3 days with the Panasonic AG-AF100

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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

3 days with the Panasonic AG-AF100


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.net2010/10/19/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!

536 comments

  1. Thanks for the tests so far, Philip. I’m really excited about this camera and you are covering the main questions everyone has. I’ll be watching intently as you update this post.
    Do you have the 14-140 lens to try on it? I’m curious how this zoom lens looks on the AF100.

        1. but it is not that wide either. The camera has a 2x crop factor so it is the same field of view as a 28-180, wish the lens was at least a straight f4. The 7-whatever would make a really nice wide lens. But as with everything thing in the production world, you have to find alternative ways to get from point A to point B.

          Looking forward to your next post.

          1. 28-280 is a pretty good range considering my Canon kit is 24-70 and 70-200. Now granted those are f2.8 but together they cost 4x as much. For most stuff, I think the kit lens will be a great “all purpose” lens….almost like a stock lens on a video camera. Those stop down as you zoom in too.

  2. hey philip thx for posting this despite that you are “knackered” … can’t wait to see more of your test … as i’m sure we will see (just a bit though – due the short time you have with this cam) how the AF 100 plays in a more real life / work environment and with (your) true HDSRL background … not just “marketing” / trade-show talk 😉

    … so i’m really keen to see how this thing works with photo primes and zoom lenses …how this cam is to handle with these.

    one first question: what F-Stop(s) did you set the lens for this first lil high ISO test ?

    now get some rest, we all are patient – so no worries 😉

  3. Looked good, was the focus on auto, as it did seem to drop in and out even though you didn’t appear to move forward or backwards? Can you enlighten me with ref to your comment about needing a Nano Flash.

      1. Well I think you shouldn’t use the nanoflash, since it’s a 2000$ tool and I think most of us would like to see the camera working on it’s own… 5000$ for AF-100 + 2000$ nanoflash to get 280 mbps 4:2:2… It’s truly makes everything looks better, but, then we don’t see the camera potencial by it self and expend 7 grand!
        I think you could test the Af-100 and the nanoflash separetly… If there was the case to show us how it (nanoflash) works and if it’s really worth 2000$

        Thx for everything Bloom! Keep it real!

  4. I am terribly envious and spiteful at you Mr. Bloom. You are indeed making me jealous with the play time you are getting with this camera. Please get some sleep, and with the time you get, give us a really good review!

    Thanks for everything you do!
    Ryan

  5. What I’d like to see Philip is the range of real world examples of how this camera can cope -with lit scenarios, with a range of lenses -from the affordable panasonic range of kit lenses (so we can assess their usability and fastness) as well as still primes.

  6. Stunning info! This ‘new’ Pan 100/101 is a major page turner in the world of video options: available to anyone!

    And philip: I would love to be able to smoke a cigar again!

    Dan

    1. completely disagree. High ISO tests are very important. That’s the whole point! How sensitive are they? You seriously shoot everything with a big lighting kit? That is EXACTLY what we are trying to move away from. The ability to use more practical lights and shoot in places we would never normally shoot in.

      1. thats the hallmark of small independant shooters/films. The ability to shoot in available light without having to rig extensive lighting setups. high iso is the tool that makes that possible. Me personally, i find it very interesting to watch a jet lagged PB swerve back and forth into focus….its pretty cool.

      2. I think a good example of when this is useful is the movie “Buried”. Filmed in a coffin with only a couple of lighters, a glow stick and a cell phone as light sources (both in the film and on the set). We need to know if our cameras can shoot in a situation like that without all that bad stuff showing up on our video.
        Maybe someday we won’t need a huge professional Hollywood level lighting setup to make the scene look like it’s naturally lit.

        Frenchy’s comment nearly has me yanking my hair out!

      3. DP’s who look for reasons/excuses to avoid lighting must be either:

        (a) really experienced and know when it’s called for to trim the lighting or
        (b) never knew how to light to begin with

        There is a third option:

        (c) following the rules of Dogma 95

        This from the DP who shot Vegas which competed at the World Premiere with the Hurt Locker in the main competition at the Venice FF.

        Now go and attack me : )

        I only found this because i just ordered (2) AF-100’s but the only demo videos i could find are of ENG style shoots. Waiting for someone who knows how to light to show me what the camera can do…if not, i’ll keep looking or simply shoot tests myself when the camera comes out before i use it on set.

        1. Are you sure? I think is more about a mix of style and budget. Think about Nestor Almendros in “Days of heaven” and Raoul Coutard in “Breathless”. In the first case, Almendros had all the budget and resources to light up and scene. He didn’t do it. It was against his believes and style. In the case of Coutard, he used a camera with no sound and lights because the hotel room was too small and a bigger camera and set up didn’t fit in. In both cases cinematography was about figuring out how to light the scene with out the conventional way to do it. Not because they didn’t know how to light or because of Dogma 95 which was unheard of those days.
          Think about it.

    2. This isn’t a pointless test.

      If a camera can shoot that clean at 3200 ISO then you would assume it can provide very acceptable low noise levels at lower ISO settings.

      Also, let’s not get carried away – this isn’t an Alexa, it’s still very much in the prosumer end of the market. A lot of people buying this camera will still be using modest lighting rigs or shooting only in available light, which is exactly why good high ISO performance is important.

      1. You really cannot please everybody :). Very nice test and so clean footage. Did you monitor your self from some monitor to get yourself in focus as with f1.1 the “sharp” range is quite limited?

      2. Phil I think abds69 is just trolling. We all agree that a camera performing this well at 3200 iso is definitely worth having. True the video is highly compressed and true it was recorded at a crappy bitrate, but those factors aside I was impressed. Your right, lighting is very important but if your say, running and gunning near dusk in the well lit downtown of a city, 3200 could be very useful.

    1. abds69, I think that’s not thinking outside of the (studio shaped) box. What about people who do docu work, people shooting on the streets, people on location at landmarks at night, movies shot in natural lights, sunsets, dark places where a lighting rig would ruin the ambience… the list goes on. Surely you can see that?

  7. Wow… Thanks so much for doing this Phil. Considering that you landed back in the UK, went straight to Panasonic to get the camera and put this together so quickly is amazing.

    Pretty impressive stuff from the Panasonic. Looking forward to the rest of your tests.

  8. Just think what Canon could do …using 5Dmk2 sensor with Canon XL H1 design plus all the goodies from the AG-AF100 just think… is there any Canon executive around here 🙂 ?

