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Matthew Scott
07-31-2014, 04:45 PM
There's been a lot of discussion about the new Dragon sensor and how it compares to the MX sensor and other cameras on the market. Unfortunately (but understandably) I have found it difficult to get actual clear facts and information about what the new sensor is and isn't, and I think that is because so many people are experiencing VERY different results.

Since I own the RED Scarlet and have been shooting with it and EPIC for almost three years (a RED newbie compared to some) I've been very interested in learning how RED's new sensor compares to it. After reading through pretty much every single post, watching almost all of the test shoots and downloading corresponding .R3Ds to have a look for myself, I've come up with my own assumptions and am curious as to what others think. The goal of this post is for me to learn more about the camera and compare notes with others to hopefully gain a clearer understanding of the new sensor's abilities (in it's current form), without getting into what the camera promised before it's release into the wild.

Here's what I've found so far:

> Resolution & detail
6K vs 5K is quite a jump, amazing when you think about it in comparison to a Canon 5D mark II that shoots stills the same size as Dragon shoots continuous video (20-ish megapixels), and, at 96FPS it's even more impressive.
ADD (Advanced Dragon Debayer) is amazing for Dragon footage and gives it a clear advantage over MX in terms of detail.

> Dynamic Range (new, currently shipping OLPF)
Dragon has 1 and a half stops MORE reach into the highlights than the MX, with a nicer roll-off.
Dragon has the same, if not LESS of a reach into under-exposure than MX, but with a nicer noise pattern.

> Noise
At 1:1 resolution, noise levels are about the same on MX and Dragon.
Dragon has a nicer noise pattern than MX (smaller, less chroma noise and with that new special RED Cine-X Pro post-fix DEB, it's even nicer).

> Color
Dragon renders color nicer than MX. In particular, skin tones are nicer.
Dragon responds better to tungsten lighting than the MX does.
Dragon's over exposure color and detail is nicer than MX.
Dragon has much better IR reduction as part of it's OLPF.

> OLPF
Customizable OLPFs, new ones, old ones, this area still seems to be in development. Exciting no doubt, but it does make it difficult to assess the sensor since it will change depending on which OLPF you have.

> Compression
I'm still unclear on this. I've read a few times that Dragon has a newer/different/better compression algorithm which suggests that higher compression ratios on Dragon retain as much information as lower compression ratios on the MX. From my experience, compression ratios really do make a difference, even when comparing 3:1 to 8:1. Is Dragon's compression in fact better than the MX? And if so, how much better? "Dragon at 10:1 retains the same detail as the MX does at 6:1" That's a quote that doesn't yet exist. Maybe Graeme can help us here? What I have learned is that Dragon's data rate 0.5mb more per frame than the MX.

Do you agree with my above list of findings? Have you noticed anything I haven't mentioned here?

Nick Morrison
07-31-2014, 05:06 PM
Lovely write up. Very helpful. Seems pretty accurate. I don't have Dragon either, but your notes seem to line up with feedback over past 6-9 months. In particular with new OLPF.

best

Phil Holland
07-31-2014, 05:18 PM
> Compression
I'm still unclear on this.

Basically REDCODE RAW was optimized/coded differently for Dragon to maintain better detail across the compression range. When I shoot 14:1 overcranked it can be exhibited. The 16bit-ness is also part of this from what I understand.


I've written a lot of stuff and posted various tests all around REDuser about Dragon. Two import things I can think of off the top of my head you missed:

1. IR cutting - I've tested ND 0.3-3.0 and you simply don't need any IRND or IRND/Combo Filters. A good matched set of quality regular NDs are the way to go. Practical day to day shooting this is extremely important. Additionally, for those who use them, Variable NDs don't create shifts like they did on Mysterium-X at various densities at 3 stops and up.

2. 4K Broadcast Module - One thing that will be important to some is that the upcoming 4K Broadcast Module will only work with Dragon.


Color and tonal response is overall much better as mentioned, skintones are lovely. Tungsten, Daylight, and various other temperatures are overall better. The highlight roll-off is of a more organic nature when compared to Mysterium-X, which I like. You won't be seeing magenta clipped areas or using DRX on Dragon material.

5K lands in the S35 format which is a big deal in reality. 6K is a larger and powerful format.

Due to Dragon's pixel pitch and the designs on both of the released OLPFs it's a hair sharper overall at comparative resolutions against the larger pixel Mysterium-X sensor.

From a personal perspective it's more about what Dragon set out to do and what really is at the core of Red's mission from the get go. To make a viable film alternative. I would argue that Dragon is potentially a film replacement at this point and people really do need to look at that. Per format it's out resolving film. It does have more Dynamic Range than film. The color is very accurate. At equivalent ISO ratings it's cleaner that film (both OLPFs).

We do have to remember it's a multi-format system designed to shoot and finish at 6K, 4K, 2K, whatever. If finishing 4K is your target it's pretty much the best thing out there right now from an image quality and feature set perspective, and that's extremely important to me.

Daniel Pearson
07-31-2014, 05:41 PM
Nice write up Matt, thanks for taking the time.

Matthew Scott
07-31-2014, 05:44 PM
Cheers Dan, just trying to keep it simple so as not to sway facts either way.

And Phil, thanks for re-opening the post...not sure what happened there :huh: Anyway, nice to see you're getting good results and loving the Dragon, especially since you have a lot of experience with it, the MX and Film. There's no doubt in my mind that it's one of the worlds greatest camera's to date, but I'm still curious about certain things.

As for the compression, is there a definitive word on that? I mean, it's good to know you're seeing good results at 14:1 for over-cranking, but what are the actual improvements, ratio to ratio when comparing it to the MX? Also, when you mention that the Dragon is 16-bit, it's as if you're stating that it's a new thing, but isn't the EPIC MX 16-bit also, and has always been?

I don't mean to sound like I'm challenging you or disagreeing, I'm just trying to find out as much as I can and understand the new technology as best I can.

Phil Holland
07-31-2014, 06:07 PM
As for the compression, is there a definitive word on that? I mean, it's good to know you're seeing good results at 14:1 for over-cranking, but what are the actual improvements, ratio to ratio when comparing it to the MX? Also, when you mention that the Dragon is 16-bit, it's as if you're stating that it's a new thing, but isn't the EPIC MX 16-bit also, and has always been?

I don't mean to sound like I'm challenging you or disagreeing, I'm just trying to find out as much as I can and understand the new technology as best I can.


Part of the good color out of Dragon is due to 16 bit processing internally and externally. This is complicated, but Graeme posted a bit ago about it. MX was always 16 bit at the end of the pipe, but I believe the sensor and ADC were a lower depth. I'll let somebody from Red explain that if I'm mistaken.

