Panasonic's GH4 is supposed to have great dynamic range, but at least in this test from our friends over at Cinema5D, the Sony A7s mops the floor with it, coming in at 14.1 stops vs. just 10.9 stops for the GH4 (and 11.8 stops for the Canon 5D Mk III) .
The Sony's performance is less than half a stop off that of the Arri Amira, a $40,000 camera.
Differences in testing protocols means YMMV (your mileage may vary). Paradoxically, DxOMark reports a better result at 12.8 stops for the GH4; a worse result for the A7s at 13.2 stops; and an almost identical 11.7 stops for the 5D Mk III.
Do we need to wait one more generation of cameras before we can have it all? Can anyone offer additional insight?
Dynamic Range – Sony A7S vs. the others
The dynamic range is the range in luminance any given camera can capture. More range allows for more flexibility in post production and usually provides a more natural and hence more cinematic end result.
Some of the strengths include not only lowlight performance, but also the high resolution OLED viewfinder, a strong cinematic picture, full-frame coverage, ease of operability, 50p mode, crop-mode and more.
In this first scientific test in a series that we will publish over the next weeks, we want to take a look at the aforementioned dynamic range in comparison to several other very important cameras.
Let’s take a look at the results first:
Here we tested usable dynamic range of the given cameras. With 14.1 stops the usable dynamic range of the A7S comes surprisingly close to the Arri Amira with its legendary Alexa sensor (see our full review here).
This is an extremely good dynamic range rating and is fascinating considering that the A7S is available at a fraction of the Amira’s price and is also in a completely different weight and size class. While the Amira will outperform the A7S in other tests, the dynamic range is a very important attribute to consider when working with a camera.
The Canon cameras come in at 11-12 stops of usable dynamic range. This is still a very strong dynamic range rating, but in comparison to the A7S the Canon’s are way behind.
The Panasonic GH4 had the worst dynamic range in our test. This is in line with the rather videoish look and contrasty colors we can subjectively observe.
Read further on cinema5D's test results – “Dynamic Range – Sony A7S vs. the others.”
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(cover photo credit: snap from cinema5D)