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

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Old September 20th, 2011, 11:54 AM   #1
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fs100 vs. EX1r

Hi - I have found some information on a somewhat related topic in the forums, but thought people have have some opinions based on my specific needs....

I am working with a start-up company who is looking to buy a camera to provide clients with web content. I would be their primary shooter, and am assisting them in choosing a camera to purchase. Their budget is around $7000-8000.

I've worked extensively with both the EX-1 and the 5d Markii, and am aware of the benefits and limitations of both. The FS100 seems as if it may be a "happy medium" between the two as far as both image quality (in terms of creating a shallow depth of field) and as far as "ease of use" (maybe cant pull the FS100 out of your bag and start 'running and gunning' as easily as you can with the EX-1, but won't require as much work/accessories as the 5d). But, I have no experience with the FS100 and haven't been able to speak with anyone who has.

The potential purchaser plans on using this to create web content shot in restaurants and kitchens. We will have a decent amount of control over most situations (interviews with chefs, beauty shots of food, etc.), but also, probably to a lesser extent, will need to do some "run and gun" as food is prepared in the kitchen, etc.

Because of their budget, we would probably be exclusively using the Sony 18-200mm lens which you can purchase with the camera, at least for the time being. (I have a set of nice Canon EOS lenses, but it is my understanding that an adapter is not yet available for the EL mount lenses, and no one is sure if/when one may be).

They obviously like the idea of being able to produce a nice shallow depth of field. But I am curious how the cameras would compare if using the "stock" Sony lens. In other words, If I shot wide open with the EX1 (with the smaller sensor), how would that compare (depth of field-wise) to the fs100 shot at, say, f4 or f6 but with the larger sensor.

To me, it's a tough call. They are basically ready to purchase a camera to begin shooting in a couple of weeks, and I'm not sure what to recommend. I definitely see pros and cons to both cameras. If anyone has any thoughts, it would be great to hear them. Thanks.
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Old September 20th, 2011, 02:47 PM   #2
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Re: fs100 vs. EX1r

The FS 100 can function a bit like a EX-1r with the kit lens. No servo zoom
though, and the focus is a bit funky....seems to have two speeds......snail
crawl, and lightspeed. It can make it hard to rack focus, but I have been
able to figure it out and pull them off pretty regularly now. Non constant
aperture is annoying. Iris is smooth with the kit lens, NOT in steps
like some other cameras that shall remain nameless. With the FS100
you can use 'fast' high quality glass if you have some, or once you
save up some money. I have used the EX-1R, and EX-3, as well as the
320 shoulder mount version. But I own the FS100.....something
about the picture it puts out.....I'm not sure, I just like it more.
Anyways, the EX series is great, and better for run and gun. My
situation was that I could only have one camera (money reasons)
and the FS 100 is more of a 'swiss army knife' in that it can be
different cameras, depending what lens is on it, and how you configure
it (you can build it up or strip it down.) You just have to try and
figure it out for yourself. If you do go with the FS100, be sure
to budget for a matte box with ND's, or a good variable ND like
the Heliopan. Here's some stuff I shot 'run and gun' style with
the kit lens, no set ups, just running around in our last nice
weather of the year a couple days last week

Summer 2011 By Gabe Strong On ExposureRoom
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Old September 20th, 2011, 03:06 PM   #3
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Re: fs100 vs. EX1r

Thanks Gabe. Your stuff looks great. That was all shot with the 'kit' lens, right?

A couple questions:

When you are talking about the speed of the focus, are you referring to auto focus, or manual? And if manual, is it not just a function of the speed at which you move the focus ring?

Also, what did you mean by "non constant aperture"?
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Old September 20th, 2011, 04:51 PM   #4
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Re: fs100 vs. EX1r


Thanks, I am lucky, I live in a very pretty place. I tell people my
job is easy, just go outside and turn the camera on and point it
somewhere and it will look good.

Yes, this was all shot with the kit lens. I did use a whole bunch of
picture profiles. I was playing around with the camera, trying to
figure out some different baked in 'looks' so a lot of that footage
is different looking that normal (whatever normal is).

