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Large chip camcorder comparison: AF100 vs F3 vs FS100
  • Made by Philip Bloom

    Link to his blog post -

    Video itself
  • 19 Replies sorted by
  • For me, the only major and significant (for me) difference between the AF100 and FS100/F3 is the bloody DR, and specifically the highlight roll off. I am kind of obsessed with clipping highlights.My gh2 is the same as AF100 and it's the only drawback that really annoys me. In every other respect, it's better than the5d for example, but even the 5d handles highlights so much nicer than the M4/3 cams. The roll-off is just so harsh and the colours get oversaturated and towards the cyane, it's just ugly and I hope the next generation of sensors fixes this.
  • FS100 looks better imo... considering image, low light, 1.6 crop vs x 2. (unless perhaps your a nature or sports shooter).

    AF has a better price and ND in it's favour and supposedly a little less "fiddly.

    I'll probably be making a choice between these two cameras at some point...
    Not an easy one - when your money is tight.

    Interesting comments Stefanos. I'd love to see some highlight comparison tests between the AF and FS100.


  • Here is second part:

  • Nice Phil! Thanks! And thanks for posting VK!

    I wanna see a footage comparison between a properly hacked GH1, the GH2, and the AF100.

    I'm willing to guess that the properly hacked GH1 will win in most situations. :)
  • Look at my first reply, his big gripe about AF100 is the exact same thing as me, about how the camera deals with highlights:)
  • sf100 has a great 35mm look(rich and soft), af100 poor thing, looks great by itself but not in comparison. I'm sticking with the gh models until sf100 is released... I think I could be satisfied for a whole year or maybe more..
  • well i dont think u can compare pany af100 and sony fs 100, as sony no better at all , what it gives a slightly larger sensor and as a result a little better law light performance, but it stops here. how good law light performance do u need at all? get a faster lens....

    anyway pany cheaper for like 1000$ + now free lens 14-140, yes lens sucks in law low light , but its great for outside , has silent AF, IS. so its like 1500$ cheaper then fs100 now. also consider that - u not necessary need a mate box or at least not that expansive as u already have nd filter

    does sony has pal/ntsc - NO! does it has ND - No! does it has SDI - No? does it has a 2 card slots - no just 1! does it has a good handle - NO! does it has a good build quality - Noooo in fact it sucks here! my AF100 build quality - i can KILL with it, it fills like if it falls down on a ground ill probably get a few scratches nothing else...
    Who 1st will get Birger mount - Af 100! lol

    its advertised like fs 100 was designed by few camera guys, well, invited couple of fatties, who were tricked never listened at all, because no one in normal mind who has at list minimum filming experience - will never suggest to put a lcd on top. what will u see if you are in the crowd and you hold the cam above your head?!
    u dont need to come up with a new bicycle idea as some one already did it before . No ND filters! - how crazy is that, even semi pro cams - do have nd.
    and that crazy idea about its view finder? dont even want to comment that "thing"

    who 1st was on a market - af100 - u can respect it only for it! sony could get something much better , but it did not.

    also these talks about fs100 has same sensor as f3, well if everything is same than why image is so different ?

    in my opinion sony asks too much for brand.

    so what u can really compare is af100 and f3, well pany sucks here yes, but the price x3 i believe or even more, so at the end its all up to your budget.

    in over all its seems like fs100 was designed by Consumer division. pany by Pro
  • tolik cant say it better.

    +320 to panny.
  • 5d Mark II still gives the most pro film look with the best tones and details for that matter.
    No such a non-real digital sharp details like in the Panasonic model.
  • @producer
    here you go again...
  • Terrible. Does every site must have his troll!!!!!!!!!! From what I have seen the gh2 highlight roll off is much better than the af-100. Now it is subjective from what I have seen on the internet. It seems that no one want to benchmark the GH2 against at least the Af-100. With the hack you can underexpose your image to protect the highlight because as detail is preserve in the shadows you can boost in in post with a curve.
  • I've tested the GH2 against the AF10X. While you get close after a lot of fiddling with AF10X's settings, out of the box highlight behavior of the GH2 is better – less over saturation and less color-shift. I checked it with a vectorscope too, not only by eye.

    IMHO, with the hack the GH2 can compete very well with the AF10X in image quality.

    But the FS100 is a different beast: low-light capability is far better than the Pannys, much more than you'd expect from the difference in sensor size. After all, both Pannys have a photographic sensor, while the Sony's has not a single pixel too much for HDTV.
  • @producer

    Look at the topic title, please.
  • @nomad "IMHO, with the hack the GH2 can compete very well with the AF10X in image quality."

