The Great Pro Video Camera Shootout
Zacuto, with the help of a legion of volunteers and sponsors, has produced a must-watch face-off between the major cameras currently vying for the pro filmmaker’s attention. At the low-end are DSLRs like the Canon 5D Mark ii, 7D, and Nikon D7000. These are pitted against behemoths like the Arri Alexa, RED ONE MX, Sony F35 and 5219 and 5213 motion picture film stocks from Kodak. Mid-range video cameras like the Panasonic AF-100 and Sony F3 are also thrown in the mix.
Zacuto has pulled out all the stops, creating elaborate scenarios to test the cameras’ strengths in various areas followed by discussions from DPs about their impressions of the results. The first episode deals with dynamic range. Two less-than-ideal lighting situations are created to decipher the cameras’ ability to hold and recover detail in the shadows and highlights. The ability to watch each camera side-by-side in the same conditions is invaluable, and the results are surprising, though I won’t reveal them here. The major takeaway was that every tool has it’s own strengths and weaknesses and these must be considered for each project.
The second and third episodes, covering noise, motion artifacts, resolution, compression and color are due this month and next, so stay tuned.