AF100 tips, tricks, and FAQs


A few things that we've discovered about the AF100, that may not be obvious. If you're scratching your head wondering why something isn't working, try looking here.

1. Wondering why some certain function isn't working? Some features disable other features, and one of the most notable of those is having the HD-SDI 24PsF output set to ON. I strongly recommend to everyone to leave 24PsF set to "off" unless they know exactly what they're doing. It can disable the HDMI output, it disables variable frame rates, and it disables autofocus, so lots of people are going to be scratching their heads as to why all these functions quit working on their cameras, when in reality all they have to do is turn 24PsF to "off" and all that stuff comes back.

2. NEVER set VFR to ON unless you know exactly what you're doing, and ALWAYS turn it to OFF immediately. When VFR is set to "ON", the AF100 will NOT record audio. At all. Even though the level meters are bouncing around and the headphones are passing an audio signal, it will not be recorded. Even if you're shooting at 24p at 24fps, audio will not be recorded as long as VFR MODE is set to ON. Turn it off and leave it off. And, I highly highly recommend everyone to leave OTHER DISPLAY set to ALL; that way if you ever do leave VFR mode on, you'll see in the lower left corner that it will display your frame rate as "24:24p" instead of just "24p", and that will let you know that you have VFR on. (if you want to clear the screen to see the frame, use the DISP/MODE CHK button to quickly erase all of that stuff).

3. The function knob can be used to set a variable white balance, but sometimes it stops working. Why? Because the function knob can also be used to set an AREA for the autofocus/autoiris/Y GET system. If you have the AREA mode active, it'll remove the ability to use the function knob for the white balance. You can restore that functionality by cancelling the AREA mode. You do that by holding the function knob in (pressing it in like a button) for over two seconds.

4. How can you see the JPG frame captures you've taken when using the CAPTURE button? When in playback mode, use the SLOT SEL button, and it'll bring up not only a choice of whether to use the card in slot 1 or slot 2, but it'll also let you choose whether you want to view video clips or stills.

5. Why is your autofocus lens saying "MF ONLY" when you put the autofocus switch to "Auto"? A number of potential reasons, but the first two things to look at are: do you have VFR mode set to on, or do you have SDI 24PsF set to on? If either of those are on, it will disable any autofocus capability on any lens. Second, some lenses aren't 100% compatible with the focus mechanism on the AF100. Sometimes you can get full-time autofocus (like on the 14-140), sometimes you can only get push-autofocus (like on the Olympus 14-35).

6. Can I have the viewfinder and LCD on at the same time? Maybe. Depends on your combination of settings. First, go turn EVF MODE from AUTO to ON. That will let the EVF (Electronic ViewFinder) stay active when the LCD panel is open. Second, look at your SDI output setting -- you cannot have EVF, and LCD, and SDI all at the same time. You can only have two of the three. That's why the SDI OUTPUT menu item even exists at all, is to turn the SDI off when you're using the other outputs. With SDI OUT set to ON, you can have the LCD and the HDMI, or you can have the EVF and the HDMI, but you can't have the LCD, EVF, and SDI all at once. It just can't do it. You have to pick. Note, HDMI is always active and outputting, UNLESS SDI 24PsF is set to ON. That will disable the HDMI output.

7. Focus advice - the EVF DTL is absolutely mandatory for using the LCD panel for focusing. However, there's a better way to go, IMO -- that's to put the viewfinder in black and white mode (turn EVF COLOR to OFF) and then assign the USER1 button to "FA", which stands for "Focus Assist". That will turn on the red highlights around any areas that are in crisp, sharp focus. It makes focusing a breeze, on anything that has sharp in-focus edges. However, if you're in a situation where there's only soft edges and nothing sharp for it to focus on, it won't find any sharp edges and won't be able to highlight it in red. There are two things you can do in that case -- A) turn on EVF DTL, which will add peaking and make the red focus assist much more generous. I don't like doing this though, I think it provides a bit too much margin of error for my taste, but hey -- it does work, and you should be aware of it. Instead, I prefer B) keep a little flashlight with you and reflect it off your subject's eyes. That will give a nice pinpoint that the red focus assist will latch onto and will assure you of getting pinpoint perfect focus.

8. Black balance frequently. It helps keep your blacks true and avoids some noise in the dark regions. To black balance, just hold down the white balance button on the front of the camera. You don't need a black card or anything, the camera has its own shutter/iris that it closes, thus assuring that no light will reach the sensor. It only takes a couple of seconds, so do it frequently. Can't black balance? Probably because the PREREC function is on. The camera can't black balance during a recording, and prerec counts as recording, so -- turn prerec off and you'll be able to black balance.

9. Why is the camera telling you "Can't record VFR to this card"? You need a Class 6 (or faster) card for recording variable frame rate footage. And if you're using a Class 6 or faster card and it's still telling you that, then sorry to break it to you, but you probably have a counterfeit card. Google "fake SDHC card" and prepare to be shocked at just how widespread the problem is. Buy a genuine card from an authorized reseller and you'll find that it does work.

10. Are you hearing echo in the headphones? Go to "AV IN/OUT SETUP", then scroll down to "HP MODE" (Headphone mode), and then change it to "LIVE".

11. The highest quality audio (in PH mode) is LPCM - linear pulse code modulated, uncompressed audio. The default is for AC3 audio -- which is compressed. You can choose either, but some editing programs or playback programs may not be able to play back LPCM clips. If you're finding that your clips will play back in an AF100, but not in an HMC150, that might be why.

