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BLOG DISCLAIMER:

This comparison has be done by myself and with the help of Suresh Kara from Documovie.co.uk for fun. We have tried be as accurate as possible but there will always be anomalies due to the shoot being conducted in the “real world” not in a studio. Do not treat anything in here as gospel. We don’t therefore neither should you!

Neither Canon, Sony or Panasonic have paid us any money for this. Sony did supply me with the FS100 to check out but no money exchanged hands, they simply wanted my opinion on it.

This was done in our own free time to give people more information about these new camcorders. Both myself and Suresh are AF101 owners and have been very curious how the new FS100 compares. I am also a recent Sony F3 owner. This is not a Zacuto shootout or anything similar. It is primarily about camera operation and features with a few shots thrown in to compare. I am coming at this from a cameraman’s point of view as to what it is like to shoot with this.

Of course the temptation to obsess over the difference in each image is strong, resist it. Sure, do that with the Zacuto “Single chip camera evaluation” shoot out but not this. There are far too many anomalies for that. Even my first low light test I screwed the AF settings up and had to reshoot it. This was done for fun and to give more information to people out there like myself and Suresh. Never buy a camera based upon one person’s opinion. Always try it out first, especially if you are spending thousands!


Well It’s finally here. I had to split it into two parts as it was simply impossible to manage as one and far too long for internet viewing.

This is nothing like the upcoming Zacuto shootout which is coming out in June. For starters I am looking at just 3 cameras and focusing much more on features and operation than just the image. The Zacuto Shootout when it comes out will be fantastic and perfect for people to really obsess over images!

So myself and Suresh Kara from Documovie.co.uk made this little comparison video as a “real world” how these cameras operate in the field test with some image comparison.

It’s split into two parts. The shooting is part 1 and my thoughts and overview are in part 2. Both together function not just as a comparison but as a review of each camera going in depth into what they have to offer. But I have designed that you can learn most of what you need from Part 1 .Part 2 is there if you want more details, it’s less interesting as it’s just me at my kitchen table going into the ins and outs of the cameras, the pros and cons in detail.

Do check out my earlier blog with some bits of pieces on there and some links to downloadable pro res lt files!!

I will be doing a separate blog on the comparison between stuff recorded on the Atomos Ninja versus in camera at a later date.

I used the AF100 Picture Profiles by Abel Cine which you can see here and an adaptation of my EX1 picture profile settings for the Sony Cameras which meant -7 detail and various other tweaks, but they aren’t perfect.

Thanks to Kessler Crane, Rule Boston Camera, Marshall Monitors, Atomos, MTF services, Phil Arntz, Arnie Bloom and Sony Europe.

The majority of this was shot with the AF101 apart from the opening introduction which was on the F3. Part 2 has lots of shots from the Canon XA10 as cutaways.

Brought to you in association with Kessler University.

AF100 vs F3 vs FS100 Part 1: The Real World from Philip Bloom on Vimeo.

AF100 vs F3 vs FS100 Part 2: In depth and conclusions. from Philip Bloom on Vimeo.

The Bloom Danube: Sony FS100 Smooth slow motion test from Philip Bloom on Vimeo.

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Comments

  1. Mike says:

    GH2 hack might be coming soon keep a eye out.

    http://www.personal-view.com/talks/discussion/44/gh2-dumping-news#Item_2

    ISO 12800 on the Panasonic GH2 f1.7 20mm Anamorphic

  2. Rob Imbs says:

    Great work Phil, very thorough, answered very practical questions which I liked. No ND’s on the FS, that’s kind of a no go for me. I like the AF, especially for the price next to the F3. Cheers!

  3. Mike says:

    Your Dad looks like Jack Nicholson when he’s lighting his cigar.

  4. Mike says:

    Philip you should ask these camera companies if they can add 48p slow mo for 24p. I think it would be nice as you can drop one frame and get back to 24p from 48p.

  5. Thanks for this test, Philip.

    What cam did you use to shoot the video?

    1. Philip Bloom says:

      its listed on the post Bryan. AF101 and in part two the XA10

  6. skilled says:

    The FS 100 at that high setting was just amazing! Thanks for doing this Phil! Great job as always. Is Suresh actually a long lost brother? Kinda looks like you. LOL

  7. JW Lee says:

    Thanks! Lots of good info, very helpful and way better than test charts.

  8. Phil, what is your profile for low light with your af101. I am an af100 owner and would love to get the details from you. cheers! Hope you liked that gin and tonic at the playright miami beach after canon filmakers live.

    this was really great. I enjoyed it.

  9. Marc says:

    I’d like to here your choice. To me the F3 looked sharper, better color. But all in all this reminds me of the Olympics. There is a gold, silver and bronze. But when you compare their times, they are very neat the same. I think most of your footage could be grade and cut together and be very imperceptible. Other than that amazing F3 low light test. Thanks your your hard work!

  10. for one who mostly shoots outdoor, 5d II is still the best.. especially with new released Technicolor profile.
    your father looks like Hollywood actors anyway :-)

  11. VERY compelling! I honestly say it’s a dead heat now in my mind between all three, given pros and cons between them, as they all have different strengths and weaknesses. It’s a very comprehensive comparison to disallow any clear winner in my mind!

