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


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Old November 2nd, 2011, 06:13 PM   #46
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Re: To kit lens or not to kit lens?

Stu,

I own the Genus 77mm filter and paid about $180 for it. Schneider was nice enough to loan me one theirs for testing (Schneider 77mm True-Match Vari-ND Kit :: Filter Kits :: Filters :: Lens Accessories :: Lenses & Lens Accessories :: Equipment Sales :: AbelCine) so I hate to say anything bad about it, but it was much harder to use because it is actually two separate filters, it costs $500, and as far as I could tell on my waveform monitor and vectorscope (a real Leader LV-5330 not just crappy scopes built into a monitor) there was no difference at all between those filters. Neither had any unexpected side effects with color shifts or softening of the image. It proves once again that more costly does not necessarily equal better. I have not tried the Heliopan filter but would be happy to test it if someone wants to send me one. However I fail to see how it could be better than the Genus because how can you improve on something that has no ill effects? I guess the Helio has hard stops, and that might be nice, but not really worth a $270 premium to me.

Everything in this video was shot with the Genus filter.


Gabe, I like your explanation of why you chose the FS100. I think you made the right choice for your needs.

Scott, you wrote: "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."

I have to totally disagree with that statement. A fast lens helps with shallow DoF but a larger sensor makes the biggest difference. If you have been happy with the 1/3" Z7 you will love what you can do with a 1/2" EX1R or EX3. Again, I suggest to you that an XDCAM EX camera for corporate work is a much better choice for all kinds of reasons you can't even understand yet until you get one and find out how much better it is for that type of work.

There are a lot of ways to give your video a "cinema" feel and shallow DoF is just one of them. I don't know why people are so damn fixated on that one little element. If you buy an FS100 and put a slow f/3.5 - f/6.3 lens on it, then you have really shot yourself in the foot and you won't get the "cinema" look anyway. That is my opinion and I stand by it, but there are other people on this forum who will totally disagree me. You'll have to decide what is right for you.
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Last edited by Doug Jensen; November 2nd, 2011 at 07:28 PM. Reason: Typo
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Old November 2nd, 2011, 07:24 PM   #47
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Re: To kit lens or not to kit lens?

The variable ND thing, I have to say, I don't know much about.
I read some posts (there are lots of them out there, just
do some google research on the different brands of variable
ND's) like this one:

Variable ND filters (Genus Fader ND, Fader ND HD, Singh-Ray Vari ND) v. Tiffen NDs Patryk Rebisz

It scared me off of the Genus, Lightcraft Fader and similar variable ND's.
So I went with the expensive Heliopan, because everything I read
said it was the best. However, you have to realize, if you are
in a better position to test than me (as just about everyone is
as I don't even live on the road system) you should test these
things for yourself. You see, most of these posts that are finding
fault with this or that variable ND filter, are still guys. So
they shoot something at the extreme telephoto end of a lens, and try
to print it at 18x14 or something and find some softness, does that
mean you will find softness in HD video? I am guessing that HD
video you may not even be able to see any difference at all.
The stuff Doug shot with the Genus filter certainly looked great.
I was probably also scared a little by some Panasonic people who
were telling me how 'variable ND's suck' (which was part of their
reasoning why the AF100 was SO superior to the FS100). I got to
say, I disagree STRONGLY that variable ND's suck. Cheap, crappy
variable ND's suck. I can say the Heliopan does NOT suck....it's
great. My suspicion is that there are several good brands of
variable ND out there that do not suck....I posted my videos of
the variable ND I have for people to watch here:

FS-100/Heliopan depth of field tests By Gabe Strong On ExposureRoom

Look around for tests on the other variable ND's online and you
will find videos on them. That can help you some before you
go to test for yourself.
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Old November 2nd, 2011, 09:00 PM   #48
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Re: To kit lens or not to kit lens?

