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Sony NXCAM NEX-FS100 CineAlta
An interchangeable lens AVCHD camcorder using E-Mount lenses.


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Old April 17th, 2011, 03:12 AM   #16
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Re: Canon FD glass?

Thanks Doug for your first-hand info and advise - I'll certainly keep it in mind when shopping for the FS100.

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Old April 17th, 2011, 03:14 AM   #17
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Re: Canon FD glass?

I meant "fine" as "if you think you'll need a lens that couples completely with the camera," it is better than the 16mm, but as I said, the 18-55 is better IMHO.

Should Sony have offered the 18200 lens? The entire electronic system of NEX cameras was designed to function with E-mount lenses. And, the E-mounts are quiet.

You've revealed a marketing problem for Sony to solve. A camera that can shoot wonderful images. But, a camera that was from Day 1 to be part of the NEX family which is almost totally focused on users who -- as Sony points-out -- want to move up from Point&Shoot cameras but not all the way to a complex DSLR.

Bottom-line, had the VG10 been sold unbundled, I might have kept it. My interest was to get an MC/MD adaptor and go fully manual.
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Old April 17th, 2011, 04:08 AM   #18
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Re: Canon FD glass?

Well, I guess both Doug's and Steve's arguments can be substantiated.

Sony (IMHO) has made a couple of wrong marketing decisions with FS100. I'm not going to re-iterate all of them again, but bundling this camera with a consumerish lens like the 18-200 shows their own vacillation. They probably wanted to offer a camera complete with decent range zoom lens, with focus and iris controllable electronically - so that a customer familiar and comfortable with the "handycam" point&shoot concept can use it straight from the box, in a run & gun fashion. This sounds nice, and was probably the rationale behind choosing this particular lens for the bundle.

The problem is that the FS100 is all but a point&shoot, or run&gun, camera - so Doug is right it calls for quite a different lens to show all its potential.

On the other hand, Steve - as a VG10 user - is familiar with this lens, and finds is acceptable. So will many of the FS100 customers to whom this will be the only camera.

For me, my EX1 is still an excellent tool for general type of shooting, and I'm considering the FS100 as the second camera for two-camera, controlled shooting situations. It goes without saying that for this scenario, the SEL 18-200 is not a lens of choice...
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Old April 17th, 2011, 09:11 PM   #19
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Re: Canon FD glass?

Piotr,

Curious how shallow a DOF you can get with the 1/2" CCD?

Using an A-mount f1.8 50mm (which becomes about 85mm) the VG10 DOF can obtain, at about f/2.8, a DOF under a few inches. I follow focused on a bug as it walked around on a flower. But, as someone else, post times one does not need so shallow a DOF. In fact, under dim light with a slow lens if one zooms in, one may be dealing with too little DOF.

So, were you to stand 8-10 feet from a couple and zoom in to frame them, and opened the aperture one stop less than fully open, what would you see in the background?

If the background goes mostly out of focus that can be OK. If the background is still tack sharp, then there is a problem.

One wants the background out of focus for more than esthetic reasons. A soft background doesn't exhibit background strobing when panning with a subject. And, if handholding and/or there is motion in the background -- unsharpending detail takes a huge load off of the encoder.
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Old April 18th, 2011, 03:17 AM   #20
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Re: Canon FD glass?

Hi Steve,

Frankly - even though I agree with your points - I don't quite get where you're heading to with your post :)

Anyway - I know perfectly well what DOF control is about, even though I don't think shallow DOF is a holy grail for videography, as I said elsewhere. As to my 1/2" EX1 - yes, when needed, I can obtain out-of-focus background (or foreground, for that matter) quite easily, by controlling distance to subject and aperture; when this is impractical (or not enough) - I use the Letus adapter with Canon FD primes (you've probably guessed that from my signature).

However, the fully-blown rig with Letus, mattebox etc is very cumbersome and heavy, hence the need of having a specialized, more film-oriented, camera like the FS100. Whether I can afford one without selling out my current EX1 is another matter, though :)

The thing is that for general usage, the FS100 (without internal ND filtering, and an EX1-equivalent zoom lens costing $$$ and weighing a lot) will never completely substitute the EX1, IMHO...
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Old April 18th, 2011, 04:44 PM   #21
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Re: Canon FD glass?

"Frankly - even though I agree with your points - I don't quite get where you're heading to with your post :)"

The answer to my question IS where I'm going.

I know that a 1/2-inch chip camera can indeed get "some" level of a shallow DOF. I was asking you to describe YOUR experience in doing so.

If you can get an acceptably shallow DOF in the situation I posed, then it tells me a big chip camera is not all that necessary -- given we both doubt the concept that a "... shallow DOF is a holy grail for videography."

