Panasonic AF-100

Video’s and user reports from Panasonic’s AF-100 camera are starting to appear all over the web now and I’m becoming more and more intrigued by this new camera.

The Af-100 uses a micro 4/3’s sensorwhich is smaller than those used in the full frame Canon 5D markII and slightly smaller the 7D’s APS-C sensor so it will be interesting to see how the AF-100 performs with traditional 35mm lenses on adapters. Certainly using something like the Canon EOS lenses will result in a crop factor of around 1.8 so using wide lenses becomes problematic with a 24mm performing more like a 50mm etc.

Check out this video by CREWS.TV on vimeo. They used Ziess Ultra prime lenses on the AF-100 by way of a PL adapter and an external recorder so this the quality shown is from a very expensive setup.

It would be great to see the AF-100 put to a few more real world tests though, especially in the kind of situations where HDSLR’s struggle such as areas of high detail, or where a wider dynamic range is required.

It’s amazing that HDSLR’s caught the industry out in the way they did, it seemed a pure accident that SLR cameras gave film makers across the globe a solution to their thirst for shallow depth of field video recording. Without a doubt this whole episode caught the big boys off guard too and the AF-100 is a sure sign that they are trying to catch up.

Personally I can’t wait to get away from the handling, workflow and image quality shortcomings of HDSLR’s and get back to shooting shallow depth of field footage on a dedicated video camera with all the inputs, outputs, controls and video related features that you’d normally expect. Seeing the AF-100 in use is very exciting and I can’t wait to get my hands on one to try out.

For me though the AF-100 is still not really an ideal solution, I’d prefer a bigger sensor, ideally 35mm, and a much more robust recording codec. The AF-100 uses AVCHD at 24mbps which I’m sure will produce okay results, but even now before the AF-100 is released 24mbps is on the low side compared to what other manufacturers are starting to offer.

The Panasonic AF-100 is reported to have a street price of around $4,800. Zeiss Ultra prime lenses (as used in the video above) will set you back around $14,000 each! :)

Check out’s blog post for more info and pictures of the AF-100 in use.

I’m still hanging out to see what Sony are doing with their 35mm camera. Pricing is still unknown but it’s using a full 35mm sensor and will likely record to one of Sony’s XDCAM-EX codecs or better. Click here to see a recent interview with Sony about the new camera. (skip past the first 2 mins). Sony are suggesting a release early in 2011.

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