3 days with the Panasonic AG-AF100

19
Oct
2010
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DAY 1:

Well I just got back from Boston/ NY and am knackered. First thing I did was go to Panasonic HQ in Bracknell. Drop off the Gh2, the review of which is delayed as I have a faulty sample am afraid, and then picked up the AG-AF100 pre-production model (so image quality may not be same as retail version)

First off I need to point out this is a totally independent review/ analysis of the AF100. Panasonic are being completely hands off and letting me have free reign here. Hats off to them for this.

I will be updating this blog as I play with it and get to grips with it. It’s a funny looking camera and certainly looks better proportioned with a nice PL lens on it rather than still lenses but I am not interested in how sexy it looks. I care how well it performs in the following areas.

Low light

Moire

Aliasing

Rolling Shutter

Resolution

I will do as much testing as I can, unfortunately the timing is not ideal as I have a shoot tomorrow so I won’t get a chance to do anything with it. But first impressions are good. I have shot a little footage at 3200 ISO and it looks pretty damn good! Great to have features on the camera that I miss SOOOOO much on my DSLRs.

Great to have a 4 setting ND filter wheel. Great to have a really good quality waveform, XLR inputs, zebras, headphone jack (!), the list goes on and on…stuff I struggle with not having on my DSLRs.

First thing I did, despite my hideous jet lag was a quick and dirty low light test. In the devastation that used to be my kitchen I set the camera to 3200 ISO, stuck a Leica M mount Voigtlander 50mm 1.1 with Fotodiox adaptor (costs around $900 for the lens, an amazing lens), used a box of matches and a fat cuban cigar (smoking is bad, only lit it for the piece…mostly!) Unfortunately I have found out that it was ISO 2000, the 3200 ISO just said it was on this pre-production camera…have to wait to Japan to see it now.

One thing I noticed straight off is if you are serious about your filmmaking you will need to invest in a Nanoflash, Ki-Pro type device. 24mbs AVCHD is fine for most things but you simply are not getting the best out of the camera. The HD-SDI of the camera may only be 8-bit but with a nice I-Frame codec you will get a much better image out of it…this camera with a higher bit rate using an external recorder will be much more powerful.

3200 ISO Panasonic AF100 from Philip Bloom on Vimeo.

A qucik and dirty test of the low light of the AF100.

Voigtlander 50mm F1.1

3200 ISO

http://philipbloom.net/?p=11250

Ungraded

Music by Aphex Twin

DAY 2:

Unfortunately i have been working all day today on a proper shoot on so the AF100 stayed at home. Tomorrow is when i will do as much shooting as I can, with only 1 battery!

I have prepped the gear for what I need.

Got my Philip Bloom Kessler Crane Slider
Miller Compass head with Solo sticks
Zacuto counterbalanced handheld rig
Nanoflash with powerbase 70
Adaptors for Leica M, Canon EOS and Nikon lenses
7-14mm F4 M4/3 lens
Kit lens from my GH1
Various vintage Nikon lenses
Zeiss ZF 50mm, 85mm and 100mm
Canon 70-200 F4

So am am all ready to shoot tomorrow. I am not planning on making a “film” as such. I feel it’s more important to test out the different options, see how well it performs etc…I just hope that battery lasts!

Wish me luck!

Day 3:

It was a bumpy start! I put the one battery I had, ones which are designed for the HM150, on charge and when it was done that night to make sure I did not forget it I put it back on the camera before I went to sleep. That was a mistake as I had left the camera on so when I woke up and started fiddling with the camera. It was dead. The only day I had to shoot. The only battery I had. FLAT. Not good. I put out a desperate tweet, no joy. I emailed Panasonic who had no spares when I saw them two days earlier, got back to me saying they had two spares with chargers and they would bike them to me. THANK GOD! Although when they arrived they were the small batteries and both flat! Still we managed to make it work!

I met my good friend Suresh Kara from Documovie.co.uk, currently a 5DmkII shooter/ director but also an HPX 171 and prior to that an HVX owner so he was very keen on seeing this new camera.

Suresh from www.documovie.co.uk

Now this camera is only 75% finished. I get to play with a production version at the Panasonic factory in Osaka, Japan in November and will be shooting with it in Kyoto. For now I had to work within it’s limitations. Yes, it was buggy and fiddly but not enough to stop me shooting with it. Proper white balancing is part of the missing 25% as well as lots of other things including facial tracking focusing which is one of the tests I wanted to do with my kit lens from the GH1 which works so well on that camera.

We started off at a company called Livity in Brixton to see how well it worked under mixed lighting, fluorescents and daylight. I shot a small sequence in there before venturing onto the roof to get some nice high shots of the South London skyline. My 7-14mm lumix lens is a stonking lens. Minimal distortion and just bloody wide. Equivalent of a 14mm on a full frame camera. One downer is it’s F4, which caused me issues later on in the shoot. I also used the 80-200mm F2.8 Nikon push pull zoom and I did a few rolling shutter tests with it. Yes, skew is still present but pretty minimal with this lens. This you can see on my test footage. The camera with the 7-14mm lens on looks ridiculous. It’s so small! It looked SO much better with the big zoom on it!

We used my Kessler Crane Philip Bloom special edition Pocket Dolly inside the office. Worked a treat with the camera!! Again, this is on the test footage at the bottom of the blog.


7-14mm F4 lumix lens

80-200mm Nikon F2.8

From the roof onwards I shot dual AVCHD and Nanoflash XDCAM 422 160mb/s. I will show the footage side by side later this week in a separate blog with full frame screen grabs, right now I just concentrated on the native 24mb/s AVCHD footage.

After that I did some handheld stuff with an absolute frankenrig I knocked together from some of my Zacuto parts. Using the counter balance weight, an arm for the Nanoflash and a Switronix Powerbase 70 to power the Nanoflash.

Handheld


Although I did bring with my a Canon EOS lens I didn’t bother. With no way to control the aperture I stuck with my full manual lenses I understand someone is making an aperture controllable EOS mount at the moment. I need that! Mostly I used some really old Nikons that I own. In particular a 50mm F1.2 I picked up from ebay for about $250 and a 10 year old 80-200mm zoom. These lenses performed really well and I was swapping a lot as Suresh will tell you! I also used the Sigma F1.4 30mm. It’s a four thirds lens so needs an adaptor, but it’s the same glass as I recommend for T2i/ 7d users. A cracking lens!

I got some cracking shallow depth of field with the 50mm and the joy of this camera is I was able to maintain the perfect shutter speed for optimum film motion and more or less be at the aperture I wanted due to the 4 wheel ND filter. No need for a Vari ND here. Something I have become use to with my DSLRS and it does work a treat. But coming from a video camera background having proper NDs built into the camera was a real joy.

Between two NDs

The menus are more reminiscent of the HM line than the HPX line, a bit more basic but still got lots of tweaks in there for picture adjustment. To be honest I did not take not of the exact settings I had in there. I don’t know Panasonic cameras as well as my Sony or Canon cameras. I did set it to Cine V gamma and had the sharpness down to -7 as well as some other things.

I set the camera to 50hz as I shot at 1080p 25p, you can set to 59.97hz for the US frame rates and 24p. I also set it to film mode so instead of gain I had ISO. It was slightly odd in that you have 3 settings on the gain switch low, medium and high and you can assign one in a set range for each one. I am so used to gain on video cameras, for them to suddenly become different ISOs was interesting. The lowest ISO is 200, the highest is 3200 (but not working on this pre-prodution camera) Not 5Dmk2 good but better than the 7D for sure. In film mode you can set your shutter to 180 degrees for perfect film motion, so even when you change frame rates it stays at 180 degrees. One thing you need to be aware of you can only shoot one format per card. So if you switch between 50 and 59.97 hertz use separate cards.

The waveform/ vectorscopes are fantastic, 100 times better than what the histogram on the Canon DSLRs. A very accurate way of judging exposure. The viewfinder on the other hand was not good, but that because this is not the one that will end up on the final camera. Just a temporary one. So I used the LCD screen all the time and sometime my Marshall 5″ HDMI monitor. The LCD screen is actually pretty good. You can help get focus by adding detail on and there is a peaking option too…No digital zoom in that I could tell, but that may be added in the 25% to come, or not!

I actually did not record any XLR audio. It’s there, I am sure it works a treat. It’s a proper video camera after all with XLRs, levels, a headphone jack. The thing that REALLY excited me was the overcrank mode. I could record 1080p 25p at 50FPS or 60FPS in 24p mode!! Wonderful, no more limited to 720p mode here! The overcrank in this camera is simply beautiful. I used to shoot so much slow motion with my EX1/ Letus combo but obviously not possible with my 5Dmk2 and the 720p 50p/60p of the 7D has so much moire and aliasing that it gets me down, shoot shallow depth of field and it works fine as demonstrated in my film “As the water”

Being able to shoot full HD overcranked to 50FPS or 60 and the ability to record high quality audio in camera has totally sold me on this camera.

Other upsides of the camera. It takes just about any lens with the right adaptor. Everything from PL to Leica M. Really useful that! Loads of really accessible and useful buttons on the outside include the ability to easily switch to overcrank at the touch of a button. I have heard rumours that you can change the speed during a shot but I was not able to do that. This may be because of the 25% or you simply may not be able to!

The US list price is pretty damn good too. It’s a lot of video camera for the money! Here in England we are a bit screwed as always. So frustrating that.