A kit lens can be a great way to start, and can come in handy later when you want to do a risky shot like mounting your camera on a moving car or in a dirty environment that you don't want to risk your more expensive glass. $600 isn't cheap, but may be less than some of the better investment glass you may purchase down the road.
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Old November 2nd, 2011, 10:15 PM   #49
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Re: To kit lens or not to kit lens?

Thanks Doug. I saw this footage in the Rule video and was impressed then. It still looks great!
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Old November 2nd, 2011, 11:00 PM   #50
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Re: To kit lens or not to kit lens?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug Jensen View Post
Stu,

However I fail to see how it could be better than the Genus because how can you improve on something that has no ill effects?
Doug,

Is the Genus filter causing the vignetting in the sky at 6:37?
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Old November 4th, 2011, 11:09 AM   #51
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Re: To kit lens or not to kit lens?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gabe Strong View Post
The variable ND thing, I have to say, I don't know much about.
I read some posts (there are lots of them out there, just
do some google research on the different brands of variable
ND's) like this one:

Variable ND filters (Genus Fader ND, Fader ND HD, Singh-Ray Vari ND) v. Tiffen NDs Patryk Rebisz

It scared me off of the Genus, Lightcraft Fader and similar variable ND's.
So I went with the expensive Heliopan, because everything I read
said it was the best. However, you have to realize, if you are
in a better position to test than me (as just about everyone is
as I don't even live on the road system) you should test these
things for yourself. You see, most of these posts that are finding
fault with this or that variable ND filter, are still guys. So
they shoot something at the extreme telephoto end of a lens, and try
to print it at 18x14 or something and find some softness, does that
mean you will find softness in HD video? I am guessing that HD
video you may not even be able to see any difference at all.
The stuff Doug shot with the Genus filter certainly looked great.
I was probably also scared a little by some Panasonic people who
were telling me how 'variable ND's suck' (which was part of their
reasoning why the AF100 was SO superior to the FS100). I got to
say, I disagree STRONGLY that variable ND's suck. Cheap, crappy
variable ND's suck. I can say the Heliopan does NOT suck....it's
great. My suspicion is that there are several good brands of
variable ND out there that do not suck....I posted my videos of
the variable ND I have for people to watch here:

FS-100/Heliopan depth of field tests By Gabe Strong On ExposureRoom

Look around for tests on the other variable ND's online and you
will find videos on them. That can help you some before you
go to test for yourself.
gabe-

very helpful visual affirmation of the use of variable nd.

thanks for being so thoughtful in sharing your fs100 experience/expertise.

be well

rob
smalltalk productions
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Old November 4th, 2011, 11:28 AM   #52
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Re: To kit lens or not to kit lens?

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Mastrogiacomo View Post
Doug,

Is the Genus filter causing the vignetting in the sky at 6:37?
Yes, and any polarizer probably would have had the same effect. I don't really care for the uneven darkening either but I left it in anyway. I also don't like the effect at 5:15. You have to be careful about going too far.

BTW, all of that footage was taken the first day I was loaned a pre-production FS100 and was the first time I'd used the Genus. With some practice I quickly learned to work around the quirks of the filter. When I say the variable NDs have no unwanted side effects, I'm talking about color shifts or image softness. Like many things in photography, you can still get ugly results if you misuse something.
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Old November 4th, 2011, 09:43 PM   #53
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Re: To kit lens or not to kit lens?

Doug I appreciate your comments. The 'corporate' end speaks more to the material we cover rather than the aesthetic. When I was hired on as a freelancer 18 mos ago I was given free reign to shoot how I wanted and the Z7 was just the camera in my arsenal at that time (their HVR1000U was a piece of prosumer junk). When I was asked to come on full time I told them, "fine, but I get to pick my camera." They said, "fine but you have to work within this budget."

I immediately chose the NEX without hesitation, but I think I got cold feet when I read about the "missing" features I was used to with my Z7. The more I read, both on here and online helped to put those fears to rest. I'm basically a video artist who wants to make beautiful images to tell a story, whether it's a promo for an event or a company profile. What I didn't want to do was use the same cameras everyone else is using to do the same thing. So the NEX spoke to me on that level.

