This One's Getting Attention
Over 24K views in just a little over a week, my comparison video on the GH5s and the Arri Alexa Mini has gained a lot of traction. Mostly positive reviews but also some constructive as well as not so constructive negative reviews. So, I'm using this opportunity to clarify some of the questions that were asked and also to explain a bit more "why" I did the test.
The first reason for doing the comparison test was, why not? People are always claiming that image quality is getting better and better across the board. From your cell phones, DSLR, point and shoot cameras (yes the GH5s is a mirrorless or point and shoot camera) to semi-professional digital film cameras, there is a claim that it is hard to tell the difference between them and the professional cameras such as Red and Alexa. So the tests I decided to do were specifically looking at the issues I have personally had with cameras in the past and to see how the Panasonic GH5s holds up comparing to a "big boy", the Arri Mini.
The second reason for doing the test was that in my line of work, I will be shooting low budget as well as bigger budget projects. And there are many occasions where I decide that working with a smaller, less expensive camera, such as the GH5s is perfectly acceptable and possibly even a better tool for the job. Hence, herein lies the need for the test. Because even on some of the projects that I feel the smaller, less expensive camera is best, I have producers and directors claiming that they MUST have their project on a Red or Alexa, or they feel it just won't be good. So, there you have it. I needed to show the actual difference where I felt the cameras mattered (Low light, codec breakage, and banding when color grading).
I think where I may ruffle some feathers is the fact that the color science behind the Alexa is impeccable. It's hard to beat. And I didn't test the color difference between the two cameras. However, my main reason for that is that is more of an aesthetic choice. It's what you prefer for color, not a scientific fact. Many prefer the color science of the Arri. But I didn't want to make a call on something so subjective.
The bottom line is, choose the right tool for the job. I actually had one person scoff at the review because he claimed that is like comparing a BMW to a Ferrari. (He was from Europe, so BMW is considered an everyday car there). He is exactly right. However, would you choose to use a Ferrari as your car for your Uber business? Maybe in that scenario, the BMW is the better choice. In addition, the BMW overall, may actually be a better well-rounded car for your job. It's understanding what your limitations are and what your budget is. If you have a choice of spending $1000/day on a camera or getting a good sound person for your project, then get a good sound person. Because as I have a stated before in a previous blog, the camera is the last piece that matters in good story telling. Get your other ducks in a row before deciding on the box to shoot it on. Today mage quality does not have to be compromised anymore because you are shooting on a less expensive camera. Hire the right "chef" to cook your meal. You'll be impressed with what Gordon Ramsey can create with a toaster oven.