  12. Thanks to you, your Dad and Suresh for a very good look at these large sensor cameras. Many have been waiting for such a review. Interestingly, now that “affordable” and “proper” video cameras have large sensors I’m amazed at how well the DSLR operational design for video holds up. DSLR’s are still the smallest, lightest and most affordable. DSLR’s need modification for shoulder mounted work but apparently so does every “proper” large sensor video camera currently available.
    I, like you, come from an ENG background. For some documentary work, I’m still waiting for an affordable, small form, shoulder mounted, large sensor “proper” video camera with a useable viewfinder in the right place, recording ProRes 422. The JVC GY-HM750 with a large sensor would come pretty close.

  13. Thanks for taking the time to do these tests for everyone! You’re the man.

    Out of curiosity, how does the noise at the given ISOs during the low light tests between the F3/FS100 and the 5D compare?

  14. One quick question. Out of the 3 “proper” video cameras reviewed, only the AF 101 offers 24P and that’s only because it features PAL and NTSC. Why is it that 24P is not generally offered on PAL cameras?
    I realise 24P is close to 25P but that doesn’t help with conversion for screen release.

    1. Philip Bloom says:

      No, the F3 also has 24p. It’s only the FS100 that doesn’t. It’s rare for it to be like that. Generally PAL cameras have 24p too…

  15. Tony Morel says:

    Do you think the new Technicolor Cinestyle on the 5D would have made any difference to your real world comparison or in practice is there not really that much in it?

    1. Philip Bloom says:

      it would have given me a bit more latitude which might have helped in a couple of shots…

  16. I’ve scoured the web for professional PAL (only) cameras that shoot 24P and can’t recall ever seeing one. Maybe an HDV camera. Now I know of the F3. NTSC cameras mostly offer 60i,30P and 24P. Take your little Canon XA 10. If you bought it in a PAL country then it only features 25P. No 24P.

    1. Philip Bloom says:

      Most cameras in Euro land are world cameras, like the EX1, EX3, HPX 371 and have both. It’s common for US cameras not to have 25p. Rare for EU users not to have 24p these days…

      The XA10 is a bad example. It’s not a pro camcorder. The XF100 version is though…

      1. Timothy Bates says:

        You’re right that almost all “world cameras” have 24p. What’s curious to me though is that the 24p option seems always to be within the NTSC settings menu. This includes the AG-HPX370. With the EX1R, 24p is only found in the NTSC menu. The PAL version of the Canon XF100/300 is 25p and only gets 24p if sent back to the factory to enable NTSC at considerable cost. The Canon XF100′s competitor, the Sony HXR-NX5P does not have 24p either in PAL version but does in the NTSC version, although, again can be factory converted but only if bought within the US and sent to the factory. I checked B&H Professional Video/Camcorders ENG/PAL region camera list. Out of 13 PAL cameras listed, none have 24p. The same cameras listed as NTSC all have 24p. Why is this so?

        1. LFK says:

          Because PAL color system is based on 25 frames/second (50 hertz electricity power as it is in Europe, China, and some other countries).
          NTSC color system is based on 30 (29.97) frames/second (60 hertz… USA, Japan, Canada, etc..) and can be converted to Film frame rate 24fps (23.976) because it’s a decimal.
          In old times VHS had NTSC 4.43 & 3.58.

          1. Thanks LFK. I’m not sure I understand completely, but what you say seems to
            back-up my observations about 24p only appearing in NTSC menu settings and not natively in PAL camera menu settings. Anyone interested in shooting 24p in Europe must therefore use a world camera. Or of course a DSLR!

  17. Bob Pierce says:

    Hi Phil,
    Another awesome post! I’m wondering what you thought of the AF100′s highlight handling compared to the others? I’ve heard that it clips badly. It’s kinda hard to tell from the vimeo video, but it did look somewhat clipped on your latitude test.
    Thanks!
    Bob Pierce

  18. David says:

    wow, I hit this post while it’s fresh, I just went to watch the video and it’s still converting on Vimeo! haha

  19. I had a good laugh about the aliasing on the bridge. Literally laughed out loud in my office

  20. Bruno Chansou says:

    Thank you very much for this test. Very interesting.
    My personal feeling :
    Canon 5DII: Very nice pictures.
    FS 100: Very, very nice. Softer than the Canons. As if we were shooting with a Canon and Russians lenses.
    F3: Pictures of a TV camera with almost fluorescent green.
    AF 100: Always a dominant pink.

  21. This is great. Even though you warn not to scrutinize the images…I can’t help but do so because to me that’s #1 most important. I can work around the “ease of use” as long as I’m satisfied the picture I’m getting is the best. With that…I had high hopes for the FS100 as my next camera. I believe the images are better than that of the 5d…but man oh man does that F3 look sweet. Might be worth the extra $$ after all. I seriously dislike that AF100…just loks like some artificial sharpening going on in there and the latitude isn’t all there either. But hey…this isn’t scientific like you said but these are my observations. Thanks for the video…very cool!!

  22. Greg Dieckhaus says:

    Fantastic comparison!!! I much prefer a real world test over the technical color chart versions.

    Both Sony’s look fantastic. For the price, the AF101 is disappointing. For the price, the Canon is still amazing.

  23. John Merrick says:

    Thank you again for your real life testing.
    All the cameras look great.But I seem to be drawn to the F3 images.
    I’m anxious to see part 2.
    I was told the F3 with the Sony lenses had no crop factor.
    Do you know if this is the case?

