How much do you really need to spend to get cinema-quality video? The answer is complicated. Amazing cameras like the Sony a7 IV can produce spectacular images for a relatively affordable price point.
But then there are people like RED who make the KOMODO with some incredibly appealing features and a promise of even greater image quality for a higher price point.
If you are looking for a pure quality standpoint you’ll probably just want to see what these cameras can do. For that we can look to indie filmmaker Maik Hansen who has a nice side-by-side comparison of the RED KOMODO and Sony a7 IV.
These two cameras are very different when it comes to their imaging pipelines.
Sony packed a 24MP (6K) full-frame sensor into its mirrorless body and uses the entire area of the frame to downsample and create a sharp 4K image.
RED on the other hand uses a 6K Super 35mm CMOS with a global shutter in the KOMODO.
This can result in very different looking images. Sony also relies on compressed codecs for internal recording while the KOMODO can make use of REDCODE raw for top quality.
As for these tests, they used 35mm photo lenses at f/2.8 without any filters to keep everything fairly clean and neutral.
Lighting was handled with an Aputure 300D fitted with a softbox with grid alongside a Nanlite PavoTube 15X for edge lighting.
Looking at the test environment this is set up in a way that doesn’t push these cameras so far. In this controlled environment both cameras look great.
A lot of the image has to do with the lighting and when you nail that then the camera almost doesn’t even matter.
That’s great news! Cost isn’t a huge factor for getting that cinematic look.
However, that isn’t the end of the story for a production. A lot of additional features and functions are what you are paying for. The KOMODO performed better than the Sony in some critical ways.
Maik points out that the a7 IV was prone to overheating and lacked things like timecode and dedicated controls. RED doesn’t have these issues and is able to fit better into professional workflows.
Pick the right tool for the right job. But don’t worry about working on a tight budget if that is all you have. Just start shooting.
What do you think about these tests?
[source: Maik Hansen]
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