Last update 22-4-2017.
NEW: 10 CAMERAS COMPARED: VARICAM LT VS. AMIRA VS... vimeo.com/205512384
IN THE MAKING: Varicam LT - film texture and exposure, ETTL, grading essentials.
ALEXA VS VARICAM - VIDEO SOON - My opinion: Varicam LT for sharpest 4K/25p with superb colors, and for ISO5000 (must have for me). Alexa Mini if you need best 4K/50p (like I do on aerial shoots) and HD100/200p. THM: Amira is way too bulky and heavy, Mini is expensive and does not offer ISO5000 Varicam performance. Varicam LT disappoints in 4K/50p and 200p compared with Arris. Panasonic needs to address this with soft- and/or hardware upgrades. The dream camera of course combines the best from Varicam LT and Arri Mini at a Varicam LT price ;)
VARICAM LT: Images at 25p UHD/HD still blow me away every day. Build quality is superb. Zacuto eye and Zacuto axis make the Varicam LT perfect. ISO 5000 is a game changer. The 100 fps HD slow motion gives very nice 720p resolution with great colour depth and scales up reasonably well to UHD. Trying to get the sharpest 4K images possible and a good depth of field means working at F12 (diffraction limit for 4K S35mm) as often as possible. Achieving a rich 65mm film look needs v-log and exposing to the right (so ISO5000 becomes even more useful).
This is a true master camera.
ICELAND WILD WEST - 200 horses and 3000 sheep.
Varicam LT review part 1 - APRIL FIRE - Introduction to the Varicam LT vimeo.com/165999334
MY VARICAM SETUP - keep it simple, lightweight, and future proof. tmfilmpro.com/alleseiten/techtalk/cinematography/varicamLTsetup.html
0. Compared to the competition
Beyond Arri image quality for a fraction of the price? The Varicam LT makes it possible: 4K - ISO5000 - 65mm film look - natural, more Fujichrome than Kodak colour. I have tested the Canon C300II and imagewise it is a much inferior camera even at 4K 25p ISO800 (plus, the 100p slow motion has a pixel bottleneck of 1024x540, no 4K/50p and no prerec at frame rates over 25p).
1. The Varicam LT captures all the finest nuances of colour, and not only in skin tones, but also in the most difficult and saturated greens and reds.
2. Dynamic range is excellent, and as with film you can always choose to blow out highlights because they roll off so nicely to get cleaner shadows.
3. ISO 5000 with rich exposure (shadow protection) is super clean, exposed by the book it will have a fine velvety 35mm film grain texture. Underexposure will yield a contrastier, desaturated, more gritty sort of S-16 film look, with grainy noise but with high sharpness (acutance). Remember, at two stops underexposure we are looking at an effective ISO of 20 000, and without any noise reduction out of the box! I prefer this very much to the Sony way of turning everything into plastic by noise reduction and then boasting about high ISOs.
4. ISO 800 gives clean yet beautiful images reminding me of that lovely 50ASA Kodak film stock, and 65mm.
5. Very highly resolving, artifact free images in an efficient codec. AA filtering a Bayer sensor is always a compromise, but it works extremely well in the Varicam.
6. V-log is a pure joy and very easy to use. Camera waveform display is great.
7. For wildlife and documentary filming, the essential 3 seconds prerecord is available for ALL framerates. The timemachine!
8. Internal ND filters, I cannot work without. See below - FACTS: ISO
9. Build quality is superb. A bulletproof tanklike yet elegant camera. Even the little wheel for iris control has perfect friction.
10. All my EF mount lenses worked perfectly, with IS, too. No AF though.
11. A positive locking EF mount for rock solid lens attachment. Simply great.
12. Four audio XLR inputs. Wow. All necessary in- and outputs in a solid, brick shaped body, no fiddly attachments (hello, Canon...)
13. The control unit is beautiful, but can be left at home when weight and size is an issue.
14. AVC Intra 4:2:2 (and 4:4:4 from the Varicam 35) work perfectly in Resolve on my iMac and Pegasus R6 raid. This codec is rock solid and I had zero artifacts - very unlike the Sony FS7.
15. Download speed from P2 via USB3 to my raid is – just like with Sony XQD – about 20Gbit/s. Nice.
16. I did not have the time to check out that infrared mode, but will probably love to use it to film animals in the dark.
17. EXCITING: RAW or ProRes recording with the new Shogun Inferno and Convergent Odyssey... I will need to see if IQ really profits by using CDNG or ProResHQ instead of the LT codec, but it is likely.
18. It is possible to record sync sound in some slow motion settings onto an SD cards. Good if you like speed ramps.
19. Postproduction on iMac2016 in DaVinci: All codecs work well in DaVinci 12.5.4. V-log and Panasonic lut is extremely easy and fast to use in grading.
!!! PLEASE open further comments for CONS and MAGIC OF VLOG...