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    Advice please for newbie interested in AF100

    Hi folks! Brand new to video - coming from film, but can't afford to shoot at the rate I want, so... glad to find this forum!
    I'm really interested in the AF100 -- I remember years ago seeing a feature shot on the hvx100 and thinking "If I had to switch today, this would be the camera." - from what I can tell, the AF100 is current, gold standard for affordable film-like images on video -- especially with kits including lens at B&H going for well under 3K now -- and I like the simplicity that the camera seems to offer as well. I am very happy with 1080p 24fps images, not concerned with 4k at all.
    Anyway, I've got a few questions, was hoping someone could bear with me to answer. I'm sure there's more to all of this than I'm seeing and I am nervous about how much I don't know. (but at least I won't be changing film magazines)


    1. on a shoot, what else do I need besides the camera, tripod and audio rig (I'll be recording audio seperatly). Do I also need something to load the footage onto, or should I buy a few SD cards and upload to a laptop every couple hours? And on that note, does that mean I have to lug around a laptop, or is there a seperate storage unit I can/should get? If a laptop is an inexpensive (existing) option, can I output footage via usb or do I remove the card and get a card reader?


    2. same question for post - what's the workflow for getting my footage (1080p, 24fps) to my mac to edit? Previously I'd just plug in my external HD and drag the prores files over.


    3. Is there something to watch out for now that these cameras are a few years old? (ie: if I get one on ebay, are there some things to watch out for?)


    4. I want to go with a single lens for the whole shoot, mostly for financial reasons. Any recommendations? The B&H kit seems to come with a pretty good zoom but I don't really need wide angle.


    5. what's the range of temperature that the camera can be expected to work properly (I may be shooting in over 95 and under 0 degree weather in the future)


    6. how does it work to get "firmware updates"? I take it I should not assume that a new or used af100 has these uploaded already?


    7. Do I need a mattebox? My feeling is that at 1500 bucks for the movcam one, which is 2/3 the cost of the camera itself, the answer is "hold a hunk of cardboard over the lens if need be", like I've done with super 16, super 8, etc. Is there something about digital that I should know?


    7. anything else I should know? I'm planning on getting the AF100 book mentioned here as well.


    I'm sure these questions sound simplistic, but I'd really appreciate your insight. I'm obviously not very techincal, ultimately I just wanna set up my camera one way and shoot.


    Thanks much and best regards
    Grainy
    https://vimeo.com/102653830
    http://beachtownmovie.blogspot.com

    #2
    Hi Grainy!

    just a question up front....what type of shooting will you be doing? I.e. Run and gun, cinematic or documentary etc.

    just a few general things to think about:

    1. This camera has a little trouble handling highlights so you have to be a little guarded about not over exposing bright areas...
    2. Some folks think the images are a littlesoft...
    3. Take a good look a clips from this camera before you make up your mind!
    4. Diffenately buy Barry's book on the AF100!!!

    I really like the cinematic look of the footage this camera puts out....try and find the clip called 'snow'...it gorgeous!!

    Cheers !

    Tye
    Fingerprints very valuable if ...Detective can catch owner of fingers...

    C. Chan

    Comment


      #3
      Originally posted by Tye View Post
      Hi Grainy!

      just a question up front....what type of shooting will you be doing? I.e. Run and gun, cinematic or documentary etc.

      just a few general things to think about:

      1. This camera has a little trouble handling highlights so you have to be a little guarded about not over exposing bright areas...
      2. Some folks think the images are a littlesoft...
      3. Take a good look a clips from this camera before you make up your mind!
      4. Diffenately buy Barry's book on the AF100!!!

      I really like the cinematic look of the footage this camera puts out....try and find the clip called 'snow'...it gorgeous!!

      Cheers !

      Tye
      Hi Tye! I like to think I'm shooting cinematic but it's also a bit of run 'n gun. Independent film-style.
      1. Good to know -- is this something that's detectable in the viewfinder? Or is it something you need to eyeball and watch the meter?
      2. I think soft = more filmic. To whit, I have no interest in 4k
      3. yup!
      4. Definitely -- and I'll look for that Snow clip.
      thanks!
      G

      Comment


        #4
        Just get a few 128GB or 64GB SD cards to record to & transfer the footage to computer when you get home via card reader.

        As far as lenses go the world is your oyster, almost any lens will fit via lens adapters. You mention you don't really need wide angle lenses, but I advise you to understand the crop involved with a M4/3 sensor compared to S35 or full frame 35. For example a 16mm lens is not that wide on the AF100. A native M4/3 zoom with IS would be nice for handheld work & moving quickly. Another route would be inexpensive used manual focus lenses like Nikon along with lens adapter.

        Any firmware updates should be available on the Panasonic website, but I would not anticipate anything major being added in the future.

        Can't afford a baseplate/rails support/matte box? Use a rubber lens hood.

