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Almost pulled the trigger on an X5R today but...

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Jussaguy, Jul 29, 2016.

  1. Jussaguy

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    I was JUST about to finally pull the trigger on the X5R. Wanted to get the SDD for it and all.

    I had funds put aside for it for a couple months just waiting and for some reason, something in my mind kept me from buying it. It just seems like so much money for what you are getting as far as what I'm used to paying for normal cameras like a DSLR.

    Now I understand, this was for my Osmo and Inspire but with the hard drive to shoot raw at the 2.7kbps at "Raw", instead of the prosumer X3, X5 and what I believe is equivalent to the X3 on the P3P and P4.

    I have several raw cameras that shoot quite capably on the ground in full RAW but then I noticed something when I was looking through the specs of the X5R.

    I was just pursuing some specs, and what is probably a character flaw, I research the heck out of something that is over $300 before I buy it as a matter of course. It's Raw format is not normal RAW as it is in most cameras, it's "Lossless JPEG". First of all, I don't know if it's even legal to call it RAW because JPEGs are compressed. Now I did a little reading on Lossless JPEG and while it's not as lossy as a standard JPEG image (which is highly compressed), but have your own read of what "Lossless JPEG" which is what the DJI "Raw" format is on the expensive Zenmuse X5R, here is what it actually is.

    Someone with a very good knowledge of photography, if you have used the X5R and could either tell me of your experience with it, or compare it to another camera even, that would be much appreciated. Also, would love to know how the Lossless JPEG if brought into whatever editor/grader you are using, how it treated it.

    The reason for making it "JPEG Lossless" vs. RAW (as in completely uncompressed video) is simply the size. Size is a little smaller and even at these great spreads if achieved at 2.7kbps, you are still not near the top of what 4K video should be caught at (and if you don't have the SSD and you are using a SD card, I am not even sure if capturing at JPEG Lossless is possible and if they made it so it is possible, that would explain why they used that format instead of straight RAW.

    What is lossless JPEG? :: Digital Photo Secrets

    A quote from that article (and I read a few that were negative on "Lossless JPEG". FTR. "photo-jpeg" was an old video format that for like a year was my goto deliverable for finals so it's possible that it might look completely perfect but I would definitely not call any video made up of a sequence of JPEGS, RAW. Just wouldn't.

    If anything, it's given me pause and I didn't pull the trigger today on it once again.

     
    #1 Jussaguy, Jul 29, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2016
  2. WetDog

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    Whoever wrote the article on lossless JPEG is at a bit of a loss himself. He confuses bit depth with image compression.

    JPEG is an 8 bit format - the data for each of the R,G and B values has 256 possible values (2^8). That's baked into the definition of JPEG. Yes, there is a compression algorithm in the format but you don't have to use it. That means it won't 'lose' data each time the image is manipulated or saved.

    Modern cameras typically pull the data off the sensor in 10 to 14 bit chunks. That means that each pixel can have one of 2^10 (1024) to 2^14 (over 16000) values. This allows for MUCH finer gradation between pixels. This doesn't mean much for the guy who pulls the video off the bird and dumps it onto YouTube without so much as a delete (such people should spend a couple of decades in video purgatory but that's another story) but if you are trying to edit the video, this means the difference between a clean edit, something that looks crisp and sharp and pops out, and a blotchy mess.

    The X5R uses CinemaDNG, not JPEG. According to Adobe, bit depth can be anywhere from 8 to 32 bits, It is actually based on the TIFF format.

    So you can get beautiful, high bit depth images out of the X5R. From the limited reading I've done the major complaints have been the (relatively) slow bit RATE (the speed at which the data is written) and the incredibly high cost of the proprietary (natch) SSD. Something like $1000 a pop. It's going to be easier to have more money invested in the drives than in the bird. The X5R can also write to a small card format (XQD? Can't recall offhand) that is much cheaper but, of course, not nearly as fast.

    The compressed, 8 bit formats available to us poor little amateurs are actually pretty good - you can get stunning video that displays beautifully on computers and even largish TVs. And any video producer from 15 years ago would have absolutely killed to have it. But pro stuff is at another level. The X5R just barely gets in to real pro territory and you can see what it can do to your wallet.

    Wait a couple of years. You will see at least 10 bit CinemaDNG capability, albeit at a slower bit rate than the X5R along with optical zoom in the P5. Of course, you won't be able to fly it until you have uploaded your passport and fingerprints to the TSA, but that's another issue.
     
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  3. Jussaguy

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    First off, I think I slept typed this thread. I swear, I did it in the morning sometime and have ZERO recollection of typing it. Please excuse the typos (but I have fixed a few). HA. Bizarre.

    But it is what happened to me yesterday and thanks for your description and I agree with everything you said.

    It is true that you can turn off all compression algorithm, if given the option (theoretically in the GoApp) to do so, or it's by default if you are shooting RAW. However, you said that it's shooting in CinemaDNG and that is a different beast and something I would be VERY excited about.

    CinemaDNG carries all the metadata for each frame, just like the DNG photos that we have been using since the P3.

    As I am writing this, I went to the DJI website to grab the specs that I saw, and I saw in other locations that shows that it shoots in "Lossless JPEG" however on the main page for the X5R, it indeed says CinemaDNG and ProRes so yay!!!

    I'm ordering it today.

    It is BIZARRE that on the same site it says two different things about their same product.

    Here is the page that shows the specs with the AdobeDNG. There is no way you can shoot AdobeDNG without an SSD and not lose massive frames so I don't know how there is even a card option. SWEET! Thanks. As for a slower bitrate (no thank you) and an optical zoom (no thank you). Why would you want an optical zoom on the P5? First off, it will increase the cost and we have a dolly in the sky, it's called a push. Unless you have a telephoto lens on there, I cannot see a use of a optical zoom, unless you are talking about use with the OSMO, not the P5. Zoom on a bird is almost useless. I have never heard a person give me a good reason for a 3 or even 5x optical zoom. PUSH. Push is how you show a zoom and what focal length would you want to change 500 feet in the air?

    Totally happy with 8but uncompressed. We work with 8 and 10 bit uncompressed interchangeably and I do the VFX for my show and there is almost zero difference not only to the human eye, but they send me 10 bit when I have to pull a key so I have more color space but if they don't and accidentally send me the 8 bit Avid Uncompressed, it makes ZERO difference. All about the bit rates, not the bits, IMHO.

    For the record, I am the VFX Supervisor, and head VFX artist for my company and I currently work on Last Man Standing so I am using 8 bit in a professional environment weekly.

    Zenmuse X5 RAW - RECORD THE WORLD IN RAW | DJI
     
    #3 Jussaguy, Jul 29, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2016
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  4. WetDog

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    Just save your pennies for the drives. That would be the killer for me. The thought was somebody would reverse engineer the things and make them (somewhat) less expensive but we all know how well DJI likes that sort of thing.
     
  5. Jussaguy

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    Well that's the problem with China innovation and why they are in a constant state of R&D. It's a double edged sword. While they have protection here with intellectual property, so if someone completely copied something in China where there for all intents and purposes, has zero IP law, it's going to find it's way here somehow even if not in mass production. The Autel Whatever is pretty much a DJI Phantom and if it was a massive seller here, DJI would probably file suit, much like they did with Yuneec on the CO. However, they didn't and couldn't do that in China (and a some other Asian countries but that's the limit of my knowledge).

    So it's a constant battle to get new things out that are innovative so that they will sell but you have a small window before another Chinese company will just copy it. I think we are a little over the top in America with IP law but they are on the other end of the continuum.