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#1 dykvideo

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 10:07 AM

Hi out there,

I would like to know if anyone have any recommendation on which Videosystem to choose for Broadcast/TV or
if anyone have some experience shooting video with the new Sony FS100 or Panasonic AF100 underwater??

Also housings for those 2 system, does not seem to be many?? Any recommendation on the B.S. Kinetics for the Sony FS100??

I am loking to upgrade but find it hard if to choose 1 of those 2 Camcorders with interchangeable lenses or go for a "normal" camcorder.

Thanks,

Søren
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#2 SimonSpear

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 02:52 PM

Hi Soren

The EX1/R has a good track record for broadcast with an external capture device and Gates make a housing with space included inside to put in a Nanoflash. You really couldn't go wrong with that.

I'm hoping to get the FS100 underwater myself very soon and with its low light abilities and virtually zero noise at high gain/ISO it could very well be one of the best underwater cameras to hit the scene for years. I've talked to Equinox and BS Kinetics about housings but my favourite option right now looks to be from Amphibico who are about to release a very good looking spec housing at the end of this month. You will be able to use Aquatica ports so there should be lots of different options for using various lenses and they are also working on a nifty addition of using the Atomos Ninja as an external capture device and external monitor.

Of course there is also the Scarlet or C300 if budgets can be extended....

Having said all of the above what exactly are you looking to use the camera for? I've had no problem selling HDSLR footage for broadcast and only a couple of weeks ago I sold a couple of minutes of HDV footage for a Discovery HD production. You really don't need to comply with the 50mpbs capture requirements unless you are looking to provide the bulk of the footage for the production or are going for a commission yourself....

Hope this helps.

Cheers, Simon

#3 dykvideo

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 05:42 AM

Thanks for the advice Simon. Yeah looking forward to see the new Amphibico housing for FS100, it will deffently be my first choice, depending on the prices for Housing with domes and lenses for camera;-)

What would be the most common lenses to choose for the FS100, if i am use to camcorder with a Wide angel lens and a Macrolens from Light and Motion.??

I would love to do some more shooting in Lembeh, especially the Frogfish and The Mantiscrimp. But at the same time shooting Whales in the Arctic;-))


Cheers,

Søren





Hi Soren

The EX1/R has a good track record for broadcast with an external capture device and Gates make a housing with space included inside to put in a Nanoflash. You really couldn't go wrong with that.

I'm hoping to get the FS100 underwater myself very soon and with its low light abilities and virtually zero noise at high gain/ISO it could very well be one of the best underwater cameras to hit the scene for years. I've talked to Equinox and BS Kinetics about housings but my favourite option right now looks to be from Amphibico who are about to release a very good looking spec housing at the end of this month. You will be able to use Aquatica ports so there should be lots of different options for using various lenses and they are also working on a nifty addition of using the Atomos Ninja as an external capture device and external monitor.

Of course there is also the Scarlet or C300 if budgets can be extended....

Having said all of the above what exactly are you looking to use the camera for? I've had no problem selling HDSLR footage for broadcast and only a couple of weeks ago I sold a couple of minutes of HDV footage for a Discovery HD production. You really don't need to comply with the 50mpbs capture requirements unless you are looking to provide the bulk of the footage for the production or are going for a commission yourself....

Hope this helps.

Cheers, Simon
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#4 jackpolanen

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 07:53 AM

Hi Soren,
I have been shooting UW video since 1995 and started with Hi8 and now shoot with Sony HDV. I live on Bonaire and a week ago I got the opportunity to test the FS100U in the new Amphibico / Genesis UW-housing. The Genesis is not on the market yet, so I was the very first to give it a go!

This is the config I used: Sony FS100U with 16mm E-mount lens; Amphibico / Aquatica Genesis housing with dome-port (compatible with all Aquatica ports!) ext. 16.9 Amphibico HD monitor; 2x Amphibico 10w. HID lights. (As this was a prototype, few things will change in the final production version.)

Location:
Salt Peer Bonaire.


Dive!:

I found the set very compact and well balanced under water, but the final version will get a slightly modified back cover, which should make balance / buoyancy even better. Compared to my prosumer Evo-Pro the kit is bigger, heavier on land, but underwater much more stable and better to handle. If you are used to carry around pro housings like they make for the Sony FX and Z cameras the Genesis is a blessing! It is much lighter and so much easier to handle.