        Side notes... The built-in ND filters come in very handy, and the balanced audio inputs are good enough for primary sound. The built-in exposure tools are also a great addition to any camera's toolkit.

        All the best!

        Dave

        Comment


          #5
          Love the AF100 but I think I'm going to sell mine. If you're interested I'll throw in the DVD Barry did also. Definitely was very helpful in getting me started with everything. I probably watched that video like 50 times.


          Comment


            #6
            Hey Grainy,

            we're still out shooting 2-3 times a week on corporate jobs with our AF101's, never had a client complain about the footage. We're a busy video production company in the UK.

            1. Toplights (I use F&V Z-96) are always handy, and some compact stands to mount them on. I copy the SD card structure to a back up drive using Shotput Pro. Then use Carbon Copy Cloner once a week to back up the archive drive.
            2.I import directly into FCPX.
            3.No - I've had 3 from eBay and no problems with any.
            4.I use Olympus 12-40 f2.8 - great lens for most situations.
            5. Don't know.
            6.Download and copy to SD card and install
            7.No - waste of money (in my opinion) - I use really deep lens protectors (don't know if thats the technical term ;) )- you can get away with them due to crop on the m43 sensor.
            8.Expose using the waveform and zebras - can get good looking footage from this cam if you expose properly.
            EVA1, AF101, AC161, GH4

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by David W. Jones View Post
              Just get a few 128GB or 64GB SD cards to record to & transfer the footage to computer when you get home via card reader.

              As far as lenses go the world is your oyster, almost any lens will fit via lens adapters. You mention you don't really need wide angle lenses, but I advise you to understand the crop involved with a M4/3 sensor compared to S35 or full frame 35. For example a 16mm lens is not that wide on the AF100. A native M4/3 zoom with IS would be nice for handheld work & moving quickly. Another route would be inexpensive used manual focus lenses like Nikon along with lens adapter.

              Any firmware updates should be available on the Panasonic website, but I would not anticipate anything major being added in the future.

              Can't afford a baseplate/rails support/matte box? Use a rubber lens hood.

              Side notes... The built-in ND filters come in very handy, and the balanced audio inputs are good enough for primary sound. The built-in exposure tools are also a great addition to any camera's toolkit.

              All the best!

              Dave
              Great info, thanks Dave!
              G

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by TubEfingers View Post
                I copy the SD card structure to a back up drive using Shotput Pro. Then use Carbon Copy Cloner once a week to back up the archive drive.

                Hi TubEfingers, I'm not familiar with Shotput Pro and Carbon Copy Cloner -- what's the benefit? Isn't it just as easy to take out the card, stick it in a reader and copy to a laptop?


                Originally posted by TubEfingers View Post
                2.I import directly into FCPX.

                Ah, I'm using Premiere Pro -- I'll figure it out.


                Originally posted by TubEfingers View Post
                3.No - I've had 3 from eBay and no problems with any.
                4.I use Olympus 12-40 f2.8 - great lens for most situations.
                ....
                7.No - waste of money (in my opinion) - I use really deep lens protectors (don't know if thats the technical term ;) )- you can get away with them due to crop on the m43 sensor.
                8.Expose using the waveform and zebras - can get good looking footage from this cam if you expose properly.
                [/QUOTE]


                Very encouraging, and all good to know. thanks. I'll have to learn to watch zebras and waveform exposure! I'm planning on getting the camera a few months before the summer shoot, so I should have adequate time to get familiar with it.


                Best regards!
                G
                Last edited by Grainy; 11-25-2015, 11:00 PM. Reason: screwed up quotes

                Comment


                  #9
                  https://vimeo.com/51497192

                  Besides the opening shot (that was a Canon 7D) I shot this whole short on an AF100 a couple years ago in one weekend in -10 degree temps using a 30mm Sigma prime 95% of the time. Saw it in a 300 seat theater and it held up pretty well. When I told people we did it on a AF100 everyone was amazed. With careful lighting (i.e. Not direct sunlight) the results can be wonderful.

                  That being said, I wouldn't pay much more than $1,000 for one today, as there are many more modern options out there for similar prices. The GH4 and used C100 Mk1 come to mind. Overall, I think the sensor is the weak link in the AF100, and I've just had a much easier time getting images out of my Canons after I moved on from the AF100. That, and if you need to invest in M43 glass, that can get expensive and doesn't transfer to other S35 size cameras. Again, if you find a good deal, go for it, I just wouldn't invest too much cash into a 5 year old camera system unless you're really in love with it as there are other options out there that could very well stay within a certain budget.
                  Nate Haustein

                  PXW-FX9 / FCPX

                  Comment


                    #10
                    What film format were you,shooting, S16 or 35, S35? If you are coming from a S16 camera, you might also consider the Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema or Micro Cinema cameras. They are a S16 size sensor with active MFT lens mount. The camera takes S16 lenses via the appropriate adapter also in addition to MFT lenses. Great little camera. I have both the AF100 for interviews and the Pocket Cinema camera. Both are very capable cameras, and by using an external recorder like,the new Mlackmagic,Video Assist (Excellent monitor with a SD card video recorder using ProRes format and DNxHD codecs with less compression than AVCHD) to record the full 4:2:2 output of the camera via SDI using 24PSF output mode, which gives you a full 1080p24 recording to the VA.

