Pro video blog…Produced by Philip Johnston DoP/Editor


I had a good week with the Sony PMW-F3 and coming from my PMW-350 background it was easy to navigate the F3 menu, unlike the unfamiliar AF101 menu system. The main difference between the two camcorders is looks, the Sony looks more like a conventional camcorder, not the square box look of the Panasonic.

As you can see both cameras suffer flare, I don’t know any camera that doesn’t, the F3 came with three lenses the 35mm, 50mm and 85mm T2 (f2) all of them were very sharp and caused less flare than my Voigtlander NOKTON f0.95 lens also set to f2 for a comparison. The F3 as you can see also has far better resolution due to the excellent Sony 35mm Prime lens.

Remember the Sony Prime lenses are made exclusively for the F3 which is why they perform so well.

CONCLUSION : The Sony PMW-F3 with supplied Prime Lenses certainly resolves far better than the AF101 as you would expect and the F3 is the king of low light images at 18dB, this camera excels in low light. What about the 24MBs (AF101) v 35MBs (F3), strangely this seems to be less of a problem as I was expecting the F3 to gain having the 10MBs faster speed advantage but it only proves that you still need 50MBs, 4:2:2, 10 bit to make a significant difference. They both suffer from being 8bit which is no surprise, thats not to take anything away from the AF101, the Panasonic is fantastic for the money and lets be honest did you really expect the £4K AF101 to upstage the £10K PMW-F3.


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.

5 thoughts on “Sony PMW-F3 v Panasonic AF101 in Low light…the Results

  1. Thanks for all your hard work reviewing cameras for us all. As a camera operator which one do you prefer to work with?

  2. Is the difference between your image from each camera above really only due to lens resolution? It’s hard to tell from the low resolution web repro, but to my eye, the Panny picture looks muddy, suggesting inferior electronic processing.

  3. Why not post full sized images or just 100% crops?
    It’s impossible to tell anything from resized images.

  4. The difference in res is not because of the lenses. The Nokton is a stills lens with more than enough resolution for video, take a still shot of a chart and scale it down to 1920×1080 and it will probably resolve over 900 lines. It’s the sensors that are the cause of the difference in res, the sony does around 960 lines, the panny does 680 before aliasing starts. Also the quality of the Sony PL lenses has not been described as excellent by others.

  5. ı follow this web page from turkey,also ım first owner af101 in turkey,ı have to schneider cinexenar lenses,on the well light contiditon may af101 is better than f3 but unfortunatly ıf you work darks area af101 is terrible noisy at ıso200 you never try up to 200 ıso,f3 sensivity is magnificent..

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *