RAW Remarks

If the 8K RAW sample footage I downloaded and imported into Resolve last night was indeed from the R5, it is a dream to work with. Just a few points though about the RAW craze, ProRes RAW, Sony and what exactly we are looking for in a hybrid camera:

1. Most people cannot grade RAW. If you’re not a professional colorist you may have better luck shooting log. Really.

2. If the a7s II successor shoots RAW through an external Recorder, that for sure means it’s ProRes RAW. However, WB and ISO metadata are absent in Final Cut Pro. Hence, not the true flexibility of RAW.

3. If a7s III RAW recording maxes out at 4K, is it a raw feed through HDMI coming from a full 4K sensor readout or is it pixel binned from the 6K sensor like the Z6? Or oversampled from 6K? [update] We just learned it’ll be a 12 megapixel sensor.

4. None of which is to say it wouldn’t be able to produce nice footage – the Sigma fp does a messy job (artifacts, moire) with 4K RAW compared to Canon’s cinema cameras, their flagship EOS 1D X Mark III and Panasonic’s S1H, but is still capable of producing some of the loveliest footage I’ve seen yet from a mirrorless camera.

5. Final Cut Pro is not the best platform if color grading is your passion. But ProRes RAW is not available in DaVinci Resolve. It seems counterintuitive to have to work with the most flexible codec in an NLE not optimized for colorists.

6. CFexpress cards are expensive, but so are an external recorder, SSD, articulating arm, cables, battery, cage and batteries – around a cool $1,000. lol

7. We want internal RAW with no overheating at reasonable data rates; IBIS, flippy screen; exposure tools; 4K high frame rates; blisteringly fast and accurate eye af; internal 4K 10-bit 4:2:2 log and compact size.

The Sigma fp has neither AF, IBIS or internal log. The S1H has poor AF, requires an external recorder for RAW and is large and heavy. The R5 ticks all boxes but overheats. And the Sony a7s II successor? I see some pundits claiming Sony’s waiting for the cost of storage to go down before venturing into 8K. But the last thing they’re concerned about is saving consumers money. Take the FX9, for example – upgrading to 4K RAW will run you $3,800, while the C300 includes it for free. That’s the price of an R5!

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