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


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Old April 29th, 2011, 04:31 PM   #1
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FS100 and F3, Alister's Video

Well I was lucky enough to get an FS100 to play with earlier in the week. I just wish it had been longer. Anyway with the help of Den Lennie at F-stop we put this little video together.

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Old April 29th, 2011, 07:35 PM   #2
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Re: FS100 and F3, Alister's Video

Loved the shots. Sure makes the FS100 a real bargain.
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Old April 29th, 2011, 07:49 PM   #3
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Re: FS100 and F3, Alister's Video

Thanks for putting that together Al.
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Old April 29th, 2011, 08:58 PM   #4
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Re: FS100 and F3, Alister's Video

Allister:

Wow, thank you for the side by side testing. FS100 looking good for the "low budget" film maker.
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Old April 30th, 2011, 03:50 AM   #5
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Re: FS100 and F3, Alister's Video

Thanks, an interesting compassion between the cameras.

The motion on the birds taking off on the shot with the girl sitting down (i assume shot with the FS100) looks a bit strange for a 1/50 shutter speed. Is that an on board codec artifact or the shutter?
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Old April 30th, 2011, 03:58 AM   #6
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Re: FS100 and F3, Alister's Video

I just wish I had the FS100 for longer, there's a lot more I want to look into.
The main aim of the shoot was to see how the FS100 held up against the F3. We shot on a bright sunny day by the River Thames and again in the evening in a typically lit living room. There were no big surprises. The FS100 is remarkably close to the F3. You would have no problems cutting between the two of them in a project.
I did find that the FS100 LCD appeared less sharp and not quite as good as the F3's even though they both use the same underlying panel. This is probably down to the additional layers required for touch screen operation on the FS100. I also did not like the 18-200mm f5.6 kit lens. There was too much lag in the focus and iris controls, but the beauty of this camera is that you can use a multitude of lenses. For the evening shoot I used a Nikon 50mm f1.8 which was so much nicer to use. On reviewing the footage I did find that we were tending to over expose the FS100 by half a stop to a stop, this does make making accurate comparisons difficult and I apologise for this. I believe this was down to the slightly different images we were seeing on the LCD's. I did use the histograms on both cameras to try to ensure even exposure, but even so there is a difference. A small part of this is also likely down to the very slightly different contrast ranges of the two cameras.
Oe thing we discovered, not mentioned in the video is that when you use a full frame lens, like the Nikon 50mm. You must ensure that the E-Mount adapter you use has an internal baffle or choke. If it doesn't you will suffer from excessive flare. The adapter I had did not have a baffle and some shots (not used) were spoilt by flare. The adapter I have from MTF for the F3 has a baffle as do MTF's E-Mount adapters, so these should not suffer from this issue.
The FS100 performance is so very close to that of the F3's (at 8 bit 4:2:0, 35Mb/s) that it is hard to tell the two apart. I believe the F3's images are just a tiny bit richer, with about half a stop more dynamic range, in most cases it takes a direct side by side comparison to show up the differences.
The range of camera settings and adjustments on the FS100 is not quite as extensive as on the F3, nor do the adjustments have such a broad range. However there is plenty of flexibility for most productions.
If you don't need 10 bit 4:2:2 then it is hard to justify the additional cost of the F3, both cameras really are very good. Despite some other reports else where I felt the build quality to be very good and the buttons, while small, are big enough and well placed. If you do want autofocus then you will be pleased to know that it actually works pretty well on the FS100 with only minimal hunting (of course you must use an AF compatible lens).
I did also record the HDMI output to one of my NanoFlashes at 100Mb/s. Comparing these side by side it is extremely hard to see any difference. It is only when you start to heavily grade the material that the advantage of the higher bit rate Nanoflash material becomes apparent. There is less mosquito noise in the NanoFlash material. I was really impressed by the AVCHD material. The lack of noise in the images really helps.
The FS100 really is the F3's little brother. The pictures are remarkably close, which they should be as they share the same sensor. The FS100 packs down into a remarkably small size for transport. The loan camera from Sony was actually packed in a case designed for the MC1P mini-cam, about 15"x10"x5" so very compact indeed. The F3 is considerably larger and bulkier, in part due to the extra space taken up by the built in ND filters.
The lack of ND filters does need to be considered. There are some clever solutions in the pipelines from various manufacturers as well as existing solutions such as vari ND's, screw on ND's and a Matte Box with ND's, so it's not a deal breaker
I think there is every chance that the FS100 will be the first NXCAM camera that I will purchase. It will be a good companion to my F3. It's modular design will allow me to get shots that are not possible with the F3. I felt that the FS100 (with the 18-200mm lens that I don't like) was better suited to "run and gun" than my F3 with either manual DSLR lenses or PL glass. You can, with the FS100 simply point the camera at your subject and hit the one push auto focus and auto iris and have an in-focus, correctly exposed shot. This is much more like a traditional small sensor camcorder in this respect. The long zoom range also makes this more like a conventional camcorder, although there is no servo for the zoom.

