Philip Bloom and Barry Green testing Panasonics new AG-AF100 in Japan

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Philip Bloom is writing the first user review of the Panasonic AG-AF101 as I write as he has just spent the last few days over in sunny Japan testing a near production camera. He has just produced a film using the AF100 (AF101 Europe) and you can see it below.

I have not had a chance to speak with Philip about his trip and his findings but I must say the footage Philip took with the AF100 is more than promising. Although Sony has just announced the F3 FilmLike camcorder at three times the price of the Panasonic I still maintain the AF101 will far outsell the Sony as long as we can get stock.

At £4000 it’s a great price and you get a lot of technology for your money and I just learned today that we can buy MTF Adaptors off the shelf for the AF101…MTF has the PL to Micro 4/3 Adaptor at £320 or the NIKON G to Micro 4/3 Adaptor at £230.

Our old pal Barry Green was also invited to Japan to give his valued opinion on the Panasonic AF100, but I am not so sure about the green liquid, looks like a mouthwash to me.

Hirano San: Shot on Panasonic AF101 from Philip Bloom on Vimeo.

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

Sony enter a RED patch with the F3 FilmLike camcorder

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TALKING ABOUT THE SONY F3 “The noise figure of 63db is extremely impressive. The pictures I saw at IBC were some of the cleanest video images that I have ever seen. Noise performance is crucial in this market as most commercials and movies will receive extensive post work. Generally it is the cameras noise levels that will determine the limits of how far you can push the footage in post. To put this in to some perspective this camera has (according to the specs) over 60% less noise than an EX1. This puts this camera into a different league compared to some of the cheaper competition and puts it much closer to the F35 in terms of what you can do with it.”

I can’t wait to give one a try.

Alister Chapman (XDCAM USER.COM)

So just when we were all happy with the RED ONE…SONY bring out the F3, all the boards are buzzing with RED v SONY so lets have a good look at what RED have to be frightened of.

RED PRICE “Upon its introduction, in August of 2007, the RED ONE retailed for $17,500. Many advancements were made available, by virtue of the evolving firmware upgrades, while the camera maintained its original introductory price. In January of 2010, an upgrade to a newer sensor was made available, this being the same sensor that would ultimately be used in the new EPIC camera. The cost of this amazing upgrade, which offered increased dynamic range, a lower noise floor and increased ISO rating, was $5750. The upgrade included the newer M-X sensor, a sensor board replacement and an upgraded optical low pass filter (OLPF). The upgrade was received with such positive response that a large percentage of the existing cameras were upgraded, creating a new generation of RED ONE cameras, RED ONE M-X. In September of 2010, all of the requested upgrades were performed and it was possible to offer this new generation of camera, with the M-X sensor, as a current version. From this point forward, all RED ONEs would be offered as models, at a retail price of $25,000. This new generation of cameras would also boast that they were fully assembled in the USA, creating not only a new world standard, but also establishing these models as true collectibles.”

SONY PRICE TENTATIVE “Shipping from January you have 2 options…

Option one…PMW-F3K with three lenses (35, 50, 85mm F2.0) – Euros 20,700 ($28,532)

Option two…PMW-F3L body only model – Euros 14500 ($19,986). These cameras will be made in Japan.

What cameras does the RED ONE compete with. “Because the RED ONE is a digital cinema camera (and not an HD video camera), the list of competitors is a short one. Cinema, or film based, cameras offer resolution rated a little over 3K. The RED ONE, at 4K, provides approximately 3.2+K resolution, based on the slight hit of an optical low pass filter (OLPF) used to reduce the effect of aliasing. It is RED’s considered opinion that, going forward, a system must have at least 3K resolution to meet the demand of 4K projection technologies, now being promised by many of the major projector manufacturers. Digital cameras offered by many of RED’s “competitors”, such as Sony, Arri and others, only provide, at best, 2K, and most, only High Definition, which is just not enough information to be scaled to 4K projection. It is safe to say that RED’s biggest competition comes from film, and as the sensor technology continues to improve, while film’s days of progress are numbered, the promise of digital acquisition will be realized. The advantage film has currently is one of dynamic range. With each generation of RED sensor development, the gap becomes narrower and narrower.”