    1. Philip Bloom says:

      all lenses have a “crop factor” on the F3 John. It’s a super 35mm sensor. Your 50mm, even the K 50mm is STILL a 50mm on it just with a field of view of an 85mm. A lens is a lens is a lens irregardless of what camera it is on. The mm refers for the focal length of a lens and that is the same on every lens no matter what mount it is for.

      1. c.d.embrey says:

        I come from a film background and I think in Super 35. A 50mm lens looks the same on a Mitchell S35R as it does on a Panavision PSR200 or an Arri 35BL. And I’m sure it will look the same on an F3. The Canon 5D is like a Vistavision camera, which only a few of us have used.

        So all this talk of “crop” is confusing.

        Another thing is that Cooke lenses (my favorite), and other motion picture lenses will not work with either Vistavision or a Canon 5D.

  24. Stanley Bunuel says:

    Thank you Philip,
    as always something very interesting indeed.
    As I am still a Canon fan, could you recommend the best tool to sharpen 5d image in post?
    How do you sharp your videos?
    What should we avoid and be aware of?

    Regards

  25. Joe Mills says:

    Very interesting post, Out of all the images i think the F3 looks the nicest but maybe that’s just a psychological result of the huge price tag. For me there’s still not enough in these “proper cameras” to justify the price tag over a canon 5d/7d.

  26. Terrance Neal says:

    Great test Philip! Thank you for doing this.

    To me pretty dead even on these three cameras with pluses and minuses weighed in.

    I’m an AF100 owner but truth be told one could shoot great footage with any and all of these cameras.

  27. nerdo says:

    The F3 is a really nice camera, getting more impressed with it. Still, holding out for RED and what an epic S might bring. Will probably rent the F3 for a job or two. Thanks for the vid, practical info as usual, also made it clear for me that the F3 is the camera to aim for. Now the big budget question is: what glass to pick :) RED has a really nice prime set…

  28. Steve says:

    Is this where you did your DOF adapter shoot at years ago?

    1. Philip Bloom says:

      yep, I have shot there a couple of times, just round corner from my house

  29. Daniel M says:

    Hi Philip, Great post as usual. Just a quick question regarding the canon xa10. What are your thoughts on it?

    1. Philip Bloom says:

      it’s a nice little camera!

  30. Jon says:

    A question for you sir – you have had these non-slr cams in your possession for a while and yet no cool short video like “Return to Dungeoness” or “Prague” created yet. I know you’ve been really busy but I’m also wondering if these big form-factor cameras do not inspire you to that kind of personal creative work like the slr’s did/do. I know for myself I just WANT to pick up my 7D and shoot stuff where with the bigger camcorders I did it cause I had too. Do the cameras in this test make you want to go shoot something? Or would you mainly use it for your pro work?

    1. Philip Bloom says:

      well I have only had the Af101 a while. The F3 is new but I had it a few days over Christmas and made “Stardust Nathalie”. On the AF there is “South”, “Hirano san” and of course the Turin Brake music video. Don’t forget Return to Dungeness is ex3 with 35mm adaptor. Much bigger camera.

  31. Leonard Levy says:

    Very interesting comparisons Phil. Thanks.
    I was wondering about the set-ups on the cameras. For example I’m guessing the F3 was factory default at Gamma Std 5 (rec709) and detail at default 0?
    If so then you might have gotten an even longer grey scale with hypergammas. Also normally I would run the details down so it might have had a bit of a softer look. I understand how hard it is to control all the variables on something like this though.
    I noticed on the slo mo test that the F3 looked more detailed and sharper even at 720. Do you think it was just accidently more in focus or does the higher resolution of the F3 ( at least compared to the AF100 ) mitigate the 720 limitation?
    Also where you trying to keep f stops matched on all the cameras?

  32. Lenny Levy says:

    Very valuable test Phil thanks.
    I was wondering what the gamma and detail set-ups were on the cameras. The F3 looks like its Std 5 the rec 709 gamma and it would have been a gentler look in hypergammas ( if it was St5 that is) Also it looked like maybe detail was at default 0 which most people find way too sharp. again might have been gentler at -20 or so ( if I’m right that is)

    Thanks.
    Lenny Levy

  33. Mike says:

    I heard the GH2 has better highlights then the AF100. Panasonic must have a different firmware for the image on the AF100.

    Philip you play XBOX 360 and PS3 online? If so what’s your gamertag? If you want to keep that private that’s completely understandable.

    1. Philip Bloom says:

      sure it’s captain percy on xbox. don’t play it enough though!

  34. Bill Vincent says:

    Excellent, great job, Philip & Suresh. Philip, I think you should run for public office, because you walk the line between manufacturers so well! Seriously tho, this is a great “un-scientific” comparison, and I think you were very fair in your dialogue about each cam.

    You spent a great amount of time putting this together, and for that your audience and the manufacturers as well owe you more than a bit of gratitude. Not every reviewer would be so thorough, or so careful to be fair and unbiased. You would have made a horrible contestant on The Dating Game – you’d have ended up going on the trip to West Berlin with all three women. ;)

    1. Philip Bloom says:

      That would be good wouldn’t it Bill?! All three. I think I made it clear which was my favourite but because it’s so much more money that’s the problem!

