It shares the same sensor as the considerably more expensive PMW-F3, but nothing else—including its design. Cut a lens mount into the end of the Dixie cup; add a tilting and swiveling LCD to the top of the brick; liberally festoon the exterior with buttons, switches, connectors, and attachment points; and throw a carrying handle, side grip, microphone, and viewfinder tube into the box, too. The IRIS button toggles between auto and manual iris. A thumbwheel lets you adjust the iris in manual mode. Shooters planning to use cine lenses with the FS should plan on a complement of ND filters for the matte box; those using stills lenses may want to consider variable NDs.
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It shares the same sensor as the considerably more expensive PMW-F3, but nothing else—including its design. Cut a lens mount into the end of the Dixie cup; add a tilting and swiveling LCD to the top of the brick; liberally festoon the exterior with buttons, switches, connectors, and attachment points; and throw a carrying handle, side grip, microphone, and viewfinder tube into the box, too.
The IRIS button toggles between auto and manual iris. A thumbwheel lets you adjust the iris in manual mode. Shooters planning to use cine lenses with the FS should plan on a complement of ND filters for the matte box; those using stills lenses may want to consider variable NDs. Default functions are shown in darker gray print, and the defaults are eminently sensible, so you may not need to change them except in unusual conditions.
Three oblong buttons toggle manual control of gain, white balance, and shutter. The thumbwheel sets shutter speeds, frame rates, auto-exposure adjustments, and traverses menus, depending on which button was last pressed. A channel-selection switch for the headphones lets you choose Ch. Just above the cavernous battery well, the XLR jack for input 2 resides behind a flip-out rubber cap on the left.
On the right, a flip-up door reveals a full-sized HDMI port. On the left, again, we see the card slot door; on the right another door hides RCAs for composite video and stereo audio output, as well as a Sony-proprietary D-shell jack for an analog component video cable, included, which terminates in three RCA plugs.
The right side has another carrying-strap lug, and a cable clip for wrangling the cables from the included microphone and the removable handgrip. The bulk of the right side is occupied by a pop-out blank. A thumbwheel to its right adjusts tilt friction, necessary when using the long and heavy viewfinder tube.
The rear half of the top has an inset well for the folded-down LCD; this well is chock-full of controls. Two rows of transport-control and data-display buttons fill the top right. This entire row of important-while-shooting controls is accessible even with the LCD folded down. A red tally-lamp LED sits opposite it on the upper right corner. The lens release is on the lower left edge of the lens mount, opposite the white alignment dot for E-mount lenses.
In the center, of course, is the sensor itself. The LCD can be spun completely around to face forwards; spun 90 degrees in the other direction to face the right side of the camera; flipped up degrees for low-angle viewing, or spun around and folded flat for looking straight down at, like the groundglass on a Hasselblad.
It can also be folded flat, face-down, for protection during transportation. It is bright, contrasty, and perfectly usable outdoors, even in direct sunlight. Peaking and expanded focus can be used together. The FS offers typical Sony data readouts and status displays, with a few extra tweaks for good measure:.
The zebra-level line remains on the histogram whether zebra is being used or not, though it can be turned off in the menus if you find it distracting. Markers are handled separately from other displays. Any of a variety of markers can be enabled or disabled through the menus; all are displayed or removed at the push of a single button. Menus display over picture using a semitransparent gray background, separating the menu from the picture without entirely obscuring it; you can usually see the results of your changes on the image without having to exit the menus.
This screen is entirely navigable by touch, or by using the four-way rocker to select a button or thumbnail and the EXEC key to activate the chosen selection.
The handle itself slides back and forth through a collar on its riser, and is fixed in the desired location with a setscrew. The front of the handle holds a crosspiece terminating in a microphone holder.
The crosspiece is held in a rubber bushing; flipping up the front of the handle releases pressure on the bushing, so you can slide the crosspiece sideways or rotate the mike holder.
The FS comes with a detachable, rotatable handgrip with a padded strap. The handgrip is affixed using a captive screw which not only attaches the handgrip to the body, but snugs it down against its internal rotation-locking mechanism. This attachment is a bit fiddly; it needs to be loosened quite a bit before you can rotate the handle, but if you loosen it just a bit more, the grip comes off in your hand.
It clips onto the LCD with two spring clips, and extends about 7. The tube has a flip-up hinge allowing it to be opened, so that the LCD can be viewed from a distance without removing the tube. The lens body is finished in bright, polished aluminum, with black rubber zoom and focus rings. It has a LOCK switch to keep it at 18mm; superzooms of this sort, carried lens-down on still cameras, have a tendency to self-extend.
It has a short throw of about 90 degrees, and focal lengths are marked on the barrel in white. Turn it quickly, and that same focal range is traversed in 90 degrees or less. The focus ring turns in the right direction, the same as cine and video lenses.
There are, for obvious reasons, no focal-distance markings on the lens itself, but there is a distance readout on the LCD when the lens is being manually focused, though only within three seconds of actual focusing activity. The readout is in tenths of meters out to 10m, then in whole meters. All formats are 8-bit, , long-GOP. HDMI and component outputs are format-selectable, showing either the native recording format or downconverting it, e.
Downconversion from HD to SD can be displayed as anamorphic squeezed, letterboxed, or center-cut. HDMI 1. The HDMI live signal is uncompressed at 8 bits. Timecode can be sent out HDMI for offboard recorders. When shooting 24p, pulldown markers are embedded in the HDMI signal so that properly-equipped HDMI recorders can extract the original 24p signal from the 60i or 60p feed.