The Sony F3 uses a super 35mm CMOS sensor which is quoted at 25mm x 14mm. This is the first Super 35mm CMOS sensor from Sony as they have used CCDs in the past.

How does the RED ONE differ from a traditional HD camcorder “High Definition video cameras come in many flavors, recording anywhere from 720P resolution to as high as 1080P, using anything from a standard resolution sensor with pixel shifting to a true 1920 x 1080 pixel sensor, and using a variety of different compression and processing algorithms. In the very highest quality HD cams, those costing well into six figures, the RGB signal is not sub-sampled, offering the best HD quality at 4:4:4 (HDCAM SR). Typically, the chroma is sub-sampled at 4:2:2 RGB (DVCPRO HD) and 4:2:0 (HDV). Effectively, where HD tops out, resolution-wise, the RED ONE begins, offering 2K (2048 x 1152), 3K (3072 x 1728), 4K (4096 x 2304) and 4.5K (4480 x 1920)recording options. RED uses a sensor measured at 4520 x 2540 pixels, more than 5 times the number of pixels of the very best HD camera and, most importantly, records the signal as RAW, similar to a DSLR, with no color sub-sampling. All information travels in a single channel, as opposed to three separate RGB paths. Where a video camera requires the “baking in” of white balance, color and gain before recording, these are adjustments that can be made after the fact with a RED ONE, thus making the process of capture all the easier and more fool-proof. These attributes, plus the large S35 film-sized sensor, which provides the beauty of selective depth of field, both contribute to the enormous success of the RED ONE”

I find all this information rather “tekkie” to say the least, there is no doubt that the RED ONE has taken the world by storm and produces fantastic cinematic pictures, on the other hand the Sony F3 has just been announced and is due for shipping in January 2011.

There is a lot of excitement over the F3 and the people who it’s aimed at don’t seem to be bothered by it’s price and lets be honest if it uses the same size 35mm sensor as the F35 can you blame them. Sony have a lot more up their sleeves with the roll out of this new camera for example. “The SR Recorder will be recording using a proprietory memory pack, recording the open standard MPEG-4 HDCAM SR format. It will be considerably smaller than the SRW-1.”

It’s down to money and choice, I don’t doubt that the RED ONE has a large close nit family of passionate followers and owners and it’s made in the USA while the Sony F3 Super 35mm camera is collecting a lot of new friends and owners, in January, personally there is a market for both cameras and I get to play with an F3 next week so if you have any questions you would like me to ask Sony leave them in the comments box.

I will be filming a “WEBDOC” about the new Sony F3 and post it ASAP. PS. I am also taking one of my SxS cards with me and Bill Drummond is allowing me to film onto my card so I can also post you an image from the camera.

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

CVP & Holdan Roadshow 23-24th November 2010 in Glasgow

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CVP invite you to get HANDS-ON with the latest video technology at the Holdan Roadshow. We’ll have a range of Panasonic AVCHD camcorders, including the AG-HCK10 POV and the much-talked-about Panasonic AG-3DA1 3D which we’ll be demonstrating – and which you can try for yourself! Not only that, but we’ll have Decklink Editing, Ultrascopes and Routers from Blackmagic Design, Hard Disc Recorders and Monitors from Datavideo, the Grass Valley T2 hard disc recorder, Archive Solutions for all tapeless media and LOTS MORE BESIDES. If you want to know how the imminent radio microphone frequency changes will affect you, Peter Knowles will be there to explain and to demonstrate some of the latest digital audio equipment. In fact, whether you want to SHOOT, EDIT, BROADCAST or ARCHIVE the Holdan Roadshow will be packed full of equipment you’ll want to get your hands on!

Convenient, reasonably-priced parking is available at the adjacent Science Centre Car Park, and the CVP team will be there to welcome you at The Hub, answer your questions and to arrange any demos you’d like to set up.

The event runs from 10am to 5pm on both Tuesday 23rd and Wednesday 24th – and i’s FREE! We look forward to seeing you there!

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

A note to other manufacturers and retailers !