12. Can't update your firmware from a Mac? Try reading this thread.
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Regarding #1, why then would you ever turn HD-SDI 24PsF output set to ON?
When outputting 1080 over SDI, the broadcast standard is 1080/60i. When you're shooting 24p, that means that the camera inserts 3:2 pulldown to convert the 24p signal into 60i for output.

The AF100 has the ability to instead output the special 24PsF mode, which is really basically 48i -- no pulldown at all. It's interlaced, but a monitor or recorder that understands 24PsF will also know that it's meant to be progressive, and the monitor will know to reassemble it into its true progressive nature before displaying it. And a recorder like the NanoFlash can read 24PsF and knows to convert it into true 24P. So, in effect, 24PsF means "output true pure native 24P instead of interlaced 60i with 3:2 pulldown."

So for certain uses it can be nice and handy. But it also causes lots of conflicts, so only use it when you really need it.
Here's one I haven't seen mentioned that burned me yesterday -- when VFR is enabled Relay Record is disabled. That's right - the first card will fill up and it won't automatically switch to the second slot as expected. It automatically switches Relay Record to OFF.
When I get my camera I will print out this thread and tape it to the back of the camera...

Just kidding, but #2, the one about not recording audio if VFR is "on" will bite me, I know... It's exactly the kind of mistake I'm prone to make, and it's only a matter of time... I hope a future firmware upgrade disables the audio meters - that was suggested early on I know...
Actually, I hope any kind of firmware upgrade doesn't disable audio meters and audio output. It doesn't record it internally to SD, but it's really nice to record the 'live video' via SDI as a backup to a VFR clip and have actual audio from the same shot in an external 1080i clip.

Confusing? Maybe so, but I wrapped my head around it pretty quickly and find it useful to not need an external audio recorder if I want to capture a shot as both slowmo and maybe 'live' video with audio.
...find it useful to not need an external audio recorder if I want to capture a shot as both slowmo and maybe 'live' video with audio.

Yes this is a benefit about 2% of the time. Maybe it should just be an option in the menu to turn it on or off.
Maybe it should just be an option in the menu

Agreed. From several years constant shooting with the HPX500, moving from 60fps to interviews and back again, I have gotten in the habit of checking the movement of the audio meters to know where I am... habits are hard to break...
Barry here is something that should also be noted in this thread. A lot of the people buying the AF100 are coming from the SLR world. Some of these people hear that they can actually record quality sound in camera instead recording sound on a 3rd party device. What they don't know is that the PH Audio Mode has to be switched from AC3 to LPCM to achieve the biggest benefit. AC3 isn't much better than what SLR's record and it is the default setting in the AF100.
When it comes to the audio meters and VFR. Its very easy to see VFR is on. You'll have XX:24 or XX:25.

Im sure many of you already know this but Im going to just type it out anyway.


A small gotcha for those in PAL land and who havent used a Pana cam before. But lets call it what it really is shooting in 50Hz.

When set to 25P, the shutter options in the menu are 1/25 or 1/60. Typically when trying to obtain that film like motion blur we want a 180 degree shutter which equates to 1/50th. But there is no 1/50th right? Wrong.

Two ways to achieve 1/50th or a 180 degree shutter.

1/ On the back left side of cam is the Dial select button - which as you know changes the function of the dial below it. There are a few options

Dial Shutter
Dial frame rate
Dial Lock

Choose dial shutter. Then if you scroll the wheel your presented with 1/25, 1/60, 1/120, 1/250, 1/500, 1/1000, 1/2000 then the final is the shutter degrees. This is set to 180 degree by default. So if it reads 180, select it and viola your where you need to be.

BUT, what about if you change the value for syncro scan and how do you do that anyway?

With the shutter showing the shutter angle hit the dial select button again - then using the dial up or down, this will let you choose any shutter angle from 10 to 360 degrees. So setback to 180 if its on something else and your set.

2/ This is the easiest way to get straight out 1/50 or 180 degrees without any fuss.

Again, use the dial select button to select Dial Shutter. Then simply push the dial in and you will see on the LCD "Shutter Off". This actually sets the camera to a shutter or 1/50.

These functions are exactly the same in NTSC land (59.94Hz) countries. When you're at 180 or shutter off your at 1/48th.
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How to reset the TC (timecode)

First go - MENU > TC/UB SETUP > TC PRESET - then YES

What you see now is your TC PRESET screen

In the panel where the LCD sits when closed you'll see the WFM (waveform monitor button), under it is a button with RESET/TC SET, press it and you will see all the numbers in the TC PRESET screen reset to 00h00m00s00f. So once you've done that push in the little menu selection joystick. An overlay pops up that says TC Preset? Select YES, push in the little menu joystick again and your done.
I've used Class 4 Sandisk Ultra IIs (the new Sandisk Ultra rebrand that replaced them don't seem to work as well in my hacked GH1) with the HMC-150 with no problems. Will these work with the AF-100?
Does it literally flat out reject you or will it try and just fail from card write speed? Not that it's a big deal or anything, I am just trying to figure out if I should buy some new cards just for when I get the chance to try out an AF-100.
The camera checks the card's speed when you go to turn VFR on. If the card reports that it's a Class 6 or higher, then it goes ahead. If the card reports that it's Class 4 or lower, the camera brings up a message saying "cannot record VFR to this card."
I tried FilmPro class 6 cards and couldn't get into VFR mode. So I bought Lexar class 10 cards and couldn't get into VFR mode (they're on sale, good deal.) Then I realized that I'm in 720 instead of 1080. Can't shoot VFR in 720. Just a heads up!!
Just discovered I can copy shot sd cards or selected clips to another sd card IN CAMERA! Now I can back up shot cards, give a set to the client and archive the others.

Look under card functions in the PB menu. No more NEXTO or laptop in the field.