Canon 5D Mark III vs RED EPIC Dragon dynamic range test

We often get asked by clients, whats the difference between the Canon 5D and RED EPIC? This simple test will at least show one main difference between the two cameras. That difference is how the RED protects highlights (bright areas of a scene) more due to a greater dynamic range of its sensor.  Details in the shadows are also retained more. This is clearly evident in the exterior scene of the balcony in the frame grabs below and also also in the darker areas of the shadows.

Dynamic range is the difference between the lightest light and darkest dark which can be observed in a scene. Once your subject exceeds the camera’s dynamic range, the highlights wash out to white, or the darks become black blobs. Canon 5D has 11.8 stops of dynamic range… each stop doubles or halves the amount of light depending if the light is increasing or decreasing. The RED EPIC Dragon has 16.5 plus stops. 

Canon 5D Mark III camera settings & config:
Canon 24mm prime lens at F5.6, ISO 250, shutter 1/400th, 5600k color temperature

RED EPIC Dragon camera settings & config:
Canon 24mm prime lens at F5.6, ISO 250, shutter 1/400th, 5600k color temperature, Dragon Color 2/RED Gamma4 (color science), Skintone OLPF

Time of day was around 2PM with approximately the same amount of cloud cover for each scene. Light source was one 1000 watt Tungsten, placed in the front to the side.

This is what I was expecting to see in the highlights. In the shadows you can see that the color science of the RED EPIC Dragon which defaults to DragonColor2/REDGamma4, presses the blacks down more. This test also gives a Director of Photography an idea what the minimum amount of lighting would take to brighten up the interior during a daytime scene. Considering that only one 1000 watt ARRI fresnel was used in this test… you are looking at least at a 1800 watt HMI to brighten the interior of the room while protecting the highlights of the exterior. Another trick would be to gel the windows. Since the glass sliding doors were opened halfway… on the tinted side to the right… you can see a comparison of how the scene would appear if the doors were closed and gelled to reduce the light.

If you’ve got questions or have a camera that you would like to compare to the RED EPIC Dragon… let us know and we’ll do another comparison. You can email info (a) facetmedia dot com.

Canon 5D Mark III dynamic range test.
Canon 5D Mark III dynamic range test, click for larger version.
RED EPIC Dragon: DRAGONcolor2/REDlogFilm  click for larger version
RED EPIC Dragon: DRAGONcolor2/REDlogFilm, click for larger version.
DRAGONcolor2/REDGamma4, click for larger version
RED EPIC Dragon: DRAGONcolor2/REDGamma4, click for larger version.

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