So is the Cinestyle picture profile more noisy or not?

For many the Cinestyle picture profile by Technicolor was a great enhancement to their Canon DSLRs. It allows us to capture the world with a cine like gamma curve. There’s a long discussion and an article on the topic.

However not everybody thinks the Cinestyle is cool. Some voices say there is too much noise and to be honest, when I first saw the Cinestyle this was my initial thought as well. But is there?

Filmmaker Andrew Schär also wanted to know, so he made this little test clip (see above) in which he pushed both the “flat” and the Cinestyle profile to the max.

Andrew Schär:

The thing is, I could clearly see though, that the Cinestyle footage was much brighter, or at least had a different gamma to that of the Flat footage. Of course that’s completely logical since we know the Cinestyle profile gives a much greater latitude in the shadows.
(…)
So I played with the brightness and contrast of the Flat footage to try and VISUALLY MATCH the brightness and contrast of the Cinestyle footage. I found that if I increased brightness by 18.4% and contrast by 2%, I could practically replicate the Cinestyle image on the left.

After I had done this and played it back, the noise to me seemed practically identical, which lead me to conclude that the Cinestyle profile isn’t CREATING more noise, it’s simply DISPLAYING more noise, since shadow brightness is boosted by around 20%.

It is also very nice to see how the sensor of the 60D is native to the mutliples of 160 ISO. At values such as 160, 320, 640 you will notice noise is always less. Another reminder that it’s a good idea to take this phenomenon into consideration when shooting.

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