                    For audio, the AF100 records decent broadcast quality audio, 16-bit at 48kHz, and with the addition of an external preamp mixer, like the Sound Devices MixPreD, you can get decent quality audio.

                    Lens choices are many and varied. I started out using Zeiss ZF (Nikon mount) prime lens set, 18, 25, 35, 50mm kit using it with the Metabones MFT Speed Booster, with expands the field of view of,the lens by X.71, giving the AF100 the same FOV of a standard Cine 35mm camera. Since then, I have added the Veydra Mini Cine Prime lenses, which are another excellent lens set, and are available in several mounts now, in addition to MFT.

                    Do not get in a hurry, Look around at footage examples from various cameras, read, and do some research before you buy. I like the for factor of the AF100, but their are now newer cameras coming out, or available now that offer more options in recording. Figure out what your budget is going to be for a new camera, buying lightly used gear can save some cash.

                    Keep in Mind how you plan to use the camera. The AF100 is going to need a good EVF to allow shoulder type shooting and a shoulder rig of some sort to make it work. The new BM URSA Mini comes in a similar for factor to the AF100, with the addition of a dedicated shoulder mount kit, allows for easy switch between tripod and your shoulder, similar to the old ENG video cameras. While it is a 4K camera, you can shoot full HD on it with better results than most HD cameras costing much more.

                    the Pocket Cinema camera and Micro Cinema cameras are only $995 new. You could,get one each, rigging one for tripod shooting (Micro Cinema) and the Pocket for handheld/shoulder rig shooting. You can also set them up as a A and B camera.

                    Their are a lot of options out there.
                    cheers

                    Comment


                      #11
                      I don't think "soft" is the right term for the AF100, I just did not feel it resolved as much detail as other cameras. I'd recommend a few 32GB cards for run-n-gun work, and I keep mine in an SD card wallet so as I fill them up I can swap them out. I've always been fearful of shooting 64GB and 128GB cards in AVCHD w/o duplicates because they hold so much data, if one card fails you can lose several hours of footage. If you split the data between two cards, if one fails you lose less footage obviously.

                      Denny had a good recommendation, get Blackmagic's video assist or the Atomos Ninja Blade so you can get a better bit-depth recording (in ProRes or DNxHD). As far as Premiere goes, just copy your cards over into a folder and import the entire folder structure into the NLE and it'll work like a charm. Super easy.

                      I haven't found a m43 lens I love yet so I personally can't recommend anything but as someone mentioned, the AF100 has a 2x crop in comparison to FF35 so a 14mm may not be as wide as you think.

                      Personally, and this is just me, I'd recommend renting the AF100 and Canons C100 mki (which new is same price point now) and see which one you truly like better. However if you do decide to stay the AF100 route, look for the AF100A's - These have 10Bit SDI out if you choose to run an external recorder, and the Japanese version at least (105A), has 1080p60 if that's your thing.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Last 2 bits are pad. It's still just 8 bit.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          From what I remember the orginal AF100 (not the AF100A) also did 60p over 24p overcrank albeit without sound. I wonder if that method ended up being better quality / higher bitrate than the 28mbps AVCHD 60p stuff?

                          anyways, I just saw someone selling a AF on this forum for something stupid cheap. Be a good opportunity if you're thinking about it. Or just get it and see if you like it. Not like you'd lose much buying/selling used.
                          Nate Haustein

                          PXW-FX9 / FCPX

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by Nate Haustein View Post
                            From what I remember the original AF100 (not the AF100A) also did 60p over 24p overcrank albeit without sound. I wonder if that method ended up being better quality / higher bitrate than the 28mbps AVCHD 60p stuff?.
                            It would do 60p at 720 but not 1080 which for some was a deal breaker. Unfortunately it was still the same lame bitrate in the upgraded version.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by TSDavis View Post
                              It would do 60p at 720 but not 1080 which for some was a deal breaker. Unfortunately it was still the same lame bitrate in the upgraded version.
                              I mean in the VFR mode – that was 1080p as I remember doing a couple of aircraft takeoffs in slo-mo and it definitely was full-HD. Normal AVCHD recording was limited to the 720 though in the original 100.
                              Last edited by Nate Haustein; 11-28-2015, 08:18 PM.
                              Nate Haustein

                              PXW-FX9 / FCPX

                              Comment

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