The REDCODE RAW stuff has been gone over. John Marchant posted a video a while back. Personally I would still favor 5:1-8:1 for most things. It's more about small details being retain better and the "energy" of REDCODE looking different. Quantifying it as ratio to ratio is tricky because Dragon resolves more anyways. And Dragon is different from Mysterium-X in that particular way which is one of the reasons REDCODE needed to be tuned for Dragon.

David Battistella
07-31-2014, 06:21 PM
Good write up.

All i I can add is that to squeeze the same shooting time out of dragon as I did on MX I have shoot at about 11:1 on dragon. This is about 6:1 on MX.

I don't think the image suffers from higher compression on dragon as much as it did on MX. Probably go to 8:1 for detailed scenes and I have not run any chroma key tests yet, but more pixels is going to help your keys.

Another important note is that dragon is 20megapixels over mx's 14, and that is a lot more picture information going into the r3d image container all that is what is helping with color fidelity, etc.

tungsten is a beast and the IR cut in Dragons new OLPF is wonderful (as Phil has already mentioned)

battistella

Matthew Scott
07-31-2014, 06:23 PM
Part of the good color out of Dragon is due to 16 bit processing internally and externally. This is complicated, but Graeme posted a bit ago about it. MX was always 16 bit at the end of the pipe, but I believe the sensor and ADC were a lower depth. I'll let somebody from Red explain that if I'm mistaken.

The REDCODE RAW stuff has been gone over. John Marchant posted a video a while back. Personally I would still favor 5:1-8:1 for most things. It's more about small details being retain better and the "energy" of REDCODE looking different. Quantifying it as ratio to ratio is tricky because Dragon resolves more anyways. And Dragon is different from Mysterium-X in that particular way which is one of the reasons REDCODE needed to be tuned for Dragon.

Okay, thanks for getting back to me with your knowledge on those topics. If you refer to THIS POST (http://www.reduser.net/forum/showthread.php?107279-MX-Bit-depth) I made a while back, Graeme himself stated "R3Ds for the more modern cameras are 16bit+" So you can see why I'm confused here? Again, just trying to clarify what is new about Dragon.

Also, when you say the REDCODE RAW stuff has been gone over, that doesn't really help me. I'm still searching for answers here, since the bit-depth and compression are both being claimed as superior on Dragon compared to the MX, it would be good to know exactly what the improvements are, other than describing them with nice adjectives hehe :)

Matthew Scott
07-31-2014, 06:31 PM
Good write up.

All i I can add is that to squeeze the same shooting time out of dragon as I did on MX I have shoot at about 11:1 on dragon. This is about 6:1 on MX.

I don't think the image suffers from higher compression on dragon as much as it did on MX. Probably go to 8:1 for detailed scenes and I have not run any chroma key tests yet, but more pixels is going to help your keys.

Another important note is that dragon is 20megapixels over mx's 14, and that is a lot more picture information going into the r3d image container all that is what is helping with color fidelity, etc.

tungsten is a beast and the IR cut in Dragons new OLPF is wonderful (as Phil has already mentioned)

battistella

Thanks David :) Are your observations on shooting times recording at 5K on the Dragon, or 6K? And I know the benefits of shooting lower compression ratios, of course! I'm just curious as to what the improvements actually are. I'm thinking that maybe there's a perceived "better" compression at higher compression rates due to the down-sampling (from 6K down rather than 5K down). I could be wrong, but it would still be nice to know since it's being described as an advancement in the upgrade. Agreed about the IR cut (I'll ad it to the list).

Matthew Scott
07-31-2014, 06:48 PM
Lovely write up. Very helpful. Seems pretty accurate. I don't have Dragon either, but your notes seem to line up with feedback over past 6-9 months. In particular with new OLPF.

best

Thanks Nick! :)

Marcos Montenegro
07-31-2014, 08:24 PM
Matthew-

I'm conflicted.

I love the RED ecosystem. I've shot some amazing things with my Scarlet and Epic cameras, and I was soooo looking forward to the Dragon blowing me away.

Just a quick history, in Nov 2011, I blindly took the leap of faith and purchased a Scarlet, not knowing anything about how to work a RED, etc. I did that because I believed in the concept of "DSMC". The S in that acronym is STILLS, the world where I came from, yes that side handle red knob that still doesn't work. That concept has not come true in my experience. Sure you can grab a still all day long and its great for fashion and cildren photography, but I still carry a DSLR whenever I need to do a serious timelapse of any complexity, or I want low light anything. Still, I upgraded to an Epic when that path was offered by RED and have since loved every minute of it (I'm still in my honeymoon with the Epic btw).

When RED announced the Dragon specs I was absolutely floored and signed up for the upgrade. Who wouldn't? A "2000 ISO is the new 800 ISO" camera with 16+ DR (at one point it was higher!). Well, last Friday I got my Dragon allocation email. I have some hesitations to upgrade. Mainly because I have yet to see a Dragon footage example (other than highlights) where I didn't think I could get close to that with my Epic.

For those that say I don't know what I'm talking about or that I'm afraid of change, please, I know where my cheese is (...a joke few will get). I've shot with two different Dragons in a project with the new OLPF. Did I like shooting with Dragon? Heck yes, and when lit properly it was beautiful. Was I blown away? No, I was impressed, not blown away. Is this upgrade worth almost $10K? For some its a no brainer, but for me, its not a question about what I think but what do my clients think, and to be honest I don't think they'll notice the difference, not $10K worth of difference. From a business stand point, Dragon wouldn't double the rental rate of my Epic, so cannot justify it like that. It's my images that make me money and future referrals, not what I shot them with.

I will probably be pulling the trigger on the upgrade eventually, but I want to wait and see where this is all going first.
Am I demanding? Heck no, it's my hard earned $10k after all, but I am conflicted.

Matthew Scott
07-31-2014, 08:31 PM
Hey Marcos, yep sure man, I hear you loud and clear :) Problem is, this isn't the post for that...I created this one in an attempt to build a simplified list of facts that separate the two cameras, regardless of what specs were stated and regardless of what people think of the upgrade.

Would you mind starting a new one and I'll respond better there?

Martin Stevens
07-31-2014, 09:10 PM
> Dynamic Range (new, currently shipping OLPF)
Dragon has 1 and a half stops MORE reach into the highlights than the MX, with a nicer roll-off.
Dragon has the same, if not LESS of a reach into under-exposure than MX, but with a nicer noise pattern.

Whoa! I thought there was 3 stops and not 1.5 stops more highlight protection with the NEW OLPF?
I thought the 1.5 was with the original Dragon OLPF.

Will Keir
07-31-2014, 09:49 PM
Dragon is a beautiful image with Super Speed lenses. I don't know how the sensor performs with any other combo... I don't really care about any other combo... I'm happy, this is good enough to make movies.

What I notice: Colors are rich, the image has a creamy feel, more organic. Probably helped by my lens choice. I feel skin tones are easy, and natural. The new sensor has smaller pixels than the MX. I think this makes a difference. I'm also noticing higher compression ratios 10:1 look just as good as 5:1 on some shots.

