Camera Comparison: Arri Alexa – Red Mx – Canon 7D – Sony F65 – Sony FS700 – Canon C300

Ever wondered how the Canon 7D REALLY looks like next to an Arri Alexa or Sony F65? This video brings you the answer.

We took these shots from our extensive Beauty Filter Test and placed them side by side so you can get a feeling for how the cameras compare in the studio setup we had. Note that this is not a thorough camera review, but just an opportunity to watch the same high detail, high dynamic range scene on these 6 cameras with the same high quality PL lens and the same lighting, graded professionally to match.

Please make sure you download the source clip on vimeo

Let us know in the comments which images were a positive or negative surprise for you and why.

Our lighting setup
Key: The subjects were lit with 2x 2KW Fresnel lights through a 1x2m 1/2 WD softbox from the right.
Fill: From the left we used a slightly dimmed down Dedo 650W with a Softbox.
Back: As backlight we used an Arri M18 (daylight) with a 1/4 CTS extended high up and lit through the window in the back.
On: The lights visible in the scene are a soft 100W buld, a clear 200W bulb, a 60W linestra (the long one) and a snake light wrapped around a tripod.

All cameras were equipped with a PL mount (7D with PL modification, FS700 with PL adapter, C300 PL version) and shot with the Zeiss UltraPrime 35mm at an aperture of 4.0.
Since all sensors vary in size the cameras were moved forwards or backwards in order to get matching frames.

If you would not like to download the clip but observe the individual frames there are high quality screenshots of each camera at the bottom of this article.

Cameras used in order of appearance (all shot at 24fps):
Arri Alexa || HD 1920×1080 (Quicktime ProRes 444 LogC)
Red Mx || 4K 16:9 3840×2160 (4K REDRAW, redgamma, redcolor)
Canon EOS 7D || HD 1920×1080 (Canon H.264 mpeg-4, Technicolor Cinestyle)
Sony F65 || 4K 4096×2160 (4K Sony RAW, S-Gamut, Slog2)
Sony FS700 || HD 1920×1080 (NXCAM AVCHD mpeg-4)
Canon C300 PL || HD 1920×1080 (Canon XF Codec 4:2:2 mpeg-2)

The shots from all cameras were graded and matched at Listo GmbH in Vienna on Filmlight Baselight by a professional colorist.
The shots were not graded metrologically perfect but rather the way the colorist would grade footage from each camera as a base to prepare for final grading.

The colorist had some interesting remarks to some of the cameras. While some things are obvious to see in the video above we can’t see if it was difficult to get there or not.

Sony FS700: We realized that the curve of the Sony FS700 was very hard to control in comparison to the other cameras. The camera clipped in the highlights as well as in the blacks.

Canon C300 PL: Looked very nice before grading even started. In our filter test which we will publish tomorrow you will also see that the camera requires less filtering as it already looks quite nice out of the box and makes the scene more believable/filmic without enhancements.

Sony F65: The colorist was very impressed by the possibilities that lie within the depths of Sony’s F65 material. While it was hardest to use this camera (needed two special assistants, a special baseplate and a night of rendering footage after recording), it also provided the most color information and sharpness among all cameras. The colorist called the image extremely “neutral” and also liked the filmic grain.

Red Mx: A lot had to be tweaked to get the footage look right. The camera has little dynamic range and is weak in the shadows. We chose this camera because it is still widely used and affordable.

Canon 7D (Technicolor Cinestyle): It was surprisingly easy to match the colors due to the cinestyle profile. The color information is very weak though and lets the faces appear smeared, skin tones are quite bad, sharpness is horrible, but the dynamic range is not bad.

We will not go into details about how each camera performed during shooting or how easy it was to setup. This comparison is only focused at evaluating the image in the given controlled environment.

In terms of price versus image quality for me the Canon C300 PL stood out as among the most pleasing while at the same time modestly priced camera. Which would be your camera of choice solely based on the images seen here and their relative price?

Questions some will most likely ask:
Q: Why didn’t you use X new camera for the test?
A: The camera wasn’t available at the time the test was conducted.

Q: Why did you use the IRND6 filter on all the shots?
A: For our Beauty Filter Test we used the filters we received from Tiffen. An IR without ND wasn’t provided. It can be argued that an ND filter is commonly used and therefore provides a good test environment as combo filter anyway.

The music was kindly provided by The MusicBed:

And here are all the cameras compared in the form of screenshots:






HEADS OF PRODUCTION: Georg Geutebrück, Sebastian Wöber
CAMERA ASSISTANTS: Jacob Kohl, Ralf Woltron
DIT SONY F65: Thomas Cervenca
SCRIPTING: Laszlo Vancsa
MAKEUP: Verena Feichtinger
ON-SET PHOTOS: Wolfgang von Bánowski
CONSTRUCTION: Horst Pitschuch


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