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


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Old November 1st, 2011, 10:38 PM   #31
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Re: To kit lens or not to kit lens?

Great stuff Gabe. Do you ever find shooting outdoors an issue without an ND filter on board? That is my biggest concern, shooting outside without any ND functionality.

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Old November 2nd, 2011, 07:46 AM   #32
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Re: To kit lens or not to kit lens?

Scott, I don't have time today to explain all the reasons the FS100 is a very good camera and superior in many ways to the AF100. But I will say a few things:

1) The AF100's sensor (in 16x9 mode) is 1/2 the size of the FS100 -- so if shallow DoF is a goal, then the FS100 is twice as good.

2) If shallow DoF or extreme low-light capabilities are not big deals to you, then you shouldn't even be looking at the FS100. For my money, the EX1R and EX3 blow the FS100 out of the water in every single way you want to compare them except for those two things. If you're doing corporate work, you will absolutely love the advanced features and workflow of the XDCAM EX camcorders. Yes, those cameras may cost a little more upfront, but you will make up for it very quickly in saved time -- both while you're shooting and in post. Time is money.

3) I have never heard anyone, not a single person, who prefers the picture quality of the AF100 over the FS100. It is not pretty and very easy to blow out the highlights. I recommend you test drive both cameras before deciding.

4) The lack of ND filters on the FS100 is not that big of a deal. Look at some of the other threads here at DVinfo and you'll see that most of us have settled on using a variable ND polarizer. Very easy, and infinitely adjustable (within reason) so in some ways it is superior to having just two regular ND filters on other cameras. I have a single 77mm filter that fits every SLR lens I own with $8 step-up rings. I've checked two brands of variable ND filters on my scopes and charts and there are no unwanted side-effects.

5) Sony certainly did not "rush" the FS100 to market and it was in the pipeline long before ayone outside of Panasonic ever heard about the AF100. It is very well thought out camera that does an excellent job in the right hands. Not having ND filters was a deliberate decision on Sony's part to make the camera more compatible with a wider range of lenses.

I hope that helps with your decision making.

http://www.vortexmedia.com/DVD_FS100.html
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Old November 2nd, 2011, 08:12 AM   #33
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Re: To kit lens or not to kit lens?

What Doug said!
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Old November 2nd, 2011, 09:01 AM   #34
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Re: To kit lens or not to kit lens?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Piotr Wozniacki View Post
Oh yes - should this lens be a constant aperture (even at F3.5), it would put to shame many zoom lenses costing 10x more!
What $6-8000 lenses would be put to shame by this stock lens?!?!

It is acceptable at the price point but the chromatic aberration makes it utterly unusable for applications where image quality will come under scrutiny. Perfectly fine for delivery to normal consumers but a discerning eye will reject the image produced if other options at budget are considered. 90% of my FS100.shooting is with Dylan's LOMO Russian cine primes.
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Old November 2nd, 2011, 09:19 AM   #35
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Re: To kit lens or not to kit lens?

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Originally Posted by Shaun Roemich View Post
What $6-8000 lenses would be put to shame by this stock lens?!?!

It is acceptable at the price point but the chromatic aberration makes it utterly unusable for applications where image quality will come under scrutiny. Perfectly fine for delivery to normal consumers but a discerning eye will reject the image produced if other options at budget are considered. 90% of my FS100.shooting is with Dylan's LOMO Russian cine primes.
OK Shaun, I only meant the "price to performance" ratio, or - as they say - bang for the buck.

Piotr

PS. Just he language barrier, I guess:)
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Old November 2nd, 2011, 10:49 AM   #36
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Re: To kit lens or not to kit lens?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Caplan View Post
Great stuff Gabe. Do you ever find shooting outdoors an issue without an ND filter on board? That is my biggest concern, shooting outside without any ND functionality.

