As a rule, choosing a professional-grade video camera is not an easy feat. Unlike entry-level mirrorless cameras or mid-tier camcorders, prosumer camera systems that are used in the industry require a lot of know-how, certain skill set, and thorough preparation in advance. These are essential prerequisites to ensure that one will be able to get the best image possible, even if it takes some time to set up the perfect shot.
That being said, the Sony FS5 and Panasonic EVA-1 are two of the most popular prosumer camcorders available on the market right now as these are also frequently compared by filmmakers against one another and for a reason. Both rivals share traits such as similar ergonomics, design elements, and feature set.
So, if you’re someone who’s trying to find out the difference between the two systems, particularly when it comes to color accuracy and low light performance, then the following comparison produced by Anthony Seratelli from Jersey Filmmaker might give you some useful insights on the topic.
Truthfully, based solely on the above tests, there aren’t that many differences between the images produced by these cameras. While Seratelli admits that his testing methodology wasn’t the most accurate one, the results gathered from analyzing the footage reveal certain strengths and weaknesses that are worth considering.
In the first place, Seratelli wanted to test out how do the two competitors perform when it comes to color accuracy and skin tones. In addition, he was also curious to find out whether he could rely on each camera’s auto white balance feature in a real-world environment.
Unfortunately, the captured images were far from perfect regardless of the color grading applied to salvage the footage later in post. As a result, skin tones produced by both cameras looked muddy and a bit off. Admittedly, this may have been caused by the mixed color temperature lighting in the scene, although the end result goes to show that using the auto white balance on both cameras in mixed lighting conditions should generally be avoided.
The next test simulated a low-light shooting scenario, comparing each camera’s low light capabilities. Shooting in the standard color profiles, both the FS5 and EVA-1 produced relatively similar images, despite Panasonic boasting the EVA-1’s Dual Native ISO of 2500.
Meanwhile, the footage captured with the cameras’ log profiles unveiled a slightly different story. Looking at the clip from the FS5, it seems that there was more noise present in the shadows, which is expected when using the S-Log 3 profile. The EVA-1, on the other hand, did slightly better with less noise in that specific area. Nevertheless, the EVA1’s noise patterns tend to look a bit video-ish when compared to the Sony FS5, so keep that in mind when shooting in low light with the V-Log profile.
The final test for both cameras was to shoot a subject lit by overhead lights only in order to asses overall color and skin tones. Once again, the FS5 and EVA-1 both performed similarly. However, Seratelli noted that the EVA-1 tends to produce warmer midtones, favoring the look of the FS5.
While these were completely unscientific tests, one major point can be made – knowing the ins and outs of your camera is paramount. This ensures that when you’re on set, regardless of which system you use, you’ll be fully aware of how to leverage the available assets and get the best possible results.
Ultimately, if you’re someone who has prior experience with Sony’s camera ecosystem, including the proprietary menus and color science, you may lean more towards using the FS5. The same can be said if you’re an individual who’s had experience with a camera such as the GH5, wherein the transition to using the EVA-1 may be more seamless then switching to camera from another manufacturer.