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


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Old August 24th, 2013, 09:42 PM   #1
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Why buy this?

After putting off a camera purchase decision for as long as I could, I find myself needing to make a decision within the next month...

My knowledge of cameras is better than a film school student but not a 30 year pro.

Use: Primarily documentary style work, 3-10 minute length projects going straight to the web or a projector.

Glass: I am looking at buying a series of Rokinon E-mount / full frame lenses that many of you might be familiar with.


1. This camera appears to be 'at the end of it's shelf life', so is it really worth buying?

2. How bad is the rolling shutter / moire?

3. Why not buy a VG-900 with a 'full frame' sensor? (except for some of the obvious reasons, IE: XLR, etc.) vs. the Nex EA50UH

4. Is there something out there more up to date and better for $4,000? -> not interested in Black Magic

5. What type of "crop factor" do I need to keep in mind with APS-C lenses? Full frame?

6. What are some ND filter options I should consider?

Is there anything that I should be aware of about this camera? I'm used to the standard shoulder mounted camera style, this makes me think I will need to invest in a rig system.
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Old August 25th, 2013, 12:54 AM   #2
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Re: Why buy this?

Hi George

I bought two EA-50's instead of FS100's purely because of the form factor. The FS100, despite it's outstanding credentials is a brute to hand hold even on a rig and coming from many, many shoulder mount cameras that was the huge attraction for me. I guess it would depend on how you shoot. I do an awful lot of handheld work so the EA-50 suited me better. I would have preferred the better sensor on the FS100 of course BUT it was a small price to pay considering I can pick up the EA-50 flip it onto my shoulder and work! The power zoom is also a nice option if you need to do slow zooms now and again.

Unless you are striving for shallow depth of field in bright light then you can actually get away without ND's completely. Because the cameras have big sensors you won't get the normal image degradation that a 1/3rd " chip camera would give with any aperture smaller than F8 ...On my EA-50 I can shoot stuff at F16 comfortably and still get a great image.

Everyone has a different reason for camera choice so if I was working on tripod 99.9% of the time and was likely to have low light issues then I would be silly not to get an FS100 or FS700. I do weddings and real estate shoots so for me the EA-50 works better and I still have the interchangebility on the lens side too. I run stills with two Nikon DSLR's so I use a Novoflex adapter and my Nikon lenses quite a lot too...especially Realty where you need to shoot stuff at around 11mm to make it "look" spacious!!

Good luck in your choice

Chris
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Old August 25th, 2013, 01:29 AM   #3
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Re: Why buy this?

good info.. 90% of the stuff I am doing will be tripod only, just a little concerned for when I need to go handheld, even then I usually use a monopod or some other type of stabilizer..

I guess my concern is about the sensor because from what I understand, the super-35mm is not much bigger than an APS-C on the NEA-50U and with my current budget, I could pick up a few extra lenses for the NEA..

I will be in mostly controlled lighting situations, but it's good to know that the FS holds up in low light (what I would expect).

I would be interested to hear how the images from this camera matches up with a 5d because I may need to match footage with them....
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Old August 25th, 2013, 07:25 AM   #4
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Re: Why buy this?

Hi George

If you are working fairly low light search thru You Tube ...I saw a video there comparing the FS100 and EA-50 in low light and there is seriously quite a marked difference in sensitivity between them. Worth a look if you are comparing Super 35 and APSC. My two Nikons are also APS-C so the lenses suit the EA-50 very nicely but if you have a full frame DSLR or two then the FS100 would utilise their lenses better

Chris
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Old August 25th, 2013, 12:11 PM   #5
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Re: Why buy this?

If it helps, I'm going to be shooting a series of breweries, restaurants and other culinary-related businesses in my region. Low light is unlikely - I have a variety of fresnels, floods and soft boxes.

Chances are good that I will be in some tight spaces and need to be able to capture quick motion (ie, chopping, pouring, etc / other stereotypical action shots related to food businesses)..

