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Looking for a 5D vs Red (One or MX) High ISO Comparison


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#1 ryan knight

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Posted 23 February 2011 - 06:37 PM

Hello everyone,

Can somebody point me in the direction a formal and thorough comparion of the MX and the 5D MKII at high ISOs, above 2000? Everything I have found has been very informal and unhelpful.

I'm a shooting a short with both, but not as A and B Cam. The 5D would be used for a select few scenes because of it's widened field-of-view over the MX. The 5D scenes will be taking place EXT. FOREST - NIGHT (ouch!) and our lighting package is minute to say the least. I welcome grain (and will add grain in fact), but I don't like the chroma-speckled noise in low-light / high ISOs with the Canons. However, the field-of-view of the 5D may take precedent over the low-light performance.

Thanks,

RK.
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#2 ryan knight

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Posted 23 February 2011 - 06:40 PM

I will not have time to test.
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#3 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 23 February 2011 - 06:52 PM

Hello everyone,

Can somebody point me in the direction a formal and thorough comparion of the MX and the 5D MKII at high ISOs, above 2000? Everything I have found has been very informal and unhelpful.

I'm a shooting a short with both, but not as A and B Cam. The 5D would be used for a select few scenes because of it's widened field-of-view over the MX. The 5D scenes will be taking place EXT. FOREST - NIGHT (ouch!) and our lighting package is minute to say the least. I welcome grain (and will add grain in fact), but I don't like the chroma-speckled noise in low-light / high ISOs with the Canons. However, the field-of-view of the 5D may take precedent over the low-light performance.

Thanks,

RK.


Seems silly to switch cameras (and deal with all of the color, gamma, and compression differences) just to get a wider-angle view when you could just put a wider-angle lens on the Red camera. Not to mention, wider shots tend to need more resolution than tighter shots, and the Canon will have less resolution than the Red One.
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#4 ryan knight

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Posted 23 February 2011 - 09:38 PM

You are completely right, David.

However, we as artists know that what is right isn't always what we're after.

I will be finishing in 2K or HD so the resolution change isn't a big concern aesthetically, as the feeling of the the acts with the MX vs the acts with 5D do signify a massive shift in the tone of the piece.

I have thought about using wider lenses for the EXT. FOREST - NIGHT on the MX. However, I will be using wider lenses for INT. (MX), the 35mm, and occasionally the 50mm, as my close-up/coverage lenses, as apposed to the flattening 85mm and 100mm. So the shift I am after may not be so apparent if I use the 35mm and 25mm on the MX for the EXT.

I suppose I am 'imitating' Nolan and Pfister's use of 35mm and 65mm or IMAX on Inception and The Dark Knight for the "big" scenes, obviously without the higher resolution of the larger format medium and without the glory of an IMAX projector (and so therefore I know what I am doing is more or less nonsense :D ).

However, I do feel the wider field-of-view will help personify the Forest as character through use of imagery.
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#5 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 23 February 2011 - 09:45 PM

You are completely right, David.

However, we as artists know that what is right isn't always what we're after.

I will be finishing in 2K or HD so the resolution change isn't a big concern aesthetically, as the feeling of the the acts with the MX vs the acts with 5D do signify a massive shift in the tone of the piece.

I have thought about using wider lenses for the EXT. FOREST - NIGHT on the MX. However, I will be using wider lenses for INT. (MX), the 35mm, and occasionally the 50mm, as my close-up/coverage lenses, as apposed to the flattening 85mm and 100mm. So the shift I am after may not be so apparent if I use the 35mm and 25mm on the MX for the EXT.

I suppose I am 'imitating' Nolan and Pfister's use of 35mm and 65mm or IMAX on Inception and The Dark Knight for the "big" scenes, obviously without the higher resolution of the larger format medium and without the glory of an IMAX projector (and so therefore I know what I am doing is more or less nonsense :D ).

However, I do feel the wider field-of-view will help personify the Forest as character through use of imagery.


I still don't understand why you can't just get an 18mm, 20mm, or 25mm lens, for example, for the Red One when you want a wider-angle for the night exterior.

If you are switching to the 5D for those scenes for a different look in terms of contrast, color, etc. I can understand that, though personally it would be easier to just time the Red footage for that look rather than be hamstrung by what the 5D bakes in, and certainly the 5D is smaller physically which can get you certain types of shots in restricted spaces... but I can't really understand the logic that you are using the 5D mainly because you want a wider-angle shot, when you could get that just by using a wider-angle lens.
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#6 ryan knight

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Posted 23 February 2011 - 10:25 PM

I have considered this, even if only for the improved monitoring and focus pulling capabilities.

A 50mm EF lens on a 5D is roughly equal to a 31mm on the RED.

If I were to use that 50mm for an actor's close-up with the 5D, I wonder if the field-of-view AND the appearance (too close distortion)/presence and proximity of the actor to the audience and the actor in the environment would feel similar enough as the same composition and action on a 35mm focal length on the MX... (my lenses are 18, 25, 35, 50, 85, 100)

Another factor, budget forces me to shoot with RED Pro Primes/1.8 on the MX (no money for 1.3s and unfortunately no money to light our way up to a 2.8). If I go 5D for the EXT., I'd be using the Canon EF 50mm/1.2 and 35mm/1.4. Which ever class or camera, I'll be at wide open.

Thanks for your continued suggestions, David.
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#7 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 23 February 2011 - 11:18 PM

A 50mm EF lens on a 5D is roughly equal to a 31mm on the RED.

