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


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Old June 28th, 2012, 09:19 PM   #1
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FS100 - Low light performance with lens stopped down

Just wondering if anyone has used their FS100 in low light situations with aperature of lens set to around f8 or f10. Situation might be doc style shoot where subject is moving around and hard to keep in focus.

With my Panasonic GH2 the low light performance with a lens stopped down is pretty abysmal. ISO needs to be cranked up to well above 1600 iso and the image is super grainy.

Still thinking about the FS100 as a do all camera (can't afford more than one cam).

Thanks!
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Old June 28th, 2012, 10:19 PM   #2
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Re: FS100 - Low light performance with lens stopped down

doesn't sound like a good idea... Low light really calls for a low f/stop. Maybe consider the FS700 with an LA-EA2 adapter and a fast auto-focus lens ? Or use a wide lens to increase your depth of field while maintaining decent exposure.
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Old June 29th, 2012, 12:17 PM   #3
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Re: FS100 - Low light performance with lens stopped down

Dave,
What "fast autofocus lens" are you talking about?
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Old June 29th, 2012, 02:01 PM   #4
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Re: FS100 - Low light performance with lens stopped down

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Originally Posted by Dave Sperling View Post
doesn't sound like a good idea... Low light really calls for a low f/stop. Maybe consider the FS700 with an LA-EA2 adapter and a fast auto-focus lens ? Or use a wide lens to increase your depth of field while maintaining decent exposure.
Is the FS700 any more sensitive than the FS100? I thought tests were showing similar latitude.
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Old June 29th, 2012, 02:30 PM   #5
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Re: FS100 - Low light performance with lens stopped down

Bruce -
Since the LA-EA2 adapts A-Mount Alpha lenses to the FS 100 and FS 700, and there are quite a few fast ones, I'm going on the assumption that they should work properly (the way the FS700 was shown at NAB. I'll be doing a shoot with this setup in three weeks (for a client who just bought two FS700's and has an LA-EA2 and a bag full of Alphas), so I won't be able to make personal judgements about the system til I've used it in the field.

Will -
I mentioned the FS700 because it's my understanding that the autofocus functionality is better with that camera. It wasn't a reference to the sensor speed, which seems pretty close between the two. It's just that since I was talking about autofocus, I wanted to suggest what I thought would be best, and apparently the low light capabilities of the autofocus are better on the FS700.
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Old June 30th, 2012, 03:08 PM   #6
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Re: FS100 - Low light performance with lens stopped down

Doesn't the LAEA2 limit you to a max aperture of f3.5? I went with the LAEA1 to get the extra stops of the faster Alpha lenses and to save a couple hundred dollars since I really didn't need the AF capability.

To the OP, there are a lot of high gain/ISO tests floating around if you search, IIRC Philip Bloom did a pretty good test of the FS100's low light capabilities in his comparison. Search Youtube/Vimeo for FS100 low light videos - I found plenty that convinced me the FS100 is the best low light camera under $5000.
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Old June 30th, 2012, 08:14 PM   #7
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Re: FS100 - Low light performance with lens stopped down

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Originally Posted by Will Thompson View Post
Is the FS700 any more sensitive than the FS100? I thought tests were showing similar latitude.
The fs700 is slighty less sensitive than the fs100.
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Old July 1st, 2012, 02:00 PM   #8
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Re: FS100 - Low light performance with lens stopped down

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To the OP, there are a lot of high gain/ISO tests floating around if you search, IIRC Philip Bloom did a pretty good test of the FS100's low light capabilities in his comparison. Search Youtube/Vimeo for FS100 low light videos - I found plenty that convinced me the FS100 is the best low light camera under $5000.
Thanks Chris. I'll check online. I was curious if anyone who owns the FS100 had used it like this (low light, fast moving subject and not much time to catch, this a decision to use a smaller aperature to keep things in focus).
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Old July 2nd, 2012, 10:06 AM   #9
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Re: FS100 - Low light performance with lens stopped down

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The fs700 is slighty less sensitive than the fs100.
Chris, have you done or seen a resolution test? I assume the FS700 is able to resolve more lines than the FS100 because of the higher res sensor, but as far as I know no one has done an authoritative test.
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Old July 2nd, 2012, 10:12 AM   #10
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Re: FS100 - Low light performance with lens stopped down

I don't own a FS100 but do have access to one. My FS700 arrived last Friday. I'm sure a test could be set up.

