The Great Pro Video Camera Shootout part deux
Zacuto has released the second episode in it’s three part series evaluating the prowess of the most popular digital cinema cameras, from the enthusiast DSLRs like the Nikon D7000 and Canon 7D to the top of the line cameras like the Arri Alexa and RED MX, as well as well as super 35mm film stocks, with a range of rigorous side-by-side tests. In this episode, they tested sensitivity, resolution, sharpness and the effects of compression.
Highlighting the fact that actually seeing the image output in real-world situations can be more valuable than the spec sheet, the pure data didn’t always tell the full story, as cameras that scored well on paper were sometimes less impressive in reality and vice versa. Each camera is suited to different things, and it’s important to keep the strengths and weaknesses in mind when you spec each project.
It was exciting to see unexpected underdogs competing with the big boys in certain areas. Overall, though, the adage held that you get what you pay for, especially when the top tier contenders have prices many multiples higher than the semi-pro models.
As Robert Primes, ASC put it:
These are cameras that are not designed as movie cameras. Even Canon will tell you that. I mean, Canon will tell you that they stumbled into it. So when you’re skipping lines and taking a sensor that’s 10 times as big and you’re deriving 24 frame 1080 1920 video out of it and you’re compressing it within the camera, rather than putting a bigger data stream out, you can’t expect those cameras to compete with $50-100,000 cameras, specially made for it.
I personally can’t wait to see what the next generation of DSLRs brings to the table. By many accounts in the rumor mill, and the judging by the product cycle itself, we should be expecting a new round of pro DSLRs within the year. Who knows what a D800 or 5D Mark iii might bring to the table? But one thing’s for sure: it’s an exciting time to be shooting video.