Pro video blog…Produced by Philip Johnston DoP/Editor

Sony are still looking for a name for their FilmLike camcorder nicknamed “Hogwarts” as in the Harry Potter stories Voldermort is known as “He who must not be named”. OK halloween over what’s the news…not a lot other than Sony are having a pow wow sometime later in November to possibly hand out some details to the press and bloggers like HD Warrior.

I am not to sure why Sony announce this camcorder at NAB 2010 then show it off during IBC 2010 and when you ask the easy-peazy of questions like what type of card does it take…blank.

The one thing that’s becoming clear is the word “affordable” in all their correspondence…now as we all know affordable is fine depending what side of the railway line you live…to Stephen Spielberg a Sony F35 is affordable ! Anyway enough of Sony lets look at more information coming from Nigel Cooper who also had a few days with the 75% finished AF101 from Panasonic.

Nigel “From the footage I shot I found the Panasonic MOS sensor (CMOS technology basically, as apposed to CCD) performed incredibly with no visible artefacts, rainbow moiré or stepping. The images where very clean and film-like in quality. On pans, both gentle and vigorous there was minimal ‘jelly wobble’ off the MOS sensor, nothing worth mentioning anyway and no worse than anything produced by Sony with CMOS sensors. Unfortunately any MOS/CMOS sensor suffers from jelly-wobble; it is just a case of how much or how little. This baby inside the AG-AF101 is as minimal as I have seen and about as good as you will get. I don’t hear people complaining about Sony’s superb EX1R and EX3 so I don’t expect anyone to complain in the Panasonic Pub either. I’m not sure what the heat situation is from this MOS sensor, but the AG-AF101 is so quiet I don’t even know if it has a fan inside; I couldn’t hear anything anyway. Either way, the technology inside the AG-AF101 is incredibly innovative and state-of-the-art. This large 4/3rd MOS sensor is what gives us this new depth-of-field control and a field of view reminiscent to that of a 35mm film camera like those used to shoot Hollywood movies i.e. Panavision.

Some people think that the 4/3rd imager in the AG-AF101 is exactly the same imager as the one in Panasonic’s stills camera the GH1, fact is, it is not; it is a bran new sensor. Although the AG-AF101 uses a CMOS sensor (MOS), there is no ‘skew’ (jelly wobble effect/rolling shutter) as it scans the chip incredibly fast. I tried really hard to get the AG-AF101 to skew with various pans, both fast and slow and I found it virtually impossible to get it to skew. Although there is still flash-banding (all CMOS sensors suffer from this no matter who makes them), as usual, it can be fixed in post. But if you are a filmmaker, you will be in control of that anyway so it doesn’t really matter; simply don’t allow anyone to fire off a flash-gun on set. Wedding guys will have to fix those frames in post, no big deal.”

Nigel “The Panasonic AG-AF101 is quite simply revolutionary. It is unequivocally and without a doubt the new and first kid on the block with such incredible capabilities at such an incredibly low price. It is the HD camcorder that independent filmmakers, as well as every other video producer and lighting cameraman has been waiting on for 20 odd years or so. At £4,295, what is there not to like. The AG-AF101 takes all goodness of DSLRs i.e. depth-of-field and light sensitivity, but gets rid of all the bad stuff such as aliasing, rainbow moiré and other workflow issues, and all encapsulated in a perfectly formed professional video camcorder.

There is nothing like the Panaasonic AG-AF101; it is a brand new concept. Those who have got used to shooting HD video on DSLRs and having to piece together clumsy workarounds, been forced to use a Zacuto Z-finder because DSLRs don’t have a viewfinder need not worry anymore as the AG-AF101 has a HD viewfinder built in, as well as a fold-out HD LCD screen. Or if you had to use a separate sound recorder because you could not get good audio from your EOS 5D MK2, worry no more as the AG-AF101 has two built in professional balanced XLR inputs with uncompressed Linear PCM 16-bit audio.

The Panasonic AG-AF101 is the most promising camcorder to arrive in over twenty years. It is very exciting times for cinema shooters and independent filmmakers.

In a nutshell the Panasonic AG-AF101 is a professional HD video camcorder just like many others such as Panasonic’s own HPX171 or Sony’s EX1R, but the AG-AF101 now gives us that last missing piece of the jigsaw; total depth-of-field control combined with interchangeable lenses, with that cinematic look that we have all been waiting for.”

Full review on


Having been working in the video business since 1988 I have amassed a great amount of knowledge of both the kit and production values over the last 30 years.

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