Real-World Comparison Test by Shane Hurlbut – Arri Alexa vs. Canon C500

by steven schwartzLeave a Comment

We love Shane Hurlbut not only because he's a great guy, but also because he takes the time to share the extensive knowledge he's gained from working as an accomplished Director of Photography.

Here Shane's sharing camera comparisons he made during pre-production camera testing for his latest feature, Need for Speed, starting with two heavy weights, Alexa vs. Canon EOS C500.

Shane provides film-school-level tutorials and gear reviews on his web site, the hurlblog and is well worth checking out.

Arri Alexa vs. Canon EOS C500

From Shane Hurlbut:

In this corner, weighing 13.7 lbs. and a height of 13 inches and boasting 2.8K imagery, The Arri Alexa!!!!!

In the other corner, weighing 6 lbs. and a height of 7 inches displaying 4K capture, The Canon EOS C500!!!!

When we started prep on Need for Speed, the Director Scott Waugh wanted me to do an extensive camera test of all of the possible players on the market so that we could find the visual voice of Need for Speed. This was a daunting task to pull off. Zacuto had done the Great Camera shootout. I loved the in-depth tests that the experienced cinematographers had put them through. However, when you are going for a specific look, these tests need to be done internally so that you can personally see which camera sensor responds best with the specific way that you expose.

Arri Alexa – shot with Arri RAW 2.8K and Codex S Recorder
Canon C500 – shot with Canon RAW 4K and Codex S Recorder

Day ISO Tests

Click to image to view full size

Click to image to view full size

The first test is our ISO range in the daytime. I like to do these tests both in the day and at night. With the daytime ISO test, you can really see the digital noise that would not be as apparent during the night because it can be masked in the blacks, aka the darkness of night. Look at the grey card, the shadow in the trees behind them and the shadow areas on their faces for the digital noise as we crank up the ISOs on each camera. Also look at the color chart to see how it holds its color as you increase your ISO levels and the contrast levels increase on their faces.

Read the full comparison test on Shane Hurlbut's blog: “Arri Alexa vs. Canon C500

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(cover photo credit: snap from the hurlblog)

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