  9. It’s worth noting that the 24 Mbps AVCHD PH implementation on the AF-100 still blows any and all of the DSLR codecs out of the water and is arguably the equal of something like XDCAM EX…it’s just not as good as an I-frame codec.

  10. It’s going to be encouraging if the comments posted here are not reduced to the teenage level “YouTube”.

    We are able to experience a new product that can make all of our video work easier and more productive.

    HDSLR advocates are going to be very defensive toward this new devise.

    If you are convinced that new camcorder is inferior from the git go….be professional enough to articulate your reasons without distain.

    Dan

  11. Great to finally see the camera with a still lens on it. Does look slightly odd but I guess looks aren’t important.

    Shame the aperture on EF lenses don’t work, or at least some adaptor could be made, like that red rock one they made for their 35mm adaptor, to get them to work.

    I look forward to seeing the other tests!

  12. Someone should hack this camera to bring up the bitrate! It would be nicer if Panasonic would bring it up to 35 or 50 Mbit/sec.

    And 8 Bit SDI? Why!? It’s almost 2011.

    Still, a nice new camera with nice new features!

    1. If they put in a AVC Intra codec or anything else with a higher bit rate (or 10bit HD-SDI) they would create a camera that could compete with a RED on many levels. There’s no point for Panny in doing so from a product policy standpoint.

      Would it be great for us? Yes.

      Would it be a wise move for Panasonic’s cash flow? Most certainly not.

      You can’t have everything. Especially not for this price. It will sell like hot cakes anyway, this camera is unique on the market right now.

        1. As an owner of an HVX200 p2 system, i cannot stress how glad i am that this camera moves away from that format. PCMCIA is dead, dead slow, expensive, incompatible with the majority of my post-production devices, and frankly a legacy option.

          It is revolutionary to me to be able to get an even better “look” out of a similar panny setup, and be able to use cheap “archivble” media, in a very post-friendly format.

          That’s just to say that for me, the interframe MP4/SDXC combo is a HUGE selling point.

        2. Precisely what I told them last August. Why not AVC Intra and P2 as an option? For that matter, why not a higher data rate on the AVCHD?

          For me (and others in the room) the lack of an option for Canon L series lenses was a deal breaker. The fast L-series are a main stay and most of us were unwilling to give them up. I understand there is a 3rd party in LA working on an adapter for $1-1.5K. We’ll have to see how well that works.

          The crop factor also doesn’t help with L-series lenses. One thing I would like to point out is that Micro 4/3 is very close in size to the 2/3″ cameras we had for years. Our only interest in DSLR’s was to get the full frame 35 sensor… and the resulting DOF and filmic look. Not really keen on giving that up.

          In the end, the two things that Panasonic came away with was that they needed a higher data rate on the AVCHD… and that they needed to consider a larger sensor in the future. It was amazing how consistent that view was among everyone in the room…

          1. A 4/3″ chip is four time the size of a 2/3″, it is much closer to APS-C then 2/3″. I think the 4/3″ sensor size is fine, but I don’t think there is enough fast glass made for it, and mounting fast canon and nikon glass makes almost anything a telephotoish lens. Hopefully in the future Panasonic will release more fast glass in the 15-25mm range.

            There is a constant f/2 zoom you can get for the 4/3″ though, its just reallly expensive.

  13. Enjoyed the video, thanks for posting and enjoy your new toy!!

    I hear AVCHD will be improved in the final version and the HD-SDI footage from Crew.TV looked very good, very high resolution and stable detail. Looking forward to seeing what Bloomy does with it.

    I am really curious as to the sensor. GH1 deriative, GH2 optimised for video, or an entirely new one with a low megapixel count for video? If they have got clean 3200 from the GH2’s 18MP sensor then it must have some seriously good noise control going on, or that sensor is a hugely good one. 18MP on a Micro 4/3rds chip – that’s even more packed than a 550D.

    By the way quick heads up – I tried logging in with Twitter and it does this – could you get your web guy onto it? “Catchable fatal error: Object of class WP_Error could not be converted to string in /home/philip/public_html/wp-includes/formatting.php on line 2772”

  14. High ISO IS important and it’s one of the staples of our diets under the new DSLR revolution… that and lots of bread.

    That’s the whole point of technology – that it makes our lives easier and makes things possible that were not yesterday!!!

    I’m sure some people would happily shoot on film and never move on from bulky lighting rigs but that isn’t me… give me the easy way to shoot and let me get on with enjoying it.

    Good lighting is a skill and it has it’s place and that will never change… but in natural environments outside of sets you need a camera which will deliver these high ISOs for an authentic look.

    1. I agree with Andrew.

      Just 6 years ago I was debating whether to “upgrade” to an XL-1, and then HD came along, and then the DSLRs, and now this.

      I’m happy I got on board with a T2i earlier this year. Thanks to shooting help from people like PB I’ll be using it while watching the amazing progress being made in camera tech, then it will be time to transfer rides once again.

      In regard to the high ISO, even with the net compression it still looked amazing, a little flarey when the match was lit but I again attribute that to compression.

      Looking forward to the full tests

  15. Why are you getting on Philips’ case? It’s the same as when he got the 7D, he did a small test and people complained that it wasn’t concise enough. Mr Bloom has been given this camera for a reason, have a bit of faith mate.

  16. Can you see what comes out of the HDMI as well as the SDI if you get a chance please. I was looking at the Atomos Ninja tonight and that would seem the ideal match if the HDMI is equivalent to the SDI

  17. It’s funny how people cannot seem to read the blog!!, it seems that they just rush to the pictures and videos… anyway, thanx for the test men, I surely apreciate it… Just one question, being that the sensor is smaller than the one on the 7d, it is really noticiable in the shallow DoF?

    See ya!

    PS:BTW that’s an ugly camera!!, hahahah, the designer made an horrible looking camera… and that evf doesn’t seem to confortable for handheld, you still will need some support, none like the EX-3, what a beatiful design!…

  18. That’s pretty impressive Phillip, now is that banding mostly due to the AVCHD or the Vimeo compression?

    I downloaded the MP4 and I can still see banding and pretty much a plethora of digital cube artifacts. NeatVideo can clean them up good but it’s still so far from ideal!

  19. Thanks for doing this! There are many of us hanging on your every word…

    If you have time, could you use the cheapest lenses you own with the camera? I’m sure I’m not the only person who’s interested in what can be done on an extremely tight budget.

  20. Obviously the AF100 is not in the realm of RED or high-end movie cams, but do you see this being a high enough quality camera to produce ready for broadcast programming (with the appropriate external audio and recording equipment…Nanoflash, etc…) ?

