While we wait for the A7SIII to break the surface and appear like some white whale we are all expecting, we have to live with the A7III and the files it gives us. Don’t get me wrong, though, the A7III is still a great camera, and it will be worth for years to come thanks to the great sensitivity of the sensor and the various picture profiles it offers. But which one to choose and why?
There are many options available and how can be sure that going with SLog is always the better choice? Could it be that sometimes it’s more efficient to use something else like the HLG? In the following video, Henbu makes a comparison between the two.
For this particular shooting, we have the seaside in San Diego on a nice sunny day. This gives us a nice testing ground. There is a great range of situations available from harsh and bright direct sunlight to some softer and cooler shadows with a bunch of silhouettes in between, a perfect playground to test the dynamic range of the two color profiles.
Besides the fact that the images are great looking, you can try and guess what profile was used in this comparison as it could be a nice way to test yourself and your eye.
The result may be surprising, although it’s worth noting that the images we see have been graded in the first place and that makes for a much less honest comparison. The skills of the colorist, in fact, could completely change the results of the final image, ruining the best one or saving the flaws of the other.
Coloring skills apart, the images have a nice grade, the harsh light is handled very well by both the profiles. We can see a nice and smooth rolloff in the highlights and the noise in the shadows is not so overwhelming as sometimes it can be.
All in all, it takes a little more time to expose correctly the SLog footage. It should be what you usually call ETTR (expose-to-the-right) meaning that the histogram should be leaning toward the right on the bright side.
In other words, the image should be a little bit overexposed to get optimal results. That is also to avoid too much of the frame to be underexposed since those areas tend to have a lot of noise in log images.
So concluding this little blind test, what do we get? It seems that the kind of attention needed in the Log footage doesn’t make it very apt to lighting situations where you have a lot of variances. If you move around, light is changing and such, you should better go with the HLG. The couple of stops of extra dynamic range you get from the Log footage in that case are not worth the hustle.
If instead, you have some tricky situations, where you need to push to the limits of your camera, or where your lighting does not change so much or you can control it well, then the SLog flavors could be the better option.