The disappointment is low light performance. I was hoping for a major advance for "seeing into the darkness" but it's small. We need more light sensitive cameras, as going with faster lenses creates focusing challenges. But this is just a dream I've had for a long time and the reality is that scenes must be lit, the camera is good enough.

There's always more I'm uncovering, more testing to be done, more to share. It's great we have a camera that's light, compact and updated frequently. It's been a good buy, if for nothing else, because of the friendships and challenges I've found and overcome.

Switching out the OLPF is going to be a nice little perk too.

Matthew Scott
07-31-2014, 09:54 PM
Whoa! I thought there was 3 stops and not 1.5 stops more highlight protection with the NEW OLPF?
I thought the 1.5 was with the original Dragon OLPF.

I haven't seen 3 stops above MX anywhere! Have you?

Matthew Scott
07-31-2014, 09:58 PM
Dragon is a beautiful image with Super Speed lenses. I don't know how the sensor performs with any other combo... I don't really care about any other combo... I'm happy, this is good enough to make movies.

What I notice: Colors are rich, the image has a creamy feel, more organic. Probably helped by my lens choice. I feel skin tones are easy, and natural. The new sensor has smaller pixels than the MX. I think this makes a difference. I'm also noticing higher compression ratios 10:1 look just as good as 5:1 on some shots.

The disappointment is low light performance. I was hoping for a major advance for "seeing into the darkness" but it's small. We need more light sensitive cameras, as going with faster lenses creates focusing challenges. But this is just a dream I've had for a long time and the reality is that scenes must be lit, the camera is good enough.

There's always more I'm uncovering, more testing to be done, more to share. It's great we have a camera that's light, compact and updated frequently. It's been a good buy, if for nothing else, because of the friendships and challenges I've found and overcome.

Switching out the OLPF is going to be a nice little perk too.

For sure Will! I'm not doubting the camera and how awesome it is, not for a second. I'm just trying to create a comparative list that isn't backed up by colorful descriptive language, rather measured and comparable results or words from the mouth of RED :) This way, this thread doesn't turn into a thread like the many out there already, which seem to boil down to discussions about peoples "feeling" towards the camera and how it feels compared to MX. Not to take anything away from that, because it is an important aspect, but not very useful when it comes to spending $10K+ or more :) Glad you're happy with your purchase and I'm excited for you....jealous even.

Will Keir
08-01-2014, 12:04 AM
Hehehe. Sorry Matthew, thought I was being helpful.


For sure Will! I'm not doubting the camera and how awesome it is, not for a second. I'm just trying to create a comparative list that isn't backed up by colorful descriptive language, rather measured and comparable results or words from the mouth of RED :) This way, this thread doesn't turn into a thread like the many out there already, which seem to boil down to discussions about peoples "feeling" towards the camera and how it feels compared to MX. Not to take anything away from that, because it is an important aspect, but not very useful when it comes to spending $10K+ or more :) Glad you're happy with your purchase and I'm excited for you....jealous even.

David Battistella
08-01-2014, 12:47 AM
Im talking 6k ff on dragon compared to 5k ff on MX. I'm also talking about image detail in the r3d at full. I think that the lower compression on the dragon is quite detailed whereas the higher compression tends to also hold detail very well. It's hard to see any compression in REDcode and I haven't been able to see a visual difference.

Battistella


Thanks David :) Are your observations on shooting times recording at 5K on the Dragon, or 6K? And I know the benefits of shooting lower compression ratios, of course! I'm just curious as to what the improvements actually are. I'm thinking that maybe there's a perceived "better" compression at higher compression rates due to the down-sampling (from 6K down rather than 5K down). I could be wrong, but it would still be nice to know since it's being described as an advancement in the upgrade. Agreed about the IR cut (I'll ad it to the list).

Martin Stevens
08-01-2014, 04:31 AM
I haven't seen 3 stops above MX anywhere! Have you?

Well, I thought many on this forum have indirectly said that the new OLPF for Dragon gave it the same highlight latitude above
middle gray at ISO 800 as the ALEXA which is 7 Stops.

So, how many stops above middle gray at ISO 800 do you think the Dragon with new OLPF has?

Phil Holland
08-01-2014, 11:51 AM
So, how many stops above middle gray at ISO 800 do you think the Dragon with new OLPF has?

Less speculation is really needed about this. How many do you see here:

http://artbyphil.com/phfx/red/dragon/images/phfx_redDragon_ISOExamples.jpg

Myself, Gavin, and Stacey have all posted individual measurements of various things. Xyla-21, individual measured patches, individual calibrated illuminated sources, etc......

The next question to ask is what are you looking at it? REDgamma4? REDlogFilm Flat? Curve? The next question is how are you looking at it? Color Space? Viewing Device?

Long and the short of it Red's description of 16+ is accurate. How much of that Dynamic Range at any given point in time will depend on your ISO rating and what sort of viewing Gamma/Curve you are utilizing.

Martin Stevens
08-01-2014, 12:07 PM
Less speculation is really needed about this. How many do you see here:

http://artbyphil.com/phfx/red/dragon/images/phfx_redDragon_ISOExamples.jpg

Myself, Gavin, and Stacey have all posted individual measurements of various things. Xyla-21, individual measured patches, individual calibrated illuminated sources, etc......

The next question to ask is what are you looking at it? REDgamma4? REDlogFilm Flat? Curve? The next question is how are you looking at it? Color Space? Viewing Device?

Long and the short of it Red's description of 16+ is accurate. How much of that Dynamic Range at any given point in time will depend on your ISO rating and what sort of viewing Gamma/Curve you are utilizing.

Thanks Phil...

Yes, but this does not really answer the question. On your chart it does not say which chip is middle gray... unless I am blind.

I would prefer a direct answer as I just received my Dragon and something is not right, unless is is supposed to be this way. ???

Also, I use REDLogFilm Flat and use RedCine's wave form tools etc.

Timur Civan
08-01-2014, 01:57 PM
I'm feeling significantly more reach in the highlights on new olpf. Stop less on the bottom due to noise, but 2 up top. About 14+ overall.

Edit: @800

Phil Holland
08-01-2014, 02:28 PM
Thanks Phil...

Yes, but this does not really answer the question. On your chart it does not say which chip is middle gray... unless I am blind.

I would prefer a direct answer as I just received my Dragon and something is not right, unless is is supposed to be this way. ???

Also, I use REDLogFilm Flat and use RedCines wave form tools etc.


I'll attempt to give you the most concise answer ever on this topic.

The direct answer I can give you is based on my own and Stacey's/Gavin's measured data, which is thankfully identical.

Where is 18% gray on that chart with within measured patches?

