S-Log3 vs S-Cinetone – Which Picture Profile Should You Opt For?

We have done a comparison between S-Log3 and S-Cinetone before, but it is worth getting another look at the differences and seeing some new footage. Coming from Matt WhoisMatt Johnson is a deep dive that reviews a lot of the technical differences between the two Picture Profiles.

If you are trying to figure out which profile to use when or what shooting scenarios are better suited to one or the other then this video could be a big help. Considering S-Cinetone is relatively new to mirrorless and affordable Cinema Line cameras from Sony, there is a lot to learn and understand about this profile.

On the a7S III and other newer Sony cameras where you have options for either S-Log3 or S-Cinetone you do have a fairly easy distinction between the two profiles.

S-Log3 is designed to capture maximum latitude and maximum color information – as long as you have time in post to properly work with the ultra-flat footage to bring out its best. S-Cinetone, on the other hand, is a tweaked profile that is designed to provide a pleasing, contrasty image straight out of camera.

Image Credit: Sony

If you are just starting to look at these two profiles and what fits your project, you may want to make a decision based on the workflow demands (or lack thereof) or each profile. S-Log3 is a lot more work than S-Cinetone.

During shooting there are some other operational differences. S-Log3 has a higher base ISO of 640. This means you shouldn’t go below that as you shoot. S-Cinetone doesn’t have this and can operate all the way down to ISO 100. There are some situations where one profile will excel over the other.

Image Credit: Matt WhoisMatt Johnson

Matt lays out three reasons when S-Cinetone is better:

  1. Live Streaming
  2. Working with Different/New Editor
  3. Fast Turnaround

S-Cinetone’s advantage is that is creates a good-looking image right away. So situations like live streaming or where you have a fast turnaround are going to benefit from the truncated workflow.

Another good example is if you are handing off footage to an editor who may not want or isn’t experienced with log footage. In this case, S-Cinetone’s easy to look at and work with image will save some headache.

There are also three scenarios with S-Log3 still reigns:

  1. Best Image Quality Required
  2. Lack Control over Environment/Lighting
  3. Time-Permitting Workflow for Log

The key for S-Log3 is that it is going to give you the best image – assuming you have time to work with it. If you want the best image you should choose S-Log3.

Image Credit: Matt WhoisMatt Johnson

If you aren’t in full control of your scene’s lighting then the flatter image and more malleable files will help you make stronger adjustments in post. You just have to make sure you have the time the do it right.

What are your thoughts on the S-Log3 vs S-Cinetone debate?

[source: Matt WhoisMatt Johnson]

Order Links:

  • Sony a7S III Mirrorless Camera (B&H, Amazon)

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