Art Adams: Why Zacuto’s Latest Camera Test May Have Screwed Us All

Art Adams is hopping mad about the “Revenge of the Great Camera Shootout (Part1, Part2, Part3)” from Zacuto which made an iPhone look close to Red Epic as he details his objections to the side by side camera tests.

This headline from struck terror into my heart: “According To Coppola, A $700 Video Camera Beats A $65,000 One.” This is the story of how a well-meaning company has probably made my life as a cinematographer much, much more difficult while trying to make it better.

If you don’t know the backstory, take a look here. Zacuto has, for the last few years, conducted a series of camera shootouts intended to show how modern cameras stack up against each other. They’re well intentioned, but as someone who does a lot of testing I’m quite unhappy with the fact that they don’t hire people who know how to objectively test cameras.

Let me say this up front: While this test makes me really, really angry, I think it was planned and executed with the best of intentions. I appreciate the hard work everyone put into it. Unfortunately it results in headlines like the one above on a blog like Gizmodo—not an insignificant source of tech news. Indeed, at the end of part three of Zacuto’s current video series, all the cinematographers interviewed say that they were impressed by how similar the cameras were, when I think what they really meant to say is that each camera can create pretty images. The two statements are not the same: the first implies similar function; the second implies artistic achievement. The former says “These cameras work the same!” while the latter says “These cameras can look great, but you haven’t asked me how much more work it will take to achieve desired results with one versus the other.”

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Read the Comment Section of the linked article for Steve Weiss’s response.