Panasonic AG-AF100 – I can’t wait!

When HDSLR Filmmaking started catching on with great cameras like the Canon 5D Mark II and the Canon 7D, word spread that it was going to completely redefine how movies are made. With sensors 4x the size of the RED One, these cameras are able to give an image with low light capabilities and shallow depth of field like no other.

The big downside for me, though, was that HDSLRs were only able to record 12 minutes of video continuously before it’d start to overheat. Not good for documentary filmmaking. There was also no XLR audio input. The single mini input jack meant that we’d have to purchase either a converter box or a portable field recorder to enable quality 2-channel audio recording.

That’s why when Panasonic announced their upcoming release of the AG-AF100, my heart skipped a beat. Finally, a good cross between a HDSLR and a professional video camera. Let’s take a look at the specs here:

  • 4/3-inch image sensor
  • Micro Four Thirds lens mount – lets you mount film camera and prime lenses
  • High Definition Viewfinder (no need to buy an additional Z-finder!)
  • Dual SD Card slots, so you can swap while recording
  • Anti-aliasing filter to remove moire
  • Uncompressed professional audio (2 XLR inputs!)
  • Built-in ND Filters
  • Full waveform monitor
  • Color-peaking focus assist
  • Auto-focus + Auto-iris if you use a lens that enables it

Love at first sight. Word has it that it’s slated for a year-end release and is going to retail for just under $5,000. Oh, Panasonic, you’ve done it again. Moving from the HVX-200 to the AG-AF100 should be a piece of cake! I’m so excited! Check out Barry Green’s detailed hands-on video introduction of it below.


[Youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ZGtFZoSyhA&hd=1]

Too many f-stops?

Picture by DeusXFlorida

Not every f-stop on your lens churns out equally sharp and well-defined images. At least, that’s what I learned from John Sevigny’s article. Highlights below:

“A photograph shot at 1.7 relies on nearly all the glass in the lens, and any surface or engineering imperfections are going to be revealed with a wide-opened aperture. For the same reasons, I can probably forget about the idea of shooting at 2.8 if I’m looking for maximum sharpness and resolution.”

“On the other end, f16, the smallest aperture, is useless at 35mm or for DSLRs. Diffraction, a kind of distortion that happens when light passes through small holes, destroys images at f16. You might rule out using f11 for the same reason.”

“Don’t know the best aperture of your 35mm camera? Fall back on the old rule my father taught me back in the 1970s: the optimum aperture for sharpness and detail is about two stops away from wide opened. That is, on a lens with a maximum aperture of 2.8, you’ll probably get the best results at 5.6.”

Timely and useful advice. Matt and I were just involved in a discussion about this over the weekend while we were shooting State of the Apartment on the Canon 5D Mark II. Now we know better. :)

Read the full article here.

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