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What about the Sony NX5? Anybody.. please help!

NX5 unsharp color grain settings

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#1 Enver

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Posted 27 January 2014 - 06:57 PM

I need some help from you out there.

About a year ago I swithed from Sony V1E to the NX5E (w/ Amphibico). It was a struggle ... with Amphibico going out of business and my 1st NX5 having massive electronics problems. Now all seems to be OK technically. BUT... to make a long story short... the NX5 just doesn't seem to deliver the crispy, color rich and clear images I used to get from my V1E. Even in FULL AUTO, the V1E delivered quite acceptable pic's, as where the NX5 needs extensive Picture Profiles to even come close to the V1. Above water the NX5 is great, underwater it seems to forget it's a camera! EVEN a $250 Go-Pro seems te make sharper video that the $5000 NX5 !!! MY QUESTION TO YOU ALL, has anyone had any experience with the NX5? And if yes what are those? Positive/negative? What settings do you use? Any tricks or tips are VERY WELCOME!

regards,

Evert

www.evert-bleijenberg.com

 



#2 Drew

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Posted 27 January 2014 - 11:56 PM

Evert,

Amphibico was acquired by Aquatica and are still in business.

 

As for the NX5, in order to help, we'll need some samples of what your results are and also what settings you are shooting at.


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#3 carlescas

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 11:07 AM

Hi Evert,
I work with the NX5 and the next week I will receive a housing for test it underwater. The housing is not Amphibico, is Subspace.
All the people that has used the NX5 underwater say that there are a lot of problems of white balance, sharpness, colors,....
All the people that I have spoken has used Amphibico, but I think so that the problem is the camera or the codec, because the same problems has with the FS100 (AVCHD like NX5).
After test the camera I will write here my opinions.
I have been filming underwater a lot of years with Sony PD150 (great camera underwater) with Amphibico and I don´t know if the NX5 will be a great workhorse like Sony PD 150.
We will see.
Please, upload here some images and say us how have you filmed them and will can study the problems.

Edited by carlescas, 28 January 2014 - 11:13 AM.


#4 Enver

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 07:50 AM

Guys,

 

Many thanx for the reply. I really appreciate the feedback and hope you can help me. I'm pretty desperate at this moment.

Let me try to share some of the issues I experience with tha NX5.

 

The most prominent issue is that the camera LACKS any decent SHARPNESS and the pictures are VERY grany. You can already see that in on-shore footage, but underwater it becomes almost UNBEARABLY bad. I've compared footage of a Go-Pro to the NX5 at 30 feet and the Go-Pro is MUCH sharper. I suspect the AVCHD codec, yet the Go-Pro uses the same codec and doesn't seem to have the problem. I hardly can believe that a professional level $5000 camera made by one of the best camera builders in the world delivers such poor quality. Hence the reason that I start to doubt myself and believe I'm doing something terribly wrong with the settings. Compared to the V1E, the NX5 looks like a video camera from the SD era.

 

Another issue is the coloring. With my Sony HDR-V1E (w/ Amphibico Endeavour) I already got great footage just in Full Auto mode with just applying a red filter. With the NX5, I  have to use extensive Picture Profile settings (color depth, x.V. coloring, etc.) to get some color into the picture. On top of that the NX5 refuses to accept Manual WB below 20 feet!! And since the Phenom Housing doesn't have a red flip filter, it becomes very difficult to get some color in the picture at all, certainly after 30 ft !!

 

Settings:

In full auto mode the pictures are very poor (very unsharp and grainy, poor color even with MWB). So I apply a PP setting:

Black Level: standard

Gamma: ITU709 (tried all. this does best)

Knee: standard

Color mode: Standard level 8 (=standard)

Color level: +3

Color phase: +2

Color depth: Red +2, Blue -2

WB Shift: type LB-CC, rest standard

Detail: 0

Skin tone detail: on, standard

 

MWB:

I've used two different color blue paper (on shore) to program MWB for 30 ft and deeper, using A and B MWB settings.

 

Other settings:

On the NX5 i've tried: 0 Gain, manual IRIS, Manual Shutter (for 50 to 500), Manual focus, 50i and 25p, etc. all to no avail. On the Phenom i've tried: red filter, Wide 94-, standard- and flat ports all to no avail. On lighting i've tried: full sunlight, 2 x hartenbergen 35W nano, 2 x L&M sola video 1200.

 

Again, color is difficult but can be done. The sharpness and grain is UNBELIEVABLY BAD and my biggest problem (PS. the cam is tested for this at a Sony service centre and found OK). I'll down load some clips so you can see.

 

Evert



#5 Enver

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 10:22 AM


Edited by Enver, 29 January 2014 - 11:23 AM.


#6 carlescas

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 10:50 AM

Hi Enver, where is the footage?

 

I always work with Manual db=0; auto IRIS; Manual Shutter = 50

With this the PD150 work perfectly.

The color is another thing. I will test it next week.


Edited by carlescas, 29 January 2014 - 10:53 AM.