If a big chip camera is not all that necessary, then:

1) Given you don't want to sell your EX1, which I agree with, why would you spend $7000 on a new camera system, when you can get the same minimum DOF from any NEX camera? Your Canon lenses mounted on the same adaptor you can now buy for the FS100, will work exactly the same as on a $800 NEX-5. (Obviously, the sensitivity of the FS100 will be 2 stops faster, but you haven't said higher sensitivity was a need.)

2) It indicates to ME that 1/2-inch chip may a sweet spot. Why is that important? Simple, I expect an affordable 4K2K camera to arrive around IBC. It will have a 1/2-inch chip and ND filters. For me, that is a very interesting option. For you that will not be of interest to you because it's not likely to have interchangeable lenses.
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Old April 19th, 2011, 06:19 AM   #22
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Re: Canon FD glass?

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Originally Posted by Steve Mullen View Post
1) Given you don't want to sell your EX1, which I agree with, why would you spend $7000 on a new camera system, when you can get the same minimum DOF from any NEX camera? Your Canon lenses mounted on the same adaptor you can now buy for the FS100, will work exactly the same as on a $800 NEX-5. (Obviously, the sensitivity of the FS100 will be 2 stops faster, but you haven't said higher sensitivity was a need.)
OK Steve, I'm now clear on your way of thinking. However, if I didn't mention the sensitivity issue was just because it goes without saying that high sensitivity and low noise (apart from the DOF control potential) are the main selling points of the FS100. I must tell you that the EX1 being a great camera as it is, I have been fighting with the noise it creates, even with quite good lighting that doesn't require gain higher than 0 db! It's just this sensor characteristics - very sharp image, good latitude etc. - but a lot of shimmering noise (particularly in single-color, mid-bright areas). This kind of noise gets even worse when the image is recorded in the Long-GOP format on my nanoFlash, using a bitrate higher than 50-100 Mbps - probably because, at the EX1 native 35 Mbps, the compression mitigates it a bit...

Therefore - if only the early reports on the FS100 low noise and high sensitivity get substantiated with the actual production units - I'll need this camera very much indeed... Not only would it free me from the cumbersome handling of the EX1/Letus combo, but my image noise problems would be gone at least in my 2nd angle camera material...

One more thing that might be of interest to you, Steve: I got so much interested in the SEL-18200 lens we have been discussing in this thread that I visited my local Sony Center yesterday, and played with the VG10 camera that you're using yourself... Long story short, these are my main conclusions:

- Doug is absolutely right: this lens is rubbish. The configuration and operation of the zoom and focus rings are all wrong; the F3.5 is a joke (not to mention severe ramping)... As I mentioned before, the only explanation for bundling this particular lens with the FS100 is Sony's intention to enable an average John Doe shooting with this camera straight off the box, and get as much in focus as possible - before he learns the true nature of this camera!

- on the positive side, the image VG10 produces is much less noisy than I expected. Not having any ND filters available, I set the camera to the Aperture Priority mode (so that exposure was controlled by the shutter speed changing automatically, with gain set manually to 0 db). I recorded some stuff both inside the shop and outside in bright sun, only controlling the aperture, focus and zoom manually. To my great surprise, the picture (while not perfect - less resolution, more aliasing) is actually very clean - I hate saying this, but it's less noisy than my EX1!

After 3 years using it, I got this awful feeling again that something is wrong with my EX1 imagery :-( But no - all the other EX'es I compared mine with are the same, plus it has been thoroughly inspected by my Prime Support service...

I now desire the FS100 (with proper lenses) even more!
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Old April 19th, 2011, 03:50 PM   #23
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Re: Canon FD glass?

I think the one thing Doug and I agree on is that the 18200 is, perhaps, the worst lens could have bundled.

So I had a choice sell the 18200 or get a NEX 5 which came with the 1855. I chose the later. The 1855 was very happy with the VG10. But, the NEX 5 delivered the same image. So the VG10 went back.

There are two problems with the 1855. Simply not a long enough zoom for outdoors and too slow for indoors!

I had the 16mm Sony and it was only slightly wider that the two Sony zooms! But it is fast enough to work indoors. And since it practically free with a NEX 5, it was OK.

The A-mounts via the Sony adaptor really didn't work well -- which Juan also reports.

Which leads to the use of adaptors and lenses not from Sony. So that's what my book focuses on. But, in the USA, Sony will not let you buy a NEX or VG10 without a lens. Thankfully, you can buy an FS100 without. (Thinking about it, Sony should have bundled the 1855 because user experience would have been less negative. But, I wonder why Sony never designed an18-90 lens!)

I'll email you the adaptor section from my ebook. You can begin to research the world of Chinese adaptors while waiting for your FS100. And, if you buy some, you can try them with your Canons at your camera shop on any NEX.
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Old April 19th, 2011, 04:30 PM   #24
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Re: Canon FD glass?