Yes it is a bit ugly, especially with little lenses…but I would rather have a camera that performs really well and was a bit odd looking than a beautiful camera that shoots ok pictures. But still a nice manly lens on there and she looks WAY better!

It has an interval record feature, but like all the other Panasonic cameras it is not as good as the Sony EX1/ Ex3 as there is no slow shutter and undercrank only goes to 12FPS. But still it is there and that is a good thing. Being the timelapse junky that I am in does not come anywhere near the power of a DSLR for timelapse though. NOWHERE NEAR…

Downsides, UK price…ugly, menus a bit fiddly (but this may improve with the production version), sensor size being micro four thirds means most of your 35mm lens are a bit telephoto. With a 2x crop from a full frame 35mm sensor you lose a lot on those lenses. So my 50mm gives me a field of view of 100mm. That is the biggest issue. On the wide end I have my Lumix 7-14mm, not the cheapest lens in the world but pretty DAMN good. Sharp and rectalinear. SO minimal distortion. BUT it’s F4 so at night it was a struggle. I was trying to get a good shot of the London eye and I simply could not get it all in. My F4 at 3200 ISO was too dark and my next lens from that is my 30mm F1.4 Sigma which is like 60mm EFL.

Ergonomics…it’s awkward handheld. More so than the other cameras of this size due to still lenses being used. It needs a handheld rig. I used a big zacuto one but I think I may adapt one of my smaller DSLR rigs from them instead…

Panasonic urgently need to bring out some fast wide lenses. it’s the single biggest issues with the camera. Now there is an Olympus 14-35mm F2, now that’s bloody fast for a zoom. It’s pricey but this is the next best lens to use for this camera.

It was a real pleasure shooting with this camera, wide lenses and pre-production aside. The low light was really good, not full frame DSLR amazing but MILES better than my GH1. User friendly. Great exposure assistants like waveform and zebras. Two features to help you focus. Proper sound. Minimal rolling shutter but best of all. I could not see ANY moire or aliasing in things that would show up with my DSLRs normally…this is a big deal. I would actually like to see this camera in front of a chart and i HATE charts!

The AVCHD 24mb’s is OK… My short “South” below is totally ungraded. I think something like the Atomos , Nanoflash , P2 gear or the KiPro mini are going to be essential for serious filmmakers. AVCHD is fine for a lot of stuff, just don’t expect it to hold up to too much…

The real question…and I loathe this question but get asked a lot. “IS IT A DLSR KILLER?”….the answer is simply no.No camera is a “killer”, cameras can quite happily and should co-exist! There is a market for them all. Sure when this type of thing becomes more common when Sony and Canon do something similar more pros with larger pockets will start using them but they are different to DSLRs, bigger and more expensive and this camera is priced pretty aggressively am sure the Sony and Canon offerings will struggle to match this price point.

It’s another tool for a cinematographer like myself to use. I would choose this over my 5Dmk2 for many things, I would also happily use it in conjunction. For recording sound in camera, filming actuality (this is a great documentary camera and great for wedding shooters too, great for one man band and great low light) , getting easier focus and amazing slow motion this wins hands down. But the DSLRs are cheaper, lenses are less of an issue, are smaller, less conspicuous, shoot better timelapse, I can take multiple bodies with me…there are loads of reasons why I will continue to shoot with my Canons or whatever other DSLRs I end up buying. Will I buy this camera the moment it comes out? Bloody right. It performed so well, despite being 75% finished, and was a joy to shoot with but more importantly I was very happy with the images I got. I still could get my beloved shallow depth of field, sure not 5dmk2 or 7d shallow but not far off the APS-C. i cannot wait to go to Japan and shoot with the finished camera!

At the moment I am purely guessing the latitude, i need to get the camera set up better so anything i say could be wrong so I will stay quiet on that for now!

So…should you buy an AF100 instead of a Canon DSLR?  Well it has many plusses, the lack of moire and aliasing. Less rolling shutter skew, proper sound, better focusing and exposure assist. Proper SDI and HDMI clean outs and loads more. But it’s just different…it’s a video camera. This is not a convergence camera! Don’t expect to be taking awesome stills and video with this. THIS IS A VIDEO CAMERA! That is not a bad thing, it’s a good thing. I have missed video cameras. Welcome back, but I will still have my 5D or two in my bag. There is so much I love about my DSLRs still! This is like a replacement for my EX1 and 35mm adaptor.

I am looking forward to getting a production GH2 as the pre one I had was very buggy, it could be a killer B-camera for the AF100…especially as you can shoot awesome time-lapse with it! ;)

Below is the test short film I shot called “South”. I am currently editing together a few test shots of handheld, rolling shutter etc that I will upload straight after so keep an eye out for that too!

The short is very much one of my snapshots of people and places that I love to do…very much like my older 35mm adaptor work.

South: Test film shot with Panasonic AF100 from Philip Bloom on Vimeo.

Shot in South London and the South Bank with a 75% finished Panasonic AF100 and Lumix and Nikon lenses.

Read more on my blog here! http://philipbloom.net/2010/10/19/af100/

Music by Shigeru Umebayashi
“George’s Waltz”

Here is a commentary….don’t press play on video until I tell you to and then press pause on video when I say…

Commentary for South: AF100 test film by PhilipBloom

AF100 test shots from Philip Bloom on Vimeo.

Here are some tests by other people to check out!!!

Panasonic AG AF-100 01/02 evaluation footage by CREWS.TV from Yves Simard on Vimeo.

Panasonic AG-AF100 test II from Filippo Chiesa on Vimeo.

New video filmed on Panasonic AG-AF100 (last release), mixed with Canon 5D MK II BTS footage.
NO GRADING!

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Comments

  1. Juan says:

    Did you notice if the AF-100 keep the focus from 80 to 200mm?
    when you focus on tele and you go back to 80….

    thanks

    1. pbloom says:

      still hate the push pull though

    2. tonyk says:

      This camera sports a four-thirds sensor, right? Most of us want to shoot 1.78 or 1.85. That means a lot of wasted sensor space. An APS-C format sensor would have made more sense.

      1. Philip Bloom says:

        Not for Panasonic who use the M43 sensor in the GH1 and GH2. This is the format they have invested in. You are thinking of four thirds in 4:3 terms which is wrong way to do it. All sensors are more or less like that anyway unless they are dedicated 16:9 sensors which stills cameras at not…if you look at the M43 sensor inside the af101 you will see you are not losing anything.

  2. Piers Goodhew says:

    The “Aliasing” test was showing a lot of purple fringing – were you on the far end of some long lens? Even if you were, I hope that’s addressed in those last 25%, I wouldn’t want too much of that in my footage.

    PS, the point you made, “there will never be a perfect camera”, probably needs to be made more often.

    1. pbloom says:

      that was a 200x zoom in with post…i should add a caption…

    2. Brad McGiveron says:

      Ya I noticed this as well, and in general the other footage I have seen seems to contain a fair amount of purple fringing in any exposed areas… which can sort of be expected but is clearly not as much of a problem for the 5D, for example. Maybe its just the first batch of footage and users learning the sweet spots for the camera and which lenses perform best.

  3. Rolf Silber says:

    “The AF101 feels much more of a generalist camera. ”

    This is exactly where the drive really may come from in the end – being a dedicated generalist I already succumbed

  4. Brant says:

    Phillip, so I can fully understand (being a video guy and not a film or still guy), the Nikon primes I use with my Letus and HVX, will essentially all be multiplied by x2 with this camera? In other words, if I shoot the full frame of my Letus with my 80 f2.0, that same lens on this Panny would become a 160!? (Like zooming in on the Letus frame?)

    Your mention of the Olympus 14-35 f2 is tempting. So that would become equivalent of a 28-70mm, and similar to coverage I currently have on my primes and Letus?

    And would you say the the relative softness of your images (compared to crew.tv test with model) is due to the glass you were using, combined with your -7 detail reduction? Or mostly just due to the fact they had a $12,000 lens on their test camera?

  5. Jaap says:

    Curious how the BBC will rate this camera. (with the Nanoflash)

    Do you get artifacts when keeping the sharpness under -7? (why did you choose that setting?)

  6. JSK says:

    Philip, you write the Olympus 14-35 f2 was the “next best lens.”
    Which did you think was the best?

    I’d also love to hear more thoughts about lenses for documentary work.

  7. Havard says:

    Thanks for the test Philip, glad to see the rolling shutter isn’t really evident until you abruptly switch panning direction.

    I think that the footage would look even better if shot with the Cinelike D (D for dynamic range) gamma setting instead of Cine V. This is at least the case with previous Panasonic models, HVX200 and such. I’m guessing the CREWS.TV footage is shot with this setting as it looks a tad more flat than yours and the Alfa Romeo footage.

    What lens would you recommend for a scenario where you have to be able to get a fair shot in every situation without having to switch lenses? Would be nice to just have a “safe” lens for shoots when you don’t know what to expect and just have one chance at a situation.

    Great review, keep em’ coming :-)

  8. Nicholas Natteau says:

    Hi Philip,

    Thanks so much for posting this film. With its current max AVCHD bit rate of 24 Mbps, did you notice any artifacting issues in complex scenes. Perhaps 24 Mpbs is sufficiently higher than 17Mbps to handle complex scenes like a camp fire, running water, fast action. I wouldn’t know.

    The reason I ask is that I’m thinking of holding onto my hacked GH1, in the event the GH2 or AF100’s max 24Mbps bitrate might not be hackable.

