Survey: What min/max levels does your cam shoot?


NickHope wrote on 1/30/2012, 7:43 AM
Thanks for the results. I have added them to the first post.

Testing should be done with pixel format set to 8-bit and I have added that instruction to the first post also.

I've put Udi's Sony A77 into the "nominally 16-255" category but noted that the footage is actually a bit darker.

Still keen for results from GoPro, and also any of the Canon T3i / 60D / 7D format cameras. I assume these are all 0-255 but that is based on supposition only.

I've got 2 clips in my archive from my old VX2000 DV camera with blacks at 0. Don't know how on earth I managed that since the other few thousand don't go below 13. I'm wondering if high contrast footage might push the blacks down darker on some cameras than just shooting with everything blacked out so I'll have a play with that.
MikeLV wrote on 10/6/2012, 12:26 AM
Canon XA10, 2012, AVCHD, Min Black:14, Black Peak: 17, Min White: 252, Max White: 253

ritsmer wrote on 10/6/2012, 6:23 AM
A Compact - Sony RX100, AVCHD: 16-235

A POS - Sony TX55, AVCHD: 16-255
NickHope wrote on 12/28/2012, 2:49 PM
My Sony RX100 shoots 16-240, not 16-235, even if I adjust exposure compensation.

(Ritsmer, did you really mean "POS"???)
Pete Ferg wrote on 9/14/2013, 9:58 AM

Canon Legria HF S100, 2008, AVCHD, min black 13, black peak 16, white peak 253, max white 254.

riredale wrote on 9/14/2013, 1:08 PM
Kimberly: I shoot with an FX-1 and and several HC-3s. All show up as 16-255 on the histogram monitor. Because this means some near-whites (such as folds in a white dress shirt) will be crushed to white, I set the Color Corrector gain slider to 0.95, which backs everything down a bit and the peaks become 238.
john_dennis wrote on 9/17/2013, 11:34 PM
I bought a Canon G15 in lieu of getting a real video camera. The levels are 0-255.



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MikeLV wrote on 11/13/2013, 3:14 PM
Can anyone confirm that what I said for the Canon XA-10 is correct?
malowz wrote on 11/13/2013, 6:16 PM
Sony NEX-EA50 = 16-255
OldSmoke wrote on 11/13/2013, 7:01 PM
Canon Vixia HF G30: 16-253

Proud owner of Sony Vegas Pro 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 & 13 and now Magix VP15&16.

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musicvid10 wrote on 11/13/2013, 7:04 PM
Remember, if you're going to post histogram shots here, the preview must be set at Best/Full for the levels to be valid.
PeterDuke wrote on 11/14/2013, 1:27 AM
My camera is a Sony HDR-XR520, shooting AVCHD. It was bought in Oct. 2009.

Since it only has auto exposure, I had trouble getting full white, so I displayed about 80 % of the screen to the left as dark grey (nearest I could get to black) and 20% of the screen to the right as white. I then used pan/crop to zoom in on the white band.

I got black by placing a black mouse pad on the floor in a dark room and pressing the lens down on the mat.


black: min 15, mode 20, max 24
white: min 252, mode 253, max 253
NickHope wrote on 4/28/2014, 6:50 AM
Apologies for my slackness. I have just added all the last few months' results to the first post.

I would love to see results from GoPro and Black Magic cameras here.
Laurence wrote on 4/28/2014, 8:17 AM
This discussion is missing one important consideration, and that is that Vegas stretches the levels of some cameras so that the range of imported footage is wider than was actually shot. My Nikon D5100 footage is imported into an Adobe product or processed with a ProDAD SAL product as if was primarily in the 16-235 range, but imported into Vegas, the range is 0-255 with some card clipping at the light and dark ends. The same thing happens with MOV footage from my GH3. Imported into Vegas the range is 0-255 with hard clipping at the light and dark ends. AVCHD from my GH3 imports int Vegas as primarily in the 16-235 range. If you compare the camera format footage with Windows Media Player or an Adobe or ProDAD product, the MOV and AVCHD GH3 footage looks identicle. It's not until it arrives on a Vegas timeline that there is a difference. I strongly believe that it isn't so much that there are variations in the way camera levels are captured, but it is in how Vegas handles the levels of various camera formats, especially those that use MOV formats.
Laurence wrote on 4/28/2014, 8:30 AM
Look back at the list. Notice how all the cameras on the list that are in the 0-255 category shoot MOV formats. Coincidence? The GH3 is listed in this category. The GH3 shoots in both MOV and AVCHD formats. The GH3 is my primary camera right now. I stopped shooting in the higher bitrate MOV modes in favor of the AVCHD mode shortly after I got it because on a Vegas timeline, the MOV footage appears to be 0-255 whereas the AVCHD footage is solidly 16-235. The footage looks identical in WMP or imported into Adobe. If you stabilize the MOV GH3 footage with Mercalli SAL, the processed footage will also be in the 16-235 range. If you convert the GH3 MOV footage to Cineform using the Cineform software, it will also now look like 16-235 on a Vegas timeline. Do Adobe, ProDAD, Windows Media Player and Cineform all change the level ranges or were they always 16-235 and is Vegas just stretching the to 0-255? I am absolutely convinced that the levels are being stretched in Vegas.