Scott Caplan
GKCCOC
Not a bit. I was VERY concerned with the lack of built in ND.
As a matter of fact, that was my biggest concern and ALMOST kept
me from buying the FS-100 as I knew I was NOT going to be going
'mattebox style' very often. However.....I read on Philip Bloom's
blog about the Heliopan variable ND which he called the 'best
variable ND I have ever used.' I swallowed hard and spent
the $400 to buy it. It is absolutely AMAZING. There are hard
stops at both ends, and numbers on the filter so you know exactly
how much ND you are dialing in.....which is VERY nice on those
variable aperture lenses that Doug and others don't like. That
way, if you lose 1 F stop when you change from a 18mm shot to a
35mm shot, you just let in one more stop of light with the Heliopan
variable ND. No color cast is introduced, and there is no softness
introduced in the image, even at 200mm, which is where it really
'earns it's stripes'. I have to say, that 90% of my fears about
no ND are out the window. It can get a little irritating having to
screw on your variable ND to different lenses when you change
lenses, but even that can be worked around with the Xume adapter,
which lets you attach the variable ND's with magnets (I know it
sounds crazy but it works, you can even shake the camera and the
ND won't slip). If ND is your only concern (and it was my main one)
I'd recommend you try the FS-100 out if you can from a local rental
house (if you are lucky enough to have one) with a GOOD variable
ND. Make sure it's a good one, as there are lots of crappy variable
ND's out there. I bet you will find it is better than you thought
it would be. I love shooting outdoors with the FS100, even on
the wide shots, there is plenty of resolution, as a matter of fact,
unlike DSLR's which are good on faces and things, but not on wider
shots, the FS100 is good for talking heads, but it also 'loves' the
wide shots. Here's another video I did just a week or so ago.
Sorry for the annoying watermark, had some issues with someone
'cropping' video so as to remove my corner watermark and 'reusing'
it. Anyways, here it is:

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Old November 2nd, 2011, 10:57 AM   #37
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Re: To kit lens or not to kit lens?

Thanks Doug.

My understanding is lens selection matters more than sensor size. Good glass will produce shallow DOF on an interchangeable lens system, the Sony Z7U included. We've done this in the past with good results.

Right now it's budget issues keeping me from moving into the FS100, I love what the camera could do on the creative end. My concerns arise from being stuck with the stock lens for shooting lectures with a long run in low light. I've read a few times that the stock 80-200mm is about an 11x equivalent to a video lens, is this the case? I'm also assuming for low light shooting (like in a dark lecture hall) the gain (up to +30 I believe) has little to no noise, am I also correct in this?

There are a few reviews on the web that pan the FS100 vs the AF100, they are easy to find on google, mostly from UK shooters. My concern is buying a camera for $6K that will require another $6K in lenses to do what I need it to. I can fake shallow DOF with most 3-CCD cameras, although it's much more challenging (long runs, camera placement, etc) than it would be with this system. I love the idea of shooting interviews easily with beautiful shallow DOF and taking city scenic b-roll to intercut. But even with your "inexpensive" lens list, I'm $6K in the hole for 3 or 4 of them.

I am still intrigued by the camera, but mostly worried about breaking the bank making the camera do what I want. I'll peek again at the EX3, it's been on my radar for some time now. Thanks.

I guess when it comes down to it, I want a corporate workhorse camera that I can use for creative projects when they come up on my desk - and they do come up on my desk. I do appreciate the time you've taken to reply to me, and I like what I see from this camera. Maybe I'm just fearful of being an early adopter.

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Old November 2nd, 2011, 11:08 AM   #38
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Re: To kit lens or not to kit lens?

Gabe, I lurked all your videos last night before I even saw this post. In fact, your videos (and Doug's informative posts) have prevented me from ruling out the FS100 outright.

So you only use the stock lens and the Heliopan 77mm Vario ND, and you get results that nice? I'm definitely impressed.

Let me ask you a question, I think it was your post where you stated the 80-200 stock lens was a 11x video equivalent? I'm curious if you've shot any lectures or interviews on a stage in low light and what your thoughts/results were on that front.

For my needs I'm looking at shooting about 30% run 'n gun/events, 40% interviews/lectures in various lighting conditions, and perhaps 20-30% creative b-roll around the City. I'm hoping with this information on the Heliopan I might have to reconsider my choice.

How's the control layout on the FS100 for iris, aperture and zoom working for you? Is it intuitive?

Thanks,
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Old November 2nd, 2011, 12:21 PM   #39
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Re: To kit lens or not to kit lens?

Yup, I have only used the stock lens and the Heliopan variable ND
for all my video production with this camera so far. One
point of clarification, the stock lens is 18-200mm which is
an 11x zoom ratio, not an 80-200mm. You get much more of a
range with the kit lens than with most SLR lenses, but you
give up things to get that range. It's a variable aperture lens,
it opens to F3.5 at the 18mm wide end, but only F6.3 at the
200mm telephoto end. Doug and most others don't like
the lens. For some strange reason, it doesn't bother me.
Not sure why, but it doesn't. On the other hand
many people who get this camera like fast primes. However,
personally, I don't like primes. My bias, I usually shoot
multiple focal lengths on every shot for editing options.
And many times in Alaska, I can't just 'zoom with my feet'
as I am either on the edge of a cliff, glacier, or ocean.
So the zoom can take me where I can't physically go, which
may be right up next to a whale, mountain goat, moose, or bear,
or just a closer shot of that glacier calving. I will
use a prime for a 'talking head' or specialty shot,
but for everyday use, I want a zoom on my camera.

