Field of view comparison between the Panasonic AF-101 and Sony F3

Following on from my last post about focal length being a focal length no matter what camera it is on and it’s the equivalent field of view that matters I have put together a short video showing the same shot on two different cameras. The AF-101 and the Sony F3 at 2 different focal lengths.

The Sony F3 has a native Super 35 chip in it (23.6 x 13.3mm) and the Panasonic AF101 has a micro four thirds chip in it (18.8 x10.6mm whilst recording 16×9 video) so the equivalent field of view on the smaller chip is going to be more telephoto by it’s nature, meaning the angle of view is narrower. On a 50mm lens the F3 will see 26.6 degrees whilst the AF101 will see 21.3 degrees. Again, please read my previous post to understand more and for the excellent chart on there by Abel Cine for working this all out for you and showing you a comparison between so many different cameras.

This is not a scientific test. Although I didn’t use the same lenses on my AF101 the same focal lengths were used. On the F3 I used the 50mm T2 and the 85mm T2 and on the Panasonic I used the awesome Olympus Zuiko 35-100 F2 zoom lens at 50mm and 85mm at F2. It doesn’t matter that one lens is made for M43 and the other is PL 35mm. A lens is a lens is a lens, again read the previous post to understand more.

Unfortunately I have to give the F3 back today and I haven’t had a chance to do any other side by side tests or any more in depth shooting with the camera. Having it over Christmas was limiting as my family came first. But I did manage to shoot a little short with my sister which is here if you have not seen it.

The Star Wars figures were presents from my friends Cristina Valdivieso and Jon Connor. They were around 1.4 metres from the end of the lens.

Both images are really nice, looking at the native files. For sure there is more compression in the AVCHD, i expected that as it’s 24mb/s as opposed to the F3 35mb/s. There is a big price difference between the two cameras. Which is best? The F3 is S35, industry standard sensor size, PL lens mount and capable of very high end recording. The Af-101 is a damn sight cheaper, has a bit more DOF due to the small sensor meaning you need to get wider lenses to compensate but on the flipside you have nice telephoto lenses easier. The F3 has a better recording medium in the SxS cards albeit more expensive, it’s feels better made and I think has a slightly better looking image but that is always subjective, is it 3 times the price better? That’s for you to decide! Oh and both the AF101 and F3 have features which better the other in certain areas. It’s tough. If the F3 had at least 50mb/s and 4:2:2 in camera it would almost be a no brainer but as it stands it’s handicapped and way more expensive than the AF101 which is such a shame as it’s bloody gorgeous camera with wonderful images. Neither camera as they stand are acceptable by the high end HD broadcasters for full HD acquisition. You can pimp them up with a Nanoflash or something similar to make it work but that is not ideal.

I am sad to see the F3 go, I would love to have shot on it more and I certainly don’t have £13K to spare right now, especially having just bought the AF101 which was a lot bloody cheaper. I know it’ cheaper in the US but the warranty issues are a pain and even then it’s still a lot of cash. It’s also big, well bigger than the AF101 and I am so in love with the small form factor of DSLRs…

Please do not use this video to judge the difference between the images. Different lenses were used. Picture profiles don’t match. It’s purely done rough and ready as a field of view comparison. I have funky lighting in my kitchen and the lounge which explains the flicker and colour shift. I just needed to get this done before I went to bed!

Sony F3 vs Panasonic AF-101 Field of View comparison from Philip Bloom on Vimeo.


  1. Being a GH1 owner the effect of sensor crop on field of view is something i am very familiar with however i have come to enjoy how my small, light nikon 50mm becomes a nice sharp telephoto 100mm when i use it with the GH1. What i would like to know is what do you prefer? Does having the option of an ultra wide lens on a full frame sensor outweigh easy to obtain telephoto lenses or is it the other way round or is the sweet spot somewhere in-between in your opinion. I am sure that a lot of it matters on the requirements of the job etc but if the AF 101 for example came with a full frame sensor, not that it ever will, would it have affected your choice to get one.

  2. Well, thank goodness for you, Philip! I doubt Sony or Panasonic could provide such practical information on such expensive cameras. I’ve been reading your blog for almost twelve months and never grow tired of the online tutorials. Looking forward to meeting you in Melbourne, Australia.