I don't own or have access to resolution charts. The best I could do would be shooting real world imagery to compare the cameras. There are plenty of pine trees in my yard that make for excellent challenges for resolving fine details on cameras. They aren't calibrated though. ;)

If someone in the Raleigh/Durham NC area has charts and a studio where we could shoot some tests I'm willing to bring over some camera gear.
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Old July 6th, 2012, 10:12 AM   #11
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Re: FS100 - Low light performance with lens stopped down

Chris, I have seen some folks use these charts for a budget resolution test. If you have a decent printer, it should be close enough.

ISO 12233 Test Chart
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Old July 12th, 2012, 10:38 AM   #12
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Re: FS100 - Low light performance with lens stopped down

Just thought I'd raise my question again as I still haven't found an answer.

Basically if I was shooting in dimly lit conditions (think run and gun doc/news) and needed to use a small aperature (say f8+) in order to keep moving people in focus, how would the low light performance compare to an EX1? I know it's a bit apples and oranges but I'd imagine someone has an opinion.

Thanks!
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Old July 12th, 2012, 07:08 PM   #13
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Re: FS100 - Low light performance with lens stopped down

Hi Dave
I use both the ex1 and the FS100. I thought I would be using the ex1 for 'run and gun', however I find myself using the fs100 more because of the very good low light capabilities of the camera. I recently shot an event which had OK to poor lighting. (vehicle launch, people milling around, speeches etc) . I started with my canon 24-70mm shooting at f2.8 but I released I needed longer and wider shots so switched to the kit lens - I set the high gain to 18dB. I also used autofocus and auto iris (toggling on and off). So basically I was shooting at f3.5 or f6.3. Most shots were OK, some were noisy, but in context of the event, usable. Now to answer your question there was no way I could shoot higher than f6.3 and 18dB without getting lots of noisy shots. The autofocus on the lens does work well but you still have to work at the focus. It will track moving people OK but you have to be realistic about the DOF you will achieve. I still think I made the right choice in camera and lens combination however every job is different and will have its own challenges.
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Old July 13th, 2012, 02:48 AM   #14
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Re: FS100 - Low light performance with lens stopped down

I'm in a similar situation to Neil - shooting with EX1Rs, got an FS100 for beauty shots and GVs, now shooting R&G with it.

I did some tests a while back regarding the kit lens, comparing it directly with the EX1.

https://vimeo.com/mattdavis/review/30253879/180ed10b11 (from 01.54)

The take home message: f8 on the FS100 kit lens looks like f2.8 on an EX1R, thanks to the huge sensor size in the FS100. At f8, you're getting no 'dipping' of exposure, so you can zoom without someone 'fading out the lights'. With face detection and spot focus on the FS700, it's even more useful.

Specifically, regarding interior exposures, I generally need +3dB gain on an EX1R using CG4 when shooting at 2.8 at 1/50, 1080p25. If I shot at 720p25 I may be able to get away without gain, and with 'conference presentation' lighting, maybe even close up to f3.5 to f4.

On the FS100, I cannot recall the exact settings, but f8 is deffo there with perhaps +6dB gain (which is pretty invisible) when I've used it as the 'audience reverse shot' - and I did try it out (again, with the Kit Lens but STUPIDLY I set to less than f8, so got a blip in the exposure as I zoomed out, watch the whites burn out on the wider shots:


Again, started with the Tokina 80-200 2.8, which was junked VERY quickly when things got going, and opted for the Kit Lens with AF! You're totally reliant on the camera for focus, as there's no manual override, but it did a better job than me (as I'm also fidgeting and bumping the camera/tripod around to shoot around some sodding 'tog's head, and trying to time it right - no time to keep the 'push auto' button pressed at appropriate moments. This is why the FS700's spot focus and face detection were higher on my list of priorities than 4K and 240fsp...).
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Old July 14th, 2012, 10:12 PM   #15
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Re: FS100 - Low light performance with lens stopped down

Thanks Neil and Matt. That's exactly the kind of real world experiences I was looking for. Interesting to hear the FS100 has is being used more than the EX1 for fast paced filming. That sure says something!

You guys ever try that run and gun stuff without a rig?
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