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NEX-FS100 White Balance, timecode, and lens questions

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Don Hertz
NEX-FS100 White Balance, timecode, and lens questions
on Jul 1, 2011 at 8:14:54 pm

I've now spent two days playing around with new NEX-FS100 cameras and have a few questions I was hoping for some help with.

Is it possible, after you set a manual white balance, to display what the white balance number is? When I set the white balance manually the number flashes on the screen for about half a second and then its gone - replaced by an "A" or "B" designating which white balance setting I'm using. I haven't been able to figure out how to display that number in the case that a second camera operator asks me what white balance I'm set on.

Our EX1 is set so that the timecode numbers in the upper right hand corner of the LCD display show the run time of the current clip. Every time I stop recording and start again it resets to zero and starts back over. How do I make that selection on the NEX-FS100? I've tried various settings in the timecode menu but must be missing something (or the feature isn't there).

Third - although we've ordered adapters for our still Nikon and Canon lenses, they haven't arrived yet so I've been using the Sony 18-200mm zoom lens that comes with the camera kit. Has anyone else tried out this lens? Compared to the EX1 my images seem soft and low-light performance on the camera is pretty disappointing - even at 30db gain. In my opinion 30db gain looks like about 6db gain on my EX1. I'm guessing this is all the lens though and nothing to do with the camera. Just wondering if anyone else has tried out this lens and seen equally disappointing results or if I have a couple of bad lenses?

Don Hertz
AC Media


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Gabe Strong
Re: NEX-FS100 White Balance, timecode, and lens questions
on Jul 3, 2011 at 6:36:10 am

Hmmm....well I have the FS-100 so let me try a couple of these.
First, I don't know for sure about the white balance thing, other than
to say, go into the menu, WB Preset/Manual WB temperature. You can
actually adjust the white balance, and it will show you the number as you adjust it, as well as the video updating live on the LCD. So if
you are outside, you can manually adjust that number, and see the
effect, changing the number from 3600 - to 6500K has on the image.
It changes in 100 steps....so from 3600 to 3700 to 3800 and so on.
Going to this menu will also display the current color temperature
the white balance is set at.

As for the timecode thing, mine came preset from the factory to behave as you WANT yours to behave, so I haven't messed around with that at all.

Thirdly, I have the kit lens. It does NOT look soft at all, wide shots
look VERY nice and lots of resolution. However, I don't think it has
quite as much resolution as the EX-1 does. It is also amazing in
low light, much better than the EX-1. Did you have some setting
on automatic, where the camera was adjusting the shutter speed or
iris even though you were gained up?

Gabe Strong
G-Force Productions
http://www.gforcevideo.com


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Don Hertz
Re: NEX-FS100 White Balance, timecode, and lens questions
on Jul 3, 2011 at 7:57:49 pm

Hi Gabe, thanks for the feedback. I DO love the fact that I can so easily dial in a manual white balance setting on the camera compared to the EX1. I just wish it displayed the number after a custom white balance was set.

None of my testing was by any means scientific - however I was definitely not running the camera on automatic during our testing. I had it on full manual and was filming in studio. The lighting set up and talent was exactly the same as an EX1 shoot we had done a few days before. I placed the EX1 and FS100 shots side by side (split screen) in Final Cut Pro (converted to ProRes 422) and had a few people around the office view them on a broadcast monitor. Everyone picked the EX1 shot as the better of the two without realizing which was which. That being said - I've seen plenty of astounding demo footage from the camera so I'm sure there are some settings adjustments I need to make on the FS100 that after a day of use I just hadn't mastered yet. I'll continue playing around with it. I also see that Andy Shipsides at Abel Cine has posted a nice video on setting up the camera that I plan on going through.

I'm looking forward to getting some other lenses on the camera to see the difference!

Thanks again for the input - I look forward to reading your overview at Ken Stones site tomorrow.

Don Hertz
AC Media


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Gabe Strong
Re: NEX-FS100 White Balance, timecode, and lens questions
on Jul 4, 2011 at 1:47:17 am

Just for your info....

I figured it out. If you hit the button with two little sideways
triangles and a white dot over them (it's called the white balance
'one push' button in the manual) you can use the scroll wheel to adjust
the color temperature WITHOUT digging into the menus.....in 100K steps.
What this means, is that if you hit that button, it automatically
displays the color temperature on the screen in preparation for you
to change it. So there's your answer, press that button and it
will display the color temperature on screen.....one button push to
get the reading you want....pretty cool.