    1. Philip Bloom says:

      I havent done enough tests to be honest

  9. I have to admit the long zoom lens looked so big that it would break off the camera..

  10. Steve M. says:

    I realize it’s a 75% finished camera, but if I were to base a decision of buying this from the available video I’ve seen, I certainly would not buy this camera. Mind you, not that it’s bad video, just not worth the price tag. I’ll stick with my 5Ds.

  11. Philip, you weren’t kidding about the great overcrank! WOW! It looks so fluid and smooth. I think you sold me on this camera already. The only thing I have to do now is find one in person and see the glory for myself!

  12. Edu says:

    Nice footage, Phil! I am impressed with the lack of aliasing and moire, as I have a GH1. I wonder what was the shutter speed you used in the skew test…
    I think one of the main advantage of such a camera will be the possibility of cinema/video people to have a proper video camera instead of adapting a dslr for such a job. Naturally the dslr will become a B camera, very suitable for it and like you said, with better results in some shots wit, for instance, time lapse. But the AF100 presents the advantages of interchangeable lenses to an affordable price range in video cameras, and the years of 5D, GH1, 7D, T2i will be remembered as the necessary step to it.

  13. Jon Roemer says:

    As a long time still photographer moving into video the one thing that jumps out at me is how much I dislike the look of the wide angle pans (rooftop, fish market, office.)

    It has nothing to do with what this camera brings to the market in terms of features, tools, etc., and is really just determined by the chip size. Maybe those coming from video/film are more used to it but the wide pans have so much pulling and skewing in the corners.

    One aspect about the AG-AF100 I’m curious about is dust. On an HDSLR it’s a matter of cleaning the chip (actually the glass covering the chip), is the AG-AF100 similar? Is there one glass cover between the lens and the internals to be cleaned? Is it as accessible as a HDSLR? Are the ND filters behind that or do they present a potential dust issue, too?

    1. Philip Bloom says:

      the ND filters are in front of the sensor…i get that pulling and skewing if i do a wide pan with my Canon 14mm, it’s not designed for movement…every wide angle lens I have ever used as wide as that has distortion and when you move that is when you see it. no way around it…

      1. Jon Roemer says:

        Philip – I realize that the ND filters are in front of the sensor. What I meant was are they open to the air or are they themselves behind a cover glass/ir filter/etc.? IOW, does using them introduce another surface between the lens and the chip which could have dust?

        Thanks for all the info, your wonderful work, and the great site!

  14. Rabot says:

    Ahaha, the test shot montage was really funny to watch imo.

    1. Philip Bloom says:

      i hate tests. so i made it brief. the real test for me was south!

  15. Wilson Filho says:

    Just bookmarked this post.
    Great job philip, congratulations!

  16. Jon Chema says:

    love “south.” great shots and the soundtrack really set a mood

  17. Filip Staresinic says:

    Just one question Philip, maybe you still didn’t done propper tests to tell that but, Has this camera better image quality then 5DMk2 or not. I know the diference between shooting DSLR and video camera(i have HVX200). But just picture quality in this way you were shooting. Ignore rolling shutter and aliasing isues and dof, if you shoot with wide lens bouth. Which has better picture quality? I ask this because us no budget filmmakers are only for picture quality and price, other isues we can improvise.

    1. Philip Bloom says:

      totally different aesthetic…

      1. Lutz Reinke says:

        Hi Philip,

        first of all thanks a lot for testing the AF100.
        I thought about buying one,but now I’m not that sure anymore… I need a camera to shoot a Trailer. The image should be really cinematic… like in a Fantasy Film…

        If you were in my place, which camera would you choose…
        Which camera has the more cinematic fantasy look to it?

        AF100, 5D, 7D, 1DMarkIV or even GH1?

        Thanks in advance!

        1. Philip Bloom says:

          any of them will work well. Use what you can.

  18. Rieni Otten says:

    Thanks for all your efforts Phil and compliments for being able to produce these 3 short movies in so little time. I would go nuts!

    Footage looks great, great cam. Another big difference between the 5D and AF100 that you didn’t mention yet is the 12 minute time limit on the 5D, the AF100 doesn’t have any time limit at all, right? I find the 12 minute limit on the Canons very problematic.

    1. Philip Bloom says:

      it’s a video camera so it’s not something I mention. There is no time limit on this camera.

  19. Bruno Nicko says:

    Hi Phillip! Did you notice any rolling shutter issues?

  20. Steve Richer says:

    You mention issue of 7-14 being too slow, and 2x crop factor of Sigma 30 1.4 being too telephoto. Was Tokina your 11-16 2.8 not an option with this cam?

    1. Philip Bloom says:

      no aperture control was the issue.

      1. jeremiah says:

        Did you happen to try the 11-16 with ISO set to 100 and ND clicked up to max? I’ve used one with my hacked GH1 and a fader ND and it worked pretty good…

  21. james says:

    i have a hmc151 kit, based near bracknell too, if you ever need one of those batteries again!

  22. Roei says:

    great work and effort.. thanks :)

    as i wrote you on dvxuser,
    i’m very interested in the difference between the af100 and GH2.
    as i wait for Scarlet, i only have a few hundred $ to invest in the meantime.

    so if i can’t find the hacked GH1 i’ll be glad to know the GH2 is close to the af100..

    1. Philip Bloom says:

      hoping to get gh2 soon

  23. stewart munro says:

    Gaday Mr Bloom how do you think a Canon EF 15mm f/2.8 Fisheye Len or http://zenitar16.com/zenitar-16mm-canon.html will come out looking on this camera?I shot bmx and Im hoping this camera will work well with this fisheye!

    1. Philip Bloom says:

      nah…would crop too much to a 30mm equivalent. I believe there is an 8mm M43 coming out

  24. Dennis Kane says:

    Clarification please, is a “stonking lens ” a good lens ?

    1. Philip Bloom says:

      yes it’s corking

      1. Clarification please: does “corking” mean a “good” lens?

        ;-)

        1. Tom Lenham says:

          Yes, he means it’s blinding

  25. Cinemaniac says:

    Philip;
    The footage from “South” was absolutely breathtaking.
    Having seen your previous footage from lesser cameras
    in the past, you do have a gift no matter what camera you touch –
    no question about it!
    Thank you for sharing this.
    George

    1. Philip Bloom says:

      Thanks so much George

  26. Ian Ogden says:

    Great review. I wouldnt mind knowing which lense you used for each shot, to figure out what was achieved for what price. It seems like no matter what, its all about the lenses, but the video camera form factor and XLRs are the main reasons to buy this camera for me.

    Any ideas what, if any, lenses will ship with it?

    1. Philip Bloom says:

      you won’t get any lenses with it…i will do a VO for the short Ian

  27. Cinemaniac says:

    Philip;
    One question; what camera did you use for “Skywalker Ranch”?
    George

  28. Philipp Sokolean says:

    Maybe I wasn’t reading carefully enough but I couldn’t find the price of the camera anywhere in your post. You’d do me an enormous favor by telling me :)

    1. Philip Bloom says:

      Depends on where you live…US is around $4500

      1. Are there import restrictions on buying cameras in the USA or will you just not have the PAL features?

  29. Wow! I really dig the lack of aliasing and moire with this camera. Guess the low pass filter really works.

    However, no CMOS chip will ever solve the whip-pan conundrum, I guess… you need CCDs for that (like the Ikonoskope has).

    I am still not completely sold on this camera. Main problem I have is that aside from the body, I would have to buy a couple of wide angle lenses, yet Panasonic’s lenses are too slow/variable. Sure, you could put on different lenses, with an adapter, but you loose in-camera control. The other is the codec – I want to know what it means for my workflow: do you need to transcode or can CS5 handle the AVCHD natively? Or should you invest in a separate recorder?

    If you could share an AVCHD clip with us, that would be truly great.

    Finally – does this camera have a LANC connection? Besides being perfect as a second camera for doing interviews (built-in XLR audio), I can imagine mounting this one on a 12-foot Kessler jib/crane and it would be nice if you could control some features remotely, like focus/zoom. If that would be made available in the remaining 25%, I would happily buy a few (fast) Panasonic lenses that allow for such control on this camera. It’s either that, or investing in wireless motors for use with DSLRs.

    1. Philip Bloom says:

      no chance of a lanc am afraid

      1. Too bad – another thing that makes me go hmmmm…

      2. That’s surprises me. No LANC. Or even the I/O there physically, with a promise to implement the best they can on future firmware updates. With a full camcorder, one expects that option for multiple shooting needs. ‘Hope Canon and other competitors are paying attention on this for how they’re going to wow us. ;~)

        1. Philip Bloom says:

          how can it have a LANC when it doesn’t have a video lens on it?

          1. Including a LANC would be an excellent reason for users to buy Panasonic’s lenses if only these can be controlled with it. Just like the in-camera autofocus features will be. So unless that autofocus feature works miracles, without the LANC, I am not so sure of whether to buy this camera…

            1. Philip Bloom says:

              Lanc is for video lenses, these aren’t video lenses so will never happen…

              1. Richard says:

                Ok. So only video lenses can be controlled internally because they have special motors? Isn’t LANC nothing more than a protocol that communicates with the motors inside those lenses?

                1. Philip Bloom says:

                  yes but you would need a specially designed still lens to take the lanc and none exist. this camera only takes stills lenses.