  3. Philip, AVCHD codec when transfered to CINEFORM will give You better results then EX format. Compression is similar because Sony has got 50% bigger chip area then Panasonic….
    Start saving for EPIC LIGHT and forget about Sony F3 which in 6 months will be Nuked by RED and perhaps new Canon.
    I am very happy with my AF100….just ordered RED 17-50mm t2.9 zoom.

    Your Images between F3 and AF100 looked similar….we need to see some skin tones…and most of us know Sony Matrix is not as good as Panasonic’s(Thanks to Ikegami ENGS)

    All the best for 2012!!

    p.s. Your sister is very good looking 🙂

    1. Jiri:

      Are you saying that the AF100 can produce a better image than the EX1? I’m thinking of selling my EX1 to purchase either the AF100 or the EX1r or EX3. Any suggestions or counsel would be helpful.

  4. Hi Philip,

    I’ve been following your reviews of these two cameras with great interest and really appreciate all your blogs so far- thanks very much. I have made my decision based on my limited budget and have just ordered the Panasonic.

    I would be very grateful if you advise me on lenses as I have a shoot coming up soon:

    I just want to know the best zoom lens to get for documentary shoots and a couple of primes (again on a fairly limited budget)

    ….also the best adapter

    (i’m sure many self-shooters will want to know this info as well)

    Many thanks for your help, Dan

      1. Hey Jiri,
        I got the Red Pro 17-50mm and plan to use on my af 100.

        The lens is pretty big considering and I will probably need support. I wonder if the Hot Rod Tuner kit will work with this lens?.

  5. Thanks for the video. Very useful to me.

    As it has been said, I’m waiting to see the new Red Cameras and try to start saving for a Scarlet Fixed (for personnal procject, no professionnal work here as I’m a cinema student and in less than a month a graduated film editor)…

    But IF Canon decides to enter the game and make a camcorder like the XF305 but with an APS-C sensor and interchangeable lens system to compete much with de Panasonic AF-101… That would make my decision harder.

    Or IF there’s a good solution to have a descent codec out of the AF-101 for not too expansive (like that fu***ng Atomos Ninja) that would be quite good too…

    But for now, I’m staying with my little Canon XM2 DV camcorder…^

  6. F3 being NUKED in May!

    EPIC-S (old Scarlet S35) update…
    I know many of you are waiting to hear what is happening on the EPIC-S front. While I still don’t have final details from the engineers, here is what we know now.

    1. We have moved from the less robust Scarlet S35 chassis to the EPIC S35 chassis (like going from the economy car frame to the truck frame). Pro, not prosumer.

    2. We are trying to maximize the performance specs given the cost cutting from the hardware, including board reductions. This is no small task but is a primary focus within engineering.

    3. Frame rates and data rates in combination with project sizes will be the primary compromises in comparison with the big brothers (EPIC-X and EPIC-M). You can anticipate about 1/2 the overall data throughput. As soon as the engineers finalize the list… I will post it.

    4. HDRx™ will be included, but with limited frame rate options as is anticipated in #3 above.

    5. Price has risen due to the chassis and HDRx™ change/additions. Expect somewhere in the neighborhood of $12K. Package prices will be posted as soon as we are sure what they will be. We will not post another “interim” price structure in the meantime. Next price posting will be final.

    6. EPIC-S will use the same production line as its big brothers (which we are setting up now in California) so there will be no additional delays to produce this model. However, the EPIC-M and EPIC-X models will be released 1st as has previously been noted.

    7. EPIC-Ms are currently being produced in low quantities and will step up just a bit this month (January). Production EPIC-X is scheduled to begin small production end of February with a fairly significant ramp up in March. Major volume begins in April. Many of you will have your EPIC-X by NAB. EPIC-S should begin production in May… depending on EPIC-X orders.

    We are now pretty comfortable with these schedules, but you know how things are. Read my tagline. I will say that our team has finally turned the corner at hitting their marks.

    Given the competitive landscape, we think that the EPIC-S will have no price/performance competition. Think 5K, REDCODE RAW, HDRx™, record to SSD, modular system, size of a Hasselblad with many mature professional workflow options.

