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… http://www.dvuser.co.uk/content.php?CID=268
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 !