All cameras were set to the manufacturers recommended EI.
Readings were taken with a Minolta 6, a Pentax Digital Spot and a Sekonic (I don’t know the exact model but a very recent one)
Lighting was with Trucolor XH (2 * HS) with 3200 and 5600 panels, backlight was from matching Matchstix.
The levels for the Dragon Skin Tungsten tests should all be read bearing in mind a one stop offset, so plus one is really zero and plus four is really plus three. This was due to a problem getting enough level for 400 EI Tungsten. The daylight tests are what they say.
CT readings were taken with a Minolta CT3 and a Sekonic, the Minolta gave 3200 and no M/G shift and 5600 again with no M/G shift, the Sekonic agreed with 3200 but read 5900 for the 5600 light.
The scene brightness range is 7 stops so taking that 7 and adding the plus and minus values will give us the usable filming range. Please note that this is very different to the values produced by a Xyla chart which as far as I’m concerned is only good for manufacturers PR blurbs and has no use in real filming situations.
All material was processed in Resolve 11.3 with the appropriate IDT, adjustments were made so that the middle grey patch read 512, contrast was reduced to 0.9 overall to contain extreme peaks of colour.
White clip levels were easy to find as were the “unity” levels i.e. The levels where no gain alteration was required, this gives us the “real” EI of the camera.
Shadows were a different matter, with most it was possible to discern the small chip within the black on the chart down to levels that gave so much noise they were unusable.
I therefore established a point that showed clearly using the vector-scope in magnify mode and when a camera reached that noise point that was the level I have published. The pictures may well be usable below this point but there has to be some kind of even playing field. In fact what happens after this point varies hugely from camera to camera and this is totally down to personal preference.
The Varicam had serious issues with shadows blocking up and just for the hell of it I tried using the Sony Slog3 IDT at levels below the point that the Varicam IDT had failed. This gave very surprising results.
I have listed the cameras in order of cost.
The Sony F65 is Tungsten only because my DIT managed to destroy the Daylight rushes, he was distracted playing with the pictures from all the cameras, maybe this is a clear argument for an unthinking data monkey who just copies and checks that it has copied…