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Topics Sony

A couple of weeks ago we tested a pre-production model of the Sony FS100 camera for both ISO ratings and dynamic range. We came up with some impressive results, but decided to do some more tests with the full production version of the camera. The ISO ratings stayed the same but I found that the production version of the camera actually had improved dynamic range overall. In my video above, I show the results of my tests at the four different gamma modes of the camera.

Here are my settings for each gamma mode to maximize range:  Standard Gamma (Knee Point 80% / Slope -1), CineTone1 (Knee Point 90% / Slope +2), CineTone2 (Knee Point 90% / Slope +2),  ITU709 (Knee Point 80% / Slope -2).

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Topics Sony


Sony stopped by the office with the FS100 the other day, and we were able to do some quick tests. The first thing I wanted to know was how the camera rated in terms of ISO, so we repeated the same tests we did for the F3 ISO. Here are our findings:

Gain db Level ISO Rating 
0 db 500 ISO
+3 db 800 ISO
+6 db 1000 ISO
+9 db 1600 ISO
+12 db 2000 ISO
+15 db 3200 ISO
+18 db 4000 ISO
+21 db 6400 ISO
+24 db 8000 ISO
+27 db 12800 ISO
+30 db 16000 ISO

We were amazed by the results, especially the ISO 8000 and 16000 results. My light meter couldn’t even go above 8000. Click on the 24 db image (above) and 30 db image (below) to see the output of the camera. This should help you get an idea of the noise associated with these high gain values. The low light capabilities of the camera are amazing.

…continue reading Sony FS100 Ratings and Dynamic Range

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Topics Featured, Sony

With the updated firmware on the FS100 many people have also been asking about new Scene Files for the camera. There was talk about the color or gamma modes changing with the new firmware, but from my testing and from what Sony has told us this is not the case. However, it was well worth re-examining our original files to come up with some new looks for you to try out on the camera. I made six new files, which can be downloaded here in a zip file. Below is a description of the new files and what I thought they could be used for.

…continue reading New FS100 Scene Files from AbelCine

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Topics Sony

When Sony dropped off the new FS700 at AbelCine for some quick tests, we put it to work right away. We wanted to test many things, but focused on low-light performance, dynamic range, and the camera’s slow-motion options. The FS700 is an updated model of the FS100, so much of our testing also compared these two cameras. 

The first thing I wanted to test was the FS700’s low light performance; I checked the camera’s noise levels and how it performed at its highest ISO. In the first part of the test, I shot a lit chart at ISO levels from 500-16000 (in 1 stop increments) and maintained a consistent exposure. The FS100 has very low noise levels, so I wanted to compare the two cameras. Besides the noise level changes, also note the color and resolution performance on the chart. In the second part of the test, I brought out a single candle source and increased the ISO levels through the same range. You can see how the FS700 compares to the FS100. Also, watch how the camera handles highlights as we get to the higher ISO levels. 

…continue reading Testing the FS700: Low Light Performance, Dynamic Range & Slo-Mo

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Topics Sony

A few weeks ago I put together some scene files for the Sony PMW-F3, and many people have been asking for scene files for the new NEX-FS100 as well. I put the two cameras together and made matching scene files that incorporate some of the settings I described in my FS100 dynamic range blog. Unfortunately, there’s no way to load scene files into the FS100 with a memory card, so you’ll have to dial in my settings manually to try them out. Below you’ll find my settings and images from the camera. Try them out and let us know what you think. To learn more about creating your own picture profiles, you can also check out our FS100 class in NYC and Los Angeles.

EDIT: You can now download and load the Picture Profiles directly in to your camera. You must have firmware version 2.0 installed first. After you uncompress the file, drag the “Private” folder to the root directory of an SDHC card or Memory Stick. In the “Others” menu of the camera, you can load all of the Picture Profiles via the “Camera Profile” option. This will overwrite any menu and assignable button settings you have!

FS100 Standard

This is the standard setting that the camera comes with for use as reference.


This is what I call the AbelCine Normal look, which has minimal adjustment and is intended for controlled lighting scenarios and studio work. I used the ITU709 gamma curve with a 85% knee point and -2 slope to maximize dynamic range. The rest of the settings were chosen to match my AB_NORM look in the F3.

Black Level:  -3
Gamma: ITU709
Black Gamma: Range = High / Level = 0
Knee:  Point = 85% / Slope = -2
Color Mode: Type = Cinematone1 / Level =8
Color Level: -3
Color Phase: 0
Color Depth: R=-2, G=-6, B=-7, C=0, M=+2, Y=+5
WB Shift = All 0
Detail = Level = -3 / Manual Set = Off

…continue reading FS100 Scene Files from AbelCine

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Topics Featured, Sony

We’ve taken an in-depth look at the Sony NEX-FS700 before, and Andy and I finally had the opportunity to put together some scene files for the camera. The scene files we’ve built are an attempt to match some of the other profiles we’ve created for other cameras and should serve as a great starting point in building your own “look.” Like we’ve detailed in the dynamic range test, the FS700 offers similar range to the FS100, but the addition of Cine Gammas help the FS700 match more closely to cameras like the PMW-F3.

You can download the compressed scene files here if you’d like to give them a try. After you uncompress the file, you should drag the PRIVATE folder to the root directory of an SDHC card or Memory Stick and load them into the camera via the “Camera Profile” option in the “Others” menu. Unfortunately, there is no way to name the files in the camera, so you should be sure to have a reference nearby when selecting the profile you’d like to use. Below I’ve included some screen shots and a brief description of what each scene file is designed for, as well as the “recipe” for each scene file if you’d like to add them manually – let us know what you think in the comments. 

…continue reading Sony FS700 Scene Files from AbelCine

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It’s been another exciting year in our industry, with lots of evolutionary and revolutionary changes. Many of the trends we’ve seen coming for the past several years came to fruition in 2011, leaving some to wonder what comes next. Let’s take a look back and see if it can help inform us a bit on what’s to come in 2012.

So…is film dead now?

Pundits have been predicting the end to film as a production medium for decades, but now it seems that the writing is on the wall. Digital Cinema camera technology has advanced to the point that nearly all production for television has moved to electronic acquisition. Currently the majority of high-end features are still produced on 35mm film, but it appears only a matter of time before this completely transitions as well. Most lower- to medium-budget productions are already being shot digitally, and numerous notable high-end productions are as well. In particular, shooting digitally for 3D productions is significantly more advantageous compared to film. This has also spurred the rollout of digital projection, as this is again far easier to accomplish for 3D presentation. The final nail may be the financial advantage to studios distributing movies digitally rather than with film prints. Fox has already notified theater chains that it plans to eliminate film prints sometime next year. Without the steady income stream of film prints, plus TV and commercial production, the economic model supporting film stock producers and processing labs will eventually no longer function. We may look back on 2011 as the last year film had a significant, dominant position in the industry, before becoming relegated to “niche” productions.

…continue reading A Look Back From Behind The Lens

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