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View Full Version : a week with the FS-100



Jason Adams
07-24-2011, 09:06 PM
Just a few thoughts. I took the FS-100 with kit lens out for a week and shot 3 very different projects and thought I would share my thoughts.



Initial impressions, just my opinions nothing scientific.

Ergonomics,

Like most Sony cams its a bit of a n ergo disaster, but I have to say it was not as bad as I thought it would be. I actually found the hand grip comfortable. The only real ergo problem is using the EVF attachment of the LCD. Its a bit too heavy and does not hold its position. Also there is no lock to prevent LCD swivel so its very easy to swivel the LCD when you bring your eye up to it.
That being said the LCD is useless if you take the cam over your head and can be a challenge if you are not vertically inclined. I am 5'9 and I had to grab a 1/2 apple box to comfortably shoot talent that was 6 ft tall. I would say an external monitor or Zacuto EVF a must have.

Image,

This is by far one of the sharpest and cleanest cams I have ever worked with. It messes with your paradigm a bit. Shooting 21db gain is as clean as the HPX170 at 0db. Very sharp very clean. I do find this and all Sony cams cold natured in the image out-of-the-box. That being said the range of tweak-able options in the picture profile will let you dial the cam to your favorite image but if your coming from a panny cam be prepared to spend some time cooking up a pannyish profile on cam. Codec held up nicely and better-than-expected dynamic range for an AVCHD cam.

Kit lens,
Nice but not very fast. keep in mind the cam is so sensitive you might not notice unless you want really shallow DOF. You will have to work for those shallow DOF shots a bit more. If you do any kind of docu work or talking heads this lens is great. Pulling focus is a nightmare. If you hire a fist AC please hire 2 because one will likely quit. The infinite focus ring is really not good. The only saving grace was a numeric readout on EVF that we used to hit numeric focus marks.

All that being said. If I bought this cam tomorrow I would get the kit lens. This is what I see as the FS-100 advantage. It can play both roles as an ENG/Events/Docu cam or it can be rigged with nice manual glass and be the poor mans F3.

Menus,
This cam has a ton of great options. None of them are intuitive but I never cracked the manual. I played with the cam for about an hour in the menu and could not stop uncovering cool things. There are a lot of options for menu nav. Touch screen, side controls, top controls. There are a lot of different ways to get from point A to point B.

Audio,
Ohh how I have missed you here in DSLR exile. Nice clean mic pres. Ran mics direct and also had an audio mixer and opp on one of the projects. It was so great to have nice clean audio on the cam. With no work arounds, attenuater cables, split systems. The audio engineer loved it.

1080 60P
Just sexy. This cam is so sharp and to watch your overcranked footage in the field is so sweet. Not to mention any re-conform or cinema tools in post. Just overcranked shots.


Sex appeal,
Ok this is a silly category, but I have to say the odd look of this camera had all my clients notice it and they all remarked how cool it was.

Overall this is a sold cam. If you have an HVX, 5D, 7d etc, this cam would be the perfect middle road to add to your collection. I will purchase this this month.

alaskacameradude
07-24-2011, 09:21 PM
All that being said. If I bought this cam tomorrow I would get the kit lens. This is what I see as the FS-100 advantage. It can play both roles as an ENG/Events/Docu cam or it can be rigged with nice manual glass and be the poor mans F3.

This is right on. That is why I wanted the FS-100 with kit lens. I can use it with that lens as a ENG/events type cam, and then get fast glass for the controlled stuff. Nice review. Did you have anything that you used for ND?

Jason Adams
07-24-2011, 09:29 PM
Did you have anything that you used for ND?

Oh yeah I forgot to mention. I had a Fader ND. That is another thing that is not an option. Do not add this camera to your cart without a Fader or Vari ND.

jdv
07-25-2011, 12:57 PM
Thank God I'm tall....

