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Mixing the Panasonic AF100 and the Canon 5D Mark II Footage

Saturday, December 01, 2012

It's not the point of this blog to put one camera against the other and come up with a winner. Each camera has its qualities and shortcomings but the question is: what if we are shooting a project and decide to use both the Canon 5D and the Panasonic AF100? Why would you want to use both and how would their footage mix? 

When the Panasonic AF100 was introduced to the market, it was presented as one of the so called “HDSLR Killers”. Why is that? Because they promised the camera would have all the features HDSLR shooters love such as a big sensor, punchy look, shallow depth of field and  interchangeable lenses, but together with all those features prosumer and professional video cameras have, and HDSLRs don't, and that list is long...

What is the main reason you would keep wanting to shoot with your Canon 5D Mark II? It goes without saying...the sensor size and the price. When it comes to sensor size, actually it's not a good idea to compare the sensor size of ANY camera to the 5D. All cameras come out as losers when compared to the Canon 5D sensor, which dwarfs even the Super 35 sensor. In other words, full frame 36mm x 24mm is just not normal and you can clearly see that when you look at a sensors comparison chart. So that's one of the things people criticize about the AF100, the sensor size, which is 18mm x 13.5mm, but that is still pretty big and capable to give you very nice shallow depth of field. The Arri Alexa's sensor, after all is, 23.8mm x 13.4mm, and we are talking about a 60000$ camera, body only...

So, a punchy big sensor with no crop factor, good colors and deep blacks at 2500$ is understandably hard to give up. Furthermore you got the ability to control the depth of field more than any other camera and use more than 60 high quality Canon EF lenses with no adaptor and no crop factor. 

Then, on the other hand, if you decide to use an actual video camera like the AF100 for your project, you got various advantages, among which the ability to shoot slow motion up to 60fps at 1080p, use mics with your XLR ports as well as monitor the levels on the LCD and use headphones, use 3 built-in ND filters, zebra patterns for exposure, unlimited clip length, good quality waveform, the ability to send an HD signal through HD-SDI or HDMI, and limit aliasing, that is the “rolling shutter” effect and “moire”. Furthermore, with the right adaptor, you can use practically any type of lens and with the right glass the AF100 will give you a nice shallow depth of field.

So now, going back to mixing the Canon 5D and the Panasonic AF100. You can either use them in such a way to create some type of contrast or try to match the images of the two cameras as much as possible. One example of using the two cameras to create contrast like Alexander Fox from did on two commercials about The Citadel college of South Carolina. He used the two cameras to create contrast between the office or professional environments where the characters are introduced (and have dialogue) and the college shots which are shown in voice-over. So, the Panasonic AF100 was perfect for the dialogue scenes and the Canon was well suited to give beauty shots of the school with shallow depth of field. The contrast is subtle but effective. See it for yourself:

Citadel - "Cafeteria" TV Commercial from Alexander Fox on Vimeo.

Citadel - "Deli Tray" TV Commercial from Alexander Fox on Vimeo.


On the other hand, in case you don't care about creating contrast between the footage of the two cameras and just want to match them as much as possible, there are many settings that can be adjusted in the AF100 to get specific looks. One of them, of course, is the 5D Mark II look, which in my opinion comes very close to the 5D look. If the crop factor of the AF100 is not favorable (2x) that could be used to your advantage by having the AF100 take long shots. So, for example, if you use a Canon FD 50mm f/1.4, then you basically are shooting 100mm at f/1.4. You can do the math with an 85mm or a 100mm FD lens...

I found two Canon 5D settings for the AF100, one from Abelcine. They reduce the detail and vertical detail as much as possible, reduce the master pedestal for contrast, reduce the chroma level and set the matrix to NORM1:

(These are the settings that need to be changed. All the other ones would stay the same)

Detail: -7?

V. Detail: -7?

Detail Coring: -2

Chroma Level: -2?

Master Ped:  -3?

Gamma: Cine V

Matrix: Norm 1


The other settings come from's Editman:

Detail: -6

Vdetail: -6

Chroma: -4

Coring: -2

Pedal: -3

B preset: -3

Cinelike V

Norm 1


You can see those settings used for this music video's behind the scenes. If somebody had told me they shot it with a 5D, I would have believed it:

Finally here's a video by Filippo Chiesa with shots from both cameras. Even if the cameras are not used side by side but on different shots, you can get a good idea. The footage from the AF100 was recorded with a Nanoflash at 280Mbps. Not sure if they played with the settings but no grading was done:

Panasonic AG-AF100 test II from Filippo Chiesa on Vimeo.