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Panasonic AG AF101... I want it... But...

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Dylan Hargreaves
Panasonic AG AF101... I want it... But...
on Nov 2, 2010 at 7:01:08 pm

So the AG AF101's being released in the UK next month and at first glance it's got me salivating...
All the pros of the DSLR with none of the cons - and for under 5k at European prices.

At first I'm thinking it might be time to sell my EX3 and Letus and get two of the buggers - but then I read a little more and discover the max bit rate seems to be 24mbps which is half of what's needed to hit the minimum BBC standard for broadcast.

But still, a major pain in the ass with the EX3 and Letus is how big a beast it becomes when fully rigged. And the prospect of having a relatively lightweight alternative - with autotracking focus -Autotracking Focus! - is massively tempting.

But what do you guys think? Switch now or wait and see what Canon and Sony come back with? And what have you heard about this camera's performance? It's been all good from what I've read, but there's got to be some drawbacks to a camera in that price bracket...

Cheers!


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Andrew Evans
Re: Panasonic AG AF101... I want it... But...
on Nov 2, 2010 at 11:12:10 pm

I'm stoked about it. We'll see how it works in action though.


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Mark Suszko
Re: Panasonic AG AF101... I want it... But...
on Nov 5, 2010 at 1:58:56 pm

I'm very interested as well, but wary about how the files handle in FCP editing. To your other question, this is one of the first of what no doubt will be a fleet of similar camera soultions coming out in the next two Years. AS always, if you can afford to wait, things get better and cheaper. if you need to make a decision TODAY... well, you pick from the best real world solutions available at the time, and hope for the best. A camera should pay for itself within two years, so if you guessed right or wrong, you get another chance by then, I reckon. Me, I resist owning cameras and always prefer to rent. Speaking of which, I think this will become a popular rental camera, like the earlier Panny small HD camera was.


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Todd Terry
Re: Panasonic AG AF101... I want it... But...
on Nov 5, 2010 at 2:18:20 pm

[Mark Suszko] "no doubt will be a fleet of similar camera soultions coming out in the next two Years."

Or sooner. This camera seems to have almost all the features that many of us have been begging Canon for since people first started using their DSLRs for video. We've all begged "Just put that big chip in a real video camera!"

When will it happen? Who knows? Canon keeps themselves so cloaked in secrecy that it's hard to say. Conversely, with Sony, they announce new products as soon as they are on the drawing board. With RED, they announce new products before they've even thought of them. With Canon, though, you usually never know they have something new until it's on the shelves ready to buy.

Many people (say, at industry functions, seminars, webinars, etc.) have tried to pin Canon down on the development of a big-chip video camera, even more so when Panny announced this one a few months ago... but they'll only kinda smile and say "Hmmm, now that's an interesting idea," or "Hmmm, we'll see," or something like that.

Time will tell.

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Dan Brockett
Re: Panasonic AG AF101... I want it... But...
on Nov 7, 2010 at 1:58:31 am

Hi:

For your needs, if you deliver to BBC, you would need to invest another $2k to $3k per camera for an Aja KiPro or Convergent Nanoflash. And beware that the HD/SDI output on the AF-100 is 8 bit, unlike the 10 bit on your EX3. But if you have been shooting your EX3 for BBC delivery, you would already have a higher bit rate recording device in pocket, correct? 8 bit vs. 10 bit is not as big of a deal as techno geeks make it out to be for most users.

The AVCHD codec recorded at 24MBPs is quantifiable as superior to the XDCAM EX recorded at 35MBPs by your EX3 so I would make a judgement based upon what you have been doing with your EX3. For most non-broadcast, non-theatrical usage that most people need, AVCHD is adequate. For web, Blu-ray, DVD, Broadcast usage, I feel that this camera will be great. If you shoot a ton of green screen, add the 4:2:2 higher bit rate recorder and you will still be great. If your work is primarily seen on the theater screen or is for high-end broadcast where the clients expect "the best" image money can buy and give you budgets commensurate with that goal, this isn't your camera.

You should also beware that the only lens that gives video-style continuous focus autofocus is the relatively slow Panasonic Lumix 14-140 lens, there are not any fast video style autofocus lenses for this camera. Yet.

The other 4/3 M lenses you see advertised with auto focus are "still photography" auto focus, basically useless for tracking live shots in video.

This camera is really mostly to be used with PL mount cinema lenses or still camera manual focus lenses and it is designed to be shot film style. It is a video camera, but since there is not any choice beyond the one Lumix lens with video auto focus at this point, probably best to approach using it like a film camera, not so much a video ENG type rig.