    2. Mike says:

      That’s why so many people love Philip Bloom he’s not in any camp of any manufacture, well maybe APPLE. LOL I’m joking. Philip always says different cameras for different jobs and it’s more about the person behind the camera then the equipment.

      The biggest lairs when it comes to HDSLR film making is Pentax. They tell people to use the exposer lock because they do not have full manual control of the shutter on their cameras. Now look how many people use Pentax in the real world almost no one does.

  35. nathan says:

    I just wanted to say thanks for all the work that you put into sharing what you know. That’s of the main reasons I bought the PB pocket dolly… which is just lovely by the way!

  36. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

    very well done.

  37. Philip – you mentioned something about the iris issue on the EF mount lenses “changing soon.” At least I thought you did. What do you know that I don’t? :)

    Thanks for all your work for the little guy.

    1. Philip Bloom says:

      the birger mount may come out soon which has iris control.

  38. Watched Part 2. Great stuff Philip. Really enjoyed watching you explain the differences between the cameras operationally. So often this is a missing element in so many reviews but you nailed it. Great to hear you reiterate the fact that these cameras are not designed for handheld or shoulder use. For me, this review really underlined the fact that for all the flak DSLR’s have quite rightly received for their ergonomic and operational shortfalls, they still hold up pretty well compared to what I see as generally poor design of the 3 “proper” video cameras you looked at. So they put a nice large sensor in 3 different boxes with lens attachments. But not having a quality useable viewfinder in the right place is like putting a square steering wheel in the back seat of a car. Thank goodness for Zacuto but why can’t the manufacturer get it right. Imagine buying a car for the same price as the F3 and the dealer says sorry the steering wheel is square and it’s in the back seat….why don’t you email Steve Weiss and see what he can do for you. Yeah, sure.
    I’m amazed at the low light abilities of the Sony cameras but so much more amazed at how lovely the 5D looks compared to the rest of them. I read somewhere that depth of field on MFT cameras at f2.8 compares to DOF of f5.6 on the 5DMKII. This is telling considering that MFT zoom lenses are so slow. The 5D’s the ducks nuts.
    You said something like now we’re waiting for a killer DSLR. I’m still waiting for a killer “proper” large sensor video camera with a viewfinder that’s usable.

    1. Philip Bloom says:

      Hi Timothy. I think we will get that, i just expect we will pay for it as I can’t imagine it coming on anything other than a shoulder mounted camera.

  39. jamesbenet says:

    Got to see part 2.

    I have to say that this kind of review does help more in deciding which camera is the right one for the job or at least a personal decision.

    I did get the mounting thread jokes and was that Percy that opened the door? LOL

    Effort was worth it, as a review piece is right up there with the best of them, especially when you don’t really have to pump a brand and its a personal view.

    Its gratifying to hear that the 5D Mk II sensor size is still your image look holy grail, the 5D Mk III will probably be either a disruptive force once more or a could have had this or that camera with the same issues like the down-scaling and lack of video features. Canon does have a chance to create a true explosion again but it depends on many factors, one of which will be feature crippling.

    Do you expect to see a medium format sensor camera that captures video from the MF manufacturers at some point or we will have to wait for RED and Canon/Nikon to make the step?

    Now that could be your new image quality future benchmark!

  40. Phil,

    I can’t help myself, I have to do a review on your review–you killed it!!! Seriously, your disclaimers (humbleness), sensitivity to the manufacturers, forthcoming analysis on pros and cons of each camera, is unparalleled. Piers Morgan, move aside, we got Philip Bloom. Thanks for the reviews and coming back so strongly after a temporary absence.

    I have a Nikon D7000 and invested heavily in gear (DSLR field Cinema Deluxe Bundle, ZF Primes 25, 50, 85, ZN4, Sennheiser G2 100s, filters, etc.). I do mostly family cooking shows, interviews, and some documentary style shoots–all amateur for personal enjoyment, no pay asides from that. I was wondering, given my substantial investment in gear, if you thought, in your opinion (don’t worry, I won’t hold you responsible for an y advice), if you thought I should go for the FS100 or wait for the next Nikon, or wait for the Canon 5D Mark III and invest in adapters for the lenses. If you prefer my e-mail is chazan8@gmail.com.

    Thanks again for your amazing reviews. A huge fan,

    Chazan

  41. My first time on your site, and blown away by the in-depth comparative review you have given.
    Thank you for putting such info out there! Getting an Operator’s point of view is always so much more useful than just scanning through specs.

    Can’t wait to get into the rest of your archives (yes, I’m from Australia and a little behind!).

    1. Philip Bloom says:

      thanks David!

  42. Thanks Philip for all the work you put into this! You mention that the native ISO on the FS100 is around 800 at 0db Gain. Can you set this camera at minus db’s at all to get the native ISO down to 100? Or are you stuck ND filtering this baby like it’s out in the sun set at 800 ISO? Thanks!!!

    1. Philip Bloom says:

      not on this pre production model of the fs. only 0db. the f3 can do -3db

  43. Joe Mills says:

    The super clean low light capability of the FS100 is a great selling point for me.

    Im wondering will the FS100 be able to record 50mps prores 444 with an external recorder as well? Also do you think there will be a s-log update for the FS100 as well in the future as they have the same sensor?

    Thanks for your time, great post!