- At ISO 0050 18% gray at IRE 41 lands on patch 4 via REDlogFilm Flat with no Curve.
- At ISO 0100 18% gray at IRE 41 lands on patch 5 via REDlogFilm Flat with no Curve.
- At ISO 0200 18% gray at IRE 41 lands on patch 6 via REDlogFilm Flat with no Curve.
- At ISO 0400 18% gray at IRE 41 lands on patch 7 via REDlogFilm Flat with no Curve.
- At ISO 0800 18% gray at IRE 41 lands on patch 8 via REDlogFilm Flat with no Curve.
- At ISO 1600 18% gray at IRE 41 lands on patch 9 via REDlogFilm Flat with no Curve.
- At ISO 3200 18% gray at IRE 41 lands on patch 10 via REDlogFilm Flat with no Curve.
- At ISO 6400 18% gray at IRE 41 lands on patch 11 via REDlogFilm Flat with no Curve.

Additional Information:

- This chart contains 17 patches measured with the new OLPF. Patch 1 is the moment just before clipping and contains textured detail.
- With the new OLPF I have measured beyond 16 stops of what the camera can "see". I can actually see/measure 19 stops throughout the available ISO range.
- That 19th stop is dark and has a good bit of noise before tonal detail is "washed into the abyss", but there is separation and Dragon can see it amazingly.
- For fun additional info I have never seen anything beyond the 15th patch with a film stock. Any film stock. Commonly it tops out at 13 stops in reality.
- I would generally describe the common usable range as a 16-18 stops of Dynamic Range. The description of 16+ actually makes sense.
- Remember that Red recommends ISO 250-2000 as "cinema ready" usable ISO ratings.
- Some of these measurements are outside of this range because you have to test everything and look at what the camera can see.
- Patch 8 or 9 is really what you are looking for.
- Depending on who you are and how you "feel" about those stops that means ISO 800-1600 is the ideal range where you have equal stops above and below.
- RAW View on Dragon is currently a REDcolor2/REDlogFilm (FLAT) image at ISO 800 for this very reason.
- Personally for that reason ISO 800-1280 is likely the number you are looking for.

Film Logic and Other Tid Bits:

- If you want to maintain the most film like response you'll likely be shooting between ISO 250-800, I'll add a personal note for ISO 1000/1280 because of texture as well.
- I really dig what ISO 320-500 can do in reality. Especially in relationship to what film's tonal response is. Thought Dragon is much cleaner at those sensitivities in comparison.
- ISO 800 is essentially that middle point you are looking for above and below 18% gray. I provides a lightly textured image.

One Last Thought/Thing:

- One other note that falls out of a laboratory test such as this. Often real world lighting conditions and subject matter aren't going to fill up all of the Dynamic Range. However, having a lot of Dynamic Range captured does indeed effect the Workable Latitude of the image after the fact. An interesting thing I've found is what information is kept outside of the "recommended cinema ready ISO 250-2000" use. This equates overall to an image, a REDCODE RAW image, that can be manipulated by a Digital Colorist in powerful ways. I am nearly 100% of the time working with Dragon like I'm working with film. Thought I will say grading a clip it's interesting going beyond standard 1 stop pushes and pulls. More or less depending on how you shoot a very friendly approximate 3.3 stops across the tonal range without hurting the image quality. This is impressive actually and not something other cameras do very well.

Medavoym
08-01-2014, 02:59 PM
Long and the short of it Red's description of 16+ is accurate. How much of that Dynamic Range at any given point in time will depend on your ISO rating and what sort of viewing Gamma/Curve you are utilizing.

Hi Phil,

If you measure the MX like this - counting the stops in RedLogFilm and NOT in any Red Gammas or without any curve applied - how many stops do you think you will see?

Probably 14.

Is that an accurate statement to say that the Epic MX has a 14-stop range?

Moreover - how many stops does the Alexa show in LOG (if you test it similarly)? Probably 18. Is that a fair assessment to say that the Alexa is an 18-stop camera?

Thanks!

Nick Morrison
08-01-2014, 03:14 PM
- RAW View on Dragon is currently a REDcolor2/REDlogFilm (FLAT) image at ISO 800 for this very reason.

Awesome info. Thanks for sharing.

Phil Holland
08-01-2014, 03:57 PM
Hi Phil,

If you measure the MX like this - counting the stops in RedLogFilm and NOT in any Red Gammas or without any curve applied - how many stops do you think you will see?

Probably 14.

Is that an accurate statement to say that the Epic MX has a 14-stop range?

Moreover - how many stops does the Alexa show in LOG (if you test it similarly)? Probably 18. Is that a fair assessment to say that the Alexa is an 18-stop camera?

Thanks!

Measured Dynamic Range tested under identical circumstances and methods:

Red Epic Dragon = 16+ for the reasons described above.
Arri Alexa = 14+ (due to the 14.1-14.25 nominal results as there is a hint of detail measured but it's not a clear stop of information)
Sony F65 = 14
Sony F55 = 14
Red Mysterium-X = 13.5
Phantom Flex 4K = 12
Canon C500 = 12

I need to stress here that I'm not merely looking at an image at one particular ISO. I am measuring what each system can "see" as well. Meaning where detail can be resolved, measured, and seen above and below the line. You have to look deeper into each "camera manufacturer X's" version of log. Things need to be measured with the image data and precisely to the intensity of the sample target. My methods involve both illuminated and reflected targets for a reason as it reveals truly who's "adding a bit more" into the optical and image processing mix. Each camera takes a full day to accurately test in reality.

An interesting thing really here is those last possible stops of visibility, meaning textured and resolved detail. Not pure image noise.

Everybody is keen on comparing Dragon to the Alexa, but in reality it's real competition is the Sony F65. At least in my mind. And that's where the discussion actually fun because then we get to talk color again.

I'll add one other thing, you may notice the Alexa is the only camera on this chart not suitable for 4K finishes. That should inform some people's opinions about a lot of things.

I'll add one other, other thing. To get the most out of each of these cameras you got to shoot them very right. I can make all of them look like junk if shot wrecklessly. However, when used for their strengths that's where interesting things really happen and pretty images are born.

Martin Stevens
08-01-2014, 05:48 PM
Thanks again Phil,

Now that I know where the IRE chips fall (in your nice chart), I would like to make sure my deductions are correct.

So, are you saying that with the New Dragon OLPF that if you place middle gray at 41 IRE when at ISO 800, that there are
8 stops until clip? I feel like this is what your chart is showing, but I keep feeling like the answer is no.

And if there are 8 Stops from 41 IRE to clip with the new OLPF, then how many stops from 41 IRE to clip is there
with the earlier (low light) OLPF?

I just received my Dragon Upgrade and feel like I do not have the correct (new) OLPF installed as I requested, but
I need to do more tests as I had been using 48 IRE instead of 41 for middle gray measurements.

Also, do you think that there is a one stop difference between 41 and 48 IRE?