    “Everything in life changes… including our camera specs and delivery dates…”

    We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone with a bad attitude.

      1. Give it another 6 months and You will buy Sony F3 with 3 PL lenses for around $13,000.

        Sony F3:
        Must buy SxS Cards,another VF and another RECORDER(cinedisk,nano…)
        Thats another 5,000-20,000.

        Mate You are comparing 2 different cameras…..F3 is not worth $13,000.
        It is an “EX on Steroids” !

        Just buy Panasonic AF100 with RED zoom 17-50mm T2.9 and You are safe.

        p.s. Sony Cameras have always had “PINKY” skin tones. Much prefer Panasonic,Ikegami or Thomson Matrix.
        As soon as i bought my XDCAM hd i changed Sony Matrix to Panasonic.

        Picking up my AF100 tomorrow…can’t wait.

    1. Hilarious. F3 Nuked in May, but as typical, RED can’t guarantee a release date.

      It puzzles me why it is prefaced “we are now pretty comfortable with these schedules, but you know how things are… Read my taglines”

      REDs release dates are a joke. Even if it IS released in May (which I highly doubt, it’ll probably be another 9 months before anyone who doesn’t work in Hollywood can get their hands on one.

      I think the above video demonstrates why the F3 is the camera to get.

  7. Hi,
    Am very new to digital camera, just a small doubt why do i find most of panny footage cold while the sony footage are warmer in their tones? Or is it just the cameramen settings in vimeo users.

  8. I do agree with the abel cine chart but your vimeo movie comparrison seems a bit tight on the af101! Was the camera set in the 1;1 crop factor ratio!! I am looking at a gh1(hacked ) next to an alexa on my bench and it does not seem so tight on the gh1!! Just wondering???

  9. Yes it seems more like the old days when I was a loader/focus puller with 16mm to 35mm comparison whereas 16mm is about the same as the 1;1 crop factor (give or take a little ) 1920 x 1080!!
    Hell dont take my word for it!! I dont know everything!!!
    I’d hate to be a mr knowitall and appreciate all yours blogs movies and efforts!!
    Like I said just wondering????

  10. This a great site you have here Philip, thank you. I’m most likely going to buy the Panasonic AF100 this week. I have not shot for a long time. I’ve been tied up in the motion capture scene for a while. The last thing I shot on was a Canon XL2 for my film. Which all around lens do you recommend I purchase first? Thank you again.

  11. I use the Panasonic HPX-170 for my work. I am want to be able to achieve DOF and up to last week was sold on a 35MM adapter, specifically the Red Rock M3. Last week, I was introduced to the AF-100 through your post. I am wondering your thoughts on either direction. I record various things, from commercials, sports, corporate, etc. I don’t own any lenses currently, so this would be a new journey in DOF. From a simplicity point it seems the AF-100 is that direction, less setup time and a better image sensor. The P2 approach seems like a better recording medium. It would be helpful to me to hear your thoughts and/or feedback on the better investment.

    Thank you for your time.

  12. Hi Phillip, I work in corporate video production, education and documentaries in general, this camera (Panasonic AF100) will be good to make this work? Which is discussed in the world of video on your latitude? Thank you very much from Argentina.

  13. Hi Phillip,
    Quick question. I have the XL mount Canon lenses. Do you think there will be an adaptor for these lenses, is it feasible? I’d be curious about the X16 manual lens on the AF 100.

          1. Thanks anyway Phillip. I just got the camera today and am now shopping for lenses. You’re right, it’s all in the glass. I really liked the way the Oly 14-35 looked in your Japan vid. Considering the Zeiss ZF’s, CP2’s amazing but on a budget. I look forward to a blog about lens choices for the AF 100.

  14. Hi I was wondering if you could advise on whether there are any good rigs to make the 101 ‘shoulder mountable?’
    I tend to do a wide variety of work where sometimes it is necessary and I am considering whether I could manage trading my EX3 for a 101.

  15. I’m still learning obviously, but wouldn’t it be easier because the sensor in the F3 is larger thus making it more difficult to focus. Is there no correlation between the two? Sensor size and ease of maintaining focus?

    Isn’t that one reason why the 5D can be difficult to maintain focus?

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