

For the most part controls are pretty easy to use and the remote is an interesting feature for quick checks on focus. With the programmable button on the front of the panel, you probably won’t need to spend much, if any time digging through the menu system once you have this setup.

MustHD 5.6 inch monitor (2 of 8)

On the downside the MustHD monitor’s headphone port is a bit noisy which isn’t a deal breaker, but a little disappointing. While the build quality is very good for the price, it is made out of plastic, so you’ll want to protect it and keep it out of the rain. Also I personally prefer the red indication for focus peaking over the method used on the MustHD, however that’s more of a personal preference than a complaint.

MustHD 5.6 inch monitor (1 of 8)

I’m still surprised that they can include this good of a screen on the MustHD for this price. It was only a few years ago that we were paying almost as much for a 800×480 screen with far less options.

If you are working with a camera that can actually take advantage of the 1280×800 screen the MustHD 5.6 inch field monitor is well worth considering for the price. I think this will be replacing my smallhd dp4 in my camera bag for any jobs that aren’t out in the elements.

You can find out more about the MustHD on their site. You can also check out these earlier posts here and here for more hands on and pictures. If I get some time maybe I’ll compare this to the Aputure V-screen and Smallhd DP6 to see how it stacks up.

The post MustHD 5.6 inch 1280×800 HDMI field monitor Review appeared first on DSLR Film Noob.

All credit is given to author DSLR Film Noobdeejay scharton

Sony A6000 with Zeiss 50mm F1.4 on Speed Booster

Sony A6000 with Zeiss 50mm F1.4 on Speed Booster

Buy the new Sony A6000 on eBay

Pre-order the new Sony A6000 for $648 at B&H

The Sony A6000 is the best Sony consumer camera yet for video. A Nikon D5300 in a mirrorless body, with far more features, the image quality is closer to the FS700 in 1080p than to a NEX 7 or A5000. The pristine sharp EVF, a magnified focus assist which can be activated whilst recording (rare!), peaking, zebra, 16:9 screen and of course the mirrorless form factor. This is arguably the best current ‘cheap’ camera for video, de-throning the GH2 and GH3. At just $650 it is an absolute bargain.

All eyes are currently on the Panasonic GH4 and for good reason, because the image is spectacular in 4K and 4K is the future. If you want the ultimate image quality for the price, the GH4 is it. It is a pro cinematography tool priced like a consumer camera. I much prefer the GH4′s image in 4K over the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera.

However Sony are also pushing very hard and the A6000 really is a lovely camera for video. I am told the A7R could have done 4K but only for a few seconds due to heat issues. The A6000 does not do 4K but it does do lovely 1080p.

4K might not (yet) be for everyone so if that is the case for you then prepared to get excited because the Sony A6000 is a mega surprise. For a start it is $650. The GH4 price is amazing for what it is, but this is $1000 less and only really lacks one major feature of the GH4… the 4K image. The rest of the camera is packed with good stuff.

It has a larger sensor than the GH4, Super 35mm so a good match to the Hollywood standard. With Speed Booster you can go full frame with it.

It has high speed frame rates up to 60fps at full resolution, great 24MP stills quality, very nice OLED EVF, articulated screen, uncompressed HDMI output and pretty good built quality as well.

Have we seen this sensor before? It seems very similar to the one in the Nikon D5300, which was manufactured by Sony. That delivered lovely video, nice and clean, good in low light but unfortunately the form factor wasn’t great for video and it lacked a lot of features. The A6000′s form factor and handling are lovely. It has loads of video features and aids to help you get the right exposure and focus just like a proper video camera should.

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Sony have completely revamped the sensor since the NEX 6 and NEX 7, which was much needed. They have also paired it with a much better image processor. The result is a much cleaner video image and you can tell even from looking at the LCD in live view mode how much better it is. The image through the EVF simply looks SUPERB and for the price this is wonderful. In stills mode moire and aliasing are clearly visible on the LCD and in the EVF but switch to movie mode on the dial and all that goes away, detail increases and aliasing almost disappears as the special sensor mode is activated. In fact it’s a shame you can’t take stills in movie mode and have to switch back to the lower quality live-view feed for shooting stills.

The EVF and LCD are cutting edge – much better than you’d expect for a mid-range camera at such a cheap price point. The first generation OLED Trufinder in the NEX 7 is no-more. This one is larger, less edge smearing, better glass and better image quality.

