Tag Archives: Autofocus

Alice Camera and why the Future is Bright!

Alice Camera

The Alice Camera, launched to great success this month has to be the most hopeful product for the future of cameras that we have seen lately. It marries the Sony IMX294, a 10.7 megapixel 4/3 sensor with a custom chipset including the Edge TPU chip from Google for AI and an FPGA for calculations.  The result is a camera body with the same sensor as the GH5s which is a killer low light camera capable of excellent 4k footage and images with super low noise.

Then the camera back is attached to your Android or Apple smartphone to gain an interface and software to control it. The camera is capable of using the latest research for computational photography including HDR with multiple exposures merging, tracking, night mode, averaging of pixels, and as an open-source architecture, you can add features by other coders or your own to make the camera increase the feature set. → Continue Reading Full Post ←

Sony A1 Slow Motion has 8x Mode!

Sony A1 Slow Motion

Just in time for the Japanese Olympics if they ever take place, Sony has released the Sony Alpha 1 or A1 for short which is probably the most powerful mirrorless camera ever produced.  Customary for Japanese camera manufacturers in Olimpic years, the likes of Canon and Nikon have released their professional flagship products like the  1DX and D6 which are still SLR mirrored products that have the highest possible Autofocus features for a camera of that type as well as speed and dependability.

Sony has had some inroads in that space with the Sony a9 series but they were missing a higher megapixel count version that could really differentiate it from the pack and the A1 seems to be just that kind of product. By shooting 8k video at 24,25 and 30p it becomes future-proof for the next decade as far as resolution goes and by taking 30 images per second in stills mode at the full 50MP resolution with AF Tracking, it is one blinding fast beast.  The fact that it also shoots 120fps 4k and 240fps Full HD doesn’t hurt it either.

Sony A1 Sensor Specs:

Lens Mount Sony E
Camera Format Full-Frame (1x Crop Factor)
Sensor Resolution Actual: 50.5 Megapixel
Effective: 50.1 Megapixel (8640 x 5760)

Sony A1 Video Specs:

Recording Modes H.265/XAVC HS 4:2:2 10-Bit
UHD 4K (3840 x 2160) at 23.976p/25p/29.97p/50p/59.94p/100p/119.88p [50 to 280 Mb/s]
H.265/XAVC HS 4:2:0 10-Bit
UHD 8K (7680 x 4320) at 23.976p/25p/29.97p [200 to 400 Mb/s]
UHD 4K (3840 x 2160) at 23.976p/25p/29.97p/50p/59.94p/100p/119.88p [30 to 200 Mb/s]
H.264/XAVC S-I 4:2:2 10-Bit
UHD 4K (3840 x 2160) at 23.976p/25p/29.97p/50p/59.94p [240 to 600 Mb/s]
Full HD (1920 x 1080) at 23.976p/25p/29.97p/50p/59.94p [89 to 222 Mb/s]
H.264/XAVC S 4:2:2 10-Bit
UHD 4K (3840 x 2160) at 23.976p/25p/29.97p/50p/59.94p/100p/119.88p [100 to 280 Mb/s]
Full HD (1920 x 1080) at 23.976p/25p/29.97p/50p/59.94p/100p/119.88p/200p/239.76p [50 Mb/s]
H.264/XAVC S 4:2:0 8-Bit
UHD 4K (3840 x 2160) at 23.976p/25p/29.97p/50p/59.94p/100p/119.88p [60 to 200 Mb/s]
Full HD (1920 x 1080) at 23.976p/25p/29.97p/50p/59.94p/100p/119.88p/200p/239.76p [16 to 100 Mb/s]
External Recording Modes Raw 16-Bit
4.2K (4264 x 2408) up to 59.94p
4:2:2 10-Bit
UHD 4K (3840 x 2160) at 23.976p/25p/29.97p/50p/59.94p
Full HD (1920 x 1080) at 23.976p/50p/59.94p
Full HD (1920 x 1080) at 50i/59.94i
4:2:0 8-Bit
UHD 4K (3840 x 2160) at 23.976p/25p/29.97p/50p/59.94p
Full HD (1920 x 1080) at 23.976p/50p/59.94p
Full HD (1920 x 1080) at 50i/59.94i

The Sony A1 is probably the fastest mass production professional hybrid camera ever made. The speed required for 50 megapixels at 30fps means that it is processing and saving in RAW format or RAW+JPG to CF Express Cards  at 1.5 Billion Pixels/Second and all of this while using the 120Hz continuous intelligent Auto Focus for people and animals.