    1. Valentino Zertuche says:

      yes the camera can output prores 444 at 330mps – right now only the Cinedeck will record this. Options will be out soon to record strait to the computer. As far as the S-log update – it will never happen. Sony reserves that for the big brother. http://valentinotechthought.blogspot.com/2011/07/review-of-sony-fs100-camera-and-why-it.html

  44. David Haynes says:

    Thanks Philip…good to see a review that gives equal prominence to usability – all too often ignored in favor of specs and rabid adherence to a movement.
    When you’re using the things in the field for 12-18 hours a day, shooting constantly and fighting exhaustion, a minor niggle with operation soon becomes a nightmare.

    Sony really needs to get its ‘world camera’ functionality sorted – I don’t mind paying for it but it needs to be an available option.

    The big problem remaining of course…is finding one of these things in stock.
    Bit like hunting unicorns right now…

  45. Yasser Saeed says:

    Amazing review Mr. Bloom as always …

    I really enjoyed watching part 2 .. many thanks ….

    OK, so we know that full frame sensors will provide shallower DOF, but how do you compare F3 DOF with EX3 and Letus Ultimate?

    1. Philip Bloom says:

      EX3 and ultimate is a different looking image. It is capable of shallower DOF!

      1. Yasser Saeed says:

        Do you mean different in a good way?!! And how much shallower the DOF?

        1. Philip Bloom says:

          just different. dof like a 5d

          1. Yasser Saeed says:

            Got your point .. many thanks.

            So it seems the DOF difference is huge between F3 and EX3 with Letus!! I am thinking (for now) to reconsider selling my Letus until I receive the F3 to see how the images compares!

            By the way, would you have a chance to compare DOF between F3 and your Letus with EX3? That would be greatly appreciated >>>

            1. Philip Bloom says:

              honestly the F3 is more than shallow enough. I won’t be doing a comparison as there is no point. My letus stuff is all packed up anyway!

              The F3 image is SO much better than EX and Letus, so clean and so good in low light

              1. Yasser Saeed says:

                Great ..

                I trust you, I will take your word for it, and will sell my Letus Ultimate Kit :) anybody interested?

  46. Matt Martin says:

    Great review Philip – thanks. One question I have is about how much difference you see in an image you record to a Ninja or other HDMI recorder via HDMI versus what is recorded to the onboard media at a paltry 25 or 35 mbps. The question I’m trying to answer is if it would be worth it for me to buy a Sony FS100 and a Ninja for higher-end results, greenscreen footage, etc. (I currently shoot on a Canon T2i with Magic Lantern). Also, it was good to learn that HDMI does not support 24P but you have to pull it down from 60P when using an external recorder with the FS100? Is that a difficult process?
    Thanks so much!

    1. Philip Bloom says:

      I don’t think it is difficult. I just haven’t managed to do it myself yet

    2. Valentino Zertuche says:

      Recording to Prores or an offlie format with superior color space is ALWAYS better for screen screen and color correction work. This camera has the option though out outputting 444 RGB so you can record to ProRes444 and get perfect green screen shots. I have details in my blog. http://valentinotechthought.blogspot.com/2011/07/review-of-sony-fs100-camera-and-why-it.html For some reason – no review is talking about this!

  47. First af all – thanks for a great and entertaining review Philip – I was looking forward to it and I loved it.
    One thing puzzles me though.
    In Part One as well as in Part Two you are saying – or even stating – that these cameras do not work handheld. For me – having worked professional as a documentary filmmaker for 15 years making Observational Documentaries – that statement seems odd. I always shoot handheld, never use tripod, or at least not so often.
    Lately I’ve been filming a lot with EX1 and EX3, and the last film with AF101. For me, all these cameras are typical handhelds and there’s no need for a tripod. At least not in my profession. If I, for example, are filming teenagers in their daily lives, I can’t walk around with a tripod, put it up and hope there is where the action is going to be. And then when the kids walk over to the other side of the room, it would be stupid of me to follow them with a tripod and again disturb the action that I want to film. No, my cameras need to be light enough to carry around days at end, and shot with for several hours in one go. And they have to work straight out of the bag. The AF101 is most certainely that kind of camera.

    IMHO – the Panasonic AF101 and, from what it looks (I haven’t tried it), the Sony F3 are handheld cameras. The fs100, maybe not so much, as it needs a few add-ons, especially to come around the lack of built-in ND-filters (remarkeble decision of Sony to exclude that…) and a viewfinder you can tilt enough to film “over” your head.

    Best regards, Anders Berggren, Göteborg, Sweden

    1. Philip Bloom says:

      I just don’t feel comfortable in their form factor to handheld. The EX3 is better as it rests on your shoulder and you have a proper video lens. It’s so much harder with non video lenses and I find it incredibly hard to shoot with these cameras handheld without a rig.

      1. I understand your point.
        I have the camera resting in my right hand palm, close to my chest for stability, using my left hand for all the controls. Having the camera like that I can easily adjust the level of the shoot. When having the camera on my shoulder, I feel like I’m filming down on people, especially when people I film are sitting down in a meeting or having a coffee or a beer with friends – and to adjust the level when filming shoulderheld I have to bend my knees which I find uncomfortable exhausting. Getting the scenes I want where people are interacting I need to be mobile and flexible – and I find a shouldermount camera too heavy and too big for that.
        I just wanted to give my view upon the fact that these cameras are handheld for documentary filmmakers like myself who have to be able to film close and not make too much fuss.