As for manual focus, yes, it's funky. You start manually focusing,
and it will go REALLY slow. So you turn the ring a little faster,
and suddenly it goes from 1.5 meters to 800. It basically is
funky in that it is hard to get it to go at a 'medium' speed,
it's like it almost only has two speeds....way too slow and
way too fast.

As for the aperture, the maximum aperture is NOT constant. As you zoom
in, the maximum aperture gets smaller, which is not ideal Here are the
focal lengths and maximum apertures for them....from 18-20mm it can
open up to F 3.5. From 20-35mm maximum F stop is F 4. From 35-40mm
maximum F stop is F4.5. From 40-50mm maximum F stop is F5.
From 50-100mm maximum F stop is F 5.6. And from 100-200mm
maximum F stop is F6.3
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Old September 20th, 2011, 09:23 PM   #5
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Re: fs100 vs. EX1r


I own a FS100 (only a month now) and also have a Z7U.
Although the Z7 isn't an EX1, it's the best example I can use in terms of how they might differ.
You obviously have experience with the EX1 so you don't need me telling you about the advantages of shooting quickly - run and gun etc - and getting great images.

I did a project recently for a culinary school - shooting alot of interviews with chefs and students in a kitchen environment - but also shooting alot of b-roll of food prep, etc. So this could apply to you.

I do own the kit lens, but didn't really use it at all.... Not that you can't shoot run and gun with it. You certainly can. I'd consider the kitchens we were in pretty well lit - as many kitchens might be. And as much as I could get a clean image by boosting the gain, I actually went with a Canon lens. Well, it was actually a Tamron 28-75 with a Canon mount. True, the only canon adapters out there don't give you control over aperture - but I found in the kitchen environment, I was able to shoot at f/2.8 for some really nice looking b-roll and interviews.

I thought the food shots really shined. The 28-75 gave me a real nice zoom range (constant) to get wider shots of some prep and cooking, and great closeups of the faces of the chefs. If you own Canons - and specifically one in this range (like my Tamron or a Canon 24-70) I'd say still spring for an adapter. No harm in enjoying those lenses on the FS100 as you wait for something like a Birger mount to come out. You'll truly enjoy it I think. Granted, with some limitations - but if you're indoors, you've got a shot. I'd say a variND is a must (as others have stated). Especially for outdoors.

And of course if you're doing interviews, and you mentioned in controlled environments, you'll enjoy the use of your canon lenses I suspect. Again, not to say the kit lens wouldn't do a fine job - but don't let those canon's sit on a shelf.

I should point out that as I shot with shallow depth of field in mind, I did have a colleague with me shooting on another FS100. He was using the Sony 16mm pancake lens. There are better wide lenses out there for sure (I do love my Tokina 11-16 as many other folks do as well). But using the 16mm sony on that FS100 was great because it does talk to the camera. My friend was shooting alot of fast paced action in the kitchen - walking quickly behind chefs as they made their way through the kitchen. And the camera was just a box at that point - tiny and light. I'd say he was able to shoot 5X as much b-roll in the same amount of time because of the nature of the wide lens.

So I had the best of both worlds going on as I was able to set up some beauty shots of food prep while he captured alot of action.

I'm rambling a bit here - but have to say I truly loved the flexibility of the FS100 in a kitchen environment. I think an EX1 would do just great. If you have experience with a 5D and you know you like that look - but also know an EX1 - you pretty much already know how to use the FS100. The controls are very familiar.

You certainly cannot just grab it out of a bag and run and shoot.
I understand the hard decision you're trying to make here. I certainly did not buy my FS100 to replace my Z7U. They are too different and serve different purposes. I love that I have the option of either camera. I'm sure many EX1 owners out there feel the same way - and several probably have both cams.

For those who can only choose one - that can be tough weighing those pros and cons.

If you do go with the FS100 - do get that kit lens. Alot of people trash it a bit. But it can serve a purpose, and can really do a great job. I agree that the focus is a bit weird at times. It just spins and spins and it's hard to make subtle adjustments with it. But I still recommend it for the fact that it communicates with the cam - has great stabilization - and very responsive autofocus for times when you need to engage it.