I shoot EVERYTHING with this camera. Football games, gymnastics
meets, dance recitals, talking heads, freelance news, beauty shots.
I also wanted it for some 'Alaska beauty' style DVD's that I
want to self produce. I just shot some B-roll and talking heads for
The Solomon Group who produces all the US Coast Guard videos, with the
Coast Guard air rescue station in Sitka. I just shot some B-roll and
interviews for a doc maker in San Fran who needed some stuff from
Alaska. And so on.... However, I only had the budget for 1 HD
camera. Everyone says, right tool for the right job. Unfortunately
for me, I can't afford both an EX-1 and a FS-100 or even a
EX-1 and a good DSLR (not to mention that I DESPISE shooting
video on DSLR's.) So I make do shooting events and things with
the FS-100 which would be better served with an EX-1. But
the FS-100 CAN do a decent job shooting those things with the
kit lens, and the EX-1 cannot do the things the FS-100 can.
With the tool analogy, a claw hammer may not pound nails as fast
as a 'power gun' nail driver, but it can pound nails in AND
it can pull them out, which the 'power driver' cannot. I guess
this is just something that is individual. Trust me, I respect
Doug's opinion a lot, the guy knows what he is talking about.
Just, like I say, for some strange reason the FS-100 seems to
work for me, even for things it probably wasn't meant for, and
the kit lens doesn't bother me at all. And I like the fact
that I can add fast zooms or primes, or even PL mount glass
if I want to. I bought a FD to E mount adapter and some cheap
old FD lenses off Ebay. A 28-90 F2.8 zoom for $60. A 50mm
F1.4 prime for talking heads for $50. A 28mm F2.5 prime for $20.
I haven't got the lenses yet, but for the price, it should be
interesting to 'play' with them.

The control layout is ok. Could be better I suppose, like most
things. I wish the gain worked like the white balance where you
can scroll through and adjust it with the wheel. The gain on
this camera makes you rethink all previous held ideas about gain.
Before, I would ALWAYS shoot at 0db and only very seldom 'gain up'
to 3 or 6. Nothing higher. This camera lets you gain up with
very little penalty in grain. Which makes you want to have more
than the 3 gain settings. You can change them in the menu.
But, during the day, you may want L set at 0, M set at 3db and
H set at 6db. At night you may want L set at 0, M set at 6db
and H set at 15db. Or maybe you want M set at 9db. Or H set at
18db. You see, you aren't getting much if any grain with
any of these. So often, you can get away using the slow kit lens,
even in low light. I have never seen a camera that is this good in
low light. I posted some frame grabs on my review I wrote at
kenstone.net that show the low light abilities a little.
If you are looking for a low light camera, this is the one.
For lectures at the back of a lecture hall, add a Novoflex
adapter, and a 70-200mm F2.8 Nikon and you are REALLY going
to be good in low light, you will be amazed.

After all this, I guess the best advise I can give you, is
don't listen to me. Don't listen to any of the 'experts'.
By that I mean, yes, listen to them and their opinions, BUT
see if you can try the camera out. What works for me, may
very well NOT work for you. I shoot events and all kinds
of things with the FS 100 and the kit lens and it doesn't
bother me one single bit. I thought I'd miss the servo
zoom and the ND's. I found out that the Heliopan and
the manual 11x zoom of the kit lens work just great FOR ME!
But, there are good reasons for negative opinions on the kit lens,
so you need to see what you think for yourself. It probably
depends on what you are used to and so on. I'm used to
low budget crappy video cameras like the UVW 100 Beta SP
(talk about crappy) so the FS-100 seems like such a step
up that it isn't even funny. Kind of like when I bought
my 2001 Isuzu Trooper. Before that, I had always owned a
car with 150,000 or more miles on it. This one only had
49,000! It was like brand new! I got made fun of a lot
for that one by all my friends who had money (the guys
who went into business instead of video) and had always
had new cars.

Here's an example of the 'low light interview' you
are looking for. First is video with an EX-3 so
you can compare.....next is the FS-100 with kit lens
(it's gained up, but see if you spot any grain!!)
No color correction, grading, or noise reduction
applied, this is straight out of the camera.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vaCSKPHqVJI

Last edited by Gabe Strong; November 2nd, 2011 at 02:31 PM.
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Old November 2nd, 2011, 01:20 PM   #40
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Re: To kit lens or not to kit lens?

Yes, 18-200mm, I blame lack of coffee.

I am hoping they'll free up an additional 2K for a lens adapter and one or two decent lenses, that way I can get that Nikon or a comparable Sigma or Tamron.

