Pro video blog…Produced by Philip Johnston DoP/Editor

Well here it is the AF101 spoiler from Sony, the NEX FS100 Super 35mm camcorder. I don’t think Sony were thinking seriously the day they finally christened their new camcorder the FS100…why have the same number as your competitor, this will cause no end of confusion in the USA.

Not being a fan of HDMI as a connector I would have preferred an HD SDI output, the HDMI outputs 8bit 4:2:2. You do have 2 XLR inputs the other is on the right hand side of the camcorder. We also get one card slot which once again is an unusual choice as most solid state camcorders give you two card slots. You can use Sony’s Memory stick DUO or the more popular SDHC card, you can also use SDXC cards that are faster and larger capacities (64Gig and 128Gig). The one thing I do notice that is sadly missing from the AF101 is the ability to switch your HP monitor between CH1-MIX and CH2.

Sony have decided to go down the “E” mount for their lenses though adapter companies like MTF have various flavours of Sony “E” mount for you to choose from. Unlike the VG-10 we get a gain switch and many pro features that will set this camera well above its competitors.

The LCD is 3.5″ and with the large magnifier clipped on should give us a cracking viewfinder for critical focus, its only a pity the PMW-F3 is left “wanting” when it comes to a decent viewfinder. Your mic controls are here along with the camcorders playback facilities.

This is the camcorder with the lens kit added although the  18-200mm “E” f3.5-6.3 is a sharp lens at f3.5 is a tad dark, lets hope the Super 35mm sensor makes up for this allowing us to switch the gain up to compensate for a dark lens. Lastly Sony have decided not to bring out a new battery for this camcorder and uses the infoLITHIUM “L” batteries (NP-F970).

Exmor™ Super35 CMOS Sensor for Shooting Motion Pictures

Equipped with a large CMOS sensor equivalent in size to Super 35mm film, the NEX-FS100EK enables shooting with the same creative depth of field as the PMW-F3.

The sensor also features the optimum number of effective pixels for shooting HD moving images. At a high 50fps in all-pixel scan mode, this allows images to be captured with less colour aliasing, jaggedness and rolling shutter than DSLR cameras, while providing the sensitivity to shoot at a minimum illumination of 0.28lux*. Another advantage of Exmor™ technology is minimal noise when shooting low-light scenes.

* When using a fixed shutter speed of 1/25, auto gain and an iris setting of F1.4 The SEL18200 lens supplied with the NEX-FS100EK enables shooting in illumination as low as 1.5lux when using a fixed shutter speed of 1/25, auto gain and auto iris

E-Mount Interchangeable Lens System

Sony’s E-mount interchangeable lenses let you enjoy a level of creative freedom unimaginable with camcorders of the past. All feature precision-crafted optics with aspherical glass elements for compact high performance, and circular iris mechanisms for smooth background defocusing. The supplied SEL18200 (E 18–200mm F3.5–6.3 OSS) with the NEX-FS100K boasts 11x zoom power, a quiet AF motor for cleaner sound recording, and Optical SteadyShot™ image stabilisation with an advanced Active mode that lets you take steady handheld shots while walking around — even without a bulky stabilisation rig. An ultra-compact SEL16F28 wide-angle lens and SEL1855 3x zoom lens are also available.

Thanks to the E-mount’s short 18mm flange-back distance, using a mount adaptor allows shooting with a wide range of existing lenses. For example, with the optional LA-EA1 mount adaptor, you can take advantage of the abundant lenses (A-mount lenses). Third-party adaptors enable use of an even wide variety of lenses.

Modular design for a variety of shooting styles

Featuring a compact, lightweight body with detachable grip, handle, and viewfinder, the NEX-FS100EK is ideal for a wide range of shooting situations.

During hand-held shooting, the angle of the grip can be changed as desired, and recording started and stopped with a button on the grip. Recording start/stop buttons are also provided on the top and lower right of the camera.

There are also 1/4- and 3/8-inch screw holes on both the handle and the bottom of the camera body for mounting various peripheral devices. Plus a tape measure hook and an image sensor position index on the body.

XtraFine LCD panel

Located on the optical axis, the 3.5-inch-type XtraFine™ LCD panel enables easier, more intuitive framing, especially during hand-held shooting. And the LCD panel can be rotated for stress-free operation when shooting low-angle scenes and digital signage footage. For easier, more precise focusing in daylight, the viewfinder comes with a detachable 1.2x magnifier.

1920 x 1080P Slow and Quick Motion

Recording images at a different frame rate from that used for playback provides the extra versatility of slow and quick motion shooting. Furthermore, the NEX-FS100EK enables Full HD (1920 x 1080) progressive slow and quick motion. Frame rates are selectable from among 50fps, 25fps, 12fps, 6fps, 3fps, 2fps and 1fps. So, for example, when recording at 1080/25p, if the frame rate is set to 50fps, images are recorded in 2 times slow motion. This means you can create impressive slow motion scenes without the need for troublesome editing.

Note: Shooting in slow and quick motion is possible during HD recording and in the progressive mode. Simultaneous recording to a memory card and the flash memory unit is not possible.

Hybrid recording

Recording to the directly mountable HXR-FMU128 Flash Memory unit allows continuous recording for over 10 hours without changing the recording medium. Simultaneous recording using memory cards and other media is also possible for secure backup when shooting footage that can’t be reshot.

Note: When recording on different media, the resolution must be HD or SD. HD and SD cannot be simultaneously on different media.

