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Old August 1st, 2005, 02:15 AM   #1
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Best exposure latitude video cameras?

Anyone have figures for which video cameras have high exposure latitude along with their price?

By best I mean good exposure latitude (or rather, can look good after all processing and color correction) for the price.

For reference:
35mm - about 13 stops, but depends on film stock and how you measure and what telecine you use.
16mm - about 11 stops

My list:
Dalsa - 13 stops?? See http://www.hdforindies.com/archiveda...chived_article
Price: CDN$5,000/day rental?

High-end HD cameras
Quote:
Irrespective of common film industry thought, today's High Definition (HD) digital cameras can actually capture a very wide dynamic range, if setup correctly. This is something most professional digital camera manufactures are assisting with, with the introduction of 'film style' gamma modes.

If the camera is setup and used as for traditional tv video capture the available range will be video's nominal 4 to 5 stops. However, if the camera is set correctly for low contrast, high dynamic range capture, an amazing 8 to 9 stops becomes available. While this is not as large as film's nominal 11 to 12 stops it is more than enough due to HD's benefit of being able to present to the DoP the actual image being captured on-set, enabling exposure and lighting adjustments to be made as required to ensure perfect image capture.

Note: both film manufacturers and HD camera manufacturers quote larger dynamic ranges for their products. The figures I use here are gained from practical experience and show a nominal reality.
Price: About $1,000/day rental???

Andromeda modded DVX100 (by Reelstream) - about 10 stops???
http://www.reel-stream.com/andromeda
Pictures at the company website.
Price: About $10 to purchase whole package?? (Needs laptop to record on.)

DVX100 - about 8 stops
see http://www.theasc.com/magazine/product.htm
Comparisons to film there, great article. Camera should be on specific settings.

Also see http://www.dvxuser.com/articles/shoot3/
Quote:
...The Sony, with the smallest pixels, offers the lowest latitude of all the cameras, approximately five and a half stops. The XL2 fares a little better, picking up perhaps another half-stop of latitude. The Panasonic is much more sensitive than both of them,with even wider latitude; in our testing the Panasonic was capable of resolving approximately seven stops of latitude, which puts it a stop wider than the XL2 and 1.5 stops wider than the FX1.
(They used the DVX 100 on default settings.)

Price: About four grand.

Certainly not all of these values are measured the same way, so take that with a grain of salt.
Glenn Chan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 3rd, 2005, 01:35 AM   #2
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Actually I know an ex BBC engineer who can get 13 stops out of some HD cameras. These are measured results, not guesses. He specialises in setting up HD cameras for 'film look'. You need to delve deep into the setup menus and have the relevant test equipment to be able to achieve these results however.
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Old August 3rd, 2005, 09:54 PM   #3
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Hey Simon,
I forgot to post a link for that quote block in my original message. If you go to digitalpraxis.com, Kevin Shaw there discusses how to manipulate a HD camera's gamma curves to maximize exposure latitude (i.e. http://freespace.virgin.net/shaw.clan/dpsonycurves.html).

In particular, the following article may be useful:
http://freespace.virgin.net/shaw.cla...reen_rev9.html

Quote:
Irrespective of common film industry thought, today's High Definition (HD) digital cameras can actually capture a very wide dynamic range, if setup correctly. This is something most professional digital camera manufactures are assisting with, with the introduction of 'film style' gamma modes.

If the camera is setup and used as for traditional tv video capture the available range will be video's nominal 4 to 5 stops. However, if the camera is set correctly for low contrast, high dynamic range capture, an amazing 8 to 9 stops becomes available. While this is not as large as film's nominal 11 to 12 stops it is more than enough due to HD's benefit of being able to present to the DoP the actual image being captured on-set, enabling exposure and lighting adjustments to be made as required to ensure perfect image capture.

Note: both film manufacturers and HD camera manufacturers quote larger dynamic ranges for their products. The figures I use here are gained from practical experience and show a nominal reality.
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Old August 22nd, 2005, 02:49 PM   #4
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The Digital Praxis site is great. Thanks for sharing. I wonder if in the "low contrast positive" method they suggest, the DVX, XL2, Z1U hold their same places in terms of latitude.

I think the Dalsa is a rad camera; holly latitude!
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Old August 22nd, 2005, 07:55 PM   #5
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From the Digital Praxis site, it seems like the Dalsa should have a little less latitude than 35mm film?

2- I'm very curious as to the exposure latitude of the Sony Z1U. I've seen some footage from it and it looks very very comparable to Varicam footage (the footage is shot well, and they tweaked the image and used a 35mm adapter). I'm not exactly sure how those two cameras differ in terms of exposure latitude, but on 90% of the shots I don't see a difference.

It may be that Sony's hyperHAD CCD design and adjustable gamma curve controls give the Z1 a lot of exposure latitude???
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Old January 13th, 2006, 06:41 AM   #6
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I'm curious to know what Scott Billups did to tweak David Lynch's PD150 when he shot the 3rd place (Playstation) commercials. Apparently he opened it up, and tweaked some things to alter it's sensitivity curve. But he said in his book he can't give details - although most PD150s would be out of warranty by now (even for extended warranties), so there's less reason to keep it secret.
If anybody knows - please divulge. I'm not going to dismantle mine after having it less weeks than I have fingers. But it has me curious.

Definitely not the same latitude as the other, newer cameras, but it would be interesting to know what it's capable of. Suppose it depends where in the pipeline the tweak takes place.

New cameras have more precise (lower noise) CCDs, if not more sensitive. And better analog to digital converters, that yield more usable bits. Hopefully the trend continues. And we'll see how the CMOS chips progress, as they offer a very good dynamic range.
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