Introducing Alpha 1 | Sony | α by Sony | Camera Channel:

Sony A1 Slow Motion Frame Rates:

  • H.264/XAVC S 4:2:2 10-Bit
    UHD 4K (3840 x 2160) at
  • 50p/59.94p/
  • 100p/119.88p [100 to 280 Mb/s]
  • Full HD (1920 x 1080) at 50p/59.94p/100p/119.88p/200p/239.76p [50 Mb/s]
  • 8x Slow motion is 240fps played in a 30fps timeline!

The Slow motion frame rates are also here with up to 4x 120fps in 4k 10 bit at up to 280Mbits/sec and 100 to 240fps 8x in Full HD 1080p at 50Mbps.   We can see the sample below that contains several clips at 4k 120fps and some intercut 240fps Full HD like the divers shot in Hunters Of Light below.  We can safely say that the quality at 4k 120fps 10 bit is near perfect but we still cannot attest to the quality of a file in Full HD at 100, 120, 200 and 240fps derived from a Full Frame sensor recording from a 50MP source.

We have confirmed that the camera has a 21 Megapixel crop factor in APS-C size for stills and possibly video which probably means that all the higher 1080p frame rates are possibly extracted from the crop area of the sensor and not from the full 50MP area.

Testing Out 240 FPS Sony A7S III – Indonesia by Calvin Kho: → Continue Reading Full Post ←

Panasonic S5 Slow Motion 180fps is Low Res!

Panasonic S5 Slow Motion

Now that Panasonic has officially announced the Lumix S5 Full frame camera which we saw as a direct replacement for the GH5 line even when now it seems a GH6 may be in the cards for a future release, it is now time to examine the slow motion modes on the camera to see if they stand a chance at becoming a feature which will be a seller for the new device or just one more feature.

When the GH5 was announced about 3 years ago it came with a 180fps 1080p mode that was better than many camera’s 120fps modes and quickly became our favorite Lumix camera for slow motion as we noticed how the quality of the 240fps mode on the GH5s low light geared camera was heavily inferior in resolution. The GH5 really became the best value along with the G9 for 180fps slow-mo modes in Full HD.

Panasonic Lumix S5 Main Features:

  • 24.2MP Full-Frame CMOS Sensor
  • UHD 4K60 Video,10-Bit Internal Recording
  • 120p, 150p and 180p Full HD Modes*
  • Slow Motion AF Tracking up to 150fps in Full HD!
  • V-Log, HDR, and Dual Native ISO
  • 2.36m-Dot 0.74x-Magnification OLED LVF
  • 3.0″ 1.84m-Dot Free-Angle Touchscreen
  • Contrast-Detect 225-Area DFD AF System
  • 5-Axis Sensor-Shift Image Stabilization
  • ISO 100-51200, Up to 7 fps Shooting
  • 96MP High-Res Mode, Dual SD Card Slots
  • MSRP: $1,997.99  Body Only or $2,297.99 with 20-60mm Kit lens!
  • Pre-order includes a Free Sigma 45mm f2.8 Lens Via Mail-In Rebate

First the Good:

The 24MP sensor is excellent in low light, it will perform extremely well compared to Micro 4/3ds or APS-C cameras but it will not beat the low light king of cameras the Sony a7s Mark II or III.

The camera can shoot 10-bit internal up to 60fps but it will have an S35 crop at the 60fps 4k mode.  The sensor stabilization is not the best out there but it is quite got at up to 6.5 stops with sensor+lens correction.

If you pre-order the camera you get a free Sigma 45mm f2.8 Lens via mail-in rebate which seems either overly generous or somewhat suspect of fear of people jumping ship to other systems.  We feel this is a pretty good deal especially if you also get the kit lens as that one is over $300 USD discounted if you order it with the camera.

From the samples, we have seen the quality in stills and video is as good as the S1 and S1H with very impressive color characteristics that are as close to the Canon color range as we have seen.  Panasonic has done an excellent job with their color science since the GH5 and it shows how good it has become here.

The Bad:

We get the DfD Autofocus system with no Phase detection pixels which in our view are the only way to go for reliable video AF.  In the early tests, it seems to do quite well compared to previous Panasonic Efforts and most of the pulsing is gone in people tracking scenes.  However, the really depressing thing is that the reliability is not a 100% some would call it 80% or even less which means you simply cannot rely on it for mission-critical footage.