If I were to use that 50mm for an actor's close-up with the 5D, I wonder if the field-of-view AND the appearance (too close distortion)/presence and proximity of the actor to the audience and the actor in the environment would feel similar enough as the same composition and action on a 35mm focal length on the MX...


It would be more or less the same image other than the lower depth of field at the same stop because a 50mm has less depth of field than a 35mm... so if you switched to the 50mm on the Canon, it would look like the 35mm on the Red except opened-up by 1.5-stops or so, assuming same actual shooting stop.

What I don't understand is this you have this high-quality digital cinema camera but you are going to shoot some scenes on a poorer format anyway (highly compressed 8-bit 4:2:0 video that barely resolves 750 lines), on a camera that is harder to pull focus on, harder to monitor, harder to color-correct later... and not because the 5D is the only way to get the shot because its small size allows it... but because you want a wider-angle view? And you've already got f/1.8 cine lenses but you are going to shoot on some still lenses, which are hard to pull focus on, at f/1.2, on a format that gives you 1.5-stops less depth of field on top of that? It's hard enough to pull focus on a cine lens at f/1.8.

Use the 5D for what it's good for and use the Red for what it's good for.
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#8 ryan knight

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Posted 23 February 2011 - 11:30 PM

It would be more or less the same image other than the lower depth of field at the same stop because a 50mm has less depth of field than a 35mm... so if you switched to the 50mm on the Canon, it would look like the 35mm on the Red except opened-up by 1.5-stops or so, assuming same actual shooting stop.


Apart from chroma, gamma and contrast, the next greatest difference then would be the focus fall-off and depth of field.

So now, if we move on to low-light performance at high ISOs, compounded with the fact that the EF lenses would be faster than my RED Primes, which camera will perform better, "see more", etc, above 2000 ISO?

I shot a scene in a forest at night with a 5D at 6400 ISO with a Minolta 50mm/1.4, lit be flash lights as practicals, with bounce, because the director deemed a generator would "ruin" the scene. As scared and reserved as I was to this concept, I was also excited to try it, simply because technology had made it possible. However, I am yet to see the images on an external monitor.
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#9 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 24 February 2011 - 12:30 AM

I don't know how well the Canon 5D video holds up at super high ASA values compared to the Red One. But if you already shot the scene, you can grab any frame from the footage and checked it for how the noise looks.

It certainly sounds like exciting footage.

Seems like a pretty simple test, shoot a shot at 6400 ASA on the Red and on the Canon in HD mode, compare a frame of each on your computer.

Here is a test I shot of the M-X Red One at 3200 ASA, last year:
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#10 ryan knight

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Posted 24 February 2011 - 09:46 AM

Oi. I'm going to have to fight for a few 1.3s.

Thanks for the screen grab!

I've shot four features with the RED, two M and two MX. I didn't change the ISO for a single shot on any of them - kept it at native 320 or 800. So this makes me nervous.

During the EXT. FOREST - NIGHT scene I previously shot with a 5D at 6400 ISO, I used the characters' flash lights to flare the lens, frequently and intensely. Apart from looking like no other moment in that film, the flares also helped 'hide and conceal' the abyss of darkness all around them. I made need to do that again.
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#11 ryan knight

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Posted 24 February 2011 - 09:47 AM

The screen grab, once opened in another tab is labelled as 3200 ASA, but in this forum you referred to it as 1600. Which one is it?
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#12 ryan knight

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Posted 24 February 2011 - 09:54 AM

As well, do you have any recollection of what the IRE level on the black areas of that chart was?
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#13 Gabe Spangler

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Posted 24 February 2011 - 10:23 AM

David is totally right, Ryan, in all regards. Also, good luck shooting wide open on a 5D. Your depth of field will be skinnier than fly hairs.
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#14 ryan knight

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Posted 24 February 2011 - 11:05 AM

David is definitely right, and as are you.

The 5D will likely be reserved for 'impossible' shots, however still at wide open (I won't have any other choice :( ).

Edited by ryan knight, 24 February 2011 - 11:06 AM.

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#15 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 24 February 2011 - 01:18 PM

The screen grab, once opened in another tab is labelled as 3200 ASA, but in this forum you referred to it as 1600. Which one is it?


I meant 3200, just fixed that.

You say you have no time to test, but in the time we've spent discussing this... couldn't you have shot a quick comparison test?
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#16 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 24 February 2011 - 01:22 PM

As well, do you have any recollection of what the IRE level on the black areas of that chart was?


No, that's a bit misleading anyway... what you are seeing is a chart that was transcoded from 3.8K RAW (4K "HD") to RedGamma space at 3200 ASA, 3200K. But what the black was at RAWVIEW I can't recall, but considering the sensor is more like 400 ASA native, the levels would look quite low on a waveform in RAWVIEW, and I was viewing instead in RedColor, which was correcting for the ASA and color temp selection, so I'm not sure the IRE levels matter that much... but probably black was set by RedColor to be 5 IRE, let's say, or nearly 0 IRE.
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#17 ryan knight

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Posted 24 February 2011 - 03:14 PM

I meant 3200, just fixed that.

You say you have no time to test, but in the time we've spent discussing this... couldn't you have shot a quick comparison test?


Ha! I wish. But I don't have access to the MX. So shooting with just the one camera wouldn't be of much help. Ideally, I'd be testing it in the environment I'll be shooting in.

I find each RED can be temperamental from body to body, CMOS to CMOS. I was prepping a two-camera show a few weeks ago, and in the bay and under the same light, I determined one body was rated at 250 ASA and the other was at 400 ASA, both being MXs and getting a 44% IRE reading off the same gray card at the same time.

Edited by ryan knight, 24 February 2011 - 03:17 PM.

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