In conclusion, in my opinion, for "run and gun" or quick and dirty setups the FS100 with the 18-200mm lens has an edge over the F3 due to the fast auto focus and auto iris one-push controls. For more precise work and shallow DoF your going to want a different lens, something with manual control and calibrated focus and iris scales. For more demanding shoots then the F3 is probably the better choice with it's slightly improved dynamic range and the ability to use S-Log and 4:4:4. In either case these cameras can produce highly cinematic pictures and I see no reason why you could not shoot a great looking feature with either.
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Old April 30th, 2011, 04:20 AM   #7
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Re: FS100 and F3, Alister's Video

The shutter was set to 1/250 for many of the exteriors.
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Old April 30th, 2011, 08:29 AM   #8
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Frame Grabs from FS100 and F3

Here are some frame grabs from the shoot. Please note that the FS100 frame grabs are taken from the ProResHQ imports into FCP while the F3 grabs are from the re-wrapped .mov files.
Attached Thumbnails
FS100 and F3, Alister's Video-fs100-barge.bmp   FS100 and F3, Alister's Video-f3-barge.bmp  

FS100 and F3, Alister's Video-fs100-bench.bmp   FS100 and F3, Alister's Video-f3-bench.bmp  

FS100 and F3, Alister's Video-fs100-houses.bmp   FS100 and F3, Alister's Video-f3-houses.bmp  

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Old April 30th, 2011, 09:04 AM   #9
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Re: FS100 and F3, Alister's Video

Thanks for the comparison, Alister.
You've come across the limitations of the 18-200 lens. I have one on my VG10, which I purchased as a kind of a percurser to the FS100. The focusing is indeed really annoying, but you should try it on a smaller 3" screen - very frustrating. The autofocus ( which I thought I'd never use on any camera) helps at times - or it can go on its own and focus on the background or whatever.
Still, even for a small consumer cam, the VG10 can produce some pretty pictures. If you work it, the 18-200 can get you that narrow depth of field. A faster 2.8 or so lens should make for much better images in the VG10.

I can't wait to try out an FS100. I have a steady client who likes the AVCHD codec. You have to admit, the media is darn cheap.
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Old April 30th, 2011, 09:57 AM   #10
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Re: FS100 and F3, Alister's Video

Hi Alister

Thank you for the pics! I used after effects 32 bit with colirista 2 and Magic bullet looks on the Bench and houses.

Well...

The images from the F3 WERE exraordinary and Beautifully filmic!
The images from the FS100 do try to imitate the colour balance of the F3 but fall short. But even then its not the colour balance that is making the F3 footage so wonderful although that is helping but it can only be due to some other jiggerry pokery going on The F3 is the most filmic camera I have seen and my experience is limited however. I'd certainly love to make films with it.

I even called out to Samantha PLEASE I want the F3

The barge picture
F3 Beautiful
FS100 Highlights overexposed. Once white balanced the greens became less so The look was more HD and less filmic

The Bench picture
F3 Beautiful
FS100 Overexposed and White balance off but did favour skin tones so looked better When it was corrected it looked more videoish.

