Carl Zeiss to launch CP.2 lenses with mFT and E mounts

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Carl Zeiss will present two new mounts for the Compact Prime CP.2 lenses: the E mount and the MFT mount. The MFT mount is particularly suitable for the new corresponding professional camcorders, while the brand-new E mount is perfect for the new Sony cameras like the FS100 Super 35 mm NXCAM camcorder. The MFT mount has only just become available during March 2011 and will be a cracking addition to the Panasonic AF101 with it’s large 4/3″ sensor.

The new E mount is expected to be available beginning in June. Exactly a year ago, Carl Zeiss introduced the Compact Prime CP.2 series during the NAB Show in Las Vegas. They are the first lenses with interchangeable mount developed specially for filming with HDSLR cameras. Since then, there has been significant demand for these lenses among cinematographers and still photographers. Carl Zeiss is now adding a new chapter to its Compact Prime CP.2 success story.

“With these new mounts, we respond to many of our customers’ wishes asking to use the lenses on these new HD video cameras,” said Holger Sehr, Product Manager for Cinematography lenses at Carl Zeiss AG, Camera Lens Division. “Thanks to the interchangeable mounts, now for five different camera systems — PL, EF, MFT, F and E mount — our Compact Prime CP.2 lenses deliver superb flexibility, can be used in many different market segments, and are attractive for both end-customers and rental houses.”

With the interchangeable mount and the 24×36 mm full-format image circle illumination, these latest members of Carl Zeiss compact lens family are extremely versatile. During the NAB Show, Carl Zeiss will present all nine fixed focal lengths of Compact Prime CP.2 series from 18 to 100 mm, which thanks to the new mounts can be used for a wide range of cameras — from SLR to professional camcorders through to professional cine and television film cameras. Moreover, the Compact Prime CP.2 lenses are highly compact with a robust construction, so that they can withstand any demand of cinematographers and photographers on the set.

If you have the need to purchase a set of Compact Prime CP.2 lenses our friends at CVP can offer you a set of 5 for only £11,199 plus 20% vat. The only problem with this news is that it’s fine if you are going to stick with a micro Four Thirds camera but if my experience with video cameras is anything to go by there is a good chance the next camera I own won’t have a micro Four Thirds (mFT) mount on it.

At the price point of these lenses I think you would be safer to buy a PL mount which would give you far more options if you decide to leave the mFT mount after all the first four large sensor camera’s…eg. Sony VG10, Panasonic AF101, Sony PMW-F3 and the Sony NEX-FS100 all have PL to E, F3 and mFT making the PL mount the most versatile of all choices.


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How the earthquake in Japan has serious knock on effects

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Japan is still reeling from one of the most powerful earthquakes ever recorded  and the after effects might be more devastating than we ever anticipated with seven of Sony’s plants still shut. The plants make a range of devices, from Blu-ray discs to batteries, some of which go to other overseas manufacturers.

Halts at two of Toshiba’s factories could mean production delays for Apple’s iPad 2, the tablet uses memory chips from the Japanese firm, with batteries made by Apple Japan and screens believed to be from Asahi Glass.

Other affected firms include Canon, Panasonic and chipmaker Renasas, even unaffected Japanese manufacturers face hurdles from logistics and shipping issues.


I have been in the video industry for over 25 years and this is the first time in my life that we are talking about main stream camcorders and lenses not being available for a minimum of 6 months or more.

This could wipe out dealerships globally who depend on video equipment for a living, main stream video camcorders from Sony and Panasonic are already running short of stock and in some cases certain models have dried up with no lead times less than 6 months.

I spoke to the UK supplier of Voightlander lenses last week and he told me that Cosina who make the lenses are struggling to complete orders as some of their component manufacturing companies have been badly affected, the NOKTON 25mm f0.95 mFT lens has had a global upsurge in orders since the introduction of the Panasonic AF101.

Nikon lenses are becoming like hens teeth with no prospects of deliveries in the near future.

