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Sharpness - Bokeh
Foto tutorial (English)
Foto tutorial (Espaņol)
Equipment recommendations US-ES
Flaat for Canon
Flaat for Nikon
Flaat for the BMC
Flaat for NEX-5N
Old Picture Style Tests
550D video lineskip
APS-C vs Full Frame
Badly assembled lenses and image quality
Lens mount compatibility chart
ISO on different cameras
High ISO on the 5D3
DIY: DR test chart
RGBWK Bayer sensors
Notes on DoF-FoV
Notes on crop-DoF-FoV
Custom Cropmarks for Magic Lantern on the Canon 550D
How many megapixels do I want?
How many megapixels can I see?
Quick Monitor Calibration Chart
(dynamic range results here)
Scroll down to see some 200% crops from footage shot with the following cameras:
* Sony a7s (XAVC-S)
* Panasonic GH4 (4K internal, this one is displayed at 100%)
* Blackmagic Cinema Camera (Prores and RAW, RAW is upscaled just to 160%)
* Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera (Prores and RAW)
* Canon 5D Mark III (H.264 and RAW)
* Sony NEX-5N (H.264)
I tried to use similar lenses on all of them:
* Leitz Elmarit-R 90mm f/2.8 on the a7s, the 5D3, and the 5N+speedbooster
* Leitz Summilux-R 50mm f/1.4 on the pocket with 0.58x speedbooster
* Leitz Elmarit-R 35mm f/2.8 on the BMC
* Panasonic 12-35mm f/2.8 on the GH4 (didn't have a m43-to-leicaR adapter)
I moved the tripod a bit to match the framing in all cameras.
The test target (which you can see above) was lit for f/11 ISO 1600 1/60s, using a single 650W tungsten fresnel and a reflector for fill. It has several textures and difficult areas.
All cameras were tested at their optimal ISO: 100 on the 5D3 and the 5N, 200 on the GH4, 800 on the BlackMagic cameras, and 3200 on the a7s (3200). Aperture was set to match exposure in all cases, which means it ranged from f/2.8 in the 5D3 and f/4 on the GH4 to f/11 on the a7s (I always overexpose by one stop on this one) and f/13 on the pocket (diffraction is not as bad as many people think; in fact it's the 5D3, at f/2.8, which is at a disadvantage away from the center).
We used Flaat settings on the a7s, the 5N and the blackmagics, CineLike D with contrast=-2 and everything else tuned down on the GH4. No idea which settings we used on the 5D3+H.264, I forgot to check that one (I was more interested in the RAW results, for which I knew standard Adobe settings with no sharpness and contrast dialed down would work great).
All footage was brought into AE (using Flaat or standard settings for the RAW clips), then I only added some levels, gamma and saturation adjustments to make all images match (it doesn't need to be perfect, but it does need to be somewhat close, otherwise differences in contrast and brightness can look like differences in sharpness).
My conclusion: the GH4 is out of this world in terms of sharpness. Then there's a big group of similarly-sharp cameras (BMC+RAW, a7s, pocket+RAW, 5D3+RAW). Then there's the soft settings (prores on the BlackMagics, H.264 on the 5D3, high frame rates in the cameras that can shoot that, etc) and my old 5N. It served me well...
Also, the XAVC-S codec in my a7s is nicer than everything else I've had before but when compared with cameras that shoot uncompressed RAW there's a big difference in the textures. Plus I'm seeing some color artifacts on my a7s that should not be there; I'll have to check if it's a result of too much saturation in my Flaat settings... though it's probably just a byproduct of the well-docummented highlight aliasing issue (it only happens on very bright reflections).