FORUMS: list search recent posts

How does the AF-100 perform in low-light with a slow lens?

COW Forums : Panasonic Cameras

<< PREVIOUS   •   VIEW ALL   •   PRINT   •   NEXT >>
Bill Church
How does the AF-100 perform in low-light with a slow lens?
on Jun 4, 2013 at 1:18:04 pm

I'm looking to buy a new camera for my place of work. It's looking like I'll be able to push for a $5000 budget. For the sake of keeping things simple, let's assume for now that $5000 is for camera and glass only, and not take any other accessories into account. What I shoot is primarily short format promo videos (lot of interviews and b-roll) and long format conferences (basically a single shot, talking head in front of a powerpoint). A lot of what I shoot I don't have control of the lighting unfortunately, and many of the environments I shoot in aren't terribly well-lit.

I've been looking pretty heavily at the Canon XF300 and the Panny AF100A. The XF300 looks to be a great camera, but it's a 1/3" sensor. Even at it's widest aperture (f/1.8) I question how well it's going to perform in low light. The Panny I already know performs beautifully in low-light when paired with the right lens. Unfortunately I don't have the budget for a set of fast lenses. What it seems I can afford that will fit my needs are the camera body, and the Panasonic 14-45mm (f/3.5-f5.6) and 45-200mm (f/4-f5.6) micro 4/3 lenses. Since I'm obviously not going to be operating those at their shortest focal lengths most of the time I can pretty well assume the widest aperture I'm going to get most of the time is close to f/5.6.

How well is the Panny going to perform with a lens that slow? I love the idea of a camera with a large sensor for low-light shoots and to really be able to crush my DoF, but without a fast lens I question if I'll actually see those benefits over a camera with a small image sensor and a fast lens.


Return to posts index

Matthew Sonnenfeld
Re: How does the AF-100 perform in low-light with a slow lens?
on Jun 4, 2013 at 3:57:41 pm

In short, it will perform pretty poorly.

That's not to say that you can't get good performing glass and the AF100A anyway. You just need to look to used glass and an adapter. Take a look at some old Canon FD lenses. Easily available, cheap, easy adapter to get. You can also look at some old Nikon F glass. These will be more expensive than Canon as they still work on current Nikon Cameras and Canon FD do not work on current Canon cameras, but that means they will be a better long term investment. You can also look for used Pentax, Zeiss, Leica, Olympus, and Minolta, and just get the correct lens adapters.

Realistically though, you may be better off with a Canon XF300 or a Panasonic AC160. These cameras will give you greater options more of the time and if you want DOF you can always move back and zoom in. It's a pretty handy ENG trick and it works just fine typically. From a practical standpoint, I think you will be happier in the long run if this is the type of material they will be used for.

Blackmagic Cinema Camera, RED Scarlet-X, Panasonic HPX170, Canon 7D
2011 Macbook Pro 17", 2.3 Ghz Quad Core, 16GB RAM
AJA IoXT
Adobe Production Premium CS6, Avid Symphony 6, Final Cut Pro Studio 3
The College of William and Mary


Return to posts index

Bill Bruner
Re: How does the AF-100 perform in low-light with a slow lens?
on Jun 5, 2013 at 1:55:57 pm

Hi Bill - For best results in low light I would stay away from trying to hold focus in low light with manual lenses - and dialing up the gain with slow Panasonic system lenses will lead to low quality results.

For $5000, you can afford a B stock AF100A for $2995 with a 90 day Panasonic Warranty from Texas Media ..., a $199 Sigma 19mm f2.8, a $199 Sigma 30mm f2.8, and a $1200 Panasonic 35-100mm f2.8 lens.

But the low light, large sensor king below $5000 would be the $3999 Sony NEX-FS100 with relatively inexpensive Sony 35mm and 50mm f1.8 NEX system lenses.

The FS100 wins every low light shootout with the AF100 I have ever seen - as in Phil Bloom's Christmas Shootout Part 2 in 2011:



Hope this is helpful and good luck with your interviews!

Bill
Hybrid Camera Revolution


Return to posts index


Allan Klingler
Re: How does the AF-100 perform in low-light with a slow lens?
on Jun 6, 2013 at 12:10:05 am

My perceptions so far, is through the menus you can control the brightness levels. The gain levels result in more noise, the more you brighten the scene, the more noticeable the gain is. I would be curious how it looks with the Panasonic recommended lenses. I use an adaptimax lens adapter with canon ef lenses. You won' t get the control like as in an ENG style lens, but for setup shots they are ok. I have struggled a little bit in the field to have the settings nailed since you can't effectively verify white balance and overexposure since the view finder is hard to see in the field outdoors. With the shallow depth of field you really have to make a huge effort to really nail the focus. I would love a good macro lens and very low number variable zoom lens. My 18-55 tends to shoot more telephoto than I am liking for indoor setups.

