in december some friends and i had the opportunity to do a quick test with 3 cameras that shoot raw. the hacked 5d3, black magic cinema camera 2.5k and the red scarlet mx.
we created a few scenarios that we could quickly shoot the cameras in to see how they would handle latitude, skin tone, and detail. to keep things as fair as possible we would try and shoot each camera with an equivalent focal length to the others (adjusting for sensor size), keep iso settings at 800, and shoot each with the same aperture. i’ve exported each to a 1080 resolution as that still seems to be the most standard viewing format. the raws are of course available at the end for you to play with. here are the results (in order of 5d3/bmcc/scarlet):
highlight and shadow (un-edited):
highlight and shadow (recovery):
skin tone (un-edited):
i’m not sure there are really a ton of surprises here. as an avid mark3 advocate i’ll readily admit the strengths the other two cameras have over the canon; primarily the latitude and the resolution. the big surprise was just how much that latitude seemed to help the image quality of the black magic cinema camera. i’m not a fan at all of the form factor of the bmcc, and i think for a ‘professional’ camera, the options are too limited, however that sensor sure yields a pretty image with plenty of wiggle-room.
the scarlet also i thought represented the mx sensor well, while not quite the latitude of the bmcc, it still produced lots of usable shadow detail, and the skin tones seemed just fine and plenty malleable, despite it’s detractors assertions they are unpleasing.
as for my darling, the mark 3, i still think when properly exposed creates (arguably) the best image-per-pixel of the bunch. that being said, a properly exposed image for the mark 3 has at least a few less stops of dynamic range with which to create a good image.
as for detail, raw serves all of these cameras quite well. obviously the bmcc and scarlet have a higher resolution, so cropping and punching-in will work better on those cameras, but original image to broadcast image each camera seems to be effectively the same in sharpness.
as noted in the title, this is part 1. a video showing each of the above tests is currently being cut together and when it’s finished i’ll post that as well.
click here for the original files if you’d like to play with them yourself, and probably show me where i went wrong.