                  1. Richard says:

                    All I am saying is that it might be a good reason for Panasonic to design such lenses, as it would open up another market for them and help them sell glass for this camera (which is where they’ll make the most margin).

    2. Ben Hickson says:

      The “whip pan” thing is solved by CMOS’s already. Look at the RED and the Alexa and the D21 and SI-2K and the digital back proposed by Aaton for the Penelope. Everything in that price range. It’s a function of something called “recycle rate” the DSLR’s do it slow. The digital cinema cameras do it fast. It’s the same technology, it just costs more. From worst to best you can see Nikon D90, Canon 7D, Pana GH1, RED. The nikon was the only one people couldn’t work with. Oh and at even more of a low end you can see the iPhone 3GS.

      If you can get in touch with Adam Mills at High-End TV in Nashville, he can explain it all.

      Oh and Richard, before you invest in a seperate recorder like the Ki-Pro, contact Cineform. I think you’ll be pleased :) .

      1. Thanks Ben, I know how Cineform works – basically they reinterprete an 8-bit 4:2:0 compressed file and make a 10-bit 4:2:2 file out of it. That’s like taking a RAW picture from a printed JPEG. I do agree that as a result of this, you’ll probably be able to better manipulate the colors in post with Cineform than if you were to wrangle the 8-bit compressed file.

        However, Adobe CS5 does something similar, but they do it on-the-fly. As soon as the file lives in their applications it operates in 32-bit float mode. See this comment on Shane Hurlbut’s blog: http://www.hurlbutvisuals.com/blog/2010/09/17/when-a-small-move-makes-all-the-difference-kessler-cranes-cineslider/comment-page-1/#comment-4668

  30. Alex da Silva says:

    Great short Philip the music selection is superb.
    The camera shows a lot of promise and it will be nice to have all these “video” features back. Looks like a a good option for a reasonable price (in the US).

  31. Jason McDonald says:

    If you need any help while you’re in Japan, let me know.

  32. Martin Oller says:

    Hmmmmm… i dunno… GH1 does all i need atm except the bloody scewing… IF if if just Red gets the Scarlet going for 6k and with the HDR chip… this would in comparison be just another random video cam and an awkward lot of money for what it is (no im not a RED lover, i’m just waiting for the camera that’s actually closer to film than video). I mean you dont buy AF100 to shoot in AVCHD, either do it right or actually stick to the Canons and your GH1 for the highdetail shots. Or EX + adapter. Or buy this. I’ve been sold on AF100 last few months but really, don’t see why i shouldnt wait for Scarlet cus if it has the Epic HDR chip for any price bellow 10k that’s just MAGIC right there.

    1. Brenton Steinhilber says:

      Reasons to NOT wait for the Scarlet:

      1 – Who knows how long you’ll be waiting…
      2 – The big difference between the two (Scarlet and EPIC) is processing power inside the camera. That means frame rates and REDCODE capabilities. EPIC has every capability. Scarlet does not. EPIC has all the “hard stuff”.
      3 – Who knows, at this point, what specs it will ship with. Obviously they are having a lot of troubles with the features they’ve promised at the price range they’ve allowed themselves. They’re even saying it was a mistake to go this route. Will the HDRX (isn’t that what it’s called? Maybe I’m mistaken) mode, in fact, be on the camera? Will the price still be in competition with this camera? Or even a good HDSLR (not looking like it)?

      Too many problems, too many “what ifs” and too little confidence. If a camera comes along that I like, I’m gonna buy that and the thought of “should I wait for a Scarlet?” will no longer enter my head.
      Hey, I’d be happy as heck if the Scarlet came out and proved me wrong, if it comes out and is, indeed, the best camera in the market for the price, I’ll be a happy camper. But, honestly, I just don’t see that happening anymore…
      And, unfortunately, the Panasonic isn’t for me, either. Just never been a huge Panny fan. Plus that codec. Meh.

      Oh well, here’s to waiting and enjoying the ride along the way. Cheers.

      1. Richard P says:

        Everything you say is true apart from point 2. The frame rates are the same. 150fps burst at 3k. The big difference is the sensor size and the bit rate. They differ.

        Other than that, it’s a painful ride. RED is cool in one sense. It wants to push the camera world and bring out something revolutionary. But the constant bullshit surrounding the release date is getting tiresome. They are now saying early 2011. Going by track record, this wont happen. And I think that they should start being honest about that. Just say, early 2012. That would be more likely. Thing is, people still believe these release dates and unfortunately schedule new equipment around them.

        This panny is not right for me either. The fact that it STILL can’t shoot 1080p at 50fps is somewhat laughable. IMO

        For now, I’ll stick to my EX1 and dslr for all the artsy stuff

        Peace

      2. Robert Marty says:

        Do consider the Sony F3.
        Thats a bomb and a half.
        Yes its hefty on the price tag, but worth every penny.
        The Sony can even do 60p at full resolution.

        1. Philip Bloom says:

          are you sure about the 1080p 60p?

  33. It is lovely seeing AF100 footage in a real project- gives one so much more feel for the camera’s capabilities! Thank you for taking the time to produce and post this (and reply to all the comments!)

    As Stu said of your work “sometimes there are literally SEVERAL things in focus!” :) But great to see that the depth of field achievable is plenty shallow enough for any storytelling purposes of mine.

    Quick question- do you know if the sensor has automatic dust removal? Shooting with primes and swapping lenses a lot would be a real challenge without (Like the early Canon dSLRs). I guess the sensor is easier to clean as m4/3 has such a shallow flange distance, but having to inspect and blower brush at every lens change is no fun especially in a fairly dusty environment…

    I didn’t spot any dust bunnies in South… did you have to inspect/clean the sensor a lot?

    1. Philip Bloom says:

      the ND filter covers the sensor so it’s a bit protected.

  34. Kyle says:

    Would this camera be better suited over DSLRs for action sports like surfing & skating? The 7D is tough with focus as the subject moves so frequently.

    1. Philip Bloom says:

      sure, it would be better.

  35. John Hoare says:

    Great work Philip!
    I’m buying one of these asap… but I’ve yet to locate a satisfactory run-and-gun zoom lens which has the same f-stop throughout the zoom range, and is reasonably fast ( <= f2.8). So I'm thinking one-man band interview in low light, where I am crash-zooming in and out between answers. I'm prepared to pay for good glass, but eg a Cooke cine zoom would be crazy front-heavy…
    Thoughts anyone?

  36. Jaap says:

    Wondering how the rolling shutter compares to the RED ONE. (since that’s also a CMOS camera)

  37. […] Bloom has had his hands on an pre-production AG-AF100 and you see his initial reactions on his blog here. He has also graciously allowed us to reproduce his sample videos […]

  38. NatureBoy says:

    Philip. My warning radar went off the moment you mentioned the “Nano flash and Zacuto rig” in relationship to this camera. Out of the box a $4500 video camera may need $3500 in upgrades to “Work” properly in a professional setting?

    That price does not include a nice brace of primes/batt’s matte box etc. Think I will pass on this latest panasonic effort.

    1. Philip Bloom says:

      you don’t have to buy any of that…i was just trying it out!

      EVERY camera needs primes, batts, etc. I just don’t get why people are so freaked out by the price of this camera. Was the EX1, HVX, HPX etc that long ago?

      1. Ben Hickson says:

        AGREED PHIL!!

        Get over the price! Look at a $10,000 EX1 or EX3 or whatever. Then add another $6,000 for a proper Letus rig. $16,000 before shoulder rig, monitor, recorder, and oh yeah, lenses.

        $4500 is AMAZING!

        It looks like you have some sort of ENG cam on your shoulder in your avatar. How much was that? I’d venture it was much more…

        1. Ben Richardson says:

          Sounds like the 24Mbps AVCHD vs. I-Frame only recorder thing might not be such a big deal… http://crews.tv/blog/2010/10/22/af100-curveball/

        2. Richard P says:

          $10,000 for an EX1?? Where did you buy that? and $6000 for a Letus? Dude, you need to shop around. I managed to get my EX1 and Letus for £5500 ($8700)

    2. sean dailey says:

      still, that’s super cheap for a “professional setting.”

  39. Ufo says:

    Clarification please: does yes mean yes?

  40. Jaap says:

    That’s just how the market works at the moment: Reasonable priced body, but the rest is expensive.
    Take the RED in a $$$$$$$$ feature film production environment: We all know the price of the bear body, but then… Lenses, HDD, batts, remote focus, rigs, viewfinder, LCD screen etc. etc. etc.

    But yes, looking at the market for the AF-100 it could be a bit more complete and less clumsy.
    But it’s a good start for an addition for to the prosumer market.

    Philip, how do you start and stop the Nanoflash recorder when having the rig on your shoulder?

    1. Philip Bloom says:

      it’s triggered by timecode

  41. Very nice work. You’ve got great eyes.

    Well, I was on the fence about this one. I wish you had produced this set with AVCHD instead of the nanoflash. The nano is a fabulous item and that is where the future is clearly. In my opinion though, Canon has their eyes wide open. With the amount of money I have in Canon Glass, a good option for us MUST be right around the corner. For sure, your videos SOLD ME on the Nano…

    I know Canon is reading every post here, so here is a few items we hope you are considering:

    10 bit out of the HD-SDI

    1. Philip Bloom says:

      This was all done in AVCHD…you have misread the blog. I recorded both for comparison but this all AVCHD 24mbs

  42. Philip,

    Since this is a video camera how well would it work for event shooting running into a switcher for live broadcast? I know there’s an SDI out, is there a better option for running a signal out?

