With similar 4K recording capabilities, professional-grade features, and roughly the same price point, it’s no surprise that the vigorous debate between the owners of the Sony FS7 and RED Raven is still relevant in a way. Of course, both rivals have their strengths and weaknesses, but when it comes to picking the right camera for the job, the superb image quality almost always outweighs the other onboard characteristics.
Anthony Seratelli, the creator of the Jersey Filmmaker YouTube channel, decided to put both cameras head to head in an attempt to figure out which one produces better images.
Rather than simply shooting footage with the cameras side-by-side, Seratelli opted for a more intentional approach towards the type of shots he set up. The goal of this test was to place the cameras in three common filmmaking scenarios and try to get the optimal image quality.
To ensure fairness, both competitors were set to record at their log color profile equivalent with the same aperture, frame rate, and shutter speed. In addition, the cameras were kept at their Native ISO (or as close as possible to the native value). After the footage was shot, all the clips were graded in post to try and bring out the best results possible.
The first test aimed to showcase the latitude of each camera, clearing up how much detail can be pulled from the shadows and highlights in a high-contrast environment. Overall, both devices performed comparably with generally clean images with no significant signs of over or under exposure.
Even though the footage from the FS7 looked fairly balanced, one can quickly notice the tinted sky leaning more towards green rather than blue. In addition, there seemed to be some falloff in the shadows underneath the car where the image just fell into pure black with not much detail retained.
On the other hand, the RED Raven was able to pick up where the FS7 fell behind in. While the highlights of the Raven might not be as good as the FS7, the details in the shadows were much more apparent and distinguishable right off the bat. Furthermore, the color of the sky appeared more accurate and life-like when compared to the Sony’s camera.
The second test in the video involved a toddler placed on a shelf, surrounded by various colorful objects. This mix color environment allowed Seratelli to test each camera’s ability to handle different color temperatures and skin tones. Once again, both units performed similarly although each with some distinct characteristics.
The Raven was able to handle all the colors in the image without any noticeable color shifts whatsoever. Besides retaining the color of the brightly-toned objects, the skin tones of the toddler were very visually eye pleasing. According to Seratelli, he couldn’t find any faults in the Raven image.
Unfortunately, with the FS7, more notable issues did emerge. While the overall color reproduction was decent, some areas showed minor faults in the camera. For instance looking at the toddler’s hair, you can clearly see the muddy green color tint. The skin tones, on the other hand, were very comparable to the RED Raven, which strayed away from Sony’s green-tinted skin tone issue.
The final test in the video had Seratelli himself sitting in the center of a studio-controlled environment using a traditional three-point lighting setup with a high-key lighting configuration. In this scenario, both cameras performed similarly – probably the closest among the three tests.
Each device was able to produced images wherein the skin tones remained accurate and allowed the orange shirt to pop. However, both rivals share a similar issue with noise in the darker areas of the frame, especially on the chin of the iMacs in the background. Based on the noise in the shadows, it is clear that these both would perform poorly in low-light shooting situations.
Overall, Seratelli’s tests concluded that no matter which camera you decide to use for your next project, you will still end up with clean, crisp footage, granted that you provide adequate light for the cameras. It is also worth noting that the FS7 did take some extra time in post-production to get the results Seratelli wanted from the image, even though it was still very comparable to the RED Raven.