The Panasonic AF100 and the Truth About 'Sensor Flare'
A thread popped up recently on DVXuser that claimed the Panasonic AF100 had a serious design flaw. The sensor would exhibit unacceptable flare when a bright light was pointed into the lens, the post claimed. I can't like to the thread, as it's since been deleted -- because Panasonic is trying to keep a problem under wraps? Not at all. It was deleted because, in the words of moderator/author Barry Green, it was simply FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt). So what's the deal with the sensor flare on the AF100 -- and on other cameras as well?
Here's the kind of flare that was, in some minds, cause for concern:
Click through on the link below to see the Panasonic GH2 video, which exhibits the same issues. So is it just a Panasonic issue? Well, take a look at the Sony F3 video I shared previously -- there at 0:45 is the same flare:
Video is no longer available: vimeo.com/20576871
Even this new low-light RED EPIC footage exhibits flare (around 30 seconds in):
So, as you can guess -- or as you probably already knew -- all cameras exhibit reflected flare when you point a bright light into the lens. Even film cameras. So why the new cause for concern? One guess: our cameras are getting so sensitive that folks are getting used to being able to shoot in any situation, without setting up lights. It used to be that when you needed lots of lights to get a properly exposed image, you were not going to have the problem of a single source of light shining directly into the camera (and outshining the rest of the scene). Now that we expect our cameras to capture light in any situation, we're spoiled to the point of complaining about flare that's always been there. I will say this: I've discovered on more than one occasion that my UV filter -- even a top-quality filter like those from B+W or Hoya -- was adding to the internal reflections. So next time you have a complaint about flares like those seen above, I recommend trying the same shot without your UV filter -- or, you know, moving the light.