At least with my setup the fast lens or features like image stabilization, are not applicable, since the adapter does not take advantage of the electrical interface on the lens to the camera.

---------
Professional videography since 1996
http://www.tetonvideo.com


Return to posts index

Matthew Sonnenfeld
Re: How does the AF-100 perform in low-light with a slow lens?
on Jun 6, 2013 at 3:30:30 pm

FS100 is a good option for low light but I find it personally to be impractical ergonomically and generally quirky. Of course it all boils down to what your needs are. For an interview situation, holding focus with manual lenses is not an issue as it is relatively locked off. Unless you are using AF lenses, of which there are few for an interchangeable lens camera, this issue is common across the board. The only option is a more ENG specific camera with useable AF.

Blackmagic Cinema Camera, RED Scarlet-X, Panasonic HPX170, Canon 7D
2011 Macbook Pro 17", 2.3 Ghz Quad Core, 16GB RAM
AJA IoXT
Adobe Production Premium CS6, Avid Symphony 6, Final Cut Pro Studio 3
The College of William and Mary


Return to posts index

Gary Huff
Re: How does the AF-100 perform in low-light with a slow lens?
on Jun 7, 2013 at 1:10:42 pm

[Bill Church] "For the sake of keeping things simple, let's assume for now that $5000 is for camera and glass only, and not take any other accessories into account. What I shoot is primarily short format promo videos (lot of interviews and b-roll) and long format conferences (basically a single shot, talking head in front of a powerpoint). A lot of what I shoot I don't have control of the lighting unfortunately, and many of the environments I shoot in aren't terribly well-lit."

If you can't light, you're not going to get ideal results, no matter what camera you use. From your overall description, I think the XF300 is the better choice. Even the XF100 might work for your needs if you want to save some cash and the reduced feature set isn't super important for your needs.


Return to posts index


Matthew Sonnenfeld
Re: How does the AF-100 perform in low-light with a slow lens?
on Jun 7, 2013 at 4:19:05 pm

I second Gary.

Blackmagic Cinema Camera, RED Scarlet-X, Panasonic HPX170, Canon 7D
2011 Macbook Pro 17", 2.3 Ghz Quad Core, 16GB RAM
AJA IoXT
Adobe Production Premium CS6, Avid Symphony 6, Final Cut Pro Studio 3
The College of William and Mary


Return to posts index

Bill Church
Re: How does the AF-100 perform in low-light with a slow lens?
on Jun 10, 2013 at 1:48:30 pm

I'm aware results aren't going to be ideal. I'm shooting for usable in those situations, not good. If I had my way I'd have a lighting grid set up in the auditorium with everything lit just as I want it. As it stands, I just wanna be able to see the speaker without gaining up to +12db. I appreciate your advice as well as everyone's else's though. I ended up recommending the XF300 to the higher ups after reexamining what I'll be shooting and realizing an ENG style camcorder with a long telephoto is going to make my shoots considerably easier. I'd much prefer to work with 50Mbps MPEG-2 in post as well.


Return to posts index

Dave Haynie
Re: How does the AF-100 perform in low-light with a slow lens?
on Jul 1, 2013 at 6:22:59 pm

You're buying several f-stops, going from a 1/3" camcorder to a 4/3" camcorder... it's a shame to wasted that with an f/5.6 lens.

Fortunately, that's not necessary. If you need zoom, start with the Panasonic 35-100 f2.8. If you need more light or other focal lengths, maybe some primes will help you out. The Olympus Zuiko 45mm f/1.8 is really nice, and kind of a bargain. Olympus also has a 12mm f/2.0 and a 75mm f/1.8, a 14-35mm f/2.0 zoom. Olympus also has some standard four-thirds lenses (fully functional via adapter), including a 150mm f/2.0 and a 90-250mm f2.8. There's also a Leica 25mm f/1.4, Bower 24mm and 35mm f/1.4, the Voightlander Nokton 17.5mm and 25mm f/0.95 (manual focus), etc.

In short, you're going to find more options in micro four-thirds than anything sort of a Canon EOS mount camcorder (Canon C series, Blackmagic, etc). Now, if your task is serious low-light sensitive, you might also think about HDSLRs... you're not going to find much on the planet for video better at low light than an EOS 5D mk III or 6D, and there are fast lenses in every focal length. But you'll need more money, and certainly, not every video task is suitable to DSLR video workflow.

-Dave


Return to posts index

<< PREVIOUS   •   VIEW ALL   •   PRINT   •   NEXT >>
© 2018 CreativeCOW.net All Rights Reserved
[TOP]