  43. M says:

    Can you use the Nanoflash with the Canon 5DMii?
    And is there a site pointing the workflow of the nanoflash you can recommend?

    Also do you still use your EX3? Is that your favorite camera?

  44. Jaap says:

    @Chris Weatherly:
    HD-SDI is fantastic, it’s being used for both broadcast and digital cinema.
    And it’s so damn simple, cheap cables etc.

    1. M says:

      but you can use it with the ex3 then?

        1. M says:

          great! Any links on Nano flash info, and work flow?

          thanks!

          I buy most of the items you use for 3 years now:)!

    2. Thanks Jaap! I’ve got a non-profit I work for looking to do a 3 camera set up for live broadcast, and thought I could us the AF-100 for that and then filed work as well. It seems to be the perfect solution.

  45. Coop says:

    PHILIP, any idea if the production model is going to have image stabilization built into the body? When I switched from the HVX200 to the 5D, the 2 features I missed the most were the XLR inputs and built-in image stabilizer. The AF100 takes care of the audio issue, but what about the stabilizer??

    1. Stephen S. says:

      No stabilizer in the body, but Panasonic lenses with Mega OIS stabilization built in will work.

      1. Coop says:

        WEAK! I wanna use all my Canon lenses and have in-body stabilization! Huge disappointment, you make me sad Panasonic…

        1. Philip Bloom says:

          Don’t blame Panasonic. Blame Canon for making hard to communicate lenses!!

  46. AL in LA says:

    I know you’re not an autofocus-kind-of guy, but when you used your GH1 kit lens on the AF100 did it autofocus as fast as the GH1?

    1. Philip Bloom says:

      was not working well on the pre-production camera…will test more when i get it back

      1. Josh Deigo says:

        Awesome service you provide the planet! I would like a definitive answer to the Lumix OIS and Autofocus question since I own all the lenses for my GF1. I need a good run and gun interview cam to go with my 5D. Cheers!

  47. Erik Naso says:

    Great test footage all around. Really like the way this camera looks. Like most I don’t have any M43 lenses to go with the camera. The Oly 14-35 looks like a great fast/wide solution. What would be a good complement in the normal to tele?

      1. Erik says:

        Very funny. Maybe brand/models/ is more what I was looking for. From the looks of this comment page I get the short answer. Cheers!

    1. Una Real says:

      The Oly 35-100?

  48. […] here to Read Phil’s opinion. […]

  49. Robert says:

    Why does Panasonic keep using the AVCHD codec. I had the GH1 and really loved it with the hack, but even working with a Avid Media Composer 5.1 that takes in AVCHD natively it was a hugh pain. It would not take it direct from the camera, you would have to put it on your media drive which would take forever then take it from the drive to the Composer. Once in the program it looked sweet but way to much down time. H264 just drags and drop so I am going to a buy a 7D now. I think there will be many cameras like this in the near future. I will be happy as DSLR are very hard to work with as I have been a professional cameraman for over 25 years and started with 8mm film and 3/4 inch two piece camera systems. It is just amazing the quality that these DSLR’s record to. These young guys have it really easy today. Try editing with a 3/4 inch cuts only system and the tape rips at 3 in the mourning, I really have seen it all!

  50. Great short, loved it.
    Literally made me dream about buying a 7-14mm lens.

    1. Philip Bloom says:

      thanks so much Jesse

  51. Hello, Philip, thank you for this. It is much appreciated. I for one will probably hold out for the scarlet as I do mostly music videos and the 7d/5d work great for me at the moment.

    It’s amazing how many times I see the same questions OVER and OVER again. All the useful information gets crowded with pages and pages of FOV questions that can be found.

    Thanks again Philip.

  52. Patrick Z says:

    South was amazing!

    The 2x crop seems really awkward, especially if you own a lot of primes. One reason someone would specifically want to go with a 50mm on 1.6 or full frame is so that there is no barrel distortion in the image. In order to get a 50mm though you’d have to use a 24mm which I’d think you’d get some distortion. If this is the case the DSLRs still rule in tight spaces and you don’t want distortion. Would you agree?

    1. chris says:

      Well, I feel there will be (if not already) 4/3’s lenses to address barreling issues. But how come nobody mentions the other end of the spectrum? This being that your 200 2.8 would be a 400 2.8. A 400/2.8 cost about $4500. Step that equation up to a 400/f4, not you have a 800/f4.

      I feel the 4/3 wide lens issue will be addressed, by panasonic or somebody else…

      1. Patrick Z says:

        i’d love to shoot at 400 2.8 but i think that need for indie filmmakers/documentarians doesn’t come up as often as needing to shoot wide in a tight space.

        having said that, if other wides are coming out for 4/3 then i’ll get this camera simply because i’m so tired of worrying about moire especially on my wide shots.

    2. Chris says:

      25mm on 4/3 doesn’t result in a large degree of distortion.

      There are a few fast ~25mm 4/3 and µ4/3 lenses available.

      In 4/3
      – 25/1.4 Panasonic
      – 30/1.4 Sigma
      and as mentioned above, the Olympus 14-35F2 . Also for low distortion wide angle, consider the Olympus 11-22 F2.8-3.5.

      In µ4/3
      – 25/0.95 Voigtlander
      – 20/1.7 Panasonic

      No fast zooms yet though.

  53. Una Real says:

    I thought the main reason everyone originally went all wonky about the 5d was to recreate a cinema look. And now a lot of you have turned into a bunch of photo heads! ;-)

    Well, welcome to the land of the M43 AF100 where that delicious sensor yields just about the same image as in 35mm movie lenses. Anyone coming from a cinema background should feel right at home. Forget about that 2x crop stuff and join the party. This camera doesn’t take stills.

    1. Jake Gardner says:

      Amen!

      I’m so sick of hearing people complain about the crop factor. It’s a motion picture camera with a sensor that’s similar to motion 35. When you use a set of PLs the widest you will normally get in a rented set will be 18mm.

  54. Roger Shealy says:

    Philip,

    If you had $1,200 US to spend on glass for this camera, how would you spend it (yeah, its kinda hard).

    1. Philip Bloom says:

      yeah…i can’t answer that. sorry. too hard!

      1. Roger Shealy says:

        I’m currently using the Tokina 11-16 and Tamron 17-50 VCII on the 7D along with collection of SMC Takumar vintage lenses (28mm f3.5, 35mm f2.0, 50mm f1.4, 85-210 f4.5)

        If the Tokina 11-16 adapts to the AF100, it might play well on this cam given the smaller sensor’s “lengthening” its reach a bit. I love it, but use it rarely due to being so wide on 7D.

  55. Dan B. says:

    Hey Phil,

    Love the Review, great stuff said and things to think about.

    I liked the idea of the Commentary during the Video, and hope to see tons more of that here. I find it helpful to see, not just read.

    I would like to point out, that the vimeo player doesn’t have volume controls, and at times your voice gets lost in the Violins. Making it hard to hear some of the details about the Lenses being used. At times I would miss you saying “Pause” and such due to this.

    Anyway, keep up the uber-cool film bloggings!

    :)
    -Dan

    1. Philip Bloom says:

      oh…will get that vimeo player fixed…thanks

    2. Just to the right of the play bar in the Vimeo player is the volume control. Those vertical bars. Just click on one of the left bars to lower the volume.

      1. Dan B. says:

        Yes, there should be, but for some reason not the players loading through my browser. I figured it was disabled, now I see that it is most likely a glitch that I have never noticed before; although I do not use Vimeo that much.

        Cheers!

        -Dan

  56. Jukka Kolari says:

    Thanks for sharing your experiences with the AF100, and also for the audio commentary for South. It is a great addition to the video.

    In the future, if you have both the Canon DSLRs which you are using at the moment and the new AF100, how do you think you will use them? In what kind of shoots would the AF100 be the one to use and in what kind of situations would the DSLRs be a better choice?

    1. Philip Bloom says:

      I simply prefer the image of the Canon 5DmkII still and for low light stuff it will still be my camera of choice and when I travel as I can two or three with me…AF100 great for docs, long interviews etc…

      1. Thanks for your great work.
        Today I was told that AF101 is coming with at P2 recorder instead of the SD. The Panasonic persona told me it will happen next year. That is great news to me, have you heart anything about that.

        He also told me about a ulta intra codec ,12 bit 4.4.4 200mps, they will release it before OL in london

        1. Philip Bloom says:

          It will be a different higher end camera if it had p2 in it…much more money i expect….

      2. Mario says:

        Thanks. That is what you had to say first of all ;)
        And I agree.

  57. Floris Liesker says:

    Although it doesn’t seem to have moire or aliasing, I was a little surprised about the video-ish look of the footage. It looks like not having any sort of smooth shoulder, the way it clips highlights at 1:16 and 1:26 for example.
    Could it be it is a picture-profile-sort-of-issue or maybe the footage has superwhites which need to be pulled down in post?

  58. Very good review, pretty gutted to hear about the lack of auto focus for canon lens. I’m pretty sure I watched an interview where they said they’d supply adapters to allow this.

    Also the sigma 30mm lens that you used on this camera, would you recommend it for us with HDSLR? what iss it like with a follow focus, is their much room to focus from point A to B? as with my current lenses there is minimal room for focusing, its either in focus or turn your follow focus slightly and its at infinite.