    Sorry to hear about your faulty GH2…truly hope that’s not a sign of things to come for the production model 😉 I know this isn’t the forum for it yet, but are you leaning either way between the 60d and GH2 or still stuck on the fence at this point? (looking forward to reading your reviews on them…no pressure 😉 )

  21. I think that Panasonic should on hte final version have 10 bit through the SDI instead of 8. And also the nano will not be a good choice because it only records 8 bit. The ki or the Atomos ninja will be a much better solution.

    P.S. – Don´t need to post it Philip. Just as a curiosity.

  22. Thanks for the test Philip! I agree with your comment above about the importance of high-iso tests in regards to getting away from expensive/ cumbersome lighting rigs… love filming with a fast lens in low-light!

    In your next test, can you please shoot with a more affordable lens, something like a 50mm 1.8?

    Cheers

  23. Well I’m pleasantly impressed thus far, thank you Philip,
    Now for a more serious request..please tell us if it burns the bread on one side more than the other 😛
    Just kidding!

    Waiting patently for the rest of your review 🙂

    Thank you!

  24. Thanks for posting this, Phil. Could you also comment on the usability of the form factor, including how comfortable is is to shoot with, button layout, viewfinder etc? It seems to be at the larger end of the spectrum for cameras that are non-shoulder-mounted (or maybe it is smaller in real life), so I’m curious what your thoughts are on how user-friendly it is.

    Also, on a slightly related note, I recall that you purchased a Panasonic TM700 a few months back, but I don’t think you posted your thoughts on that camera. What did you think about that one?

    Thanks!

  25. Hey Phil…

    sleep at least 2 hours every 24… drink lots of water… and eat fruit!

    watch out for diminishing returns dude…

    burnout takes 3 times as long to recover from onset…

    after 40 it takes even longer!… ;-)…

    and drink orange juice… and chicken soup if all else fails!

    please don’t compromise your standards…

    and also take care of yourself.

    don’t mind if this doesn’t show up on site…

    best wishes…

  26. Go phil go! Can’t wait for the rest. I’m this close to putting $$ down on one. Would love to see the other tests you are going to do. Thanks for doing this. Super helpful when investing 5K into a camera with no lens.

  27. Holy S*&^*T
    the 3200 ISO looks good,

    now i don’t know what to buy ….
    no rush. ill just wait till the other one im looking at comes out and ill decide then.

  28. EXCELLENT DEMO IN LOW LIGHT!

    I love all I’ve seen and read so far but the camera does not appear to have good ergonomics. Looks like it’s strictly for tripods. Can you tell us what it’s like for handheld run’n’gun work (like your JVC HM100 review)? Does it have a fast autofocus like the GH2? Can it track moving subjects?

    Cheers,

    Lance

  29. It seems that the banding would be much less severe at a lower ISO. In the Zacuto shootout the banding even started to show with the high ISO settings of the D3s.
    The banding and low light issues even in the hacked GH1 put me on the Canon bandwagon for now. Will enjoy seeing what the GH2 is capable of as well.
    This is all getting very exciting lately…

  30. Wonder if you run into the same problems I have at times with the Voigtlander at 1.1 and sometimes at 1.2 when you have very small and very bright light sources in frame – produces ghostly flares around them. Else it’s an absolutely fantastic lens for the price (25er coming only in December now).

    This short test has answered one of the most important questions about the camera for my personal use (and I am a non-smoker). Thank you.

    And yes, the design hints that Panasonic also produces dish-washers…… 😉

  31. who cares what the camera looks like. I care about how it will shoot. Philip, please do some texture shooting of things that a HDSLR would have issues with. Some deep focus stuff too.. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE!!!!!

  32. Thanks for the video! It’s like the long awaited sequel to the “Zacuto Great Camera Shootout 2010 Webisode 2: How Sensitive Can You Get”. (The jet lag and low light makes you look like the Son of The Grumpy Old Man with the Bic Lighter 🙂

    Can’t wait to hear and see more about your experiences with the Pana AF100!

  33. oh, oh, impressive. that will kill off a couple of other cams i am sure. nevertheless, could you get your hands on a working gh2 please. that one is more in my pricerange right now and i love the fact that i´d have a leica m sized video-camera and get up close and personal with it.

  34. its so annoying, why cant I have my cake and eat it???
    if this recorded with a higher data rate in the camera, it would be a sale…

    i have an HVX that was bought for the same price, off the peg about 3 years ago, shooting HD 1080p at 100mb/s.

    It doesn’t seem like enough of a step forward for 3 years progress.

    I really don’t understand why.

    1. Yes, but wasn’t that some kind of 720p in-camera upscale? As in, the chip on the HVX wasn’t actually 1080p?

      Codec aside, probably the biggest improvements over the HVX are the chip and of course lens interchangeability.

  35. Hi Philip,

    I just checked the AF100 yesterday at SATIS.

    First I was quite impressed by the 3200 ISO capability. Even on the show, with big screens, it seemed to be good. Promising…

    Then, on the other hand, I noted few things :
    – no genlock/timecode external sync (same as on old Sony EX1…)
    – nobody was able (and a google search didn’t helped me yet) to give the sensor resolution…. especialy the resolution used when recording 16:9 HD, which must be only a part of the full 4/3 sensor
    – Pana vendors claimed that “the rolling shutter problem was not present on this camera”… How ? Why ? True ?
    – How does this AVCHD files work with Final Cut Pro ?
    – Did you tried it with the SmallHD monitor which I love so much ? 🙂

    Thanks for your review, keep going !
    🙂

  36. whether they like it of not this camera will threaten their pro market. One simple reason. The HDSDI/HDMI outputs. IMHO

    So one can record to a KiPro mini /KiPro/Ninja/nanoflash etc etc.
    I too have an HVX with letus but i do think these cams, DSLR and the like, have made a big leap. Sensitivity in sensors, resolution and the depth of field that has illuded us for decades.

    I to would like to purchase one of these but i’m waiting to see what happens with RED scarlet. Ive gotten accustommed to that 4K thingy so no rush.

    But i am getting a D7000, whenever Nikon decides to ship them

  37. …i’m still waiting for you to get your hands on a nikon d7000 and do some tests/reviews on that. For me its between the nikon d7000 or a 7d with a nikon lens adapter, which makes me nervous putting adapters on my food photography lenses….I tell you what, when I get my d7000 in I’ll fly you over here to New Hampshire and you can run some tests with it.

