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View Full Version : FS100 for docs. Yes or no?



Danny1280
10-11-2011, 03:15 AM
Love the big sensor look. But shoot mostly documentary.

I know there is no clear-cut answer on this. Just curious what people's experience is trying to shoot run & gun with a camera like this in manual mode. Is it something you can pretty much nail with a bit of practice, or would I regret purchasing this camera as opposed to a small sensor ENG type (HPX250 or EX1 are considerations)? I'll be shooting solo most of the time.

MPGordon
10-11-2011, 04:44 AM
This is something I'm curious about as well. I've heard from several folks on these boards and off who think an HPX250 or EX1 would be the better way to go for solo run and gun doc shooting. On the other hand, I've talked to some DSLR shooters and some AF100 owners who say that with practice you can make large sensor cameras work for run and gun doc shooting.

I will say that most of the time I'd be shooting with a large sensor camera, I'd be stopped down to f4 or more to make it easier to keep focus, and if this is the case, a large sensor camera doesn't seem like a big advantage. Other than shallow DOF and being good in low light, do large sensor cameras have benefits that a HPX250 or EX1 would not?

Truth be told, I'm personally getting a bit tired of the shallow DOF look, but since clients still seem to like it and I do some freelance work, the versatility of an AF100/FS100 (or possibly the new cannon being announced on Nov. 3rd) could be nice. In some ways it seems like getting an HPX250 + DSLR could be an ideal combo.

Like Danny, I guess I'm just curious to know what some of the other folks here have decided on for doc shooting.

Postmaster
10-11-2011, 05:07 AM
Classic run & gun, ENG, News and docu shooting was done with manual cameras (DigiBeta, Betacam) for decades.
I see no reason why you would need something automatic from now on, to do the same thing.

Of course the sensors where smaller and easer to keep things in focus, but there is no reason to always shoot wide open.
I do most of my stuff (including docus) between f4 and f8, and still have nice bokeh and DOF.
A good monitor with good peaking is almost a must.

And practice of course.

The low light abilities of the FS100 allow you to shoot in places - especially for docu work - where other cameras would be almost blind.

Frank

Danny1280
10-11-2011, 06:08 AM
This is something I'm curious about as well. I've heard from several folks on these boards and off who think an HPX250 or EX1 would be the better way to go for solo run and gun doc shooting. On the other hand, I've talked to some DSLR shooters and some AF100 owners who say that with practice you can make large sensor cameras work for run and gun doc shooting.

I will say that most of the time I'd be shooting with a large sensor camera, I'd be stopped down to f4 or more to make it easier to keep focus, and if this is the case, a large sensor camera doesn't seem like a big advantage. Other than shallow DOF and being good in low light, do large sensor cameras have benefits that a HPX250 or EX1 would not?

Truth be told, I'm personally getting a bit tired of the shallow DOF look, but since clients still seem to like it and I do some freelance work, the versatility of an AF100/FS100 (or possibly the new cannon being announced on Nov. 3rd) could be nice. In some ways it seems like getting an HPX250 + DSLR could be an ideal combo.

Like Danny, I guess I'm just curious to know what some of the other folks here have decided on for doc shooting.

I was hoping to not get into the pros & cons of large vs small sensor look. Would like to focus on practicalities...how realistic is it to pull focus when grabbing shots on the fly. And can this be done without an external monitor with the FS100? Adding a monitor and building a rig...at what point does it become too cumbersome for run & gun?

Thanks...

P. Harrill
10-11-2011, 06:13 AM
If you are shooting outdoors in broad daylight most of the time, I would consider a different camera. The combination of a fast sensor and no ND makes this tough -- not impossible, but tough -- for run + gun.

If you are shooting low-light interiors or outdoors at night most of the time the FS100 is definitely worth a look. It handles low-light very, very well.

Of course, the only way to know for sure is to rent the FS100 and another camera you're considering, test them under typical conditions for yourself, and find out what works. As mentioned above, yes, back in the film days (and early video days) there was no autofocus... but the question is really whether you're prepared to pull focus this way, all the time. If you'll be new to it, nothing nothing else about you or the things you shoot, I would counsel against it. You could also consider getting the kit lens, which will give you AF, but that's not what you're asking

I like the FS100 a lot, but for one-person run-and-gun doc footage my inclination would be more to go with an AF100 (which has ND and slightly smaller sensor resulting in greater DoF) or a more typical video camera.

mico
10-11-2011, 06:55 AM
If you are shooting outdoors in broad daylight most of the time, I would consider a different camera. The combination of a fast sensor and no ND makes this tough -- not impossible, but tough -- for run + gun.

.

Its amazing this still gets written scaring people off. I'd like to know what it is about adding an ND filter to the camera that makes working with it so tough for you. I've been shooting in daylight for months now and if anyone thinks that taking a second to turn a vari ND filter makes the camera tough to use then the Af100 isn't going to help you.

