The Great Camera Shootout 2011 Episode 2 – “Sensor and Sensitivity”

by planetMitch3 Comments

Zacuto has premiered their documentary called “The Great Camera Shootout 2011: a documentary of the Single Chip Camera Evaluation (SCCE)” and Episode 2 “Sensor and Sensitivity” is now online. You can read all about it on this page.

I had the privilege of seeing the SCCE at the NAB show in Zacuto‘s booth – and I've had a preview of this episode as well. Just like episode 1 (which you can see below – Zacuto is allowing embeds after a period of time), there's so much information in this episode, you'll want to watch it several times.

It was such a pleasure to see the SCCE on a large super high quality screen at NAB – and I wish I’d had the opportunity to watch it about 10 times – because it is so effective in showing the differences between these cameras. I’ll leave it to you to visit the Zacuto page to see all the details of the cameras and the background setup. But the key to me was that they used the same lens on every camera! I’ve seen so many ‘comparisons’ of two or more cameras but yet they use different lenses! You can’t compare camera bodies with different lenses! It just doesn’t work.

About Episode 2

Episode 2, “Sensors & Sensitivity” of the three part series continues with tests covering sensitivity, resolution, compression and the relationship between them. These tests were designed and administered by Robert Primes ASC, director of the Single Chip Camera Evaluation (SCCE) and shown at 2K screenings around the world to indie filmmakers, event shooters, commercial DP’s, directors and corporate filmmakers alike. Their opinions on the footage are invaluable when it comes to understanding what all this data means in real world shooting situations.

Watch the shootout part 2

Click the image to go to Zacuto's site to watch episode 2


After watching the episode, what are your takeaways about HDSLRs in general? Sound out in the comments below.

I continue to simply be amazed at the quality of this production. I'm not saying that just because Zacuto is a planet5D sponsor. The amount of quality information about the different cameras in this production is just mind blowing. And it is really nice to have the comments from the experts who watched the different presentations – because I'm learning from them as well. Remember, tho I've been around the block, I've still got a lot to learn about video and cameras – just like most of you.

Episode 1

The Great Camera Shootout 2011: Episode 1 ~ “The Tipping Point” from steve weiss on Vimeo.

In the most scientific camera comparison to date, “The Great Camera Shootout 2011: a documentary of the Single Chip Camera Evaluation (SCCE)” premieres with Episode 1: ”The Tipping Point.” The first episode of the 3-part web series examines three SCCE Tests: The Dynamic Range Test, The Under Exposure Test and The Over Exposure Test.
Robert Primes, ASC, designed and administered the full series of tests. “That's right,” says Web Series Director Steve Weiss,”We didn't want people to think that these tests were biased in any way. So Bob created the SCCE as an independent organization to conduct the testing.” Additionally, Bob Primes designed the tests with his own technicians and selected the cameras to be tested.

The impressive 12-Camera line-up includes: 35mm Kodak 5213 & 5219 Film, Arri Alexa, RED ONE M-X, Weisscam HS-2, Phantom Flex, Sony F-35, Sony F3, Panasonic AG-AF100, Canon 5D Mark II, Canon 1D Mark IV, Canon 7D and Nikon D7000. In addition to the SCCE tests, the web series features commentary from some of the top DPs in the industry, which was filmed at worldwide screening locations in Sydney, Amsterdam, New York, London, Las Vegas (NAB) and Hollywood “You'll hear from indie filmmakers, event shooters, commercial DPs, directors and corporate filmmakers,” says Steve Weiss, “Although you are not watching these tests in a 2K theatrical setting, hearing such commentary from people in the ASC, BSC, ACS, CSC, NSC, ICG and the SOC, will help you evaluate the significance of these tests.”

This first episode of the series looks at the dynamic range and usable latitude of each camera. “We need to see how these cameras record real scenes,” says Jens Bogehegn. Thus, Bob Primes, ASC, designed an under-exposure scene and an over-exposure scene. In regards to methodology, the camera master had to set their camera to record the widest dynamic range and they were not allowed to change any settings between the two scenes. The combination of both of these scenes will show the usable dynamic range of each camera. The featured scenes are shot by Michael Bravin and lit by Matt Siegel and Nancy Schreiber, ASC.

***The featured tests include three scenes: a back-lit test chart shot by Michael Bravin, an under-exposure scene lit by Matt Siegel and an over-exposure scene lit by Nancy Schreiber, ASC.

For more information on “The Great Camera Shootout 2011, go to To watch previous episodes of The Great Camera Shootout 2010″ visit

Commentary in this Episode Features:
Academy Award Winner Russell Boyd ASC, ACS (Master & Commander: The Far Side of the World, Ghost Rider, Forever Young); Academy Award Nominee Don McAlpine ASC, ACS (Moulin Rouge, Patriot Games, X-Men Origins: Wolverine); Calvin Gardiner ACS; BAFTA TV Award Winner Nic Knowland, ASC (The Final Passage, Around the World in 80 Days); Emmy Award Nominee & ASC Nominee Gale Tattersall, ASC (House, Ghost Ship, Wild Orchid); Mykelti T. Williamson, Actor (Forrest Gump, 24, CSI: NY); Ken Glassing (CSI: Miami); Philip Bloom (Sophia’s People, Greenpeace: Voices of Change); Terry Hopkins (London Film School); Dan Chung, James Mathers (Digital Cinema Society), David Wexler (Broken, The Wind) and more.

The web series documentary features two different independent crews. The SCCE Crew: Administrator Robert Primes, ASC; Station Chiefs: Michael Bravin, Stephen Lighthill ASC, Nancy Schreiber ASC, Matt Siegel and Mike Curtis; Line Producer Josh Siegel. The Shootout 2011 Crew: Editor Karen Abad, Graphic Designer Chris Voelz, Producers: Daniel Skubal, Scott Lynch, Jens Bogehegn and Eric Kessler; Web Series Director Steve Weiss.

(cover photo credit: snap from the video)


  1. Pingback: Zacuto’s ‘Great Camera Shootout 2011′ Episode 2 Explains Sensors and Sensitivity - NoFilmSchool

  2. Mitch,
    I’m glad you got an advanced screening and took the time to write this article. I hope that people will understand the amount of eduction that went into this episode. After completing all of the graphics and sound checks we sent the video to Jack Holms, Michael Bravin & Gary Adcok, three of the leading engineers in the digital spectrum to make sure what everyone said in the video and the graphics matched and from their feedback it even has slight changes in what you saw in your preview screener. This is very tricky stuff and we wanted to make sure it was correct.

    Personally, I say the same thing on every shootout. My DP Jens (who has been my DP for 25 years) could make anyone of these cameras look great because he would know their weaknesses and strengths and light to compensate for it’s weaknesses and then use its strengths to his advantage.

    Remember we stressed these cameras in this shootout. Even Film, RED & Alexa were not looking great in many of the tests in this shootout because we were seeing how they could do in scenes that were 5 and 6 stops over and under exposed. As a DP, don’t over or under expose you scenes that much if you can all help it. Knock those windows down with ND gel which is incredibly cheap if you don’t want to have them blown out.

    Keep in my this is just for entertainment and education and take it with a grain of salt. Thanks Mitch for taking the time to review this doc.

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