The housing is equipped with a small window on top of the housing so you can use the cameras monitor. This will do the job, but I really loved the second external HD monitor on top of the housing, so you can shoot from all angles and always have a good view on one of the two. In both monitor you can see all camera settings which can all be adjusted with the buttons on left and right and housing.


Lens/port config was fisheye, which was new for me, but at the Salt Peer this was absolutely the best set-up. The FS100U is equipped with E-Mount lenses and the Genesis has the same ports as Aquatica. This gives you a lot of combination to choose from.

Verdict:

Pros: Amazing Pro camera with amazing picture quality in a tailor-made housing. A lot of lens / port options to choose from. Light and compact and well balanced.


Cons: If any, this is not a point and shoot consumer kit, but a pro camera with all important pro features in a pro housing. So, to take full advantage of its possibilities and great picture quality, get acquainted to the camera and learn how to use it in the housing. I guess not a big deal if you are an experienced (underwater) videographer.




Best from 'Divers Paradise' Bonaire.


Jack

#5 dykvideo

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 08:01 AM

Hi Jack,

Beautiful, thanks a lot for your description and details about this System.

I would love to get my hands in that system, the only thing that worries me is all those domes and lenses to choose between.

I am use to my Wideangle and macro lens on a Bluefin housing, but will love to learn more about to shoot with different options.

Thanks again.

Søren


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#6 Drew

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 11:39 AM

Another choice includes the Canon XF100/5. Not the best low light camera by a mile but it's decent and has the 4:2:2 50mbps MXF codec.

Outside the box, you may also wish to consider the Nikon D800. You will have access to a wide range of lenses and I'm sure that there'll be a housing for external HDMI recorders soon. Plus you can use DX lenses. Now the DSLR form factor isn't the most ergonomic or steady but there are ways to steady the pitching and x axis stability.

With the FS100, you do get the 1080/60p which is a nice way to get cheap overcranking. Lens choice is an issue for E mounts. The 30mm macro is nice for medium small to medium size critters but @ 45mm 1:1, you are going to have some issues with getting smaller/skittish subjects. The widest rectilinear look is 16mm (24mm in 35mm) which isn't very wide. Then it jumps to the fisheye adapter. So wideangle doesn't have the widest selection either but for whales (I'm assuming Beluga/humpbacks) it's fine. I've seen 15.5-45mm whale shots with the Epic X that works excellently. The 18-55 is just a tad too tight on the wide but a great general critter hunt lens for the Lembeh shoot you'll be on. It should allow you to get in close to the shrimps and frogfish, but you'll have to forget the small juvie frogfish like the A. Maculatus.
Unfortunately the E-A mount adapter is HUGE and probably no housing will fit it.
Good luck with your choice.

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#7 dykvideo

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 12:34 AM

Thanks again.

Yeah that is my big issue about all kind of lenses and which to choose in-between. But it all sound pretty good and i may start with 2 kind of lenses and go for that,
and hopefully it will work.

I think it would maybe be the future marked, so we(us who have been use to use Camcorders in Housings with 1 Wide and 1 Macrolens ??)will adapt;-)))

I am very pleased and happy for all your answers.

Cheers,

Søren
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#8 jackpolanen

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 03:47 PM

Hi Soren,

I'm also about to buy a new set, so after Drew's 'food for though' I contacted Aquatica and some photo / video pro’s for their opinion. Like you, before spending a bundle It is good to have done your homework!

This is what they say:

The CanonXF105, it is a very good camera, but difficult compare to the Sony FS100, since it has a much smaller sensor and fixed lens. As for the CODEC, it is a 4:2:2 MPEG2 @ 50mbps wrap into MXF file wrapper. The 4:2:2 might offer some advantage in multi-generation color reproduction, but the MPEG2 encoder is not as good as the AVCHD used by the Sony FS100, when there is a lot of motion in the picture. Were talking underwater video here so that means a lot of 'motion'!

The Nikon D800, is a very competitive solution, but use the right tool for the job, so all video guys would at this stage go for something like the FS100. It is a better choice as an all round video camera and will do the job under all conditions, Sony had as a long tradition of providing video cameras and have all the features required for almost all conditions of video shooting. A very responsive auto focus, WB selection and processing, better audio support, time code, etc.

