Matching Sony EX-1 and the Canon T2i

The bored looking fellow in this photo is my Brother Eric. Why is he bored? Well, he spend a good 4 1/2 hours under hot lights on a set we’ve been building while Mike “Simon” Ulatowski, and I began our mission to match our Sony Ex-1 and Letus adapter to a Canon T2i.  There are a lot of great forums online with people talking about matching these two rigs, but really no true definitive way to do it. We would like to shoot our upcomingpilot with both cameras for two reasons, 1) having two cameras on any shoot helps limit the amount of takes an actor/actress has to do, allowing them to deliver fresh takes of scenes and not get tired of of acting out the same emotions over and over. 2) The Sony Ex-1 Rig with the Letus can be be a bit cumbersome to operate for handheld shooting and tight spaces,  due to its weight and size.

There are quite a few obstacles to over come when trying to match these two camera rigs. For those of you unfamiliar with the Letus adapter, check out Letus’s site to get an idea of what the device looks like and what it does. To see two examples of what it looks like when shooting with it on the EX-1 you can watch “Freehold” and “Sepia Tones” on our site  Now for those of you not familiar with the Canon T2i you can check out Drew Painter’s stuff here. He’s done some nice work with it. Once you get an idea what both camera’s can do please move on to the next part of this post.

Welcome back. So as you can see the Sony EX-1 and Letus allow for a much more cinematic look. This is done by the use of analog lenses and ground glass in the adapter itself. Meanwhile the T2i accomplishes a nice cinematic depth of field right out of the box with pretty much any lens you can put on the camera. So even though both can get a depth of field that is incredible, they are still a ways apart as far as looks go. The sony has way more control as far as settings go, llowing you a lot more control over the image you are capturing. We have out EX-1 tweaked in a way that makes a very flat,  even exposed image during the capture. The Canon lacks a lot of control over the image. there are very few settings on the camera itself to allow for image tweaking (though later on i’ll talk about picture profiles which will help fix some of this issue) On top of those differences here are a few more:

-The ground glass in the letus allows for a film like grain (which looks incredible) obviously the T2i does not.

-The 1/2 stop of light loss in the Letus is closer to a full stop or 1 1/2 stops when compared to the Canon. Making it difficult to get an accurate exposrue level between the two.

-As stated before because the Sony rig is set up for a very flat even image the captured image has a lot of space to CC for the final look, while the neutral picture setting on the canon has a very contrasty harsh look (even after lowering the contrast and sharpness and every other trick forums suggest to deal with the contrasty look of the T2i in neutral picture mode). I’m not saying the image is a contrasty mess. Quite the contrary, the image is great, but when trying to match it to a camera that is set for a for a nice wide  color space for CC its looks awfully contrasy, eating up a lot of detail in darker parts of the image. It can be corrected in post but the object here is to match the camera as close to possible in the field so we don’t waste time fixing an image in post we spend time of perfecting the of coloring it.

-White balances have to match as far as temperature. But the EOS utility software allows you to choose from presets or color pick it but it doesn’t allow you to dial in a number (2500K, 3300K etc.). The EX-1 does.

-Lastly both cameras have two different ways of operating. The Sony has shutter speed, the lens itself, the iris on the camera, and gain. While the T2i has ISO, Shutter speed, and aperture.

So in a nut shell we have our work cut out for us. In the next installment of this i’ll talk about white balancing the two cameras and getting them to match. I will also include pictures and video in the future to help illustrate what were going for and how we get it.

Gotta go watch “The Wire”.

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