This is all very doom and gloom but the Japanese earthquake on the 11th of March 2011 has changed the world forever, knocking the Earth of it’s axis by 25cm is bad enough, the terrible loss of life in Japan has been heartbreaking but the one thing we all know about the Japanese is their ability to come out of this stronger with their heads held high.

Take your time, the western world can wait, we have enjoyed your wonderful technology for the last 30 years, maybe it’s about time some of us learned to have patience and that includes myself, we expect every new gadget yesterday so this is a good time to reflect on our hunger for new toys and let the Japanese get back to some kind of normality.



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Enter the Ninja and later this year the Samurai

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The Ninja starts shipping this week and is set to topple both the NanoFlash and the AJA Ki Pro off their perches as far as price in concerned. Atmos the company who developed the Ninja were at BVE in London demonstrating the Ninja, now here are some interesting facts…

1. The Ninja records to Apple ProRes in various flavours the best being HQ which records at 220 MBs.

2. You get 10bit 4:2:2 recording from the HDMI input.

3. You can record 1080 50i, 1080 24p and 720 50p plus other recording formats in the pipeline via an online firmware upgrade scheme.

4. The screen can be used as a monitor or for playback.

5. You choose the recording media, 2.5″ Hitachi hard drives or the more popular 2.5″ SSD Intel solid state drives.

A word of warning to AF101 and F3 owners the Ninja only has one HDMI socket so if you are using the Cineroid EVF this may not be a good choice as it’s unwise to split the HDMI signal. NOTE. The Cineroid does have an in and out but unfortunately it uses the mini HDMI socket which in my opinion it too week to stand up to that level of use. A solution is just down the road with the arrival of the Samurai.

The Samurai is an HD SDI version of the Ninja and as we all know HD SDI is a far more professional, safer connector to use for recording HD video signals.

Pricing :

The Ninja which comes in a case with all the leads and two batteries but NO recording media is £828

The Samurai is a fair bit dearer and will come in around the £1300 price NOT CONFIRMED

I will be reviewing the Ninja as soon as I get one, in fact my 160 GB of Intel SSD arrives tomorrow and I will be ordering the Samurai on the strength of the Ninja’s performance.

For all your video production needs in Scotland, get in touch with Small Video Productions

SONY and the FS100 “Exclusive interview with Bill Drummond”

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Sony gave me a phone last week and asked me if I would like an interview with their Product manager Bill Drummond to explain Sony’s thoughts in the radical design elements of the new NEX FS100…fantastic, so this afternoon (Monday) Bill and I had a chat about the new camera.


“The key criteria if we go from the front to the back of the camera is that we have to offer that really nice shallow depth of field with a super 35 mm size sensor.  This has been quite a journey for Sony and we looked and have spoken to lots of different customers and lots of different applications around the world and certainly we have seen the move to using DSLR’s for shooting large format we have seen that there is a very big demand for using a large format sensor to achieve that shallow depth of field.   But we didn’t just want to follow that, we wanted to give the customers a bit more and that’s why we really spent the time to develop this super 35 mm format sensor to really offer exactly the same format that maybe our high end digital cinematographers would be using but for a much, much more affordable and accessible customer  base.

Really with the FS100 it was about giving 35 mm motion to this emerging group of customers who want to shoot cinematically but on a budget, so it was about having the large image format, the affordability, but also making it easy to operate as well.   One of the big pieces of feedback we have had from a lot of customers is they like to accessorize and modularize their cameras so they wanted to have quite a small critical format, but wanted to have the ability to put a whole range of different accessories, depending on what style of shooting they were actually  currently doing.   Obviously, when you are talking about this type of audience, things like adding a matte box and rails and filters, all the sort of front-end accessories are very important, but equally things like monitors and radio mikes and various other things.

Those three points are really what we’re thinking  of or where the product is coming from and it’s a bit of a journey because we’ve been in this market in terms of the visual cinematography market for a long long while and really the Fs100 is the next  super 35 mm shooting to a whole new audience, coming on the back of the F3 which has been incredibly successful.   The feedback we had from the F3 which was really good was “we really love the F3 but it’s a bit out of our budget”.   Well, pretty much you can have the same format sensor at your budget now with the FS100.   So that’s where it is really pitched and the last week we have been really overwhelmed by the feedback we’ve had from a variety of different customers, the fact that we have made something that is different in terms of not just providing something that’s a me-too product but really taking up that grass roots customer feedback.”

