Image Detail: 5D mark III matches RED Scarlet-X @ 2K

Review by: Sebastian Wöber

This is a comparison of image detail between the new Canon 5D mark III, 7D and RED Scarlet-X @4K and @2K

This test turned out pretty interesting: When comparing the image detail of Canon 5D mark III to RED Scarlet-X footage @ 2K mode, the 5D mark III matches and almost outperforms the Scarlet-X. (recorded 2K, scaled down to match HD)

Here’s the idea of the test:
3 important cameras: The new 5D mark III with its improved sensor and image processing, the Canon 7D as a representative of the previous generation of Canon HDSLRs and the RED Scarlet-X a resolution beast for indie filmmakers.
3 different sensors: The 5D uses a full frame, the 7D an APS-C and the Scarlet-X a lower than APS-C sized sensor area. To match the shots I used a Canon zoom 24-105mm f4.0, a Tokina 16-50mm f2.8 and a Contax Zeiss 28mm f2.8 lens.

Do the different lenses affect the test? At this resolution and aperture f8.0 the lenses used provided sufficient quality to have no effect on the outcome of this test. The sections filmed are not 100% identical, but should match well enough.

The conclusion I draw from this test:
This is the perfect shot to trigger extreme aliasing problems on the old generation Canon EOS 7D HDSLR. It’s really nice to see how much the 5D mark III has improved in this regard. The clean image that comes from the mark III allows for good post processing. The sharpening filter I applied in Final Cut Pro didn’t sharpen unwanted artifacts, but actually made the image sharper in a very nice way: Screenshot: LINK

What about the RED Scarlet-X at 2K resolution? When recording in 2K mode on the Scarlet-X a smaller portion of the sensor is used. This way we see less quality from the lens and a softer image than a scaled down 4K version. RED footage in general needs to be scaled down in order to become sharper, just like HDSLR footage and in this test we see that the Scarlet-X footage almost lacks some detail in comparison to the 5D mark III. The sample below is 2K scaled down to HD. We also see more noise on the Scarlet at a low ISO level than on the HDSLRs.

How the Scarlet footage was treated for the video:
Footage was recorded at maximum quality 6:1 and at ISO 250, thrown into RED Cine-X and slightly matched to the HDSLR footage (contrast, a little brightness and saturation). 1 level of sharpness was applied for the 4K shot, no sharpness was applied for the 2K shot. The 2K shot later received 1/3 of the sharpness filter the HDSLR’s had received as it already looked sharpened from the camera.

Source Files:
5D mark III file 1
5D mark III file 2
7D file 1
7D file 2
RED files

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