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NXCAM Sharpness

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Dave Edwards
NXCAM Sharpness
on Aug 9, 2014 at 3:43:51 pm

I bought an NXR NX5U a couple of years but have never been entirely happy with its image sharpness. This nagging doubt about the camera was strengthened when I bought a secondhand EX1,- this just blows the NXCAM out of the water for sharpness. I also find that it struggles in low light as compared to the EX1.

Of course the EX1 is far more expensive and has 1/2 inch sensors,- but I just wonder whether my NXCAM may have had an issue from new or whether I'm simply expecting too much of it.

I'd be grateful for your thoughts.

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john lenihan
Re: NXCAM Sharpness
on Aug 9, 2014 at 4:49:05 pm

Thanks for reaching out.

Sharpness, or lack thereoff, can be caused by a number of contributors. I will explain the NX5U regarding lack of sharpness.

In general, the EX1 is considered a better camera and has a better lens, so it should indeed be able to give better sharpness, all things being optimized on each camera.

I have actually had shooters give me footage from their ex3 that was worse than mine because they didn't know how to optimize a given situation.

I cannot tell if you purchased a defective nx5u.

Causes of lack of sharpness on an NX5U
1. Its default recording mode is flat, and colors looked washed up and low contrast. What I did for a while was to shoot this way, then in the editor, apply an s log filter to the output which increased the contrast and made the sharpness pop. I use Sony Vegas Pro, and they call it a color curve. I created various color curves for various scenes, dark, bright, etc.

2. Later, I started using the picture profile setting while shooting, then I did less correction in editing.

3. Now I have started using a custom picture profile from Michael Johnson in this forum. That saturates colors and increases the sharpness. I use just a hint of correction in editing now.

4. The second thing that causes lack of sharpness is out of focus. The camera uses vertical lines in your picture to set the auto focus. That means that it hates to focus on peoples faces, because there are no vertical lines. It would much rather focus on bricks in the background or trees or window frames, than faces. One must be vigilant during shooting to look for this and manually set focus.

5. The third thing is out of focus due to back focus adjustment. If you zoom in on the subject, then back out, it will be a tiny bit out of focus. It is better to use the view expanded to focus to avoid this.

6. The fourth thing is that the picture gets grainy at anything higher than 15 db gain.

7. The fifth thing is that there is chromatic aberration around f9 or f11. So, if you are shooting a soccer game and your aperture is at f11, you may see color fringing on the ball and players bodies. Simply solution is shoot at a higher speed and or ND filters.

In conclusion, it is possible that the previous owner of the ex1 had set the picture profile, and you are benefiting from his settings.


PS. EVERY camera I ever owned has been less than perfect, and it is more important to understand those shortcomings to get good shots.

John Lenihan

LeniCam Video Productions

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Dave Edwards
Re: NXCAM Sharpness
on Aug 9, 2014 at 5:14:43 pm

Thank you for your thoughts, John.

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