Comparing 8bit vs 10bit yet again.

Is 10bit a Game Changer?

  • Pricing: GH5 Sony a6500
  • Disclaimer: I am not an expert on codecs nor am I a professional colorist. I am just sharing my experiences, don’t take this as an end all be all video, go and watch other bit rate comparison videos on these two cameras or rent the two cameras and try it yourself – and then share.
  • I own a lot of Sony cameras and I wanted to see if I was missing out on 10bit since Sony does not offer this at the GH5 price range. I used the a6500 because of it’s smaller sensor compared to my other a7 cameras.
  • My big take away is XAVCS 8bit 100M is it can hold up to GH5’s 400M 4:2:2 10 bit. Not saying the results are universal for all cameras, just testing these two
  • Yes 10bit is better than 8bit when shooting at 1080, but at 4k that is not clear – they seem to be equal.
  • Bias: in close tests like this one people tend to see what they want to see, including me.
  • In most of these tests I used the native iso for both
  • Important to watch other YT tests on this 8 vs 10bit topic, I am sure mine is not the only one, just sharing my tests but other might find a lighting situation where it might reveal something different.
  • First off I like the GH5, 4k 60 for sports – oh I wish I had this on my Sony’s, fantastic IBIS -wow, who needs a gimbal? They are ahead of Sony on these two features
  • What does not help is YT will add banding that on top of my final export, see the EVA1 $7000 camera their launch video has more banding than mine
  • Pixel peep on just the GH5 ‘raw’ log files, the vlog has a lot of shot noise or compression artifacts.
  • Panasonic’s claim was a game changer, “The LUMIX GH5 brings game changing internal 4:2:2 10-bit 4K video recording. For example, 10-bit will render all the subtleties of graduated skies and sunsets without the banding so prone to 8-bit.
  • Comparing bit depth is hard now. When we went from 24M to 100M (4X) several years ago that was easy to see the large difference, but now from going 100M to 400M (4x) while shooting 4k it is very hard to spot in most shots. Ever since we went from 24m to 100m I just don’t see banding anymore in my Sony footage.
  • Upload the 4k vlog 400m file directly to YT has slight more banding that h265 render has: conclusion h265 must have a little more noise from compression, but YT is problem.
  • 1080 8bit 2% CPU (Resolve), 1080 10bit 10% CPU (Resolve), 4k 8bit 60p 13% CPU same for 4k 10bit (Resolve), 4k 10bit all-i 11% CPU (Resolve)
  • 10bit might be required for HDR content
  • My SanDisk 64GB Extreme PRO SDXC UHS-II works fine for the hardest codecs on the GH5
  • This was exported out of Resolve 14.1 as an “AVI uncompressed RGB 10bit” at 244G then it was rendered to FFMPEG using h.265 at 4:2:0 8bit (this was the cleanest codec of all I tested) resulting in a 2G file. When you watch the video especially during the transitions from log ungraded to graded you will not see any banding on the a6500 but you will see some very slight banding on the GH5 at 10bit. However while playback in Resolve I did not see any of the slight banding on the Gh5 starting at 1:00 during the “insane” grade. Unfortunately I have not found a player yet that will play my 10bit AVI file to see what that looks like, but since it is uncompressed I would assume it looks like it does within Resolve. Download the video file.


1 comment

  • Very helpful, Dave! I was expecting more of a difference, but the 8bit kept up surprisingly well. I do think 400mbps for 4k is good for high complexity shots with a lot of motion. I have seen those breakdown under 100mbps