Yes, Steve, we can definately agree that the 18-200 is a bad choice. It's too slow, and most people who want a zoom lens on a video camcorder also expect it to have a servo . . . which it does not. I don't know who might be happy with that lens, but since people can buy the body-only, I guess it's not worth getting worked up about. Just don't buy the lens. I can tell you that I won't be investing in any E-mount or Sony lenses no matter what the specifications are. I recommend investing in Nikon or Canon mounts so you stay mainstream. In my opinion, anything with an E-mount is a proprietary lens and I don't want to have anything to do with it.

My preference for a bundled lens with the FS100 would have been a very fast 50mm prime. That'd be a great starter lens for shooting cinema-style video.
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Old April 19th, 2011, 05:50 PM   #25
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Re: Canon FD glass?

I think we are in complete agreement on the WHOLE lens issue.

The killer on the VG10 was that Focus Assist was not included when the far cheaper NEX 3 and 5 had it. That made focus a real issue when using other lenses. I see the FS100 does have it.

The other thing was the VG10's start/stop button was only reachable when holding by its grip. The first thing I looked for on the FS100 was a reachable start/stop button -- although Sony used to put a second one on the handle. Maybe someone will make start/stop button that can mount to the handle.

And, Juan talked about a bunch of E-mounts coming. Maybe some of these will be useful for someone who wants a lens that ties into the camera's computer. Electronically, the E-mount does work nicely with the NEX cameras.

It would be great if as you explore adding non E- and A- lenses, you could keep us up to date on what adaptors YOU find work well. Juan showed a pix of a range of Novoflex. Did you use these?
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Old April 19th, 2011, 06:19 PM   #26
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Re: Canon FD glass?

Sony sent me a blue Novoflex E-to-Nikon adapter when they loaned me the FS100. Not sure of the model number or price, but it had an iris ring built into it . . . but so do all my lenses so I'd prefer to buy an adapter of my own that does not have the ring.

What I'm really interested in is an E-to-PL adapter for use with my Zeiss, Cine-Xenar, and Sony primes, but I could not get one in time for my camera testing. The next time I get my hands on an FS100 I will certainly have a PL adapter. Personally, I can't stand shooting video with an SLR lens because the focus turns the wrong direction. No matter how often I keep reminding myself turn it the right way, I psych myself out and then go the wrong way anyway. A mental defect I guess, and it just proves you can't teach an old Doug new tricks. 30 years of focusing one direction is a hard habit to break. Yeah, I know there are adapters, but I'm not interested in adding more hardware to the camera since I already have PL lenses for everything up to 95mm.
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Old April 20th, 2011, 12:10 AM   #27
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Re: Canon FD glass?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug Jensen View Post
. I recommend investing in Nikon or Canon mounts so you stay mainstream. In my opinion, anything with an E-mount is a proprietary lens and I don't want to have anything to do with it.
.
Canon & Nikon mounts are proprietary too.
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Old April 20th, 2011, 06:02 AM   #28
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Re: Canon FD glass?

The only DSLR lens I own is the 18-200, and should I get the FS100, I will probably get the a-mount adapter and get a few a-mount lenses. I've looked at the alpha lenses available and it seems I can get some good ones.
The 18-200, while maybe not the best, has managed to get me by with my VG10. I suppose it will do for the FS100 until I could afford more. My budget will only go so far.
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Old April 20th, 2011, 06:07 AM   #29
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Re: Canon FD glass?

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Canon & Nikon mounts are proprietary too.
Technically I suppose that is true, but my point is that for every E-mount lens you'll find being used by professionals there are probably 10,000 Canon or Nikon lenses. The Canon and Nikon mounts have been around for so many years, and are so universally used, that it is hardly worth calling them proprietary any longer. I don't know a single professional who uses E-mount lenses, and I sure don't want to be investing in anything that has such a narrow base of use.
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Old April 21st, 2011, 03:18 AM   #30
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Re: Canon FD glass?

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Technically I suppose that is true, but my point is that for every E-mount lens you'll find being used by professionals there are probably 10,000 Canon or Nikon lenses. The Canon and Nikon mounts have been around for so many years, and are so universally used, that it is hardly worth calling them proprietary any longer. I don't know a single professional who uses E-mount lenses, and I sure don't want to be investing in anything that has such a narrow base of use.

Of course you don't know any professional who uses e-mount. It's less than an year old with only three lenses so far. However, it's no more no less propriety than Canon and Nikon mounts. In some sense it's less propriety since Sony publicly announced they will release mount specification to third party manufacturers.

Sony to disclose E-mount specifications

Sony to disclose E-mount specifications: Digital Photography Review
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