HDW…Q.   Why did Sony feel the need to reinvent the wheel because my opinion you actually did it the wrong way round.   If you had brought out the FS100 first and then the F3 it would have probably been the right way of doing it.

Bill…A.   A very interesting point.   In actual fact, if you look at the NEXVG10, that came out last year and although it was aimed at the prosumer market, what it did was it offered a lot of those requirements, albeit to a slightly different market in terms that it offered an E series mount, a large format sensor, so as I said the VG10 came out last year and then very much the FS100 is the professional version, albeit with the benefits of having the same sensor as the F3 and aimed at the professional market, so in actual fact there was a precursor to the FS100 and that was the VG10.

HDW…Q.   The problem I have with the FS100 is the fact that you decided to go down the E mount.   Personally, I would have preferred if you were thinking of making it professional, to stick with say a bog-standard PL mount so that people could just add any adaptor that they wished.   I don’t think a domestic lens on a professional camera makes you look good.

Bill…A.   I suppose it’s looking at the full range of demand in the market.   I’m not sure if you are aware but we’ve been selling a Sony lens adaptor for our Z7 camcorder for A mount alpha lenses and for over 4 years we’ve been selling Z7 to A mount adaptors and that’s allowed various types of customers, like videographers, particularly natural history videographers to shoot wild life but want to use their alpha camera and their video camera.   Having the flexibility of being able to use a bit of stills glass in front of a video camera is really what these guys have been asking us for, so really it’s just a continuation of something that we had within our professional product range for 4 years and these E series mounts offer not only the existing E series lenses but also there is a whole range of new lenses.

I’ve been speaking to a variety of different lens manufacturers who will make specific lenses on the E mount.   Coming back to your point on the PL mount, that is exactly right and this is why we chose the PL mount for the F3 but, again, we have to think about our audience and our audience are more than happy using a DSLR style lens which is within their price range but when you start talking about a compact prime, it gets a little bit expensive for this particular target market. Although, as you quite rightly say, with MTF you can use a PL mount or a Nikon lens.

HDW…Q.   I know why you did it, because you were trying to solve a lot of problems for a lot of people but, personally, if that had been me I would have used the “A” mount, so that basically, if you want the best glass that Sony do for that type of situation, the mount is already there, you don’t need to use an adaptor and it would just have made it a wee bit more professional.

Bill…A.   There is obviously an “A” mount adaptor and very high-end lens companies like Carl Zeiss will be making compact primes for the “A” mount and, indeed, have made that announcement but it is trying to make a product as flexible as possible and the important thing is to note the flange back distance does give that flexibility and the “E” series mount does offer that very small flange back.

HDW…Q.   Personally, as a camera man I would have preferred Sony to bring out an F1.5 rather than a complete new camera with a look that is not very Sony looking, to bring out an F3 with less goodies on it, so that you have got a camera that looks like a Sony video camera and not one that looks like something you would take up to a space station.   You have almost redesigned it with the DSLR boys in mind and, to be honest, the DSLR is a completely different tool to what a cameraman uses and everybody who has been waiting for these large sensor cameras are respectable camera men who have not gone down the DSLR market simply because we know they are fit for purpose.   It’s as simple as that and I don’t care who is using them.   The DSLR for serious video is a no-no and more and more people are getting to realise that, now that we have the F3, AF101 and the new FS100 to be able to use decent cameras.

I just think that as a camera man I would have preferred just a normal design rather than go wild.   I think the viewfinder will be very good, I haven’t obviously used it but it looks as if you have given it a very good viewfinder which is really, as I’ve said to you, what is missing off the F3.   That’s my opinion but there are a lot more people out there telling me they like the look of the FS100, they like the fact that they can add the bits to it, matte boxes, etc.   I’m not against the camera, I  am just  pointing out the negatives that I see.   It’s like any camera, if you point out the negatives, by the next model the negatives are usually taken on board.

