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Old December 26th, 2010, 11:28 AM   #1
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New camera to buy: AF -100 or Sony ex.3?

Hola guys, i'm about to buy a new camcorder to retire my old sony Z1.
Which one do u suggest to me for documentary shots?
I love the idea of interchangeble lens, the DOF of the Panny A101...
Would this a better option to the Sony ex3?

thx
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Old December 26th, 2010, 01:39 PM   #2
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The EX3 is an excellent camera as is the AF100.

But they are very different. I am keeping my EX3 and EX1R, but I am probably retiring my 7D, I will still be using the 5DmkII as well.

If you need ENG style shooting, the EX3 is the camera to get. It also can accept many different lenses. It has a servo zoom and ergonomically is more of a shoulder cam (especially with my small shoulder bracket). For sports where deep focus is often preferable the EX3 is in my opinion better. The quality of the images are fantastic for this price class and with the NanoFlash it gives you 422 8 bit video.

For more filmic (I hate that term, but you know what I mean) look the AF100 is better. Shallow DOF, the fact that PL lenses etc can be used as well as all the MFT lenses like the Voightlander 25mm f.95 and many more, it too can be used with the NanoFlash for 422 8bit at a very good price.

I plan to use the AF100 a lot for interviews and general beauty shots. It should be really fun to play with. Also if you want full 1080 overcrank the AF100 will do it, the EXcams only do 720 overcrank.

The EX3 is a known great cam. The AF100 is not proven yet, but I am confident it will be great, so I have ordered one.

I like having both they complement each other, if I could only have one it would depend on what type of projects I plan to do.

I hope this helps.
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Old December 26th, 2010, 02:20 PM   #3
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Marcus,

The question to ask is: What kind of material do you shoot the most?

The EX3 is much more of a traditional ENG-type camera (news, events, long-form etc). The AF-100 is definitely designed as "digital cinema" more for indie filmmakers or those who want a more "film-like" and shallow DOF look to their footage, something that can only be done with bulky and expensive lens adapters for the EX3.

These two cams couldn't be more different in their target market or approach to capturing images; the key is to pick the tool that matches your production needs.
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Old December 27th, 2010, 11:02 AM   #4
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What sort of documentary? Running around ready to get action at the spur of the moment, no idea of the lens setting you need or perhaps seated interviews and other controlled shots where you have the luxury of choosing the right lens and focus? This is why I am on the sidelines on a purchase until a decent cine-style parfocal zoom lens becomes available that doesn't cost twice the price of the camera. For the occasional DOF shoots I might do in the future I can always rent or borrow a DSLR.
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Old December 27th, 2010, 11:10 AM   #5
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If your Z1 can survive a bit longer maybe get the Panasonic for interviews and more still stuff while using Z1 for more run and gun.

Or get an EX3 and also buy a Canon 60D with 50mm 1.8 for interviews and use the EX3 as close up 'b' camera and audio.

Tough choice I know, I currently have a Z5 and 550D and want to get another camera soon, only problem for some work an EX1R/3 would be the better choice while other work the AF100 would be better than our 550Ds currently are.
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Old December 28th, 2010, 03:30 PM   #6
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Hey Marcus best camera to buy for quality in this budget bracket is Canon XF305. Don't worry about the interchangeable lenses. Do you really need more that a 29mm - 520mm ? (35mm terms)
All the best
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Old December 28th, 2010, 04:26 PM   #7
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Hey Marcus best camera to buy for quality in this budget bracket is Canon XF305. Don't worry about the interchangeable lenses. Do you really need more that a 29mm - 520mm ? (35mm terms)
All the best
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I agree that the 305 is a great replacement for the Z1. If you like 1/3" chips and are used to them.

But the AF100 is something completely different. A SDOF camera that is really portable, and a real video camera not a still camera (ergonomically speaking) with video capabilities.

Both great cams just different.
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Old December 28th, 2010, 04:40 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by William Hohauser View Post
What sort of documentary? Running around ready to get action at the spur of the moment, no idea of the lens setting you need or perhaps seated interviews and other controlled shots where you have the luxury of choosing the right lens and focus? This is why I am on the sidelines on a purchase until a decent cine-style parfocal zoom lens becomes available that doesn't cost twice the price of the camera. For the occasional DOF shoots I might do in the future I can always rent or borrow a DSLR.
I work for a NASA contractor and we ordered the AF 100, with the 14-140mm zoom and the 20mm 1.7
pancake lense. For run and gun we still have the JVC HM 100/700s. We specifically are getting the camera for interviews. We waited out the DSLR movement and now we feel more comfotable with the form factor and lack of other aformentioned noise and moire issues.
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Old December 29th, 2010, 01:13 PM   #9
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guys the best solution would be to keep the z1 for R&G and new panny 4 interviews right?
For natural enviromental documentaries i guess that the panny would be worth, right?
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Old December 30th, 2010, 07:57 AM   #10
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I'd say the Z1 is past it's day. If you have any hope at all of anything like broadcast use, you really don't want to be starting off with HDV, and probably the same goes for AVC-HD. Go for the AF100, and you really need to be thinking about an external recorder.

In that respect the EX3 is better - but even then an external recorder helps.