Brian Boyer
08-01-2014, 05:59 PM
So, are you saying that with the New Dragon OLPF that if you place middle gray at 41 IRE when at ISO 800, that there are
8 stops until clip? I feel like this is what your chart is showing, but I keep feeling like the answer is no.

I think you're making the mistake of counting the chips when you should be counting the movement between chips. In other words, the jump from chip 8 to chip 7 is 1 stop. The jump from 7 to 6 is another stop, etc.

At 800 ISO it's 7 stops.

Phil Holland
08-01-2014, 06:02 PM
Thanks again Phil,

Now that I know where the IRE chips fall (in your nice chart), I would like to make sure my deductions are correct.

So, are you saying that with the New Dragon OLPF that if you place middle gray at 41 IRE when at ISO 800, that there are
8 stops until clip? I feel like this is what your chart is showing, but I keep feeling like the answer is no.

And if there are 8 Stops from 41 IRE to clip with the new OLPF, then how many stops from 41 IRE to clip is there
with the earlier (low light) OLPF?

I just received my Dragon Upgrade and feel like I do not have the correct (new) OLPF installed as I requested, but
I need to do more tests as I had been using 48 IRE instead of 41 for middle gray measurements.

Also, do you think that there is a one stop difference between 41 and 48 IRE?


Yes. What I'm saying is that at ISO 800 you have 8 Stops (including that patch) from IRE 41 before clipping occurs.

18% Gray has essentially an IRE range for 41-48. The patches and data was measured precisely at IRE 41 for 18% Gray.

One full stop using REDlogFilm without a curve should give you approximately IRE 48-50.

Brian Boyer
08-01-2014, 06:03 PM
Yes. What I'm saying is that at ISO 800 you have 8 Stops from IRE 41 before clipping occurs.

18% Gray has essentially an IRE range for 41-48. The patches and data was measured precisely at IRE 41 for 18% Gray.

One full stop using REDlogFilm without a curve should give you approximately IRE 48-50.

Well damn, I stand corrected. Now, I'm confused.

Phil Holland
08-01-2014, 06:09 PM
Well damn, I stand corrected.

No, you're right. It depends basically if you start counting the next step up or start counting on the patch itself. Since this patch sequence is shot just at the moment before clipping that is indeed a stop of light and not full clip. Which is why some people may start on 0 or 1 respectively.

Brian Boyer
08-01-2014, 06:11 PM
No, you're right. It depends basically if you start counting the next step up or start counting on the patch itself. Since this patch sequence is shot just at the moment before clipping that is indeed a stop of light and not full clip. Which is why some people may start on 0 or 1 respectively.

Okay. Thanks for the clarification.

Phew! I've been on a losing streak around here lately and I needed a win.

Martin Stevens
08-01-2014, 06:12 PM
No, you're right. It depends basically if you start counting the next step up or start counting on the patch itself. Since this patch sequence is shot just at the moment before clipping that is indeed a stop of light and not full clip. Which is why some people may start on 0 or 1 respectively.

Woah, so if he's right, its 7, but you said you were right at 8.

When I count I do not count the chip I start on.

So, I started on chip 8 and then counted 8 chips to the left ending on chip 0 which is not there but is the real clip CHIP
because chip one still has info according to you.

Brian Boyer
08-01-2014, 06:15 PM
Woah, so if he's right, its 7, but you said you were right at 8.

When I count I do not count the chip I start on.

So, I started on chip 8 and then counted 8 chips to the left ending on chip 0 which is not there but is the real clip CHIP
because chip one still has info according to you.

Yeah, if I understand him correctly, the white of the chip isn't the "whitest" you could go with the sensor because it's not clipping. Therefore, some people would consider the clip as another stop.

How'd we do, Phil?

Martin Stevens
08-01-2014, 06:20 PM
If I understand him correctly, the white of the chip isn't the "whitest" you could go with the sensor because it's not clipping. Therefore, some people would consider the clip as another stop.

How'd I do?

Great, but I think Phil is saying 8 Stops from 41 IRE to full no detail clip if you do not count the 41 IRE chip, but do count
the pure white, no-info chip which is not on his chart.

Also............... "And if there are 8 Stops from 41 IRE to clip with the new OLPF, then how many stops from 41 IRE to clip is there
with the earlier (low light) OLPF?" ........ ???? Or, MX?

Brian Boyer
08-01-2014, 06:28 PM
Great, but I think Phil is saying 8 Stops from 41 IRE to full no detail clip if you do not count the 41 IRE chip, but do count
the pure white, no-info chip which is not on his chart.

I should probably just let him answer but I can't help myself. I thought he was saying:

8 stops if you start from 0, which is full clip, to the 41 IRE chip, inclusive.
7 stops if you start from 1, which is just before clipping, to the 41 IRE chip, also inclusive.

...not counting the chip we start on, like on a board game.

Martin Stevens
08-01-2014, 06:38 PM
I should probably just let him answer but I can't help myself. I thought he was saying:

8 stops if you start from 0, which is full clip, to the 41 IRE chip, inclusive.
7 stops if you start from 1, which is just before clipping, to the 41 IRE chip, also inclusive.

This is not counting the chip we start on, like on a board game.

Thanks Brian,

I just wish his chart had a zero chip so there was perhaps less confusion.
This way you could start on the zero chip, but not count it.

:)

Phil Holland
08-01-2014, 07:00 PM
Woah, so if he's right, its 7, but you said you were right at 8.

When I count I do not count the chip I start on.

So, I started on chip 8 and then counted 8 chips to the left ending on chip 0 which is not there but is the real clip CHIP
because chip one still has info according to you.


Thanks Brian,

I just wish his chart had a zero chip so there was perhaps less confusion.
This way you could start on the zero chip, but not count it.

:)

Well that's where it's sticky. Starting from "white" which is within exposure if you count from there to 18% gray you land on patch number 8. Since that's a value it is a captured stop. You either start at 0 or 1 depending on who you are. In measuring however total stops you do obviously count what the camera reads as a stop.

Also, that's why I made that crazy note about ISO 800-1280. You decide where you like it :) The camera has enough to support any of those as a true middle in my mind.

The reason ISO 800 is considered that base is exactly that as it's measured there.

When you count your fingers you don't call your pinky zero. Them are fight'n words and pinky doesn't like to be left out.

Martin Stevens
08-02-2014, 06:15 AM
When you count your fingers you don't call your pinky zero. Them are fight'n words and pinky doesn't like to be left out.

I love this line. Great point, but I'm trying to find out what my camera is supposed to deliver as stops ABOVE middle gray,
and not including it. heh heh heh.

When I get back to my camera I will test using 41 IRE as the mid gray base and see.

THANKS PHIL.... Let me ask this whole thing in another way. How many more stops above middle gray
does the new Dragon OLPF have over MX?

