Friday, October 22, 2010

Hey folks,

I' ve found some vidz from the new AF100;

Update: oh Panasonic just pulled there demo video. Oh well, I can understand why.

and of course a vid from Philip Bloom, who would never miss out an opportunity to put himself to show (is he already selling bed linen with his face on it?) ;-)

I also found an article from the folks, where they compared the internal codec with a 100mbit/8 bit AVC-Intra recording via SDI-out.

If you really need to own your own guerrilla gear, here are my thoughts:

Lets compare the Af100 with the 5dmk2;
5d is half the price, the sensor has twice the size of a 4/3, it is apparently superior in low light situations, you get it better throw air port security, and it allows you to shoot discreetly. (oh... and you get a great still camera with it)

The Af100 on the other hand (from what I've heard), has no moiré or rolling shutter problems. It has build in ND's, Zebra, vector-scope and waveform, XLR audio inputs, and it has HD-SDI output. Wonderful!

Panasonic gave us, what I wanted 3 years ago, with some regressions. Come on! The HVX200 at it's time had already DVCproHD @100mbit/sec with 4:2:2 color sampling. This is a much superior codec than this AVCHD crap!

You can get all this bells and whistles that comes with the AF100 for your 5dmk2; You can get a superior EVF from Redrock for about 500 bucks, you can have a superior sound recorder for about 300 bucks (a Zoom for instance), a vary-ND gives you even more freedom then the build in ND's of the Af100. You might end up at the same price point of a Af100, put you will be much more flexible. If you would ever upgrade to a new cam, you would still be able to use all those accessories, and if you don't need it, you will travel cheaper and lite.

The footage we saw on vimeo did not impressed me at all. I still find the skin tones much superior on the 5dmk2. Also the 100bit test record via HD-SDI seams not a huge improvement.

Buttom line is: Handling is one thing, but what it comes down to is the image quality. If I can have superior images on a camera half the price, well then that is what I'll go for.
If I need a better codec, I will wait for the 5dmk3 (it really seams, we'll finally get raw HDMI output on that one) and I would buy myself a Atomos Ninja recorder and I will end up with a great cam, with a good back-up cam about the same price of one AF100.

But let's face it, whoever needs top of the line camera-gear for best handling and image quality, should not buy. He should rent the right tool for the right project. For example, if pure image quality is your goal, you might just want to go with the new Alexa (a real camera) and a nice set of digi-primes! (I like!)

just my thoughts...


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pernzer said...

Hi Oli,

I find your statements regarding the AG-AF100 cam quite harsh. Sure the codec is less than optimal but so are the HDSLR codecs (which - as you say - have serious moiré and rolling shutter problems in some shooting scenarios. But knowing that you can avoid them). The new Pana does offer an 8-bit 4:2:2 HD-SDI output, which should hold up quite well in color-grading. I think the easy handling of the AG-AF100 combined with a - for a videocam - really high light sensitivity and changeable lenses certainly makes it a very interesting indie cam for very low budget movies.

Comparing the AG-AF100 with an Alexa or even a RED ain't fair. They are just not playing in the same league.

I'm sure the follow-up models from Panasonic or the new models from its competitors will offer better codecs and I'm just really excited about the speed of the latest developments. Give it 2 or 3 more years and we'll finally have the close-to perfect indie cam.

And let's not forget that you look at a cam as a DP :-), but people just want to see interesting movies and don't care THAT much about the cams used as longs as they feel entertained (c.f. Paranormal Activity, which BTW I still haven't seen).

Bottom line to me : Things are moving in the right direction and that sure puts a big smile on my face, because truly independent filmmaking has never been more accessible. I hope more people will just grab ANY cam and surprise us with original movies.

Petz (Camera Obskura)

oli said...

Hey Petz,
many huge productions have already been shot with 5dmk2/1dmk4/7d. I think whats good for them should be good enough for a guerillia film makers. And hey, it is cheaper, smaller and makes better pictures ;-)

I agree on your bottom line; Filmmaking has never been so accessible. All though this also means, as I already said; Nowadays where even tourists own similar (or the very same camera) as big budget movie productions, talent will matter more then ever.

pernzer said...

Couldn't agree more! Talent (in ALL the aspects of film-making and storytelling) will make all the difference now that basically anybody can shoot and edit a movie. We certainly will see a lot of crap coming to all kind of screens but we'll also see the rise of young talents and truly beautiful movies.

Sometimes I'm just afraid that nobody will have enough time anymore to see all the great indie movies that will come our way, because shooting a great movie is one thing, getting it to be seen by a large public is a different thing altogether...