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Old July 12th, 2012, 11:49 AM   #31
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Re: AF100 successor?

Well I was a little nervous about that as well. But I've been
all over Alaska, hiking up mountains and glaciers and
never, ever had my heliopan come off the front of the lens.
As for the supposed lack of sharpness, you do get
that with some Vari NDs but not with the Heliopan.
It IS an inconvienence no denying that but I see more
than 'a few lines resolution' difference....as did Adam
Wilt when he compared them with charts. And to be fair
although the AF 100 has waveform and HD-SDI
and ND's which the FS100 doesn't, the FS100 has
4x expanded focus and 60p with sound which the AF100
doesn't. They both have some features the other doesn't.
Too bad you can't combine them into the 'AFS-100'
Best thing is too try them both for yourself....obviously
different people can do that and come to different
conclusions as everyone has different ideas of
what is important, and what they are willing to
compromise on. Before I forget...an earlier poster
pointed out that the FS100 was not a 'world camera'.
This is no longer true as a FREE firmware upgrade
from Sony corrected that. Again to be fair, you
can upgrade firmware on the AF100 to get 60p with
sound like the FS100 has.....but Panasonic chose to
charge $250 for their firmware upgrade.
So try them out, they are both really good and you can
see which features you really need and which aren't as
big a deal to YOU.
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Old July 12th, 2012, 05:56 PM   #32
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Re: AF100 successor?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Les Wilson View Post
.........the little extra IQ improvement you are buying in the FS100.
"Little" extra improvement!? Really!?!

For starters, the FS100/700 give you three stops better sensitivity than the AF100!

The FS100/700 give noticeably better highlight handling.

For resolution, the difference is far more than "a few extra lines" difference - it's virtually equivalent to the difference between 720p and 1080p!

(Please don't take my word for it. If you have a 1920x1080 display and an AF100, just try switching the camera between 720p mode and 1080p mode and compare the results on the monitor to see how much real difference it makes - I think you'll find it's very little. I take that as proof that the AF100s native resolution is below the 720p system standard. If you can, try the same test with a real 1920x1080 camera - such as an EX, an XF305, or an HPX250, and you'll find the difference night and day.)

Taken all together, it's a huge difference - I'd say far greater than between such as an FS100/700 and a Canon C300. And there we're taking about a far bigger price differential!
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Old July 12th, 2012, 06:11 PM   #33
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Re: AF100 successor?

...and the HVX200 comparatively sucked for HD resolution and light sensitivity vs. a whole mess of its contemporaries, yet it still made (and continues to make) plenty of money for plenty of people.

Tack-sharp resolution is great, but my clients are still impressed by "OK" resolution, and I'm more than willing to accept "OK" if other usability factors are spot on..
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Old July 12th, 2012, 07:21 PM   #34
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Re: AF100 successor?

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Originally Posted by Kevin McRoberts View Post
...and the HVX200 comparatively sucked for HD resolution and light sensitivity vs. a whole mess of its contemporaries,.........
The big difference is that when the HVX200 launched, "HD ready" TVs were a new thing and may typically have had a resolution of what, about 1350x768 at best? That wasn't much better than the HVX200, which peaked at about 1200x650 in 1080p mode. (Very similar to the AF101 now.) Even if you'd had a true 1920x1080 camera then, on such a monitor you wouldn't have seen much difference. Come to that, the luminance system resolution of DVCProHD in 720 mode was only 960x720. At that time, *ANY* HD just looked so much better than the SD everyone was used to.

The world is different now. "FullHD" - 1920x1080 - sets are the norm now in the consumer world, at least for screens of about 32" or more, and 1920x1080 cameras are likewise commonplace. In this case, the comparisons are more likely to be "it doesn't look as good as that other camera.........." than "that's a lot better than SD"!

Also, a key point is that a better resolving camera need not be set up to look pin sharp - but the natural definition may mean a far lower detail setting can be used, and that gives a far more "natural" (less edgy) look to the pictures. That was the main thing I found when seeing the PMW320 directly compared to the AF100. Leaving depth of field aside, it was the PMW320 that looked more the cinema camera, and I think a lot of that was down to (lower) detail settings.