If your camera can only have in focus 8 out of 10 shots then you cannot rely on the video tracking AF for paid work.  Most footage is recorded with the expectation that focus can be controlled, if it fails then you lose time in production and worse yet if you find yourself in the edit suite a month later looking at out-of-focus OOF shots on your edit bay, then you have a huge problem on your hands.

Panasonic needs to stop clinging to DfD as their single do-it-all AF solution and change to a hybrid Phase+Contrast AF system like Sony or Canon are using.  This continues to be the Achilles heel of the system and they need to own up to their mistake not double down on it with every camera release.

For many users, the AF on the camera is good enough and many Vloggers will shoot with it just fine but professional videographers will need to go to Canon or Sony for reliable AF as even the flagship Panasonic S1H suffers from even worse DfD AF performance.

What about the Slow Motion?

Now on to our website focus, that of slow motion video. The Panasonic Lumix S5 is capable of 60fps 4k video at 10 bit with an s35 crop in the sensor at that mode and also a cropped 150 and 180fps mode in 1080p Full HD recording.

The good news is that now we have AF tracking up to 150fps in full HD. The bad news is, it is contrast-detect DfD which means the same problems as the regular mode. But in practice, higher frame rates offer better AF performance as the camera samples more times/sec so it can lock into subjects better!

Slow-Mo Modes & Bit Rates:

  • 4k 60fps 10-Bit Internal
  • 1080p 120fps, 150fps slight crop and resolution loss.
  • 1080p 180fps – More severe crop and resolution loss.
  • H.264/MP4 4:2:0 8-Bit
    UHD 4K (3840 x 2160): 23.976p/25p/29.97p [100 Mb/s]
    Full HD (1920 x 1080):
  • 23.976p/25p/29.97p/50p/59.94p/100p/119.88p/180p [20 to 28 Mb/s]

So we now have what could be the let down of this camera and that is the low bit rate quality in 1080p slow motion of [20 to 28 Mb/s].  That is the exact same bit-rate as that on the 3-year-old GH5 camera which is not ideal. It is also more of a 720p image up-scaled to 1080p which looks aliased and soft.

We rather have a 100Mbps mode like that possible on regular up to 30p and 60p full HD recording modes.  Slow motion is crippled by using one-third of the bit-rate allocation in what we believe would be related to camera memory due to the faster frame rates. However, the S5 has a massive memory buffer that should easily be capable of recording 100Mbps 1080p at 120, 150 and 180fps options.

The excellent video preview by DPreview below at 11 minutes 7 seconds shows the slow motion mode samples in action with a heavy resolution loss at 1080p 180fps.

Panasonic S5 First Impressions Review by DPReview:

Another sample below shows many more slow motion clips which seem to be at 150fps which offer Continuous AF in Slow Motion up to that point. 180fps will not use AF. Forward to 7Min for the samples.

Panasonic S5 – hands-on review and full autofocus test by extrashot: → Continue Reading Full Post ←

Lumix S5 Will be a Full Frame GH5 equivalent for $1998

Lumix S5 Slow Motion

The Lumix GH5 is still one of the best video powerhouse cameras ever produced. It doesn’t overheat, it shoots incredible 4k oversampled video at up to 60fps 4k or 180fps 1080p with near Full HD quality but it’s Achilles heel, the Micro 4/3ds sensor which is small and quite inferior in low light compared to Full Frame or even APS-C rivals.  The GH5s is the low light lower megapixel version with dual Gain senor which is actually very clean in low light and can go toe to toe with the best out there but has no IBIS which is a big loss.

Now Panasonic is set to announce the Lumix S5 Full frame mirrorless camera which essentially migrates most GH5 features into a full-frame body with nearly the same introductory price of $1998 USD but improves 4k 60p with 4:2:2 color at 10-bit instead of 4:2:0 8 bit on the GH5. You get IBIS, and also the 180fps Full HD of other S L-mount cameras by Panasonic.  It is still too early to tell what kind of quality the 1080p 180fps mode will be capable of but it does hold promise as the S1H and S1 do a pretty good job on these modes.

Lumix S5 Announcement Very Soon:

The camera will be unveiled Wednesday, September 2, 2020, at 14:00 UTC at the official Lumix site here: https://www.panasonic.com/global/consumer/lumix/s/s5.html

We also expect to see new low-cost L mount lenses for the system that will make the camera more appealing.  We just have to wait a few more days!

But what about the AF?