Add a ND filter in daylight for the FS100 or add more lights in low light situations for the Af100. which one do you think is more tough to use run n gun.

Melvin Harris
10-11-2011, 08:30 AM
I'd like to know what it is about adding an ND filter to the camera that makes working with it so tough for you.

Well, for me it would be the extra 100 to 400 dollars when another camera has them in the facking body!


I've been shooting in daylight for months now and if anyone thinks that taking a second to turn a vari ND filter makes the camera tough to use then the Af100 isn't going to help you.

Not tough to turn, but honestly a little taxing to unscrew, change lens, rescrew and then turn...


It's amazing that subtle comments about a camera stirs up ire like this. I can't imagine what the reply would have been if one had said that the top mounted LCD might require a work around.
Fact is, no one knows what the OP is going to run into, and I am in the market too and am interested in the answer... so, can the FS handle any situation, or is there something that would disqualify it from the running?

Simple.

Stephen Mick
10-11-2011, 08:48 AM
It's certainly possible to have the FS-100 be your main camera for doc work, especially if you use the 18-200mm kit lens. That will give you full auto function (when needed) and OSS for handheld work.

Is it the "best" choice? Only your shooting scenario/situation can answer that question. Personally, I would rather pair a camera like the XF100 or even the AC160 with a DSLR to have the best of both worlds.

finaleditor
10-11-2011, 10:08 AM
I don't suggest FS-100 for run and gun style shooting (that I experienced at overseas for one month). Use an ex-1 and if you need a shallow follow focus cary a slr or vg-10 and use both cameras for interviews that you can use tripod (than you can get better audio).

robmneilson
10-11-2011, 10:15 AM
The FS-100 will work fine for doc work if you know what you're doing. You're going to need a matte box and filters, and some screw on filters for your zooms.


But after using a 7D for a couple of docs the FS-100 is a dream.

alaskacameradude
10-11-2011, 10:36 AM
It's certainly possible to have the FS-100 be your main camera for doc work, especially if you use the 18-200mm kit lens. That will give you full auto function (when needed) and OSS for handheld work.

Is it the "best" choice? Only your shooting scenario/situation can answer that question. Personally, I would rather pair a camera like the XF100 or even the AC160 with a DSLR to have the best of both worlds.

I use my FS 100 as my main camera. I do freelance news, TV commercials, weddings, corporate 'documentary' films, pretty much anything I am called on to do.
As Stephen has mentioned, for run and gun style work, the kit lens is your friend. There are two ways of looking at this. One, is to just use a 'big sensor'
camera like the AF100 or FS100 and 'stop down' when you don't need the shallow depth of field. The other is to take the same money that you would have
spent on a 'big sensor' camera and buy a cheaper small sensor camera along with a DSLR. Either one works, it's kind of six of one, half dozen of another.

But, as to your question, the FS-100 with the kit lens will do absolutely fine for doc work. I shoot run and gun with this combo with a Heliopan variable ND
all the time. I just got back from shooting for the Coast Guard Foundation. It required travel to another town and I had to shoot interviews and B-roll
footage. I had between 4 and 5 hours in the town to get my gear from baggage, get to the location, set up and interview three people (each interview was
about 20-25 minutes long) and shoot B-roll. Then pack up my gear, get back to the airport and check in for my return flight. The FS-100, kit lens and Heliopan
worked just great for this.

Danny1280
10-11-2011, 01:24 PM
This is all really helpful and very appreciated: real-world experience and opinion about exactly what I was wondering about.
Now if I could add another wrinkle...

How cumbersome, in your opinion, is it to add an external recorder to that rig and still go run&gun (if I need broadcast codec)?
And how difficult is pulling focus without an external monitor for run&gun.

Thanks again!

I just wanted to add that I happen to prefer the look of the FS100 over the AF100, even if the ergonomics are a bit wonky.

robmneilson
10-11-2011, 01:44 PM
Without an external monitor I think it would be near impossible in a run and gun situation...considering the LCD is on the top of the camera. It's perfectly useable when shooting with a tripod, but if you want to do good handheld, you really need a shoulder mount, which necessitates an EVF or monitor.

alaskacameradude
10-11-2011, 02:03 PM
Without an external monitor I think it would be near impossible in a run and gun situation...considering the LCD is on the top of the camera. It's perfectly useable when shooting with a tripod, but if you want to do good handheld, you really need a shoulder mount, which necessitates an EVF or monitor.

