Sony A7s Guide

Skin tone test – Comparison of the Close Up

In this lesson we’ll compare the correctly exposed close up shots shown earlier. I’m not displaying which profile is which, because that would bias the results somewhat. Pick your favorite, then read on to find out which is which, and which one I prefer.

Important Notes:

  • The exposure varies wildly because lighting conditions were changing, and my assistant was holding up a white reflector, but not always at the same angle.
  • I don’t remember using an ND filter for any of these shots.
  • The white balance will be thrown off because her face is in shade, and is being affected by green grass. A custom white balance would have worked better.
  • A carefully controlled lighting test would have been better, so this is not an entirely accurate or fair comparison. Don’t make any serious judgements with this, and it is preferable to conduct your own tests.

Click to enlarge:

Which ones do you like? Write them down first and make a decision.

Images in order: Standard, Neutral, Movie, Cine1, Cine2, Cine3, Cine4, Rec. 709

Which ones I like and why

I can tell you the most accurate in terms of skin tone is Movie and Rec.709, with the latter slightly thrown off due to a green cast or changing lighting conditions.

None of the cine profiles reproduce skin color accurately, but that’s not why they are there. They give a certain ‘look’ to the image, along with good dynamic range, and it is up to you to decide which you prefer.

As I mentioned in the last lesson, I prefer the neutral look of Cine1. Here’s a comparison of all exposures made with Cine1 (click to enlarge):

If you can get past the bluish cast due to incorrect white balance, you’ll see how Cine1 can hold skin tones from plus 2 stops over to minus 2 stops under, but nowhere as near as S-Log2, which can actually do plus or minus 4 stops.

In the next lesson, I’ll outline a project I shot entirely in Cine1, and then reveal my settings for it. But for heaven’s sake don’t copy it. Conduct your own tests – that will be more fruitful I assure you!