We have a treat for our readers today! FilmPro, Film Cyfrowy, and the Polish Society of Cinematographers have done a shootout of 12 of the worlds most popular cinema cameras, to see if there was any noticeable difference between the higher-end procams and the lower-priced alternatives.
The group said their reason for doing the test was, “Our goal was not to point out the winner or the loser. We just wanted to put these camera next to each other and to see how the images look together.”
- ARRI Alexa – ArriRaw
- RED Dragon – R3D 6K
- RED Epic – R3D 4K
- Kineraw Mini – CinemaDNG 2K
- Sony F55 – MXF 4K
- Sony FS700 + Odyssey 7Q – CinemaDNG 4K
- Canon C500 + AJA KiPro Quad – ProRes 4444 4K
- Canon 1DC – MOV 4K
- Canon 5D Mark III (with Magic Lantern) – CinemaDNG
- Blackmagic Production Camera – ProRes 4K
- Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera (represented twice with a PL adapter and a Metabones Speed Boster adapter) – CinemaDNG
- Lumix GH4 – MOV 4K
Inevitably, mistakes were made during the test, largely due to only having all the cameras together for a single day.
The greatest mistakes group made (that really should be pointed out) are:
- Canon 1DC was set to incorrect White Balance. Because the camera records only MOV not DNG, we couldn’t repair it. Anyway we decided not to skip the 1DC test.
- KineRAW Mini has advanced ISO setting, where you can achieve better results in highlights (ISO MODE – HIGHLIGHTS FOR ISO MODE) – but we had this camera only for 2 days and we couldn’t understand these settings. There was no time to get through all of the settings.
- Lumix GH4 – it was first GH4 in Poland and we received it one day before the test – not much time to discover it’s settings, that can be flatter, than we set.
- Alexa – we didn’t notice that actress was sitting closer to the camera comparing to the other cameras.
The cameras were tested last May, in Warsaw by Tomasz Wolski & Szymon Lenkowski PSC (for FilmPro & Film Cyfrowy).
All of the footage has been graded using the same settings.
OK onto the test!
It’s kind of hard to see a great deal of difference between the cameras, with this vid. Although, there’s a distinct difference in sharpness and tonal richness.
Well, the Arri was the clear winner in this test, it’ll be interesting to see whether the results are the same with the ungraded footage. The 5D was a good performer in this shootout, which shows you that 4K really doesn’t make a great deal of difference (if you’re using the full frame). The Sony F55 gave as rich colour as the Arri did, same with the Canon 1D, although the footage above is graded.
The below video is much truer test of the cameras strength, without grading and using the same lens.
The GH4 colour is over the top, isn’t it. It’s almost comical, compared to all the other cameras. A clear stand-out in this test (for the low-end cams) was the Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera (BMPCC), with the speedbooster it gave some genuinely good results. So, those of you who were lucky enough to nab one of the BMPCCs when they were selling for $500 recently, do a big happy cheer! You’ve got yourself a really decent, low-cost camera!
As for a winner? Well, you can’t expect a $500 camera to beat an $80,000 camera, but we’re undecided between the top-end cameras.
So our picks are, BMPCC for the low-end cameras and a draw between the Alexa and both REDS for the top-end cams, with Kineraw Mini as the best of the mid-range.