90% of the interviews will be in controlled spaces, so I have all the lighting, etc. necessary to handle that. 10% of the interviews may end up on the spot. (need more pre-pro) :D

All will eventually be published exclusively on the web and probably played on a projector.

I am considering using an Atomos external recorder.
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Old August 26th, 2013, 08:38 AM   #6
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Re: Why buy this?

Hi George,

When I had first bought the FS-100 shoulder work did seem awkward. However, turning the handle so the record button was straight up and adding a neck strap made for a "Rock Solid" hold against my chest and getting the right shoulder rig made a huge difference. For most tight space work I use the neck strap and hold the camera up against my chest, I can actually make adjustments with my left hand while shooting in most cases. I guess the "Shoulder" work I do isn't really "as it happens ENG" style and more of a space requirement where I don't have room for a tripod.

As Mr. Harding stated, you can get by with out ND's in a lot of situations but I do carry a 0.9 and a Graduated ND in my pocket at all times. If I need a ND its mostly for the horizon or at least three stops worth.

I would have to say though the low light capabilities have made a big difference for me shooting indoors. It's allowed me to shoot without light kits in situations where I would normally need one, which saves me lots of time and work and makes things like running through a restaurant or kitchen a snap. I get by with a fold up reflector in my back pack more often now.

I have rented an external a couple of time and decided not to go that route. If I did a lot of green screen I would record 10 bit every time for it but a lot of my finished product is for the internet as well and I just didn't see the benefit of it. It really just didn't give me any real noticeable improvement/difference.

Where the camera really shines is when you have had some practice with it and have ironed out what picture styles will work with how you shoot and your post workflow. From there you know how far you can push gain and such and how well it's going to perform for you. I never thought I would be able to operate all the buttons on the side without looking but it didn't take me long at all to get it down. I've never used auto anything on it other than occasionally hitting the focus button to cheat with a quicky.

I really think this is something that is hard to put into words. I believe the best option is to get your hands on cameras and be with someone that has experience with them to walk you through pro's and con's and all that is really hard to put down on the internet with accuracy. While I thought I was taking to the FS-100 pretty quickly it really was about 6 months before I was having "Ah ha" moments and really ironed out how it fit my style of shooting but I learned on my own and what I could read off the net.

Even though the camera may be getting toward the end of its shelf life product wise I'm still very happy with it and very confident with it. If I was shooting for the big screen or Indy work, I could easily see needing something more but for the work I do I really hit the wall with the FS-100 where its all on me now because the camera really does exceed the need. I don't see technology changing that anytime soon, it would take 4k to go mainstream or RAW to become necessary. They might come out with cameras just as capable for less down the road but that isn't a game changer.

Good luck with your decision, I know its a tough one.
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Old August 26th, 2013, 09:23 AM   #7
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Re: Why buy this?

Hi Woody

That's a nice wrap up of the FS100 ...If I was shooting mainly indoors I think I would go for an FS100 ...shooting in available light is way easier than setting up softboxes. However on my EA-50's I have a 9 socket CFL head that I bounce back into an umbrella and that is a great fill light and easy to set up (and won't melt the ice cream either)

George I think you know what to get now??? I don't think I would worry with an external recorder either!

BTW Woody "Mr Harding???" PLEASE not so formal ...it's Chris ...we are all friends here!

Chris
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Old August 26th, 2013, 09:59 AM   #8
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Re: Why buy this?

I agree with ya Chris. These "Why buy", "What should I buy", "Chevy vs. Ford" questions are hard to answer constructively with helping someone in mind. I can fully understand how a more shoulder friendly form factor could benefit someone in any kind of "Run and Gun" situation. I was on the fence between the FS-100 and the EA-50 as well and I was cringing over not having the power zoom when I ordered the FS from B&H.Most of my work is indoors but my hobby is outdoor video, wildlife and such and I'm happy with the FS outdoors too. I cheat though with tripods truck and tree mounts and even in the boat I have a boom mount on a seat post or use a tripod. :-)

http://i1149.photobucket.com/albums/...ps78140445.jpg
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Old August 26th, 2013, 01:50 PM   #9
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Re: Why buy this?

