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


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Old November 18th, 2011, 12:37 PM   #1
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Accessorizing FS100

I'm adding pieces as the work comes in each month: the FMU unit, the sony on camera light, lens adapter and some primes. I shoot educational/training/medical, meaning classroom, interviews, medical procedures.

I'm ready to add my next accessory and trying to decide what would best serve my needs. At times I struggle with critical focus and my image is a little soft. Would I be best served with a hi rez external monitor like a Small DP4 or TVLogic? Or would a Redrock follow focus be of greater help?

I'm considering the redrock micro studio bundle:
Redrock Micro Studio Bundle for Sony FS-100 21-066-0005 B&H

Any advice, suggestions as far as the above gear or alternatives which might serve my needs? My budget is $2,500 at the moment....
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Old November 18th, 2011, 12:58 PM   #2
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Re: Accessorizing FS100

A follow focus does not focus the camera, the person turning the knob does that. The reason for a follow focus was for a camera assistant to mark a focus position that is set relative to the subject/camera distance. It is a tool that is very helpful for controlled situations where the camera and actors are precisely blocked or an AC that is good at judging distance call free-focus based on the distance scale. To some extent, it helps an operator with no AC because of the ease of turning a follow focus compared to the barrel of the lens - but in my 20 years....most follow focus units are there as a fashion statement that make your camera look more Hollywood.

Needless to say, I would go with the highest res display you can afford. Those that are experienced in documentary, news, or broadcast focus by visual feel. You roll the barrel and you can feel your subject coming into focus and stop right when you get there - it has nothing to do with distance or marks on a follow focus unit. A follow focus will do very little in that regard other than make the feel in your hand a little different.
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Old November 18th, 2011, 04:19 PM   #3
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Re: Accessorizing FS100

Personally, I think that getting sharp, properly focused images far outweighs the need for a follow focus.

For years it was perfectly acceptable to rotate the barrel of the lens to pull focus. Usually reserved for film sets where a 1st assistant was manning the focus, only recently has the focus knob and a set of rails become a marketing phenomenon.

Not that I don't own a set or two...
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Old November 19th, 2011, 12:58 PM   #4
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Re: Accessorizing FS100

I hear what you're saying, Chuck. I put a follow-focus on my F800 to see if I liked it and then took it off after a few weeks. I found the FF couldn't compare to the smoothness and precision I got from focusing directly with the Fujinon lens. I pretty much only use that one lens on that camera so the focusing is very consistent.

But on my FS100 and F3, where I am changing lenses all the time, the follow focus gives me some consistency. I don't have to fumble around to find the focus ring on each lens, because the FF gives me the same basic feel on every lens and it is easy to grab without taking my eye away from the viewfinder. The only thing that changes is how far or close the FF knob is to the camera body (depending on the lens's focus ring gears), but that is no big deal. And with the PL lenses, where the focus ring may have 300+ degrees of rotation, it is much easier to change focus smoothly than turning the ring directly.

That's my reasons for using a FF, but I agree that a lot people are just pimping their cameras for show.
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Old November 19th, 2011, 01:05 PM   #5
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Re: Accessorizing FS100

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Weisen View Post
At times I struggle with critical focus and my image is a little soft. Would I be best served with a hi rez external monitor like a Small DP4 or TVLogic?
mark, save your money. The viewfinder on the FS100 is perfectly good enough for fine focusing, and is probably better than any 3rd party monitor that would be within your budget. Are you using peaking? Is it properly set up? Are you using expanded focus? Are you using the LCD with the viewfinder diopter flipped down over the front of it? If you answered "no" to any of those questions, then maybe you need to change the way you're using the camera. Just a suggestion. There's no need wasting hundreds of dollars on other gear if it just comes down to a matter of getting better at operating the camera. The viewfinder is pretty good on the FS100.
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Old November 19th, 2011, 08:09 PM   #6
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Re: Accessorizing FS100

I love the FS100 viewfinder. I think it's the best I've worked with, along with the EX3. With expanded focus and peaking, you shouldn't have any trouble getting critical focusing.
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Old November 20th, 2011, 08:56 AM   #7
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Re: Accessorizing FS100

"But on my FS100 and F3, where I am changing lenses all the time, the follow focus gives me some consistency. I don't have to fumble around to find the focus ring on each lens, because the FF gives me the same basic feel on every lens and it is easy to grab without taking my eye away from the viewfinder. "

Totally in agreement with you, Doug. I missed the fact that Mark had already added primes to his kit.
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Old November 21st, 2011, 01:29 PM   #8
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Re: Accessorizing FS100

Thanks for your replies. I do use peaking set "high," not the magnification so much, and I do need diopter over viewfinder although I don't use viewfinder as much. Still find I have some difficulty clearly seeing sharp focus on the LCD. I've tried two prescriptions of glasses and hasn't helped.SO, I'm going to try Small DP6 5.6" external monitor: 5.6" Small HD LCD Monitor, On Camera Field Monitor - the DP6 by SmallHD which is coming today! Figure can't hurt, might help. I'm also going to try a follow focus for reasons Doug mentioned.
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Old November 21st, 2011, 04:01 PM   #9
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Re: Accessorizing FS100

Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug Jensen View Post
mark, save your money. The viewfinder on the FS100 is perfectly good enough for fine focusing, and is probably better than any 3rd party monitor that would be within your budget.
Doug, how do you find the viewfinder in terms of color accuracy?
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Old November 21st, 2011, 04:50 PM   #10
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Re: Accessorizing FS100

Good enough to give me a general idea of the color . . . and that is all I expect from it. In fact that's all I expect from ANY viewfinder, even the $12K viewfinder on my F800. I never judge color, contrast, white balance, or exposure just by how the picture looks in the viewfinder, so I don't really care what it is showing me as long as it is in the right ballpark.
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Old November 21st, 2011, 04:55 PM   #11
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Re: Accessorizing FS100

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Weisen View Post
Thanks for your replies. I do use peaking set "high," not the magnification so much, and I do need diopter over viewfinder although I don't use viewfinder as much. Still find I have some difficulty clearly seeing sharp focus on the LCD. I've tried two prescriptions of glasses and hasn't helped.SO, I'm going to try Small DP6 5.6" external monitor: 5.6" Small HD LCD Monitor, On Camera Field Monitor - the DP6 by SmallHD which is coming today! Figure can't hurt, might help. I'm also going to try a follow focus for reasons Doug mentioned.
The SmallHD DP6 will give you better focusing than the FS100 LCD monitor with the viewfinder.
I set the SmallHD to peaking and 1:1 mode and get right on top of it. You can see very subtle focus changes with it.
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Old November 22nd, 2011, 11:35 PM   #12
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Re: Accessorizing FS100

John,
What do you use to mount your DP6 to your FS100?
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