  59. Amila C says:

    Thank You for taking your time to do a great review Mr. Bloom. This Camera All the way . . . :)

  60. Mark Fry says:

    Thanks for taking the time and your insights Phil

    Mark

    1. Philip Bloom says:

      you are welcome Mark

  61. Jeremy D says:

    Philip, your review was superb. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and comments.

    We do a lot of event work, and are interested in the camera, and are concerned about the rolling shutter issues with flashes.

    Did you by any chance get any shots with a camera flash in it, to see if the flash fills the frame? Or do you have any thoughts on how it might handle it.

    Not a deal breaker for us, but sure would be nice to have it fill the frame. To me, that’s the most obvious rolling shutter artifact we encounter when shooting with our T2i.

    Thanks!

  62. Hey All,

    IS THE IMAGE QUALITY OF THE AF100 BETTER THAN THAT OF THE Canon 7D?

  63. Brant says:

    I’m puzzled by some of the criticism of the AF-100 image quality I see commented here. For starters, this is a pre-production camera, with presumably limited or no control over shooting mode or gamma, chroma, blacks, etc. The camera’s detail was turned down to -7. Secondly, the glass makes all the difference in the world (and I wonder if it may be even more critical on this camera because the imager is smaller than the DSLRs use). A $1000 lens may be alright, but in the world of pro video gear, let’s face it, that’s dirt cheap. The Olympus 14-35 f2, which goes for about $2K, might be a better choice for this camera. Third, adding the fact this is a pre-production unit, to the fact that no post work has been done to these tests, means it’s really difficult to discern much from the test shots, other than it seems to resist aliasing and moire issues, and the rolling shutter seems to not be too bad either. I will add that most of what I see come straight out of the Canons tends to have blacks really crushed. That’s a good way to create an image that pops out at you, and to hide the noise in blacks, but it’s not always a cinematic look. So I think we need to let Phillip and the others evaluate the production cameras. The fact that Panasonic even released the test cameras tells me they a VERY anxious to bring it to market, and I hope they develop it fully before doing so.

  64. John says:

    Hi Philip,

    Thanks for the great review. Always appreciated.

    I’d like to get your take on the Nanoflash vs. Ki Pro Mini. I believe the Ki Pro has not been released yet but just wanted to get your early opinions on the pros & cons of both based on features & specs. I know you have a lot of experience with the Nanoflash.

    Best wishes,
    John

  65. mike says:

    Thanks for the great test footage Philip. Correct me if I am wrong, but it seems your tests as well as the “Crews.TV” test were done recording to a nonoflash device. Any test footage just raw at 21Mbps? Thanks.

    1. Philip Bloom says:

      My test was done at 24mbs AVCDHD as mentioned in my blog Mike.

  66. Saqnjin Jukic says:

    Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 DX (Nikon) to Novoflex EOS/Nikon G adapter then with it use EOS to 4/3 adapter and you are fine.

    That means you can use any newer Nikon G lens (DX or FX) on any 4/3 camera.

    Hope this helps.

  67. Thanks for the review, video short and commentary. It certainly makes me want to hold off on a DSLR purchase until next year.

    The camera makes great images (seemingly better than what I’ve seen from some DSLRs) but it seems to have ergonomically designed in the traditional Panasonic lumpy brick style. Since returning to a shoulder mount camera, after years of wrist fatigue, I am wary of returning to this form factor especially considering the weight of some photo lenses. Usable for stills but tough for hand-held live action.

    What could be suggested for a hand-held, ENG style package for this camera? General use lens, shoulder mount rig, etc. Or is this camera not really good for extended hand-held use?

  68. Filippo Chiesa says:

    Philip,

    thanks for sharing my video!

    Cheers,

    Filippo

    1. Philip Bloom says:

      See you in Japan!

      1. Filippo Chiesa says:

        ;-)

  69. Dear Phil,
    I posted this text on vimeo, where a New Zealand crew tested AG-AF101:

    So what have we here, Panasonic? Build cameras for the user or just to fill your own pocket? To me this smells like capitalism at its worst: build-in flaws in the AG-AF 101 so there’s no chance sales of HPX-371 will fall. Make TM-700 [excellent picture quality and very small but] with a step-by-step iris so professional users can’t use it and have to buy AG-AF 101. And build Lumix GH2 with 24P but NOT 25P so serious videoshooters again will have to buy their other expensive cameras (please watch youtube.com/​watch?v=NgdfzCu6yEw&hd=1). I think it is disgusting! I just want a very small 25p videocamera with manual iris and focus. But maffia-mentality prevents it being made.

    The word maffia was a bit too harsh and I am sorry. But I am so disappointed in camera manufacturers who, I am sure, know how to make an almost ideal camera but won’t produce it due to profit considerations. Can’t we users unite and develop an under 4000 euro very small camera and under 10.000 euro big soulder camera that suit our needs?

    1. Philip Bloom says:

      the problem is they run a business. But I think you have it wrong about the Gh2, they are misunderstanding what is important and I have told them so. They thought everyone who shoots video on the GH2 seriously wants 24p, I told them EU needs 25p, essential. So that may well change…

  70. Brian Bazala says:

    Hey Philip, Great work with this review and South.

    We are working on a $500k feature and are very interested in this camera as we don’t expect a theatrical release and find that there could be many advantages over the RED, particularly in production workflow and expense. We shot our teaser (a few scenes) with the modified 7D PL mount, but would like a better camera for principal photography.

    From what you’ve experienced in both workflow and image quality, would this camera be a good choice for low-budget feature work, and is there any insight you can offer into maximizing it’s potential?

  71. Chuck Farris says:

    Philip, beautiful film- a bloody stonking corking blinding test of a camera, yes?

  72. Todd says:

    PANASONIC, if you’re reading this, I will not buy the AF-100 unless it has a built-in OIS. I need to be able to shoot handheld and still use all my Canon glass…

  73. Very interesting read – great little short too!

  74. Brant says:

    Hi Phillip, when might we hear something from you about the production model you will test in Japan? And any chance you can dig into that rumor about a P2 version of this camera?

    1. Philip Bloom says:

      i will know more when I am in Japan. I am sure one will come out one day, it’s just they have a market to protect for their higher end cameras…

  75. Daniel says:

    Hey Philip, great work giving advice and feedback to everyone! Much appreciated.

    I have a question regarding choosing a camera & lenses. My budget is between 10K – 15k.

    I will be shooting in priority: 1. Interviews 2. Corporate Videos/Commercials 3. Live Event/Wedding 4. Music Video 5. Film

    Which camera (5DMkII or AF-100) would be better for what I’m shooting overall and what lenses for my budget?

    Really appreciate your feedback!

    1. I believe that with the budget you have, You could get any of this cameras with proper extra gear, lenses, rigs, mics , sound recorders (in the case you choose the 5D), it depends more wich imagem you like the most, you should wait to see some side by side comparison, but i think that if I where in your place I wold by the AF 100, some nikon (ar leica) glass and an external recorder so you can record direct to Pro Res or AVCintra… But I would definitly wait for some side by side comparison…

  76. Hey Philip thanks a lot for the awesome review.. When do you think we can see the frame-grabs that you mentioned in the post?

    Best

    1. Philip Bloom says:

      I won’t be doing it as they look identical!

  77. […] PS – here’s a recent short film from Philip Bloom that was shot with a pre-production AF100. Read his perspective here. […]

  78. Adam Finmann says:

    As I am interested in purchasing this camera for both personal and professional projects, would there be an ENG lens you would recommend to go with this camera? Something that could still get me my nice wide shots and a decent zoom?

    1. Philip Bloom says:

      it’s not an ENG camera am afraid so there will not be an ENG lens for it. Sensor too large for one.

  79. Mark says:

    Damn nice short Mr Bloom. I really enjoyed it!

  80. Geoff Stock says:

    Hi Philip, I, like you, am a Pro Freelance Cameraman and am fully aware of the time restraints of what you are doing for everyone with your website. I have just launched my website to teach what I do, so I know how difficult it is doing this, and trying to work for a living at the same time. Your time and your professional knowledge is invaluable so it is disappointing when I see the occasional lack of gratitude for what you give. If you weren’t prepared to give [yes, give] the reviews and advice that you do, most of the people who visit your site would be wasting a lot of money trying to work these things out for themselves. The apparent endless search for the next [best] camera is distracting many from the fact that they should be developing and honing their skills.
    For top Freelancers we know that the gear is only one small part of why we get the work, the rest is skill and talent and attitude. When we buy our top end cameras, at enormous cost, there is no guarantee of work, and we have to work them until they are worn out or outdated.
    I love to see great stories shot with any camera. Your camera will always be outdated. I say love your camera, improve your skills, shoot great stories and love Philip bloom for what he gives you.
    I know you can edit this off but if you would like to check out what I am doing it is at http://video-camera-courses.com Regards, Geoff Stock

  81. Andrea Scopelli says:

    Thanks Mr Bloom for AF101’s review! I hoped aliasing and skew were more reducted…
    Bye!

  82. rizibo says:

    Please compare the AVCHD and nanoflash footage.

