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Old November 6th, 2012, 02:16 PM   #1
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AG-AF100a with 10bit 4-2-2

Panasonic Introduces The AG-AF100A Series with 10 Bit 4:2:2 HD support Akihabara News
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Old November 6th, 2012, 06:54 PM   #2
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Re: AG-AF100a with 10bit 4-2-2

Hopefully some footage will follow soon. Love the form factor (it's so ugly it's beautiful) and all the tools a DP could want (well, except for expand focus).

Don't love the crazy banding and worst highlights in a camera of this caliber. Will 10 bit matter? Well, 10 bit sure is nice, but unless it's more then that, I'd guess not - although the blockiness of the banding would be smoother.

Honestly though, most people seem to really want a camera that is sharper and easier to use out of the box. The AF100 notoriously hard to make look pretty fast (esp for more inexperienced shooters). If those issues aren't addressed, or the price is much above $3,000, I wouldn't think that this camera makes much waves.

Naturally, if the footage is awesome, all bets are off.
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Old November 6th, 2012, 07:47 PM   #3
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Re: AG-AF100a with 10bit 4-2-2

The AF100 was born out of the craze for DSLR video and the liking for shallow depth of field. It was an attempt to get over the worst issues of actually using DSLRs, (sound connectivity, viewfinding, codec etc) - at a not too expensive price. To get it to market relatively quickly and cheaply, Panasonic basically used the core of a GH1, then changed to the chip from a GH2 (but still with GH1 processing).

That was inevitably going to bring with it many of the quality issues associated with using a chip designed for still photography for video - and so it turned out. Regardless of that, I can't fault the commercial logic at the time. It was aiming for a niche market, but potentially quite a large one. With hindsight, it was probably foolish to announce it so far ahead of the real launch.

Because unfortunately for Panasonic, Sony launched the F3 and the FS100 very soon after the AF100 - and both came with true "designed for video" chips, the FS100 being comparable in price. The FS100 is far from perfect, but it was obvious from the start that it beat the AF100 hands down for sheer image quality, sensitivity, dynamic range and more - and was s35 as well. And since then we've seen the FS700 and a whole raft of higher end cameras from both Sony and Canon.

Since then the question has been when Panasonic would fight back. When would they announce the successor to the AF100? The hope and expectation was that it too would come with a true large format video sensor - the real questions were whether it would be 4k capable, and would Panasonic stick with 4/3 or move up to s35.

From the lack of any direct information about a new sensor, the implication must be that with the AF100A there is little or no change. I would assume that if it did have a new and better front end, that would be headlined in the press release. And that lack of change must be seen as a huge disappointment. The sensor was the weakest link - upgrading the output to 10 bit is not likely to make a lot of difference to the final result.

But maybe the biggest disappointment about the announcement is that it's doubtful that a true upgrade of the AF100 will happen anytime soon. In which time s35 is going to have gained even more momentum in terms of lens etc sales as the large video format of choice, which will make the 4/3 or s35 decision even more difficult for Panasonic.
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Old November 7th, 2012, 05:20 PM   #4
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Re: AG-AF100a with 10bit 4-2-2

I have neither AF100 or FS100 but for all it's "Designed for video" sensor, the FS-100 box it sits in does lack your basic "designed for video" viewfinder and built-in ND filters. And now that removing rotating grips is IN style at Sony, it seems it's OK to bash the DSLR like vertical side grip of the FS-100/700. But you didn't hear that from me. nope.
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Old November 7th, 2012, 07:18 PM   #5
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Re: AG-AF100a with 10bit 4-2-2

Well - I did say that "the FS100 is far from perfect" and you highlight a couple of examples, I'm not disagreeing. But it is better in image quality, low light etc respects, and I think most people would consider those of more importance.

Hopefully Sony will address them come the next equivalent model (as they have put NDs on the FS700, for example?). The real point here is that Panasonic have brought out an update - which doesn't address the main criticisms of the AF100.
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Old November 7th, 2012, 10:41 PM   #6
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Re: AG-AF100a with 10bit 4-2-2

David - I agree with all your points (and I image most others do as well) - give me a camera with fewers bells and whistles if the picture is clearly better. And yeah, most people consider the FS100 better.

But ease of use is also a major factor - the VG20, FS100, FS700, et al - all incredibly light sensitive, all pretty easy to use straight out the box. I've some beautiful footage from the AF100, but in truth I've seen oodles of bad stuff - from legit guys. It's always looked more video-e to me then the Sony or Canon cameras - perhaps in part b/c of the smaller chip. I

I really want to like the AF100 more - and the AF100a too - but it's all about the final image, and other cameras are just giving more bang for buck in that regard.