      1. Hi Philip,

        I was lucky enough to pick up a Nikon D7000 last Friday. Sorry I missed you in Boston.

        There is no 1080/25p, 1080/30p, 720/50p, 720/60p. As you mentioned, Nikon really seems to be struggling with the higher bitrates. I am not holding out hope for a firmware update because I am guessing this is a hardware limitation.

        You can’t change the aperture in the camera once you start recording (even though the LiveView status says the aperture is changing). Is this a big deal for those of us who don’t have awesome lenses?

        HDMI output is 1080i, 720p, 576p, 480p.

        I have been able to get close to 25Mbit/s total bitrate (H.264 with B-frames) as has been reported elsewhere.

        Auto, high, medium, low for audio.

        Rolling shutter is not that bad; moire and aliasing I suppose could be better.

        3D color tracking is awesome and seems to work well over the entire frame. But there is a question of whether the corresponding full-time-servo autofocus (AF-F) and subject-tracking autofocus can keep up. So far, I haven’t had much luck with this in low light, or when the subject is outside of the nine cross-type sensors. If you have decent lighting and can keep your subject in the cross-type sensors, it seems to work pretty well. I think that the successor to the D300S which will probably have more cross-type sensors will be better in this respect. Would like to hear your thoughts on autofocus in video.

        I don’t have a huge collection of lenses; I’m going to pick up a 35mm f/1.8 DX lens and try to do some extreme low-light/high-ISO tests.

        Thanks

      2. i would…but you’d have to sign it and make it a “Philip Bloom signature d7000” for me 🙂

        Sadly, i had to return the D7000 today, 4 dead pixels in video mode while doing a high iso “jackolantern” test, Nikon fail. But the rolling shutter “jello” issue has been greatly reduced, and it feels tack sharp. I did some handheld 300mm tests, no jello.

        The issue with not being able to change aperture in live mode doesn’t seem to be that big of an issue, because normally you know exactly the shutter speed and fstop your going to shoot at before you start and the using iso and ND faders you can reach proper exposure in daylight/darkness, correct?

        I shot some tests with the 35 f1.8 and a cheap ebay 52mm nd filter and was really impressed coming from the d300s.

        sorry to derail the thread topic mate. 🙂

        1. The HDMI output resolutions I listed are only for movie playback. Sadly, the resolution of the live HDMI out for the Nikon D7000 is 720×480 @ 59.9Hz. Furthermore, the frame is cropped on the left, right, and bottom (with black bars) giving a LiveView filming area for movies of about 640×360.

          My camera also has about four hot pixels. This seems to be a widely reported problem.

  38. Hi.

    When i shoot i will need to go alot handheld , is this something you can try too?

    Its the issue with image stabilizer, only theyr own slow lenses have that and are therefor maybe only the lenses you can use at longer focal lenghts handheld?

    What about zooming handheld ? Thats the biggest issue for me with this camera, what kind of lens choices would i have then ? that aint much.

    Stuff on a 200mm(400) on tripod and see if you can get any sort of useable image.

    These days im constantly thinking of why arent more people putting in IS in the caemras ? So that any lens you put on will have stabilizer , nikon 50mm f1.2 (400USD) with IS , nice.

  39. Thanks for sharing this, Philip! It’s nice to see folks get excited over the new stuff coming in video like the AF100. The changes and advances coming are like riding Class 5 rapids down the Chatooga River here in Georgia 🙂 It’s a wild ride, but man it’s fun. Yes, it’s another tool in our toolbox. We love our tools. We have so many great choices today for filmmakers that were simply out of reach just a few years ago.

    I need to get you back on Digital Convergence so Chris Fenwick and I can talk with you about what you learn with this camera. Great work, Philip! Thanks again for sharing your experiences with us.

  40. Philip,

    Great test – looks promising. I am tempted by this camera.

    Not as a replacement for the 5D mark II (IMHO, nothing can beat the bokeh with a 50mm F1.2), but as an additional camera that is just more practical to work with (XLR inputs, HDMI/SDI out) on certain assignments.

    Stu Maschwitz recently hit the nail on the head by commenting on his blog that the lenses Panasonic provides are way too slow for this to become a serious competitor for DSLRs: “Quite simply, we have tasted full-retard DOF, and it is good.”

    True, you can put several other lenses in front of it with adapters, but then you loose the motion tracking feature (which I am curious to learn how it performs) and other automatic functions. Can you still set the iris at Canon EF-lenses? If not, how do you stop it down?

    Also, I wonder how easy it is to edit the footage: either how well the AVCHD performs (in FCP and even in Adobe CS5) or how easy it is to edit the footage if you record it with an external recorder (240Mbps is no easy task for most any system, I presume).

    Would you be willing to share a couple of source clips (AVCHD) and one from an external recorder (Nano) through WeTransfer.com or sth? I would be happy to upload it to my own channel as I have no user limitations (you can then share the download link on your blog), so we can all have a go with it on our favourite NLE and run some tests with Color Grading?

    Let me know. Thanks.

    1. You should transcode the AVCHD to an intraframe codec before editing it. This is true of any long-GOP codec, including the .MOV files from the Canon DSLRs, which is the same codec as AVCHD (h.264) just implemented differently.

        1. The color space and bit depth is not the only issue, the issue is that cutting clips that are in a long-GOP codec causes the footage to degrade in quality every time you make an edit. You should always transcode to an intraframe codec. Why subject yourself or your computer to the pains of editing in a delivery codec? H.264 is not meant for editing, nor even really intended for acquisition, although many cameras now use it, it is meant as a delivery codec.

    2. Hey we have nearly gone full circle with this. Philips original blogs were all about EX1’s and Letus adapters, lovely footage it was too lets not forget. Along came the DSLR’s and the Letus gathers dust in the cupboard, but hey, no proper audio or monitoring options without half a tonne of bolt ons. Now we are here, back with larger cameras, proper audio in /out and using 35mm lenses.
      Maybe there is still a place for the Letus after all?

  41. very jealous at yo Philip!! hahaha!!!

    the reviews are great, thanks for all the tips.

    will you consider makin’ a benchmark with this camera vs the DSLR’s… pro and cons…

    thanks for doin’ this to all the community…. big respect!

  42. Thanks for testing this, Philip. I am putting together a shoot package for some low-budget Indie projects in the near future and am just blown away by the look of this camera for the price. I have to make a decision quickly as the camera release date, late December, and the queue already forming to buy it means taking delivery probably sometime in March. Let us know if you think the AF100 is the real deal ASAP. Thanks again.