    1. Philip Bloom says:

      i have and i cannot tell a difference…

      1. Alec says:

        Hi Philip:

        I love everything about the AF100, except the bit depth. How do you feel about the STRICT 8 bit color depth specs, as their seems to be no way around it? Dont you think its way too low to do some decent coloring? The Hvx-200 uses 12 bit if I’m not wrong. It seems to me a serious shortcoming that makes the price and the whole idea of purchasing the AF100 very debatable. I mean, whats the point of purchasing a camera with a big sensor, when most of the information that the sensor is able to capture is gone? How do u feel about this specific problem?

        Thanks,
        Alec

        1. Philip Bloom says:

          the 8 bit is surprising. i am going to find out more

  83. rizibo says:

    This is great news. This means that a nanoflash will be unnecessary to get a quality image.

    1. Philip Bloom says:

      let’s wait until we see the production one

  84. Joe says:

    When are you actually going to shoot a real movie with all the skill and good cameras you use?

    1. Philip Bloom says:

      why do I have to? Can’t I enjoy what I do…and who is to say I haven’t?

  85. Squidword says:

    Footage you took looks soft and color looks bad…maybe just vimeo….3 chip is better than a large 1 chip IMHO.

  86. Hi Philip,
    I think we all agree on the fact that you would amaze us with an iPhone movie. You got the “eye of the tiger”. But as I saw your footage on the Panasonic I wonder. Do you feel like going back to the image feeling of a Sony EX-3 with a shallow depth added ? More like Pro 35 sharpen rather than a DSLR bright image ? It does not look cinematic to me ( from a vimeo point of vue of course )

    thx again for sharing

  87. Samuel Burton says:

    Is it feasible to use this type of camera with the HD-SDI output in a multicam seminar/music performance scenario – with the right type of lens? Or is it more suited to ‘composition’ video – like the pieces you shoot.

  88. dkvideo says:

    I would love to have one. My very last project definitely would have benefit from the AF 100. But my 7D still works just fine for me, especially with the novoflex adapters an the possibility of using nikon etc. lenses on it. Anyway, thanks for the “deep” review Philip!

  89. dvg says:

    does af100 have autofocus option/switch?

    can u switch from auto to manual with a button easily while shooting?

  90. dvg says:

    is the autofocus near-instantaneous fast (with select focus points) or is there a delay?

    1. Philip Bloom says:

      it was not working on this pre-production model

  91. dvg says:

    so u think Mark II has better quality picture (sharper/better contrast range/richer colors/?)

    1) do u think this has 2 to with 5d’s sensor size being about 3x the size (36x24mm vs. af100’s 17.3x13mm)? cuz af100 must have more processing of image. or the quality of the sensor?

    2) since 4/3 sensor is closer to lens, is this the same as proper 35mm film size of 22x16mm?

    3) 35mm movie film is actually smaller than 35mm still camera film?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K0shWr-oon4&NR=1

    CONFUSED

    thx 4 reply

  92. Hi Philip
    I must say I’m a huge fan of your site and work. I’ve learnt heaps from you. Will try my best to order all my gear through your site to help you out a bit. You my friend, are a real inspiration

    1. Philip Bloom says:

      thanks very much!

  93. dvg says:

    any advice 4 getting started as a cameraman?

  94. morkus says:

    Yep, its time to flog the EX3….

  95. dvg says:

    what is 2x 35mm Crop Factor?

    1. Philip Bloom says:

      The camera has a 2x crop of a full frame 35mm sensor.

  96. c.d.embrey says:

    The Aaton Super16 Extera has the viewfinder in front of the body by the lens http://www.aaton.com/products/film/xtera/index.php So does the Panasonic VariCam AJ-HDC27F. So what’s the reasoning for the viewfinder in-the-back like a low end consumer camera? Why does Panasonic force the buyer to spend $$$ at ZacutoRock to get a useable camera?

    BTW same applies to the new Sony PMW-F3.

  97. Just seen the official Panasonic spec and it says it only does 50/60fps at 720 not 1080 as mentioned earlier in this huge and fascinating thread.
    The web site review the pdf was attached to also claimed it did 1080 at 50/60fps yet the spec clearly says 1080 at 50i or 25p and 720 at 50p or 25p

    1. Philip Bloom says:

      it can record 1080p 24p/30p up to 60fps overcrank or at 25p upto 50fps…this is absolute fact!

      1. i think some people dont get what the difference is with over crank compared to footage captured and played back at 50/60 frames per second

  98. I want one, that would make such a difference with my wildlife filming, to be able to get great slowmo.
    Excuse my ignorance but I am a little unsure of the term overcrank, although I understand it refers to the old hand cranked cameras being cranked faster. Are you doing anything with certain settings to get this ‘overcrank’ to 50fps (50P?) cos I can’t understand why Panasonic would not put it in their promotional material, its a seriously big deal.

    here’s the link to the pdf in case its of interest.
    http://gearpatrol.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/AG-AF100.pdf

    one other question, do you know if this will come with a standard lens or is it body only for $5000. I have a range of Canon L series lenses from 14mm to 500mm, which are great, but I always need a video lens for the donkey work and on the run shooting when making a doc. (I use an xl2 and desperately want to move up to HD)

  99. Hester Jonkhout says:

    Hi Philip,

    This is the type of camera I’ve been waiting for. As a documentary filmmaker, the DSLR’s are just no option for me. Bad ergonomics and a lot of money to set this straight.
    I’m wondering about the lensadapters. Which type did you use: do they come from Panasonic or are they universal mounts ? What about the pricetag ?

    1. Philip Bloom says:

      loads of companies makes them and they are all pretty affordable. I lot of mine are made by Fotodiox and cost around$70 bucks each from Amazon.com

  100. Robert Marty says:

    I remember watching the Berry Green video for the introduction of this camera.
    Two things he said have not materialized from either Panasonic or he could have been mistaken about.
    60p in 1080p never happened. 60p means everything if Im to purchase another camera. Panasonic GH2 does shoot 60p.
    Panasonic offering lens mounts for Nikon, Canon Eos and Pentax K.
    I was under the impression that these lenses could be controlled from the body of the camera, that did not happened.
    I guess I was wishing to much from a camera body under 8K.

    I just heard on Saturday that Carl Zeiss has developed a new micro 4/3 lens system for this camera. Soon to be shipping in the US.

    Im aiming for the Sony F3. That camera does do everything one could want or need. At this point Panasonic is not quite there. I feel they rushed the AG-AF100. Sony spent almost 2 years developing the the F3. I feel that Sony will soon be competing with RED’s products.
    Hey if we all wait, Canon already is able to compete with RED. Who knows what they are planing to release.
    Too many who knows. As everything is right now, with my EX1 and my 5D Im pretty good until the next big wow comes out. I feel at this point there is no big wow.

    1. Philip Bloom says:

      The camera does overcrank to 60fps in 1080p and can do 60p in 720p mode. The GH2 only does 60p in 720p mode.

      Still lenses made by other manufacturers controlled by the camera is a big ask…

      I can’t wait to play with the F3 but I think you are dismissing the Af101 far too quickly…it has more shooting features than the F3…

      1. Robert Marty says:

        I see this camera does shoot in 60i in 1080.
        It never specified if that was 1080i or 1080p.
        All the pdf’s from Panasonic made this a bit confusing.
        Now if this camera does shoot 60p in a full 1080p. Im 100% game for it.
        I think it could make for a great addition to what I currently have.
        I don’t think its going to replace my EX1 or 5D at this point. I could be wrong.

        What was your original thought and feel when you held the F3 for the first time?
        I know you were somewhat expecting Sony to use the EX3 body design.
        I like how one can get uncompressed footage if needing. I personally don’t need that uncompressed footage in 4444. I only need 4222 colour sampling for broadcast.

      2. I read over at 4/3 rumours that a company is working on the canon mount to control both aperture and auto focus, it is not a huge leap considering that a few (and only a few) 4/3rds lens work with auto focus on the GH1 and as philip has said and proven the camera does indeed do 1080 60p, also he stated that it comes out of the camera at 24, 25 or 30 p meaning that there is no need to get your slow mo via cinema tools. If you can afford the f3 why bother with the af101? they are in different leagues, the af101 is a lot of camera for the money. I dont get what everyone is moaning about?

        1. Robert Marty says:

          By any chance did you see if that company was going to do that with Nikon and Pentax K Mount?
          Could you link the rumour on here?

          Thanks

  101. Jiri Vrozina says:

    Anybody tried this lens:
    Leica D 14-50 mm F2.8-F3.5 lens?

  102. Orwa Nyrabia says:

    Thanks a lot for a great review! It is helping me make decisions much more than any other review I’ve read.
    Just a question… the Zacuto rig you’re using here looks much like the Fast Draw, but then what’s the accessory holding the nano and the swivex batt?

    1. Orwa Nyrabia says:

      that was supposed to be Switronix of course !

    2. Philip Bloom says:

      that’s the Z-american arm I think

      1. Orwa Nyrabia says:

        thanks! yes, it must be

  103. colincadle says:

    Philip,

    What are the dust issues with a camera like this? Does dust manifest itself in the same way as DSLRs? Would the sensor be easy to clean on the AF101?

    I am very sorry for your recent loss by the way.

    Kind regards

    Colin Cadle

    1. Philip Bloom says:

      the ND filter covers the sensor so it can’t get dust on it hopefully, it just goes on the ND

  104. Philip:

    Thanks for the initial review on this camera. Did you get a chance to do a follow-up review since the camera was released?

