Mk 3, FS100 and AF100


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Not sure where to really post this since it is covering three different cameras so I decided to use the Canon HDSLR Thread.

I've been shooting on the HVX for almost five years. It is time to upgrade my camera and would like feed back on which direction I should go. This is how I got my HVX200 years ago from the gang on the DVX Forum.

A friend of mine and I are going to shoot a feature film but will do the short version this fall and due to our tight budget we can't rent the RED. I need the footage to really look good on the large theater screen. I have been looking at the Mk3, FS100 and the AF100 (all in my budget).

Each of them have both pros and cons. I did notice that the AF100 has really drop in price???? The Mk3 is small enough for easy travel (oh we are filming up in Alice Springs Aussie land) and I have heard the FS100 is very clean looking.

But in real honestly out of the three which one would look best on the big screen? I do know that I will need addition sound system for the Mk3 (that is where we would hire out) and all three cameras will take lens where my HVX won't unless I use RR with attachments.

Any feedback would be great from those that have either used or own these cameras -
The 5D has the Vistavision aesthetic going for it, and that really does count for something. The footage may be a bit soft, but it looks damn pretty.

The AF100 is a steal for it's price-point, offers a tonne of features, in a robust and familiar package (especially if you're coming from the HVX200). It produces (to my eyes) the least attractive footage of those three options, but that by no means makes it 'bad' (compared to the images we were getting from cameras only a few years ago, it's gorgeous) it's simply not quite as nice as the 5D and FS100.

The FS100 is going to produce the cleanest, sharpest images out of those three options. And functionality-wise it sits in between the other two.

For a short film/trailer though, I'd suggest you go with one of the cheaper options and put the money you save (over the FS100) towards props, costumes, lighting etc.

All three will produce good-enough results, so spend the money in areas that count more (like make-up, art-department etc.)
I would recommend 5D3 without hesitating, for its great mobility, weather sealing and the most film-like image among all three. The other two can easily look digital and TVish.

If you go with 5D3, there are two softwares you have to buy, Cineform Studio Premium and Cinnafilm Dark Energy for After effects, $299 each.
It's a tough choice between the FS100 and the MKIII. The FS100 produces a sharper image but the MKIII should handle highlights better in the harsh Alice Springs light. In Aus the FS100 is a lot more expensive and there's an issue with sensor ghosting that concerns me. Don't rely on the onboard FS100 sound for a feature either. The Nikon D800 with a mosaic engineering anti-aliasing filter could be a better option for you. It's sharper than the MKIII, has an extra stop of dynamic range, and you can record externally, although it's not as good in low light.

It's hard to give advice not knowing what you're shooting. Hiring is also not very cost effective in Aus, for what it costs to hire you can own the gear over the length of an average shoot. I personally chose the MKIII over everything else for my feature which is going to have a lot of urban night scenes and some guerilla work. I have a lot of experience with the MKII so it's been an easy transition. I've seen some really nice work done with the FS100 but it sounds like your budget is tight so you're better off spending less on the camera body and more on lenses, sound gear, lighting, and grip.

Oh and I haven't mentioned the AF100 because it's not a worthy competitor IMO, a hacked GH2 is a much better option.
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Why don't you wait and see what the Black Magic Design Cinema camera offers?

I shoot with the AF100 and the MK3 and lately the AF100 is getting less attention. I'm reaching for the MK3 and it's high Iso capability. Not just useful for lowlight, but for getting that extra stop or 2 of DOF with that big ol' sensor.

I would take this time between now and the fall to get your hands on each of the cameras for a couple days and try them out.
I would not consider using an untested or beta version of a camera in any sort of production work.

That rules out the RED then. :banned:

Yeah the Black Magic camera sounds really promising but until it's out in the wild and the bugs have been ironed out I wouldn't recommend it either. The transition from the MKII to the MKIII was painless, just a few workflow changes like having to post sharpen and a bit of stress testing.
I think that the Canon 5D MKIII and the Nikon D800 are incredible cameras for video given that they are essentially still photo cameras. I have ordered a D800, but I came close to ordering the 5D MKIII, only a mass of Nikon prime glass pulled me up. I think my D800 is at the stage where they are smelting the raw alloy for the body:furious3::furious3:.
I have the Canon t3i and thinking of selling it to get the 5D MKIII. Don't know much about the D800 but would love to see some footage from it.
I don't want to hijack this thread. But as soon as my D800 arrives, I have a complete DSLR rail system c/w follow focus and BM Shuttle 2 to test uncompressed + QT DNxHD output via HDMI. Will post under Nikon DSLR forum. Mean time you could not go wrong with either of these cameras. From what I have seen both the 5D and the D800 show impressive results. Just a sample Sample of MK III and D800.
There's an issue which is not mentioned here for choosing between the Canon 5d Mk III and the Sony FS100: pans bug.

AFAIK that is an issue that has not yet been quite solved in HDSLR cameras... except if the technology was changed for the Mk III. Then I gladly swallow my words. ;)

Using a plug-in in post to deal with it is still processing the image, which doesn't look to me as the best way to deal with the problem.

Another question is price: a Canon 5d Mk III is $4,300 with 24-105 zoom; a Sony FS100 is $5,600 with 18-200 zoom. The latter is a "proper" video camera, the former is "still" a photo camera, with no audio recording capability.
Thanks everyone for the feedback. Been busy with work so it has taken me a bit to get back on track. I'm thinking that I'm leaning towards the Mkiii for a few reasons; one main reason I think the quality of the film would be better then the FS100 and then there is the cost factor. Would like to hear from others on this.
You know, if I were going to drop a bundle on a new camera, and making a choice between camera X, Y, Z, I would get my hands on each one of the cameras I was considering before making my choice, rather than being steered in a particular direction by a fanboy pushing the camera they bought, or by judging footage from the internet.

Good Luck!