Category Archives: Tech Talk

An Inexpensive Cine Zoom for the AF100?

A few months before getting my AF100, I started testing various C-Mount lenses on my GF1, because I knew that [economical] modern cine-style zoom lens options on a Micro 4/3 video camera were going to be somewhat rare. An old TV-C lens can be had really cheap, and I thought that there might be one or two 1″ lenses that wouldn’t vignette too much on the 4/3″ sensor.

Canon TV-16 25-100mm f/1.8 Zoom Lens
Canon TV-16 25-100mm f/1.8 Zoom Lens

I started with a 16-160 f/1.6 Tokina CCTV zoom, which is a tank of a lens. I was really praying that it would work, because I would love to have a 10X f/1.6 lens to play with. I also picked up a Fujinon TV zoom and a Canon TV-16 zoom. As I suspected, the Tokina and Fujinon lenses vignetted very badly, but the Canon actually wasn’t too bad. It vignettes, but I can see how that in some shooting situations, it could be usable. In the mid zoom range, the black edge comes inside of the frame in the corners, but it isn’t as pronounced in the wide and tele positions. It’s there, but it doesn’t punch you in the face; it’s more of a gentle slap. Either way, it still stings a bit. I will post some real-world clips from it soon.

I think that if I could enlarge the image circle 1.4X, the problem would be corrected. I could handle losing the stop of light, but that would mean it would become a 70-280mm (FF 35 equiv). I don’t really want a zoom that long on the wide end. I may have to relegate the Canon to being a special occasion lens.

I’ve seen mods to mount a B4 2/3″ servo lens onto the AF100. That seems a sound option, especially if you get one of the lenses that has the built-in teleconverter because it solves your image circle problem right off the bat. 2/3″ lenses are wider, which allows more general use after magnification.

Another solution is Abel CineTech’s HDX2 adapter, which is an optical B4 to PL adapter that enlarges the lens image circle from 11mm to 22mm (soaking up two stops of light in the process), and also corrects the 3xCCD optics to project for a single sensor. But, at MSRP US$5500.00, it’s hardly the economical option for low-budget users. On the other hand, if it allows a $15,000.00 servo lens to become usable on larger format cameras, I can easily see how it can earn its keep in a production environment.

So, my search continues. If anyone knows of a C-Mount lens that will actually cover a 4/3″ sensor, please let me know!

AF100 v1.15 Firmware Update Problem for Mac Users

Panasonic AF100 blog
Treat me right, baby.

Mac users, there is a potential problem you should be aware of before you attempt to update your AF100’s firmware to v1.15. It took me a few minutes to figure out why my camera would not read the file from the SD card (I kept getting a Check Card message, even though I knew I had copied the files onto the SD card correctly), but finally it dawned on me that the hidden files that OSX puts on media were most likely messing with the camera.

My solution was to reformat the SD card using the camera, and then pop it into my Netbook that is running Jolicloud OS. I downloaded the firmware update file from Panasonic on this machine, and then copied it to the SD card, following Panasonic’s instructions. This time, the update worked flawlessly. So be aware, you might have to use a Windows or other machine to update your camera this first time. I heard that Panasonic fixed the problem with this firmware update though, so it should likely not be a problem in the future.

AF100 Firmware Update to Ver 1.15 Now Available

Panasonic AF100 users, there is a firmware update available for your camera (to ver 1.15). In my opinion, the most important update is this: When you are using the camera in VFR (variable frame rate) mode, now there will be an icon in your viewfinder that tells you that audio is NOT being recorded. In case you weren’t aware, before the update, your audio meters would function as normal, even though your camera was not recording audio in VFR mode. This is a VERY important fix, because even if you are recording at the standard frame rate for your scene file when in VFR mode, the camera will still not record audio, UNLIKE the HPX170, which WOULD record audio when you put it back to your scene file’s frame rate after over or undercranking it. With the AF100, you actually have to go into the menu and turn off VFR mode in the scene file.

Here is a list of the update features:

1. The color of the picture in the LCD display has been improved.

2. During VFR recording, an icon which tells “No audio is recorded” has
been added in View finder and LCD display. There is no change for the
functionality of the camera.

3. Capability for handling the invisible file made by Mac has been added.
The firmware update for the items below has been made possible by using
Mac.
– Camera body of AG-AF100 series firmware update
– Lens firmware update by using AG-AF100 series

Click here to download the firmware update from Panasonic. Be sure to read the update instructions carefully!