As regards the question as posed - AF100 or EX3 - then (as others have said) they are two different beasts. The undeniable advantage of the AF100 can be seen to be better dof control, at least as long as decent fast lenses are used. It comes at the cost of losing the effective ability to use long servo zooms. Some zooms are available, but they tend to have one or more restrictions in respect of zoom range, max aperture, no servo, lack of manual controls, limited wide angle etc etc.

The one thing I wouldn't expect to see a vast difference in is overall image quality. Differences are far more likely to be down to line up etc.

Generally, I'd tend to go for the EX3 unless you are absolutely certain the good points of the AF100 will be of use to you. I wouldn't call the EX3 "better" - I would certainly call it more versatile. That's not a criticism of the AF100 - it fits well into it's niche - but really does beg the question of why Panasonic haven't brought out a direct competitor yet to the EX1 and EX3. The closest they've currently got are the HVX200 and 171, both looking decidedly old and tired.
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Old January 9th, 2011, 10:58 AM   #11
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I'd say the Z1 is past it's day. If you have any hope at all of anything like broadcast use, you really don't want to be starting off with HDV, and probably the same goes for AVC-HD. Go for the AF100, and you really need to be thinking about an external recorder.

In that respect the EX3 is better - but even then an external recorder helps.

Generally, I'd tend to go for the EX3 unless you are absolutely certain the good points of the AF100 will be of use to you. I wouldn't call the EX3 "better" - I would certainly call it more versatile. That's not a criticism of the AF100 - it fits well into it's niche - but really does beg the question of why Panasonic haven't brought out a direct competitor yet to the EX1 and EX3. The closest they've currently got are the HVX200 and 171, both looking decidedly old and tired.
I think the HPX370 is more of a competitor to the EX3, in price and functionality. The 370 is a fine camera, with a strong codec so you won't even need an external recorder. The same goes for the XF305.

I shoot with an EX3 and it's a great documentary, run & gun style camera. I do a large number of quick set-ups on my shoots, so the more versatile the camera, the better. Tight DoF is not a necessity. I'm guessing - and I say this without ever even seeing a production model AF100 - that using the AF in my shooting situations would actually slow me down, as I'd have to content with several lens changes and such. So, I guess it depends on the type of shoots you expect to have - run & gun, or a bit slower, more narrative pace?
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Old January 9th, 2011, 05:18 PM   #12
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I think the HPX370 is more of a competitor to the EX3, in price and functionality.
I've just had a look at the pricing,and the 370 is nearly 2,000 more than an EX3 in the UK, and batteries are then needed for the 370. (Professional ones.) By the time you take memory into account, the difference between the two will make the 370 relatively considerably more expensive still - I'd say the 370 was more matched against the PMW320 in the Sony stable for price and form factor. The 370 has the advantage of an approved codec, the 320 the advantage of bigger chips with far better noise characteristics. My own take is you can always add an external recorder........

Price wise, the EX3 is about 5,500, the AF101 3,400 - but the latter is without any lens. Hence comparisons become difficult - they're really two very different horses, and it's virtually impossible to get a servo zoom of decent range and max aperture for the AF101.
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Old January 9th, 2011, 08:00 PM   #13
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I've just had a look at the pricing,and the 370 is nearly 2,000 more than an EX3 in the UK, and batteries are then needed for the 370. (Professional ones.) By the time you take memory into account, the difference between the two will make the 370 relatively considerably more expensive still - I'd say the 370 was more matched against the PMW320 in the Sony stable for price and form factor. The 370 has the advantage of an approved codec, the 320 the advantage of bigger chips with far better noise characteristics. My own take is you can always add an external recorder........

Price wise, the EX3 is about 5,500, the AF101 3,400 - but the latter is without any lens. Hence comparisons become difficult - they're really two very different horses, and it's virtually impossible to get a servo zoom of decent range and max aperture for the AF101.
Well, if you want to nitpick...

B&H has the HPX370 at $8,990, the HPX170 at $3,995.
The EX3 is $8,300, the PMW-320 is $11,900.
I'd say the 370 is closer in price to the EX3 than the 170 or the 320. Add batteries and media, and it's still closer to the EX3 - the 320 will need them, too, so its price also climbs. Add an external recorder to get 100mbps and 4:2:2 color and the prices between the 370 (which doesn't need one) and EX3 are even closer.

Functionality wise, the 370, EX3 and the 320 are more similar than the 170. The 370 and 320 are much closer in that regard than the semi-shoulder EX3, true. Still, I do shoulder mount the EX3 when I hand-hold.
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Old January 9th, 2011, 08:30 PM   #14
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Don't bother with the panny 170. Lots of time on that and it's siblings, the 200, 150, and 40. The Sony EX's and Canon XF blow them all away but are quite a bit more money. The expense of P2 really turned me off to the higher end Panny's like the 300 series. The Canon for me was the clear winner since it uses a common, non proprietary format...CF cards. Plus it's codec is strong enough to not need an external recorder. I don't know much about the af100 but since it uses the avchd, you really would need an external recorder to get the most out of it. The Sony F3 is probably out of the price range you're looking at. Maybe someday Red will release the Scarlet!
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Old January 10th, 2011, 05:29 PM   #15
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Well, if you want to nitpick...

B&H has the HPX370 at $8,990, ..........
The EX3 is $8,300, .........
It's less nitpicking than the differences between UK and US pricings. The gap in the UK is far bigger than that, and I'm surprised the difference in US pricing is so small. It's not a case of the HPX370 being on a special deal for a period, is it?
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