March 23, 2011

First Sony NEX-FS100 Videos and Reviews Hit the Web

The ink has barely dried on the Sony NEX-FS100 announcement, and here we are with videos and reviews. Some things have been clarified: the 4:2:2 HDMI output is 8-bit (not 10), and the MSRPs are as follows: NEX-FS100U (without lens) is $5,850, and the NEX-FS100UK (with lens) is $6,550. For street pricing, remove about a grand from each sticker price. Here's the first footage, which is a music video shot on a pre-production unit:

The marketing video from Sony Europe:

And a hands-on review from the guys at F-Stop Academy, which shows off a number of 1/4-20" mounting points, the detachable handgrip, and mentions a forthcoming 128GB SSD recording attachment:

However, not all is coming up roses with the FS100. Nigel Cooper has posted an in-depth review of the camera -- though it was a preproduction unit, which may explain his complaints about plasticky buttons. He likes the image quality very much, but here's what he concluded about the FS100:

All-in-all, the FS100 feels like a very rushed camcorder. The ergonomics are terrible, the fixtures and fittings are pretty much the same, the switches, dials and knobs are too small and they feel horribly plasticky with a vague feel i.e. you don’t really know if you have actually pressed a button; you need LCD menu feedback to confirm. The hand-grip on the side wobbles, even when tightened up, so to does the top handle/mic holder, which feels like it is hanging on by its fingernails. Everything about this camcorder is just so awfully wrong. Sony had the perfect chance to give Panasonic a run for their money, but the FS100 is not the camcorder to do it, in my opinion... There are just too many things missing from the FS100, no HD/SDI output, no ND filter wheel, only one card slot. Its like Sony have taken the F3 and stripped it of any worthwhile features and functions to keep it well away from the F3’s market.

Time will tell how the FS100 compares to the Panasonic AF100. The FS100 does have some advantages -- larger sensor, higher resolution (it yields more TV lines), presumably better low-light sensitivity if it shares the F3's prowess -- but the build quality and HD-SDI output of the AF100 are superior (the AF100 is also limited to 8-bit, but I'd rather have an HD-SDI port than a flimsy HDMI connector). Either way, competition is a good thing and the post-HDSLR market now has two solid entrants at the $5k price point...

Link: NEX-FS100 Review by Nigel Cooper

[via ProVideo Coalition]

Your Comment

20 Comments

The main thing I learned from that Sony promo video is that the F3 takes a much better picture than the FS100.

Call me crazy, but the footage from the FS100 doesn't look like anything special. Certainly no better than my AF100 (which has a built-in ND filter and far better ergonomics). I was sweating Sony's answer to the post-DSLR camcorder question, but I think I'm going to relax and keep feeling good about my AF100.

March 23, 2011

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You should. The AF100 seems a bit more "pro" than the FS100 -- probably because Panasonic doesn't (yet?) have a $15k camera to protect.

March 23, 2011

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Ryan Koo
Founder
Writer/Director

Seems funny to me that they're marketing this camera to the wedding and events crowd, but, as alex mentioned, it's designed as a cinema camera, with absolutely no ergonomics. It's a box with a lens. Not exactly run-and-gun, is it?
Plus with a price of around $6K, I don't see people jumping ship from DSLRs anytime soon.
As a side note: how exactly does the S35 sensor compare to the sensor on the 5DMKII and 7D?

March 23, 2011

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s35 is approximately the same size as APS-C, so this has the same sensor size as the 7D/60D/t3i/t2i, which is 1.6 times smaller than the one on the 5Dmk2

March 24, 2011

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Yeah, I'm not leaving my 5D, 7D, and T2i for this... Sorry Sony!

March 23, 2011

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J.S Lawrence

I'm not saying that Nigel Cooper is biased. But bad journalism?! Yes!
Read his review of the AF101 http://www.dvuser.co.uk/content.php?CID=246

Keep in mind, the AF-101 review was only published 5 months ago the FS100 and AF-101 are similarly priced cameras.