;)

Nice review. Have you used any outboard recording device yet?

alaskacameradude
07-25-2011, 01:46 PM
Oh yeah I forgot to mention. I had a Fader ND. That is another thing that is not an option. Do not add this camera to your cart without a Fader or Vari ND.
Better yet, get the Heliopan. It is the best variable ND you will find. I know I probably look like a paid shill, but I am not. I really think it is that good, and absolutely ROCKS with the
FS-100! I know I was concerned about the lack of ND on the FS-100, so I wanted to make a video to show people how well the Heliopan variable ND filter worked. Video comparison here:

http://exposureroom.com/members/alaskacameradude/14d879d0c3924609974edd0388478689/

DM_rider
07-25-2011, 01:51 PM
Better yet, get the Heliopan. It is the best variable ND you will find. I know I probably look like a paid shill, but I am not. I really think it is that good, and absolutely ROCKS with the
FS-100! I know I was concerned about the lack of ND on the FS-100, so I wanted to make a video to show people how well the Heliopan variable ND filter worked. Video comparison here:

http://exposureroom.com/members/alaskacameradude/14d879d0c3924609974edd0388478689/

I'd second the heliopan. There is a bit of a tint and loss of sharpness, but nothing that can't be managed. I still prefer a solid set of circular NDs, but I rent the heliopan when I need it.

alaskacameradude
07-25-2011, 02:13 PM
I'd second the heliopan. There is a bit of a tint and loss of sharpness, but nothing that can't be managed. I still prefer a solid set of circular NDs, but I rent the heliopan when I need it.

What color tint do you get? I found that as long as I re white balanced once I put the filter on, my colors were spot on. If I shot without the filter and put the filter on and did NOT re
white balance, I got a slight green tint I think. But If I white balanced with the filter on, it looked just right. Also, I found that I needed to use the 'expanded focus' and peaking
features to really nail the focus, but I didn't notice a loss of sharpness...but it did seem harder to get correct focus for some reason with the filter on. The first time I used it,
I thought there was a loss of sharpness too....but when I tried it a second time, I found that if I wasn't actually nailing the focus, and needed to use the expanded focus and peaking....
once I did that, it looked really good. Now, I'm not saying there is no loss of sharpness or color cast, just that I didn't notice it, once I sorted out how to actually work with the
filter. However that's just me and what I could see. Also, you probably already knew how to use the filter, me being a 'video guy' that never got into the 'HDSLR craze'....well it took
a little time for me to figure out that once you put the variable ND on, you need to 'start over' with everything (white balance, focus, etc) they won't just stay the same as without
the filter on.

But again, that's just me and what I could see. For those that don't have the filter, I posted the above video link so you can see for yourselves, you may be able to spot a color cast or
loss of sharpness in the video that I didn't, I certainly don't pretend to know everything! But I hoped the video would be useful as I could find NO comparison videos for any of the variable
ND's I was considering. That was one of the things I hoped to be able to find, and couldn't. So I wanted to try to give everyone else a chance to take a look at a comparison video that might
be helpful to them.

Jason Adams
07-25-2011, 05:15 PM
I have used the Heliopan and it is hands down the best variable ND filter I have used.

P. Harrill
07-25-2011, 08:14 PM
Actually, you can lock the LCD in place so that it doesn't get weighted down by putting on the evf attachment. There's a dial to the right of the LCD that you tighten to lock the LCD in place.

The things you discover just by reading the manual...

Jason Adams
07-25-2011, 08:53 PM
Good to know. Thanks P. Harrill.

alaskacameradude
07-25-2011, 09:06 PM
Just make sure your handgrip is vertical one way or the other, so that you can have access to the dial that tightens the LCD screen so that it will stay up with the EVF on. Otherwise, the handgrip
will block access to the bottom half of the dial. I posted about this in my review of the FS-100 here:

http://www.kenstone.net/fcp_homepage/sony_nex_fs_100_strong.html

Luis Caffesse
07-27-2011, 08:14 AM
Actually, you can lock the LCD in place so that it doesn't get weighted down by putting on the evf attachment. There's a dial to the right of the LCD that you tighten to lock the LCD in place.

The things you discover just by reading the manual...

Just to be clear - the dial will lock the LCD's flip-up angle, but will still allow it to swivel left and right which can be a bit of an annoyance when using the EVF attachment (because unless the evf is straight on it will want to swivel everytime you press your face up against it). It's a small annoyance... but it is an annoyance.

Matthew Bennett
07-27-2011, 11:53 AM
I'm in love with the FS100. This is a golden time for Sony. As far as these types of less-expensive cameras go, they are leading the pack.

Postmaster
07-27-2011, 01:07 PM
On little tip with the LCD:

The Extension tube has a kind of notch on top.
If you swivel it up at about 45 deg. the end of the handle, goes into that notch, if you push the microphone bar all the way back.
It pretty much locks the monitor in place, without putting too much stress on the dial mechanism.

Frank