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October 20, 2010

Panasonic AF100 Fares Far Better than its DSLR Cousins in Low Light

Philip Bloom got his hands on a pre-production Panasonic AF100 and tested it with a super-fast Leica M 50mm f/1.1 prime lens -- and no light sources other than a lit match. Here's the resulting footage -- shot without the aid of an external recorder, going to the AF100's native 24mbps AVCHD codec:

Quick analysis: the blacks look very clean thanks to some advanced noise reduction circuitry. This doesn't offer a lot of opportunity to see any shadow detail, however, because of the single-source lighting. The highlights blow out pretty harshly to electronic white, but again, this is a pretty difficult scene, and without knowing which of the AF100's many gamma settings Philip was using, it's difficult to draw any conclusions. Regardless, this footage shows that the camera is much more than a GH1 chip housed in a new body -- the GH1's achilles heel was filming in low-light conditions, and this footage looks several times better.

I'm sticking to my guns that all the other features of the camera make it a much more appropriate camera for serious production work than a DSLR -- although the fact that the HD-SDI-out is 8-bit could be disappointing. For more on the test, check out Bloom's post.

Link: 3 days with the Panasonic AG-AF100

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