Francis Ford Coppola Favours $700 Video Camera Over $65,000 Sony F65

Zacuto USA goes to great lengths to compare nine HD video cameras in The Revenge Of The Great Camera Shootout 2012. With all the footage shot and judged, the camera most favoured by many accomplished filmmakers -- including Francis Ford Coppola -- was a huge surprise.

The showdown was a sequel to the Great Camera Shootout of 2010 and 2011, which focused on raw technical performance of cameras from Canon, Sony, Panasonic, RED and others. This year, rather than straight pixel-peeping, Zacuto paired each camera with a professional cinematographer and a pre-staged scene.

The contenders included a wide range of cameras, ranging from the $US65,000 Sony F65, right down to the iPhone 4. Audiences of filmmakers around the world were shown each camera's results, the names of each camera remaining a mystery. The most favoured machine, to the shock of many, turned out to be the $US700 Panasonic GH2 micro four-thirds camera.

It's impressive that a consumer camera could stand up to professional cinema rigs, but there is a great degree of subjectivity at play here. The skill and decisions of each cinematographer definitely played a key role, as did the personal preferences of those voting.

My personal reaction after watching the blind comparison was that the GH2 shot had sort of a clinical, plastic feel to it. I most favoured what turned out to be the RED Epic. But whatever you are drawn to, a test like this is an amazing testament to the capability of the tools available to today's budding filmmakers.

Here are links to Part 1 and Part 2 of the documentary.




    I'm not surprised, I picked up an xacti HD2000 pocket video camera 2 or 3 years ago, and to this day, for a $500 pocket cam, it takes video that compares (under the right circumstances of course) to professional grade HD cameras, plus this fits in my pocket and with an articulated monopod is all anyone ever needs to shoot picture perfect HD. Oh and its takes so-so photos too!

    I'd favour Francis Ford Coppola with a smartphone over Michael Bay with the most expensive gear anyday.

      Yes: and that is the take-home lesson from the above article adn the state of cameras today.
      Skilled cinematography and good lighting are more important than the price point your camera sits at. In this case, the cinematography and lighting used with a $700-900 camera were enough to trump the $75,000 top-of-the-line camera.

      HOWEVER! The test was performed at 2K resolution I believe (twice as good as your home HD-TV) and the writers say that if the test footage was shown in 4K (huge resolution, this is what they show in cinemas so the picture looks good on an enormous screen even to those in the front rows) then the most expensive professional cameras would have been leagues ahead.

      SO: for you and me, filming anything less than full budget blockbuster cinema release stuff: the enthusiast and pro-sumer cameras can do an incredible job with the right lighting. For the aforementioned full cinema release stuff: the big cameras are still the right tool for the job.

      But the gap is closing, and it's closing very quickly.

    Just bring back real studio sets as opposed to CGI and green screens!

      2k is basically HD. 2048x1238 vs 1920x1080 roughly a couple hundred pixel difference.

      The test administrators chose to shoot in 2k because most cinemas are 2k not 4k and generally BD is the end product. Red wanted to shoot in 4k of course but its totally irrelevant to the whole test. They wanted to test the amount of dynamic range, colour reproduction, skin tones etc. Resolution has nothing to do with this and is only relevant if projecting with a 4k projector on a screen larger than 3m.

      I was at one of the screenings and I'm actually one of the guys in the video from Sydney. The thing to keep in mind is that while we were amazed at how good the GH2 looked, it that was the subjective creative lighting choices that sold the camera. A testament to the DOP (Nick Driftwood) talents.
      Also glossed over was the fact that it was a firmware hacked version that recorded a higher bit rate.

      At the Sydney screening it was the general consensus (even mentioned in the video) that your post house is almost as important as camera choice. Kinda glossed over again but you can do amazing things with a hour on Baselight or Davinci Resolve and an expert colourist.

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