The D800 will perform very well, in most conditions but ergonomic, and “live” video acquisition needs more attention.
Now the main difference for all those cameras is the 1080p60. One of them didn't like the 24P and 30p. Sometimes it works out because of the progressive scanning, but with fish and underwater creatures you may have a lot of judder. The 1080p60, provided by the FS100 gives a much crisper and clearer image, with a very fluid movement, it is not used for overcranking (slow motion), but because of the progressive frame. One of them used to shoot 1080i60 for long time, but will never do this again because of the availability of 1080P60. Note that some major film maker (James Cameron, and others) have already announced that their next film will be using an higher frame rate such as 48p or more. SMPTE is currently working in higher frame rate standard for film.

As for the lens issue, the Sony e-mount system is a very young system, already a lot of native lenses for various applications has been announced by Sony and others like Zeiss. Not all required lenses do exist but will be available over time.
In the case of the Genesis, adapters might be used, but will limit the use of the lens as for the aperture, and mechanical focus, Aquatica says it is in a “listen” mode” as for what will be required in the future.

Macro: Drew is right, the lager sensor (~35mm) and a 30mm macro lenses give near to 1:1 ratio, so a critter having a size of 5cm (~2”)
will almost fill the screen. Aquatica did test dives with the macro port, and they found out this is a bit limiting, but as soon as some equivalent lenses of 60mm or 105mm will become available in the future, or use them with an adapter ring, this problem is solved.

I have just repaired my 'old' EVO Pro, but hope to upgrade a.s.a.p. The problem is, there is a gap between big heavy pro cameras and small recreational cameras with housing. I hate those big bulky cameras and I'm a video guy, so for me there is no other option than the new Genesis.

Hope this is of any help.

Bon weekent as we say on Bonaire!

(Thnx to my Dutch video friend and Amphibico / Aquatica for taking the time to answer all my questions!)

#9 wagsy

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 08:52 PM

Thats great to hear about the FS100 and a housings for it.
I have been looking at that camera, only thing is you would be limited in the type of shots you can get.
Certainly no real zooming in an outs on the fly tracking a subject and no zoom in flip up a diopter and shoot a nudi's gill then pull back and shoot a Whale Shark all on the same dive.

That's why a normal video camera still is best.
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#10 Pete L

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 03:36 AM

Off topic aliitle but hiw is your DVD coming along Wagsy?
Got any bluray copies out yet?
Cheers Pete.

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#11 Drew

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 07:42 AM

The CanonXF105, it is a very good camera, but difficult compare to the Sony FS100, since it has a much smaller sensor and fixed lens. As for the CODEC, it is a 4:2:2 MPEG2 @ 50mbps wrap into MXF file wrapper. The 4:2:2 might offer some advantage in multi-generation color reproduction, but the MPEG2 encoder is not as good as the AVCHD used by the Sony FS100, when there is a lot of motion in the picture. Were talking underwater video here so that means a lot of 'motion'!

Sure the motion estimation of H.264 is slightly better than the older MPEG2. However that's for fast moving scene changing while panning sort of action where subjects move fast, I'd estimate the ghosting won't pop out unless the subject speed is fast. The resolution will be slightly lower than the big sensor but more importantly the AVCHD codec is 28mbps vs 50mbps of the MXF, so whatever gains H.264 has over MPEG2 in motion estimation is marginal if the motion isn't very fast. I'm willing to put money that the majority of people watching won't be able to see (or care about) the pixelation/shadowing.
However, they will see the banding due to the color shifts in the water from the 4:2:0, compared to the 422 MXF. Not to mention the higher chance of being out of focus due to the smaller DOF. 1/3" sensors are great for making sure the subjects are in focus (so long as AF is off or doesn't jump search!) since there's a 7 stop advantage in DOF. Of course, there'll also be a bit of aliasing (again really noticeable if you freeze frame. or looking for it) and the organic 3D look of a larger sensor is very nice if the focus is right.
One of the biggest issues of small sensors is noise. So if one wants a very low noise solution, they have to look at the DSLRs like the D800 or 5D3. Neither have the resolution or 1080p60, but the Canon has All-I
and the D800 allows recording through HDMI for 422.

The Nikon D800, is a very competitive solution, but use the right tool for the job, so all video guys would at this stage go for something like the FS100. It is a better choice as an all round video camera and will do the job under all conditions, Sony had as a long tradition of providing video cameras and have all the features required for almost all conditions of video shooting. A very responsive auto focus, WB selection and processing, better audio support, time code, etc.

