Friday, October 10, 2014

Video for Nikon: D810 and D4s ISO limits and lenses

Video for Nikon: D810 and D4s ISO limits and lenses, tripods, monopods, etc.

UPDATE: D810 much better quality video than D4s. The D4s has soft video in my opinion except 2.7crop on Standard which suffers from noise in low light. I  have found that in low light I use the D4s on Standard, otherwise I ALWAYS use the D810 on FLAT.

ISO for video:
D810  64-2500
D4s    200-12800 (try to stick with 10k or less)

Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 VR II
Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD 
both work great for Image Stabilization, hand held or vehicle.
The video from the 810 on Flat really does look better to me. (using a Atomos Shogun)
UPDATE: 9/25/2015: After a year with D810 and D4s - unless you shoot video in low light, use the D810 and not the D4s.  The D810 on FLAT is just phenomenal. If you have great glass it really is wonderful. The D4s for full frame video is poor.(not sharp)  The D4s is a great still camera  - sharp, fast, simply the best; but for video - put it away. I am going to do more playing with 2.7x crop. I have tried all kinds of profiles, Flaat10-12p, Tassin, Cineflat, VH  Pseudolog. They all are the same. Video from the D4s full frame is just fuzzy and in no way approaches the quality of the video from the D810. That is the honest truth. See the below images.

D4s FX VH Pseudolog

D4s 2.7x crop VH Pseudolog
First - no making fun of the cat pics. It is good to use a furry animal so that you see the fine details. All three are pulls from video (using DaVinci Resolve) at ISO 1000 WB 2500K on a Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD at F4 with image stabilization on. The camera was on a tripod. Video is never as sharp as stills, but I am trying to avoid splitting hairs here. The D810 on Flat is just wonderful for video. The D4s on FX is murky. The D4s on 2.7x crop looks good, but it is at 2.7x crop. 2.7x crop also suffers from increased noise and less accurate metering than the FX mode. Look at the fabric texture on the couch and the blanket. On the D810 it looks just like a still. Then look at the focus on the color card. It is at F4 and the card was just as in focus as the animal's eyes which was the primary focus point. To focus I zoomed in 100% and manually adjusted for the best possible focus. Look how fuzzy it is with the D4s in FX (full frame).  I am going to continue to update, but unless you are shooting low light video go with the d810 it really is much cleaner. You do have to watch the noise on the video over 2000 on up if the lighting is dim. If shooting in lower light you can go with the D4s on FX and Standard, which I have found to be the option for the best video on the D4s. It will be a bit soft, but it will work in very low light.

Bottom Line usable ISO for video: (shooting 24p  1/50s: Many shoots in different environments.)
D810  64-2500
D4s    200-12800 (try to stick with 10k or less)
Above those numbers things start to get truly grainy. Remember to shoot with the flat profile on the D810 if you plan on grading later. (You can get close creating a similar setting manually in the D4s. Cineflat, Flaat12p, and VH Pseudolog are profiles people have made that are on the net.)  I would not recommend using anything by Standard on the D4s since it seems to be optimized for the best video on Standard  I have heard that the Sony FS-700 does well to 56k, but I haven't tried it.

If you're in a car and you don't have $3-15k to spend on a gyro stabilizer - No Problem. Get these (especially the Tamron for the zoom range in the vehicle.)
Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 VR II
Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD

Until Nikon comes out with a 24-70mm 2.8 VR II the Tamron is just going to have to do. The Nikon 16-35mm just doesn't do well at 35 and I prefer a 50mm for facing forward. The VR or VC does a great job of taking out the vibration. The vehicle video is unusable without this.

If you are shooting on solid ground on a tripod then I recommend the 24, 35, 58, and 85 f/1.4 or the fantastic 200mm f/2.0 (you'll have to back up... even more so for the 400mm f/2.8  ;) which is also beautiful for video)

Need a 10 stop ND filter? You will need one if you are planning on shooting video at 24p (1/50s) outside in bright sunlight. (Yeah - just try to scrim the cars on the road while you are driving.) Look at this article. 
Yes, you might be able to get by with a 5-6 stop ND filter. Singh-Ray makes a 5 stop Mor-Slo too. I use the Singh-Ray Mor-Slo 5 stop and the Singh-Ray 3 stop filters. I can use one or the other or stack them both.  The Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD does just fine with both stacked, with minimal vignetting. The Tamron has slight vignetting at 24mm as it is and two stacked filters does not add much to this.

Need a 6 stop filter for your Nikon 200mm f/2.0 get this Hoya 52mm Pro 1 ND 64x Sorry - I couldn't find a 10 stop that is thin enough to fit. This one works beautifully. It should work for the 400mm too.

Tripod: There are so many. You want a solid one with a real fluid head. I went with what the News guys use. They use the latest Sachtler head with the hotpod. I was fortunate enough to buy a used 18plus head on a hot pod a few years ago. It is smooth. It is made for heavier cameras, so I use it backwards on my lighter setups. When I put the 400mm on it works beautifully. If you have never used the Sachtler hotpod - it is a treat. You just slide the middle cross leg piece to the right spot on the bar it slides on and out drop the legs. Push the cross piece all the way down and they lock. Then press down on the leveling lever and level the head. It takes seconds. That is probably why the News guys use them. They are also solid as a rock, which is key for video. I have a set of Miller Sticks which I use if I am in the woods or need to go low, but it is nowhere near as solid or as easy to setup and move as the hotpod. A demo of the hotpod is here

Monopod: In a pinch I use the Manfrotto video monopod with 500 series head. It works quite well. It is great with the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 VR II  for shooting kids sports video.

Steadicam: I use the Steadicam pilot. It does well. Go with the Scout if you are flying something a bit heavier. I recommend that most people stick to the tripod. Steadicams can be frustrating if you don't have time to practice and the extra patience and coordination that they take. Also hand holding the Image Stabilized lenses works quite will in a pinch.

I must apologize for the lack of video or still shots. I will post them when I have the time. I am going to make sure to put iPhone video shots there for comparison as well. People think that the iPhone takes great video. The iPhone has its range. It does well in bright light. When it gets really dark though, it just can't do it. (The iphone screen is black by the time you go to 6400 ISO on the D4s. Remember, this is video so we are using 1/50 sec shutter speed.)

There is a review with some video here on Fstoppers (starting at 13:30) It doesn't cover the D4s, but that (for video) one goes to ISO 10k cleanly and 12800 pretty well.