The real question is why you should just accept "OK" when much better is available for little extra money? Many people are casting eyes towards 4k, and prepared to pay extra for it.

OK, the NDs issue has been thrashed to death and yes, I'll agree again that it's a valid point in the usability stakes. But there are things in the FS100s favour to counterbalance. I seem to recall it having a vastly better viewfinder than the AF100? And being able to stop down more (because of the better sensitivity) when deep depth of field is required?
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Old July 12th, 2012, 07:57 PM   #35
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Re: AF100 successor?

- To my clients' eyes, it's simply not "much better," at least not so much better that they'd pay me any extra.
- with all due respect the FS EVF is a nightmare of claptrappery. The AF's LCD isn't that great either, but in a pinch I can at least see it when the camera is overhead. Since a bulk of my work is surgeries and other fine overhead manipulations, this is a big deal in my eventual choice.
- In practically all shoots, I can stop down to ~F8 and have as deep focus as necessary (that 2x crop works in the AF's favor on this point)... I wouldn't want to have to stop down much further than that anyway because most lenses start to suffer beyond f8.
- I do envy the FS's sensitivity, but except during a doc I shot about three years ago, I've never really needed THAT much sensitivity. If I ever shoot in those conditions, then hell yes, I'll rent an FS100... otherwise, the AF is "sensitive enough."

...and while it may be cheating, when I REALLY need a hyper-detailed image of a landscape or whatnot, I drag out the hacked GH2. Usually those are just specialty shots, but since I have the GH with me on pretty much all shoots anyway it's a very handy alternative.

I get that you think the FS is better, and for some folks it is, but after working with it I didn't think, as a whole package, it was "better enough." All my personal opinion, of course.
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Old July 13th, 2012, 02:41 PM   #36
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Re: AF100 successor?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin McRoberts View Post
I get that you think the FS is better, and for some folks it is, but after working with it I didn't think, as a whole package, it was "better enough." All my personal opinion, of course.
Kevin, I've no issue with you or anyone else finding the AF100 a better package overall, certainly not in terms of "usability" etc, even if I may disagree. In that, there is a large element of opinion, yes. What I do disagree with is when statements are made which are demonstrably untrue - and I've already commented about the remark: "the little extra IQ improvement you are buying in the FS100."

In terms of IQ there's a big difference, and there really is no debate about that. It's provable by charts (such as Adam Wilts), it's widely acknowledged on side by side viewing, and the AF100 being sub 720p resolution is provable by comparing it's 720p and 1080p performances. Same with factors such as basic sensitiivity.

Whether those differences are relevant to any user is a different matter - you tend to think not, I disagree. Either way, the differences are there.

Far worse still is regarding reports such as that by Nigel Cooper. It's one thing to be critical, it's another thing entirely to be critical...... and wrong. At least in his case, the errors and omissions are so glaring and obvious that it's pretty easy to point them out and provide evidence. If I wanted to write a biased report, I'd like to think I'd be far more subtle about it! :-)
Quote:
In practically all shoots, I can stop down to ~F8 and have as deep focus as necessary (that 2x crop works in the AF's favor on this point)... I wouldn't want to have to stop down much further than that anyway because most lenses start to suffer beyond f8.
A bit of science. It's true that definition starts to drop off as a lens is stopped down, but that is a function of the wavelength of light (obviously fixed) and the physical size of the aperture - *NOT* the f stop itself. When the aperture size gets too small, light diffraction starts to become a problem.

Difficult to give a precise value, but that size tends to correspond to roughly f4 on a 1/3" chip camera for HD. Because it's the actual, physical size that matters, that same size aperture corresponds to about f8 for a 2/3" camera, and about f16 for 4/3, f22 for s35 with other factors equal.

Yes, the crop of 4/3 will give you an inherent stop more dof, the sensitivity advantage of the FS100 (3 stops) will mean that closing down the first stop will give dof parity with the 4/3 chip, but there's a further two stops in hand if desired. For all else equal, that factor should allow you to operate an FS100 with the equivalent of two stops greater dof than an AF101. (Or in lower lighting levels)
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Old July 13th, 2012, 03:59 PM   #37
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Re: AF100 successor?

