There’s No Shame in Shooting With a Non-Log Picture Profile

For our friends who are still shooting with the a7 III, here are some exposure tips. First, it is highly inadvisable to shoot either S-Log 2 or S-Log3, with the a7 III. It will result in ugly banding which cannot be removed in post. Those who think banding only occurs in skies are sorely mistaken – it can appear anywhere, including in the subjects’ skin.

Cine2 is to be preferred and is capable of extraordinary color, provided it is exposed and white balanced correctly in the first place. For more information on profiles and exposure, there is no better resource than Gerald Undone’s videos on YouTube.

For the most accurate results using zebras to judge highlight clipping on the a7 III’s horrid, soft LCD, we suggest using magnification, which will reveal zebras formerly obscured by the 1990s low resolution screen. Failing to do so can result in ruined shots due to clipping of highlight information.

Arbitrarily overexposing all clips +1.5 stops is misguided. In situations where there is little contrast, +1.5 stops does nothing at all for image quality and it may be preferable not to overexpose at all. How often we found ourselves in situations with soft lighting, opening our lenses up to f/1.4 and cranking ISO up several thousand, only to find we were unable to make zebras appear at all! Therefore, best to just expose normally under those conditions.

Also, if you’re using a grey card for exposure (a method we’ve found ridiculously unreliable and infuriatingly cumbersome when shooting models) it is highly recommended to set C2 lower limit to 91+ for Cine2 to ascertain that there is no clipping in highlights. Do not allow skin tones to get anywhere near that or recovering detail and saturation in post will be a nightmare.

And just to reiterate, picture profile numbers mean nothing at all. The user can choose to select any combination of gamma/gamut in whichever profile they see fit.

After all the hard work you put in, you’ll want to be sure to upload your project to YouTube correctly so it doesn’t look like cow dung, as it does in this comparison between the a7s III and the Pocket 6K in which highlights are blown out; colors lack richness; the images are sorely lacking in texture (particularly the wooden benches and walkway, but also the brick, tree bark, and tiled rooftops), tonality and contrast; the sky is desaturated to the point of being grayish, almost white; and the entire presentation appears curiously soft.

Check out our DaVinci Resolve workflow here to avoid the acute embarrassment of uploading washed-out videos like this useless comparison video in which the viewer learns nothing whatsoever about either camera’s IQ. There’s something weirdly fascistic about the fierce brand loyalty of Blackmagic owners.

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