Bill…A.   Yes, it’s an on-going process with camera development.   We’re on a journey and we’ve been speaking to film makers for many many years in terms of what their requirements are and we take feedback from a wide range of different sources and I take your comment about the F1.5.    If there is enough demand in the market we will make many different types of product for many different types of customers.   We do value our customers’ feedback and, if you look at the wider market, in terms of the way people want to work – you mentioned about matte boxes among other things, it is key that the design is being designed to mimic that in terms of being able to accessorize the product, add a matte box, add a follow focus system.

HDW…Q.   There is one thing you can’t add to this system  and that is the new Gemini from convergence.

Bill…A.   There are a number of other devices, the Atmos ninja, NanoFlash and the AJA Ki pro mini.

HDW…Q.   A lot of guys out there have got nanoflashes and if they buy the new Gemini, the Gemini has only got HDMI out. My point is when you put HD SDI  on a lesser spec camcorder like the NX5 and you leave it off the FS100, it can’t be that expensive to produce.

Bill…A.   It’s offering different solutions for different budgets.   The Gemini will work very very well with the F3 and that point is very very clear to me and the same with the nano flash but, in terms of the third parties that we are working with, it’s key to point out that we have a new embedded time code feature on HDMI that is unique to Sony and we are working with the third parties who are making these HDMI recorders to ensure that there is compatibility in the future.

Let’s not beat about the bush, HDMI is becoming more professional every day and more and more professionals are using it for monitoring and other things but, you know, ultimately it does allow use of products like the Ki Pro mini and the Atmos Ninja which meet the requirements of our target customers. The HDMI outputs 4:2:2 8bit.

HDW…Q.   You have only got three levels of gain in the camera.   Is that true ?

Bill…A. The NEX-FS100 has manual gain from 0dB-30dB in steps of 3dBs.

HDW…Q.  The other thing that people will want to know is obviously because of the problems over in Japan, when do you think seriously Sony are going to start shipping this camera ?

Bill…A.   The shipping is now summer 2011 (July-September).

HDW…Q.  And what is the tentative price ?

Bill…A. Sony’s tentative pricing will be €5500 without lens and €6000 with the 18-200 “E” lens kit.

I must thank Sony for giving me this exclusive interview with Bill Drummond and hope it has answered a few questions and given you a better understanding of how Sony take a lot of time and effort over every product they produce.



For all your video production needs in Scotland, get in touch with Small Video Productions

FUJI X100 User Review £999

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I don’t usually mix business with pleasure but in this case I feel it’s my duty to blog about this camera that cost just over £ 1000 and is reported as being “The professionals choice”. I have been waiting for a good second camera for a while, one I can stick in the pocket rather than take my Canon 5D2.

I have had various cameras over the last 6 months, the Sony HX5V and latterly the Canon G12, but the same old story the ability to take a good picture when you need it especially with fast subjects and low light. I entered the hype about the Fuji x100 about 5 months ago, claiming to be the camera made with the professional in mind, so I pre ordered one and it duly arrived last week in the post.

Just look at the presentation…fantastic, I took it out of the box and felt it was a wee bit bigger and heavier than I was expecting, considering this is a “pocket camera”, that aside I looked around for some budding snaps.

The camera has an f2 23mm fixed lens with an APS sensor so it was about 35mm in focal length and looked very retro from the 60s…fine by me.

The camera has what’s called a hybrid viewfinder and is in the style of the old rangefinder cameras. I took some pics of my dog as my wife was at work and my son was also out.

The first thing that struck me as being odd was the quality of the lens itself it seemed to be a thin bit of glass with a black band painted around it, I assume the other elements were behind the iris itself, I did read a review the day I handed over my card details and the chap was far from complimentary about the lens at f2, it was soft. I tried f2 myself and yes its soft but as we all know as you go away from f2 it gets sharper. I find it really strange that a company like Fuji with such a prestigious background in broadcast lenses could put such a poor lens on such a supposedly professional spec camera.

