Hello from hot and steamy Singapore. I’m at broadcast Asia doing some presentations on the PMW-F3, FS100 and 3D. On the Sony booth they have a PMW-F3 with all the options installed including S-Log and what also appears to be the 3D link firmware (mission for tomorrow – investigate 3D link). So I decided to quickly grab a couple of test shots with both S-Log and Cinegamma 1 to see how much of a difference there was. I was only able to record to the internal SxS card, but the results were quite enlightening. This was all done very quickly, so it’s not particularly scientific or accurate, but it does prove beyond any doubt that S-Log brings a significant boost to the dynamic range compared to the cinegammas. I estimate it gives you between 1.5 and 2 more stops to play with. Given that the F3 is already tested and shown to have around 11.5 stops with the cinegammas, this means that the F3 with S-Log is in the 13 to 13.5 stop range, very impressive indeed.
The shot is a pan from the darker side of the Sony booth to the very bright camera set. Exposure was set using the bright end of the shot and setting the iris so that the hotspots in the image were just below clipping, the idea being to look at what was going on in the shadows to get a feel for the dynamic range. Click on the images below a couple of times to get to the full resolution version if you want to see that.
What’s most striking is the difference in the shadow areas in the S-Log footage. Given that the peak white exposures were roughly the same (108ire) there is a huge difference in the darker shadow areas with much more information in the S-Log. It also surprised me just how well the bright part of the S-Log clip graded. Do remember that these clips were taken from recordings on the SxS cards, so they are 8 bit, 35MB/s.
I’ve put together a sequence of these clips for Vimeo. Click Here to go to the video on vimeo. The final test that I did, which you will see in the vimeo clip is to try to grade the shadow areas of the Cinegamma to bring them up to match the S-Log. The result was nowhere near as pleasing as the S-log as lifting the blacks introduces a lot of extra un-wanted noise and it still does not have the contrast range of the S-log.