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


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Old April 11th, 2013, 08:03 AM   #1
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Newbie looking for FS100 advice / Insights

Hello all,

I've posted a few questions around here (DVinfo.net) as I am trying to make some equipment decisions. With my budget of about $5000 for a camera, I have narrowed my choices to either a used EX3 or a new FS100. Only recently have I tilted to the FS100. I am an experienced shooter though I haven't held a camera in quite some time. Here are the questions...

1. Would you recommend getting the package with the kit lens? I have some Vintage Minolta MD Primes and two zooms (28-70 & 70-200) that are a good bit faster than the kit lens. I do shoot live sporting events on occasion where I really rely on the autofocus. How is the auto focus on the kit lens? Is there a better Sony lens than the kit? I saw this servo zoom version for about $1200 but the FS100 hand grip doesn't have a rocker switch so it seems you have to control it from the lens. Anyone using that lens? Here's a link to the lens. Sony 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 PZ OSS Alpha E-mount Lens SELP-18200 B&H Will this lens even work with the FS100?

2. Using a lens adapter, is there any concern about back focus issues? I've seen adapters for the MD to E mount go for as little as $10 on eBay and as much as $200. Any thoughts or recommendations? I know most folks have invested in Canon or Nikon and I'm in the minority with the vintage Minolta glass but if anyone could speak to any hidden pitfalls to adapting lenses to the FS100. My biggest concern is infinity focus. I have read through the FS100 manual posted here and couldn't see any reference to adjusting for infinity focus.


That should be enough for now. Thanks so much for your consideration. Joe
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Old April 11th, 2013, 08:12 AM   #2
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Re: Newbie looking for FS100 advice / Insights

The autofocus on the kit lens is OK. Not sufficient for fast moving sports in my opinion. Manual focus on the kit lens is worse than the autofocus and totally unusable for fast moving sports. The stabilization on the kit lens is quite good and usable.

Going with the "Alpha" series lenses with phase detect autofocus will offer much better focus performance. You will need the LA-EA2 adapter.

I have MTF lens adapters and can report they have adjustments for backfocus. I also have a very cheap ebay adapter that has no adjustments. You may need to spend a bit more on a lens adapter to ensue you get that feature. I've not had to adjust the MTF adapters. They were fine out of the box.
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Old April 11th, 2013, 10:46 AM   #3
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Re: Newbie looking for FS100 advice / Insights

Maybe I've just been lucky. I've shot high school football, basketball and USA junior gymnastics
with the kit lens and never had problems with autofocus. A-mount and LAEA2 would be even
better for autofocus though. Never had issues with any third party lenses, I've used FD lenses,
Sony mount lenses and Canon EF mount, they all work just fine.
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Old April 11th, 2013, 11:28 AM   #4
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Re: Newbie looking for FS100 advice / Insights

I'm not sure that the FS100 is the right tool for your particular needs (sports). It's great for corporate shoots or anything where you have time to fiddle with lenses. I'm thinking you're better off buying a smaller chip camcorder with a longer-range lens, zoom rocker, built in stabilization and fast autofocus. As a bonus, you won't be spending much more on accessories, lenses or adapters.
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Old April 11th, 2013, 12:12 PM   #5
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Re: Newbie looking for FS100 advice / Insights

Thank you guys for the quick replies. I guess I confused things a bit with too many questions. I should have first asked.

How do you guys like the kit lens for general run and gun shooting? Is the zoom ring smooth enough that you could do a live manual zoom while the autofocus did it's thing? Is anyone using the $1200 Sony lens with the zoom servo on a FS100? I posted a link to the lens at B&H in my fist post. I've noticed that poeple are using it with the FS700 but haven't read anything about it's campatibility with the FS100. Bottom line, Is it worth the extra $700 over the kit lens?


I won't be primarily shooting sports but It may happen on occasion. I will mostly be shooting corporate and industrial videos for distribution on the net and on DVD/BlueRay. I really want to work with the super 35 sensor so i can play with my vintage primes but I also want as flexible of a rig as possible. I guess I really want you guys to tell me how much you really love (or hate) shooting with the FS100. Do you use the kit lens regularly or does it ride around in your bag, unused?

Thanks again!
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Old April 11th, 2013, 12:23 PM   #6
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Re: Newbie looking for FS100 advice / Insights

I have the FS700 and I use the kit lens for maybe 60% of everything I shoot with the camera.

The lens is very good for normal quick setup stuff. The zoom is smooth but the lens is not parfocal so you have to zoom with care to let the autofocus keep up.

I've not used the servo version. I can't comment on that one.
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Old April 11th, 2013, 01:33 PM   #7
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Re: Newbie looking for FS100 advice / Insights

Chris,
Thanks for the insight. Just what I was hoping to hear. If you don't mind my asking, what lens setup do you use for the other 40%? Thanks again, Joe
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Old April 11th, 2013, 01:38 PM   #8
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Re: Newbie looking for FS100 advice / Insights

I have a set of vintage Canon FD "L" lenses that I use when I need that special look for dramatic works.

They have a great look and are a relative bargain.
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Old April 13th, 2013, 08:51 AM   #9
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Re: Newbie looking for FS100 advice / Insights

Next question...