This is a 100% blow up of my dogs face and as you can see it’s not very sharp, not what I was expecting from such a special camera, I decided to change from the quicker rangefinder mode to the live view mode via the LCD.

Now we are talking turkey the live mode certainly helped me see if I was in focus and what a cracking shot of my dog, this gave me confidence for my mothers birthday party in the evening, a chance to give the camera a run through without using it on a paying job.

Mum opening her presents was as sharp as a tac but more often than not the pictures were slightly out of focus like the one of my dad and as you notice the smaller pic looks to be fine as I saw it in the LCD but when I opened the pics in Apple Aperture most of them were duff. I tried full auto to manual settings, changed the focus from single to multi and from single to continuous. I sent the camera back for a full refund, I really wanted this camera to work for me !

CONCLUSION : I also noticed how long it took to autofocus or not as it happened and how easily it was fooled into not focusing, trying to use manual focus was impossible. This camera was no way near the hype it was given, as a pro second camera…forget it. I did like the lack of noise up to about 1600ISO and even at 6400ISO was very acceptable. It was with a heavy heart that I decided to return the camera, it can produce some stunning shots when it behaves but on the whole it produced slightly out of focus or very out of focus shots and for professional reportage its a no, no.

Was it worth £999, not in my opinion, it’s clearly riding on the initial hype a very clever campaign by Fuji but falls short on a poor autofocus and a soft wide open lens, the menu system was not as intuitive as I am used to with Canon or Nikon but it is good up to 1600ISO and can produce very good shots, maybe I did not give the camera the time it needed but comparing it to my recent purchase the Canon G12 £350 the Fuji came a poor second at almost 3x the price !

There is also the possibility that my camera was faulty but the company never gave me the option to swap it out.

UPDATE : I think the general consensus is that I had a duff camera which is sad, I was really looking forward to having the quality of an DSLR in my pocket especially for reportage work but my experience has put me off this camera maybe I will get the x300 when it comes out !

PS. The comments on this subject are now closed so don’t bother trying to master your Commodore 64 to reply.


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BBC Scotland conditionally approve the Panasonic AF101 for HD Production

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At last week’s BBC DoP Day or ‘Big Sensor Day’, there were presentations from DP Adam Suschitsky about the shooting of Upstairs Downstairs, from BBC Scotland about their use of the Panasonic AF101 and Soho post guru Dave Klafkowski on the use of the Canon 5D MkII in broadcast and why you shouldn’t use it.

The audio clip is Dave Klafkowski’s presentation which had the aid of a Powerpoint and some slides. You will also hear some Q&A and interjections from Andy Quested who heads the BBC HD Technical Department.

Well, well, well from right under my nose BBC Scotland have not only been playing with the AF101 but now decide it’s acceptable for HD programming using an external recorder like a NanoFlash, despite the non complimentary findings by the BBCs HD technical Guru Alan Roberts. One caveat is that you must not assume the AF101 is suitable for all HD programming and ask the BBC first before using it.

My thanks to HD Magazine for this info

Alan Roberts conclusion on the AF101 (©BBC HD)

2.7 Conclusion
This camera does not perform particularly well at HD. Clean resolution is limited to about 1210×680 by the presence of high-amplitude spatial aliasing. This is a little disappointing from a camera with a large-format sensor, and indicates that optical low-pass filtering is either absent or inadequate, and that the scaling from the resolution of the sensor down to 1920×1080 has not been done in the best way.
Noise levels are rather high, even though the pixel size is that of a conventional 3 sensor 1⁄2” camera. Sensitivity is also similar to that of a 1⁄2” camera.
If this camera is to be used for HDTV shooting, then it should be clearly understood that it’s only advantage over smaller-format cameras is the smaller depth of field. However, to achieve a smaller depth of field in this camera, relative to, say, a 1⁄2” camera, then the lens must be opened by at least 1.5 stops; using an F/2.8 lens on this camera, wide open, will give the same depth of field as on a 1⁄2” camera with a lens opened to
F/1.6. This camera will not necessarily always deliver short depth of field, large aperture lenses must be used to achieve that.