        But I do agree with you about the lenses – and to get the focus right on the AF101 I’ve started using the focus assist, which I find incredible helpful.
        I do miss a motorized zoom though…

        /Anders

        1. Yasser Saeed says:

          How about the Sony NEX-VG10?!! It is very light for handheld, and I think its image quality is comparable with Sony FS100, right?

          1. Philip Bloom says:

            no it’s terrible

            1. Yasser Saeed says:

              NEX-VG10 cost around $1,700 …. is it terrible for its price, or terrible comparing to FS100?

              1. Philip Bloom says:

                just terrible camcorder. avoid

                1. Daniel says:

                  Concerning the VG10,
                  if it had variable frame rates like 24p, 25p, 30p, 48p, 50p, 60p, would it be a camera worth considering? Or is the camera just so terrible all around that even with additional frame rates it would still be a piece of junk?

                  just one of those curious questions.

  48. After watching the videos I was thinking that the FS-100 coupled with a Ninja is an incredible packacge and that the Ninja is also a bit like the cheapest Prores422 recorder on the market (Blackmagic has showed at NAB an uncompressed 422 Recorder but it lacks the screen so I’m not so sure about it)…. BUT it is only HDMI and as you (Philip) said it is a consumer connector that is NOT locked….

    Well, for everyone that will have the FS-100 an/or the Ninja or for everyone that needs to use HDMI on field for any reason (cost, for the AF-101/Ninja combo, any reason !) I may have found a “good” solution. It is called HD EZ Lock Unversal HDMI Lock. You screw it OR attach it with some adesive tape that comes with it around your HDMI female connector and now you CAN LOCK the connector in place. Well I’m not sure it is a super solid stuff BUT you might check it : http://www.blueechosolutions.com/proddetail.php?prod=hd-ez-lock

    Just think I have to share the info…

    1. Valentino Zertuche says:

      Remember – the ninja is the cheapest option but this camera does give you 444RGB – and to capture all that glory you need a CineDeck. Thats 9k but worth it for green screen work. http://valentinotechthought.blogspot.com/2011/07/review-of-sony-fs100-camera-and-why-it.html

      1. Philip Bloom says:

        BUT FS100 will always be 8bit and that throttles the quality. So does the AF. Only the F3 gives you 10 bit

        1. Daniel says:

          Phillip, what if you ran the 8 bit footage from the AF100 and FS100 through Cineform’s Neoscene and converted it to 10 bit. Do you think it would be able to compare with the F3?

  49. andi says:

    have you ever been tried wide conversion lens, likes sony 0,7x, 0,45x digital concept.. , it’s cheap way to get more of full frame..

    maybe the picture look likes an anarmophic lens,

    i really appreciate with your job..

  50. Philip… You did a very fair and very “real world” look at the 3 cameras. You also brought up the AF100′s major problem which is how it clips in highlights. Excellent job!

  51. bob arnot says:

    Phillip!
    Totally outdid yourself on this comparison Really really smart points. So here’s the question…and hopefully the genesis of another review. For those of us who do documentaries and news gathering, we need a run and gun with rock solid sound for chasing around and especially for the sit down interview. I’d use the 5D for everything else…all the scenics, openers, beauty shots, B-roll et.c LOVE to hear how you would integrate….eg matching color profiles….and which camera of your three you would match to the 5-D

    Thanks!!!!!!!!

    Dr Danger

    http://www.hulu.com/dr-danger

  52. Gabi says:

    Hello and thanks you Mister Bloom !

  53. IVAN says:

    Hello Phillip
    Thank you very much for your excellent work. Would it be possible for you tho show us the comparaison of materails shot with these camera and recorded on Atomos Nindja
    Thaks

    1. Philip Bloom says:

      I am planning to soon

  54. aksel says:

    Hi Philip. I jut wanna ask why you didn’t test the GH2 Too.

    1. Philip Bloom says:

      because this was a camcorder comparison. the f3 vs af100 vs fs100. The canon was there for fun. Start using more than that then it becomes too big and then you have to include everything!

      1. aksel says:

        thank you

  55. Martin Calvi says:

    Now, on a previous post you said to stay away from Canon FD lenses because they’ll give a very soft look… and I’ve tried them, and you are right, they are very soft.

    So is it not the same case with these cameras?

    Thanks!

    1. Philip Bloom says:

      because you don’t need glass in the adaptor for these cameras!

  56. Ryan Orr says:

    Damn Europeans…don’t know how to spell “color” correctly (jking) ;)

    I’m envious Mr. Bloom. I’m loving the (spontanious?) Sony F3 and Zeiss purchase you made not too long ago. I don’t have the work to justify the means, but hopefully I can build a great client base to make that kind of purchase. For now I’ll just keep playing with my Canon 60D.

    Cheers!

  57. M. Carlsen says:

    Hi There…

    First – Nice test and thanks for keeping them coming.

    One major flaw to this test is that you compare the Moire of a 4:2:0 Matrix (CanonH264File) to that of a 4:2:2 (ProRes Recorded Ninja)

    Of course your Moire will be different.

    Record the Canon Directly off the sensor to 4:2:2 and then check the Moire. That would be a viable comparison ;-)

    1. Philip Bloom says:

      thanks for comment but I didn’t! Everything you see in this test is from internal recording. I will be comparing the Ninja stuff to the in camera stuff at a later date!!

