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Best Run and Gun Doc Camera

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Chris Cutri
Best Run and Gun Doc Camera
on Jul 13, 2012 at 6:31:24 pm

Am looking for a new camera for run and gun style documentary. I have been able to get my hands on a Sony FS100-beautiful images, but hard to pull focus and hand hold, etc.

Is there any news of a Panasonic HPX 170 style camera that may eventually come out, but with a super 35 or AF100 type sensor?

What are your recommendations for best run and gun style camera out right now? HPX 170? Something else? How do you think the AF100 would hold up for this type of filmmaking?

Thank you in advance


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Noah Kadner
Re: Best Run and Gun Doc Camera
on Jul 15, 2012 at 12:00:18 am

That's a bit of a catch-22. If you by run and gun you mean easy to fudge critical focus- no S35 sensor camera is ever going to work for you. That or you need to really practice with your manual focusing. So it kind of depends what you really mean when you say run and gun. In my mind that means small sensor cameras where the depth of field is massively forgiving. Of course the flipside is you don't get that more cinematic looking shallow DOF look you may want...

Noah

Call Box Training.
Featuring the Panasonic GH2 and Panasonic AC160/130.


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Chris Cutri
Re: Best Run and Gun Doc Camera
on Jul 15, 2012 at 2:02:12 am

Yes, I know I'm asking a lot to have small servo zoom style camera with a cinematic look, but just wondering if anyone has heard of anything coming down the pipeline


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Bill Bruner
Re: Best Run and Gun Doc Camera
on Jul 15, 2012 at 10:53:25 am

Chris - it can be done. You can put 2/3" B4 lenses on the $3600 AF100, and with a power supply, you can use the servo zoom. Take a look at this video from Abel Cine:

I love the guys at Abel - but their approach was pretty expensive ($750 Hot Rod PL adapter plus a $5500 2/3 to PL adapter).

There's a better way. I would use a relatively inexpensive $300 B4 to m4/3 adapter, a $55 power supply and a $60 cable to power the zoom. If you already have Anton Bauer batts, you can skip the power supply and get this cable instead.

Darren, over at AF100 User Central, chose the less expensive option:

http://af100central.com/?p=226

And here is a field report with ungraded SOOC sample video:

http://af100central.com/?p=240

You won't have camera-controlled autofocus with this approach. If you absolutely need autofocus, Panasonic does make a couple of autofocusing power zooms for the AF (a 14-42 and a 45-175), but they have consumer-style controls and are relatively slow at f3.5 and f4.0, respectively.

Hope this is helpful,

Bill
Hybrid Camera Revolution


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Noah Kadner
Re: Best Run and Gun Doc Camera
on Jul 16, 2012 at 2:19:15 am

Yeah the AF100 M43 lenses can be set to autofocus or fit up with power focus gear heads. But personally I think that if you want that look you alway want to get a really high end viewfinder and get really good at critical focus. It's not that tricky ultimately to nail it every time- just takes a lot of practice, really nice gears for your really nice lens and a great electronic viewfinder with high resolution. Maybe:

http://www.xdcam-user.com/2012/06/alphatron-evf-035w-video-review/

Noah

Call Box Training.
Featuring the Panasonic GH2 and Panasonic AC160/130.


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Chris Cutri
Re: Best Run and Gun Doc Camera
on Jul 17, 2012 at 3:38:11 pm

Thank you for the info


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Erik Naso
Re: Best Run and Gun Doc Camera
on Aug 18, 2012 at 5:08:05 pm

The new Lumix G X 12-35 f2.8 is a great lens for handheld close proximity shooting. The range is equivalent to 24-70 on a 35mm camera. A very popular lens for Nikon and Canon. It also has OIS and is parfocal. I have this lens and love it. It’s expensive but is the best built native Lumix lens Panasonic has made to date. I shot a few promos with it and I’m very pleased with the results.



The Breaking News spot wasn't shot with the 12-35. I used the Lumix Pancake 20mm.I Didn’t get the lens in time for the shoot.

The Weather and Morning News spots was with the Lumix 12-35 except the shots of Jodi. The lens came while I was shooting here. Dang it!

I’m really pleased with the lens so far and can see this one being a real asset to AF-100 and GH2 users.

Blog http://www.eriknaso.com
My Vimeo Page http://vimeo.com/user626030
Follow me on Twitter @ErikNaso


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Steve Suderman
Re: Best Run and Gun Doc Camera
on Jul 19, 2014 at 4:03:09 pm

This is a bit of an older topic, but I think the discussion around finding a good lens for one-person run and gun doc shooting is still on-going. So I have to dampen Erik's glowing endorsement of the Lumix 12-35. Yes, it's great because it's fairly fast, and stabilized. But it's not really parfocal, and it's not great if you want to include zooms in the final edit. I've seen many people suggest that this lens is the answer, but it's only because it fits their style of shooting -- namely they don't use zooms. I read many of these types of endorsements, and was then very disappointed when I actually got the lens.

Two issues on zooms with this lens: you can see small iris steps as you zoom in and out. It maintains your f-stop, but it's doing some sort of internal adjustment to achieve that. My guess is that it's an f2.8 at the long end, and is then stopping-down as you move to the wide end. Video of that effect here:
https://vimeo.com/85633225

The other problem is that when you zoom in and out, there are small shifts in focus. ie, it will flutter in and out of focus very quickly. I think it's some sort of electronic parfocal - which means there is an internal chip that attempts to keep focus as you zoom. This has nothing to do with auto focus. I never shoot with auto focus. This effect appears in manual focus as well as auto. So again, not great if you plan on keeping zooms in your work, which I do. Below is a link to an example of this as well. I'm not using the 12-35 in this example, but rather the Lumix 14-140, which is a lower quality lens. But the 12-35 still has this problem, though much less. With slow zooms, you can mostly avoid this problem on the 12-35, but it will still crop up from time to time.


I do like the speed and build quality of the 12-35, but I will never love this lens because of these problems. I wish there was a good solution in terms of a lens with a good zoom range (10x), OIS, without these problems for M4/3 that wasn't priced out of this world. Until then, workarounds seem to be the only option.


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