  43. Please, can you post to Rapidshare or other filesharing server a 20 seconds ungraded and uncompressed footage from the HD-SDI output in uncompressed AVI format ? Many thanks in advance !

  44. Great test, Phil! Nice picture, eh? (image wise, not subject wise, that is)

    Since you’ve already had questions (and responses), regarding Canon lenses, I imagine in your proper test, you’ll point out the lack of iris control on EOS lenses, and the (hopefully soon-to-come)Birger EOS-M4/3 adapter?

    Thanks for the test, get some rest, and thanks for not inhaling ;^)

  45. Great test Philip thanks.

    I’m guessing many RED zealots are feeling pretty depressed today. This is what Scarlet could have been. I wonder if the decision to cancel/postpone its release and re-jig it was because of Panasonics announcement of this camera? Timing sure seems suspicious.

    Looking forward to seeing the next round of tests. Keep up the good work.

  46. So dear Philip,

    We know you avec some relations with high Canon Stuff…

    Is a XL3 canon camcorder with DSLR sensor ready to be launch in few months..

    I’m sure you know the response….

    Please

    1. Thank goodness. It’s got balanced audio and mic jacks. Looks good at high ISOs.

      That audio was a deal breaker for sooo many of us. And the viewfinder/form factor was killing the people who started in video.
      BTW. People saying that it isn’t an Alexa. It’s prosumer. Seriously, if this is appearing to be prosumer to you then we’ve got to talk. This market is growing so fast it looks like it’s been given steroids.

      Pretty soon, as predicted, it’s not going to matter the camera.
      That, my friends, is a great thing.

  47. Philip-

    Exciting news! I pre-ordered the AF100 from B&H last week. Was totally sold on the footage from crew.tv… and now the cigar test! Bill Clinton would love it.

    I’m not too concerned about the 8-bit… should I be?

    I also plan on getting an Atamos Ninja, but am a bit wary about the hdmi connection issues. Should I be? Atamos says later models will have hd/sdi connections, but I’m not sure it’s worth the wait… I need to get this thing fired up soon. Also, kinda lame that the monitor on the Ninja is SD…

    Also, will you let us know how she looks at 24mbs? Good enough for corporate shoots? Docs? Good enough to hold off on the Ninja until a better version comes out?

    Can’t wait to put up my own test footage!

    Cheers, mate.

    -Dustin

  48. Dare I say it…

    I don’t really like the image. I thought I saw going to be blown away by this camera, but I gotta say, the 5D is still giving the best large sensor image in the prosumer price bracket… For now…

    1. I agree. The highlights clip in a relatively unpleasant way. Looks like the latitude is restrictive too.

      Along with the 24Mb rate I’m not sold.

      Close but no cigar.

  49. I’m very impressed with the initial test. This could be the tool that helps bridge the gap that video shooters want from dslrs. I’m getting excited about the future of digital cinematography, enough that has reingnted my passion for filmmaking

  50. Amazing Amazing Amazing!

    Hi Phill,

    I’m new to your blog, a film student at AAU and really amazed by your generosity to those in the film community. I’ve been a fan Christopher Doyle for a while but you really put a face and humility to the art. Love your work and the education you so passionately pass on.

    1. I doubt that. RAW vs 8 bit sdi? 1920×1080 vs 4.5k? I don’t think it will even be able to compete with scarlet 2/3rds but it’s still sure to have that pretty Panny mojo they infuse into all their stuffs. I suspect it will be a great camera for a lot of applications but DSLRs will still saturate the marketplace for a long time to come as fantastic film making tools.

  51. This panasonic camera is good product in many ways. One is the result that this forces the competition to produce. Canon EOS VDSLR 1 anyone.
    A DSLR bodied (5D mark 2 body) camera with 8 Mpix fullframe sensor with body connected cooling system (aluminium or heatpipes what ever) 100Mbit/s 1080p 60,50,30,25,24 only.

    Yeah I know I know, it’s easy to type it on my screen but Canon can choose to do what ever they want.

    1. Canon is like apple, They do not care what we want or think, They only produce products they know will sell and make them a profit, either Consumer or Prosumer level, whatever, Their profit margin is the only thing that matters.

      The bottom line..There will never be the perfect camera for us from Canon Period.
      There may be from Companies like RED since they listen to us, but Canon… No chance!

      1. “They will only produce products they know will sell and make them a profit”
        You’re making capitalism out to be evil? Since when is making a product that will sell ever been a bad thing? I would bet 90% of Canon cameras are sold to people that want still cameras. Video is a bonus to most.
        Don’t bash a company for making a product for their primary consumer base.

  52. Hey Phil,
    Thanks so much for all your great testing on this cam!
    Since you mention the battery, what’s the battery model for this cam? I’m wondering if they use either the HPX/HVX or the HMC model.
    Thanks!

  53. Awesome Phil,

    One thing I would LOVE to see – comparison shots from the 5D shooting the same scenes – low light / detail between the 2…

    Also love the cuban action – @ 1:58 , It’s like a scene in the Adventures of Philip Bloom and the lost Bokeh. or maybe the temple of low light.

  54. Philip – this is so exciting – to be honest we’re a bit sick of having to take our Sony EXs and Zs out on corporate shoots along with our GH1 (just so that our clients don’t say “what on earth is that?” and “I thought I was paying for a video” – the AF100 will give us the visual look of a ‘proper’ camera – and the flexibility, bokeh and d.o.f we get from our GH1 with Nikons and Leicas strapped to the front…I think this is going to be a smart move from Panasonic!

    Monkey

  55. Hi Phil, I would love to know what you are thinking about the viewfinder, coming from the pro-side Dgi-Beta and XDCAM HD I am always fighting with the bad viewfinders on my 5d/7d. Do we get an HD VF here ?

    Thanks and enjoy your tests

  56. Hi Philip,

    The Quick Question:
    I am interested in your thoughts on using the AG-AF100 in a multi-camera broadcast studio environment, especially in trying to get proper handle-mounted zoom and focus controls using a stills lens.

    The Longer Background:
    The broadcast studio I work at is looking at the AG-AF100 as the next camera upgrade. If we can outfit it correctly, it would replace us needing to get both EX3’s and Video DSLR’s.

    We’re considering getting Nikon lenses (with aperture rings) – to be future proof for using other camera bodies whether full-frame, mirrored, canon, nikon, etc.

    But we need it to be able to function well as an in-studio broadcast camera, especially as far as having proper zoom and focus controls on the tripod handles.