Gabe Strong
G-Force Productions
http://www.gforcevideo.com


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Don Hertz
Re: NEX-FS100 White Balance, timecode, and lens questions
on Jul 4, 2011 at 3:16:02 pm

Thanks Gabe. Both of my FS100's are currently in Florida on a shoot but I'll try it out next week when they are back in the shop.

Don Hertz
AC Media


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john lenihan
Re: NEX-FS100 White Balance, timecode, and lens questions
on Jul 3, 2011 at 12:36:35 pm

Hi Don,

I am considering an NEX-FS100 very soon and am interested in this and any other feedback that you have on it.

It looks awkward to use in the photos, how is it to hold or use in real life?

John Lenihan

John Lenihan

LeniCam Video Productions
http://www.lenicam.com


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Gabe Strong
Re: NEX-FS100 White Balance, timecode, and lens questions
on Jul 3, 2011 at 7:20:00 pm

I have a review of this camera that will be on Ken Stone's website
tomorrow night. Look for it at http://www.kenstone.net for my early impressions
on this new camera.

Gabe Strong
G-Force Productions
http://www.gforcevideo.com


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john lenihan
Re: NEX-FS100 White Balance, timecode, and lens questions
on Jul 4, 2011 at 3:17:56 pm

Wow,

What a nice write up. Thank you very much.

So the ND filters are not built in.

Instead of a matte box, is it possible to screw on an ND filter onto the front of the lens?

Thanks
John

John Lenihan

LeniCam Video Productions
http://www.lenicamvideoproductions.com


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Gabe Strong
Re: NEX-FS100 White Balance, timecode, and lens questions
on Jul 5, 2011 at 3:40:40 am

John,

Yes, you NEED ND filters. I bought a variable ND filter
from Heliopan here:

http://hedlerusa.com/viewitem.php?productid=340

They go out of stock QUICK as they are a VERY high quality
variable ND filter. I found out about them from reading
Philip Bloom's blog and tried to order one. B&H and everyone
were out of stock and estimated time to get one on backorder
was 6-10 weeks. I just kept checking everywhere, until I found
them back in stock, and instantly ordered one. It is almost
a must have for the FS-100 in my opinion. BUT, you must
know what size lenses you have or might want to buy. I bought
the 77mm Heliopan, because it is the biggest one I could find
that they offered, and I can use step up rings for my 67mm lenses,
but I am eyeing a 77mm 70-200 F2.8 lens.....and then it will work
for that lens as well. It is really good, has a smooth change
like a video camera iris ring, so you can dial in any amount of
ND, instead of just having 2 or 3 choices on a built in ND wheel
on most video cameras. They are still in stock so far, but they
go quick. If you don't snag one, you can keep watching for them, or
grab the new Tiffin which was at NAB, and is also highly regarded.

Gabe Strong
G-Force Productions
http://www.gforcevideo.com


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Don Hertz
Re: NEX-FS100 White Balance, timecode, and lens questions
on Jul 3, 2011 at 8:24:33 pm

John, in my use so far it does feel pretty awkward. It's heavy enough to one side that I find it difficult to even temporarily hand hold with a single hand using the side grip and keep the shot level. Something I got pretty good at with the EX1. Also the EX1 was just long enough that I could semi-prop the end of it on my shoulder a bit while filming and still have the LCD monitor in front of my eye. That's not possible with the base FS100 - you'll have to hold it steady out in front of you. I tend to hold it more like a still camera - right hand on the grip and left hand supporting and steadying the lens. That seems to work well but wears the arm out pretty quick. We also have a shoulder bracket from an older camera that fits it so I'll try that out on the next hand held shoot. I'm sure most people will use it with a shoulder mount when trying to go handheld anyway.

The microphone mount on the top seems to work OK for a top handle but I'm concerned about its longevity. It feels like plastic and is held on by a single screw. Time will tell.

The nice thing is the camera is made to be very modular. There are holes to bolt things on all over it. So I'm sure its only a matter of time before there's a large selection of better crafted mounts, handles, and lenses to choose from.

One last note - I used the FS100 with the stock lens in full auto last week for a twenty minute hand held walkthrough of a museum, following two presenters with constant pans back and forth from them to various displays as they walked and talked. It performed very well. It did feel to me though (and this is by no means a scientific test) that the auto-focus took longer to adjust from distance to distance than our EX1.

Hope some of this information is useful.

Don Hertz
AC Media


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