Also, seriously - no expand focus? WTF? I can't believe Panny hasn't come out with a firmware upgrade for the feature yet.
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Old November 8th, 2012, 09:00 AM   #7
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Re: AG-AF100a with 10bit 4-2-2

I noted Sony's recent VG-30, VG-900 and EA90 also lack ND filters. Sony doesn't seem to put on ND filters on any of it's large sensor cameras below $8000 (FS700). I wonder what's up with that.

In contrast, the Canon C100 and it's S35 sensor does have ND filters at $6400.
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Old November 9th, 2012, 06:35 PM   #8
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Re: AG-AF100a with 10bit 4-2-2

Actually if you follow the link at the start of post you will find the AF100a DOES have the expanded focus function. Sure it is not a beautiful image straight out of the box but with the Samurai and all the help available on this forum with picture tweaks, I think really good results are attainable. IMO the Samurai using the dynx codec has improved low light performance, increased editing latitude and much improved the camera's highlight issues. I will warn that I found virtually no difference (comparing to avchd card) using the proresHQ codec in the Samurai. In fact I almost returned the unit before installing the dnxhd codec. I wonder when the 100a will be available in the U.S.

Last edited by Preston Davis; November 9th, 2012 at 09:20 PM.
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Old November 11th, 2012, 08:43 AM   #9
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Re: AG-AF100a with 10bit 4-2-2

I'd love it if this were a paid hardware upgrade - ship your old camera in, and they bring it to A-spec for a few hundred. Otherwise I'm fine with what I have for a while; this is nice but too incremental an upgrade to absorb the depreciation costs.

I'd beg to differ that image quality trumps useability... having run HVX, HPX, and Panny ENG cams for five years, the AF is EXCEPTIONALLY easy to use, and controls are where they "should" be. I'm not missing a shot because conditions changed and I mistakenly flipped some setting or hit the wrong button or had to wait for the camera to be ready to shoot.

So far the only camera to even closely match the combination of features, price, and useability as the AF100 is the forthcoming Sony EA-50, which from preview footage is... well, kind of blah, and feature-lacking (great form, though). The C100 probably bests the AF everywhere, but at nearly double the price.
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Old November 11th, 2012, 05:40 PM   #10
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Re: AG-AF100a with 10bit 4-2-2

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin McRoberts View Post
So far the only camera to even closely match the combination of features, price, and useability as the AF100 is the forthcoming Sony EA-50, which from preview footage is... well, kind of blah, and feature-lacking (great form, though). The C100 probably bests the AF everywhere, but at nearly double the price.
I have to query your pricing, certainly within the UK. Looking at a major dealer here, the price of the AF101 (body only) is 2,900, the C100 (body only) is 4,165 - how does that make the C100 anything like twice the AF101 price? And that AF101 price is showing a substantial recent reduction - the expectation is that it's in reponse the the AF100A announcement (clearing stock), and the AF100A is likely to be a few hundred pounds more when it arrives.

From the same dealer, the EA-50 is 2,295 - but for that "It is supplied with the newly developed SEL18200PZ 18-200mm Power Zoom E-mount lens providing auto focus, continuous variable iris and Optical Steady Shot™ image stabilization with Active Mode" Far cheaper than the AF101 - and with an included lens as well - no way is it close in price to the AF101.

But it's really missing the point of the earler post. The real Sony competitor to the AF101 is more likely to be the FS100, and OK, even if the AF100 nowhere near matches that for quality, some people still prefer the AF100 for certain features etc.

But what about the rest of the Sony range? What about the other Canon cameras, the 100 and 300? What about Red? Where is the Panasonic competition there? The hope was that Panasonic would soon announce an "AF200" with purpose designed sensor to try to compete with other cameras in those ranges, to complement the AF100. They haven't. Such is already overdue, and the longer they wait the more difficult trying to re-establish market share is likely to be.

And don't forget lenses. The "body only" price is only the start, and if you intend building up an array of lenses, the body plus lenses and other accessories makes such as the gap between the C100 and AF101 far less in percentage terms. And if you are building up a stock of lenses, they may be seen as a far longer term investment than any camera body - they may be transferred over on a future upgrade to a more expensive body.

But get an AF100 and it means 4/3 lenses - with no foreseeable upgrade to then use them on in the form of an "AF300" or "AF500". You can't even be certain that any such future higher spec Panasonic large format camera, if it ever comes, won't even be s35 itself, Likewise don't forget the rental market. Isn't it better to start off with lenses capable of s35 coverage from the start?
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Old November 12th, 2012, 04:01 AM   #11
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Re: AG-AF100a with 10bit 4-2-2

Well, in the US, the AF is nearly half the price, and most assuredly isn't locked into using m43 lenses. Judging from the success of the GH2, OM-D, and buzz on the GH3, coupled with the whole system's compactness and relative affordability, having some glass in that format isn't such a terrible decision anyway.