What type of shoulder rig are folks using with their FS100s? The Zacuto stuff looks very very nice but it is way out of my budget for now. Any recommendations on a more frugal set up? I was looking at the Opteka CXS-2 Dual-Grip Video Shoulder Stabilizer Support System

Anyone using this? A different option? I would love to hear some real world experience stories. Thanks!
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Old April 13th, 2013, 11:41 AM   #10
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Re: Newbie looking for FS100 advice / Insights

I didn't get the kit lens because I already had a Canon 24-105 and 70-200. I use the Metabones "smart" adapter and it works quite well. If I had it to do over I would probably buy the Sony lens. It's better for a run-n-gun situation than my current setup.

I've been using old Nikkor lenses with Nikon-to-EOS adapters going to the Metabones adapter. No focus issues. I just ordered the set of Rokinon cine lenses and am retiring the old Nikkors.

Also, I have the Zacuto rig but the only reason is that it is what I used on the 5DII. If I were buying today I'd probably go to Coollcd.com. They're a Korean company and I've bought stuff before from them. Good prices, quick shipping and well built. Also, with the FS100, if you use the big LCD viewing tube that comes with it (which I do and like better than a separate monitor), you need a shoulder rig that's offset--ie., the shoulder brace is off to the right of the rest of the rig. Coollcd products come that way ,as do the Lanparte brand they carry. My Zacuto rig was inline because with the 5DII I used their EVF which hung off to the left. I bought offset brackets from Coollcd to modify the Zacuto. I like the Coollcd and Lanparte shoulder braces better. Cavision also has some less expensive rigs that are well built.

I think if you go to the Metabones site they may have adapters to go from your Minolta lenses to the E mount. They won't be as cheap as the eBay ones, but their stuff is more solid and well made. Nice thing about the E mount is that you can get an adapter for just about any lens out there.
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Old April 13th, 2013, 11:50 AM   #11
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Re: Newbie looking for FS100 advice / Insights

Bill,

You might look into shortening the LCD viewing tube that came with the camera if it would help fit
your rig. Take out 4 screws, and you can velcro or use black gaffers tape, and suddenly that
'chimney' is much shorter. Extra bonus, you don't need to tighten down the LCD to keep it from
sagging and such as it is also much lighter. Easy fix and I just saved the 4 screws and
middle plastic piece in a bag in case I ever want to sell the camera I can easily restore it
to the stock LCD.
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Old April 13th, 2013, 01:08 PM   #12
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Re: Newbie looking for FS100 advice / Insights

Bill,

Thanks for the info. I've bookmarked Coollcd, Looks like they have some nice components for making a custom rig. Glad to hear the system LCD for the FS100 is adequate as I didn't want to shell out an extra $1K for a side mounted viewfind. At $4500 for the FS100 with the kit lens sounds like a no brainer right now. I hope to pull the trigger soon. I searched Metabones but it seems an adaptor for the old minolta MD lenses is not offered. There are plenty of MD adaptors but Metabones doesn't seem to be one of them. Thanks again for the info. Joe
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Old April 13th, 2013, 02:58 PM   #13
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Re: Newbie looking for FS100 advice / Insights

It's a good time to buy right now with the B&H price reduction. I don't know how long that's going to last. I got mine for $4200 for the body just before the end of the year. Then the price went back up last month, and then down when NAB started. It seems like they'll have a sale price until the stock is gone, then it goes back up when they get in a new shipment.

The viewing system is good. I think the LCD is about as sharp as the Zacuto EVF and it's a little bigger. It also has the focus enhancement which makes it easy to focus quickly without having to use the expanded focus button. I don't mind the length of the tube, and I like the big eyecup. It's about the size of the ones on the old broadcast cams I used to use.

Although the camera has incredible battery life, I got a second one (the bigger one) and have never worried about using up both during a full day of shooting.

I don't know if you have any ND filters but you'll need one or more, or a variable ND, because the camera's native ISO is 500. If I want to shoot at a 2.8 or wider to maintain a really shallow DOF, I have to use an ND even for interiors. I bought the Schneider variable ND for this camera and it is excellent but pricy at $400. Recently Genus came out with their better quality Eclipse, which is only around $160 and gets great reviews. I use stepup rings on all my lenses, to 77mm, and have standardized on 77mm filters. I prefer not using a matte box unless I absolutely have to because of the hassle. Normally I use the camera by itself on the tripod and bring out the rails only when I need the follow focus for a dolly shot or lens support for a heavy lens.
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Old April 13th, 2013, 03:22 PM   #14
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Re: Newbie looking for FS100 advice / Insights

Lots of great info Bill! Thanks. Please post up anything you might think useful for a newb. Do you shoot primarily to the Compact Flash cards or do you use an external recorder? Thanks again! Joe
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Old April 13th, 2013, 04:14 PM   #15
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Re: Newbie looking for FS100 advice / Insights

The FS100 uses SD cards and that's all I shoot to. I've done chroma keying and color grading with no problems, so I don't really need the external recorder to provide a lower compression. In fact, I get a good key a lot easier with the FS100's files than I did with the 5DII.
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