Got a production Panasonic AF-101, hurrah and shooting with Sony F3k for first time today

On December the 23rd my production Panasonic AF-101 arrived. The first proper video camera I have bought since my EX3! It’s one of the first in the country and all I have done so far is open the box and check it out. I haven’t shot anything with it yet but that will come. It’s a great camera and the reason I bought it was simply shooting with the pre-production models was such a pleasure it was a no brainer and at that price point for a video camera with those features a steal. Check out my previous blogs to see my thoughts on it.

Coincidentally I have the Sony F3K for a few days, it arrived the same day. A pricier camera and not targeted as direct compeititon to the AF101, they are keeping their summer released NXCAM for that but I will do a little side by side next week before I hand it back.

I haven’t shot anything properly with it as it’s been family time but today I will making a little short with my beautiful sister. She has complained that I have done shorts with my mum and my dad but not her, so this is her turn. She was widely regarded as the face of UK Cosmopolitan magazine in the 90s and not my normal subject for my shorts as she is far too beautiful! But she is insistent so today I will be filming her with the the F3 and the two kit lenses they supplied to me, the 85mm and 50mm T2 PL.

My sister

It’s shame I don’t have anything wider than a 50mm (i didn’t get the 35mm), but I will cope. I will just adjust my shooting to compensate for the lack of anything wider than the 50mm (remember this is an S35 chip so it’s not like a 50mm full frame, this is a cinema 50mm).

I don’t know how final these lenses are. The image out of them from what I have seen so far is pretty damn good, it’s just a shame they don’t have the long focus rotation of other PLs I have used or have the focus markings of the even the cheaper PLs like the Zeiss CP.2. Below is a picture of the MTF Services micro four thirds PL adaptor I have just got for my AF-101, so I will try them out on that camera too.

The lenses aren’t as super silky smooth as I would like either, but as before i have no idea how finished these lenses are so the production models could be a lot better!

Not many focus markings...

Proper focus marks on Zeiss CP.2

50mm and 85mm
Will be using my Kessler Crane slider
Tripod am using is the new Vinten vision blue
Mum and Dad have had their turn!

The camera feels a hell of a lot more substantial that the AF-101 and with the PL lens on looks a beefy beast. It’s lucky i still have an EX3 as I was not supplied any media or battery charger. Could have been a short test! I love the SxS format used, but as I have mentioned before it’s a real shame we are limited to the 35mb/s internally on this camera and the overcrank is only 720p…

So, this evening I will be shooting with it using entirely practical lights to see how well it copes low light wise. Should be fun.. stay tuned for more!


  1. Philip, the Sony rep at the F3 presentation I attended
    claimed that it can do overcrank in 1080p when the new external
    Sony recorder comes out. Wonder if this is true – haven’t heard
    about that anywhere else. Maybe your Sony contact knows more … In
    any case, it sounds like a bit of a rip-off if this should only
    work with a dedicated (and as usual more expensive) Sony recorder
    over HD-SDI. Maybe you could hook up your Nanoflash and try if it
    works with it? Cheers!

  2. Strange, i think santa was ment to drop that to me! Look
    forward to seeing the results of the F3 Mr.Bloom, as i’m sure
    you’ll put it through its paces! Went to a Sony launch here in
    Sydney and saw this short called compulsion shot with the test
    model – which
    wasn’t too bad. Results look very promising! Everything bar the
    price, way too expensive for what it is… an ex3 with a larger
    sensor! Merry Christmas mate!

  3. The larger sensor and its extra sensitivity seem to give the 35 Mbits codec something to be happy about. Looking at the noise in the darks using CineGamma 4 (second Picture Profile), there seems to be less grain ‘boil’.

    I hope the F3’s internal 35Mbit codec gets a ‘special case’ vote from Broadcasters.

      1. Hey Phil…
        lookin forward to seeing the difference between the F3 and AF100 in terms of image quality…tryin to stuff my bank acc with funds for one of these bad boys in the new but going back on forth on the two big time! Have watched your ex1 vids for a while now,i was all set to purchase one when these large sensors threw a spanner in the works!
        I think on the top of the list is the AF 101 with a ki mini pro but now i believe you can only get 8bit and not 10 via hd-sdi which is a bit of a disappointment.
        Also how do you think fast Nikon primes would perform on the AF 101….

        Anyway lookin forward to hearing your thoughts and your tests on these two beasts…
        and you must have a lovely family-i think mine would suffer if i had these 2 cameras at home!!

  4. Looking forward to the side by side. Wish you would throw in some shots from the 5d as well, from what I can tell online (which I know isn’t a good way to gauge comparisons) the image from the F3 doesn’t differ from the 5d all that much.

    Funny…it’s like this camera is a cosmetic throwback to early camcorder designs. Doesn’t look like a 2010 camera at fist glance!

  5. “not my normal subject for my shorts as she is far too beautiful!”

    You shouldn’t tell your parents they are ugly. Not in Christmas. Shame on you, Philip…


    both cameras look great, if a bit pricey for my taste

    I’d like to hear your opinion on color once you’¡ve used them a bit more; some people say nikon and canon deliver nicer colors, and, specifically I’ve read things like: “if you don’t want the *panasonic look*, it is not easy to get rid of it in post”

  6. Philip:

    I just received my AG-AF100 and I’m anxious to put it to use. But I ran into a snag, which is making me feel a bit stupid: I can’t get an image on the camera. All I get is a black screen. Everything seems fine, otherwise. I’m using Zeiss ZF manual lenses with a Kipon Adapter Ring. I think BH sent me a different adapter ring than I purchased. In either case, I think I remember reading somewhere that someone had the same problem and it was a simple fix with the switch of a button… I have a shoot tomorrow and Panasonic is closed for the weekend… argh…. Any thoughts?

    1. Found the answer on a dvinfo forum!

      “Under the OTHER FUNCTIONS menu you should see an item that says LENS CHECK. Set this to OFF and see if that helps.”

      Yikes. Such a simple thing, but definitely a project killer if you don’t know it.

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