In the filmmaking community, especially for those shooting on a budget, filming with a full-frame camera is typically highly demanded considering the visual aesthetics such a tool can produce. Some filmmakers, for instance, tend to believe that the extra pixels that come with a full-frame sensor allow for more pristine and fine-tuned shots. While the advantages of shooting with a full-frame camera are yearned by many, it doesn’t mean you can’t get cinematic-looking shots with any camera with a smaller sensor size. Achieving a cinematic shot isn’t merely defined by the type of sensor your camera uses, it also includes the lenses you choose, camera positioning, and even in-camera settings.
The following video will try to expel the myth that “the bigger the sensor, the better the shot” by putting two cameras to the test and letting you find out on your own which one is which by spotting the differences between the full-frame camera and the micro four-thirds one.
First and foremost, here is the filmmaking gear used for this particular comparison:
- Cameras: Sony A7S (Full-Frame) and Panasonic GH4 (Micro Four-Thirds)
- Lens: Canon EF 50mm F1.8 (the GH4 uses a Metabones XL Speedbooster in order to use the Canon EF-Mounted lens)
- Controlled Variables: White balance, distance to subject, aperture, ISO (200)
- Note that the shutter speed may have differed between the cameras to achieve similar exposure
Now, take a look at the shots below and see if you can guess which camera is which.
All done? Now for the grand reveal…
Camera A was the Full-Frame Sony A7S while Camera B was the Micro Four-Thirds Panasonic GH4. Looking at the video, there was a very slight difference between the two rivals. The Sony camera had a little bit more detail and sharpness, especially in the darker areas of the frame. On the other hand, the Panasonic camera’s picture quality held up very well although the focal distance did seem a bit closer, which is due to the smaller sensor size.
Overall, both cameras performed extremely well and it just goes to show that you can still get a great cinematic aesthetic in your shots even without a full-frame camera. In this case, size doesn’t matter all the time. Instead, what matters more is how you use the tools that are presently available to you, and working around the problems you may anticipate with your gear.
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