Image quality – first look

This isn’t a full review but a first look at the camera. I’ve only just literally got it back from the Sony store in Berlin and I’m still exploring it.

The NEX cameras all suffered from a soft image with lots of moire and aliasing. The A7R improved matters only slightly. The RX10 did a good job on detail but the codec was weak and moire, aliasing was present still. So great to FINALLY see a Sony consumer camera without it in the A6000!

Download an original AVCHD clip straight from my card shot in 1080/25p at 24Mbit

Here are some frames from that clip, click them to see at 1080p resolution. This clip was very quickly shot, I have auto-white balance and standard picture profile. Not experimented with different ones yet but they do dial down very flat.

1080p frames:

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Provision pros and cons

I’m going to shoot more with this camera, it’s great fun. I’ll have a full review next week and final conclusion. For now I need to focus on the GH4 production diary updates, the next instalment I am working on now.

If you’re curious to try the A6000 in the meantime, it comes recommended. Just be aware that the audio side of things is a bit basic (see the cons).

Pros

  • Excellent 1080p image, sharp with few artefacts
  • Super 35mm size (APS-C) sensor
  • Focus peaking and magnified focus assist can be activated whilst rolling
  • Zebra for accurate exposure
  • Very responsive, quick to use
  • Mirrorless mount, compatible with huge range of glass including Canon EF with Metabones Smart Adapter
  • Speed Booster gives you the full frame look on this camera and amazing low light performance
  • Fantastic low light performance from new sensor
  • Almost no moire and aliasing in video mode, like 5D Mark III and Nikon D5300 / D7100
  • Very nice EVF and articulated screen
  • Very small, but good build quality
  • Alpha menus a big improvement on NEX cameras
  • Alpha button layout much better than NEX
  • Extremely fast AF, continuous burst rates and great stills quality at 24MP
  • Extremely attractive price $649 / 649 euros

Cons

  • Audio shortcomings – no mic or headphone sockets, not compatible with A7R XLR box
  • SD card slot under battery cover on bottom of the camera
  • AVCHD codec has awkward file structure and poor support on Apple computers
  • 1080p is getting a bit old – 4K is the future

The post Sony Alpha A6000 video mode makes huge improvement appeared first on EOSHD.com.

All credit is given to author EOSHD.comAndrew Reid

Click here to view the embedded video.

Above: GH4 test footage shot in 4096 x 2160 Cinema 4K DCI mode. Academy 1.85:1 aspect ratio. CineLikeD profile for best dynamic range.

Tip jar EOSHD just $5 if you think this article is useful

Below: Cooke S4i Mini (uncoated Panchro/i version) on the GH4 with Ciecio7 PL adapter (buy it on eBay here)

GH4 Cooke PL lens

Andrew Reid (EOSHD) and Frank Sauer (Filmmaker) are shooting with the Panasonic GH4

On Day 1 of shooting with the GH4 we did a location scout at the Spreepark abandoned theme park in Berlin. The park has granted us paid access to do a proper shoot with the free runners so I am going to save the location scouting footage for when it comes to that edit and the final piece. Frank is near Frankfurt now with the GH4 to shoot a piece with a new aerial drone and gimbal (similar to MoVi) and I have been out shooting with the GH4 around Berlin to get an idea of the image quality when it comes to 4K. I’ve also tried grading the 100Mbit/s 4K codec in Premiere to see how well it holds up. Here are the results in glorious 4K!

Disclaimer 1: This GH4 is a pre-production model. Firmware version is v0.5. The image quality may not represent the final camera.

Disclaimer 2: Because I don’t have NDs big enough or good enough for the Cooke lenses yet, most shots were shot at higher shutter speeds than 180 degrees (1/50)

Tip: if you don’t have a Vimeo Plus account to download the original file and pixel peep I’ve uploaded some short GH4 4K clips here in ProRes LT format. Try grading them and looking at the detail 1:1!

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Above: Andrew Reid. Filmmaker and blogger, EOSHD

Frank Sauer

Above: Frank Sauer, Filmmaker

The real magic hour for me is the morning at sunrise. The dawn light has a other-worldly feel, it is pearly and hazy purple and more ethereal. Sunset in the evening has a more in-your-face impact, it is more romantic but less subtle. So for 2 days I have been awake, GH4 in one hand, tripod in the other to catch some of this incredible light in 4K, as well as capture a new dawn for camera technology.

