Dealers choice – Venice – DXL2 – Alexa 65

I always love a blind test.

It takes away the prejudice one might bring when you’re trying to scrutinise images.  I always like to test like this at the beginning of each project.  I usually end up with a short list of ideas and try to find a way to test for them all.  Then I compile it all into a version of what you see above and screen to the creative stake holders and we then talk about what we like and don’t like about the pictures and what might be best for the upcoming project.

My most recent show was the about to be released Hulu series “The Great”

Being a period show and mostly studio based I wanted to look at both candle light and 3200K / tungsten based shooting.  Being stage based for a lot of the series, I was likely to end up shooting at 3200K most of the time.

I was interested in what larger formats might do as well.  And so it led me to test…

  1. Alexa 65
  2. DXL2
  3. Sony Venice

And to add into the complications of those cameras, I also wanted to test a few different lens ideas. Some are large format and some with the idea of shooting large format with Super 35 designed lenses.

  1. Panavision H series
  2. Panavision Primo 70’s
  3. Cooke S7
  4. Zeiss Superspeeds
  5. K-35
  6. Arri DNA Primes

So here’s what I’ve done.  I created a “scene” with some of our wonderful stand-in performers.  Starting off in near darkness I had Roisin bring a single wick candle to her face, walk through a lens flare and then into a setup where I’d bring a 10K bounce / wedge up to 3200K.  This was lit to about 2/3 of a stop over on her face.  And then some focus pulls to minimum and back again to show the lens breathing.  Mixed in with a couple of different focal lengths.

Mostly what I was interested in was, how do these cameras and lens combos work in straight candle light, and then how do they cope with changing that in shot.

So I won’t tell you for now, see if you can figure out which camera is which and which lens is which.  Some of you might be able to figure it out if you know your lens mounts and coverage, and I’ll even make it easier for you and make the original file downloadable.

For grading, I did a single node grade in Resolve using the “recommended” LUT’s for each camera manufacturer.

Each camera was exposed at the default ISO.

A little down the ways, I’ll also make the camera original files available so you can all try your own version of this compilation.

Let me know what you like !

Go here to download the file. There’s no sound by the way.

About johnbrawley

Director Of Photography striving to create compelling images
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10 Responses to Dealers choice – Venice – DXL2 – Alexa 65

  1. T.C. Christensen, ASC says:

    How long ’til we the Cameras and Lenses behind the curtain are revealed?

    • johnbrawley says:

      Hmm, well why don’t you tell me which combos you like first ? Then I’ll reveal.

      I was expecting to get a few more responses to be honest but maybe people are afraid to post their opinion ?

      Who knows….I made the camera original files available to download so you can kind of work it out from there too.

      Let me knopw what you like then I’ll spill


  2. rizibo says:

    Camera A and lens A combo was my favorite.

  3. Riccardo Covino says:

    Camera C Lens E.
    Totally sure about the camera, not the same for the lens.
    Thanks for the test John!

  4. Rizibo says:

    Hi John. I love this test. Maybe you can post this test in bmcuser and dvxuser to get more people to see it. I am dying to see the answer. Thanks.

  5. Ok, here is what I think:
    Camera A: DXL
    Camera B: Venice
    Camera C: Alexa
    Lenses are also interesting but so hard to guess…need more time for that!

  6. Gediminas Vansevicius says:

    I rightly guessed A to be DXL. Skin highlights was a giveaway for me. While Sony went a long way to come close to Arri in this regard…

  7. Jay Young says:

    Hi John,
    I’m downloading the files now to do some workflow tests and other things, thanks for making these available!

    What I found most interesting is the lower contrast of camera B, when compared to the other two. Perhaps this is due to the “recommended LUT” that was applied?

    I have not looked at the files yet, so I don’t know which is which, but here is guess:

    1. DLX2 (As you specified)
    2. Venice
    3. Alexa 65

    I do not love lens A, and I think the combo of Camera C + Lens F is visually the most appealing to me. My guess would be Lens F is probably the Super Speeds.

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