Today’s post comes courtesty of Phil Holland, a wise digital camera guru.

"I’ve shot and scanned a good chunk of film in my life and I know a couple others here who have too. There’s a lot of talk going on lately, but I do want to bring up some relevance to motion pictures, film, and cinema production.

Let’s talk film. 

S35 4-Perf resolves about 4K of resolution. We have scanned it at 2K, 4K, 6K, and 8K up until now. 4K and 6K being the most popular.

Film on a good day (depending on ASA and how well it’s shot) is grabbing you 13 stops of Dynamic Range. On it’s absolute best day you can squeeze 15 stops out of it. Film does roll-off into highlight and overexposure and it of course has character than many love to this day.

Let’s talk Dragon.

Things we know. 

Resolution. Dragon out resolves S35 film at 5K inside of the S35 3-Perf format. Dragon is actually out resolving 65mm 5-perf at 4K too. There’s a ton of resolution/format relevance to film with Dragon. Easily one of the best things I noticed once the sensor size was announced really.

Color. Dragon’s color right now is really, really good. There’s a technical and subjective answer here, so I’ll leave it at that.

Dynamic Range. I’ve measured as deep at 19 visible stop variations though 17 is a better number that we can actually experience and use in real life conditions.

Image Character. Red has clearly done a lot to remove that digital fingerprint with Dragon. Highlights roll-off naturally. The images have texture. A pleasing texture.

That brings me to this post. Lots and lots of talk about noise, texture, grain lately. I want to show a bit of reality. Dragon is a digital cinema camera first after all.

Where does texture come into play with Dragon at each ISO? How does it compare to modern motion picture film stock?

Keeping in mind Red recommends a “cinema ready” ISO range of ISO 250-2000. Let’s take a look.

Red Dragon ISO Texture Versus Film Grain

You can click each image and it will open into a new tab or window.

I have a good memory.

Red’s initial promise was to bring to market a viable “digital film alternative”.

Perhaps now with Dragon we are looking at a potential realistic digital medium that surpasses film."


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