The first thing which struck me when I started editing the footage is how well the 4K codec grades. I have never had H.264 that grades as well as this. You can do huge white balance corrections. It handles more like 10bit ProRes rather than something from a £1299 mirrorless camera.

CineLike D and V are available on the GH4 and these are pro picture profiles Panasonic also uses on the VariCam. CineLikeD is flat and brings up the blacks so great for grading. CineLikeV gives you a nice smooth cinematic image but punchy and ready to show straight off the card.

Film Convert is not yet optimised for the GH4 and there’s no profile but choosing a profile for the Blackmagic Pocket Camera (Video) or a GH3 setting allows you to work pretty well with it. The image is not ‘thin’ like on other DSLRs, it can be pushed around and not break up – especially if your final delivery is going to be 1080p from a 4K master. If this is the case you also have the added creative bonus of being able to do ‘ExTele’ mode in post rather than in-camera, with an extra focal length anywhere in the frame when cropping 4K to 1080p instead of scaling. For 1080p or 2K delivery it is best to transcode the 4K files to ProRes before you grade.

Here’s an example of how well the 4K grades…

The clip was set to the wrong white balance in-camera for the light we had, which was warm evening sunlight. I’ve corrected it with Film Convert Pro.

Ungraded, wrong white balance (click to enlarge):

gh4-ungraded

Graded with Film Convert in Adobe Premiere Pro CC (click to enlarge):

gh4-graded

In particular look at the improvement in the grass and the girl’s golden hair… amazing how it holds up to such heavy correction!

A new era

Back when enthusiasts were using a Canon HV20 camcorder as the cutting edge and pros were using Sony EX3s with clunky DOF adapter, along came interchangeable lenses, large sensors and DSLR video in 2008/9. The moment I saw Philip Bloom’s first GH1 shoot in Haiwaii (Kauai Sunset) the creative possibilities of this new equipment was clear and the price made it possible for me to jump right in. The song used on that video still plays in my head whenever I think back. I went out to my local camera store (at that time I was on holiday in Taipei, Taiwan) to track one down, finally finding a Japanese import at a family run store… got it back and unboxed it, I remember how tiny and advanced it looked for the time. That moment was the genesis of EOSHD, soon after I started blogging about the camera and I have not felt the same about any of the subsequent cameras since. It was a one off life changing moment. Don’t tell me cameras don’t matter. They do. Although they will send you mad.

IMG_0137b

So to the GH4 over 4 years later and this image is in a new league. It cannot be compared to any of the previous DSLR or mirrorless cameras.

Not many people realise this but all cameras do a raw video output from the sensor. 1080p has been done by only reading out a limited amount of raw data from the sensor though, and a JPEG still can use ALL the raw data which is why video always comes up way short in terms of image quality. The GH4 reads out all pixels from a 4096 x 2160 sized window of the full sensor. That data is identical to what you would see if opening a GH4 raw still and cropping out 4096 x 2160 in Photoshop. It is this data the GH4′s 4K codec uses to build the final compressed video. Immediately when that raw data comes off the sensor, Panasonic put their codec expertise to good use. The GH3 had the best codec on any stills camera out there. The GH4 moves this up into a whole new level. Up to 200Mbit/s (ProRes standard bitrates) in 1080p, up from 72Mbit/s on the GH3. The popular ALL-I options remain for 1080p but in 4K the codec is more efficient, using IPB compression (Long GOP) to save space.

Ciecio7 PL adapter for Micro Four Thirds on the Panasonic GH4

Above: The Ciecio7 PL adapter for Micro Four Thirds on the Panasonic GH4 (buy it on eBay here)

I have not seen any moire in the GH4′s 4K output yet. The only artefacts in the 4K image are related to aliasing from 4:2:0 colour sampling. Mr Uematsu told me that all internal processing and debayering is done in 10bit 4:2:2. However the internal 4K codec drops this to 8bit 4:2:0 to save space. You’re thankful for the light footprint of this codec though after using Blackmagic 4K ProRes or 5D Mark III raw files! Much more practical to store and archive. The 4:2:0 artefacts are barely noticeable as is the compression. On some shots any artefacts are entirely absent and disappear altogether if scaling the 4K to 2K, resulting in a 2K or 1080p 10bit 4:4:4 image. You can do this with FFMPEG and Frank has tried it. This will be later in the production diary.

Another option is to use a 4K capable external recorder to grab the uncompressed 10bit 4:2:2 4K image from the GH4′s micro HDMI port.