      1. M. Carlsen says:

        Hi Philip,

        Just watched again. You are right. I misunderstood it.

        Thanks for clearing this up ;-)

    2. Valentino Zertuche says:

      The camera outputs 4:4:4 RGB – so get its full potential you need to use a Cinedeck and record it to prores 4444 http://valentinotechthought.blogspot.com/2011/07/review-of-sony-fs100-camera-and-why-it.html

  58. jon D says:

    I just met with the local Sony distributor/dealer for the F3 and they suggested buying with the lenses (PW) instead I was going to follow your lead and get the (PL) and purchase some CP.2 lenses from Zeiss. The reason given was that the Sony lenses (and Arri) communicate directly with the camera electronically to control aperture, and give data to the file on settings whereas the Zeiss lenses fit with an adapter and do not use the pins. Could you please comment, and also, which CP.2 lenses do you have in the photo on your site? I just purchased the Kessler Bloom slider and I really like it!
    Thanks,
    Jon

    1. Philip Bloom says:

      i have the 35, 50 and 85. Yes there is no communication with the camera

      1. jon D says:

        Any thoughts on the new 50 Makro (as an option instead of the regular 50?) or the 100 which includes close focusing? They are more expensive but more versatile perhaps?

        1. Philip Bloom says:

          from the CP.2?

  59. Tony Segreto says:

    Great post Philip! I’ve been looking for a comparison just like what you have done in these videos. It’s hard to find good information about each all in one place!

  60. Jon says:

    Yes CP.2 new product add ons in addition to the previous 7 lenses are now shipping.

  61. Jon says:

    Super Wide Angle Aperture CFD AOV Weight EF PL F MFT
    CP.2 18mm/T3.6* T3.6 – 22 0.3 69° 900 g
    CP.2 21mm/T2.9 T2.9 – 22 0.22 60.9° 1000 g

    Wide Angle ZE ZF ZF.2
    CP.2 25mm/T2.9 T2.9 – 22 0.17 52.2° 900 g
    CP.2 28mm/T2.1 T2.1 – 22 0.24 47.4° 1000 g
    CP.2 35mm/T2.1 T2.1 – 22 0.3 38.5° 1000 g

    Standard ZE ZF ZF.2
    CP.2 50mm/T2.1 T2.1 – 22 0.45 27.3° 900 g

    Tele ZE ZF ZF.2
    CP.2 85mm/T2.1 T2.1 – 22 1 16.7° 900 g
    CP.2 100mm/T2.1 CF** T2.1 – 22 0.7 14.7° 1.49 kg

    Macro ZE ZF ZF.2
    CP.2 50mm/T2.1 T2.1 – 22 0.24 27.3° 1.35 kg

  62. Quick question which is (I believe) still unanswered : is there any hypergammas in the FS100 ?
    Will it really be NOT branded CineAlta ? (it is surely understandable that it won’t)

    I’m really concerned about the availability of hypergammas OR customisable settings like on a Canon DSLR. Can we import picture profiles ?

    Ok… That’s more than just one question…

    (another quicky : even if I’m in the last few months of my cinema school as an editor, I’ve not figured how I can convert 24P video to 25P without any freezed frame or any audio problems… What am I missing ? I tried a LOT of different settings in Compressor but it is still not perfect)

  63. Another post to say that I tested both the F3 and the FS100 today at the Cannes Film Festival (thanks Sony France).
    Well, to me the F3 is a good camera. For shorts it is perfect. It is quite nice to have the same menus (more or less) we have on the EX3.

    The FS100… Well… No ND, in Cannes’ bright sunshine… I wanted to test the Sony E-Mount Zoom with it at full aperture… I had to put the shutter speed at 1/3200 (!!!) to get a correct exposure. It was a pre-production model with no touch screen functions. And the buttons layout… It’s just HARD to use it as it is not conventional ! And what the fuck is that HDMI PORT ?! HDMI is not rock solid… And we can’t put any stuff (like I spotted earlier on this page) to make it lockable. What-a-shame ! And I felt it was a bit of a bulky camera. Too much plastic, it doesn’t look solid.

    BUT, handled with care and with nice Lenses and NDs it can be a very good camera.

  64. Jamie says:

    For this shootout, I was thoroughly impressed with the overall picture quality and latitude of the Sony F3. I was most disappointed with the Panasonic, I thought it would hold the highlights a lot better than it did. I saw you when you came to Brisbane in Australia for the RODE tour. Given the type of shooting I normally do and for the added bonus of some clean green screen shooting, the Sony F3 with the S-Log function would be sweet. I know it is a lot more expensive but given the added latitude, it all but makes up for that. The Sony FS100 and the Panny have the added bonus of slow mo at full HD, but that is probably one caveat that I could live with. The Sony FS100 not having any proper handle, recessed buttons which are fiddly when shooting in dark auditoriums and an awkward screen and no ND filters, kind of rules it out for me. I know the Panasonic has a lot of features and would seem like the model to go for, but the images you shot with it really showed the blown highlights and looked far less than stellar. It looked like you shot it with a PD170 with a 35mm lens adapter on it. Don’t know if it was the compression on the web, but the colours looked muddy in parts as well. For what it was the picture on the FS100 wasn’t too bad, but having to use a mattebox constantly or filter setup outdoors, makes for a shoot that would just take a lot longer to complete. I have two Sony Z7 camcorders that are great, I only wish they had a 35mm chip in something with the same form factor and ergonomics as it is a really well balanced camera. Still I want the F3, that has some really clean pictures.

