The Black Magic Cinema Camera, The Panasonic GH3 vs the GH2, and One of My Favorite New Order Songs

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EOSHD conducted a mini camera shootout and pitted some of today’s big names mono a mono a mono, and the video above features all the cameras listed below over the soundtrack of “True Faith” by New Order (Get it HERE from iTunes).  Can’t go wrong!

Here’s the skinny from EOSHD:

In a joint shootout with Slashcam in Berlin, EOSHD put the Blackmagic Cinema Camera into a bear pit against all rivalling cameras between $500 and $4000.

It was a clear day and the results are just as stark. Download the full 2.5K shootout video. Here’s my verdict on which camera you should buy – based purely on image quality.

The following cameras are in this test:

  • Blackmagic Cinema Camera (retail)
  • Panasonic GH3 (pre-production v0.5)
  • Panasonic GH2 (hacked)
  • Sony FS100
  • Canon 5D Mark III
  • Sony NEX VG-900 (full frame E-mount camcorder)

Black Magic vs DSLR

The Blackmagic is in a different league.

Until now I was very satisfied with my FS100 and the DSLRs but going back to them after the Blackmagic Cinema Camera is very difficult. They look way too digital. 12bit raw is like looking out of a window. Truly film-like. The colours all look odd on the DSLRs now – compressed 8bit just doesn’t cut it any more.

This is the first time DSLRS (and the FS100) are completely outclassed on image quality by a $3000 camera.

Panasonic GH3 versus GH2

The Panasonic GH2 and GH3 remain superb value, the most affordable in the shootout by far. The GH2 is $600 used and the GH3 is $1299.

The GH3′s image sharpens very well in post. With sharpness at the lowest -5 setting in-camera the GH3 looks softer off the card than the GH2 with sharpness -2 (the lowest setting on that camera). I used the sharpening filter on some shots in the shootout and these are labeled, the others are untouched.

Resolution is similar to the GH2 as long as digital sharpening, whether in-camera or in post is at an equal level on both cameras.

Moire was not a huge issue but the character of fine detail is different. It sometimes flutters a bit on the GH3, but you have to be pixel peeping to see it. Projected or on a TV you don’t notice it. The GH2 does have a bit of occasional moire or aliasing but it is not common. With a softer lens like the Voigtlander Nokton 25mm F0.95 wide open you get hardly any issues and the same goes for the GH3. Lumix glass is sharp but also a bit clinical for cinema in my opinion.

The GH3′s new codec does far better in the shadows than the hacked GH2 at high ISOs. It is cleaner. At low ISOs there’s less mosquito noise in the shadows too. This better codec is not just to the advantage of high ISO shots – see the shaded stone area to the right in the first shot of the shootout (all day light shots were ISO 200).  (Read full article on EOSHD)

Our Take:  Looks like the mirrorless systems have arrived, and filmmaking is becoming more and more accessible to those without big pockets!  The Black Magic Cinema will be selling soon for under $3,000 USD – and you can get the Panasonic Lumix GH3 and the Lumix GH2 Here.

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