Forgive me for going on and on about this, but I have been saying this for quite some time now in various posts and thus far, no-one seems to believe me.
Laurence wrote on 4/28/2014, 8:38 AM
It's not just a matter of putting in a cRGB to sRGB color correction in either. If you look at the footage from any of these cameras, the range isn't purely 16-235. There are occasional highlights above 235. If I shoot in MOV format on my GH3 and put the footage on a Vegas timeline, these highlights are clipped and unrecoverable. If I shoot ithe same thing in AVCHD format, I have room to bring them back into the 235 range. With the MOV footage, I can also convert to Cineform and recover the same highlights. It is definitely a Vegas thing, not a camera thing.
Laurence wrote on 4/28/2014, 9:03 AM
One last thing: it isn't the MOV container that causes the stretching. I can render into MOV with various codecs and experience no stretch when bringing the render back into Vegas. Vegas also seems to stretch GoPro footage even though it is not in an MOV format. None-the-less, most of the time what I see is that if a camera shoots in an MOV format, the footage is going to look like 0-255 with clipping at the top and bottom on a Vegas timeline.

VLC seems to have the same color handling as Vegas. MOV camera footage will look like cRGB in VLC and Vegas but sRGB in WMP, Cineform, ProDAD or Adobe products.
NickHope wrote on 4/28/2014, 9:05 AM
Excellent point Laurence. I've made a note about that in my first "EDIT" point in the original post, and I've added the .mov or AVCHD format alongside the camera. I also added your results. I'm assuming your Nikon D5100 0-255 footage was .mov?

Would be interesting to know if Fuchs' 16-235 GH2 footage was .mp4 or .mov

Maybe this "expansion" of .mov could even be seen as a Vegas bug, if other software is handling it differently.

Would be great to get some further results from people whose cameras shoot a choice of formats, such as .mp4 and .mov.
Laurence wrote on 4/28/2014, 9:26 AM
Yes, the Nikon D5100 is MOV format.

I first noticed this issue with ProDAD Mercalli 3.0 SAL. I would stabilize my footage and the color range would go from 0-255 to 16-235 on the Mercalli render. I (and others here) thought this was a Mercalli bug. It turned out that only Vegas users were experiencing this. After much experimentation and numerous emails with ProDAD, I came to realize that what was actually happening is that Mercalli was merely reading the levels in the 16-235 range that they actually were, then writing the processed footage into a format that Vegas no longer stretched.

Then I did a bunch of experiments. I converted the footage to Cineform using their utility instead of my usual Vegas script. Voila! The levels magically went from 0-255 to 16-235. Not only that, but on certain footage, there was detail slightly below 16 and above 235 that wasn't there in Vegas before!

I since the Mercalli SAL color problems were only reported by Vegas users from our forum, I became curious as to how my MOV footage would look on an Adobe product. If my theory was correct, the original MOV and the Cineform conversion should look the same, not different color levels like they did in Vegas. I didn't have Premiere to test, but I do have Photoshop, and it will import video. Sure enough, the MOV and Cineform footage looked the same in Photoshop. My Gh3 shoots both AVCHD and MOV. I shot the same thing in both formats, but in Vegas they look different. In Photoshop they look the same. Same thing when processing in Mercalli. Same thing when playing back with WMP.
Laurence wrote on 4/28/2014, 9:29 AM
>Maybe this "expansion" of .mov could even be seen as a Vegas bug, if other software is handling it differently

VLC handles it the same as Vegas does. For awhile I thought it was a VFW thing and not a Vegas problem per se, but lately I am not so sure.
Marco. wrote on 4/28/2014, 11:10 AM
"Would be interesting to know if Fuchs' 16-235 GH2 footage was .mp4 or .mov"

Neither, nor. It's MTS.

NickHope wrote on 4/28/2014, 11:21 AM
You're right Marco, the AVCHD is in a .mts container, not .mp4, but it does also shoot M-JPEG in a .mov container.
Marco. wrote on 4/28/2014, 11:28 AM
Yes, but the GH2 MOV container does only contain SD. "Fuchs" was my former nickname here (so I'm sure it also was MTS the day I tested) …

riredale wrote on 4/28/2014, 11:48 AM
Nick, very cool list on the first post. I hadn't come back to this thread since originally posting and never noticed your compilation.