Of course this is a never ending conversation. Choose what works best for you is the only point. Now how do we get back on topic of the "AF100 Successor? Personally, the AF100 has worked wonders for me and my clients. The "this camera is better than that camera" is a no win conversation. Hopefully I'll have the last word (LOL)!!!

As far as I'm concerned, we can get back on topic with Panasonic! I've owned many Sony, Panasonic and Canon camera's. What about suggestions for Panny and forget about what Canon, Sony, etc. can do....

Just my 3 cents.......
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Old July 13th, 2012, 05:14 PM   #38
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Re: AF100 successor?

Kevin,

I don't think one should 'forget' about what Sony and Canon do,
but instead take the advantages they may offer, and incorporate
those into an AF100 successor. That's what I would like to see.
Now this is just my list and others will not agree.

I'd say keep the ND's, HD-SDI and waveform. Add in a expanded focus,
and 60p with audio. I like the FS100 style of being able to
'build up' the camera, so make the side grip and mic removable,
but with better quality connections than the FS100. Also, have
a small built in mic for sync sound for when you remove the larger
XLR mic. LCD that is as good as the FS100 (or even better) but with
a better placement. Even the placement of the FS100 screen would
be OK, if it was hinged at the back instead of the middle, then you
could turn it to face down and see it when you are lower than the
camera. I'm ok with AVCHD 4:2:0 in camera, but give us 10 bit
4:2:2 out the HD-SDI so we can buy or rent an external recorder
for more exacting jobs. Finally, I'd like a S35 sensor that is
purpose built for video. Even disregarding the depth of field
and wider angle advantages, there is an undeniable fact about
chip size, If you are to compare a 4/3 chip and a Super 35,
there are basically two ways you can go. Either the larger chip
allows you the ability to have the same number of pixels as a
smaller chip camera, but each pixel is larger, which means you have
better low light capability and more dynamic range, or you have
the same size pixels so that you have just as good low light
ability and dynamic range, but more pixels/resolution. Just
simple physics in play here. So I'd like the bigger chip.
Of course, this is kind of an issue for Panasonic, because
they have an installed 'user base' that has invested in the
4/3 format. Do they really want to make all those customers
mad? I kind of doubt it. Some have advanced the idea of having
a Super 35 chip with a micro 4/3 crop so existing lenses can
be used. That might be a way for them to deal with this issue.
Again, those are just my opinions and I'm sure others would
have drastically different ideas.
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Old July 13th, 2012, 06:16 PM   #39
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Re: AF100 successor?

Gabe, very good job getting everything back on topic! That's my point. You answered the question regarding what the AF100 successor should be! OR your new AF100 wish list! Not the "my camera can do this and your camera can't" argument!

I would like to have everything on your wish list and a low price!
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Old July 13th, 2012, 06:25 PM   #40
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Re: AF100 successor?

That list sounds like the Sony F3. That should give you a hint as to what it costs. An exercise that would be more informative to the product managers that look here would be to define the features in something that can be done in the same price range. What's your MUST HAVE (and it can't be everything) for $4500?
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Old July 13th, 2012, 06:27 PM   #41
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Re: AF100 successor?

Wish list? OK, that's pretty easy:

- Real 1080 resolution (Panny seemingly very reluctant to issue a cheap, real HD camera - they did the same with the HVX).

- Real HD resolution when over-cranked.

- Expand focus (crazy that that feature has not been added in some sort of firmware update - even the Sony VG20 has it).

- S35 sensor. No use for MFT sensor. I shot for far too long on either 16mm film, or 1/3" chips to go backwards on the sensor size scale now.

- In-camera 4:2:2

Keep everything else.
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Old July 13th, 2012, 06:59 PM   #42
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Re: AF100 successor?

If you are a designer tasked with "build us a new camera" there are certain fundamentals that are common no matter who the company is, and certain basic principles have to be decided upon right from the start.

Maybe the first and most basic is what cost can the camera be built to, and that is coupled with what the marketing department thinks they can sell it for! Close behind that is whether existing technology should be used, at least in part. The advantages are obviously cost, but also speed of bringing product to market, and arguably reliability - if an existing chip etc, the bugs should already have been got out of it.