Data displays can be superimposed on the video feeds, or the feeds can be left clean for recording. Video can be recorded in parallel to a card in the card slot and to the Flash Memory Unit, if installed. If one destination fills up, recording continues on the other medium.
Relay recording—bouncing between the card slot and the FMU as one or the other fills up— is not supported. In 24p, the FS allows shutter speeds of 3, 6, 12, 24, 40, 48, 50, 60, 96, , , , , , , , , , , and where the shutter speed is the reciprocal of the number shown, e. In 30p, 60p, and 60i recording, the speeds are 4, 8, 15, 30, 60, 90, , , , , , , , , , , , , , and These are full-resolution speeds utilizing the entire active area of the sensor, without windowing or line-skipping.
Both channels are sampled at 48Khz with 16 bits of resolution. Audio from either input can be recorded on either channel, or on both. The headphone feed can be set to monitor channel 1 only, channel 2 only, or a stereo mix of the two. The physical layout of the top-panel audio controls input 1 and channel 1 on the left, input 2 and channel 2 on the right is the reverse of the physical layout of the camera: input 2 is on the left, input 1 is on the right. The camera stores most image tweaks in six customizable Picture Profiles.
Along with preset Gammas and Color Modes, Picture Profiles allow a number of additional adjustments as well. Generally speaking, they cluster into tweaks that affect tonal scale rendering, color rendering, and image enhancement.
Four preset Gamma curves control tonal rendering. Black Gamma lets you tweak shadow rendering, almost like the inverse of a knee. Knee affects highlights above a certain point. Either mode yields similar results: the ability to properly shift white balance in any direction. Most of the adjustments are fairly subtle, and even the maximum detail level is tightly constrained and unobtrusive. Yet the default levels on the FS were entirely pleasing to my eye, even when pixel-peeping; for the most part I left detail on full auto at its default level, and I was never unhappy with the result.
The F3 gets a lot more fine detail out of the same sensor, though it appears to be more susceptible to chroma aliasing, especially on that degree diagonal. And yes, since you ask, I have that same chart shot with an AF When shooting real-world subjects instead of charts and when not being directly compared to the F3 the FS captures a pleasingly sharp image with no apparent softness.
As on the Canon C, high gain settings result in a mild, fine-grained, isomorphic noise pattern, not the blurry chroma smears more typical of video noise. For the most part, the camera renders smooth, detailed, and naturalistic images. These errors seem to happen along sharp transitions between normal exposure and overexposure: edges of blown-out windows, sharply-defined specular highlights, and the like. Normally, the false-color artifacts are about a pixel or two wide or high the minimum size visible using recording , and fairly unnoticeable.
However, a slow pan or tilt can cause affected details to twinkle or flicker between two colors bouncing between a pale yellow-green and a pale magenta, for example ; the flickering may call attention to what would otherwise be an insignificant artifact.
Consider that the F3 itself is only a year old, and the AF has been out a mere 15 months and it arguably uses a repurposed still-camera sensor, not something designed from the get-go for p motion imaging.
And only last year—five years since the HVX—did Panasonic offer the same full-res HD image quality in affordable handhelds. You can wait until such perfection becomes affordable… or you can survey the field, choose a tool, and get to work making pictures. In other aspects the sensor is very well-behaved. All record excellent-looking still-lifes, but when the camera or the scene moves, the lower the bitrate, the faster the image turns into blocky mush.
Minor post-processing, such as gentle white-balance corrections or subtle tonal-scale adjustments, is usually possible without revealing the limitations of the format. The wind filters low-cut filters are essential when using the supplied mike on-camera, as low-frequency handling noise carries through the handle and shockmount at the slightest provocation.
With the wind filter, such noises are merely annoying instead of completely overwhelming. Using a separate mike mount with better isolation helps, too, as does moving the mike entirely off-camera. Both are sampled at 16 bits, 48 kHz. The stock battery, an NP-F, will run the camera about five and a half hours; the larger F is rated for 8.
I used both the F and an older F I had handy, and the stated numbers appear to be accurate. While the F sits well recessed in the battery compartment, the F and presumably the F fill it out flush with the back of the camera. Running a big cinema-style rig on one F for half a day was quite a treat!
With an 18mm flange depth, E-mount cameras offer plenty of flexibility in mounting almost any interchangeable lens available, through appropriate adapters.
The lens is an adequate if not stellar performer. The focus blurs slightly even during fairly slow zooms, while any zoom of four seconds end-to-end or faster shows visible exposure changes as the iris motor struggles to keep up zooming in causes darkening during the zoom, while going wider makes the picture momentarily brighter. You have been warned.
Sony NEX-FS100 Handbook
You see, this is no ordinary camcorder. Plant yourself somewhere comfortable and click past the break to find out. The sensor There's only one way to begin a review of the NEX-FS and that's with the words "Super 35mm," which are emblazoned across the camera's packaging, the device itself and all Sony's promotional literature. The Super 35mm Exmor CMOS sensor really does make this camera unique amongst its competitors -- that's why Sony's marketing people seized on it, and it's also why we'll focus on this one spec at the expense of more niche features like slow-mo, GPS or picture profiles. To put it bluntly, were it not for the sensor, we wouldn't bother reviewing this camera at all.
Review: Sony NEX-FS100 “Super35” LSS AVCHD Camcorder
Sony NEX-FS100 review