A99 video test

Started Dec 4, 2012 | Discussions thread
bezerk55
New MemberPosts: 23
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Re: A99 video test
In reply to abritton76, Dec 5, 2012

Hi,

I don't post much on these forums, and this post isn't directed specifically at you, but you seem to have done the "best test" so far, you seem like a reasonable fellow, and I don't know where else my comments would fit. I was one of the first to comment on one of the inital threads that shield3 posted about a99 poor video quality, to which I said that I found the video quality unsatisfactory (as compared to the GH2 which I currently own) after performing my own tests in store with an A99. Since then I haven't really bothered joining in the discussion, but have read quite a few of the threads that have blown up around this issue.

First of all thank you for doing a decent, methodical test. You say that the video is satisfactory for you, and I'm not about to tell you what you do and don't like.

Having said that, your video shows the same thing that I don't like about all the A99 videos that I have seen, that there is very clearly line skipping going on in the downscaling technique being used on the A99. It is clear in all the moire and aliasing in the near horizontal lines throughout the video. And less clearly, I believe this line skipping is what contributes to the lack of fine details, for example in the subtly moving foliage where it gets "fuzzy".

Now as a more general comment regarding the discussions here, the reason I've not really bothered getting involved in the discussion is that it's pretty clear that this forum is not really filled with people equipped to critique video quality in any meaningful way. This is a photography gear forum first and foremost, and while on one hand we have endless calls for "You can't tell anything about a camera's photo performance until you have the original RAW files so you can pixel peep at 100%", on the other hand we have people pointing to video examples on horribly compressed youtube videos with conclusions that the A99 video is sharp and detailed. There is no way to have a meaningful critique if that is how low the bar is set when video quality is under discussion. (btw, I applaud you for hosting on vimeo with the download option available, thank you).

Then we have people here pointing at "good" videos done by pros with early access to A99s (who would obviously be biased in some way) where the videography is actually quite good (in terms of content and technique) but where the actual video quality is still questionable. We all remember (or do we?) the "Reverie" video that came out that was shot by Vincent Laforet on the 5D mk2 which basically started the whole DSLR craze. Now based on what I've seen with the discussion here, I'm sure you would have a whole bunch of people pointing to that video saying "See the 5d Mk2 is a great video camera". Well sure it is if you film with it in a very controlled way so as to not expose any of its weaknesses (episodes of "House" were shot with it, so it must be good right?). But I think we all know by now that the 5d mk2 falls down in many critical areas in video quality in terms of moire, aliasing, and lack of detail (not to mention handling of the camera itself with respect to video). So can the 5d mk2 produce good video in certain cirumstances? Sure. Is it beyond criticism? I don't think so. Whenever a new video capable DSLR comes out, there is some pro with early access that shoots an amazing video with it as part of the marketing. Benevolent Mischief by Chase Jarvis is another one that comes to mind when the Nikon D7000 first came out. Great looking video, but would you recommend a D7000 to anyone as a video DSLR?

Now if you have made it this far, I would like to point out a couple of videos that for your critical viewing. I picked these videos because they contain content of a similar nature to your video. Please download the original files for viewing at 100% on a 1080p monitor, or at least stream the HD video and turn "scaling off" on the vimeo player.

http://vimeo.com/39509327

In this first video, please observe how clean the detail is in the GH2. The fine details in the grass and rocks don't turn to fuzzy mush, and the fine sharpness in the silhouetted branches is well preserved. Now admittedly, the GH2 footage is taken with the hacked firmware allowing high recording bitrates. So...

http://vimeo.com/28873762

This video is a comparison between hacked and unhacked GH2 footage of the same scene. You can see that the detail in the unhacked GH2 is still definitely clearly superior to what is coming out of the A99, and that the hack is not solely responsible for the superior video performance.

