February 17, 2015 at 9:32PM

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First video camera: AF100 vs. FDR AX-1 vs. ?

Hi all,

I have spent the past few years shooting stills on a Nikon D90 and Canon 5D Mark II and am looking to graduate to a proper video camera in order to shoot a few short projects I have in mind. I need advice on a proper entry-level professional video camera. Ideally, the camera + kit would not surpass 4-4.5K however I'm looking for something that I can age into. There's no question that I'll endure a learning curve at first, but looking more for longevity as I'm a quick learner.

Numerous online sources indicate that Panasonic is coming out with a 4k version of the AF100/100A at NAB in April which leads me to believe that used/refurbished versions of the AF100 may drop even further in price when this happens. I know this camera is already hitting 4+ years in age but it seems like a good deal for the money given that you can snag one for about 2K refurbished (already have some lenses I can use with a converter). Thoughts?

The FDR AX-1 is mostly something I fancy b/c of all of this talk of 4k. To be honest, I think narrative is more important than pixels...however I'm worried the AF100 will soon become redundant. Online forums have been calling it "old" since 2013.

Anyhow, a bit of a ramble. But any other suggestions or thoughts surrounding cameras in the 2-4k range would be much appreciated.

Finally, any thoughts on video cameras with removable vs. fixed lenses?

2 Comments

The AF-100 has only 9 F-stops of dynamic range, so you have to be very careful how you light and expose your shots. It's also a "soft" 1080 HD camera, which is great if this is the look you want, but it's very different compared to the newer GH4 camera.

February 18, 2015 at 5:06AM

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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
33059

Hi Edward,

I'm an AF100 and hacked GH2 owner, and I have used the GH4.
I bought the AF100 when the Canon 5D hit its stride in the market. The 5D image is gorgeous but the camera presents issues with short clips and audio control, which led me to the AF100. A lot of filmmakers trash-talk the AF100, but the camera is fantastic in its portability and professional appearance, especially on corporate video shoots. The camera has also served me well on film projects.
I use Contax Zeiss Primes with the Speedbooster and love the image. By shooting flat, I can get more dynamic range from the camera. Being a beginner, it would be beneficial to get into video with a durable camera that is versatile, where a few cheap cards and batteries can get you through a shoot. Getting the best out of the camera depends on how you use light, what lenses you use, etc. And with great things coming out, getting the camera cheaply is definitely possible.

Here's a piece filmed entireIy with the AF100:

"WMD Wireless"
http://vijayendran.com/portfolio/wmd-wireless/

I'm free to answer questions if you have any: vj1277@gmail.com

Best,

Sathya

February 19, 2015 at 5:06AM

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Sathya Vijayendran
Writer/Director/Editor
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