Andrew Reid has conducted a detailed test to compare the Canon 5D Mark III and Canon 7D (in Magic Lantern RAW mode), the Panasonic GH3 and the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera:
The 5D Mark III raw (from Magic Lantern), if it were a film stock, would be Fuji. Warm vivid colours which may need taming a bit in post. The Blackmagic is more Kodak, cooler and more muted, it often requires the opposite treatment in post to the Canon cameras. The 7D is totally back from the dead – with Magic Lantern raw and the Mosaic Engineering VAF-7D tested here, it offers lovely image quality from a Super 35mm sized sensor, at a similar price to the Pocket Cinema Camera. The Panasonic GH3 – best of the standard system cameras out of the box without modifications does a good job keeping up with them.
The scene was lit three ways to test resolution, dynamic range and low light performance.
I am really surprised at how close the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera is in low light to the 5D Mark III.
ISO 1600 on the Pocket Camera is almost as clean in the midtones. Shadows have a silky smoothness in terms of gradation and are just as clean if not better. You can happily push it to ISO 3200 in post and it won’t fall apart.
I wasn’t (at least in this test) able to get the 5D Mark III to quite match the Pocket for dynamic range – just look at the book cover in scene 2. At ISO 800 for scene 1 which is native on the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera, the 5D Mark III looked far noisier than had I shot it at ISO 200 or used ETTR. Put simply – if you have the light available, forget ‘native ISO’ on the 5D Mark III and shoot as low an ISO as possible.
The GH3 did surprisingly well in this test – way better than the stock Canon video mode on the 5D Mark III.
But if it is the best highlight handling and overall dynamic range you want, without a doubt the Pocket is your camera.
Who wins? Read the full test with images here to find out.