Tag Archives: blogging

A Frame Grab from Our Most Recent Shoot

Here is a frame grab from our latest shoot for the trailer of the feature film, “Piracy,” which is my current DP project. The difference between my Zeiss glass and all my other lenses is night and day. I never thought I would thumb my nose at Canon L glass until I got my Zeiss lenses. Just amazing. I can’t wait until I can afford a proper set of cine lenses. Although, the new Schneider Cine-Xenar primes may be the way I will go. Anything that is purported to exhibit “Leica-like” image characteristics is worth a look. An 18-blade aperture??? Yes, please. I’ll have some of that.

I’m noticing that the AF100 is giving me more noise in shadow detail than I would like, but I’m going to attribute that to the fact that I haven’t gotten my AJA Ki Pro Mini yet, and I’m having to shoot to the SD card in 4:2:0. Can’t wait to see how much better the picture looks recorded to the AJA box.

Panasonic AF100; Zeiss ZE 85mm f/1.4 Planar; ISO 200; f/2.8:

AF100 frame grab

Marshall Monitor Workaround: Thwarted.

Marshall 7 inch hd monitor
My beloved Marshall monitor, now obsolete?

A few years ago, I bought a used Marshall 7″ HD monitor for use with my various video cameras, mostly a Canon XL-H1, and then a Panasonic HVX200. I love it. It is awesome. However, the problem is that it only has component-in for HD display; no HDMI or HD-SDI, so now, I can’t use it natively on my AF100. As an experiment, I ordered a little HDMI to Component converter box off of eBay, just to see if it would work to salvage some more usable life out of this nice and very expensive monitor of mine.

The converter arrived today, and right away I hooked it up to the AF100 and Marshall monitor to see if it would work. I got a picture for a split second, and then it went to blue-screen. No matter what, I can’t get a constant picture with it. I’m assuming that’s because the converter only outputs 1080p, and the monitor probably wants 1080i or 720p. But I’m not sure why it would show a picture for a brief time though. I’m not a video engineer…

Does anyone have a workaround for this issue? I would love to NOT have to sell my Marshall just to get another one with HDMI. Any ideas, or am I just SOL?

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!

A Good AF100 Pelican Case

Last Thursday, I decided it was time to get a proper case for my AF100, and since I regularly shoot for a travel show, I made sure to look for one that was of carry-on size. I like to travel light, and I hate checking bags unless I have to. I’ve pretty much got it down to a science, and usually the only thing I have to check are my sticks.

That being a main criteria– well, it was the only criteria, because I already knew I was going to get a Pelican case, since they’ve been so awesome for me my entire professional life. One glance at their site told me that the one to get was the Pelican 1510 rolling carry-on.

A quick Google search revealed that the best price (with foam) was going to be from Amazon, so I ordered one – and another 32GB SD card – for “one day dlivery” that turned into “four day delivery”, thanks to shipping FAIL plus the Presidents’ Day holiday. To be fair, the SD card got here in one day, but the case did not. Luckily I didn’t need it for the weekend.

Looking at it, it seemed a little smaller than I thought it would be, but some foam-plucking time later, and it holds the camera body, battery, EF adapter, batteries, and my 24/1.4 and 17-40 lenses perfectly, which is a great minimalist run and gun solution for quick shots. I highly recommend the Pelican 1510 if you need a smaller, carry-on legal case for light shooting, or of course, as a compliment to more cases for travel.

Pelican 1510 Rolling Carry On Case with Panasonic AF100 and Canon lenses
Pelican 1510 Rolling Carry On Case with Panasonic AF100 and Canon lenses

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.

Panasonic AG-AF100 1080p/60 Slow Motion Example

A couple days ago, I took my AF100 with me on a photo assignment to cover the All Armed Forces Boxing Championships, and then to shoot a friend’s band. After I had my stills, I shot a little slo-mo video to test out the 1080p overcranking capabilities. I was not disappointed! Lenses used for this were a Canon 24/1.4 L and a Canon 70-200/2.8 L IS. Panasonic AG-AF100 1080p/60 Test Footage

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!