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Sony XDCAM PMW-F3 CineAlta
HD recording with a Super35 CMOS Sensor.


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Old June 23rd, 2011, 09:32 AM   #1
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S-Log Vs Cinegamma

I was able to shoot a couple of comparison shots on a S-Log enabled PMW-F3 at Broadcast Asia. My simple tests showed a clear 1.5 to 2 stop improvement in lattitude over both standard Rec-709 and the Cinegammas. So given that the F3 is already rated at 11.5 stops with Rec-709 and knee, that means your looking at 13 - 13.5 stops with S-Log. Impressive!

More info on my blog.
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Old June 23rd, 2011, 04:56 PM   #2
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Re: S-Log Vs Cinegamma

I watched your comparison and the difference is quite large. Thanks for your ongoing help for the video community.

BTW, is there any way to port the S-Log recording to the EX series? I was surprised recording to the SxS card yielded such better results.
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Old June 23rd, 2011, 07:29 PM   #3
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Re: S-Log Vs Cinegamma

No, S-Log is only available on the F3.
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Old June 24th, 2011, 01:22 AM   #4
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Re: S-Log Vs Cinegamma

Wait till you see it recorded Dual Link 444..... its GLORIOUS.
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Old June 24th, 2011, 05:52 AM   #5
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Re: S-Log Vs Cinegamma

I have. We've got an R1 SRMemory recorder here and a 3G monitor, but I couldn't take it back to the hotel : ( , so I had to use the SxS. There's also an F65 with Cooke 5i lenses and R4...... drool.......

Still not convinced that 4:4:4 is that much better than 4:2:2. Will have to wait until I get a bit of both to run through a tough grade.
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Old June 24th, 2011, 10:51 AM   #6
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Re: S-Log Vs Cinegamma

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Still not convinced that 4:4:4 is that much better than 4:2:2. Will have to wait until I get a bit of both to run through a tough grade.
I'm convinced 100%, at least with my Viper. I've shot a lot of 4:2:2 with it, but also a lot of 4:4:4 FilmStream (same as S-log).

The extra latitude and gradeability of 4:4:4 footage shot with minimal processing and a flat gamma is incredible. Downside is it must be graded, upside is that I always love the look and color depth.

As soon as I'm able to, I'll upgrade the F3. I want the option to shoot 4:4:4 when my job allows it.
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Old June 25th, 2011, 01:15 AM   #7
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Re: S-Log Vs Cinegamma

But 4:4:4 will NOT give you more latitude than 4:2:2. Latitude is a function of the sensor and gamma curve, not chroma sampling.

Because the sensor in the F3 is not providing full RGB chroma resolution due to it being a bayer sensor with not enough pixels for full resolution in the R and B channels, the 4:4:4 output will contain data that isn't really what most would consider 4:4:4, in fact it will be closer to 4:2:2 in terms of chroma resolution.
So while I'm sure there will be a marginal improvement in chroma resolution with the 444 output, I doubt that in many cases this will be significant.

It is S-Log that is significant as this gives a very clear latitude boost and I believe that most will struggle to see any difference between S-Log 4:2:2 and S-Log 4:4:4.
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Old June 25th, 2011, 01:17 PM   #8
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Re: S-Log Vs Cinegamma

Which again brings up the question of why Sony is charging us nearly $4000 for SLog.
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Old June 25th, 2011, 02:55 PM   #9
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Re: S-Log Vs Cinegamma

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Which again brings up the question of why Sony is charging us nearly $4000 for SLog.
For the same reason ARRI charges 6 to 8 grand for a mattebox designed for a cinema grade camera and under 2 grand for a similar mattebox aimed at the entry level pro cameras.

You want access to the prime markets you are going to pay for it along the way. It is the way it has always been in this industry. Four grand is going to seem "reasonable to cheap" for a camera op who works on episodic TV and has decided to put an F3 in their bag to rent out to production or for freelance work. This kind of client is not an insignificant part of the F3 market.