The Houses
F3 Beautiful but had to zoom in or the green trees was a little much but thats only because my screen is small would look wonderful on a 50" etc.
FS100 Of all the FS100 images this was the most pleasing but then I think this was less over exposed than the other two.

Most of the images were overexposed to some degree and most needed a little white balancing.

IN CONCLUSION

I believe from what I have seen so far the FS100 is a pretender to the F3's throne and with a little work was able to bring the AF101 from Phil Blooms footage up to a similar colour balance Sometimes the white balance was off slightly off on the AF101 a little more so than the others and not in a good way. In my opinion the star here is the F3 The other two cameras have nice dof control but thats all they have over other cameras like the EX1. However things may change with properly exposed footage and because of this--

--I've now got a new concern and that is how all these cameras handle highlights

Although the HIGHLIGHTS from the F3 always looked good!

Mark
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Old April 30th, 2011, 10:53 AM   #11
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Re: FS100 and F3, Alister's Video

To try to create a level playing field both the FS100 and F3 were set up using REC-709 and white balance set to 5600k preset. This is not the optimum for either camera when it comes to dynamic range, but it should give the most natural looking images without grading. The houses shot is the most accurately exposed, it was shot after I reviewed the FS100 clips and realised I was over exposing. Given that both cameras have the same LCD panel and I used the histogram to compare exposures, I am still a little surprised at how big the exposure difference was. As I said in my review I put this down to the extra layers over the top of the FS100 LCD for touch screen operation. Certainly on location the LCD's looked very different with the FS100 lacking the crispness and contrast of the F3 LCD. If I had more time I would have re-shot the tests.

When I did try the Cinematone gammas on the FS100 I did not see any improvement in dynamic range, while I know from experience that with the F3 the use of cinegammas will increase the DR, but more importantly the highlights are handled in a more sympathetic manner that makes them grade better at the expense of mid-range compression, so the images do require grading.

I did not have sufficient time to investigate many aspects of the FS100 in as much depth as I would have liked. My conclusion is that both are extremely good, but that the F3 has an edge, probably down to improved internal processing. Given the price premium this is not really a surprise.
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Old April 30th, 2011, 11:04 AM   #12
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Re: FS100 and F3, Alister's Video

Thanks Alister I appreciate the work you've done and had some fun with the images!

Look forward to seeing more!

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Old April 30th, 2011, 05:25 PM   #13
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Re: FS100 and F3, Alister's Video

Hi
Am I correct in thinking that there is no HDSDI out on the FS100, but there is an HDMI, does anyone know if the HDMI will have embedded audio and timecode. I am thinking that an FS100 would be great with a nanoflash so I could give my clients the long gop codec and 50mbs they are all getting used to. Has anyone tested this combo, do you think it would bring the FS100 pictures closer to the F3's.

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Old April 30th, 2011, 06:03 PM   #14
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Re: FS100 and F3, Alister's Video

The FS100's HDMI output does have embedded audio and timecode, but the current version of the NanoFlash can't read the timecode. I suppose it is something Convergent Design may add in a firmware update.
But adding a NanoFlash isn't going to turn an FS100 into an F3.
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Old May 1st, 2011, 09:07 PM   #15
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Re: FS100 and F3, Alister's Video

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Kenny View Post
Hi
Am I correct in thinking that there is no HDSDI out on the FS100, but there is an HDMI, does anyone know if the HDMI will have embedded audio and timecode. Chris
Doug answered your question about the FS100. But, not the question about HDMI.

Audio will be there, and I think Juan said 24p flags in TC.

But, here are questions I have that you might also want to know the answer to.

As I remember HDMI can carry RGB or YUV data.

1) does a camera send RGB or YUV to a nano for encoding?

2) If RGB, I assume it must be 4:4:4. Correct?

3) If RGB, I assume it must be 0 to 255. Correct?

4) Is RGB over HDMI ever 10-bit? I thought HDTVs only input 8-bit data.

5) If YUV, it seems like it would only 4:2:2 because that's what HDTVs use. Correct?

6) Once again I thought HDTVs only input 8-bit data.

Bottom-line HDMI was designed to provide what HDTVs accept.

And what about DeepColor data from camcorders? What do video recorders to with that?
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