Back home in New York this week, where I went to a camera test seminar downtown, comparing most of the new generation of digital cameras and DSLRs side by side, also throwing two 35mm film stocks in there as well.
What was interesting was that the company doing the tests was a camera rental company, who actually stated up front that they were ‘only concerned with image quality, and wouldn’t be covering workflow’ in the discussion.
But if you’re comparing, say, Sony’s new F3 camera against a Red One against an ARRI Alexa against 35mm, all with different colour spaces, gamma curves, processing options, compression and dynamic ranges, that can be manipulated via various metadata and after-the-shoot control options, all with a very real effect on the image, then the workflow is absolutely a determinant of the image quality.
To put these images side by side with no discussion of, or even interest in discussing, the workflow used to get to these images is missing the point a bit. And anyone who tells you differently is probably just trying to sell you something.