LOL. I know the 'what the hell should I buy' is a loaded path to go down.. for me, starts with budget, then what do I absolutely NEED to accomplish and what would be NICE to accomplish.

In my ''small market' world, I do a lot of run and gun b-roll where I need to be quick with manual focus / zoom asap. The stabilization that I utilize is a monopod, tripod or some variation of handheld + contort your body in uncomfortable ways. I am not used to rigs or vest systems at all. My last camera wasn't really shoulder mountable so I learned to hold it close to my chest and use walls/etc. to stabilize and did pretty well with that.

What I will be doing in a month or so will require more locked down / carefully planned shooting with flexibility to allow for some handheld b-roll. I have no doubt that paired with some nice glass, this is a perfect camera for this job. I normally light my interviews with something as simple as a reflector and a couple fresnels or more traditional 3-point setups (all tungsten because it's what I own).

After thinking about it a little more, my new concerns are:

a. Too front heavy (obvious solution: rails + lens collar)
b. LCD/Loupe too small to get an accurate read on focus (obvious solution: field monitor)
c. 8-bit and avchd makes me cry a little bit, but not many options at this price range.

PS: I love that mount in your boat lol.. maybe it will convince me to get outdoors once in awhile :D
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Old August 26th, 2013, 02:58 PM   #10
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Re: Why buy this?

A- I don't know how others feel but I don't feel its front heavy. I run the kit lens a lot and a 75-300 Minolta AF on a 2x teleconverter and Fotodiox adapter, so its out there and the handle position is perfect for that. It does feel a bit "Back heavy" when I run the small E-mount 50mm 1.8 indoors but it's a light set up with that lens and it can just about see in the dark with it, that one will make you a happy guy shooting indoors with OIS. Even the 2.8 pancake isn't to bad on it. So "Front heavy" I'm sure differs from person to person but glass will have a lot of influence.

B- I would recommend shortening the loupe by taking out the one center piece and using the velcro method. I did that and am going to go permanent with it but with the velcro it will allow you to put it back to OEM if you want to to sell it later (I don't plan to). The expanded focus button gives you 4 and 8 times magnification. It takes very little practice to use it and get good with it. You can also use the auto focus button that momentarily gives you auto focus to pull a quick focus and then let go and you're on manual again. I have the Sony external monitor but never used it with my FS.

C- Well, I still use my VG-10 as a "B" cam in controlled situations. Its a small body that will use the same lenses so its super handy for interviews and such but even though its 8bit and AVCHD as well, there is a huge difference between it and the FS-100. The quality differences are quite huge, especially when you get going with picture styles.

Depending on what you edit with you can make grading and color correcting simple with making your own presets. I've used Premiere pro for years and also graded in AE with Color Finesse for a long time. About a year ago I jumped on the Free Da Vinci Resolve train and love that. But all of these can have simple work flows to do what you need. I have "Run and gun" type picture profiles I use that I may only need to adjust contrast or do nothing in PP and I have profiles I use that are semi flat and flat with very little saturation. Sometimes I replace with a AE comp and grade some in AE and if I'm doing a real artsy project, which does come up, I batch convert in media encoder to cineform and run through Da Vinci Resolve. I have to admit I can get really geeky about Resolve and color grading as I've taken a shine to it.

But in all that crazy geek stuff the 8 bit out of the FS-100 holds up better than any other 8 bit I've worked with and without the artifacting most other cameras have you can do a lot with detail that you wouldn't think you could. The secret to the sauce comes down to using the right picture profile for the scene and knowing what to do with it in post and you will be amazed at what you can get away with. The sensor in the FS-100 does make a difference if you take advantage of it.
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Old August 26th, 2013, 03:35 PM   #11
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Re: Why buy this?