Now call me a troll if you will. Or tell me about how I don't know how to handle a video camera and I need to learn technique. And yes I totally am an amateur and have produced no video of any notable quality, but I'm new and I like to learn, and I want to get the most out of my money and at this stage I'm sticking with my GH2 and probably adding a GH3. Though I'm going to wait and see what announcements Sony have at CES in January, if there is anything worth holding out for. I spent a lot of time and effort researching the A99, wanting it to outperform and replace my GH2 (and I love the silent multicontroller on the A99, I wish the GH3 had it). I really have no reason to troll and bag out the A99 just for shits and giggles. If anyone doubts, below is just a partial list of the videos I have downloaded and watched from various sources as part of my research, so I've pretty much seen any video you would point to claiming good a99 video quality:

-α- CLOCK Video -Light&Wind V- captured with -α99- Costiera Amalfitana - UNESCO World Heritage.mp4
 【SONY A99】Full HD‧實實A © Mobile01.MTS.mp4
 【SONY A99】Full HD‧實實C © Mobile01.MTS.mp4
 【SONY A99】Full HD‧實實D © Mobile01.MTS.mp4
 【SONY A99】Full HD‧實實E © Mobile01.MTS.mp4
 【SONY A99】Full HD‧實實F © Mobile01.MTS.mp4
2012-10-29 test fight 2.mp4
A99 from Sony _ Video Quality.mp4
A99 Presents Beau & Pae The Pre-Wedding MV.mp4
A99 video performance.mp4
 April 2nd (에에에에에에에) - Nevermind pt.2.mp4
Beggars chatting at Masjid Jamek STAR LRT.mp4
Behind-the-scenes of The Calling.mp4
Learn about the Photographer behind The Calling.mp4
SLT-A99 with Minolta STF 135mm F2.8(T4.5).mp4
SLT-A99 with Sony 24-70mm F2.8ZA.mp4
SLT-A99 with Sony 135mm F1.8ZA.mp4
Sony A99 - testovací video.mp4
Sony A99 _ 1080 _ 30p _ night sample video.mp4
Sony A99 _ AVCHD _ 24p _ night sample video.mp4
Sony A99 _ AVCHD _ 24p _ night sample video(1).mp4
Sony A99 _ AVCHD _ 24p _ sample video.mp4
Sony A99 _ AVCHD _ 1080 _ 60p _ night sample video.mp4
Sony A99 _ AVCHD _ 1080 _ 60p _ sample video.mp4
Sony A99 at night with Carl Zeiss 24-70mm 2.8.mp4
Sony A99 Hummingbird Visit 1080p Version.mp4
Sony a99 test footage with Minolta 28-70mm f_2.8 G.mp4
sony a99 video test1.mp4
sony a99 video test2.mp4
Sony A99 videotest at night with Carl Zeiss 24-70mm 2.8.mp4
sony alpha slt-a99v second test video.mp4
sony alpha slt-a99v third test video.mp4
Surfers SONY a99 60fps video.mp4
Test Video from Sony Alpha a99 Full Frame DSLR  and 2 old camcorders..mp4
The Calling.mp4
 소소a99 ᄒᄒᄒᄒᄒᄒᄒᄒᄒᄒ1st.mp4
 山山山 防防防 第1回 ふふふふ想い出出出 2212年12月22日(日).mp4
sony_a99_video_00000.MTS
sony_a99_video_00021.MTS
sony_a99_video_00023.MTS
sony_a99_video_00045.MTS
sony_a99_video_00047.MTS
sony_a99_video_00054.MTS

So at the end of the day, I just hope people understand that the people criticising the a99 video performance aren't just imagining things or trolling. I do think that some of the people criticising the a99 are perhaps not being so graceful about it, but on the other hand some of the pro a99 video people are pretty atrocious (and dare I say ignorant) too. I guess all standard fare for a popular and anonymous internet forum.

Sony is pushing this camera hard as a hybrid camera with many video oriented features and accessories (and they even admitted they limited the sensor to 24mp so that they could get 1080p60 video working), so I think it is fair to expect a high level of video performance. There are people saying that it's stupid to want good video quality out of the a99, but given that the photo side of the camera has been compromised for it, I would hope I'm getting some payoff for that compromise.

I've waffled on enough. Thanks for reading.

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