It really depends. I do NOT have an external monitor. I do it all the time. Again the OIS on the kit lens helps a LOT for image stabilization, it's really good!
The focus on the kit lens is this strange beast and goes either very fast or very slow. However, I've been able to figure it out, and can focus between two
different objects in a scene. Not always on the first try, but most times. The LCD screen on the FS100 is MUCH better than what you get on most cameras,
it looks like the one on the EX1/3 to me, and there is also expanded focus which can really help you make sure. Now it would be BETTER to have an external
monitor, no doubt, but you can do it with what is 'built in'. Again, I do it all the time. Here's one thing I shot a little while ago, total run and gun
with the kit lens and no external monitor or anything. Used a tripod on the timelapses. Was handheld about 50% of the time.

http://www.vimeo.com/29348554

MattDavis
10-11-2011, 03:14 PM
Just back from a Run & Gun shoot (with a fair bit of interviews). Once again I chickened out and brought my EX1. Damn fine solid camera for this work. Set up for an interview? Interviewee fails to turn up, rush off and do some GVs, candids, pickups. See interviewee saunter up, slap camera back on tripod and away we go. No lens changes, no fiddling with screw-ins and Vari-NDs, trying to do the mad bagpipe thing with noga arms and HDMI cables.

But I know it CAN be done. If you're patient, brave and are absolutely at one with the FS100. I'm almost there.

Agree EVF is the making of the camera, and may be swayed by shoulder mount, but you've added over a grand already, and suddenly there's two sets of batteries to charge - unless you go V-lock and then you've added another grand plus another 2Kg of gear to haul. Then there's the workflow vs SxS - so a Ninja's going to be on yet another Noga arm and suddenly your FS100 weighs a ton and looks like the Robocop version of 'Monarch of the Glen' and is about as covert.

BUT... went out filming with a completely stripped down FS100 and a Samyang 35mm f1.4 (the FS100's very own nifty-fifty) and that's truly liberating, especially if I can find a tweeny weeny mic and low profile XLR so I can do dual system sound again a la DSLR. It was amazing (night time). Daytime, do the same with the kit lens. Just the box and the lens and the smallest mic I could find (3.5mm Radio Shack tie-clip mic would do), and put an Edirol R-09 with Sennheiser 3.5mm jack mic on interviewee as 'luddite radio mic' recording midway on 48KHz 24 bit for best dynamic range with a touch of limiter.

That's when the FS100's 'slightly odd' looks will get you past Airport Customs and many 'Have A Go' local officials (not all).

Deffo +1 for docco.

morgan_moore
10-11-2011, 11:12 PM
Its your project - you must choose the right tools.

I own EX1, FS100, DSLR.. each has its place

An I-phone or GoPro have their place in shooting Doco

Some stuff will really require an F3 + recorder or a Dedicated 'TV Camera' like the PMW500

You can match the FS100 with the Kit lens and make it (if you stop down to 6.3) a bit like an EX1 or throw on a cheap prim and get that DSLR/FIlmic look

Since I owned the FS100 the EX1 and DSLRs have always been B Camera with the FS100 as A cam .. To me that says it all

I work with it built up on a rig, which makes it big, but not as big as a PMW 500

And you may need to factor in the price of an EVF, Rig, Brick Batts would could cost half again the value of the cam

If your client demands the fatter codec I wonder if it is not right, I would be loath to use it with a recorder for RnG

Of course you could use a recorder for interviews and set pieces and strip the cam down for more casual shooting

BTW I would not trust the onboard timecode with the FS100 with out testing it out


S

Osslund
10-11-2011, 11:42 PM
I had a shoot yesterday using a B4 lens on my AF and this combo makes it a good tool for docu work. almost like the HPX250 but without af or is but with a larger sensor.

Noel Evans
10-12-2011, 02:16 AM
Shot a doco on the AF100. ND filters are useful, yes, but its a doco, if you need the shot - stop the lens down on an FS100, get the composition right and your only giving up a little selective focus. Your content will tell you what camera suits.

alaskacameradude
10-12-2011, 08:14 AM
Shot a doco on the AF100. ND filters are useful, yes, but its a doco, if you need the shot - stop the lens down on an FS100, get the composition right and your only giving up a little selective focus. Your content will tell you what camera suits.
Better yet, buy something like the Heliopan variable ND and put it on the lens. Now you have a tool which is
even BETTER than the built in ND on the AF 100 in some ways. Yes, you have to screw it on the lens
(unless you get the new magnetic solution) but, you can dial in EXACTLY the amount of ND you need for any
given F stop instead of having 4 choices with lots of 'space' between them. That's what I do, and it works
absolutely great for run and gun.

DOSMedia
10-12-2011, 08:30 AM
Ive been shooting lots of run and gun with my FS100 and it was honestly something I was worried about at first when I sold my HVX to pay off the FS100. After my first run and gun project though, I soon realized I was not going to miss the HVX. The kit lens does a wonderful job of working as a good run and gun lens. I even hook the zoom up to my follow focus to pull some cleaner zooms.

Even was able to use multiple lenses in run and gun situations. It does not take long to change them out.

Danny1280
10-12-2011, 10:40 AM
Really appreciate all the comments!