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

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Old November 24th, 2011, 12:55 AM   #1
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I'm in Love

Just got my FS100 yesterday, done a bit of testing, with the 'no profile' setting. Got the kit lens and some adapters for my Canon and Nikon lenses. Got the Sony pancake 2.8 16. For me, as long as the images hold up, I see it replacing my Canon DSLRs (5D Mk II and 7D).


Build Quality: Despite the so-called plasticky reviews, I find the build quality to be spectacular. I have a Sony EX1 and have had a bunch of Sony gear over the years. I also have a JVC HM100 which was $4K, it doesn't hold a candle to the build or ergonomics of the FS100. I think what people are reacting to is the slight hollowness of some of the areas of plastic panels, but I try not to drop my camcorders if I can help it, and I'll try not to drop this one.

Battery Life: Have an old F970 knock off battery, been using it for a couple of days, still at 50%. Amazing.

Imaging Aids: The LCD is very good, peaking and other aids are good. Better than most.

Form Factor: It's not a typical ENG camera, that's for sure. It's a DSLR killer, meant to be held like a medium format hassleblad or mounted or caged like a DSLR, but with better mounting points.

The Top Handle/Mic mount: Ingenious, thought it looked stupid in the pictures, but using it for a couple of days, it's well thought out and actually useful. I imagine I'll screw more attachments to it, maybe another handle

Low Light: Unbeatable, wow, I shot basically in the dark on the beach with 30db gain with a f1.4 Rokinon 35mm. Some noise, but easy to remove with Neat video. It was almost pitch black, and it sees in the dark.

Image Quality: Without any tweaking, loving the image quality so far, detail, color, latitude, looked on the scopes and there is detail above 100 ire. I can see the resolution, no moire or stepping, did a little grade and it held up well. With some picture profile tuning, should be 'wow.'

60P: Opens up many possibilities, I like to shoot in 60P to be able to ramp or do smooth slo mo later. Works well in a 30P timeline, which is what I usually use. Makes super slow mo using Twixtor look even better. i haven't even tried the super slo mo (though I think it might be too low def, but who knows, it's there anyway).

Codec and storage: I got the 128GB flash unit because of the rebate, nice for backup, nice if you forget to bring a SDHC card. Codec seems to be very nice, easy on storage vs time, seems to hold up to grading.

Versatile E-Mount: Can adapt all kinds of third party lenses to it, pretty easy to mount and unmount. Like all bayonet type mounts, seems like repeated use could eventually wear something out, but what can you do?

Price: I think it's an amazing deal for what you get. The best deal out there considering the competition.

Possibilities: I really like the versatility and the possibilities, it's like an erector set, add your own unique ingredients


Side handle - not a terrible idea, but the way it attaches is a bit inconvenient, and it gets in the way of the flash memory module. I think it should have had a quick release, I may add one on the hole to quickly snap on a useful handle

Little silver colored ring near the lens mount: Mine is loose and rattles. What's up with that? Should I tape it down? What is it for, even? Just cosmetic? Does yours rattle?

Finger Nut for tightening the top handle forward and back: Kind of sharp on the fingers and not too effective, doesn't tighten well enough. May replace it with a better mechanism, a bigger less painful screw.

Playing back clips: Because there isn't a 'play mode', getting to clips and doing stuff with them isn't that intuitive. Luckily I don't do that too much.

No built in mic: Come on, put a crappy little mono mic with just one hole somewhere near the front, ala Canon EOS. Sometimes you just need reference audio so you can sync it to the good audio. Now I have to plug in a XLR mic. Big, inconvenient, I may have to rig up a 'Mic in a right angle XLR' or something. Maybe it exists already.

E-Mount: I think this camcorder should have had some type of reinforcement for the e-mount. Not sure how that would work, but because larger and heavier lenses than e-mounts are going to be mounted on this all the time, might eventually break. Hope the repair bills are not too high. I will probably try to rig something to my non-e mount lens adapters that reinforces it so there isn't much strain on the mount. Somebody should market something (but not for $3500 like the one that I've seen -though it looks awesome.)


