This is a side-by-side comparison of a Sony FX-1 3-CCD 1/3″ 1080i @ 29.97 (HDV 4:2:0) w/ stock lens camera vs. the Silicon Imaging SI2K 1-CMOS 2/3″ 2K @ 1080p 29.97 (Cineform 4:4:4) w/ Angenieux 120 (f/2.2 12-120) Zoom.
The first half of the video shows the ungraded FX-1 vs a 1D-LUT applied SI2K image. The FX-1 looks quite good considering the age of the camera, but that is one of the advantages of a 3-chip camera, what they lack in raw resolution, they make up for with accurate colors. We can see that the detail becomes a bit muddy, but the overall image is sharp at 100%, If you look at the 3x zoom in the lower left we see that the HDV 4:2:0 compression is not the sharpest, but it retains general detail, but has a bit of noise.
Silicon Imaging SI2K:
As for the SI2K, the image has quite a bit more dynamic range. With a simple 1D-LUT (sRGB) we get an image that looks like the CineLog image from the FX-1, but in actuality there is quite a bit more information in the shadows that you can see with the naked eye. Additionally, in the 3x zoom in the lower right, you can see that details are preserved, even with this being a blow up of a 1-Chip Color DeBayer image. As the glass on both the cameras is comparable, I can only attribute this to the compression formats HDV (MPEG-2) @ 25 Mbit/s vs Cineform RAW @ 20 MB/s. Notice the Cineform codec is more than 6x the amount of information per second.
HSL – Color Space
To see how these compressions affect our data, we have to view false colors on the footage. At about 2/3 of the way though the video we see the color space switch to a view of HSL. This allows us to see the image more like the computer is seeing the data. In traditional color space, both images look pretty good, both have colors that represent the actual scene, and both look to have a reasonable amount of detail, but once the color space is switched we see that the HDV image is good on the surface, but to alter the data would result in a bit of a mess. Compare that to the SI2K footage and you will see a totally different story. The HSL of the Cineform reveals usable data that maintains the detail of the color image. Here we can see how much more detail is available to play with in post.
If anyone in the LA area wants to do some camera comparisons of ______ vs. the SI2K please contact me at Comparison@GR3D.com. We would be happy to set up a shootout and do some detailed breakdowns of the results for all of the Cinema-World to see!
If you would like to download the DNxHD version of this clip to play with please contact us at Samples@GR3D.com and put in the subject line “SI vs FX” and we will send you a link.
-Louis Silverstein of GR3D
(c) GripReality inc. 2012