Thanks to your posts, and especially Gabe's I feel a lot more confident in my choice to buy this camera. I could play it safe and get the Panasonic 170 with that nice 22x optical lens, but I think I'd quickly grow bored with it. I am hoping this camera pushes me to try new things. I can live without the servo-zoom, I can live without built in ND filters. I can live with trying something that's totally different. The Z7 felt that way to me to a large degree in 2008, and I still use it and plan to add an Atomos Ninja to keep using it a few more years as my breakaway camera.

I described myself the other day at a company retreat as "a square peg in a round role world" - I think this camera will let me take otherwise banal material and really make it beautiful on many levels. I may only get to do 20-30% creative, but I want the creative shooting side to really stand out. The images from this camera show me I can do that.

A EX1 or EX3 would be a great camera for me, I agree, but my budget is limited and I wanted the most bang for my buck. An EX-1 or 3 would eat up 2/3rd of my budget before I ever bought a SxS card (or one of the ones that adapt the cheaper memory to work in it).

I did a video for this company recently that sold them on hiring me f/t - it was basically a ton of city shot b-roll over talking heads for 60% of the video - the talking heads weren't what sold the video, the b-roll did. If I can get better b-roll and scenics around KC with this camera then I have already won my battle with mediocrity.

Thanks for your concern and your posts, they are appreciated. Besides, You'll get a training DVD sale out of it. ;-) win-win for you.

Scott Caplan
GKCCOC



Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug Jensen View Post
Stu,
Scott, you wrote: "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."

I have to totally disagree with that statement. A fast lens helps with shallow DoF but a larger sensor makes the biggest difference. If you have been happy with the 1/3" Z7 you will love what you can do with a 1/2" EX1R or EX3. Again, I suggest to you that an XDCAM EX camera for corporate work is a much better choice for all kinds of reasons you can't even understand yet until you get one and find out how much better it is for that type of work.

There are a lot of ways to give your video a "cinema" feel and shallow DoF is just one of them. I don't know why people are so damn fixated on that one little element. If you buy an FS100 and put a slow f/3.5 - f/6.3 lens on it, then you have really shot yourself in the foot and you won't get the "cinema" look anyway. That is my opinion and I stand by it, but there are other people on this forum who will totally disagree me. You'll have to decide what is right for you.
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Old November 4th, 2011, 10:09 PM   #54
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Re: To kit lens or not to kit lens?

Nice test with the Genus 77mm filter kit. Food for thought since the heliopan is on backorder at B&H and Abel.

As for the comment on DOF fascination, I concur - it's overused and a gimick for a lot of the DSLR crowd. I fake the shallow DOF when we need it, but I came from a photography background before moving into film (16/35mm) then TV back in the 3/4" porta-pack days, and then into DV and everything else since.

Ever since the "dv revolution" I've missed nice bokeh on a lot of my scenics, it's a nuisance to trick it on to a 1/3" chip, even more so with the CMOS sensors. But what I do like about the NEX is I can go pull out some cheap (but good) glass from local camera shops from either Nikon or Canon and be ready to shoot some nice scenics again.

I guess this was the old photogapher in me demanding something different. If my questions earlier suggested naivity or inexperience, it's only because having had to deal with 1/3" CCDs or CMOS the last 13 years has been annoying - the budget won't let me get into EX1/3 or HPX375s, there's just no money to do it. So once I read about the super-35 sensor some time ago and it spoke to me as an artist. Yeah it's learning a new system. Yeah I need to get good glass. Yeah it's not the same as my Z7.

But I think that's what I like about it.

I did read some negative reviews on this cam, and I think they were posted mainly by 4/3rd fanbois so it skewed my initial opinion when I was ready to drop major money (not mine) on this system. Everything I've read the last few days show me this will do what I want.

Thanks!

Scott Caplan
GKCCOC
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