It’s amazing that the GH4 has such a high spec HDMI output but a Micro HDMI port is not ideal. 10bit 4K is a pro-level feature and the pro video port is HD-SDI so finding a recorder to accept this 10bit 4K signal over HDMI is going to be tricky for a few months before new options appear. Until then we have the rather clunky external YAGH interface unit which gives the GH4 those lovely HD-SDI ports.

The internal 4K codec is not entirely free of compression artefacts like macro-blocking, particularly noticeable on blue skies – but again downrezzing to 2K or 1080p cleans that up no-end and you gave to be really pixel peeping the 4K footage to notice that it is compressed. If you want a finer grain to the GH4 like a ‘film stock’ then again, use the uncompressed 4K output from the camera HDMI port or YAGH box instead.

If I were Panasonic I’d have used a stronger OLPF in the camera just to take the sharpness and edge off the 4K video. This is definitely a camera you’re best dialling down to -5 on the picture profile sharpness setting. I did not do this on all my footage so we live and learn. That’s why some of it looks a bit over sharpened, sorry about that!

IMG_0065b

Editing and grading

There’s two ways to approach the GH4 in post. With the GH2 I hardly ever graded. I put all my effort into the shoot and on getting the image right at the time of shooting.

The good news is a Macbook Pro 15 Retina and iMac 27″ will edit the GH4′s 4K material at full resolution if you just have the clip on the timeline and no effects. If you add effects and multiple tracks then you need to drop the playback resolution to 1/2 or 1/4.

When not grading GH4 footage I used the same tricks I did with the GH2. Expose to prioritise either shadows or highlights. Do your grading in-camera with the picture profile settings.

H.264 is not like raw when you can choose your white balance and exposure in post. What the GH4′s codec should really be compared to is ProRes on the Alexa – the ultimate lossy compressed image. I would love to get some Alexa footage and see how the GH4 grades by comparison. That isn’t to say I think it will be a match, what I am saying is that is the current HD benchmark and I want to see how the GH4′s 8bit 4K codec compares to the best 2K stuff.

There’s around 4x the data in the 4K GH4 files compared to 1080p on the GH3 so your hardware needs 4x the power to crunch through it. Putting playback resolution to 1/4 on less powerful systems or when you have lots of plugins therefore makes sense.

GH4 codec menu

Both Twixtor and Film Convert can be set to GPU accelerated but laptops and iMacs don’t have the GPUs you need to really go for lots of effects and tracks on a 4K timeline. My iMac is the late 2013 model (27″) with Nvidia GTX 775M 2048MB and CUDA but this was not enough to give me realtime 4K playback with Film Convert Pro 2 on full. Rendering speeds improved with the GPU compared to using the 3.4ghz CPU but not by the leap I’d expect. Maybe the plugins are just not optimised to work with 4K yet? Also Film Convert uses OpenCL for GPU acceleration whilst Nvidia cards work better with CUDA – their OpenCL performance is really not that good.

Although setting Premiere to quarter playback resolution results in a very aliased playback monitor, it’s fine for giving you immediate feedback about how the edit is progressing though in terms of timing, mood, etc. without having to constantly wait for rendering your next chunk.

In Premiere it also helps to change the sequence setting to ProRes if using Film Convert, because there seems to be a bug whereby Film Convert will sometimes corrupt image quality (making it look terribly blocky) when editing in native H.264.

Of course 4K can also be transcoded to whatever format and resolution you like for the final delivery. If your final delivery is in 1080p it makes sense to transcode to 1080p ProRes early on so your editing is realtime. The 4K files from the GH4 make amazing looking 10bit ProRes 1080p 4444 but that extra transcode step does add time to your workflow early on, so a fast turn-around might be more tricky.

This GH4 derived ProRes does grade really nicely though in 10bit 4444 and it is this I want to compare to 2k ProRes on the Alexa.

In a nutshell this situation is the same as when full HD came along and people were stepping up from standard definition. And to get some perspective… the GH4 files are much quicker and easier to edit than raw from DSLRs or Blackmagic so the fast turnarounds can be had, even on laptops.

Rolling shutter

In 4K the sensor has to read out 2160 lines which is double 1080p. That takes twice as long so the sensor has to be sped up to avoid rolling shutter which is doubly bad.