#7 Enver

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 11:31 AM

Carles,

 

Hard to down load such big files. Pls go to: http://www.youtube.com/user/Evert5423 to see more of my work. You'll easily see what was done with the V1 or the NX5. For example. Compare this footage (V1E) : , with the previous clip.



#8 carlescas

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 12:46 PM

I have seen the clip and I think the sharpness is good. I think the problem is in the contrast. You can add contrast in the picture profiles of the camera or with the computer, in the edition.
The other problem is the white balance. The water seems a little bit green, is not blue blue. I think you can change the color of the water using a red filter. This filter will convert the water in blue and will give you more contrast in the image.
I know that the camera need a lot of light for fix the manual white balance. One solution is to put the gain in auto and the camera will add a lot of db, after it, you can press the manual white balance button and I think the camera will fix it because will arrive more light to the sensor. If with this system the camera fix the manual white balance, then before rec you will have to put the gain at manual (0 db).
I will try to do this thing underwater next week but if you can, would be good if you test it with your camera and then we will can compare the results and look for a solution.
The best wishes,
Carles Castillo.


#9 Drew

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 01:00 PM

Evert,

There are several threads on white balance issues with Sony cameras you will need to read up on.
As for your samples, it's difficult to see the difference in resolution since youtube compresses  the heck out of everything.  The 2 videos were at different depths and judging from what I see, water turbidity was also different.
Seems your NX5 clip is a little hot and warm. So you should set AE to -1 at least.  Sony tends to balance brightly.  You can also MWB on a white board with a bit of red INWATER to keep the MWB from going too warm if that's what you want.  MWB on the surface is not an accurate way to do it.

Also what sort of post coloring do you do on the clips? It's pretty easy to match those clips.  You will need to post screen capture .jpg for a more accurate assessment of resolution.


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#10 Enver

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 03:31 PM

Thanx for the reply. I'll try your suggestions.

 

Controller, you're right. From the YT videos you can't really see the problem. Actually the shots are both around 8 mtr (25ft) and sunlight conditions were the same. But I can assure you that when you compare the V1E and NX5 on a monitor is full HD, the difference in sharpness is VERY clear. Also when I make a freeze frame, the NX5 pictures are litterally full of square artefacts and grain.

 

@Carles... the "green shade" is another problem i have with the NX5. Actually this is my second camera! The first one turned all blue to green and there was nothing to change it. Also on land everthing had a greenisch color. The problem was SO bad that we exchanged that cam for a brand new one. Sony acknowledged the problem but couldn't find a solution.

 

By the way, adding a RED filter isn't that easy. There is hardly any space between the 94 wide dome port and the camera lens. I managed to squeeze a filter in between, but then again you can't change it once in the water.

 

I hope you have more luck! Let me know what your experience is. I'm not at all happy with this machine.

Evert



#11 Drew

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 07:12 PM

Evert, post a frame capture of the problem.


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#12 Stuart Keasley

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Posted 30 January 2014 - 02:04 AM

Have a read of the following two PDFs, if you haven't already, whilst they're not specifically for the NX5, they're still relevant:

 

http://www.sony-asia...Tutorial_e7.pdf

http://www.sony.co.u...37483683462.pdf

 

Re you're issues, as Drew says, it's far easier to advise having seen a good example, but taking what you've said so far, I think worth breaking it down a bit. You've mentioned sharpness, grain, artefacts and colour as issues, whilst some of the issues may come from the same source, I'd suggest looking at them totally separately.

 

- Colour (green tinge) : looking at your picture profile, you've put in a phase of +2 (shifting to red), a colour depth of +2 on red and -2 against blue. This change will be applied after white balancing, so if for instance you held up a white sheet of paper and did a manual white balance, the resultant image would take on a red'ish green hue (because you've made a strong push on red and a weaker reduction of blue... green sits in the middle)

- Sharpness : don't compare you're footage to a GoPro, GoPro video files are massively processed with heaps of sharpness, contrast and saturation, and also work on a hyper focal distance of very close to the lens to a very long way away. I.e everything is pin sharp in focus we added sharpness added in as well. Currently your detail is set to 0, try increasing this a bit, perhaps +3, to see how it looks.

- Grain : by this, I'm assuming you mean noise? In which case, it will be created by applying gain to your image, either by the gain setting on the camera, or possibly by trying to white balance in a severely out of colour balance (e.g when white balancing at 20ft, it would need to apply a lot of gain to red to colour balance across all channels, noise could result). Solution there, try and avoid gain situations, either by adding more light (video lights), or bringing the colours more in to balance before trying white balance (red/magenta filter)

- Artefacts/blocking : Seeing an example would help, but at a guess, this is happening in the low light areas, i.e. shadows and blacks? If so, then put this down to the fact that you are recording an 8 bit signal. Somebody more intelligent than me will undoubtedly explain the ins and outs, however in simpleton terms, 8 bit recording isn't that much data space, something has to give, so some of the available space for the lowlights and shadows is robbed and given to the mid tones and highlights, as these are the areas that you are most likely going to want to see in the end image. The solution to this is to try and lift the exposure to reduce the amount of shadows/low lights.