SOLD!

I've been interested in jumping on the Free Davinci Resolve bandwagon...
I edit (don't hurt me!) in FCPX and handle detailed grading/compositing/etc in After Effects..
I am not used to interchangeable lens setups, but have to learn sometime.

Lens choices: assume I will have the necessary adapters.

I will be using a variety of full frame, prime Canon lenses: a friend I'm working with is quite invested in these along with his 5d setup.

I am purchasing a zoom, just to have it, and have narrowed my choices to:

Sony f/2.8 28mm-75mm A-mount

OR

Sony 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 PZ OSS Alpha E-mount Lens

Reasoning: I plan on sticking with Sony for the the foreseeable future... don't want to invest in glass too heavily until I get a grasp on this system.


Also, can you share a link to some picture profiles?

Thanks
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Old August 26th, 2013, 04:09 PM   #12
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Re: Why buy this?

George, It's the same process for roundtripping from Resolve to FCPX pretty much as what I use in PP. You will just need to convert the M2Ts files for FCPX anyway so it's not any different of a work flow really. You just want to make sure what ever you use for converting files does batches.

I have a Minolta 35-70 I use indoors a lot and I also still use the 18-200 kit lens a lot as well. A 28-75 2.8 would be a dream doing interviews indoors. I'm not really a fan of primes because I have to reposition for changing from mid to close shots and would rather just be able to zoom for it. If I'm going to do both at once I'll get out a "B" cam. You'd have to go with your gut on which will suit you best but the Kit lens is a good outdoor bread and butter lens to get most jobs done.

Able Cine does have a picture profile for matching FS footage closely to that of a 5D. I've only used it a little but I've used other profiles and matched them close enough in color grading.

Able Cine PP
FS100 Scene Files from AbelCine | CineTechnica

Frank's site for PP's
G-Log Ultimate 1.0 Picture Profile for the Sony FS100 | Frank Glencairn

There's a compilation of PP's in a pdf but the only link I have to it is on another forum and not sure if that against the rules or not but it has most popular profiles on it. I also use Crooked Path flat and the James miller profiles a lot. They come up quick on google.
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Old August 26th, 2013, 04:20 PM   #13
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Re: Why buy this?

Going with the 28-75 because it's parfocal, the 18-200 is varifocal meaning it has an issue while zooming where it loses focus before (or after) the zoom,

I will link to work when done ; )

thanks again for the info.. this helps a great deal.
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Old August 26th, 2013, 04:37 PM   #14
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Re: Why buy this?

Lets see if this works for the PDF of picture profiles
Attached Files
File Type: pdf FS100_PP.pdf (496.2 KB, 1040 views)
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Old August 28th, 2013, 04:52 PM   #15
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Re: Why buy this?

It's a good time to buy the FS100 because at B&H they have a sale price that includes the Metabones EF adapter.

The only thing I disagree with in most of these comments is about not needing an ND filter unless you want a shallow DOF. The camera is so light sensitive with a native ISO of 500 that you can't go outdoors without an ND. Also, in most normal lighting situations in my studio shooting, I seem to be at a 5.6 most of the time, so I'll even use a ND indoors when I want a shallow DOF. The camera sees in the dark. It would be nice if you could drop the ISO down to 50, but 500 is as low as it will go.

I have a B+W .6 and B+W .9 ND, but when I got the FS100 I also got a Schneider variable ND. I really like that variable. I can decide what F-stop I want to shoot at--for example, a 2.8 for shallow DOF--then leave the lens there but adjust exposure with the filter, so DOF stays consistent.

I think the FS100 does AVCHD better than any other camera, and I have no problem at all with green screen work. I get the best keys I've ever done, with less hassle than ever, using Premiere Pro's basic keying (switching back to Avid or Sony Vegas in the near future because I don't want to do monthly payments for Adobe).
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