Zacuto Camera Shootout: Which Cameras Perform The Best At Video

Have you ever wondered how DSLR cameras match up when compared to film and high end HD video cameras? Last year, Zacuto brought together some of the biggest names in the movie industry to see how well the first round of video capable DSLRs compared to the industry's standard film and HD video cameras in The Great Camera Shoot Out of 2010. This year they have started another series which compares some of the top cameras including 35mm Kodak 5213/5219, Arri Alexa, Red One M-X, Phantom Flex, Sony F3, Panasonic AF100, Canon 1D Mark IV, and Nikon D7000 (where is the D3s?), and a bunch of other professional video cameras. The Great Camera Shootout is a must watch if you are a gearhead or simply enjoy seeing how well the current crop of DSLR cameras are at video. It's pretty amazing to see the consumer Nikon D7000 holds its own against such a competitive group; I can only imagine what the next crop of Nikon cameras is going to do! The first episode below is about 30 minutes, and it really gives a good insight on where all the video cameras fall in terms of dynamic range.

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18 Comments

Alvin Toro's picture

Wow! This is by far one of the most comprehensive product comparisons I've seen of any product category, let alone cameras. Agree with Patrick. My first reaction was "What the heck is the D7000 doing in there? They are absolutely going to sweep the floor with it". But biggest take away from the whole thing is that they are all tools and just a very small piece of what makes or breaks a moving picture.

Patrick Hall's picture

I think the D7000 is actually doing pretty good video.  It destroys the D300s and might even come close to the D3s.  The D4 should be nothing short of amazing if Nikon doesn't drop the ball there.  They need at least 720 60fps not to get laughed at though...maybe 720 120fps or 1080 60fps.  

Where can we watch episode 2 and 3 ? :)

can't erase previous comment... oh well.. :)

Alvin Toro's picture

Looks like they are both in post right now. ETA next month?

Alvin Toro's picture

Oh your preaching to the choir there. I got several bodies and have not shot stills or video with anything else in months. Before watching this I just would've never realized how close the image quality in some of these newer DSLRs is to the bigger cameras. But definitely agree, speed and low light capability is the next big frontier for Nikon. 

Motti Bembaron's picture

I was absolutely amazed by the Nikon D7000. No, it was not the best but to think that a sub $1,000 camera can do so well is pretty impressive. With the quality of video editors today the output from the D7000 can be brought to pro level. For many jobs and projects these prosumer cameras will do the job and then some.

I can't wait to see what the D4, D800 will bring.

Andrew Lee's picture

I am unsure, but there may be a difference in terms of focusing when utilizing the 5DmkII and 1DmkIV for the underexposure test. That may be the reason why some detail was lost, not because of resolving power (for under-exposure), but rather due to focusing. IMHO, of course.

Andrew Lee's picture

Thank you Zacuto, Kessler, and the multitudes of others who have contributed to make this test a reality. It is so exciting to see real scientific tests done on the cameras as you have done. Sure made me a more informed professional.
Thank you all again!

Brandon Luckain's picture

Glad to see the 7D do pretty good compared to the 5D Mk II. Forget full frame for now, I can't afford it :(

so ready for the next set of full frame cameras from nikon (esp whatever replaces the d700)

Love to see these tests. Amazing what those digicams are doing in the shadows.. Like the one guy said.. it's not winner take all but an evaluation of what a camera's strengths and weaknesses are to match your budget. I look forward to the following episodes.

Brandon Luckain's picture

Everyone's talking about Nikon....I wonder what Canon has for the 5D Mk III....or the 7D Mk II....or the 1D Mk V (which has been rumored to combine the 1D and 1Ds into a single line).

Alvin Toro's picture

Agree. I think it has a lot to do with the fact that Nikon has kind of been the V-DSLR underdog for a while. But you can bet Canon has some strong gear coming coming down the pipeline. Have you seen their new line of PL-Mount Cine Zooms?

 http://www.usa.canon.com/cusa/about_canon?docId=0901e024802da80a&pag...

I enjoyed last year's shootout series and look forward to this one. I just want to put this out there: Someone who loves gear might take this series the wrong way and stop himself/herself from recording anything because he/she doesn't have, for example, the Arri Alexa, when "I can barely afford the D7000! Now I'll never be a filmmaker." Tools matter, but artists matter more. It didn't matter to Spielberg when he was shooting Super 8 movies in his backyard; it shouldn't matter to us what we have, and we have better tools today than he had then (Even though in a directors shootout between Child-Spielberg, and any of us, I'd still bet the farm on Spielberg). These shootouts are to test the progression of the technology and the opportunities within that movement. But nothing moves without us. So let's keep shooting.

Tech shooters (those that worry about settings and gear more than content) might fully miss the point that what matters most is what you are putting IN FRONT of the camera. Settings are a small small SMALL fraction of what creates a great image. And YES you can have a great image that is technically terrible. You can literally grab a camera out of a box, set it to auto and shoot better than people that know their camera in and out. They might have better detail information because of their manual settings, but if they don't have an artistic eye, they probably wont come close to an exciting shot.

I saw this time after time in illustration classes in college. People with little to know artistic skill taking courses because they thought it was something you could LEARN. These courses should be for artists that already possess the aptitude to be a good artist.  The same goes for what one should consider a protographer and one that is simply a hobbyist that gets paid. 

This videos are good because they show how ALMOST pro tools can now be in the hand of normal people. Thus bridging the gap between the Chris Nolans and the potential Chris Nolans. Those of us that have the artistic blood but not the crazy awesome gear, are seeing we are that much closer to achieving the look we have longed for but could not afford when starting out.

Tech shooters will always be that I suppose. They need the newest phone, tv, pc, camera, mini copper with the apple sticker on the back, and newest all in one tv remote. Tech is their hobby but you get more props claiming to be a photographer.

People that trash digital and will only work with film have a lot of eye opening to do. Unless you are shooting a major motion picture, you can't beat the budget cost of shooting dslr. If you can keep your cost low, you can bid out the contract much better than your competitors and still come close if not meat the expectations of the commercial client.  We all have seen (or should see) The Book of Eli. That truly displayed the power of digital on the Red system. Yeah the camera made by the guy who made his billions from making Oakleys.

we shall see what happens when the sony a77 comes out :)