We are looking into the EX1’s excessive noise problem we are confronted with. Tinkering with the profile settings (gammas, blacks, matrixes, sharpness) do not really improve matters.
What i did found out is (being a stupid film camera man that is used to working with FILM) that correct exposure is of great importance with the EX1. In many shots i tried to underexpose, or at least keep everything below the 90% zebra alarm to remain latitude in post. I am now told that this is not the preferred way if you don’t want to introduce excessive noise. I have to trust and respect the EX1’s dynamic range and allow for 100% (and more…) whites in parts of the image, may they occur.
You see that many EX1 owners that publish their picture profiles on the web (mostly copied from Bill Raven, Philip Bloom or me) lower the black level to minus 3 or 4 to dial the black level down to the magic 0 pedestal. I have found out that this is only feasible (or usable) if you have limited post facilities or do in-camera editing. If you DO have post facilities (read: Final Cut Pro or other software tool) you should leave the standard gamma and black settings of the EX1 untouched; bringing down (or even crushing) the black levels in post will also magic away some of the noise in underexposed areas (blacks, low level chromas). The little dynamic range that is gained by bringing down the black level in the camera is completely irrelevant and only messes up correct exposure.
By the way; i see more and more scenes in movies that are overexposed and burned out. It seems to be more acceptable and maybe even more natural. I am talking about specific scenes of course; e.g. Tom Hanks face in Angels and Deamons is regularly full blown out when he stands close to windows and lights. Ten years ago, that would be “not done”. Try to find one overexposed face in any of the Indiana Jones movies…
I am interested to hear what others have to say about this (exposure). Let me know!