An epic battle: Panasonic AG-F100 vs Sony NEX-FS10! (Where is the 12-50mm lens?)


With the Micro Four Thirds AG-AF100 Panasonic delivered a potential almost perfect video camera for low-budget productions. Today Sony announced the “NEX version“! It has the same price ($4.500) and very similar features. Read the specs at The main advantage of the AG-AF100 is the wider range of m43 lenses and the availability of the dedicated 14-140mm video lens. But the battle started and I hope this will shake up Panasonic. We want the 12-50mm f/2.5-3.3 lens now and not in a year! Some of my source can tell me WHY the lens release has been postponed? Thanks!


P.S.: Direct AG-AF100 links to Amazon, B&H, Adorama, Olympus US store, FocusCamera, eBay.

  • Bu

    If they took a zero off the price I might be able to afford one!

  • frank

    I think m4/3 is at a slight advantage here due to the slighty larger DOF (at the same angle of view) due to the slightly smaller sensor. I now sometimes see DSLR video footage where there is just too much out of focus blur to view comfortably.

  • Paul O

    The deal breaker: the Sony has no ND filters. End of comparison.

  • seb

    Wired focus ring is a big problem for camera assistant (dunno if my translation is correct). But at least 4/3 sensor size is the nearest of a 35mm cine film size.

  • Andy

    The Sony Camera is Super 35mm (industry standard) a lot better size than M43. is true that by now the M43 have better variety of lens

    • Mistral75

      Not that much. The imaging area of the µ4/3 sensor is 13mm x 17.3mm (21.6mm diagonal). The one of the Sony Exmor™ Super 35mm sensor is 13.3mm x 23.6mm (27.1mm diagonal).

  • Valk

    Sony’s officially put the price at $6500…which is fine provided that you can fork out the extra 20% price tag…To be honest, if you can afford to pay 5k for a video cam, you probably can afford an extra 1.5k…

    • c.d.embrey

      Andy said: The Sony Camera is Super 35mm (industry standard) a lot better size than M43. is true that by now the M43 have better variety of lens

      The “Black Swan” was shot in Super 16 – camera aperture: 12.52 by 7.41 mm (0.493 by 0.292 in). Matthew Libatique was nominated for BestCinematography, 2011 Academy Awards. As you may have noticed Super 16 is smaller than 4/3.

  • Tropical Yeti

    ADMIN: ” We want the 12-50mm f/2.5-3.3 lens now and not in a year!”

    OK, this is rumor site, attracting fans and gearheads. But this is a statement, belonging to a kindergarten. Please try to be not so childish!

    For god’s sake, they just had an earthquake, designing and preparing for production also takes some time. Much more time than it takes you to eat up your porridge.

    • admin

      HI Tropical. The lens has been delayed BEFORE the disaster. I guess you missed the post we wrote a few weeks ago :)

      • Tropical Yeti

        Well, there YUST MAY be a valid reason to delay the product, or you think it was delayed to make YOU mad.

        Do you think your yelling for it will make it to the market faster?

  • jazzroy

    @admin: I don’t get the point of the dedicated 14-140 on AF100, Sony’s camera has dedicated 18-200, so where is the advantage?

    @Paul O: the ND filter could be useless if Sony implements a better way to process sensor’s signal, so let’s wait before saying it’s a deal breaker.

    • meretricio

      I think Paul O is referring to Neutral Density filters to control exposure (and depth of field) not to the optical low pass filter Panasonic uses in the AF100. The lack of ND filters presents a problem for some users working in varied conditions, thus may be a deal-breaker (though it hasn’t been for all the vDSLR shooters).

  • Scott

    This is getting weird. Its funny to hear the advantage of using Panisonic is the good selection of lenses. Thats the same reason everybody says dont use Olympus or Panisonic. LOL

  • bbazala

    I’ve always been partial to Panasonic and though the Sony ups the ante with 4:2:2 out and super35 sensor, I like the built in EVF of the AF100, the ND filters, as well as the established collection of lenses and adapters readily available. I think the m43 sensor size should offer comparable quality to the Sony and has some DOF advantages. However these are two great cameras. I’ve never been a fan of the Sony ergonomics, but I guess that won’t matter for a more modular approach. The AF 100 can be seen as more self contained, needing less rigging to make it useful. I’m sure we won’t have to wait long for users to begin posting head to head comparisons. The big question is what will Canon bring to the table?

    • jazzroy

      you’re right.. canon is losing videomakers’ market share and has no plans on mirrorless cameras, which were the base for panasonic and sony new interchangeable camcorders.

  • Before you get too excited about the NEX FS-10, read Nigel Cooper’s review here:

    • Mistral75

      This review is harsh, but with a lot of bias and even factual errors in favour of Panasonic. For instance Nigel Cooper writes:

      The AF101 has a micro 4/3rd image sensor, while the Sony has a Super 35mm sensor that is 10% larger. This 10% only gives you marginally more control over depth-of-field, but nothing really noticeable.

      It so happens that the imaging area of the Panasonic µ4/3 sensor is 13mm x 17.3mm (21.6mm diagonal). The one of the Sony Exmor™ Super 35mm sensor is 13.3mm x 23.6mm (27.1mm diagonal).

      27.1 ÷ 21.6 = 1.25 so the Sony sensor is 25% larger than the Panasonic one, not 10%.

      And this is only one example.

      • riccardocovino

        and 25% larger (and higher) means around 75% more surface, so almost double mm^2

        • Regardless, there is, at most, 1/2 stop more DOF control, which is to say, not enough to worry about.

          What I found really interesting was this statement:

          “Sony tell me that they could not fit an ND filter wheel due to the very short flange-back”

          This is the same story they told for not having IBIS on the NEX still cameras, and more evidence (to my mind, at least) that Sony put form over function in the E-mount.

        • Mistral75

          Not exactly because the Panasonic sensor is more square (4:3) than the Sony sensor (16:9); here it’s +40% in surface.

      • cas

        A typical 4/3 thirds camera only has a 17.3mm X 9.72mm capture area when they record in 16:9 ratio (almost half the area of super 35mm). Panasonic uses a multi-aspect ratio sensor so in 16:9 they should be a bit bigger.

  • gnosisdog

    The crucial difference here is not the sensor size but the type of sensor used. Sensor size for video, both MP count and physical dimensions, isn’t as crucial for image quality as it is in stills, which use much less compression or none at all in RAW. Video codecs are highly compressive and effectively use only a fraction of the pixel info. This is alleviated by recording to an external device via HDSDI or HDMI and bypassing the codec. But the Sony uses the dedicated video sensor of the F3, a 3.5 MP sensor versus the 16 MP one in the Panny that comes from the GH2. This is significant for two big reasons- the first is simple math- the Sony codec is using much less compression in its codec. Cooper notes less aliasing, one obvious result. The second quality of a sensor like this goes ignored in his review. The individual pixels in this sensor are many times the size of the Panny’s ones. Anyone who’s used a Nikon D3 knows what this means- phenomenal low light performance. The Sony is certain to be a far better low light performer- two to three effective stops faster would be my guess. The vimeo examples out there on the F3 confirm this. This sensor has low light capabilities that blow away a Red and easily better the Alexa, the definitive video image champ at this point. (And it should be for the money) The shame is that Sony seems to have thrown this breakthrough sensor into a hastily conceived body. Now the question is will Panny respond with its own dedicated video sensor. Regardless, this just keeps getting better and better.

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