The Sony AX100 really suffers from rolling shutter in 4K mode, it is horrendous. Here’s a great example from my friend Emmanuel Pampuri (French readers can view his latest GH4 test too here). Lovely moggy! Rolling shutter test is around 4:35 at the end…

Click here to view the embedded video.

Thankfully the Panasonic GH4 avoids the worse of rolling shutter issues in 4K, because the sensor readout has been sped up by 50% over the GH3.

This helps with stills too because the camera features an electronic shutter mode when you want to use it in complete silence. This uses the rolling shutter for 16MP raw stills, very nice.

In 4K video mode the rolling shutter skew is about what we’re used to with other cameras in 1080p like the GH3.

Almost all cameras, even the Alexa have rolling shutters so if your work needs a global shutter my advice is get a global shutter :) There are some options especially for global shutter and none of them have the all round feature set of the GH4 and the low price. Take a look at the Digital Bolex, Blackmagic Production Camera (both $3k) or for pros the Sony F55 ($29k).

Shooting

For fun I shot this test footage with the GH4 at Berlin’s Mauerpark (Wall park) flea market. Like most things in Berlin the park is currently under threat from property developers. Sucks! I also shot around Mitte and Museum Island in the centre of town.

Since this is one of my first shoots with the GH4, there are some things I would have done differently. I am learning like you all are about this camera as I go. First my PL adapter needs a bit of fine tuning I think. It is a bit loose on the GH4′s Micro Four Thirds mount and I think occasionally it rotates by a tiny amount and gives me a soft corner or two with the Cookes. I’m looking into this now. With 4K you really notice any optical issue because everything else is so sharp.

Secondly I’d have exposed for the highlights a bit more and for the sky to really get the hazy dawn light to sing, as I would have done with the GH2. The GH4 has really good dynamic range – around 12 stops I’d say – and the codec grades really well, but it is not raw. You have to get your exposure spot on at the time of shooting. On the GH4′s display the shadows look a lot darker than they actually are so sometimes you think you’re under exposing too much and overexpose to compensate. That’s a mistake, so use the histogram instead for exposure.

GH3 and GH4 with Cooke and SLR Magic lenses

Lenses

The GH4 with the Cooke PL lenses is pretty special – so sharp, almost too sharp. I think Luke Neumann said it best when he revealed he was selling a RED Epic kit and replacing it with the GH4; spending the money he saved on more important things like lenses and projects.

Lenses are an essential investment when it comes to any camera and in 4K mode the GH4 has approximately a 1.5x crop sensor over Super 35mm and a 2.2x crop sensor over full frame, so get the glass to suit the project. If you want a more ‘full frame’ feel on the GH4, use the Metabones Speed Booster and some very fast Nikon glass, or the super fast glass (F0.95) from others.

So far I have shot with the following lenses on the GH4

  • Cooke Panchro/i (S4i Mini) 50mm T2.8
  • Cooke Panchro/i (S4i Mini) 32mm T2.8
  • Cooke Panchro/i (S4i Mini) 25mm T2.8
  • SLR Magic 12mm T1.6
  • Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 (via Speed Booster)
  • Voigtlander Nokton 25mm F0.95
  • Olympus 12mm F2.0

Sadly all my Canon EF glass can’t be used as there’s still no sign of the Metabones Speed Booster with Smart EF ability. This is really needed. I do have an EF adapter for Micro Four Thirds but obviously it is a bit useless and some lenses like the 85mm F1.2L can’t even focus on it because they have a fly-by-wire focus ring.

Canon 85mm F1.2

Above: The Canon 85mm F1.2L won’t work on the Panasonic GH4 via the passive M4/3 mount adapter here – so sadly it is just for show. Where IS the Metabones adapter?

IMG_0052b

Above: Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 on Metabones Speed Booster with the GH4

The Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 is super sharp on the Speed Booster in 4K with the GH4. This is my favourite zoom of all the DSLR options out there. You have to go to modern PL mount cinema lenses designed for Super 35 to get a better one. The aperture is crazy fast yet it is so sharp wide open at F1.2 (on the Speed Booster). Use it without the Speed Booster and it loses some its appeal because you lose the wide end and have to expose at F1.8 instead of F1.2

More to come

What is to come in Day 3 and 4 of the production diary?