    Have you tried, or do you know anyone who has tried using studio handle controls for Focus and Zoom with a Stills lens?

    I’m currently in communication with Abel Cine, Zacuto, and RedRockMicro, and trying to figure out a solution that isn’t too complicated or so expensive that it would just be easier to go with the separate EX3 and Video DSLR solutions.

    Thanks,
    Joel

  57. Addendum:

    It seems that Nikon or any stills lenses are probably not going to work for standard broadcast studio work because of the backfocus issue on zooming (on still lenses it won’t keep focus). Unless there is some kind of modification available for the stills lenses it will probably mean getting proper cinema lenses (and a larger budget).

  58. hi,philip , i ve canon 50 1.2 ,nowadays im thinking to change my 50 to zeiss 18 3.5 and buy also a 35 2.0 what are you saying that change 50 1.2 canon to zeiss primes,and do you have an any news about canon producing a solution to rolling shutter problem,and what can we do in the post with it or is there any thing to do in camera settings 5d mk2,thanks alot,and when are you coming to ny,thanks,

  59. Post-Addendum:

    Sorry to keep adding to my comment/question. But it seems time sensitive as you only have the camera a short while…

    Does the AG-AF100 have the tele-conversion feature that is coming on the GH2 (where you can do a sensor crop without losing output resolution)? It seems that function would enable the camera to be used with some of the TV lenses that were designed for a smaller sensor without having the vignetting effect. Or perhaps you would even be able to use it with 2/3″, 1/2″, and 1/3″ lenses. It wouldn’t make sense for film style shooting because you’re also losing depth of field, but for broadcast it would have a purpose.

    In the meantime, thanks for all the twitter updates!

  60. I saw a interview with Jan Crittenden on Panasonic on youtube. She sayed that the price would be over $2000 higher with the P2 system. And as you sayed Philip. It would probably wreck the pro market.

    But I would like the AF100/101 in a HPX300 or similar housing so you kan have it on the shoulder. And ofcourse 10Mbit HDSDI out put. But I guess I can’t get every thing for that price.

    For you all complaining that you don’t get a higher bitrate and P2. A 1/3″ 1080p camera with 100Mbit recording and exchangeable lens starts round $10K and a 2/3″ 1080p 100Mbit Panasonic cost round $48K. So what would not a 4/3 cost?

    Philip
    Thanks alot for this site. It gives me alot. Looking forward to the next test with the AF100 and your other upcoming tests, tips and trix and blog posts.

    /Johan from Sweden

  61. Please please do some proper tests of how much rolling shutter there is to be found with this camera. This is a big issue for me, and many others.
    I’d love to see some super-fast pans just to get an idea of whats going on even though it won’t be like any real life situation..

  62. Looks very promising. 😀

    About a month ago I was talking with a young filmmaker (Colin Levy, who directed the big animated Youtube hit ‘Sintel’) and he was highly anticipating what this camera is gonna do. (btw, he reads your blog!)

  63. Oh my, I haven’t seen so many breathless (mainly blokes) since just before the launch of the Ex-1, DVX100, PD150 etc etc. Do people really think the difference between 8 or 10 bit i-frame SDI out on the new Panasonic will make better filmmakers of them? – ‘Iraq in fragments’ was made with two DVX 100A’s. Nuff said. I will probably get a AG-AF101. Its just a tool. Calm down!!!

  64. Speed, Phillip. My background is news, though I don’t work in that anymore. But often my jobs require the ability to focus quickly, get exposure and shot set fast and follow action, run and gun, thus my HVX200 (yes, not like a real ENG cam, but I’ve learned to live with it). But I also shoot indie film and use my Letus. Two different beasts.

    Will this camera allow to work in the real world of money making gigs, where I don’t have 3 minutes to set menus for each shot on a DSLR, and more like 3 seconds?

    Please share your thoughts on real world speed, maybe with a zoom lens.

    Thanks!

  65. What I want to know is why they don’t just license Cineform RAW and add a RAW shooting option. Leave the AVCHD in there for people who want it, but give people who want more.

    We would gain 4:4:4, I-Frames, access to the full raster of the sensor and a straight forward workflow (as far as RAW goes) with a single simple change to paradigm of how they record. I know Panasonic has drawn a line in the sand with all the FUD and anti-RAW rhetoric they’ve thrown Reds direction…but the bottom line is compressed RAW recording (especially with as well thought-out system like Cineform) is one of the most elegant solutions for balancing quality vs file size. Maybe Panasonic can swallow their pride and admit that compressed RAW shooting is actually a good idea.

    It would put this camera above the SI-2k automatically!

    You hear that Panasonic? Canon? Why wont one of these big players step up to the plate and do it? Got a problem with “not invented here” and can’t handle the thought of licensing Cineform? Then do like Red did and just invent your own or extend Cinema DNG with better compression. (I don’t actually want you to do that… I just suggest it in case you can’t man-up enough to admit Cineform has done a bang up job with compressed RAW)

    I’m sick of chroma sub-sampling and distribution codecs being abused as acquisition codecs. I want 4:4:4 I can pull not just an acceptable matte from, but an EXCEPTIONAL matte from.

  66. Does anyone out there know anything, anything at all, about the Sony answer to this camera? I am very much in the market for the AF100, but am quite interested in the new 4/3″ chip Sony that Phillip mentioned in a previous write-up. I’d love to have either one. Everyone loves what the Letus and my HVX can do, together, but the limitations (light hog) and image issues are putting me at a disadvantage to what the DSLR stuff looks like.

    1. Brant, the Sony apsc version is due around feb time. So say will use the alpha 900 chip, body is EX1 size, and will have a pl mount option, though canon are making there own lenses for the camera as well. Prices not announced yet, same for the name. Will appear in japan maybe in dec. That’s what I heard from a Sony source.

  67. Cheers Phillip,

    I’ve been lurking for the last year and decided it was high time to get proper. I’m really interested in this new breed of camera and am hopping to see the competitor’s answer to the af100. Thanks for putting in the time for these reviews. I bought 3 JVC Hm100s last year after watching your review, we spent days digging through ridiculous reviews. It was really helpful to download actual footage and get to the bottom of the “1080p” claim (upscaled in camera). They have been the perfect fit for what we use them for.

    So a big thanks and we’ll buy you some beers when you come through Southern Idaho.

      1. Is that an adapter that Panasonic will have available as an optional mount or an adapter I can find at B&H, etc.? I looked for an adapter to use to mount the Minolta lenses to my friends 60D… and it appears there is only an adapter for the manual lenses.