Yes, the dreaded DfD Depth from Defocus algorithm based on contrast detection is also present on this camera which means it will probably be inferior to systems that use dual pixel AF based on Phase and Contrast hybrid modes which are especially good for video. That means Sony and Canon will still have the upper hand here. Panasonic should keep DfD as an option but make cameras with Phase-detection AF pixels to be able to fully compete in this market. They are doing incredible hybrid still and video cameras with one feature missing, if they fixed the AF they would probably be the first choice of video professionals considering how good the cameras perform. Sadly Sony seems to be eating their lunch with the newly announced a7s Mark III with an AF system that rivals the best out there, in fact, it is so good that you can forget about focus pulling for most shots. The same cannot be said of the Lumix DfD AF contrast system.

We expect the 180fps Full HD Quality to be as good as the one in the S1H camera of the Lumix System. See this video to see the expected quality:

EPIC SLOW MOTION – Shot on Panasonic S1H 180fps by Manit Monsur:

Lumix S5 full Leaked Press Release text by Nokishita Rumors:

Text from Nokishita rumors here!

LUMIX S5 full-frame mirrorless camera is designed especially for content creators. Latest advances in image resolution, image stabilization, and autofocus all in this compact camera that is the signature of LUMIX.
Experience extraordinary video recording in 4K 60p, 4:2:2 10-bit. It also offers a Full HD 180fps Slow Motion option as well as 4:3 Anamorphic support. This is what makes S5 perfect for use when taking still photos or as a vlog camera.L-rumors

With a 24.2MP 35mm full-frame CMOS sensor, the LUMIX S5 boasts a wide dynamic range and high sensitivity performance. The adopted Dual Native ISO technology enables the LUMIX S5 to record maximum ISO 51200 crystal-clear high sensitivity video. Dual Native ISO minimizes noise in high sensitivity. V-Log/V-Gamut compatibility offers a 14+ stop dynamic range to sensitivity. V-Log/V-Gamut compatibility offers a 14+ stop dynamic range to capture every detail.

The improved autofocus detects head as well as eyes, face, and body. The powerful Dual Image Stabilization with 5-axis enables a 6.5-stop slower shutter speed.

The compact nature of the S5 is one of the signature features of the LUMIX series. To make sure that your camera withstands tough field use, the S5 comes with a dust and splash resistant construction. Optimized heat dispersion ensures a stable, continuous video recording without interruption.

One of the expanded features of LUMIX S5 is the Live View Composite mode which instantly creates a stunning image out of several live shots; the shutter releases at designated intervals of exposure time to merge the bright parts into a single image. Useful for shooting fireworks or a starry sky.

Watch this video for some killer Insect Slow Motion:

While the Lumix S5 camera is announced early September, you can check In the meantime this amazing video of flying insects in Slow Motion by Ant Lab on Youtube filmed with a Phantom Miro Camera.  The best part about this video besides the amazing visuals is the excellent informed narration by Dr. Adrian Smith, someone who knows a lot about insects and can really explain the nuances of insect flight with a lot of contagious enthusiasm. The Ant Lab channel is fantastic and we recommend it wholeheartedly!

Insect Flight | Capturing Takeoff & Flying at 3,200 FPS by Ant Lab: → Continue Reading Full Post ←

Panasonic S1H and OnePlus 7 Quick Take!

Panasonic S1H and OnePlus 7

Panasonic not to be outdone by sales rivals is pre-announcing the S1H camera to appease video-centric mirrorless users who want that extra edge.  It has a 6k mode which will allow for better stabilization and cropping/punching in on 4k timelines while giving the user bragging rights.  It has a 14 stop dynamic range spec which if we look at the sensor it is only on a couple of capture settings the rest is 12 bit.

There is also no mention of higher frame rates besides UHD 4k 60p which we presume will be 180fps 1080p max since this camera shares nearly the same internals as the other Panasonic S1 cameras. We do not expect this camera to have better slow motion video than the regular S1 even with its $4000 price tag.  The camera looks to be aimed at the mid-high end of the video market and allow it to record without limits which on the regular S1 is 29min.

Panasonic S1H key features:

  • Full frame sensor capture of 6K/24p in 3:2
  • Capture 5.9K at 30p in 16:9 aspect ratio
  • Super 35mm 1.5x cropped DCI 4K 60p 10bit
  • Open gate 4:3 anamorphic mode
  • V-LOG and 10bit 4:2:2 codecs included without upgrade key!
  • Red Frontal and top Recording Button
  • Vents and heat sink to help with overheating
  • IBIS not specified
  • GH5 style vari-angle screen
  • $4000 / Fall 2019 release date (Lumix S1 is $2500)

Lumix Live Event Cine Gear Expo S1H Announcement:

It is hard to justify this camera for the market in our opinion. The S1 is almost as capable costing $1500 less. You are getting the extended recording time, a better codec and a flippy screen. you seem to lose IBIS which is a must for run and gun shooters and all of us who like using our cameras without sticks. No mention of slow motion which is why we think it will be unchanged from the S1 180fps spec.

