NfsThe Panasonic AF100 (otherwise known as the AF101 in PAL countries) is an enticing video camera that's looking to make DSLR shooters forget about the whole hybrid revolution. It's made up of a Micro 4/3 sensor in a pro video camera body, complete with XLR audio inputs, numerous lens mount options, and uncompressed HD-SDI output. The first footage from the camera is now available, and it's a pro clip: shot with a PL adapter and Zeiss Ultra Prime lenses, output through the HD-SDI output at 100 mbs, and recorded in the AVC Intra HD codec to P2 cards.

Lookin' good. Oh, and the footage is nice too...

Sensor_sizes-224x161The camera's Micro4/3 chip is a tad smaller than I'd like, but is still several times larger than the 1/3" or 2/3" sensor typically found in video cameras under $10k (The Sony EX1's 1/2" chip is featured in the illustration at left). You'll be able to get a shallow depth-of-field with the camera provided you use some fast lenses, and the AF100's numerous advantages should outweigh the slightly smaller sensor than the APS-C chip found in most DSLRs. From the shooters:

We are talking about a shallow depth of field, reminiscent of 35mm movie making and beloved by cinematographers. But the Panasonic AG-AF100 is a camera body that you can pick up with a couple of fingers and boasts a ticket price of only NZ$7,000 (say US$5,250). ((The AF100 is available for preorder at B&H for $4,795.)) It is due for release by the end of 2010. Unlike the DSLRs it aims to displace, this camera is not compromised by trying to be a good stills camera.

Check out their blog post for more details, where they also note the camera's lack of aliasing and rolling shutter problems. Also be sure to see the related posts at the bottom of this page for more on the AF100.

So, what do you think? It's only a short, ungraded, downrez'd clip, but the pro audio options, the lack of aliasing, selectable gamma curves, and better ergonomics should combine to make it a strong candidate for independent filmmaking (especially in light of the RED SCARLET likely vacating this price point). I love my 5D, but it will sure be nice to have some real video camera features (like those listed below).

Link: AF100 Storm Gathers

[via DV Culture]

Panasonic AF100 Features

4/3"-type Image Sensor with Digital Still Camera Technology
The same digital single lens still camera technology that's gathering widespread attention for its innovative techniques has been applied to this camcorder. The 4/3"-type MOS image sensor, with an imaging area similar to that of 35mm movies, lets you easily shoot film-like movies with the shallow depth of field and soft focus of a film camera lens.

Micro 4/3 Lens Mount
A wide variety of lenses for Micro Four Thirds standard digital SLR cameras can be used for shooting movies. With the mount adapter, it's also possible to mount 35mm film camera lenses and prime lenses, for rendering images that maximize lens characteristics.

Extended Recording in AVCHD High-Quality PH Mode
The AVCHD recording format used by the AG-AF100 includes a professional PH mode with maximum AVCHD bit rate for stunning image quality. Two SD card slots allow continuous recording for up to 12 hours in PH mode and up to 48 hours in HE mode (using two 64GB cards).

Multi HD Format & New VFR Recording Function
Recording can be made in multiple HD formats: 1080 60i/50i/30p/25p/24p; 720 60p/50p/30p/25p/24p. The new VFR (Variable Frame Rate) recording function in full HD (1920 x 1080) progressive mode is also supported. Playback in 24p gives a cinematic effect driven by 1/2.5 speed slow motion or double-speed quick motion. DRS, Gamma and numerous other video expression functions available on previous Panasonic professional camera recorders remain in place.

A Professional Design with HD-SDI, XLR & Other Interfaces
The AG-AF100 features HD-SDI and HDMI output, XLR 2-channel audio input and other interfaces that are typically found on professional camcorders. Timecode recording also supports precise video production.

Design Based on Professional Camcorders
The professional camcorder design with grip, handle, large-sized high quality viewfinder (0.45" / 1.226 million dot equivalent [852 x 480 x 3 (RGB)]) on a lightweight, compact body, along with a high-definition 16:9 color LCD panel (3.45" / 921,000 dot (1920 x 480)), supports smooth camera operation. The handle and grip are detachable for diverse peripherals and applications.

Additional Features

  • Internal ND filter: 1/4, 1/16, 1/64 or Off (rotary switch).
  • Focus-assist function: edge coloration, focus bar display.
  • DRS (Dynamic Range Stretch): automatically reduces compression of black or blown highlights in high contrast scenes.
  • Thumbnail viewing, clip deletion and SD card to SD card copying and metadata recording functions.
  • Pre-rec and Interval rec functions.
  • Relay recording: Relay recording from one SD card to another without interrupt.
  • WFM display function: the wave form of the video being recorded is easily displayed on an LCD monitor.
  • Shot mark function: the useful shot mark function allows marking of clips as good, bad or others.
  • User buttons: three user buttons allow high-frequency functions to be performed with a single push.
  • Audio volume: allows manual adjustment of audio inputs (2 ch).