  68. I have to totally agree with Alan about “Iraq In Fragments”. That film was the
    result of skilled use of the DVX100 pushed to it’s limit. “Novenber” by Greg Harrison is another example of such use with the same unit by cinematographer Nancy Schrieber, who by the way, recieved Best Cinematography at Sundance for a film that was totally shot on the DVX100 – mini dv (DVCPro25)!
    But all this banter about the AF-100. It’s all about something that’s not even out yet as a production model. It looks exremely promising, but the complete specs are not yet conclusive (I’m hoping for 10-bit out HDSDI).
    But in the end it’s all about the story and the dedicated and professional skills brought to bear upon creating a work of art- feature, documentary… whatever, that we can be proud to share with others no matter what tools we use. Thank you, Alan!
    And in acknowledgement, I want to thank Philip for such dedication.
    Thanks guys!

  69. They’re coming out with a 14mm f/2.5 prime for m4/3rds that I believe will be in the $400 range.

    I was surprised to hear that you had trouble grading the footage…I’ve graded AVCHD-PH from the HMC-150 without any problems…in fact I feel like it holds up better than the Canons or hacked GH1.

    I bet the GH2 will be the perfect B-camera to go along with the AF-100 as they use the same sensor and will likely put out a pretty similar image (at least in certain situations.) It has some key advantages over the current generation of Canons as well, as you know.

  70. In every Bloom short there is a moment of genius where a shot opening up a new way of thinking sneaks in. It’s at 0:43 in this one – rippling focus across fish. It made go ‘wow’ out loud!

  71. I have to totally agree with Alan about “Iraq In Fragments”. That film was the
    result of skilled use of the DVX100 pushed to it’s limit. “November” by Greg Harrison is another example of such use with the same unit by cinematographer Nancy Schrieber, who by the way, recieved Best Cinematography at Sundance for a film that was totally shot on the DVX100 – mini dv (DVCPro25)!
    But all this banter about the AF-100. It’s all about something that’s not even out yet as a production model. It looks extremely promising, but the complete specs are not yet conclusive (I’m hoping for 10-bit out HDSDI).
    But in the end it’s all about the story and the dedicated and professional skills brought to bear upon creating a work of art- feature, documentary… whatever, that we can be proud to share with others no matter what tools we use. Thank you, Alan!
    And in acknowledgement, I want to thank Philip for such dedication.
    Thanks guys!

      1. I have done the same with 5Ds and 7Ds to reduce moire and aliasing artifacts, but not any Panny video cams. I just wondered why it would be a default action – especially on a camera with an OLPF.

        Don’t get me wrong – so happy you did all this work for us – just wondering if it’s not like putting salt on one’s food without tasting it first.

        Did you do any shooting at the default setups?

        All the best,
        PK

    1. it can’t Steve…a 30mm is a 30mm. It if was a wide lens for the 4/3 it would have a smaller number hence the 7-14mm wide angle lens sounds so wide yet is same as 14mm L series on my Canon…

  72. Philip- Thanks for the review. The video is gorgeous as usual. I’m dying to know though…what can you say about the quality of picture in general vs. the Canon 5d? Seeing that there’s no moire is a huge plus. Resolution? Dynamic Range? It’s hard to tell after vimeo’s compression. I would probably invest in this if I felt the end resulting picture could be better or the same as the Canon. I understand that the usability of this camera is better…but I’m more concerned with your opinion of the end resulting picture. What camera reigns supreme in your opinion?

    1. I can say it’s 100% likely that the camera is resolving more resolution than the 5D. The GH1 does and this uses an improved version of the sensor, and the Panasonic people have claimed that it’s downscaling properly to a full 1080p.

        1. Ben knows more than me…

          I have not done any side by side and my time with camera was far too limited to determine resolution and dynamic range as I don’t think I had the best settings

  73. Fantastic Philip like your out in the street style. Being able to shoot 25P but at 50fps is a real bonus, not to mention XLR, SDI out and finally being able to use my Nikon lenses rather than my horrible slow, servo focus lens on my current video camera. It has the best of both worlds for me.

  74. Love the vids! Once again, telling it straight like it is. That’s why I and many other fully respect you, your work, and your opinions. I can’t tell you how much your camera reviews and other info have helped me learn cinematography.

    Hope to see a full camera review with the production model in November. Cheers!

  75. Very nice edit Phil.You had very little time to get this out and made good use of it. Thanks!
    After reviewing the tests available from users of this camera I have come to the conclusion that Panasonic 4/3 cameras are Excellent in NATURAL light, but other full light sources show a very cold image(unimpressive). The only other area that is noteworthy, to ME, is the low-light (night) performance with indirect ambient lighting, although I still saw the banding.
    This camera surely does have it’s strengths. It also has some weaknesses that would prevent an investment at this time. Maybe the 25% will bear up these weaknesses into strengths as well. Here’s hoping….Cheers!

  76. Impressive, but I have to agree with what some people have said… it’s not quite as shallow as a 5D and the crop has to be a killer in many instances (even with your great selection of lenses). If you have a huge bag of lenses one could definitely work around this issue but it will be more of a challenge than someone on a 5D or even 7D.

    There’s also something that I just can’t describe that in many (most?) shots makes the AF-100 seem more video-y looking to me, more like your older shots using Letus adapters than the Canons. Of course, that could be due to a lot of things that make the cameras look different – for example the “fake” detail from aliasing that can actually make a Canon look pleasing. I dunno.

    Bottom line, a great tool in the toolbox and if I had unlimited resources I likely would buy a camera like this for more traditional video work like interviews, events, etc. I’d intermix DSLR shots for some more cinematic looks.

    In any case it will be exciting to see what Canon comes out with.

  77. Aloha Philip,
    Let me preface by saying that as always I love your shooting style and skills behind the lens and have been a fan for quite a while. You are a very talented artist.

    That being said…

    My first thoughts are that I’m not terribly impressed with the perceived image quality of this camera. Not to say that it doesn’t look good but that it just doesn’t look THAT much better than a 5D2, 7D, or GH13.

    I see this camera absolutely shining for documentary filmmakers as the built in audio makes life that much easier. I also see this being a great cam for wedding videographers for the same reason. But for filmmaking? Yes, no, maybe so… For filmmaking, I think sync sound is the absolute best formula for high end results. Put the camera in the best place for CAMERA, and the sound in the best place for SOUND.

