A rundown of the Sony FS100

Have you heard good things about the Sony FS100 and are considering using it in your next project? Here is a rundown of the camera, sensor, image quality, recording formats and ergonomics.

1) The Sony FS100 is equipped with a Super 35mm CMOS sensor that records with the AVCHD compression and will give you an amazing image quality for the price (about $5K). Super 35 is the same sensor size as the Alexa, Red camera, Canon C300, Sony F3 and many more high quality cameras. The sensor is smaller than full frame (like the Canon 5D sensor) but bigger than Micro Four Thirds (Panasonic AF100 or GH2).

2) The camera design is very modular. Once you take out the side handle and the microphone mount, you’re left with a small, compact camera body that is easy to fit in a small backpack. Only drawbacks of the camera design are the LCD position (on top of the camera) which makes it hard to see what you’re shooting if you raise the camera above your head. If you’re shooting a red carpet, for example, and constantly need to raise the camera above the crowd to get that shot, you might have trouble seeing what you’re shooting. Other drawback is the lack of an ND filter wheel so you might have to use screw on NDs for your lenses.

3) Many useful control buttons are on the left of the camera, for example peaking (very useful for focusing), zebras, autofocus, histogram, white balance, and so on.

4) The LCD is 3.5 inches and is touch screen.

5) It doesn’t have HD SDI output but it has HDMI, RCAs and component.

6) It records 1080p 24, 30 or 60i onto SD cards at 8 bit 4:2:0. A 32GB card will give you roughly 3 hours and 15 minutes of continuous recording. Bit rate is 28mps.

7) Gain goes up to 30db (16000 ISO). The Sony FS100 is very good in low light and noise, when present at high gain values, looks film like and granular.

8) The camera shoots slow motion up to 60fps.