April 30, 2015 at 9:21PM

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Sony FS100... or something else?

I have a line on a used Sony FS100 with 2 lenses and a handheld rig for around $2,600. I've been looking at getting into the FS100 form-factor due to some of things I would like to shoot, mostly action sports and on the fly documentary type stuff. I was looking at the A7s but read about the rolling shutter issues and experience rolling shutter with my 60D.

So the question is, FS100 or should I be looking at something else?

9 Comments

I've used the FS-100 for a while and it's an incredible camera. Depending on the lenses bundled it might be a good deal. BandH has a new FS-100 for $2,500 with a $400 MB EF to E-Mount adapter.

I can't see you going wrong with the FS. The a7S is amazing but the form factor could give you real problems. You'd only want to go with that if you're willing to put significantly more time and money into building a rig and understanding the S Log 2 color gamut.

My two cents. Cheers!

April 30, 2015 at 11:33PM

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Thanks for the feedback. The bundle comes with:

Sony 18-200mm lens
Sony 16-50mm lens
Shotgun mic
15mm Rails plus Riser
Metabones EF to E Mount adapter
Lens filters(ND and UV) for both lenses.
Charger and battery

May 1, 2015 at 9:50AM

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Kyle Tam
200

Seems like a pretty good deal. I had the fs100 for 6-7 months or so, great camera. Lasts a long time, batteries are great, good image, good slowmo. Sony lenses aren't the best look on it but still produce a fine image. Some of them have a weird focus issue, too.
However I will say, I ended up returning it and going with a blackmagic pocket camera, rigged out of course. For about the same price I now have a rig that can be used as run-and-gun as I want it to be, lasts for about 10 hours or more (left my camera on with two Sony batteries powering it and it stayed on for 16 hours, with recording some stuff in the middle, too). Also got a tascam 70d for pro audio.
Main thing is the image. FS100 has a wonderful image, no doubt. But when you use other cameras you can start to see where the FS100 colors and image fall apart a bit, with dynamic range, too.
I would try to get one for under 2,000. Great camera but I'm not sure if it's worth as much as people think anymore.

Ben Meredith

May 1, 2015 at 6:49PM

The FS100 is a perfectly awesome camera. Kinda glad people have given it a bad name, now they are so cheap it is ridiculous.

I have filmed and edited footage from every major camera system in the market, and the image is great if you expose correctly.

Sure the dynamic range is not like an Alexa, but definitely better than most DSLR's. If you setup the picture profiles correctly (I use the Abel cine presets) you will have a great image right out of the box. Have the shutter speed correctly set to 180 degrees for 24fps is also essential to get a filmic look. I think most of the problems people had with this cameras image, is because they did not have it setup correctly.

Great slow motion, as good as much more expensive cameras. The biggest selling point for me is the sensor. Sony put the same sensor in the FS100 (not the 700) that they put in their f3. The F3 was designed to be as close to 35mm film as possible, and even had grain at high ISO to match film. That camera was 20K when it came out four years ago and that sensor is still one of the most filmic.

But please, keep saying the image is terrible. I'm hoping to pick another one up for about $1k soon.

May 2, 2015 at 9:10AM

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I'm amazed they're as cheap as they are. We just used one to film a pilot and I'm very happy with the look. We shot some B stuff with a GH3 (a highly appreciated indie cam) and while the GH3 footage looks great, when you put it next to the fs100 it just lacks something. Can't really explain what it is, but the FS100 footage just looks like a movie, while the dslr stuff doesn't.

You can look at the trailer and judge for yourself.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nHylqGomW0g

May 2, 2015 at 5:05PM

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Jay Cee
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Looks nice ! I have work a lot with the FS100 and I really hate the ergonomics and the low bitrate, I even rather work with a DSLR. There is two good point with it : it's the stabilisation that is crazy good with the stabilised sony lenses and I agree for the look that is also really nice. If you don't want to push too hard the color grading in post, and if you don't mind the sony wierd menus and ergonomics, it's a solid choice.

AvdS

May 3, 2015 at 4:59PM

I have used the FS100 for over a year, Checklist:
Resolution- Check (looks almost better than my GH4's resolution in 4K!)
Dynamic Range- Check (plenty for natural use)
Low Light- Check (Great up to ISO 3200, much better than anything else I have used, worlds better than 5D mkiii)
Color- Amazing (This camera peforms best in color and dynamic range if you use the Picture profile in the link below)
https://frankglencairn.wordpress.com/free-picture-profiles-for-the-sony-...
Audio- Check (The preamps are much better in the FS100 than in my Tascam DR-40)
Ergonomics- Terrible (You can tell this camera was designed by engineers who had never filmed before...)
The codec is impressive, the slow motion great, and the price right now is awesome.

This is NOT a run and gun camera. If you are planning on being a one or two man documentary shooter, get the C100 (the C100 has ND filters built in as well). If you are fine with using a tripod or monopod most of the time, the FS100 is a more affordable, higher-quality option.

May 4, 2015 at 12:45PM

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Ben Hilton
DP, Editor
71

Do you say this isn't a run-n-gun camera because of the wonky control layout? Is that your position even with a rig?

Kyle Tam

May 5, 2015 at 4:09PM

Just my two cents here, but going off of specs. The AF100 from Panasonic might be a good item to look into. It is a bit different than the FS100 in:
Micro 4/3 mount (crop can be an issue, but is a versatile mount)
3200 Max ISO
Built in ND filter wheel
Viewfinder and screen
Highlight Roll-Off can be an issue (from the tests i have seen not my experience)

There are more differences than what I have listed. I myself am looking into an AF100 because of price mainly (around $1,200-$1,400 on Ebay). The AF100 seems like more of a run-n-gun camera as well but you will suffer on the low light aspect in comparison to the FS100. Just my thoughts and an idea if you want another option.

May 5, 2015 at 2:33PM

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Kyle Acker
Cinematographer/ Video Editor
490

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