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This is just to make a point to other manufacturers, Sony have always supplied large 20MP TIFFs of all their products and this gives bloggers like myself a head start when promoting and blogging about their products.

I have a simple policy that I stick rigidly to and thats NO blogging unless I get decent pictures of a product.

HD Warrior is almost up to the 500,000 hits mark and thats in one year, I have one other policy and thats no payed advertising littering up my web space. I am happy to supply a free add or a blog about new products but they must contain photographs.

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

Calling All Advanced Shooters

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CALLING ALL ADVANCED SHOOTERS: DV Talent brings its acclaimed ‘Shooting and Directing 360º’ course to Glasgow.

“Hands On, Full On.  Highly practical, excellent value for money and time spent.” Uli Hesse, Shooting AP/Director.

‘Concentrated + Efficient + Friendly = 10/10’ Tessa Mayes, Reporter/Director.

DV Talent has been running courses for over ten years and has become THE place to come for industry training – preferred suppliers to the main terrestrial broadcasters, and used by all the major Indies.

This 2 day course will teach you everything you need to know about handling the Sony EX3.  Using practical exercises, you’ll develop your technical skills and combat all fears you may have about shooting tapeless to BBC and C4 HD standards.

All of DV Talent’s trainers are acclaimed and active industry film-makers at the cutting edge of the TV industry.  Drawing on their experience of using the EX3 (and indeed the formidable NanoFlash) on a daily basis they offer unbeatable advice. By the end of the course you will be able to shoot to a competent standard on the Sony EX3, be able to frame, shoot and compose professional video footage for broadcast and multi-platforms.

Best of all, Skillset are offering a few training bursaries of up to 80% to freelancers and 50% for company employees, making for unbeatable value. THEY DO HOWEVER TAKE UP TO A MONTH TO PROCESS – with the limited number of bursaries being awarded on a first come, first served basis – SO APPLY NOW!


Standard Rate Card Price – £845 + VAT

£164 + VAT for freelancers

£420 + VAT for companies

To join us on the 18th and 19th December 2010 please contact Vicky on 02072 672300 or email

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

Some extra information on the new Sony PMW-F3K

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Always been a fan of detailed pictures and this blog is no exception, I was wrong about my price of £6,500 but when you read the specs on this camcorder you understand why it’s a cut above the competition.

Firstly it uses a Super 35mm CMOS sensor which will output 4:2:0 onto the SxS card running up to 35Mbs, 4:2:2 out of the HD SDI socket and here is the best news 4:4:4 out of the dual link HD SDI option. ISO equivalent in standard mode is ISO 800…SONY  “Supported as standard is 4:2:2 50P via dual-link HD-SDI. For 3G-SDI you need to add the 4:4:4 Option” This sounds like the PMW-350 SD option, you get Sony to insert an extra PCB when you order the camera at extra cost. UPDATE…4:4:4 is available via dual link again in April 2011 price tbc.

The back of the camcorder has the usual suspects apart from the Dual link HD SDI sockets that when connected give 1080 50p if you have chosen the optional 4:4:4, now that’s impressive, I don’t know what Sony have up their sleeve for that Dual link HD-SDI but you can bet it will record 4:4:4 at 1080 50p. The battery compartment is interesting as it looks and indeed uses BP- U60 batteries as seen on the EX3.

The spare socket intrigues me but I will make a stab at a connector for the record unit that the Dual HD SDI sockets plug into that will control record, on and off, timecode and supply power…only an educated guess.

A brilliant bit of genius is the zoom rocker switch, now from day one this camcorder will only take prime lenses but Sony are designing a new zoom lens for this camera that can be used with the rocker switch. That single addition gives the cameraman two camcorders in one, thinking about the freelancer who can’t justify two cameras, one for drama and one for television news coverage. As we all know you don’t send a cameraman out on a news job with a camcorder that has one focal length, this type of camerawork suits the zoom lens. As you would expect we have two XLRs with MIC, LINE and 48V phantom. As Sony had some space left over they have included two phono outputs.