Listen here…

Dave Chambers of BBC Scotland reports of their test of the new Panasonic AF101 camcorder

BBC Big Sensor Day – AF101 by MM Pubs

For all your video production needs in Scotland, get in touch with Small Video Productions

The SONY HXR NX70 teaser video

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For all your video production needs in Scotland, get in touch with Small Video Productions

Sony’s HXR NX70 “A perfect camera for BBCs Deadly 60s”

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When I saw the specs of the Sony HXR NX70 I immediately thought of Steve Backshall and the BBCs Deadly 60s television show, this would be a perfect camcorder for all the wind, rain and dust that must accompany trips to Africa etc.

I am excited about this camcorder as it is the professional upgrade to the MC-50 we have all been waiting for, stringers will also upgrade to this camcorder it’s perfect for standing outside High Courts in the dripping wet rain. The inclusion of the XLR and full audio control will make my life a lot easier when producing interviews for my blog. I can use my Pro balanced short shotgun mics from RODE and Sennheiser without worrying about the 3.5mm plug getting pulled out.

Audio is a big deal to me as I used to work in a local radio station, Radio Clyde and the tech boys taught me how to edit tape and one of the engineers, Gerry, taught me about the importance of using the correct mic for the job. I have had to put up with inferior cables and connectors using the Sony 550 along side the Sony MC-50 but the pictures more than make up for any audio short comings.

I have become a major fan of camcorders that look small but produce pictures almost as good as any shoulder mount camcorder, the Sony MC-50 started the ball rolling it’s a great wee tool, especially for blogging, I hope my pal Rick Young is reading this and seriously decides to ditch his Sony EX-1 in favour of the new NX70.

Rick from MacVideo travels all over the place and knows only too well that weight matters when it comes to planes the NX70 might just be the job for him plus the EX-1 will suffer from RED RED, turning some types of black a muddy brown, this was only fixed half way through the run of EX-3s and does not occur in EX1Rs.

Lastly we have MANUAL GAIN, a feature badly missing from the MC-50, admittedly, due to space, it has been assigned to the menu but thankfully it’s part of the feature set. One other major feature of this wee camcorder is the ability to film at 1080 50P…this is a big leap forward and if you are editing with Sony Vegas 10 or Edius then 1080 50P is part of your software package and I hope Final Cut Pro 8 will edit 1080 50P also.

Sony will get a demo camera to me as soon as they are available and I can’t wait…SDHC cards and Sony “V” batteries are all you need to get you started, fortunately if you own the MC-50 you have both !



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Sony NEX FS100 a day later…”The Aftermath”

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Nigel Cooper had a look at a working FS100 camcorder and did not miss the wall when it came to his conclusions…

Nigel “The cost of the FS100E will have a street price of approximately £5,000 for the body only. The FS100E is the model without a lens. The FS100EK (K standing for Kit) comes with a Sony E-mount 18-200mm F3.5-6.3 lens and will have an approximate street price of £5,500. The FS100E will be available to buy summer 2011 according to Sony UK. Sony are claiming that the target market for the FS100E is Education and Corporate, Event/Wedding and low-budget pop promo and documentary, but I’m sure it will find its way into other areas of video production too; especially the independent low budget filmmaker because of its large sensor and interchangeable lens offerings.”


“All-in-all, the FS100 feels like a very rushed camcorder. The ergonomics are terrible, the fixtures and fittings are pretty much the same, the switches, dials and knobs are too small and they feel horribly plasticky with a vague feel i.e. you don’t really know if you have actually pressed a button; you need LCD menu feedback to confirm. The hand-grip on the side wobbles, even when tightened up, so to does the top handle/mic holder, which feels like it is hanging on by its fingernails. Everything about this camcorder is just so awfully wrong. Sony had the perfect chance to give Panasonic a run for their money, but the FS100 is not the camcorder to do it, in my opinion. Panasonic’s AF101 is a clear winner over the Sony FS100 in terms of build quality, usability, functionality and features. Sure it lags slightly behind in raw resolution and there is a tad more aliasing, but the AF101 is about £1,500 cheaper and generally a much nicer camera to work with and it has none of the frustrations of the FS100. The Panasonic AF101 wins by a country mile and it would be my choice for any kind of work that required a large sensor and the ability to have a lot of control over depth-of-field.