NXCAM Recording Format

Like other NXCAM series cameras, the NEX-FS100EK uses the well established AVCHD recording format supported by a wide range of nonlinear editing systems. Better still, it’s ready to shoot with a maximum frame rate of 1920 x 1080/50p (28Mbps) for even higher quality recording. For more flexibility, it’s also possible to record in Standard Definition MPEG-2 format.

Uncompressed 4:2:2 Output with Embedded Time code

When shooting, the NEX-FS100EK can output uncompressed 4:2:2 footage via HDMI (with an embedded SMPTE Time Code) which can be recorded onto external media, such as HDD.

Geotagging with built-in GPS receiver

A built-in GPS receiver makes the NEX-FS100EK 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.

Picture Profile™

Six picture profile settings for different shooting conditions are provided as default settings. Selecting a picture profile for a particular scene offers an easy way to creatively change your shoot.

Last Scene Review

Press a single button to immediately review the last recorded scene.

Expanded Focus

Press a button and this enlarges the centre of the displayed image by 2x, a particularly useful feature when making critical focusing adjustments.


Onscreen display of a histogram enables easier exposure adjustment. The histogram also shows the point where the zebra pattern appears (the zebra point). This enables confirmation of overall brightness distribution and the brightness level set with the zebra function. As well as preventing overexposure, this is useful as a guide when aiming for optimum exposure of certain parts of an image, such as faces.


A peaking function draws a defined line around the subject displayed in the LCD monitor and viewfinder. Peaking sensitivity and colour (red, white, yellow) can be selected to enable more precise focusing.


Centre, aspect, safety zone, guide frame and other markers can be displayed on the LCD.

Firmware Update

Sony has implemented a firmware update scheme for future functions.





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.

21 thoughts on “The NEW Sony NEX FS100 Super 35mm camcorder “First Look”

  1. I feel disapointed,

    no HDSDI, No NDfilters, NO dual card slots for instant backup of the video, no proper handle to hold the camera.

    the only + is the sensor but I guess I have a better sensor with the 5D

    I will wait for a video from this camera online but am very sure AF100 from Panasonic will be my new camera and not this…

  2. As ugly as the prototype. I think I’d much rather hold out for an F3. This camera looks to be a suitable for indoor use only (judging by all the openings and nooks and crannies) and no hand grip, so it must be exclusively for a tripod. The price will probably be comparable to the AF100. Just doesn’t look convincing, yet the F3 is so more expensive.

  3. Interesting, The Main diference I can notice agains AF100 is the sensor (Super 35mm Similar to F3 and RED one vs M43) and probably this one will be region locked (PAL/NTSC). Panasonic favor is variety of Lens while E-mount is inexistent ( yes You can used any lens with an adapter but you loose AF and exposure Control) Baaaah good news is I can imagine some promotions on the AF100 soon 🙂

  4. No ND is a real killer for me. The annoying thing is that the modular design has lots of potential – for instance a handgrip with a zoom servo looks like it could be possible in the future. If Sony just let us know what they’re planning, I might buy into it. As it stands the Af101 looks a better bet despite the sensor.

  5. Personally I think we are lucky to get the same Super 35mm sensor as seen on the F3 and I do 95% of my work on a tripod. If you are holding out for an F3 then take it from me you will need a tripod for that camera.

  6. There is no doubt the AF101 is streets ahead when it comes to 3rd party lenses. Sony should have chosen the “A” mount in my opinion, the “E” mount is just too domestic.

  7. Hi Phil.
    I actually have the camera sitting on my desk right now.
    Dont forget, we are already making adaptors to E Mount for Nikon, Canon FD and PL (as seen in Sony’s promo video)

  8. The future is the modular camera and this one is one of them ! This one is very compact like a DSLR ! and have not this stupid AF101 2x factor! Great new I will buy 2 !

  9. REVIEWs

    now i am confused – first i found this review (telling me it is a bad camera)

    then i found this (telling me it is a superp camera)

    could someone please take a look and tell me it the second one is a “review for sony” so i don´t relay on it… or is Nigel Cooper on the wrong trak..


  10. Everyone has their own opinion I produce reviews but they are my own take on what I am reviewing. Nigel Cooper is a independant video cameraman and has no dealings with DSLRs. Den is also an independent cameraman who teaches how to use DSLRs and produces training DVDs and was on Sonys focus group for the FS100. As you can see they both come to the table with slightly different angles and views, you have to make up your own mind…I will have some definitive answers on the FS100 on Monday evening…can’t tell you much more than that till Monday.

  11. Manfrotto distribute Genus Faders which are variable density ND filters in different sizes that can be screwed to the front of a lens. The standard kit zoom for the FS100 has I understand a 67mm thread. Available to order through H.Preston and other reputable dealers.

  12. Shot a days worth of footage with this camera. Images looks great. Getting footage of card is another story. 30 thumbnails of my clips displayed, yet none will play or transfer. No body seems to be able to help me either. I transfer clips from other solid state cameras all the time and this never happens. I will NEVER shoot with this camera again.

  13. Images with this camera look very great. I’m planning to buy one this following month. I’m a photographer and I’m shooting Nikon cameras. Will some third party lenses for Nikon work with this camera, via adapter (e.g. Tamron & Tokina)?

  14. I just bought a Sony Nex-FS100UK and want to shoot a feature film. My questions are: which format should I choose to get the best possible image in this camera, what´s the best compression to edit the footage in Final Cut X and which is the best way to export it (once is finished) to make DCP copy?. (I am using a 32 gb SanDisk card inside the camera).

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