I will be reviewing this camera for a major magazine, I am waiting to receive a production unit, I don't want to review a prototype so I have no idea how well the camera will actually perform. But based upon my DVX100A, HVX200 and HPX170 that I have owned and the 300/370 and 2700 that I rent, I have no reason to believe that this camera will be amazing.

As far as waiting for the competition, feel free. It is up to you. You will be able to actually take delivery of the AG-AF100 in January or February. Cameras from Canon and Sony? Who knows when. You sound as if you do this for a living so you know the drill with waiting on gear for specific projects, it is a fool's errand. You buy what you need when you have projects that will pay for the gear. If something better comes along, you sell it for a slight loss and buy the newer thing you must have. Simple equation.

It's where broke indie filmmakers and hobbyists who can barely scrape together the money for a camera, then have a fit when something more desirable hits three months later, where it gets emotion-bound and messy.

So my take on it is if you are a pro, buy it, use it, enjoy it and make enough money to pay it off quickly, then evaluate the market and the new toys. If you like something from Canon or Sony better (or RED I suppose?), sell the AF-100 and go buy the newer toy.

Dan

A Producer Who Is Also A DP? Yep, that's Me.

http://www.danbrockett.com


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Dan Brockett
Re: Panasonic AG AF101... I want it... But...
on Nov 7, 2010 at 3:40:10 pm

In the post above, this sentence was a typo, "I have no reason to believe that this camera will be amazing." and should have read, "I have no reason to believe that this camera will NOT be amazing."

Dan

A Producer Who Is Also A DP? Yep, that's Me.

http://www.danbrockett.com


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Dylan Hargreaves
Re: Panasonic AG AF101... I want it... But...
on Nov 8, 2010 at 9:18:18 am

Thanks all - and thanks Dan for clearing up that typo!

My current thinking is this. Although the work I do is primarily for web, we are currently in development on two commissioned docs, which although are non-broadcast, could be sold as finished films to a broadcaster with a bit of tweaking.

I want to future-proof the work we're doing now so that if that time comes we won't be turned down on the grounds it was filmed at 35mbps.

Therefore, I've bit the bullet and bought a NanoFlash. I love the EX3, I've got a Letus adaptor and a set of fantastic FD lenses for it and it just doesn't make sense to ditch it all now for a new camera that will no doubt be taken over by either an upgraded model or a rival version within the next two years.

Still, if I had the money...


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Dan Brockett
Re: Panasonic AG AF101... I want it... But...
on Nov 10, 2010 at 4:34:38 pm

In this economy, my advice to anyone is if what you are using is making you money and suits your clients and working style, why on earth would you indulge in gear lust and buy new toys just because they are new?

The AF-100 will be a really sweet camera, no doubt, but you need to approach your business as a business. If buying one will make you more money or maintain a client or two, it is a good investment. If not, use what you have.

Dan

A Producer Who Is Also A DP? Yep, that's Me.

http://www.danbrockett.com


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Todd Terry
Re: Panasonic AG AF101... I want it... But...
on Nov 10, 2010 at 4:42:31 pm

There's also the new Sony CineAlta big-sensor camera, the PMW-F3K... coming soon.

A bit more expensive than the Panny, but from the specs (and just from plain ol' appearances) it looks like a much more "pro" camera.

I'm pretty excited about it...

http://blog.americanpeyote.com/2010/11/08/sony-cinealta-pmw-f3k-pro-camera-...

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Dylan Hargreaves
Re: Panasonic AG AF101... I want it... But...
on Nov 10, 2010 at 4:52:47 pm

Interesting. But it costs 20k and records at 35mbps. Could be a complete flop.

On another note, why are manufacturers designing these larger sensor cameras to look so... ugly?

It's like hybrid cars - a great idea, but would you really want to be seen in one?


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Dan Brockett
Re: Panasonic AG AF101... I want it... But...
on Nov 11, 2010 at 4:40:23 pm

I know, XDCAM EX for $20k? What are they thinking? Much more talented minds than mine have proven that AVCCAM at 24MBPs looks slightly better than XDCAM EX at 35MBPs. So Panasonic's $5k digital cine camera will have a slightly better codec than this $20k camera? Weird strategy Sony.

I rarely get stuck on codecs, especially after my experiences with the DSLRs like my 5D MKII, which has a pretty lousy implementation of a "not great" codec, but if I am paying RED One prices, I would expect a 4:2:2 intraframe codec like AVC-I.

But that is just me.

Dan

A Producer Who Is Also A DP? Yep, that's Me.

http://www.danbrockett.com


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