There are just too many things missing from the FS100, no HD/SDI output, no ND filter wheel, only one card slot. Its like Sony have taken the F3 and stripped it of any worthwhile features and functions to keep it well away from the F3’s market. The FS100 is stripped of all the sensible functionality a cameraman actually needs. Sony’s old VX1000 even had a built in ND filter switch and that camera is from the dark ages in the grand scheme of video camcorder technology. I really wanted the FS100 to be a great little camcorder, but it is just not to be. For me, the FS100 is a huge let down. The only thing it has going for it is image quality, which is marginally better than the AF101, but still not as good as Sony’s own EX1/3.”

To read the full review by Nigel Cooper…

HDW :  Nigel was not impressed in fact it’s interesting that the Panasonic AF101 gets top marks over the FS100, but once again Sony were warned by me back at BVE when I got to see this camera that not having HD SDI was not going to go down well with the pro boys and if they were to compete with the AF101 the feature set as it stood did not “cut the mustard”.

The inclusion of the “E” mount was once again a bad move as most professionals would prefer to use Sony’s far better spec “A” lenses. Sony do claim to talk to “Professional cameramen” when producing new camcorders but I do not know one such cameraman so I can conclude they are taking advice from the wrong people…STOP PRESS…they spoke to 2 cameramen, Den Lennie and Zulqar Cheema.

Lets not kid ourselves by the time Den and Zulqar got involved the basic design template was on the drawing board and the camera could only be enhanced with their inputs as cameramen, I know nothing about Zulqar other than he won an award from the IOV and works on the Sony stand teaching Sony Vegas during trade shows. Den is an accomplished cameraman latterly starting F STOP academy, teaching students etc how to use DSLRs.

During the launch of the PMW-F3 we got to see an early FS100, Philip Bloom spoke to the Sony engineer telling him that if the camera did not shoot 25 and 24p it would be a non starter.

Not having ND filters forces you to buy Vari ND screw on filters or a Matte box, I had the cameras big sister the F3 and with only two filters 1/8th and 1/64th I was struggling to get a good balance between f5.6-f8 which is the sweet spot of any lens, without any ND this camera will struggle in sunlight. Cranking the lens down to f11 and bringing in shutter will look awful, forgetting the sheer sensitivity of the Super 35mm sensor…it eats light !

I was assured by Sony that I was to get an FS100 to produce a video review…time will tell !

For all your video production needs in Scotland, get in touch with Small Video Productions

The new SONY HXR-NX70 camcorder

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This is the camera we have all been waiting for the MC50 with Pro XLR inputs and sound controls but Sony have taken the NX70 one stage further and made it rain and dust proof…fantastic.

UPDATE : After some searching I have found the magical words…MANUAL GAIN…finally we have manual gain control which is switched via the menu.

As you can see from the back you can now access the SDHC card rather than it being underneath as in the MC50. We also get a proper on/off switch and a headphone socket.

Looking at the side of the camcorder Sony have brought the battery compartment from the back to the side of the camera which is no bad thing and best news for all MC50 owners is the inclusion of the Sony “V” battery, once again Sony are learning not to bring out a new battery every time we get a new camcorder.

Rain and Dust Proof Performance

You can be confident rainy or dusty shooting environments will not affect the reliable operation of the HXR-NX70E thanks to its IEC60529 IP54 rating. The camcorder’s sealed body design makes sure that harmful sand and large dust particles do not get inside. A waterproof performance rating of IPx4 means that the main camera body is protected against rain showers and water splashes.

A waterproof performance rating of IPx4 means that the main camera body is protected against rain showers and water splashes. However, it should not be submerged underwater or sprayed with pressurised water from a tap or hose. When used with accessories such as an external microphone, a rain cover should be used to protect the accessory and connection. IP5x rating does not guarantee 100% protection against exposure to extremely fine particles.

