Should you shoot at 800ISO or the blindly sensitive 5000ISO, your choice. Digital Cinema Society shares their examples of Panasonic's Varicam 35 unique dual native ISOs.
Dual ISOs. It's so simple yet so complex at the same time. It's one of those advances in cinematography where we instantaneously ask “why hasn't this been implemented before,” and “will this be a standard feature for all cameras in the future.” Kind of like Sony's dial-able ND wheel. Something so simple and useful, yet curious why it took so long for someone to figure it out.
With the best signal to noise ratio/dynamic range at the native ISO what Panasonic has done is create an organic sensor that looks better at 5000 ISO than 4000 ISO. Think about it as gaining up your camera. When a shooter goes past the native ISO, 800 in this example, then the image is electronically enhanced creating more noise in the video. By creating a sensor, with what has to have the smallest electronics to do this, that can be read at two different ISOs Panasonic has solved the biggest low-light problem; noise. To be honest, The Digital Cinema Society does a whole hell of a lot better job explaining Panasonic's dual native ISOs.
Will we see dual native ISOs in competing cameras? I am sure Red, Arri, and Sony are all interested in being the go-to camera for productions world-wide. Any competitive advantage found in a competitor will need to be surpassed or at the least matched for hese brands if they want to be the next low-light king.
Another very cool feature of Panasonic's Varicam 35 is the ability to make a Color Decision List wirelessly. The ability to wirelessly control the color means there likely could be a much shorter grading/mastering post-production. Plus, who wants to have a camera wired to computer. Not me. Nor do I want to run back and forth from a camera to a computer to see if the look I want is something I'm actually achieving.
First thing, go check out Digital Cinema Society's vimeo page. There are tons of valuable videos directed at educating cameramen/shooters. Secondly, When I first heard about Panasonic's Varicam 35 I thought 'who's going to buy this.' because so many of the features/specs could be found on less expensive cameras. Then I come to find out that this camera is more than specs, it's about making it easy to capturing great looking footage. Cheers to Panasonic for thinking about making the whole process of capturing what we want in any light possible.