 

You mention that you've also tried a few different camera settings, shutter speeds etc. Keep that simple. put the camera in 25p (or 50i if you want the interlaced look), shutter speed at 1/50th second, gain at 0db and then use purely the iris and ND filters for exposure control. I'd also avoid using auto unless your shot will switching between different light situations, throw it in manual and use your zebras and histogram to keep the exposure as light as possible (and so avoid the tricky shadows) without blowing out the highlights. My zebras are set at between 75 to 85, dependant on what I'm shooting (and who for).

 

Also, worth getting yourself a colour chart and doing some tests in the top side environment. I'd start with everything (in the picture profile) set to zero and then work your way from there, get the camera set to create the look you want.


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#13 carlescas

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Posted 30 January 2014 - 05:13 AM

Hi all,
I have read the PDF´s, I have watched the clips (Evert) and really I have arrived to the conclusion that here only there is a problem: a correct adjust of the picture profile.
I know that the images of NX5 without a corrected picture profile are very very very flat, and maybe the images of this camera are a little bit less sharp that another cameras, but if you have a good picture profile, the images change a lot, and I think this is all the problem (well, I have not seen the underwater real images, I only have seen the images from the youtube).
If the degraded of the colour blue is correct between sun and deep water (without banding) and you have a adjusted picture profile, I think the NX5 will be a very good camera for film underwater.
Next week I will receive the housing and will test the camera underwater and then I will can speak more about it and their problems.


#14 Stuart Keasley

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Posted 30 January 2014 - 07:57 AM

 

Hi all,
I have read the PDF´s, I have watched the clips (Evert) and really I have arrived to the conclusion that here only there is a problem: a correct adjust of the picture profile.
I know that the images of NX5 without a corrected picture profile are very very very flat, and maybe the images of this camera are a little bit less sharp that another cameras, but if you have a good picture profile, the images change a lot, and I think this is all the problem (well, I have not seen the underwater real images, I only have seen the images from the youtube).
If the degraded of the colour blue is correct between sun and deep water (without banding) and you have a adjusted picture profile, I think the NX5 will be a very good camera for film underwater.
Next week I will receive the housing and will test the camera underwater and then I will can speak more about it and their problems.

 

Worth bearing in mind that the requirement of the "standard" look on the higher end cameras today is different from what it was in the days of the V1 etc. Back then, high contrast, high saturation, sharpened images, the digital video look, was very popular. Nowadays we're trying to make everything look "filmic", or use flatter profiles etc and allow the grade to work it's magic.


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#15 carlescas

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Posted 30 January 2014 - 11:06 AM

Hi bottlefish,

I am agree with you, but I think a lot of people (like me, for example) likes saturated and contrasted images, but you have reason.



#16 Stuart Keasley

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Posted 30 January 2014 - 12:21 PM

Hi bottlefish,

I am agree with you, but I think a lot of people (like me, for example) likes saturated and contrasted images, but you have reason.

Understood, just saying that I think you'll have to work a bit harder to "get back" to that look :(


Edited by bottlefish, 30 January 2014 - 12:21 PM.

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#17 carlescas

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Posted 10 February 2014 - 04:27 AM

Dear friends,
This weekend I had to test my NX5 underwater with a Subspace housing, but finally I have decided to buy a new equipment for film underwater. I will buy the Canon 5D Mark III or similar.
for this reason finally I have not tested the camera.
The reason of this change is that the weight of the NX5 with the housing and lights and external monitor is more than 20Kg, and for travel ...
 
Nothing else, only don´t forget that the F100 has similar problems that the NX5, and for this reason could be the codec.
good dives.


#18 Enver

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Posted 27 February 2014 - 05:05 PM

To all my U/W friends that have been so kind to reply on my desperate search for help with the NX5, the following:

 

Over the last weeks I've made many test dives and again tried to find a solution to the awfully poor performance of the Sony NX5. I must say that the Sony PDF's sent by bottlefish have been a great help in better understanding the settings for this camera, and so the picture quality has improved - yet only marginally !!! I've resolved the issues with color, whitebalance and overexposure. The sharpness however.... what I can say..., it is worse than a cheap 1990's SD consumer camera. I've tested the NX5 side by side with a GOPRO. Of course the GOPRO's colors are awfull, but the pictures are Very Sharp. Even if you stop the video, it's like a photo! The pictures of the NX5 (a still frame) looks like someone took a photo while it was snowing!

 

According to Sony, who have tested the camera, the camera is performing to spec's. So, in agreement with Carlescas, I can only conclude that the SONY NX5 is A PIECE OF WASTE !!

I too believe the problem is in the AVCHD codec, yet if so, I can't even start to question why a $250 GOPRO (that uses the same AVCHD codec) DOES deliver perfectly sharp images ??

 

If there's anyone out there that has ANY idea what's going on with this Crappy Sony camera please let me know! If not, I do have a very nice Sony NX5 with Amphibico Phenom NX5SE for sale !! It's cheap.

 

Regards

Evert







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