Posted by on May 29, 2012 in Blog, My Work, Photography | 0 comments

There’s been a lot of talk recently about the Epic camera rendering still photography useless and it’s amazing and mind bending ability to shoot video and stills at the same time. Unfortunately, when you unpack this a little, you realize that the eye prefers motion pictures to be blurred and still photography to be sharp (with many exceptions, of course).

I wondered if the HDR capability of the Epic might be a solution since it grabs the image with a significantly reduced exposure time – but grain might be a problem. Some people think the Epic can shoot well enough at 2000 ISO – I’m not one of them.

So, I did a little test today. I used a stock Canon EFS 18-200 (not the sharpest tool in the shed) but I don’t think it will obscure the results.

Firstly, in case you’re wondering if your Epic is as good at stills as your 5DMkIII, Auto Focus on the Epic is essentially unusable as a professional tool. Slow and stupid. So let’s put that aside and focus on the really interesting part – HDR as a way to reduce blur and get usable stills while shooting video.

The first thing you will notice in the gallery below is that it totally works. The first 2 images are 2 stops different 320 ISO and then 1280 from A and X Tracks. The next 2 images 3 stops different 250 ISO and then 2000 with the shutter set at 1/96th. The 3 stops definitely do a great job of reducing motion blur from a pretty fast moving object. But with the reduced shutter speed, the video does have that Saving Private Ryan sharp feeling.

The flower images are significantly less demanding on the motion blur (and this shot is really where a better lens would have helped), but it made for a very nice shot. Easy.

But.

Aye, look at the close up frames and you’ll see the rub. There is virtually no grain in the primary A Track images and there is significant grain in the X Track images. Even in the first running shot with the X Track at 1280 ISO it is significant and probably renders it unusable in many situations. Or at least a questionable solution for something like Wedding photography.

We can retest this when the 6k Dragon sensor comes out, but for now it seems not quite there.

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