Of course I would like the price the be "more reasonable" like a grand maybe but given where the feature set places the camera in the marketplace I can see why they are charging a premium. If a competitor came out with a camera that trounced the F3 feature set with the firmware upgrade, they might (in my opinion) reduce the price.

Last edited by Andrew Stone; June 25th, 2011 at 09:08 PM. Reason: clarification
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Old June 25th, 2011, 05:20 PM   #10
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Re: S-Log Vs Cinegamma

Well in that case Alister, I'll be looking forward to when Sony decides to sell the S-log upgrade separate from the 4:4:4 upgrade.
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Old June 26th, 2011, 01:18 AM   #11
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Re: S-Log Vs Cinegamma

I too wish S-Log was available without 4:4:4 for less money.

Perhaps we should be thankful that the only F3 you can buy is not a fully loaded S-Log, 4:4:4, 3D link enabled model costing more than some can afford.
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Old June 26th, 2011, 02:01 AM   #12
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Re: S-Log Vs Cinegamma

The pricing may change once the the lower priced Epic -S comes along, although that may be so long into the future that Sony will have brought out another camera. However, going RED really depends on if you want to go a RAW workflow and a kitted out F3 with log and an external 10 bit recorder could be getting close to a RED ONE MX body anyway.

Of course, there are other additional costs buying the RED and turning it into a shooting kit.

As Alistair mentioned, by keeping the fully enabled features separate, the base F3 price can be keep down, which is important for people in a cost sensitive sector. of the market. The down side being that the full feature costs aren't being spread over all the F3s and so become a more expensive add on.
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Old July 1st, 2011, 08:48 PM   #13
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Re: S-Log Vs Cinegamma

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Which again brings up the question of why Sony is charging us nearly $4000 for SLog.
Because it ain't easy or cheap to design and implement. Yea they have the curve already, but thats like saying "ford has an air conditioning system in the F150 HD truck! why dont they just stick in the Taurus."

Well, no it needs to be designed with the hardware and processing circuit in mind. its the same idea, but most likely a unique implementation to the camera.
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Old July 1st, 2011, 11:05 PM   #14
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Re: S-Log Vs Cinegamma

Well you may be right Timur and only time will tell. I really have no idea how complex the R&D has been for SLog. To the layman it sounds like a lot of money for a gamma curve but it may indeed have been very expensive, in which case my bitching is unwarranted. On the other hand if they primarily thought of it as an addition to the main game - 4:4:4 - then maybe it isn't that expensive to give it to us in a separate upgrade.

I do know that the subject is being discussed at high levels of Sony R&D but only that they have heard the requests. I was recently very impressed by their interest in suggestions and feedback from users. Crossing my fingers. Meanwhile I've still got a lot to learn about the camera, and a lot of marketing to do with it. And though the camera has left my pocketbook broke even before Slog, i'm not losing sight of what a great deal it already is for the money.

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Old July 2nd, 2011, 09:09 AM   #15
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Re: S-Log Vs Cinegamma

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Originally Posted by Leonard Levy View Post
I really have no idea how complex the R&D has been for SLog. To the layman it sounds like a lot of money for a gamma curve but it may indeed have been very expensive, in which case my bitching is unwarranted. On the other hand if they primarily thought of it as an addition to the main game - 4:4:4 - then maybe it isn't that expensive to give it to us in a separate upgrade.
S-Log gamma curves have been around since Sony introduced their first true "cinema" camera the F23 and Panavision Genesis. Not much about it has changed through the development of the F35 and now the F3 as far as R&D goes - as far as I can tell. If you search for and find a Sony white paper about S-Log from about 4 or 5 years ago it is pretty much identical to what's out now. S-Log, Filmstream, C-Log, etc are all based on the same gamma curve principles, and Steve Shaw's company has been writing S-Log types of gamma curves for quite a while too.

I do know this, SxS cards in the F3 won't cut it to record true S-Log, so the C-D Gemini, CineDeck, or other comparable recorders will also be needed to do these recordings - increasing the costs even more.
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