Ultra-wide Angle 26.3mm G lens

Engineered for superior optical performance, Sony G lenses deliver brilliant, accurate colour reproduction and sharp, amazingly detailed images. In addition, the 26.3mm focal length offers a broader perspective than previous lenses for enhanced wide angle shooting so you can capture more of the scene when close in.

Assignable Lens Ring (Focus/Zoom/Iris)

Get the most out of your camcorder with enhanced manual controls. The assignable lens ring allows for manual adjustment of focus, iris, and zoom settings so you have complete creative control.

Optical SteadyShot image stabilisation with Active Mode

Optical SteadyShot image stabilisation with Active Mode provides superior compensation for camera shake to deliver stunningly smooth video from wide angle to full telephoto shooting. In addition, the innovative 3-Way Shake-Cancelling feature adds electronic roll stability for even smoother video capture.

Back-illuminated Exmor R CMOS sensor for superb low-light video

Journalists rarely shoot under studio lighting conditions and Sony’s back-illuminated Exmor R™ CMOS sensor delivers stunning low-light sensitivity with improved image clarity and drastically reduced grain. Designed for compact cameras and camcorders, the Exmor R™ sensor relocates the photo diodes above the support circuitry, maximising the light gathering area per pixel so you can shoot with better results in low-light conditions. The sensitivity is roughly double that of conventional CMOS sensors of the same size and pixel size.

1920 x 1080 Full HD 50p Recording with 12.3 Mega pixels still image capture

The compact HXR-NX70E shoots in Full High Definition quality (1920 x 1080) with a choice of 50p, 50i and 25p frame rates. It can also simultaneously shoot 12.3 Mega Pixel (4672 x 2628) still images (Note: Dual Rec is not active when recording mode is set to FX or PS.) It also supports playback via HDMI and compatible HDTV, for complete flexibility in reviewing your footage.

96GB* embedded Flash Memory for up to 40 hours of HD recording

Built-in Flash memory provides extra capacity, ideal when working remotely, as well as providing additional workflow options for back-up and sharing content. 96GB embedded Flash memory can record and store up to 40 hours of high definition video footage in HD LP mode.

* 96GB equals 96 billion bytes. A portion of the total storage is used for system management and/or application files.

3.5” touch-screen XtraFine™ LCD display (921K)

The large 3.5” (16:9) XtraFine LCD screen (921K) displays sharp, bright, vivid images, letting you compose a shot more easily and alter setting to best represent the scene, even when outdoors in bright lighting conditions.

XLR adaptor with selectable phantom power and shotgun microphone

The detachable handle has a compact, ergonomic design. Two balanced XLR audio inputs are built in with phantom power and attenuation options that professional shooters require for clean sound quality. Default audio settings for XLR recording are highlighted in green for easy reference in the field in order to reduce operator error under difficult lighting conditions.

The ECM-XM1 shotgun microphone mounted on top of the handle provides audio recording performance similar to larger shoulder-mounted ENG style cameras.

Geotagging with built-in GPS receiver

A built-in GPS receiver makes the HXR-NX70 an ideal choice for professional videographers. The receiver gives you the ability to “geo-tag” shooting locations – making it easy if you need to return to the same location or to create a log when surveying remote locations. Your locations can be tracked on Google maps and all GPS data can be extracted with a PC.

Additionally, the receiver automatically adjusts your camcorder’s clock to the proper time zone when international travel is part of your assignment.

Direct Copy to external HDD without PC

Store content or backup important shots by copying footage directly from your camcorder to an external hard disk drive (sold separately) without using a computer. The HXR-NX70E can also access videos stored on an external hard drive for playback on HDTV, allowing you to utilise the camcorder’s handy playback features.

Additional information: Direct Copy is compatible with USB media that meets the following requirements: USB 2.0 or higher and formatted in FAT32 file system. It is recommended that external HDD is AC powered. The HXR-NX70E must be connected to AC power when using Direct Copy. VMC-UAM1 cable is supplied to connect HXR-NX70 with USB media, however connection via USB hub is not supported. There may be cases when USB media is not compatible with the Direct Copy function.


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