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RichardSwearinger

Why Do Some Cameras Shoot "Soft" Video And Other Shoot "Sharp"

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What makes one video camera produce images that are described as "sharp" while another is criticized as producing relatively soft video. Interchangeable lens cameras specifically. For instance I've seen reviews saying that the C300 isn't as sharp as the competing Sony camera.

Is it something in the processing? Is it an internet quality of the sensor? Is it a tradeoff somewhere in the processing chain where we're trading sharpness for another desirable quality? 

And if a particular model of camera is truly "soft" is there a post-processing step we can use to sharpen it up—there are a million ways to sharpen video, does one method work better than another? 

Or is it baloney because all cameras have more or less identical components and the reviewer who said it was just having a bad day? 

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Yes, it’s a combination of all of those things.

Pixel size and pixel density of the sensor; whether the image is super-sampled (and by how much, and with what algorithm); and processing.

Inside a camera there is a tonne of complex processing before a viewable image is created, and yes, sharpening of some sort is part of that.

I’m not going to attempt to explain or pretend to understand it though: the processing that takes place at that level is extremely complex: engineer only territory.

Many cameras have certain modes (Custom Mode on most Sony digital cinema cameras) which allow several types of user control over sharpening: Edge Detail, Skin Detail; Aperture. These options are very common in broadcast cameras too.

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By the way, I have seen side by side tests of the FX9 vs the C300mkIII with the same lens, and the picture from the FX9 is significantly more detailed and sharp.

But it would be: because it's supersampling it's 4K image from a 6K full frame sensor, whereas the C300mkIII is a native 4K Super35 sensor.

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Great answers! Thank you all very much.

Now if someone could only tell me whether the latest 1-inch consumer camcorders will produce nicer-looking video than an iPhone 12, I'll be ready to get out there and buy something...

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1 minute ago, RichardSwearinger said:

Now if someone could only tell me whether the latest 1-inch consumer camcorders will produce nicer-looking video than an iPhone 12, I'll be ready to get out there and buy something...

I don't think it should be so much about which one might produce better, or equal, quality results, but more about usability and functionality. While I'm sure that the iPhone will produce great results, even my Redmi Note 9s (an ancient phone by comparison) does a pretty good job (especially using FiLMiC Pro), but I simply couldn't go about using a phone as my sole camera.

I've seen how some of those iPhone videos have been produced and the phone is fully rigged up like a cinema camera. Many think that it's simply someone holding nothing but the phone. The devil is always in the detail.

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