  • Low light test up to ISO 6400 in 4K and 1080p - How does it rank against the 5D Mark III raw in low light and the GH3?
  • 8bit 4K converted to 10bit 2K and 1080p – how does it compare to the internal 8bit 1080p?
  • Shootout with the Canon 5D Mark III raw, Nikon D7100, Panasonic GH4 and Blackmagic Pocket Camera!
  • Further footage and shoots

As always check EOSHD tomorrow for the next instalment.

The post Panasonic GH4 4K Production Diary – Day 2 – Test Footage appeared first on EOSHD.com.

All credit is given to author EOSHD.comAndrew Reid

First, sorry for my lack of enthusiasm in this video, I filmed this right after a 12 hour shoot that sucked the life out of me. Still after all of the debate I really wanted to find out more about the aperture flicker many of you were reporting. I’ve watched the test clips a number of times and at f2.8 the Panasonic 12-35mm f2.8 does flicker quite noticeably as you zoom in and out. The Olympus 12-40mm f2.8 seems to suffer from this as well though far less noticeably. Also the Panasonic 12-35mm f2.8 i’m testing seems to flicker at higher F-stops while the flicker on the Olympus completely goes away at f3.2 and above. Paul made a good point in the comment section

The aperture is not mechanically linked to the zoom in this case, the aperture jumps positions electronically as the focal length changes.

After using much bigger lenses, I hadn’t really thought about how the aperture is actually controlled in some of these M4/3 lenses. To make the Panasonic 12-35mm f2.8 as small as it is, it makes sense that they would have to use an electronically controlled aperture.

Olympus vs Panasonic (1 of 1)

Holding both of these lenses in my hands the Olympus 12-40mm f2.8 feels a lot more substantial. The focus ring and zoom ring on the Olympus are metal and the rubber on the Panasonic 12-35mm f2.8 zoom ring makes it feel sort of like a kit lens. The Panasonic i’m borrowing has been in action for awhile (note the marks near the HD logo) so maybe it’s just been worn in, but in my personal opinion the Olympus 12-40mm f2.8 feels like a nicer piece of kit.

The other major thing on my list to test is the image stabilization system. Hopefully I’ll have some time to play around with that today or tomorrow and see if that’s where the Panasonic 12-35mm f2.8 really shines. I have until Friday to squeeze in a full review, if I don’t get it done you might end up with a few short bits like the one above. If there is anything you guys want me to test, just let me know.

The post Panasonic 12-35mm f2.8 vs Olympus 12-40mm f2.8 flicker test appeared first on DSLR Film Noob.

All credit is given to author DSLR Film NoobDeejay

First, sorry for my lack of enthusiasm in this video, I filmed this right after a 12 hour shoot that sucked the life out of me. Still after all of the debate I really wanted to find out more about the aperture flicker many of you were reporting. I’ve watched the test clips a number of times and at f2.8 the Panasonic 12-35mm f2.8 does flicker quite noticeably as you zoom in and out. The Olympus 12-40mm f2.8 seems to suffer from this as well though far less noticeably. Also the Panasonic 12-35mm f2.8 i’m testing seems to flicker at higher F-stops while the flicker on the Olympus completely goes away at f3.2 and above. Paul made a good point in the comment section

The aperture is not mechanically linked to the zoom in this case, the aperture jumps positions electronically as the focal length changes.

After using much bigger lenses, I hadn’t really thought about how the aperture is actually controlled in some of these M4/3 lenses. To make the Panasonic 12-35mm f2.8 as small as it is, it makes sense that they would have to use an electronically controlled aperture.

Olympus vs Panasonic (1 of 1)

Holding both of these lenses in my hands the Olympus 12-40mm f2.8 feels a lot more substantial. The focus ring and zoom ring on the Olympus are metal and the rubber on the Panasonic 12-35mm f2.8 zoom ring makes it feel sort of like a kit lens. The Panasonic i’m borrowing has been in action for awhile (note the marks near the HD logo) so maybe it’s just been worn in, but in my personal opinion the Olympus 12-40mm f2.8 feels like a nicer piece of kit.

The other major thing on my list to test is the image stabilization system. Hopefully I’ll have some time to play around with that today or tomorrow and see if that’s where the Panasonic 12-35mm f2.8 really shines. I have until Friday to squeeze in a full review, if I don’t get it done you might end up with a few short bits like the one above. If there is anything you guys want me to test, just let me know.

The post Panasonic 12-35mm f2.8 vs Olympus 12-40mm f2.8 flicker test appeared first on DSLR Film Noob.

All credit is given to author DSLR Film Noobdeejay scharton