Thoughts on the Panasonic AF-100

10 years ago, you couldn’t touch a 2/3″ chip HD camera for less than $100,000.

3.5 years ago, I paid $10,000 for a 1/3″ HDV camera (Sony S270U) that I’ve barely used since buying the 5D2.

The fact that the 35mm video revolution is starting at a price point under $5K is unbelievable.

Sure, I was also a little nonplussed to discover that I wouldn’t be able to use my EOS glass with the AF-100 I just pre-ordered. So, I got on eBay and bought a small set of lovely Canon FD primes for a couple hundred bucks, plus two adapters (at $49 each) that will allow me to use said primes, plus the lenses from my antique Leica cameras, on the micro four-thirds system.

If Sony includes their much-hyped EVIL autofocus technology on their answer to the AF-100, it’ll be awesome. But in this industry, you can either be first or best. Panasonic is the first to market with a 35mm video camera, and I can’t wait to get my hands on it.

HDSLRs won’t be “over,” but they will not be the only option. Nor will the AF-100. Sony, et al. will surely bring innovations to market with their competitive products.
For surreptitious b-roll, ultra-low-light work, and student projects, HDSLRs are a great choice. For narrative and commercial work, let’s be honest: aside from the image quality, they suck. I want XLR inputs, I want proper monitoring, and I don’t want to have to worry about aliasing, moiré or dual-system sound. If the atomos Ninja ProRes recorder delivers as advertised (on-board ProRes 422 recording for $995), the codec issue will be a moot point.

The bottom line is that this thing is a Panavision mini-Genesis. $5K for a camera that delivers features you couldn’t touch for under $100K a few years ago is a steal.

2 Replies to “Thoughts on the Panasonic AF-100”

  1. Hi,

    Thank you for the post

    Which specific brand and model did u buy for the two adapters (at $49 each) ?

    and where did u buy them ??

    also I search ebay could u please tell me which Canon FD primes did u buy ??

    1. Sorry for the delayed response. I found the adapters on eBay, and there seem to be several manufacturers in China selling them. To be honest, I’m having trouble figuring out which ones I actually bought! For the FD primes, I bought a 20mm, a 28mm, a 50mm and 135mm. They work well, but it is a challenge to get wide-angle shots.

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