The AF-101 review he RAVES about the picture quality and the resolution in many instances. "Panasonic’s all-new AG-AF101 film-like HD camcorder with it’s 4/3rd MOS sensor produced 800 lines of resolution with a little breakup in the 1000 line area with little signs of aliasing and absolutely zero rainbow moiré effects."
To me, this reads like a commercial for Panasonic, but that's not my point.

In the FS100 review "The resolution chart showed the FS100 to produce about 780 lines, which is fine and more than enough for most applications." Followed by "There is some visible aliasing, but not as much as Panasonic’s AF101." And then "The Sony FS100 managed to resolve approximately 780 lines resolution with a little bit of visible aliasing; but overall a nice clean image. The Panasonic AF101 manages to resolve approximately 680 lines maximum resolution with a bit more visible aliasing in the image compared to the Sony."

It resolves 780 lines of resolution which is fine and more than enough for most applications, even though the AF101 resolves 680 lines and is the most revolutionary camera in the last 20 years and an independent filmmakers dream (I kind of wonder what he means by "most applications").

And then finally he goes on to say (and this is the reason I'm writing this article) "The only thing it (the FS100) has going for it is image quality (yeah that's it, just that little thing that no one cares about), which is marginally better than the AF101, but still not as good as Sony’s own EX1/3."

Yeah, that's the ONLY thing it has going for it is the image quality which is better than the 5 star, similarly priced, revolutionary camera that has come out in the last 20 years. But the image quality still isn't as good as the EX1 which I failed to mention in my glowing 5 star review of the AF101.

And for the record, no I'm not buying the FS100 because of the lack of ND filter, but that's still no excuse for this type of journalism.

March 24, 2011

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Madp

interesting, will take that review with a pinch of salt the size of a small SUV, thanks

March 24, 2011

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and, of course, if image quality is the same as with the F3, I wouldn't call it "marginally better than the AF101":
http://provideocoalition.com/index.php/freshdv/story/f3_vs_af100_vs_5d/
http://provideocoalition.com/index.php/awilt/story/ag-af100_and_pmw-f3_o...

March 24, 2011

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Agreed -- "the only thing it has going for it is the image quality" -- well, that's kind of a big thing. And also, presumably, ridiculously good low-light sensitivity.

Also, is he correct in claiming that the FS100's sensor is only 10% larger than the Micro 4/3 one found in the AF100? Because if one sensor is 24x13 and the other is 17x13 -- and we're talking about 16:9 video here -- the 17x13 sensor is a 1.3:1 aspect ratio. In which case (and correct me if I'm wrong), the Micro 4/3 sensor would be quite a bit smaller than the Sony once we start talking about widescreen shooting.

March 24, 2011

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Ryan Koo
Founder
Writer/Director

I think F3 sensor is 23.6mm wide, while AF100 is 18.9 mm wide, thus AF100 is 20% smaller in diagonal (36% smaller in area), F3 is 25% bigger in diagonal (56% bigger in area)

March 24, 2011

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and just for the sake of completeness, I just visited dpreview: the sensor on the 7D/60D/600D/550D is 22.3mm wide, and the one on the 5Dmk2 is of course 36mm wide

March 25, 2011

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I've been a big fan of Nigel's reviews in the past, and will be in the future; he puts gear through some real-world situation tests which a man with his experience is qualified to do. I've benefited from his reviews in my gear purchases, and value his opinion.

That said, and with the qualifier that you need to read several of his product reviews to get a feel for his style, you can't help but note his rather obvious prejudice to the large, shoulder-mounted form factor of very expensive professional cameras. For him to announce that a different camera form factor selling at a value price point is all wrong is comparable to a DSLR still-shooter to criticize the box-ish build of medium format cameras such as Hasselblad or Mamiya. It's simply a matter of personal preference.

