Meet The Sony NEX-FS 100
At the NAB Show 2011, my main focus was on finding equipment at great price points that anyone can use – like the fun little GoPro. Since I’m happy with my Canon equipment, from the miniscule HF-20 to my HDV-30 and XH-A1s, I wasn’t necessarily looking for higher end cameras to review, so the Sony NEX-FS 100 wasn’t really on my radar. I was aware of its existence but had not seen one. However, after going to WEVA’s Open House – admittedly for the goodies (we expected a party and were disappointed that all they had was crackers!) – I was introduced to the Sony NEX-FS 100 through British filmmaker Den Lennie, who gave a short presentation on all this camera can do.
The NEX-FS 100 was developed specifically as a digital video camcorder capable of producing footage with shallow depth of field similar to that of an HDSLR or film camera but with all the functionality of a video camera, and from a quality standpoint I’d say they got that right on target. If you’ve been looking for a more advanced professional video camera with interchangeable lens capability and fantastic image quality, this camera may be a great option for you. However, don’t get your wallet out yet because it won’t be available to the US market until summer of 2011, and it will set you back $6555, including a Sony 18 ~200mm E-Mount lens. It a Super-35mm CMOS sensor like that used in the Sony PMW-F3.
Den of F-Stop Academy, along with some others, was brought in by Sony to help them in the design phase. He provided a lot of input from the user’s viewpoint, and Sony did the engineering. A few months ago he was sent the camera so he could put it through the paces. He was very happy with the end result. You can see his NAB – WEVA presentation at F-StopAcademy.com.
Den wasted no time and immediately used the camera to shoot a music video in London over a couple of days. I admire his “get ‘er done” attitude! One of the features he loved was the camera’s low light capability and the fact that it is small enough to do discreet ninja shooting, i.e., getting shots in locations where you may be stopped from shooting if you don’t have permits.
Now don’t get me wrong; the NEX-FS 100 isn’t as small as my little Canon Vixia camera by a long stretch, but if you remove the microphone it looks a lot like a Hasselblad, so people may not realize it is shooting video. It’s a little smaller than the PMW-EX3 and produces superior low-light images.
Here is that video. You’ll want to watch this in full screen mode. I think Den said they shot this in about 24 hours, all in a regular home with practical lights and with some stealthy shooting in some public places.
Den did point out that this camera is not right for every shooting situation. If you’re a run and gun videographer, this camera is probably not what you are looking for. It combines the elements that videographers are loving about shooting with digital SLR cameras with the control of a video camera, but it is not a shoulder mounted camera and I don’t know if this is going to be great for wedding. Indie film shooters will love it.
DP, director and filmmaker, Philip Bloom also recently wrote about his time with this camera. After watching this short film, you’ll have to admit, for the professional shooter, this will give many an HDSLR a run for their money.
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