On the business side of the camcorder we see a switch for instant 5600K, a sensor plane guide used for focus pullers, a cache record indicator which may light when you have cache record switched on. As seen on the EX3 we have the Slow & Quick control knob which will be useful for instant access to this particular feature. Sadly I can report one switch that did not please me in the mock up and that was the 3 position ND switch, now Sony may have something up their sleeve to help this but most professional camcorders have 4 positions of ND in fact the Panasonic AF101 has a 4 position ND filter ring !

Not the biggest LCD in the world but I am assured it has the same pixel count as the EX3s LCD and that’s a dammed sharp LCD. I am not sure about 2 channels of sound though for most jobs I take on 2 channels are usually more than enough.

You have 2 options when buying this camcorder in January 2011…There are two models, one PMW-F3K with three lenses (35, 50, 85mm F2.0) – Euros 20,700 (£17,814), and a body only version the PMW-F3L BO model – Euros 14500. (£12,511).

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

The rift just got wider today or has it ?

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Many pundits like myself have predicted a cooling down for the HDSLR market after the introduction of the new camcorders from Panasonic and Sony, so whats the reality ! Today has been the second game changer in a matter of weeks as we saw the introduction of the Panasonic AF101 at IBC in Amsterdam only a few weeks ago then today Sony have come in with the F3K FilmLike camcorder.

So how do these camcorders change the politics of the game so far, we have to hark back to February 2009 when this all kicked off with Canon giving the 5DMk11 the ability to record HD video onto a Full frame 35mm photographic sensor but at 30fps not many of us payed attention…at first. Time marched on and the HDSLR band wagon started to roll with many more flavours of cameras from Canon, Nikon and Panasonic. We were witnessing a major change in the way people perceived the filmlike camera and that change has set us all on a path that is changing film/video forever.

Students could finally afford to make low budget films that had that coveted shallow depth of field but the HDSLR came at a price and that price was quality…moire patterning has been a major setback for all but none of the HDSLR movement let alone the very poor sound facilities on such cameras.

One major player RED DIGITAL CINEMA had finally produced the RED ONE 4K digital cinema camcorder and at $25,000 is set at the hi-end of the FilmLike camcorders. RED are looking at introducing a lesser spec camera called the Scarlet but I think time and new camcorders from the big players my have put paid to Scarlet.

2010 can go down in the history books as the year of the FilmLike camcorder, it took Panasonic and Sony long enough to change tac but finally we are now sailing towards a great future for all companies concerned…yes ALL companies. No one denys the important part the HDSLR has played in the advent of the AF101 and the F3K. Canon, Nikon and Panasonic will no doubt come out with more enhanced features for their large following of students and professionals alike.

RED will still sell RED ONE’s for Hi-end productions though I do think Scarlet may now be shelved. Panasonic Broadcast are looking to have the first AF101s out for the end of December 2010 and Sony have announced their F3K to be shipping during January 2011.

So where do they all stand…the HDSLR will continue as long as DPs like Philip Bloom remain faithful to them, RED is priced at $25,000 and is priced accordingly though Sony have come in at £$20,000 with some would say a lesser spec camera than the RED ONE but with 3 prime lenses included and the backing of Sony…who knows.

The Panasonic is the RED herring among all the new camcorders, not that it will be any competition to the RED ONE or the Sony but out of all the new breed of cinematography cameras the AF101 is in my opinion priced at an affordable price of £4200.

The Panasonic AF101 price point gives you a fantastic shallow depth of field camcorder at a cost that won’t break the bank and with a special Canon adaptor just around the corner this camcorder is set to break all records when it finally hits the specialised professional video retailers at the end of December.

We are indeed living in exiting times and I for one look forward to seeing and reviewing both the AF101 and the Sony F3K as soon as they are available to me. DPs have a new choice when filming drama and you can expect all the hire companies to re stock with AF101s and the Sony F3K.

I hope with such quality now available to the professional FilmLike market we will no longer see HDSLRs used because the technology is limited and lets be honest Canon have stood aside for over a year now knowing that moire patterning is a major problem and done nothing to remedy the fault. As professionals we owe it to the future of our industry to embrace the new professional shallow depth of field camcorders from Panasonic and Sony…after all we have shouted for long enough about having a camera fit for purpose and the video manufacturers have delivered…BIG TIME.