Ladies and gentleman, the final proof of these new cameras' value will be delivered by people like Len, who have both the resources to get another new camera, and the natural and learned abilities to look beyond the experiences they've already paid for to take advantage of the benefits a new camera can offer. As an EX1 and 5D2 shooter, I look forward to getting my hands on this camera. It may cure my F3 lust, although the professional model camera has obvious benefits that sorely tempt my chequebook.

March 25, 2011

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Zan Shin

Sony should make a Universal digital film making camera,now NEX FS100 PAL version don't have any 24p,60p recording format,that is very horrible ,no ND filter,in AF 100,have CINE MODE,that is more helpful for Indie Film making,Sony should make NTSC,PAL AND CINE MODE in a one camcorder,another one thing AF 100 could switchable to 50mhz and 60mhz,that is a good thing for universal camera.why Canon 5DM2,and 7D selling like hot cake,because of film look and film spec of that camera,that is people want,now less than 1k 10bit 4:2:2 recorder available in market,(Ninja).If Canon make a full frame XF305,the whole market will take Canon,If you guys look Canon XF305 spec,that is a great camera,but only one problem is that is 1/3" CMOS Sensor.Now Sony need to care there F3 market that why Sony make this AMPRO(Not a Professional Not an Amateur)Camcorder,this is so funny,what an idea Sony,ha ha ha ha

March 27, 2011

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Jonathan

Yeah thanks but no thanks Sony...If you can't make something decent with your DSLR's then what the hell do you need this thing for?!?

March 30, 2011

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Yeah, the F3 will obviously be a better image. I do wonder what it will look like with a good 3rd party lens, and a higher bit rate off that HDMI. I saw a video the other day that isn't on here, shot with the FS100 but with some great lenses. It looked great. I think the main selling point of this camera is not the E-mount kit lens that comes with it. Pros really need to see this thing with that 8 bit codec and some good glass.

April 24, 2011

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As a very satisfied AF100 owner, I don't think I could adjust to the ergonomics of the FS100. Just yesterday, I had my camera on sticks over six feet high, interviewing a very tall subject. I appreciated being able to simply angle the LCD down to see what I was shooting, whereas on the FS100, I would have probably had to track down an apple-box or stool of some kind--which isn't always an option. Going by one of the first and most prominent FS100 videos posted, I suppose the advantage of the FS100's LCD placement on the top as opposed to the side of the camera is when you're shooting discreetly, with the camera drawn in close to your body? Also, there were times when I appreciated having an eyepiece I could look though while my client could watch the LCD. With the FS100, it seems to be an either-or scenario, which really makes me wonder about its real-world practicality. It's not always feasible or sensible to always carry around an external monitor.

As for image quality, at the end of the day, at this level it is very subjective and really comes down to the operator and their familiarity with each camera's optimal settings for each shooting situation; for all these tests, we really have to take it on blind faith that they configured each camera ideally, a subject which in and of itself is open to debate. If there were an objective percentage scale for image quality, and the FS100 scored a 98% and the AF100 scored a 97.6%, would the Sony's superiority really be worth touting? For me, I'd happily take a camera with significantly superior ergonomics over one with a slightly superior image. At the end of the day, the only people who really notice the subtle nuances in the image difference between these cameras and care one iota are us pixel-peeping gearheads.

May 5, 2011

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In India, Sony's most popular camera is PD170. At present all news, event, wedding cameraman are using PD170. It's difficult to spend approx. 3,00,000 Indian Rupees for this new camera by same cameraman.

September 14, 2011

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Jitendra Shirpurkar

Can anyone tell me what type of shoulder mount that is at 1:29 on the second video?
Thanks!

May 27, 2013

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This is about the best camera I have ever used. It forces you to shoot like a cinematographer.. its manual functions dominate the creative path and creates a vision beyond expectations. The results are stunning and you create a cinema feel with each and every shot . Many cameras I have shot with in the past limited a cinematic feel leaving the creative end with video amateurish footage... Ultimately this is the camera of ages and well worth its investment.

October 8, 2013

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milkod