Given all that, there's then the job of matching the engineering together with such as styling, features etc. It's a complicated job! I agree with what Gabe said earlier about aspects of the design - select the best from the AF100 and the FS100.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gabe Strong View Post
I'm ok with AVCHD 4:2:0 in camera, but give us 10 bit 4:2:2 out the HD-SDI so we can buy or rent an external recorder for more exacting jobs.
There is no reason why a broadcast codec need cost any more than such as AVC-HD. Any company that says otherwise is doing so for reasons of marketing, to keep up the price of their higher end range. As illustration look at Canons XF100 - which manages to keep full broadcast spec XDCAM 422 50Mbs in spite of it's low price, AND reliably record it to relatively inexpensive media.

I don't expect Panasonic to go with XDCAM for obvious reasons, but even if AVC-Intra 100 meant P2, then AVC-Intra 50 should be easily possible to SDXC cards.
Quote:
Finally, I'd like a S35 sensor that is purpose built for video. Even disregarding the depth of field and wider angle advantages, there is an undeniable fact about chip size, If you are to compare a 4/3 chip and a Super 35, there are basically two ways you can go. Either the larger chip allows you the ability to have the same number of pixels as a smaller chip camera, but each pixel is larger, which means you have better low light capability and more dynamic range, or you have the same size pixels so that you have just as good low light ability and dynamic range, but more pixels/resolution. Just simple physics in play here.
There is an even more basic point here, and it relates to what was said earlier about "do you go for existing technology, or develop from scratch?" In the case of the AF100, Panasonic basically used existing - the camera was initially designed around the GH1 chip, then adapted to launch with the GH2 chip. (Albeit without the improved electronics of the GH2.)

Advantage was cost and speed of development - disadvantage is that the chip is primarily designed for stills. They basically put a DSLrs innards in a video camera body! Here, I'll slightly disagree with what you said earlier, Gabe. More pixels does mean more resolution - but only up to a point. Above the "right" number and they become a problem. Go up to the numbers found necessary for still sensors and it becomes impossible to read them all at video framerates. Which is a fundametal problem for DSLRs used for video, and a problem the AF100 (with a designed-for-stills sensor) shares.

I believe the AF100 works in a very similar way to the Canon C300, basically directly reading out blocks of 2x2 pixels, and directly reading out R,G,B values for each block. The reason the C300 has better performance is that it has the EXACTLY the right number of photosites for 1080 video, EXACTLY 4x1920x1080. As simply as possible, the AF100 has too many - so has to ignore a proportion, and the resolution, sensitivity issues follow from that.

Basically, purpose designing a chip for video will always give far better results than using one designed for stills. So from the chip point of view, the first strategic decision Panasonic have to make is:- use the latest still sensor, or develop one optimised for video?
Quote:
So I'd like the bigger chip. Of course, this is kind of an issue for Panasonic, because they have an installed 'user base' that has invested in the 4/3 format. Do they really want to make all those customers mad? I kind of doubt it. Some have advanced the idea of having a Super 35 chip with a micro 4/3 crop so existing lenses can be used. That might be a way for them to deal with this issue.
And this is the second fundamental issue. Yes, s35 is fundamentally better, 4/3 has an attraction in terms of legacy and pleasing past customers. The danger with going with 4/3 and purpose designing the chip is that a lot of money gets spent in development - but the result is still seen as "second best" from day one.

Sorry, but I don't think the idea of s35 with 4/3 crop is remotely feasible. It's a nice idea in concept, but couldn't really work in practice. If you take the Canon way of "designing for video" it relies on the chip having 4x1920x1080 photosites, to (easily) give full 1080 video. If that is then centre cropped for 4/3 the photosite count is halved, and (far worse) it is no longer possible to easily do the direct 2x2 read.

There are other variations, but as far as I can see, they will all have similar problems - either the s35 or the 4/3 mode will end up compromised relative to the other.

(The only possibility may be if the s35 output was true 1080p, then by reading the cropped sensor in the same 2x2 manner, the 4/3 window could be made to directly give 720p in exactly the same way. Would that be acceptable from a users perspective? Use s35 glass and get "true 1080", use 4/3 glass and get 720p, which could be upscaled, albeit without improving the resolution?)
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Old July 14th, 2012, 02:34 AM   #43
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Re: AF100 successor?

