Panasonic EVA1 vs. Blackmagic URSA Mini 4.6K, Varicam LT and Panasonic GH5 Comparison Tests

The inevitability of camera comparisons, especially when you have a camera as hot as the Panasonic EVA1, should come as no surprise to anyone. Of course, not all camera comparisons/tests are the same, and can vary significantly in terms of methodology and style, however in most cases they are created as to show how two or more cameras behave shooting the same scene/environment in the same lighting conditions so that the DP can make an informed decision as to where the strong and weak points are of a specific camera. At least that’s the gist of it in my opinion.

My friend Colin Elves, who is a really talented DP that has recently purchased himself a Panasonic EVA1, did post his most recent camera comparison/test between his EVA1 and the Blackmagic URSA Mini 4.6K, a camera that has enjoyed a lot of success in recent times among the indie filmmaking community.

A quick and dirty comparison between the Panasonic EVA1 in both native ISOs (800 and 2500h and the Black Magic Design Ursa Mini (ISO 800)

Shot very quickly after a shoot, so apologies for the weirdness of the methodology regarding NDs and the resolution test.

Exposure was taken from the point where the 3rd grey chip on the grey card was indistinguishable from white on an Odyssey 7Q Monitor – down until it was indistinguishable from black.

The Eva was recorded 4K 10bit 422 from SSi to ProRes HQ on an Odyssey 7Q. The UM was recorded Raw, 4K DCI crop.

Lens was a Rokinon Cine DS 35mm T1.5
Light was an Arri M18 HMI through a Chimera dropbox.
Colour chart was a legacy Xrite colour chart.

The first series is each camera with exposures normalised to mid grey.

Second series shows side by side comparisons at each corrected exposure (including EVA 800/2500 comparisons)

3rd series is the cameras ‘exposure matched’ to compare performance in low light at native ISOs.

Resolution is compared at T8 (unfortunately the EVA was set to under exposure, but you can still see that it clearly has more effective resolution)

Final series is each exposure laid out as a gradient. So you can see how skin tones might fall.

Original files, plus a Quicktime HQ version are available on dropbox to download: dropbox.com/sh/p61uox1j60nwjd1/AAAX4KG2ucyltu0mpHzkxkSra?dl=0

Thanks,

Colin.

AU-EVA1 Panasonic specs price pre order

Panasonic EVA1 Features

  • 5.7K Super 35 CMOS sensor
  • Dual Native ISO (800 and 2500)
  • Native EF Mount (non-interchangeable)
  • 4K at up to 60p / 2K up to 240p
  • 10bit 4:2:2 internal codec for 4K and Full HD
  • Up to 400 Mbps data rate for internal
  • V-log & V-gamut
  • SD Card Recording
  • 5.7K Raw Output (planned future update)
  • Electronic Image Stabilization (EIS)
  • IR Cut In/Out
  • ND Filter Wheel (2/4/6 stops)
  • XLR Audio
  • Tool-less design for top handle and side grip
  • HDMI & SDI 4K Video Outputs
  • 1.2 kg // 6.69″ x 5.31″ x 5.23″ (L x H x W)
  • Price: $7,345 US (B&HAdorama)

Check out some footage also that Colin shot around London on his EVA1.

Italy-based Filippo Chiesa, whom most of you know from the first ever official Panasonic EVA1 footage – the Iceland dance/fashion promo, has also been putting in the hours in testing the Panasonic AU-EVA1 vs the Varicam LT, GH5, and direct competitor Canon C200.

In this test I used the Academy Color Encoding System (ACES), not for a real cinema color grading, but only to standardize the process with all the cameras involved (Rec.709 ACES output).

I tested and graded the best on-board recording options available for each camera and I also used the Odyssey7Q+ with the EVA1 (ProRes HQ) and the VariCam LT (12bit Raw) to verify the best performances of these two cameras, using an external recorder.
Click here dropbox.com/sh/2alj2oa77l5ate5/AACfLfjCv9a7e0pkeJA-npNNa?dl=0 and download the high quality DNxHR HQX graded and ungraded footage and judge for yourself (split in 20 parts).

I used very high quality LED lights (Extended CRI 97).
Measurements were taken with a Sekonic Spectromaster C-700.

No noise reduction applied.

A special thanks to

ADCOM
Eizo Italy
Blueshape Batteries
Lock Circle
Giada Zanetti
Matteo Mezzadri

So, what do you guys think? I quite like how the EVA1 renders the skin in both tests and also liked the fact the GH5 holds its own against bigger cameras especially the Varicam LT. Use the links above to download the footage and inspect for yourselves.

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  • arya

    Hi there, thanks for the thorough review. Would be nice to edit the footage and put them side by side to see the result. To me there are two areas that are not fixable: loss of colour information in low light (it just looks bad when you play with the curve), and noise. I found that with people that have mid-tone skin colour and exposed to low flat light, it is hard to make it look interesting (their faces look too flat and artificial). So if a camera has that ground and still can show the subtle contours of shade on the face, that would be a good camera / codec / sensor / etc. Bright skin and a lot of studio light is ok for test yet it doesn’t represent a lot of real scenarios. I thought GH5 noise is not much different than GH4. I found GH4 is pretty noisy (even iso 800 low light content with Cine-D). I don’t like when manufacturers increase the sensor performance but chop the sensor photo sites even smaller and as a result it gets less light then they have to crank up the electrical signal which ends up being noisy. Why don’t they make an HD but great sensor outcome? A lot of great film stock shots barely have clarity of HD but they look awesome because of organic looking light contours, dynamic range and the colours.

  • Jamie LeJeune

    As admitted in the title, this test is definitely dirty. It includes three errors that should seriously temper any conclusions drawn from it:
    #1 Looking at the original Ursa Mini files, the only way I can make the moiré in the image match what appears in the video is if I set the debayer to quarter res. I think whoever posted this mistakenly set the debayer to less than full. When set correctly to full, the moiré disappears.
    #2 They either didn’t start at f2 as stated, or they accidentally skipped a stop at the top end, or some other error. The “stops” called out in the audio don’t correctly track with stop changes in exposure. The result is the Ursa Mini appears to have one stop less highlight attitude than it actually has. So, the +5 listed in the video is actually +6, etc.
    #3 I’m not sure what method they are using to normalize the Ursa Mini to REC709 and adjust for the exposure, but it’s not a good one. When normalized properly, their “+4” exposure (which is actually +5) on the Ursa Mini has all the chips visible rather than clipping the top two as it appears in the video.