A thorough study of S-Log2

In this lesson we’ll focus on just one picture profile – S-Log2 – against four color spaces:

  • Cinema (the one Sony wants you to use with it)
  • Matrix 709 (Rec. 709)
  • Pro (Rec. 709)
  • S-Gamut (for S-Log2, but let’s see for ourselves!)

Cinema Color Space

Here’s what S-Log2 looks like, in the Cinema color space (In this order: -4, -2, 0, +2, +4, click to enlarge):

CineL

What do you think?

Matrix Color Space

Here’s what S-Log2 looks like, in the Matrix color space (In this order: -4, -2, 0, +2, +4, click to enlarge):

MatL

What do you think?

Pro Color Space

Here’s what S-Log2 looks like, in the Pro color space (In this order: -4, -2, 0, +2, +4, click to enlarge):

ProL

What do you think?

S-Gamut Color Space

Here’s what S-Log2 looks like, in the S-Gamut color space (In this order: -4, -2, 0, +2, +4, click to enlarge):

GamL

Who wins? Look for these things:

  • Which has better texture in the underexposed regions?
  • Which looks better when clipped either way? Is there a good roll-off at either end?
  • Which as more dynamic range?
  • Which has better skin patches?
  • Which has a better look overall?

Try to at least answer the above before reading the next. Otherwise I’ll be putting words in your head. Here’s a tip: Study each exposure point against the others. E.g., study all -2s together, then 0s together, and so on.

What I think

On first glance you might think they all look similar, but take a good look at the shadows. Except for S-Gamut, all the other color spaces exhibit ugly color noise and artifacts in the underexposed regions, even when only slightly underexposed.

Even in the overexposed regions, the overall noise is more aesthetically pleasing in S-Gamut. It’s just much more pleasing to look at all around.

All this shouldn’t be surprising. S-Log2 is designed to work best with S-Gamut. Just because you can change the color space in the camera doesn’t mean you should!

In the next lesson we’ll take a good look at the wolfcrow system of exposing S-Log2.

Here’s the official wording from Sony:

Gamma curve for [S-Log2]. This setting is based on the assumption that the picture will be processed after shooting.

S-Gamut is a color space unique to Sony that provides a wide color space equivalent to film cameras. However, S-Gamut setting of this camera does not support the whole color space of S-Gamut; it is a setting to realize a color reproduction equivalent to S-Gamut.

Click on the link below to the next lesson or head over to the main menu (above). If you need help with something, feel free to send me an email. I’ll try to get back to you as soon as possible.