On paper, we were all set to buy the FS100. Our latest contract to produce 10 films for the BBC Academy was a good excuse for a tech refresh. We wanted integrated audio and were looking for a small but not insignificant shift up in image quality from our in-house GH2s.

So we went out and tested both the FS100 with the kit lens and an AF101 with our set of MFT glass - new Leica Summilux 25 and 45, 14-140 and some old but good quality Nikon glass I've had for 20 odd years. Both cameras were used on paying jobs.

We bought the AF101 for several practical reasons:

* We can continue to use the lenses we know and trust and, in my practical experience, lenses make a far bigger difference to the overall viewing experience than sensor size and codec. Of course, we could use the Nikkors on the FS100, but not the nice new MFT stuff.

* For me, the built-in ND is tangibly better than fumbling around with variable ND when we're under time pressure. And there is none of the baked-in colour cast that I've experienced with a couple of expensive brand variable ND filters.

* Great build quality - the Sony felt weak and plasticky to me. Our stuff gets used by several different freelancers and they're not always as caring as I'd like them to be.

* It produces tangibly better video than the GH2. Meaning that I'm confident I can tell the difference immediately between the two - and not just when A/B tested. We used both cams together this week for a couple of interviews. They cut together fine, but I always want to cut back to the 101 pics over the GH2, which always has noticeable artefacts around subjects' eyes and mouths. Hacking? I've tried it, tested several of them extensively and I'm not a believer. However, we're not getting rid of the GH2 any time soon - it's still a very useful tool in our armoury.

I had the same questions about both the AF101 and FS100 and thoughts about them both being towards the end of their notional product cycle. For us, it came down to:

Do we want to sell all of our expensive MFT glass and have to do loads more testing with new lenses and crop factors? (no)

Can we make more profit by buying one of these over renting? (yes)

Is lack of easy to use high quality ND a significant choice factor for us? (yes)

Is the camera well established with bugs wrinkled out? (yes)

That's where we're at right now. It will all change again sometime soon. And, yes, a game-changing successor from Panasonic which uses MFT glass would be exciting. Might let the early adopters wrinkle out the bugs, though!

Cheers,

Ben.
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Old July 14th, 2012, 03:48 PM   #44
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Re: AF100 successor?

I don't know that it has to cost F3 money for what I wanted. If you
look at the FS700 it has all those features and it doesn't cost
F3 money. OK, so it may not give you 10 bit 4:2:2 YET but it should
be able to do that once it gets the '4k' upgrade. (This is to
an external recorder of course). And of course they'd need to change
the LCD position or make it hinged in the back. But otherwise, it
pretty much gets everything for about 8K. Do away with the 4K chip,
stay with the FS100 chip and how much would that camera cost? I'd
like to think it should be cheaper than the FS700, which would be
less than 8K for the features I would like to see.

As for the feature list of why to chose the AF100 over the FS100
that Ben posted, I could post an equally long one about why to
chose the FS100 over the AF100, but as Troy says why not instead
focus on getting SOMEONE (and I don't care if it's Sony, Panasonic,
Canon or even if someone conjures it up from Black Magic :-),
to combine the best of both the AF100 and FS100. I think a lot
of us can agree on some things we'd all like. I think maybe the
biggest issue is the sensor. See, those like Ben that have
invested in the M4/3 format would like to keep that format.
Others like me, who have not invested in the M4/3 would rather
have them go to a S35 chip that is purposely designed for
motion, not stills. And they will have a hard time doing
both. Perhaps, Panasonic will stay with M 4/3 and Sony
and Canon will continue to go with S35 which I guess will
give both of us a choice as where to buy.

David, I think I understand about the practical limits of pixels
on a sensor. I guess I should have said 'Until you get to that
point, either the larger chip will give you more resolution
for the equal dynamic range and low light ability, or it will
give you more dynamic range and low light ability for equal
resolution.'
For the same NUMBER of pixels, each one can be bigger, or you can
have the same SIZE pixels, and more of them, because the chip is bigger.
So if you assume both manufacturers want to use the optimum number
of pixels for motion and not go over that number, then you see
how there is ALWAYS an advantage to a bigger sensor, in terms
of one or all of the three....resolution, dynamic range, and
low light ability. That is something the M 4/3 fans just cannot
get around, because it is simple physics.