    1. Philip Bloom says:

      i wouldn’t judge image on either the vimeo stream or the download. All compressed!!

  65. Revis Paul says:

    The problem with the LCD being on top of the FS100 is irritating.

    This might sound RIDICULOUS but is there any way to make the image go upside down on the LCD screen? Then you could hold the camera upside down build a rig and create an ENG type setup. Then later the image could be turn right again in post???

    1. Philip Bloom says:

      that would make it even MORE fiddly! better off getting a zacuto EVF!

    2. David F says:

      Turn the camera upside down, adjust the viewfinder to see it easily, even use the magnifier too – the image will remain upfirhg to your eyes, and flip it in post. Easy, eh? And you don’t have to buy an expensive Zacuto finder and all the other attachements to make it work. KISS.

  66. JW Lee says:

    Very close to pulling the trigger to purchase the FS100. Thanks for the work you’ve done so far.

    We’re thinking of using older Nikon lenses on this to start out and I was wondering what experience you’ve had with E-mount to Nikon adapteers. Do you have any favorites?

    I’ve seen the Novoflex adapter, pretty expensive. I seem to remember you saying you’ve used these, would value your opinion. Trying to decide if it’s worth hanging on to my Tamron 17-50 G mount for use with the FS100.

    1. Philip Bloom says:

      there are cheap ones which are fine, but if u need G lens control only one i recommend is the pricey mtf one

  67. I visit your site regulary. One reason is that we use EX3 and 5dMkII and you have good experience of “our” gear and also use FCP in editing.
    Today we mostly use 5D/60D and external sound. Which camera, -the SF100 or the AF 100 will best give the closest look to go along with our DSLRs? What about the codecs? Is the crappy recording data on SF 100 a real problem or more an issue for techno freeks and engineers? What zoom lens would you recommend for the SF 100 (compared to the 24-70 f2 we mostly use for the 5D. Would like getting info from the lens to the camera)
    Best regard
    Bjørn

  68. Janolof Fritze says:

    Hi Phil, I´ve been following your work and great knowledge within film making and I´m impressed! I really like your straight forward comments, remarks, tests and lovely (clear) accent. Thanks! / Janolof

  69. Daniel says:

    Hey Phillip, So I’m an uber poor college student who is looking for the best camera for the money (I.E low price). I already own a GH1 which I love to bits. But I don’t want to be stuck with it’s limitations forever (it’s not hackable unfortunately). So I’m looking around.

    I love the image of the F3 but I hate the price.
    I noticed the FS100 has roughly the same image for roughly half the price. which I like.
    And the AF100, Is really close to the GH1′s image which I like, but I have more features and prores capability.

    So my dilemma, is I absolutely love both the FS100 and the AF100, But I’m torn between them both and cannot seem to choose which one I want to prospectively buy.

    So basically I’m wondering, If you where to film a Feature Film and you had to choose between those two cameras, which would you choose?

  70. Geoff says:

    Hi Philip, great blog entry!
    I run a film program at a college and we are looking to finally upgrade to HD cameras from some old PD-170s we’ve been using for years. The decision for which cameras to buy seems to be boiling down to either the Panasonic AF100 or the Sony FS100. I was wondering if you could tell me which you’d buy if you knew students would be using them every second weekend for several years? As much as optics and codecs are important to us (obviously we want the cameras to be reasonably current for as long as possible), we’re also concerned with build-quality. How do the two cameras stack up in your opinion? Are they roughly equal, or is one clearly more robust than the other? Thanks!
    Geoff.

    1. Philip Bloom says:

      build quality? well fs100 is worst. F3 best and AF in the middle!

  71. Geoff says:

    Thanks, Philip!

    Geoff.

  72. Daniel says:

    Hey Phillip,

    I’ve been wondering The Great Camera Shootout measured the Latitude of the AF100 at around 10.3 stops. But do you know if they were using the Dynamic Range Stretch Feature or not? Also, do you know about how much Latitude one is actually gaining by using this feature?

  73. Francois Regis says:

    Thank’s Phillip for this interesting test.
    I was waiting for the Big news from canon and the result… the C300 is nice, but the price is not for me (or just for rent), so, your test make me choose the FS100, even if i need Mate box, Ninja, Evf, rig, etc, like all the others Dslr and C300 to :)

  74. Joe Brown says:

    Hi Philip,

    Do you see a significant (worth the extra $1,000 or $1,500) when you use a Ninja or Samurai recorder with the AF-100 vs the SD card? I recently purchased an AF-100 and have both the Kippon and Fotodiox Nikon to MFT adapters and both are loose making it impossible to pull focus. Has that been your experience?

    Thanks

  75. kirtap says:

    Hi philipp
    nice to meet you
    sorry my english is very bad :(
    yours works and videos explanations are very interresting.
    i’m an score composer http://www.patrick-martens.com

    but my second passion is cinema and the video world’s .

    I would like to buy a very good camera ….Which model you would recommend me??
    (docummentarry, short film ,pub).
    my approximativ budget is 7500 $

    patrick