Reading the manual of the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K (what a long name…) I stumbled upon this very interesting graphic:
As we can see, the curve resets at 1250 ISO to adapt to the new sensor amplification. We can also see that the dynamic range is inferior at the 3200 ISO setting and beyond which is not surprising.
What I want to talk about here is the significant unbalance between highlight and shadow latitude especially at lower sensitivities. Shooting at 100 ISO for example, feels like a terrible idea with only 2 stops of DR in the highlights, and a ridiculous 11.1 stops under middle grey.
I haven't seen or read anyone talk about it online yet. Maybe people just always ETTR and may therefore never notice this as they never refer use middle grey as a reference.
Rating the camera at 1000+ ISO (400 ISO native), gives the more balanced DR at the expense of noise. I have noticed some harsh video-like looking clipping in the otherwise great looking demo footage of the camera. Rebalancing the dynamic range by rating it at a higher ISO might help with those highlights. But then Blackmagic specifically advises not to shoot at 1000 ISO and instead switch to 1250 ISO "for cleaner results".
When the ISO setting is between 100 and 1,000 the native ISO of 400 is used as a reference point. The ISO range between 1,250 and 25,600 uses the native ISO of 3,200 as a reference. If you are shooting in conditions where you have a choice between ISO 1,000 or 1,250, we suggest closing down one stop on your lens’ iris so that you can select ISO 1,250 as it will engage the higher native ISO and provide much cleaner results.
So far this is all on paper because I don't have the camera and the footage Blackmagic provides is not sufficient to completely evaluate this topic. So I am wondering if any of the early birds and owners out there already tried "pushing" the sensor, and if the tradeoff of noise vs highlight DR is acceptable when doing so.