    By compete you mean absolutely destroy, right?

    Stock... the GH2 beats the AF-100 hands down. Better highlights, cleaner blacks, less digital-sharping. With the hack, there's not even a competition. The GH2 (with low-GOP and high bitrate) looks like down-rezzed Red MX footage.

    "After all, both Pannys have a photographic sensor, while the Sony's has not a single pixel too much for HDTV."

    I'm not sure if I like the idea of only using "just enough" pixels to cover the format it's recording to. It makes sense noise-wise, but edges and sharp details look much better and film-like when they down-rezzed from higher source material to me... Film is photographic in nature. It's just a bunch of stills moving really fast. It seems like the sensors that were originally designed to create photographic stills... also make the most photographic and film-like video. Anyone else see this coloration? The 5D was the first consumer video device to really create film-like video... Panasonic tried to tune a large sensor for video and guess what? It looked like video. The GH2 was born in the photographic stills division... and who would have guessed it, the video looks much more photographic compared to the AF-100... Coincidence? I don't think so.

    @producer "5d Mark II still gives the most pro film look with the best tones and details for that matter.
    No such a non-real digital sharp details like in the Panasonic model."

    The 5D looks more like traditional film-stock. The GH2 looks more like digital-cinema super-film... very similar to Red. And IMO, doesn't look digitally sharp, as long as you turn down the sharpening to -2. The AF-100 does though, the edges are too crushed or something...

    For the Sony cams though... the highlights look bad on both the FS100 and the F3. Perhaps having more pixels than you need and then down-sampling gives better high-light transitions or something?
  • One of the best comments I heard was that when judging any cam you have to put everything on the table, but then use common sense too. You're gonna expose for your highlights and given that you probably can get a great image from the AF100 under most circumstances. As a film making tool, I think the AF100 is better than the FS100 out of the box. Just cuz a cam has better DR doesn't mean it's overall a better cam. It's like the low Light argument. Low light and highlights are extremes and almost always have to be adjusted for in some manner.

    I love the look of all 3 cams to be honest, but the F3 is a Major investment that may be beyond some peoples bank account. There's something about the look of the F3/FS100 that I like, but in it's sweet spot I felt the AF100 looked great.
  • I finally had a chance to play around with an FS-100 the other day. Image quality aside...I was surprised by how cheap the build quality felt...I now understand an owner's comment from another (more "politically correct") forum:

    "...the plastic FS100 feels like it was made from the cheapest plastics Sony could possibly get. The panels sound hollow. I'm shocked at the low build quality for a $5,000 product."

    With the unit I tried the detachable handle squeaked/wobbled at the attachment point during filming/movement...annoying and a worry for mic pick-up.

    It's not a camera I'd have much confidence taking on a tough, remote desert / jungle location filming expedition for a few weeks. I'll stay with my current rig, thanks.


    "fs 100 was designed by few camera guys, well, invited couple of fatties, who were tricked never listened at all"

    ...LOL (I agree build quality is better...but AF100 also has it's "unnecessary" limitations also...).

    The engineers might listen to the "fatties"...but the Marketing/Production Managers follow their own agenda.
  • Thanks for the post Vitaly. I mirror Stefanos' concerns regarding the highlight output of the AF100. I recently talked to an editor who was piecing together a 2 camera interview that was shot with with the AF100/Nanoflash combo and a 5DM2. He stated that there was a marked difference in the background highlights with the AVCHD codec and also mentioned that the Nanoflash output was not much different.

    It would be great to see a comparison highlight test with the 4 cameras used above.
  • The thing is that Sony and Panasonic are dragging their foot, because they had no intention to produce any large sensor camera at these price point. They have been forced to do that because of the dslr revolution. So they made sure that those camera had the minimum specification or qualities for them to compete with the hdslr but not compete with what some would call proper video camera. Take the FS100 they put a super chip in there but crippled everything around. They just needed to put it into the NX-cam 5 body and electronic, which has everything like hdsdi 10 bit etc for $ 1000 less (a model with a lens). For the Panasonic af100 they did not develop a new chip just adapted from there still division and again crippled it by putting only 24 mbit avchd and 8 bit, while a little month later releasing a 10 bit AVC-intra model for about the same price. A model that comes with a lens. It was suppose to cost more $ 10 000 was the argument behind the crippled spec when it was being mentioned if they added 10 bit codec to the Af100.