I suppose since the AF is disabled using these on the Novoflex NEX/NIK adapter that you could get a used Nikon 80-200mm f/2.8D ED AF Zoom Nikkor Lens from the 1990s for about $500 that would do the trick. No?

What was your reason for going with the FD-E mount instead of the novoflex? Cheaper lens options?

I await to see your footage when you get those lower end primes, I don't mind the breathing or chromatic aberration too much since a lot of what I'm shooting will be seen internally, I just want to get that 'film camera look' on my videos so we get more production value punch. If I can amaze them out of the gate I think getting a budget in Nov 2012 for some decent lenses will not be an issue.

I've been renting them my Z7U the last 2 years as a contractor, and just came on as the new video/MM manager and got a nice (but not huge) budget. I have about $12K to spend but that also includes lights and a tripod and an editing computer. That leaves about $6K for a camera and not much else.

I appreciate your replies, they have given me hope I can get the "dream camera" that will keep this old-boy's artistic juices cranking out good material in the corporate world.

Scott Caplan
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Old November 2nd, 2011, 01:21 PM   #41
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Re: To kit lens or not to kit lens?

You might need to repost that EX3 vs NEX link, I see nothing attached.

Scott
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Old November 2nd, 2011, 02:30 PM   #42
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Re: To kit lens or not to kit lens?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Caplan View Post
Yes, 18-200mm, I blame lack of coffee.

I am hoping they'll free up an additional 2K for a lens adapter and one or two decent lenses, that way I can get that Nikon or a comparable Sigma or Tamron.

I suppose since the AF is disabled using these on the Novoflex NEX/NIK adapter that you could get a used Nikon 80-200mm f/2.8D ED AF Zoom Nikkor Lens from the 1990s for about $500 that would do the trick. No?

What was your reason for going with the FD-E mount instead of the novoflex? Cheaper lens options?

I await to see your footage when you get those lower end primes, I don't mind the breathing or chromatic aberration too much since a lot of what I'm shooting will be seen internally, I just want to get that 'film camera look' on my videos so we get more production value punch. If I can amaze them out of the gate I think getting a budget in Nov 2012 for some decent lenses will not be an issue.

I've been renting them my Z7U the last 2 years as a contractor, and just came on as the new video/MM manager and got a nice (but not huge) budget. I have about $12K to spend but that also includes lights and a tripod and an editing computer. That leaves about $6K for a camera and not much else.

I appreciate your replies, they have given me hope I can get the "dream camera" that will keep this old-boy's artistic juices cranking out good material in the corporate world.

Scott Caplan
GKCCOC

Yeah, the only lenses that will work with the 'auto' functions and
OIS, are the Sony's as far as I know, no Nikons or Canons or anything
else will work with those functions on the FS 100 unless I am wrong.

I went with the FD mount frankly because it was cheap and allowed me
to 'play around' with other lenses. I am waiting until I jump
into the lens thing.....once you go Nikon, or Sony, or Canon, you
are in. I want to see how the new LA EA-2 Sony alpha to E mount
adapter works. I want to see how the MTF Canon to E mount
adapter works. Once that is all sorted out, I can make a decision
on what mount to buy lenses in. Until then, I will use the kit
lens....but I recently discovered you can get a FD to emount
adapter for about $25 and buy old FD lenses. I figured I'd do it
as it was really cheap.

Here's the link:
Grady - YouTube
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Old November 2nd, 2011, 02:36 PM   #43
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Re: To kit lens or not to kit lens?

Sony FS100 vs EX1R : Sony EX Series XDCAM

Scroll down to the post by Sandy Saar with the 2 vimeo video links. Nice comaprison of the F3, NEX100, 5D MarkII and AF100 side-by-side in real world use.

I found this eye opening.

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Old November 2nd, 2011, 02:55 PM   #44
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Re: To kit lens or not to kit lens?

Oh nice!

Scott

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Here's the link:
Grady - YouTube
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Old November 2nd, 2011, 03:39 PM   #45
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Re: To kit lens or not to kit lens?

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Originally Posted by Doug Jensen View Post

I have a single 77mm filter that fits every SLR lens I own with $8 step-up rings. I've checked two brands of variable ND filters on my scopes and charts and there are no unwanted side-effects.

Mastering the Sony NEX-FS100 training DVD
Doug,

Which two did you compare? Did you check for loss of sharpness at the long end, in addition to color casts? I've been hoping to see someone do a shootout with the various variable ND's, in order to determine if the Heliopan justifies it's additional cost over the Genus and Tiffen. Any further info you could share most appreciated.
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