But I'd definitely tell you to also get a canon adapter anyway - I can almost guarantee you'll still find ways to enjoy it. Get the variND and don't rule out the little 16mm pancake for $250....

If in doubt - try to rent it first if you need some hands on.

And if you end up getting an EX1 - you can't argue with that either...
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Old September 21st, 2011, 07:22 AM   #6
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Re: fs100 vs. EX1r

Thanks Ed, and just FYI, I found this adapter which supposedly gives you some sort of aperture control with the Canon lenses. And the price isn't bad either. I don't have a lot of info on it, but have now heard reviews from two different people who say it works great with the fs100
Bower ABANEXEOS Adapter with Aperture for Canon EOS ABANEXEOS
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Old September 21st, 2011, 07:23 AM   #7
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Re: fs100 vs. EX1r

Ah yes, both those things make sense. Thanks again Gabe.
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Old September 21st, 2011, 11:27 PM   #8
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Re: fs100 vs. EX1r

Hey there Todd

Thats the same adapter I have.
The link you sent shows me that B&H now carries it - cool. The one I have it by Kipon, but as you visit that B&H link, it shows it under the Bower name, then click on the picture and it shows the same Kipon adapter I have.

If you go the FS100 route, you could save a few bucks and pick one up on ebay for about 30-50 bucks less.

I like it just fine...
I think there's been some debate online as to whether the aperture blades on the adapter behave like the internal aperture of the lens. That is, some folks suggest it just shuts off the amount of light to the lens without actually changing the look or characteristic of the internal aperture (if that makes sense).

That is to say, if you have your lens at f/2.8, folks say the depth of field doesn't necessarily change as you close the aperture on the adapter.

I haven't done any hard testing, but I think one guy has a video demonstrating depth of field changes with that adapter.

To my eye, I do see light being cut off to the lens, so that does help - but it can also add vignetting to the image. So you do have to watch for that.

To be honest, in my kitchen shoots, I did close the aperture and I found the slight vignetting pleasant to some of my interviews. You do have to watch it though.

For the most part - I treat the adapter like a dummy adapter and only close the aperture blades to help close off some of the light when needed. I'd certainly recommend it over cheaper offerings just because it adds some flexibility.

There may be more opinions to how the adapter's aperture affects the image - certainly from folks who know more than me about it. I do like it just fine though.

Good luck again - let us know what cam you decide to go with.
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Old October 6th, 2011, 05:18 PM   #9
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Re: fs100 vs. EX1r

thanks everyone. we ended up going with the fs100. i had my first shoot with it today, and i'm definitely happy with out choice. great little camera. i miss the servo zoom and the nd filters, and the kit lens is a little wonky, but still definitely happy.
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Old November 15th, 2011, 06:11 AM   #10
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Re: fs100 vs. EX1r

Speaking of the FS100 and EX1...

Has anybody combined the footage from these cameras in a shoot? How'd it come out? I have a shoot coming up with a PMW350 and my FS100. We'll most likely use 1080/30P.
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Old November 19th, 2011, 03:32 AM   #11
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Re: fs100 vs. EX1r

I've used the FS100 as the locked-off reverse angle wide with 2 EX1s on a regular basis. Cuts just fine with the EX1s, though inevitably it will need a little dab of CC just to help the inevitable exposure differences.

This is going to sound awful, but it particularly works well using the kit lens, and the dialling-in of more gain than would strictly be necessary, to get that patina of noise that EX1s are known for. As the reverse angle cam in a dark theatre or lecture hall with a lens that's going to be at f8 or thereabouts, you're going to need quite a bit of gain!

I'm happy to be shooting with a choice of EX1 and FS100 rather than cashing them all in for an F3 or Scarlet - each to their own, I guess.
Director/Editor - MDMA Ltd: Write, Shoot, Edit, Publish - mattdavis.pro
EX1 x2, C100 --> FCPX & PPro6
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