Phil Holland
08-02-2014, 10:06 AM
I love this line. Great point, but I'm trying to find out what my camera is supposed to deliver as stops ABOVE middle gray,
and not including it. heh heh heh.

When I get back to my camera I will test using 41 IRE as the mid gray base and see.

THANKS PHIL.... Let me ask this whole thing in another way. How many more stops above middle gray
does the new Dragon OLPF have over MX?

Dragon with the new OLPF retains about 2 stops in highlights at ISO 800 compared to Mysterium-X at the same rating. The rest is found on the shadow side.

**edit, I'll add the highlight roll-off to clip is much, much nicer too.

Martin Stevens
08-02-2014, 11:00 AM
Dragon with the new OLPF retains about 2 stops in highlights at ISO 800 compared to Mysterium-X at the same rating. The rest is found on the shadow side.

**edit, I'll add the highlight roll-off to clip is much, much nicer too.

So about 2 stops with the new OLPF, thanks. So, how much if I have the original v1 OLPF?

Phil Holland
08-02-2014, 02:21 PM
So about 2 stops with the new OLPF, thanks. So, how much if I have the original v1 OLPF?

It was about 1.3 stops less. That's more or less the difference overall in terms of sensitivity and texture between the two.

Martin Stevens
08-02-2014, 04:43 PM
It was about 1.3 stops less. That's more or less the difference overall in terms of sensitivity and texture between the two.

THANKS PHIL. All of your comments are very much appreciated.

Blair S. Paulsen
08-02-2014, 05:26 PM
I feel like folks are not giving enough credit to what the vastly improved highlight handling means in terms of setting a stop. On M and MX I was practically the clipping police, determined to give the colorist a clean top end. With Dragon (OLPF V2) I am comfortable with letting the top end burn a bit as long as I get the exposure I want on key elements (general rule, yes there are exceptions). From a practical perspective, this gives me more control over the exposure choice as I don't get stuck having to underexpose a key element trying to avoid the clip.

Available/low light shooting on Dragon vs MX isn't the degree of improvement many were hoping for, but as long as you have enough light it really does add 3 usable stops of DR. YMMV.

Cheers - #19

Les Dittert
08-02-2014, 05:55 PM
, this gives me more control over the exposure choice as I don't get stuck having to underexpose a key element trying to avoid the clip.



But technically, isn't the highlight protection of Dragon the same as underexposing ( to prevent the photosites from clipping) ?
The RED user interface might not represent the situation as underexposing to the operator, but that is what is happening in there. Otherwise you would have clipping ;)
That's just how sensors work. The other factor is that the sensors are linear but there is a curve put on the response that may mimic film more in the way there is more highlight saturation resistance there. Again all derived from a linear sensor signal. Dragon has more bits so more drastic LUTs can be applied, so that helps.
But 65,000 electrons out of , a what, 5 micron photosite ? Rrrrighttttt .... ( 65K = 16 bits ).
So to simulate Dragon on MX , you shoot at ISO 800 therby underexposing and gaining the highlight protection. A crunchier ( more quantized ) post LUT tonality range , yes.
Now of course, you have to look at the details you want to use that have been pushed further into the black and how recoverable are they.

Medavoym
08-02-2014, 05:56 PM
Measured Dynamic Range tested under identical circumstances and methods:

Red Epic Dragon = 16+ for the reasons described above.
Arri Alexa = 14+ (due to the 14.1-14.25 nominal results as there is a hint of detail measured but it's not a clear stop of information)


Thanks so much Phil for the detailed response.

Bottom line - are you saying Red Dragon has TWO more usable stops of dynamic range than the Arri Alexa?

Thanks!

Martin Stevens
08-02-2014, 06:23 PM
Thanks so much Phil for the detailed response.

Bottom line - are you saying Red Dragon has TWO more usable stops of dynamic range than the Arri Alexa?

Thanks!

"Usable" is ultimately up to the user to decide, because even if there is more info there you might not use it in your grade.

Medavoym
08-03-2014, 09:35 AM
OK. I'll rephrase.

Phil - do you think the Dragon has two more additional stops than the Alexa?

Individual grading tastes/preferences aside.
Thanks!

Phil Holland
08-03-2014, 09:51 AM
OK. I'll rephrase.

Phil - do you think the Dragon has two more additional stops than the Alexa?

Individual grading tastes/preferences aside.
Thanks!

If you are referring to sensitivity the V1 OLPF is indeed more sensitive than Alexa. The V2 OLPF places those values elsewhere. V2 favors and places tones in a more retained way from the midtones through highlights. Which is why in that most recent comparison video you are seeing "green" on Dragon at an equivalent exposure and "pink" on Alexa in the same areas. And there is a difference in log output between the two and it's not exactly an apples to apples comparison due to one additional variable that effects highlight and shadow information on the Alexa. This is "optical effect" is not something Dragon incorporates.

Noah Yuan-Vogel
08-03-2014, 09:57 AM
No, you're right. It depends basically if you start counting the next step up or start counting on the patch itself. Since this patch sequence is shot just at the moment before clipping that is indeed a stop of light and not full clip. Which is why some people may start on 0 or 1 respectively.

That doesn't make sense unless patch one is exactly 1 stop under white clip... Sounds like patch one was measured to be only a hair under white clip, right? So it's definitely 7 stops, not 8, from middle grey to clip unless patch 8 is not exactly middle grey.

If you are starting at 0 and 1 is only a hair, not a stop, under clip, you are essentially rounding up by a whole stop and counting a whole stop of detail that is not there.

Phil Holland
08-03-2014, 10:11 AM
That doesn't make sense unless patch one is exactly 1 stop under white clip... Sounds like patch one was measured to be only a hair under white clip, right? So it's definitely 7 stops, not 8, from middle grey to clip unless patch 8 is not exactly middle grey.

If you are starting at 0 and 1 is only a hair, not a stop, under clip, you are essentially rounding up by a whole stop and counting a whole stop of detail that is not there.

Again, if you are measuring "totality" of how many fingers you have do you ignore the finger you start on and end up with 9, or go with 10 as they are all fingers. The 18% patch is a measured stop in the total range. Whether you choose to include it or not as a starting point of 0 or 1 is 100% up to you guys. I measured totality and also measure the current stop I'm on because um.... It's an important finger I'd miss.

One stop above the first patch is fully clipped and clipped I'm not counting as a captured stop of light. The first patch is fully retained detail across the patch.

Medavoym
08-03-2014, 02:52 PM
If you are referring to sensitivity the V1 OLPF is indeed more sensitive than Alexa. The V2 OLPF places those values elsewhere. V2 favors and places tones in a more retained way from the midtones through highlights. Which is why in that most recent comparison video you are seeing "green" on Dragon at an equivalent exposure and "pink" on Alexa in the same areas. And there is a difference in log output between the two and it's not exactly an apples to apples comparison due to one additional variable that effects highlight and shadow information on the Alexa. This is "optical effect" is not something Dragon incorporates.