As for recording format, of course I'd like it to be in camera.
I'd be willing to 'put up' with it on a external recorder, only
because it would still be possible to get. If the choice was
between hitting a 4-6k price point and F3/C300 price territory,
I'd rather stay at the lower price point and deal with external
recorders. I know you are saying it shouldn't be more expensive
to do in camera, but for some reason no one is doing it yet.
I was under the impression that it was more expensive
to make a camera with less compressed codecs, but I don't
know that much about it. Perhaps they will do this in camera
in future large sensor cameras at the AF100/FS100 price point,
one can only hope!

Still, lest anyone think I am complaining, I think it's pretty awesome
to have two cameras at this price point that can do what they can do.
They are better cameras than I am a shooter, that's for sure. Just human
nature and all to want something even better. But that won't stop me
from using what I have in the meantime, no doubt about that!
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Old July 15th, 2012, 11:57 AM   #45
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Re: AF100 successor?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gabe Strong View Post
Do away with the 4K chip, stay with the FS100 chip and how much would that camera cost?
I'm now strongly inclined to believe that the FS100 and the 700 share the same chip. If you're interested in why, then look at http://www.dvinfo.net/forum/sony-nxc...ml#post1737180 . The assumption for a long time was that the FS100 had the F3 chip (well, they came out at the same time, they are both s35.....) but there were anomalies in the measured results that couldn't be explained. Believing the FS100 to have the same chip as the 700 explains a lot......
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gabe Strong View Post
See, those like Ben that have invested in the M4/3 format would like to keep that format. Others like me, who have not invested in the M4/3 would rather have them go to a S35 chip that is purposely designed for motion, not stills. And they will have a hard time doing both.
Exactly. To Ben, 4/3 was a positive point for the AF101 - to others it's a negative.

One thing I would say is that it's as equally possible to make a "designed-for-video" chip for 4/3 as for s35. Simplest way for 1080p being to use a quad-HD count (3840x2160) and read as the C300 does. That means an 8 megapixel sensor - either less or more will give issues. (The F3 has far less - but then needs a far more complex processing system, hence the far higher power consumption, cost etc.)

But an 8 megapixel sensor is not these days considered enough for a true stills camera - it's only likely to sell if far more. That's why, come an AF101 successor, the most key point is whether it uses a chip designed primarily for still cameras.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gabe Strong View Post
So if you assume both manufacturers want to use the optimum number of pixels for motion and not go over that number, then you see how there is ALWAYS an advantage to a bigger sensor, in terms of one or all of the three....resolution, dynamic range, and low light ability. That is something the M 4/3 fans just cannot get around, because it is simple physics.
Correct. Of course, all else equal, the bigger the sensor, the bigger the camera is likely to be, the bigger the lenses, etc, so at some point it becomes a law of diminishing returns. Generally, I think it's fair to say that s35 or full-frame is probably around the sweet spot for this type of camera unless you have legacy issues. (Just as 1/2"-2/3" is for cameras where dof is less important than flexibility - long zoom range servo zooms etc.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gabe Strong View Post
As for recording format, of course I'd like it to be in camera. ......I know you are saying it shouldn't be more expensive to do in camera, but for some reason no one is doing it yet.
Well, maybe not in large format - but Canon are with the XF100. If they can do it (50Mbs XDCAM 422 - fully broadcast compliant) in a camera with the size, power consumption, price etc of that, why is it not possible with cameras like the FS100, AF100 etc? Simple answer is that it is possible - but it doesn't suit the marketing strategies of the likes of Sony, Panasonic - and "not technically possible" is an easier stock answer than "we don't want to".
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gabe Strong View Post
I was under the impression that it was more expensive to make a camera with less compressed codecs, but I don't know that much about it.
That may be true under more extreme circumstances - for example, to record such as HDCAM SR the data rate is far higher, and that alone can have a cost attached, not least in the cost of more and much faster memory! But not when you talk about the difference between such as AVC-HD and XDCAM 422. They can both be reliably recorded to pretty cheap cards, and the only factor is you'll need about twice as many GB for the latter as the former. Hardly an issue given the price of SD cards.
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Portland, OR

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Z.G.C.
(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
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