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

Sony PMW-F3K from H Preston Media in January 2011

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

Live on Facebook…Sony discuss the PMW-F3K till 2pm today

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Sony European Product Managers Bill Drummond and Sebastian Leske will also be available to answer any questions about the announcement through the Sony Professional facebook page ( from 10:00am – 2:00pm today on the “Discussions” tab ( and then click on “reply to topic” to ask your question!

NOTE : Although this session has now finished there is a lot of great answers from Bill and Sebastian that is worth looking over.

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

Sony announce the PMW-F3K with a Super 35mm sensor

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Representing a breakthrough for filmmakers in terms of features, performance and price, Sony Professional is adding to its line-up of Super 35mm digital motion picture camera technologies. The family, which includes the legendary F35 and the recently announced SRW-9000PL, is now joined by the all new PMW-F3 camcorder.

Each camera in the line-up is based on a Super 35mm sensor and PL mount technology, and illustrates Sony’s unique ability to offer filmmakers access to the highest-quality imaging tools and most complete digital production workflows.

The new PMW-F3 is the latest example of Sony’s efforts to combine performance and price into a powerful and affordable production tool. Designed for television, commercials, music promos and budget features, the new camcorder is offered at a price point that will bring Super 35mm shooting within reach of a wider audience.

That, and the availability of a low-cost PL lens kit model which includes 35/50/85mm T2.0 fixed focal length lenses, makes it ideal for use as a 2nd unit 35mm camera or as a B camera to the SRW-9000PL.

“Sony has a long and successful track record of developing digital motion production technologies,” said Bill Drummond, Strategic Marketing Manager at Sony Professional Europe. “Our cameras have shot everything from documentaries to big-budget blockbusters, totalling many billions of Euros at the box office. With the new PMW-F3, we’re putting the full power of our expertise to work, to bring precise control over depth of field, and access to the huge range of cinematic lenses available to a wider range of users.”

The new PMW-F3 camcorder is based on Sony’s XDCAM EX workflow (codec is MPEG-2 Long GOP 4:2:0 8bit, 35 Mbps), and uses Sony’s SxS™ ExpressCard-based recording media format. Its Super 35mm CMOS imager delivers shallow depth of field, with high sensitivity and low noise levels (ISO 800, F11; and S/N ratio of 63dB in 1920×1080/59.94i mode), as well as wide dynamic range.

The camcorder offers a wide range of image creation options, as well as the ability to seamlessly inter-cut PMW-F3 footage with content shot on Sony’s F35 or SRW-9000PL cameras –  through the use of an HD-SDI dual-link output for external recording (4:2:2 1080 50/59.94P as standard; and RGB 1080 23.98/25/29.97PsF as an option).

Additionally, “S-LOG” and “Hyper Gamma” can be selected. This can allow users to take full advantage of the CMOS imager’s wide dynamic range, giving them the ability to tailor their images during post-production in the same way they would in a film based workflow. Recording formats include 1920×1080, 1440×1080, and 1280×720 at 23.98/25/29.97p, 50/59.94i and, in DVCAM mode, 25/29.97PsF and 50/59.94i. Filmmakers can also take advantage of “slow” and “quick” recording, also known as “overcranking” and “undercranking” from 1 to 30 fps at 1920×1080 (17 to 30 fps in dual-link mode) and 1 to 60 fps at 1280×720 (17 to 60 fps in dual-link mode).

The PMW-F3’s PL mount adapter can accommodate both PL and zoom lenses, and will offer compatibility with a variety of cine lenses such as Cooke, Arri, Fujinon and Zeiss.

Sony is also announcing its plan to introduce a compatible SR Memory Portable Recorder for the PMW-F3 camcorder. This will add a high-end workflow option as well as full RGB capability providing native recoding in HDCAM SR codec.

“We demonstrated a prototype PMW-F3 on our stand at IBC and have been inundated with requests for more information ever since.  It’s great to be able to unveil the full list of features, and announce that first deliveries will be made well in advance of what many customers may have been expecting” concluded Drummond.

Two configurations of the PMW-F3 will be available (PMW-F3L body only and PMW-F3K with PL lens kit). First deliveries of are scheduled for January 2011.

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

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