Side-By-Side Comparison of the Sony FS7, Sony a7S and Canon C300 Footage

We all enjoy and love camera tests and footage comparisons, especially when it comes down to popular and highly demanded cameras. Lately, Keyframe Digital Video Factory conducted an interesting in-depth comparison test where they put side-by-side the Sony FS7, Canon C300 and the Sony a7S. For the test, the freelance videographers decided to mix lights with different colour temperatures and emphasize on the dynamic range to see how these three cameras can perform in a very challenging lighting situation.

All three cameras were mounted on a tripod and by adjusting the run of the sliding plate they shot all the footage keeping the same distance from the focal plane to the subject. As for the Sony A7s they used the APS-C option. The main lens used for the shootout was the Canon CN-E 50mm 1.3 that was mounted on the two Sony cameras via the Metabones NEX-EF Mark IV adapter. In this particular case, the Sony FS7 had a slightly narrow field of view than Canon C300 and Sony A7S in APS-C mode due to the presence of the adapter.

The first video provides the ungraded footage coming straight out of the three cameras.

FS7-A7S-C300 original footage from Keyframe di Christian Balducci on Vimeo.

And, this is the same test this time with the graded footage in DaVinci Resolve 11.

FS7-A7S-C300 graded footage from Keyframe di Christian Balducci on Vimeo.

All the footage was recorded internally with the best recording option each camera features. The Canon C300 footage was shot as a Mpeg2 50Mbit 4:2:2 codec .mxf file. Sony A7S recorded the test as the XAVC-S 50Mbit 4:2:0 mp4 file. The Sony FS7 was using the new XAVC-I 100Mbit 4:2:2 codec. The next chart provides detailed information about the camera settings used in the test.

Test_Camera_SettingsOne of the solid conclusions the guys from Keyframe Digital Video Factory made is that, unsurprisingly, the FS7 seems to be the most serious competitor due to its high-quality codec and a pretty reliable sensor. We should also mention that the latter provides the latest sensor technology and is addressed as the Sony’s budget flagship camera for the moment.

On the other hand, the footage from the Sony A7S was a surprise to the team. Its color science turned out to be a way different from the FS7’s. In particular, there was an enormous difference in how Slog2 and PP4 handle dark and light areas of the image. SLog2 seems to suffer from visible chroma noise even when correctly exposed while it performs greatly when overexposed. Further, anyone using the a7S should be aware of and pay close attention to the intense blue colour shift in the highlights when the footage is not exposed properly.

According to the conductors of the test, the Canon C300 delivered the most balanced footage regarding colour rendition, with a clear separation and smooth and pleasant transitions from dark to light areas. However, once overexposed, the image starts to degrade, and those same transitions seem to be much harsher and strong. In the underexposed footage noise patterns were all over the picture.

Again, regarding dynamic range the clear winner was the Sony FS7 followed by Sony A7s and the Canon C 300. You can read the full analysis of the Keyframe Digital Video Factory team here and here. In case you want to take a closer look, you can download the ProRes 422 encoded version of the entire test.

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