I've shot with the FS100 and 5D3 and neither rocked my little m43 world. RED cameras are total overkill for 95% of my work. The AF is still a "sweet spot."
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Old November 12th, 2012, 03:31 PM   #12
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Re: AG-AF100a with 10bit 4-2-2

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Originally Posted by Kevin McRoberts View Post
Well, in the US, the AF is nearly half the price, and most assuredly isn't locked into using m43 lenses.
Looking on B&H right now, the C100 (
Canon EOS C100 EF Cinema Camcorder (Body Only) 6340B002 B&H
) is $6,499

The AF100 (
Panasonic AG-AF100 Professional Memory Card Camcorder AG-AF100PJ
) is $4,530

Yes, there is currently a $500 cash back offer, but even allowing for that, how is $4,030 "nearly half" of $6,499?

And the C100 is new product, awaiting deliveries, the AF100 price is for a camera for which an apgrade is announced, so I assume the $4,030 price is a clearance price pending the arrival of AF100A's?

And whilst you may be able to get adaptors to make bigger coverage lenses physically fit on the AF100, it means a 1.5x crop factor approximately, compared to s35.
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Old November 13th, 2012, 07:45 AM   #13
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Re: AG-AF100a with 10bit 4-2-2

That may be the new price, or the price has recently gone up, because for the longest time the AF was selling for $3500. Either way, $2500 is still an appreciable chunk of change extra to pay for a camera that apparently has no VFR, SDI, and a borderline useless 3-second pre-record. Those being three things I use extensively, I'd rather miss them.

The m43 crop factor has been a total non-issue. Lens-makers the world over make zooms in all sorts of ranges, from ultrawide to ultra-telephoto. Just understand the conversion and you're fine. For sports and wildlife, the crop is actually a HUGE bonus.

It apparently doesn't work for you, and that's fine, but for me the darned thing just works, I never lost any sleep figuring out how to pay for it, and I never tweaked my back trying to operate it. For those few clients with demands exceeding its capability... well, they usually have rental budgets.
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Old November 13th, 2012, 04:31 PM   #14
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Re: AG-AF100a with 10bit 4-2-2

Kevin, you missed something. There's all the fun buying, taking care of and carrying vari-ND filters or shuffling them on and off your lenses with adapters or whatever.
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Old November 13th, 2012, 04:33 PM   #15
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Re: AG-AF100a with 10bit 4-2-2

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin McRoberts View Post
That may be the new price, or the price has recently gone up, because .....
Camera prices tend to fluctuate all the time, but I believe the AF100 price has actually gone down - they are trying to clear stock. Certainly used to be over 3,000 in the UK recently. It's the AF100A we're really talking about, and expect that to be more than the current AF100. Yes, it'll likely be less than the C100 - but nowhere near half as much.
Quote:
The m43 crop factor has been a total non-issue. Lens-makers the world over make zooms in all sorts of ranges, from ultrawide to ultra-telephoto. Just understand the conversion and you're fine. For sports and wildlife, the crop is actually a HUGE bonus.
My point was really meant the other way round. That if you buy into the 4/3 system in a big way, they will not work on a larger format system, they are designed to cover a 4/3 chip, no bigger. So, buy into 4/3 lenses and you can't then use them on any other current video camera.

That may not be so bad if Panasonic had bought out a range similar to what canon and Sony have done - different prices and giving different quality, flexibility levels - including true 4K.
Quote:
It apparently doesn't work for you, and that's fine, but for me the darned thing just works, I never lost any sleep .........
I'm not rubbishing your or any other individuals needs or decisions - horses for courses. My comments were meant in a far more general and industry wide context.

The AF100 and it's price level are one thing - fine for some, not for others. Which is why there had been a general hope that the next level up at least would be addressed by Panasonic well before now. Upgrading the live output may bring slight benefits, but there is no way it addresses some fundamental issues - that will only be done by a full sensor upgrade.

It's a bit like having a car with a fairly low powered engine. It won't compete with more powerful cars on acceleration etc - but other features may make it more desirable to some buyers in the same market sector. (It may have tinted windows, maybe.......? :-) ) What nobody should think is that a model upgrade which just gives it somewhat better tyres is going to make a big difference to the performance, good though they may be.

And most big manufacturers sell a range of cars - different prices, aimed at different markets. Here it's like a major manufacturer only selling a fairly budget model. Yes, it may be exactly what some want - but why not sell a broader range?
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