    Also, I own the EX1/Letus Extreme/Zacuto rails, etc., and four prime lenses and I recently purchased the 5D. Now I am considering selling my entire Ex1/Letus Extreme package to purchase the AF100, in order to simplify and consolidate. Or, as a backup plan, purchase the Ex1r or Ex3. If you had a choice to only own the 5D and only one of these cameras, which one would you choose? Will the AF100 be as good as the footage I’m shooting on my EX1 (I shoot a lot of footage for iStock Video and Getty Images)?

    Thanks for your counsel and thoughts. And may this be your best year to date!

    Kevyn Bashore

    1. Philip Bloom says:

      yes Kevin, check out the Japan blog.

      The ex1 has a better codec and is a lot easier to shoot with of course because of the fixed lens. But you will get more stunning looking images with the AF

      1. Argh… There’s always a catch…

        Thanks, I just noticed the Japan blog…

        One other question, does the slower codec degrade the image in the end? If the codec isn’t as good as the EX1, why do you say the image is more “stunning”? Is that because of the larger sensor?

        1. Philip Bloom says:

          it’s looks nicer due to the larger sensor

  105. Toby Ralph says:

    What do you reckon about getting a Matte Box on that 7-14 lens? It looks like internal zoom but the “sunshade” cutout part is fixed? Was the 14-45 internal zoom as well? Thinking about possibilities handheld for observational work…. thanks.

    1. Philip Bloom says:

      i think its too wide for it to be honest

  106. Can you use Nikor full frame af lenses on this camera? Like the AF NIKKOR 14mm f/2.8D ED or the 70-200? Thanks!

    1. Philip Bloom says:

      yep, i did, check out the pics. 80-200mm

  107. Sean Morris says:

    Hi Phillip, I appreciate all this, VERY helpful. My AG AF100 just arrived. 24mb/s seems low, but I also saw a Youtube posting where you said “I tested with nanoflash at 160mb/s and I was shocked to find very little difference,” as well as “the avchd 24mb’/s holds up better than the Canon H264 of the 5dmk2″. Wondered if you had made a decision on the need for a Nanoflash, or if the jury is still out? Thanks for any insights.

  108. P-

    I see you are a cigar smoker. I have only recently enjoyed Bolivar Habanas as they are harder to find here (USA). Forget the lens, what vitola of Cubano did you use in your “3200 ISO Match Test” video? Will that cigar require an M43 adapter?

    I have been learning a great deal from your website, thanks.

    A devoted cinephile,

    A-

    1. Philip Bloom says:

      Cohiba all the way…the Cuban ones not the Dominican ones!!

      1. I smoked a Cohiba (Habana) this morning in your honor and it was delish. Have you heard of a brand called Illusione? Dion Giolotti based in Reno, Nevada makes this line of exquisite cigars with an unusually wide range of aromatic tones. Another exciting full flavored cigar comes from Litto Gomez out of Miami, Florida under the brand La Flor Dominicana. Both brands are smooth, and somehow they get the tobacco to give off hints of sweet fruits and aromatic florals.

        I think you will enjoy them.

  109. Victor says:

    Hi Philip, Love your work. What three lenses would you suggest getting with the AF-100 if you had a choice?

    Best,

    Victor

  110. I am curious about the side by side comparison with nano flash and avchd stills of South short. Is South all AVCHD?

  111. ernesto says:

    Thanks Philip. Probably a simple, but nerve wrecking issue, I can’t figure out how to record sound from internal or external mic on Tha Panasonic AF 100. Can somebody please address this?

    1. Philip Bloom says:

      there are switches behind the LCD!

  112. Koray Birand says:

    Hi Philip,

    Just have one question about the sdi or the hdmi output. I am thinking of getting a nanoflash tomorrow and have been searching all day if I can get the overcranked video to nanoflash. Or do I get a 1080i signal all the time.

    If not, Am I stuck with the internal recorder for slow motion footage..

    Thanks,
    Koray

  113. Daniel says:

    Say if I wanted to put a 16:9 anamorphic lens adapter onto this camera, then film in a 1.78 aspect ratio (or 16:9) in order to get anamorphic 2.35 footage (resolution of 2538×1080) . Does the AF-100 have a setting that will stretch/squash the monitors video feed so I can view the 2.35 ratio while I’m filming, or would I have to make do with the slightly squashed 1.78 ratio, and wait until Post Production to view the 2.35?

  114. Jojo says:

    Hi, i’d like how make slowmotion real with Panasonic ag af 100

    1. Philip Bloom says:

      use the overcrank mode!

  115. Jimmy says:

    Hey philip,
    i use the ag af100 to shoot surfboarding but im having a little trouble with the 100-300 lumix lens i’m using. I think its the lens anyways. Like it is getting stuck on a certain focal length and not responding with the camera?

    Do you think its the lens?? and i was thinking about using canon lens for it now i would really appreciate if you could steer me in the right direction.

    thank you very much, big fan.

    1. Philip Bloom says:

      sounds like the lens am afraid jimmy!

  116. Tyler says:

    Hi Philip,

    What would you prefer to use between the FS100/AF100 and a 5D for shooting mostly interviews and a little b roll? Not much narrative work, more documentary type stuff.

    1. Tyler says:

      Also, not necessarily the 5D, but any DSLR.

    2. Philip Bloom says:

      for interviews? either would be great. indoors then FS….outside then af because of ND filters!!

      1. Tyler says:

        So definitely though one of those over a DSLR for that type of work?

        Thanks man

  117. Keno says:

    Panasonic AG-AF100 sucks, I recently purchased this and I am very disappointed. 5d mark II is a wayyyyyyy better buy for cheaper. I currently own 3 5ds.

    1. Best stick with the 5D’s then if that’s what you love ;). What did you not like about the AF100?

  118. Lee says:

    I got to use the AF100 for about 5mins and I really liked it a lot. Ugly looking camera but amazing images. I currently use a 5D and a 7D but I think its time I upgraded (well not upgraded but progress). I am so torn between the AF100 and the FS100 and it doesn’t help they are about the same price.

    They both have positives, both have negatives, and there is no perfect camera. But when it comes to dropping $5000+ into a camera I really want to know which will really help me in the long run. In a perfect world, id own both but for now I guess I will be ripping my hair out while trying to figure out which one will suit me. I plan on filming a lot of faster paced stuff (action films, martial arts, etc) but it is nice to see these cameras are available for indie guys at a good price.

    1. Get the panasonic and get an adaptor which allows you to use your EF lenses and control the aperture. There’s no way sony can match this for practicality from the point of view of someone heavily invested in EF lenses.

      Compaire these reviws
      http://www.dvuser.co.uk/content.php?CID=268 (FS100)
      http://www.dvuser.co.uk/content.php?CID=246 (AF101)

  119. Brilliant review. Thanks heaps!

    I’m going from wedding photographer to wedding and events videographer. I have a 5DII and a 7D, but I think spending tonnes of money to make them work like a video cameras is pushing shit uphill with a stick. Those rigs are not cheap – especially when you add a monitor or EVF that does proper peaking and zebras etc.

    This review has helped me to make up my mind. We’re definitely going to invest in this camera – especially since you can reportedly control the iris on your EF lenses if you have the proper mount adaptor. I’m looking around where to source this adaptor, but it will be worth the effort. I’m not even sure if I will bother getting the default panasonic lens since it’s reportedly pretty soft – although it does have the optical image stabilisation. I don’t know how well, if at all, the image stabilisation will be implemented with EF IS lenses. I plan on investing in more EF lenses and using them between my still cameras and the AF103 (which seems to be the model designation for oceania).

  120. Hello, I had a couple of questions. Have you had a chance to play with this camera more and have you done any more updated posts about it?

    I just came off a 5 day shoot and we used 2 af-100’s. We had to go back and completely reshoot the first day’s footage because of how terrible the grain was. Yet on your 3200 iso test it barely looks grainy. I did some research and found some of the setting the camera was on caused the problem but no matter what I did I still couldn’t completely get rid of all grain even at ISO 200. Would you have any specific recommended settings to check on the camera? In two weeks I’ll be on a 4 day shoot and will again be using these cameras and really want to avoid a noisy black. I’d like to have a rich creamy black without terrible noise.

    Thanks so much!

    1. Philip Bloom says:

      are you using the abel cine profiles?

  121. Brandon B says:

    Mr. Bloom,
    I love all the footage that you put together and how willing you are to help us amateurs out. I thank you so much! :) My question pertains to the “street scene” stuff you’ve shot…What’s the best way to handle getting people’s permission to use their likeness? I do some work for an organization that seems to be on a trip about not getting into legal issues over personal likeness. Is that something you run into, or is it a USA thing?

    1. Philip Bloom says:

      Not had any issues. Where I come from you can film anyone you want…it’s how you use it that matters!

  122. Grant says:

    Hi Philip,

    I was just looking at the settings for SDI output on my AF101 and wondering if you can actually export 1080p to an external recorder on this camera. I’ve heard so much praise for using an external recorder that I recently bought a Samurai from Atomos, but it seems a little pointless if I can’t record 1080p with increased quality. Just wondering what your experience has been using external recorder.

    Thanks
    Grant

  123. david170783 says:

    Hi Philip, thank you for this review. Can I ask for an advise. I am in Vancouver now and have some offers for shorts and trailers. I have 7D that I used for me, but many my friends tell me that with DSLR you are limited (I agree) and nobody will take me serious. The thing is that I am learning Cinematography and it is better to learn with pro video camera as many people said. Can you give me advise I am thinking to buy AF100. Thank you.