Hi Phil! Thanks for the answer.

I agree with your assessments regarding the different values placement of the Dragon's V2 OLPF compared to V1.
I'm also aware of that additional variable you allude to - the "low con" (presumably) filter incorporated in Alexa's OLPF.

But:


Measured Dynamic Range tested under identical circumstances and methods:

Red Epic Dragon = 16+ for the reasons described above.
Arri Alexa = 14+ (due to the 14.1-14.25 nominal results as there is a hint of detail measured but it's not a clear stop of information)


It's safe to assume you did the test above with a "regular" Alexa, sporting the "lowcon" OLPF, and - using identical circumstances and methods - you still found 16+ for Dragon and +14 for the Alexa.

So, without dancing around the question, can you say that Dragon has two more stops of dynamic range, compared to Alexa?

I'm not being ironic and trying to ask a trick question - on the contrary, I appreciate your contribution and your tests enormously.
I just want a straight question - yes or no - if possible.

Thanks!

Noah Yuan-Vogel
08-03-2014, 07:40 PM
Again, if you are measuring "totality" of how many fingers you have do you ignore the finger you start on and end up with 9, or go with 10 as they are all fingers. The 18% patch is a measured stop in the total range. Whether you choose to include it or not as a starting point of 0 or 1 is 100% up to you guys. I measured totality and also measure the current stop I'm on because um.... It's an important finger I'd miss.

One stop above the first patch is fully clipped and clipped I'm not counting as a captured stop of light. The first patch is fully retained detail across the patch.

No that doesn't sound right. When counting fingers you are counting the fingers directly. One patch is not one stop, it is a single point assumed to be one stop away from the next patch. You can count patches or stops but they are not the same. Your patches are points in the spaces between or beside fingers, and counting those will help you figure out how many fingers there are but only if you are very clear about the relationship between the points/spaces and fingers.

Your patches have one reflected value and tell you nothing about the what happens between each patch, which is where the stop of detail lies, so do not mistake them for a 'stop'. The 18% patch shows us only the point where an 18% grey lies and perhaps the range of noise at that point, it is a point on the curve, not a stop that can't simply be counted to count DR stops.

Brian Boyer
08-04-2014, 07:11 AM
No that doesn't sound right. When counting fingers you are counting the fingers directly. One patch is not one stop, it is a single point assumed to be one stop away from the next patch. You can count patches or stops but they are not the same. Your patches are points in the spaces between or beside fingers, and counting those will help you figure out how many fingers there are but only if you are very clear about the relationship between the points/spaces and fingers.

Your patches have one reflected value and tell you nothing about the what happens between each patch, which is where the stop of detail lies, so do not mistake them for a 'stop'. The 18% patch shows us only the point where an 18% grey lies and perhaps the range of noise at that point, it is a point on the curve, not a stop that can't simply be counted to count DR stops.

I'm leaning towards this assessment. As I understand it, stops of light are defined by the relationship of one brightness value to another (not to be confused with how a specific F/T stop is calculated on a lens). It ultimately requires two values; a start point and an end point.

If there's at least a halving or a doubling of intensity between them, there's at least one full stop. There can be 4 stops between the two measurements, for instance. For these purposes, we're marking each time we encounter a stop but it stills boils down to needing two values.

A single value on its own doesn't represent a stop. Therefore, it seems you couldn't count the value you started on as a stop (it totally counts if you end up on it coming from the other direction). But, it is important as the base value or starting point from which its relationship to the next measured value is determined.

Mark Wuerthner
08-04-2014, 08:37 AM
A single value on its own doesn't represent a stop. Therefore, it seems you couldn't count the value you started on as a stop (it totally counts if you end up on it coming from the other direction). But, it is important as the base value or starting point from which its relationship to the next measured value is determined.

Phil is being a little disingenuous here Brian. I'm sure he knows that the DSC Xyla 21 STEP Chart allows one to measure 20 stops of dynamic range. You don't count the first STEP as a stop. Going from step 1 to step 2 is 1 STOP of difference.

Martin Stevens
08-04-2014, 08:39 AM
Phil is not being a little disingenuous, he is saying that some count all chips and some count the steps.

Brian Boyer
08-04-2014, 09:02 AM
Phil is being a little disingenuous here Brian. I'm sure he knows that the DSC Xyla 21 STEP Chart allows one to measure 20 stops of dynamic range. You don't count the first STEP as a stop. Going from step 1 to step 2 is 1 STOP of difference.

Well, I wouldn't go so far as to say Phil's being disingenuous. If his point is he's counting the totality of measured values within the DR of the sensor, each being 1 stop apart, you would include the first chip, like you would count fingers.

I don't, however, think it's the same thing as saying it has that many stops.

Noah Yuan-Vogel
08-04-2014, 09:43 AM
Well, I wouldn't go so far as to say Phil's being disingenuous. If his point is he's counting the totality of measured values within the DR of the sensor, each being 1 stop apart, you would include the first chip, like you would count fingers.

I don't, however, think it's the same thing as saying it has that many stops.

I agree, more likely Phil was just busy or preoccupied or confused as many are on the subject of measuring DR and on the difference between presenting measured data and presenting a conclusion from the analysis of that data. The patches can be interpreted into important data points, and analyzing that data to draw a conclusion about the DR of the sensor is only a small step, but it is a very important step because the data is not a conclusion, it is only data. This problem occurs frequently on this forum, where data or measurements are presented without context and the context is only presented later or not at all and it is assumed people will be able to draw their own conclusions, but most people miss the context or are not equipped to draw their own conclusions. This happens when Red posts just a picture of a chart and people conclude the chart is showing 20 stops of DR and that chart is circulated around the internet without any context and with many amateur, incorrect conclusions.

While you can count the patches and count patches that aren't there or patches that are full of noise, you really shouldn't do so on a forum since no one cares how many patches there are since patches are just data points that mean nothing unless analyzed in context, they only care how many stops of DR there are and so that's what they will read, people will and have read that patches=stops even though clearly that is not true. The data presented does not tell us exactly where white clip is or where the noise floor is, which are vital datapoints for precisely measuring DR. Presumably white clip is a hair above patch #1, but how big is that hair and how big is it for each of the R, G, and B, channels? And presumably the noise floor is somewhere in between patch #15 and #16, but is it just under #15 or just above #16? That's almost a one full stop of margin of error as one would expect from measurements that are done only in full stop increments, assuming the color channel clipping isn't an issue and the data was acquired with perfect precision.

Would you go on a finger counting forum and report how many spaces you count next to or between your fingers and then not say how many fingers you actually have? You will just confuse people and end up with headlines about how you have 11 or 12 fingers.