We estimate the camera is using the Sony IMX410CQK Sensor which you can find the specs in this PDF Flyer here!

The sensor is capable of windowed frame rates of up to 1628fps at 2020*96px which is hardly usable for serious imaging and includes a more usable 2020*1342 at 150fps.  The 180fps 1080p spec is further windowed down and as we have seen with the regular S1 we have no 1:1 pixel read out in these modes as aliasing and moire are apparent. There is some resolution loss to cope for the sensor readout constraints.

LUMIX S1H Sample Video by Alicia Robbins – Cine Gear Expo 2019 by LUMIX Cameras:

The camera is capable of recording very good quality images as evidenced from the pre-production video above. However, do not expect any huge leaps compared to an S1 to justify the price. If you were put in a position to buy one of these cameras for production, in very few cases will the S1H make more sense than an expendable S1 with 95% as good quality but with a 30min recording limitation.

Sure the 14-bit color and 10 bit 4k DCI continuous recording will be enough for most serious filmmakers to justify but we are guessing Sony will have a big say with their rumored Alpha a7s III which is so long into the cycle that rumors are getting cobwebs. Sony has the technology to really create something special with that camera and maybe get us some very high frame rates to boot.  We would advise everyone to wait it out and see what Sony has in store before plunking any cash for a Panasonic Full Frame system, especially since they are still stubborn enough to keel DfD Autofocus instead of the highly superior Dual Pixel Phase which is standard on Sony and Canon Cameras to name a few. The S1H should include Phase detection but won’t of course.  More info as it becomes available.

OnePlus 7 Specs Released!

While the phone is not out yet but will soon, it is essentially the same exact form factor and screen as last year’s 6T but with the internals of the OnePlus 7 Pro which makes it a better phone in terms of speed and memory characteristics. The camera module is not all there but close with the main 48Megapixel Sony IMX586 sensor that is capable of 480fps at 720p resolution.

OnePlus 7 Pro vs OnePlus 7 vs OnePlus 6T: which one to buy? by Mr. Phone: → Continue Reading Full Post ←

ASUS ZenFone 5Z Firmware Improves Slow Motion Quality!

ASUS ZenFone 5Z Firmware

The ASUS ZenFone 5Z (ZS620KL) Phone is a new addition to the company line but seems it was a little rushed in the camera department. IT has just started shipping to customers worldwide and there is already a firmware update. The phone is a flagship device with a starting price of $499 which is not bad at all considering it sports some of the best hardware features in Android land. With dual cameras, 6GB of RAM and the latest Snapdragon 845.

The 5Z Phone is a midrange slow motion performer with 120fps and 60fps 1080p recording and the super slow motion mode capping out at 720p 240fps.  The improvements in the new firmware improve the recording quality overall and codec bit-rate of the 240fps 720p mode. Since ASUS does not give out the particulars in the bit-rate department it is hard to say how much better it will be.

ZenFone 5Z Firmware Changes V80.11.37.95 f:

  • Enabled RAW file support
  • Enabled Panorama feature
  • Added on/off button for EIS
  • Enabled flash feature in Pro mode
  • Filters upgraded to Real-Time Filters
  • Improved HDR functionality
  • Improved camera stability
  • Improved auto exposure
  • Improved photo sharpness
  • Improved autofocus functionality
  • Improved slow-motion quality and file size (720p)
  • Increased audio quality in video to 192 kbps bitrate
  • Improved general video quality
  • Improved Wi-Fi stability
  • Other bug fixes

You can find the Firmware update at the ZenFone 5Z ASUS Support page here: https://www.asus.com/us/Phone/ZenFone-5Z-ZS620KL/HelpDesk_BIOS/

ZenFone 5Z Video Features and High Frame Rates:

ZenFone 5Z Slow Motion Samples: Pre-Update!

ASUS ZenFone 5Z test video slo-mo 720p 240 by Наши Обзоры:

Asus Zenfone 5Z Slow Motion 240fps Video Test || Asus Zenfone 5Z Camera Portraid Mode Test by Mtrick Z: → Continue Reading Full Post ←