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Switching to digital from S8/S16 and considering Panasonic AF100 but...


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#1 Erik Hammen

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Posted 27 November 2015 - 06:12 PM

Hi everyone!
I've been looking seriously at the Panasonic AF100 as a first digital cine camera purchase. Previously I've only worked with celluloid film. I like the AF100's soft, filmic-looking images, and frankly, because they are currently priced between $1000-$2000 including lenses, which I can probably afford but just barely.
 
The thing is, I'm worried about the AF100's reportedly limited ability to handle highlights and blowouts.
 
I love my highlights and blow outs! I want to be able to shoot indoors using bright light a window as my primary (only) source and let the damn window blow out. I also want to be able to shoot outside on a bright summer city street, and to appreciate that brightness rather than worry about artifacts. However, I'd also rather not have it handle highlights in a airbrushy-looking way like something created in AfterEffects, which is why I continue to gravitate to the AF100.
 
A lot of the folks on this forum are techincal types, so I'm hoping you can help allay my fears about the AF100's ability to handle bright conditions, and/or suggest a better camera for my price range that also may have that "filmic" look.
 
Thanks very much!
Erik Hammen
 
FWIW, here's something I shot recently (super 16)

Edited by Erik Hammen, 27 November 2015 - 06:13 PM.

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#2 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 27 November 2015 - 07:34 PM

The AF100 indeed does have clippy highlights. It's 5 year old technology and on the more affordable end of the scale, so not surprising really. A Blackmagic Pocket or used Sony a7S might be better if you want a more graceful highlight rolloff and better tonality. I'm sure there are lots of newer cameras available in your price range that do just as well that I'm not aware of.

 

*Just be aware that they won't look as good in those aspects as the celluloid you are used to!


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#3 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 28 November 2015 - 02:08 AM

Yea, I'd agree with the pocket camera. The Panasonic AF100 wasn't really that great. People bought them because at the time, there wasn't anything like it. Today there are many cameras like it and for cheaper money as well. The pocket for sure looks more cinematic and closer to 16mm then anything I've used.
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#4 Erik Hammen

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Posted 28 November 2015 - 02:17 PM

Thanks folks! I have definitely moved away from the AF100 now and am very seriously considering the Pana GH4 DSLR as my top choice -- it has the same Cine settings that I liked in AF100, but without the problems, and it seems to get stellar ratings so that might be the way I go. I was trying to avoid the DSLR form factors, but I don't know that I can afford a different route and get what I want for images.

I've actually thought a lot about the black magic products but they *require* grading, which makes me nervous (and battery life is apparently not great) and the Sony is out of my my price range if I want to get a lens, so its a moot point.

I even looked at the "digital bolex", but aside from hating the name and try-hard form factor, it's way too costly and again requires grading, which to me is a deal breaker.


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#5 John E Clark

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Posted 30 November 2015 - 01:08 PM

Thanks folks! I have definitely moved away from the AF100 now and am very seriously considering the Pana GH4 DSLR as my top choice -- it has the same Cine settings that I liked in AF100, but without the problems, and it seems to get stellar ratings so that might be the way I go. I was trying to avoid the DSLR form factors, but I don't know that I can afford a different route and get what I want for images.

I've actually thought a lot about the black magic products but they *require* grading, which makes me nervous (and battery life is apparently not great) and the Sony is out of my my price range if I want to get a lens, so its a moot point.

I even looked at the "digital bolex", but aside from hating the name and try-hard form factor, it's way too costly and again requires grading, which to me is a deal breaker.

 

You can shoot in a Rec 709 aka 'video' with the Pocket. The benefit for me of the Pocket was RAW @ 12 bits of intensity resolution, or ProRes @ 10 bits, which is deeper than most DSLRs with 8 bit encoding oftem in some sort of AVCHD/MPEG4 compression, 'hacks' not withstanding... I some what resent the 'hacks', as I'd rather the manufacturer actually take an active role in making 'higher performance' available to those who want it. Blackmagic has done that for my needs.

 

The Pocket's S16 sized sensor and the MFT lens mount allows me to use my Lumix 14-140mm zoom as well as my Nikon lenses with my MTF -> Nikon adaptor. I also have a c-mount adapter, and with the S16mm one can find 'very cheap' 16mm lenses...

 

I had a GH-1 and was going to continue with Lumix line, but even after the GH4... it seemed the DSLR manufacturers are still going for higher spatial resolution rather than bit depth...  which to me is what you are concerned about with the clipped highlights...

 

I've not kept up with the DSLRs in the last year so, perhaps there is a 'under $1K' solution that matches the Pocket...


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#6 Kenny N Suleimanagich

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Posted 30 November 2015 - 01:21 PM

Do you usually just get a one-light from the lab on your film work?
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