Overall: Wow, Sony did it. They chucked their 'proprietary' attitude, an 180 degree reversal, SDHC, e-Mount, 1/4-20 and 3/8" threaded holes everywhere, an actual 'flat bottom' to the camcorder. Amazing.
Keith Moreau is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 24th, 2011, 02:16 AM   #2
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Re: I'm in Love

Couldn't agree more. Have had my fs100 for a month now. Pretty much everything you said rings true to my experience. Got my camera I an emergency situation where I had to travel to New Mexico for a series of interviews and the EX1R I was set to use was all of a sudden not available. I was going to wait Till after Nov. 3rd to make my "buy" decision, but fate intervened. I was literally reading the manual on the airplane. I have no regrets. Camera worked like a champ, my B-cam for the interviews was a 7D - I liked the Sony images better, and certainly working with a true video camera again was more efficient.

I've been busy with other duties the past three weeks but over the Thanksgiving holidays will be shooting much more. I have a Ninja and I really want to compare the AVCHD and ProRes footage. Also have the 16mm pancake arriving Friday. ... So far, loving' it too!
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Old November 24th, 2011, 10:31 AM   #3
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Re: I'm in Love

After a difficult start, it's nice to see the FS100 getting the accolades it deserves.

Whilst we all know 'that' review, and yet also revere something like the EX1, I dug up my notes when I first purchased it - questionable build quality (paint rubbing off, creaky bottom), poor setup (had to do back focus on ND0, ND1 and ND2 out of the box), really awful ergonomics (side handle was quite literally a pain), the horrible blacks from Near Infra Red contamination... And now, it's a classic 'standard workhorse' and there's no way I could be parted from my two.

The FS100 will hopefully be another 'classic' like the EX1, Z1 and PD150 before it.


It's not an all-in-one complete solution. You really have to budget for all those extra goodies like rails, matte box, EVF, and don't get me started on glass. Luckily, all that stuff will live longer than your camera. You can use it 'au naturel' but pretty soon, you're adding bits to it and cruising eBay for lenses...

It's just a lego brick, not a whole lego model. You will spend more money on it. Guaranteed. :-)
Director/Editor - MDMA Ltd: Write, Shoot, Edit, Publish - mattdavis.pro
EX1 x2, C100 --> FCPX & PPro6
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Old November 28th, 2011, 07:46 PM   #4
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Re: I'm in Love

Regardless if agree with your assessment of the camera or not, it's refreshing to hear someone finally sound off about being happy with their camera purchase.. Thank you.
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Old November 28th, 2011, 10:06 PM   #5
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I'm in Love part deux

Yesterday I had a chance to use it for a 'real' shoot, part of a documentary I'm doing about artists, one of the artists was interested in going to the "Occupy SF" occupation in San Francisco and interact with the participants. I took and used the FS100 with the Kit lens (18-200). I could have brought some different / faster glass, but sometimes, you just have to bring minimal stuff and hope for the best. Other glass would have slowed me down. I use a self-modified / improved "Steadi Stick" for my hand-held work with my EXs, DSLRs, and now the FS100, instead of a shoulder rig, I find the shoulder rigs (which I have and used to use exclusively for run and gun) start getting pretty huge, pretty obtrusive, and I wanted to retain some of the smallness that is one of the positives of DSLRs in these situations.

I have variable NDs, but for this I thought I could just wing it and up the shutter speed if I needed stop it down. As it was, that wasn't a huge problem, it was near the end of the day and overcast, so only for a short time did I need to use shorter shutter speeds.

I used the eyepiece unit for the first time, and really had a chance to see how the kit microphone works (added a good softie for wind noise suppression). I also modified the mic/unit / handle by unscrewing the little plastic stopper on the end, sliding it out and reversing it. The mic holder is usually to far forward, and with a softie on it, even with the short microphone, it gets in the frame. By reversing it, and moving the mic holder around so it would sit farther back, I didn't have to worry about this. Worked well and wasn't really in the way. Only thing, in this position, it doesn't work as well as a handle, as the center of gravity is right around the lens mount. I may make further mods to this, or perhaps get something else or add to it.

