Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Lumix S5 video noise comparison

I recently performed a rough-and-ready test of the noise performance of video shot on the Lumix S5. My aim was to compare the Natural and V-Log profiles at four different ISO settings in very low light. This last condition must be emphasised since the harsh conditions are not typical of those where you might otherwise shoot V-Log. 


  • still life shot on a tripod with the Lumix S 35/1.8 lens
  • constant artificial light in my kitchen
  • used ISO 4000, 8000, 16000, 32000
  • shutter angle of 180 degrees, so only aperture changed
  • resolution of DCI 4K in 10-bit colour

I chose ISO 4000 since this is the higher base ISO for V-Log. The camera has effectively no noise below this point, so there was little need to test.

The goal was to test noise rather than colour balance or other factors. Watch the video for the actual footage, but I will summarise my conclusions here:

  • Natural has distinctly less noise at high ISOs than V-Log. This might have been partially alleviated by over-exposing the V-Log footage in camera. But in situations where I also have bright light sources (e.g. concerts) this would be a bad solution. 
  • The Natural profile is far easier to technical grade, basically requiring no work at all, unless one needs to white balance.
  • You should shoot your own test footage for the shots you need to optimise.

The internet tends to hype V-Log with the belief it magically leads to better footage. But this doesn't apply to all situations, and doesn't pertain to noise performance in extreme situations like the low light regime I used. Film sets are supposed to be appropriately lit for good exposure, and V-Log is designed with that in mind.

There are certainly many scenarios where you might wish to use V-Log:

1. When the environment has very high dynamic range that won't be captured in Natural. 

2. If you need to match footage from other cameras. 

3. If you know how to work with technical grades. 

My later video series shows exactly how you can optimise the Lumix series for excellent V-log footage. Find those articles by starting with the landing page


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