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2/3 inch sensor vs super 35mm


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#1 Deji Joseph

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Posted 14 February 2011 - 09:47 AM

I'm considering investing in either a Red Scarlet or the new Sony NXCAM, that is yet to be announced. I am leaning towards the NXCAM, since it has the same sensor as the Sony F3, and i am used to the workflow, plus who knows when the scarlet will actually be ready. In the beginning i was reserved about using a2/3 inch camera but then i remembered that Slum-dog millionaire was filmed on the Si-2k and that looked beautiful, it all comes down to the person behind the camera and dynamic range. Alot of my colleague think the DOF was too deep, but i remember older films had a much deeper field but again they had slower lenses.

So my question is there anything wrong creatively with a deeper depth of field in your opinion? I know larger sensors are preferred because of more photons per pixel, but this is just a purely creative decision.
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#2 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 14 February 2011 - 10:13 AM

There are a number of issues to considered. One of which is deciding what you're going to use the camera for. Another is the workflow, whether you want RAW or video.

Creatively it depends on how you wish to tell your story and if you're shooting green screen or 3D where a larger DOF is an advantage. A number of Oscar nominated and winners have been shot using 2/3", so it hasn't been a restriction in working to the highest levels.

An advantage that the Scarlet offers is shooting at 120fps.

After NAB seems to be the current rumour for the fixed lens Scarlet being available, which would be the same time frame as a possible production NXCAM 35 showing at NAB.
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#3 K Borowski

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Posted 14 February 2011 - 10:47 AM

In the beginning i was reserved about using a2/3 inch camera but then i remembered that Slum-dog millionaire was filmed on the Si-2k and that looked beautiful, it all comes down to the person behind the camera and dynamic range.


Don't forget that it was also largely shot on 35mm FujiFilm, with a smattering of HD-SLR footage thrown in.


I hated BOTH the 35mm and the SI-2K footage. I think this movie showed HD SLR footage at its finest, outdoors with generous light, uncompressed.

So be careful attributing footage to the SI-2K that may be from DSLR or 35mm photography. . .
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#4 Otis Grapsas

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Posted 14 February 2011 - 10:23 PM

Consider the actual DOF reality, sensor size and lens availability today.

On 1,85:1 projects the difference is only 2x vs 2/3", Red One f2.8 70mm is identical to Red 2/3" Scarlet f1.4 35mm in angle of view and depth of field.

Do you have fast lenses for the 2/3" camera? Then, it's very different from what you might expect based on slow lenses and zooms. 2/3" lenses are easier to make faster and in a wide variety of focal lengths. If the camera uses a single sensor you can use very wide apertures, f1.2 f0.95 etc. If it has a beam splitting prism you are limited to f1.4 and the fast primes lenses will be extremely expensive being 3CCD designs.

What are the actual limits of the s35 camera lenses from an aperture point of view? Fast lenses might not be available. Many people are using f2.8 zooms with Red One and you can match that with f1.4 on 2/3" as I mentioned.

How shallow do you need to go? Most standard setups in cinematography are not f1.4, they are f2.8 to f5.6 which you can match with f1.4 to f2.8 on 2/3".

You also get a two stop advantage on the 2/3" when you do match the DOF. ISO1600 on s35, ISO400 on 2/3" with the same lighting. That could be very important from a production point of view. Larger sensors sometimes have larger pixels, so ISO1600 might be as usable as ISO400 on 2/3", but it's something to consider. If you have used a Canon 5dII you know that sometimes you need ISO3200 where a 2/3" camcorder would work at a zero gain ISO200, just because shallow DOF becomes a limitation and you have to step the lens down.

The bottom line is that if s35 f2.8 DOF is shallow enough for you, you can get identical DOF results and a cheaper production using the 2/3" camera.
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