So I really, really liked the LCD/Hood/Eyepiece. It's really pretty practical. You can use the eyepiece to view it better, but flip it up if you need to frame shots from farther away. I often used it flipped and turned to the side, so I could film and frame and interview some of the participants. I was a bit worried about the eyepiece, it looks so dorky, but it actually works really well, and using it is very similar to using the Zacuto Z-Finder or EVF-Z-Finder combination for the 'flipping' as well as stabilizing against your eye. It's just solid enough, but not overly massive. Much better than the EX1 (since the evf on that unit is so low res and not too usable.)

The push-autofocus was nice on the kit len. The peaking is good, but I need to study it and maybe adjust the parameters , it seems too 'liberal' with what it seems is in focus. I have to look into the OIS of the kit lens a bit more. It's good but I need to see what the limits are. I like my Canon EOS zooms OIS best so far, but some day within the next few years maybe we'll see a non-vaporware EOS-E adapter? I wouldn't hold my breath.

I'm really impressed with the kit microphone. I have a bunch of high end shotguns, but for kicks I just kept this little mic on, and at first listen, it seems as some of the $300-$700 mics I have. I might not have a reason to put a more expensive mic on.

Audio Controls - are clear and easy and I can do the mono-split to 2 tracks trick really easily.

I used a couple of different picture profiles, I've been researching them, one called AB_RANGE, and the GlenColor S-LOG A for nighttime. Both seemed to work really well. I'm pretty surprised how well the AVCHD holds up to grading, notice it holds up much better than the DSLR footage, for some reason, before it starts breaking up and is generally a lot cleaner in the shadows - less pattern noise.

Low light, I'm very impressed, though I still need to know how to 'dial in' the best low light performance with a combo of gain, and PPprofiles. I think the SLOG should work best, but I'm not positive yet. However, the need for lighting has definitely decreased. It was basically dark out there and even with the relatively slow kit lens I was able to shoot and get usable stuff. It also cleans up well with Neat Video Noise Reducer if you need ultra clean.

Maybe I'm just happy to have a nice pro camcorder since having to mess with DSLRs for a few years, but I'm still ... in love.

Here are some unaltered frame grabs:
Attached Thumbnails
I'm in Love-beth-occupy-sf-young-woman.still002.jpg   I'm in Love-beth-occupy-sf-diamond-dave.still006.jpg  

I'm in Love-beth-occupy-sf-police.still003.jpg   I'm in Love-beth-occupy-sf-xmas-wish-list.still004.jpg  

I'm in Love-beth-occupy-sf-beth-signing.still005.jpg   I'm in Love-beth-occupy-sf-kitchen.still001.jpg  

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Old November 29th, 2011, 08:51 AM   #6
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Re: I'm in Love

Keith. Those frame grabs look great. Glad to hear you are having a great time with the FS100. I know a lot of people have in the past said the kit lens was not up to snuff. I used mine on a reality tv show mostly in outdoor daytime locations and the footage always looked nice.

I also use the 16MM pancake lens in lower light conditions. Its a good lens also. I actually use it more than the zoom.
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Old November 29th, 2011, 10:08 PM   #7
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Re: I'm in Love

Originally Posted by Matthew Hurley View Post
I also use the 16MM pancake lens in lower light conditions. Its a good lens also. I actually use it more than the zoom.
Thats my next accessory purchase. I plan on using it for steady cam work also.
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Old November 30th, 2011, 01:44 AM   #8
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Re: I'm in Love

I did get the pancake lens as well. I love the fact that it's so TINY. Another poster mentioned it looked like a lens cap. Like Jeff, I got it with the intention of using it with a steadicam, both wide and light.

Just got my Nikon G to E mount adapters today, will test soon with a Tokina 11-16 and Sigma 50mm f1.4 lenses. Shot a bit more today, tried out a EOS to E adapter with my huge 70-200 f2.8. I think I'm going to need to support the lens and the body with the same plate if I use this combo. The FS100's center of gravity is just a lot farther back than a DSLR, so I think this puts additional strain on the E mount point, even when I mount it using the 70-200's tripod mount. However I don't want to go full blown rods, and such, just a bottom plate that will reinforce the adapter point and the FS100 at the same time.

Still loving it.
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