camera Sensor size vs. Color depth bit

Milad

Member
Hello all,

I'm preparing a documentary film to be shot in Antarctica. 1-2 man crew, very small.

My choices of the camera (considering the budget) are down to Sony A7 ii and Panasonic GH5S. I know they are different and cameras and both have strong and weak points. But my question is focused on one thing:

Which is more important in order to have a good 4K image that could be shown in DCP on the big screen?:

the bigger sensor ([24 MP Full frame (35.8 x 23.9 mm) CMOS Sensor] VS. [10 MP Four Thirds (17.3 x 13 mm) CMOS Sensor] or, more color depth (and dymanic range?) information ([4:2:2 10 bit] VS. [4:2:0 8bit])?

Thanks in advance,

Milad
 
I’ll take better color science and dynamic range any day. I prefer color from Panasonic over Sony (and Canon above those). But an icy and snowy environment will be pretty contrasty and that’s where higher dynamic range is going to be your best friend. On that level, have you considered the BMPCC 4K? Color science is decent, but DR is great. It’s backordered but I do hear of some folks getting their orders within a couple of weeks.

You’re going to be in Antarctica? You also need to check up on operating stability in extreme temperatures. I have no clue what that means for these two cameras.

And pack lots of hand warmers to keep in and around your camera and other gear.
 

jax_rox

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Both. But also neither. All things bring equal, colour and bit depth will be of benefit however in this particular case all things aren’t equal.

I’d go with the most appropriate for the project. Are you going to be shooting in low light situations? You’ll get more mileage from the Sony. Do you need to shoot vast, wide sweeping shots? You’ll probably find it easier on the Sony. Will you need to grade the crap out of it later? The Panasonic might then be the best bet.

Especially with a documentary, at this budget level I’d focus more on the practicalities of each camera. They’re both going to give you comparable 4K pictures.
 

Milad

Member
Thanks for your input.
BMPCC seems a bit too fancy for that ambient. Also fixed LCD is a deal breaker.
hand warmers a necessity, thanks.
 

Milad

Member
I’ll take better color science and dynamic range any day. I prefer color from Panasonic over Sony (and Canon above those). But an icy and snowy environment will be pretty contrasty and that’s where higher dynamic range is going to be your best friend. On that level, have you considered the BMPCC 4K? Color science is decent, but DR is great. It’s backordered but I do hear of some folks getting their orders within a couple of weeks.

You’re going to be in Antarctica? You also need to check up on operating stability in extreme temperatures. I have no clue what that means for these two cameras.

And pack lots of hand warmers to keep in and around your camera and other gear.
Thanks for your input.
BMPCC seems a bit too fancy for that ambient. Also fixed LCD is a deal breaker.
hand warmers a necessity, thanks.
 

Milad

Member
Both. But also neither. All things bring equal, colour and bit depth will be of benefit however in this particular case all things aren’t equal.

I’d go with the most appropriate for the project. Are you going to be shooting in low light situations? You’ll get more mileage from the Sony. Do you need to shoot vast, wide sweeping shots? You’ll probably find it easier on the Sony. Will you need to grade the crap out of it later? The Panasonic might then be the best bet.

Especially with a documentary, at this budget level I’d focus more on the practicalities of each camera. They’re both going to give you comparable 4K pictures.
Thanks for your message.
I will be staying more than a month in a scientific base. So I guess there will be a lot of low light interiors and vast icey exterior landscapes. 14 hours of day light at least. Why do you say Sony is better for the landscaspes? because of the larger sensor?
Funny thing is that it will probably be black and white, so color depth and dynamic range will have a particular use.
So I wouldn't think to push it too much in the post for color stuff, but to use the 10 bit to adjust some exposure imprecisions.
 

jax_rox

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
The Sony sensor is double the size of the Panasonic, which means that not only is there a lot more light the sensor can capture, but you will be able to get significantly wider significantly easier.

But both are extremely capable of giving you a great image.
 

Milad

Member
The Sony sensor is double the size of the Panasonic, which means that not only is there a lot more light the sensor can capture, but you will be able to get significantly wider significantly easier.

But both are extremely capable of giving you a great image.
Thanks for your input.
 
One thing to always think about is the depth of field. Being that one sensor is twice the size of the other, you'll have a lot more out of focus on the Sony. If you're pulling on the lens all the time with unexpected things happening in the frame, this might be more trouble than it's worth. Granted, you can ISO up to eliminate some of the difference, but I wouldn't want to have to do that all the time. The super milky background isn't nearly as en vogue as it was and can look a little cheap these days.
 
Another VERY important point: I shot news footage outdoors for many years, often in below zero weather. Remember that you will be operaqting the camera with gloves on. So you will want a camera that you don't have to fuss with very much. It is almost impossible to operate the camera's menu with gloves on. And where is the record button? My fingers used to get so cold that I couldn't even find it. Just more food for thought.
 
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