Pro video blog…Produced by Philip Johnston DoP/Editor

NAB 2012 was all about the new Sony NEX-FS700 with its updated feature set…4K upgradable, 3 ND filters, 10x slow motion in Full HD and a far superior new handle. Sadly the 50 Mbps Sony PMW-100 was overshadowed by the new JVC camcorders with their far superior 23x optical lenses.

The new camera from Black Magic Design will appeal to those who like 24 and 25p workflows, not my cup of tea but then I am a 50p man myself.

Panasonic had a new shoulder mount camcorder the HPX-600 and a new microP2 card adapter allowing SDHC class 10 cards to be used to record Full HD P2 footage. The AF101 was given a $250 upgrade to 1080 50p but in my opinion won’t do much for the camera standing at a mere 800 lines resolution.

Canon had their 4K C500 on show but have taken the best feature in my opinion…the hand grip ! We now get some major fan grills that don’t bode well for camera noise.

Not the best NAB in my opinion for new innovative equipment fit for purpose, Sony missed a trick by not revamping the XDCAM line with a new 1/2″ EX camcorder, Panasonic have decided not to compete with Sony’s FS700 and give us a 1080 50p paid upgrade for the tired AF101.

I take my hat off to Black Magic who produced the shock of the show with their quirky Cinema Camera, totally unexpected and at just under £2000 will have more than a few sales, thats for sure. UPDATE : I have just learned from one of my readers that the BM Cinema Camera has a BUILT IN BATTERY…YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING…lets hope that changes before production !



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.

9 thoughts on “My thoughts on the new gear

  1. “We now get some major fan grills that don’t bode well for camera noise.”
    Totally agree – not to mention weather sealing! Looks like a great camera though.

  2. A large volume of air moving slowly will make less noise than a small amount of air going fast. Maybe that’s why the holes are so big.

  3. I think of the internal battery as just a backup, similar to the internal memory in the Canon XA10. I wouldn’t depend on a built in internal battery any more than I would depend on internal memory. With a pocket sized 10 amp hour 12V Li-poly external battery like this one: and a 12V cable like this one: you should be able to run the BMC all day.

    I have one of these batteries – with an inverter, it runs my laptop for hours, which has a lot bigger current draw than any camera.

  4. Re. the Blackmagic Cinema Camera – The crop factor is the deal breaker for me. Overall though I really like the direction this will take us – larger sensor, greater dynamic range and priced more for the masses. This is why the 5DMK2 was so popular. Good luck to them! Canon, Sony and Panasonic take note!

  5. Phil, in the text of this blog post you referred to the Panny AF101 as having only 800 TVL resolution. Where did you get that spec? Did you measure it yourself? Just curious – there are lots of conflicting claims about lines of resolution these days, and I’m not sure how accurate they are.


  6. Lens Mount Micro Four Thirds

    Horizontal Resolution 800 TV Lines

    Built-in Filters Neutral Density 1/4, 1/16, 1/64 or OFF (rotary switch)

    Its readily available all over the internet, I have seen the picture, it is soft compared to a Sony F3, FS100.

  7. “The new camera from Black Magic Design will appeal to those who like 24 and 25p workflows, not my cup of tea but then I am a 50p man myself” …agreed, and I’d say all new cameras should ideally be ‘world cameras’ running up to 50p/60p (in FULL HD …with sound!) like the Sony FS700 (& updated FS100).
    At least Panasonic is now offering the “1080 50p paid upgrade for the tired AF101” (it always could ‘overcrank’ [in steps] up to 1080p50 but without sound) also adding AVCHD 2.0 @28Mbps.
    Whilst the AF101 may not have the resolution of your Canon C300 (or the Sony FS100/700) bear in mind that it is currently available for around 1/3rd the price of the Canon (some places 1/4!).
    As you say you are “a 50p man myself” does this mean you are running your Canon C300 at 720p most of the time? …seems like a waste of all that potential image quality if you’re forced to choose between 1080p25 or 720p50.
    So, Canon C300 & Blackmagic Camera give us higher bit-rates in camera but low 1080p frame-rates. Sony FS700/100 (and others) give us higher 1080p frame-rates but lower bit-rates in camera.
    Surely, it can’t be long before someone introduces an external (high bit-rate) recorder capable of saving 1080p50/60? …though I would much rather it was all done inside the camera!
    Personally, I would like to have seen a Sony EX3 successor or competitor (I want interchangeable lenses but not necessarily a very large sensor) with the frame-rates from the FS700 combined with the in camera bit-rates of the Canon C300/XF cameras (or higher; 50-100+Mbps recorded to fast SDXC or XQD [up to 1Gbps; 125MB/s, write and read] cards?)
    The Blackmagic camera might become a contender if they give it 1080p50/60 and more lens mount (and battery!) options …let’s hope they take on board some of the suggestions they received at NAB before finalising production.

  8. Thanks, Phil.

    Having just bought, tested, rejected and sent back yet *another* cam – a Panasonic AC160 – the new JVC GY-HM600U has now caught my eye. Although lacking 1080 50/60p, there is a glimmer of hope that might be fixed by the time it is released. One BIG positive factor is the excellent customer interaction coming from Craig Yanagi at JVC. He is active on a lot of forums, and – if you know how to penetrate a corporate phone tree – can even be spoken with on the phone!

    On paper the JVC HM600 looks very good. I notice little niceties such as a flip-lever for the lens cover instead of a cheap removable/misplace-able lens cap. Hopefully it has other attentions to detail. Anxious to see your review! If you get one, don’t forget to report on zoom servo noise. That was a big part of my decision to reject the Panny AC160 – I have NEVER hear such a loud whine from the zoom servos; it came through horribly loud on all my test shots. None of the Sonys I have owned or tested had that problem! Did you notice it when you tested the AC160?


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