Mark Wuerthner
08-04-2014, 09:43 AM
Well, I wouldn't go so far as to say Phil's being disingenuous. If his point is he's counting the totality of measured values within the DR of the sensor, each being 1 stop apart, you would include the first chip, like you would count fingers.

I don't, however, think it's the same thing as saying it has that many stops.

Well, maybe Phil can help us out. I have never read or heard anyone say that a camera has "x" amount of "steps" of dynamic range. Its always referred to as stops. He refers to alexa having 14+ which everyone assumes to be "stops". So, my question to Phil is, without counting pinkies, does he think the Dragon sensor has 16+ "steps" or "stops" of dynamic range?

Phil Holland
08-04-2014, 12:36 PM
Ah. Discussion. All day. Everyday.

The patches on my chart are not from a Xyla-21. However, they do sync up with the data that Stacey and Gavin shot on the Xyla-21. Again, I'm measuring from the point of exposed white through shadow to measure how many captured stops. I was trained to do this procedure this way by a Technical Academy Award winner. Same way we measured film. Same way we measured the Genesis. Same way I've measured everything since.

Actually, now that I think of it, measuring film was worse because we had 1/4 stop variances to keep track of. That was a pain in the butt. Made testing about a 4x longer experience.

Also, I'll add I test steps that are beyond the Xyla chart. Usually 24-34 depending on things.

Noah Yuan-Vogel
08-04-2014, 01:28 PM
Hey Phil, maybe I'm missing something then, perhaps you could explain why you are counting patches? Does what I'm saying make sense or are we talking about totally different things or something? Are you saying you are counting patches because you always count patches with other cameras so it is a fair comparison comparing how many patches have detail on Dragon's chart versus how many patches contain detail on other cameras? Perhaps I misunderstood and you aren't using the patches to measure stops of DR at all but rather use it as a proxy for DR? I suppose that could work as long as you accept the greater margin of error and always only compare patch counts of one camera to patch counts of another camera, never comparing patch counts of one camera to actual calculated DR of other cameras.

Phil Holland
08-04-2014, 02:01 PM
Hey Phil, maybe I'm missing something then, perhaps you could explain why you are counting patches? Does what I'm saying make sense or are we talking about totally different things or something? Are you saying you are counting patches because you always count patches with other cameras so it is a fair comparison comparing how many patches have detail on Dragon's chart versus how many patches contain detail on other cameras? Perhaps I misunderstood and you aren't using the patches to measure stops of DR at all but rather use it as a proxy for DR? I suppose that could work as long as you accept the greater margin of error and always only compare patch counts of one camera to patch counts of another camera, never comparing patch counts of one camera to actual calculated DR of other cameras.

The greater margin of error would come from going one full stop into clip or coming down from that as you might literally miss the vast majority of data that can be found in that transition. Patch measurements like what I'm doing here is what the industry "does". It's on every color chart even, though in broader steps. The actual calculated DR an action of measuring your sample target accurately and graphing the data. Same deal when using my old densitometer and film. The patch you are on is your "base".

If for whatever you feel that starting at 0 or 1 is more appropriate go ahead. I'm showing you the data. Up to you guys how you want to interpret it.

On thing though, in measured stops obviously on all of these systems as you get further down towards the noise floor abyss you start getting into areas of potential "I can see that tonality shift, but it's also mostly noise". That's something to be on the lookout for. Traditionally with all systems that's information placed in black and shadow areas.

Matthew Scott
08-06-2014, 01:42 AM
Getting back to compression and the differences in REDCODE when comparing Dragon to the MX, I decided to use the trusty RED.com "tools" section to help shed some light on it since no-one seems to know/care, but it is clear that the data rate has an increase of 0.5MB/frame when shooting the same res/compression with Dragon. Does that mean that compression algorithms have changed? Or is it simply less compression per frame (.5mb to be specific)? Either way, it's great news since that means more info per frame, which I'm happy about.

Phil Holland
08-06-2014, 01:58 AM
Getting back to compression and the differences in REDCODE when comparing Dragon to the MX, I decided to use the trusty RED.com "tools" section to help shed some light on it since no-one seems to know/care, but it is clear that the data rate has an increase of 0.5MB/frame when shooting the same res/compression with Dragon. Does that mean that compression algorithms have changed? Or is it simply less compression per frame (.5mb to be specific)? Either way, it's great news since that means more info per frame, which I'm happy about.

I don't have a solid answer as to "what" is going on, but it has been mentioned a few times that REDCODE was more or less optimized differently for Dragon. Which is understandable for a variety of reasons.

Matthew Scott
08-06-2014, 02:10 AM
Hey Phil, yes you are indeed right! Optimized is such a fluffy word though, don't you think? Not very measurable. I feel like you keep telling me to shush and that I need to move on since you've told me what you know. Does my inquisitive nature bug you?

Phil Holland
08-06-2014, 02:37 AM
Hey Phil, yes you are indeed right! Optimized is such a fluffy word though, don't you think? Not very measurable. I feel like you keep telling me to shush and that I need to move on since you've told me what you know. Does my inquisitive nature bug you?

No not really. That's the answer I was given when I asked what the differences were between MX's and Dragon's REDCODE. It has to do with optimizing it for the pixel size and the generally new lower noise floor. That's pretty much all I know about it. Red's fairly tight lipped regarding certain things because you know.... Competitors. I'm giving you the answer I know though.

Antony Newman
08-06-2014, 05:29 AM
[Dragon] Less luma noise (ie less High frequency junk) = better compression possible for the same image
[Dragon] Extra bits read in the ADC = more data to compress vs MX
['hilight OLPF] Probably worse S/N than low-light, but more usable values near sensor clipping, and less flare, and less detail for dark objects = probably less data to compress where finer details were dark in image.
[Hi frame rate] S/N rate means Dragon looks stellar vs MX.

My guesses.

AJ

Matthew Scott
08-06-2014, 05:53 AM
Ooooohhhh cool! Thanks for your input :)

Nick Wilcox-Brown
09-10-2014, 06:32 AM
A really helpful summary from all thanks - I'm about to jump into Dragon and its a learning curve (even though I have been shooting RAW for nearly 14years!)

Robert Ruffo New
09-10-2014, 03:14 PM
I feel like folks are not giving enough credit to what the vastly improved highlight handling means in terms of setting a stop. On M and MX I was practically the clipping police, determined to give the colorist a clean top end. With Dragon (OLPF V2) I am comfortable with letting the top end burn a bit as long as I get the exposure I want on key elements (general rule, yes there are exceptions). From a practical perspective, this gives me more control over the exposure choice as I don't get stuck having to underexpose a key element trying to avoid the clip.

Available/low light shooting on Dragon vs MX isn't the degree of improvement many were hoping for, but as long as you have enough light it really does add 3 usable stops of DR. YMMV.

Cheers - #19

Unfortunately my producers do not want to pay for more lighting so that we can shoot with Dragon vs any other camera out there.