    An example would be a recent shot I did for a spec trailer I’m shooting. Talent is on the side of this rock face engaging in a short dialogue scene and there’s nothing but a large bay in front of them. This was a seemingly impossible shot that was accomplished by shooting at 800mm across the small bay using walkie talkies to slate and mark the shot. The end result was beautiful imagery and perfect sound. I think with filmmaking there are so many variables that come into play that having sound separated from camera is the best scenario for both depts. I’m sure you’ve tried operating a Stedicam with XLR cable connected, to say it’s a nightmare is an understatement. Forget about Merlin sized rigs.

    I will say the 60p @ 1920×1080 is great but how long till DSLRS do the same
    ? GL2?

    Moire, aliasing, & vertical skew?… Make a good film and TRUST me, NOBODY will care EVER and 99.9% of humanity simply WILL NOT NOTICE. Make “test” films for the sole purpose of highlighting these DSLR truths and sure, EVERYONE will notice as the “hero” of these tests are technical underdogs : ( however, there have been tons of HDSLR magic that has been created and distributed on VImeo and Youtube and in the stream of comments you will very rarely hear that, ” wow, that was great but would have been so much better if the bricks in the background didn’t moire in that one scene”!, or “Jesus, that was moving but I noticed the building looked funny for a nanosecond when you did that one whip pan!”. Trust me, your audience will never CARE about these minuscule technical shortcomings.

    The pro exposure evaluation function in camera is great of course as should be expected. Still, how off have you ever been evaluating exposure on any given DSLR?

    Form factor, HDSLRS win. Price, HDSLRS win again. LOW LIGHT capability, Canon dominates. SDI out on the AF100? fantastic option but why only 8 bit? Cmon guys it’s 2010ish, can’t we at least have the OPTION to acquire images at, dare I say 10 bit? Good Lawd! I’ll leave the thousands of dollars required to capture that 8bit signal out of the ouch-quasion.

    Still, I think this camera will have a lot of great applications, I just don’t think that making narrative film will be THAT much different than the small learning curves associated with DSLRS.

    Will I get one? Possibly…, but probably not. I’d prefer to shoot 5D2/GH1 till The Scarlet series comes out, WHEN the Scarlet series comes out that is ; )

    I’m sure a ton of wonderful creations will come out of this camera and I can’t wait to see them! See you at the movies!

    Love and Aloha, Kalani-

  78. Hi Philip, first off a humble thank you for testing the ickle pickle panny.

    I noticed you used -7 sharpness, what was the scale, limits? a little too soft for me at 100% and to gauge aliasing, but couldn’t see any artifects.

    Would be nice to see a few 100% png frame grabs for resolution and compression (middle of road, high street) as in the shadows through vimeo it’s very blocky.

    To me the footage looked reminiscent of your yesteryears 35mm adapter footage.

    All the best, James

  79. Question about the Sony APS-C video camera that was mention by Stu-68 and slated to be released in February. Since it is APS-C, does that mean it will accept Canon APS-C lenses? Or does Sony have their own APS-C mount that is not interchangeable with Canon.

    I feel so stuck with Canon because I have a huge investment in Lenses. Does anyone know if Canon is doing anything at all on the VDSLR front?

    I would jump ship, but even with the impending Canon EOS adapter for the Panny, the focal lengths from the Canon just would not be ideal. For example, my 17-55 f2.8 that I love, is not really wide enough on the Panny.

  80. hi, thanks for the words and videos, this is an exciting development for indie filmmakers and for cinema generally.

    i can’t wait for your japanese stunt. what are your plans for kyoto, test shots or a short film? good luck!

  81. I’m so buying this camera! Real video features at the price of the 1dmk4. No aliasing (or little), no moire, reduced (acceptable) rolling shutter, HDSDI, VIDEO FEATURES!!!!! Love it!

  82. I see you mentioned it having 1080 60p capabilities. is this really true? in all other releases I saw about the af100 it said it would be 1080 60i. If this is true, sign me up. I want one.

      1. Voigtlander? Would be relieved to know that other lenses can have this issue too when completely open.

        Thanks for the test. Helps to see such good stuff created under circumstances of a run-an-gun doc-shoot. And south London rules.

  83. Unimpressive image quality coming out of that Panny.

    It looks soft and the colours and low light is lacklustre.

    It just doesn’t feel like it’s resolving enough detail in the scenery. Even those other vids, with Zeiss Compact Primes look dull, and that’s Zeiss glass!

    So nice try Panny but no cigar, actually, it’s not even a nice try, it’s a mediocre try.

    Whilst I imagine that there will be a DSLR killer one day, and I intend to get it, I don’t think this is it, maybe the next Sony or Canon, but I’m not wow-ed by this cam’s IQ and I suspect other than gushing over the convenience factor, few are.

    1. don’t judge on pre-production compressed version…i think you are way too harsh. Looking at it on my monitor. I am very impressed. I need to get the picture profile right but it’s a pretty damn good image.

  84. Hi Philip, first off all thank you for testing the camera and for using the weekend for this – is it possible to use old 16mm Bolex lenses like the Schneider Kreuznach Cine-Xenon RX 1:2 16mm etc.?

  85. Hi Philip,
    Thanks for posting this! I have been following this blog over that last couple months.

    I have been making skateboard videos professionally for a little while and been shooting alot with fisheye lenses. My latest project entirely shot on HD:
    http://www.elementeurope.com/getbusyliving/Film/GetBusyLiving_HD.html

    I have been using the HVX200 and a schneider optics add-on fisheye lens which is huge and really heavy… and expensive. I am looking for an alternative and lighter solution and am really interested in the AG-AF100.

    Am I going to be able to use fisheye lenses such as the nikkon 16mm or the canon 15mm and have a proper result? any crop factor?

    Thanks

  86. Very interesting Philip – seems like this might be the first large sensor camera ‘for the rest of us’. By that I mean that the HDSLRs are fantastic in the right context and if you know what you are doing you can get great results. However, they are not for everyone and certainly not applicable to all shooting situations.
    They are more like a specialist camera to get a specific look or shot. The AF101 feels much more of a generalist camera. Yes you compromise on ultimate DoF, and sensitivity etc. but in return you get a camera that’s going to HELP you get good shots rather than actively HINDER you (which is how it feels sometimes). It would suit Directors and APs wanting to self-shoot, but not having the experience or knowledge to shoot with an HDSLR. One more thing – with a 2x crop and full HD 60fps the wildlife guys are going to go NUTS about this camera!!
    Cheers.
    Dave

    1. 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. 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.

  87. 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. 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.

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