Audio support underwater is via a hydrophone (we are talking about underwater correct?) so if the MIC in is clean, it should be good as the hydrophone used. Now DSLRs have a WB range of 2000-10k, the FS100 goes up to 15k, which can be useful for gaining back color underwater, giving a few more feet of useable depth. The Canon 1DX/5D3 have SMPTE timecode (but no HDMI clean signal).
As for AF use underwater, no professional would trust full AF but use momentary AF, which DSLRs are capable of. If there's time, one can even use the excellent AF array to focus then switch back to video mode. DSLRs are also more rugged and handle rain much better (with the weather sealed lenses!). So while there's a need to buy shoulder rigs etc, they sometimes can be even more versatile due to the availability of lenses.
You are right about choosing the right tool for the job, and that includes lens availability and other factors.

The D800 will perform very well, in most conditions but ergonomic, and “live” video acquisition needs more attention.
Now the main difference for all those cameras is the 1080p60. One of them didn't like the 24P and 30p. Sometimes it works out because of the progressive scanning, but with fish and underwater creatures you may have a lot of judder. The 1080p60, provided by the FS100 gives a much crisper and clearer image, with a very fluid movement, it is not used for overcranking (slow motion), but because of the progressive frame. One of them used to shoot 1080i60 for long time, but will never do this again because of the availability of 1080P60. Note that some major film maker (James Cameron, and others) have already announced that their next film will be using an higher frame rate such as 48p or more. SMPTE is currently working in higher frame rate standard for film.


All true, except for broadcast 1080p60 isn't a standard yet but 720p60 is. So if you want to shoot for broadcast, you will still have to convert back to 1080p24/25/29.97. And broadcast still uses MPEG2 and cable/satellite uses H.264.


As for the lens issue, the Sony e-mount system is a very young system, already a lot of native lenses for various applications has been announced by Sony and others like Zeiss. Not all required lenses do exist but will be available over time.
In the case of the Genesis, adapters might be used, but will limit the use of the lens as for the aperture, and mechanical focus, Aquatica says it is in a “listen” mode” as for what will be required in the future.


A young system means lack of choice. Why would one want to buy a system that is handicapped by the lack of proper focal lengths? CaNikon have rectilinear choices from 8-180mm, covering most shooting scenarios, not to mention fisheye zooms. Have you seen the α-E mount? It's big and thick. I'd be very pleasantly surprised if someone managed to fit that and still cater to E mount lenses. Right now, the offering is basically the 16mm (+the UW and FE converters), 24mm and the 30mm macro. The 18-55mm sorta works as a fish lens and 1:3 macro ability.

Jump to the D800, and suddenly you have the 17-70 Sigma which can hit 1:2.7 and have more versatility.

Macro: Drew is right, the lager sensor (~35mm) and a 30mm macro lenses give near to 1:1 ratio, so a critter having a size of 5cm (~2”) will almost fill the screen.


At what distance? I remember that lens hits 1:1 @ 1" from the lens. That's fine if it's a nudibranch or anything that won't move, and that's if you can light the subject. There are no teleconverters for it so one is stuck at 30mm, which isn't the most flexible focal length for lembeh. DSLRs and 1/3" sensor video cameras with diopters can achieve better macro, DSLR because of focal length choice and small sensor cameras because everything is in focus. Just look at the thread where Eun Jae shoots with a 7D (same sensor size as the FS100). The DOF is razor thin and smaller sensors will capture it in better focus, albeit possibly with some resolution loss.

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#12 peterbkk

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 05:08 PM

Amphibico / Aquatica for taking the time to answer all my questions!


You need to be careful of a "sales bias" in the answers that one gets back from manufacturers. Amphico clearly wants to generate sales for their FS100 housing and, of course, we should not criticise them for this. They are a good manufacturer. But, if you asked the same questions to say Gates, L&M or BS Kinetics, you'd get a different set of answers (or at least a different bias).

I've been shooting photos and video underwater for 30 years now and one advice that I can be sure about is: "The best UW camera is the one that WORKS underwater, in the situation that you are currently in".

If you are a one-man-band on a personal budget, you need to be careful about what you buy. Regardless of the quality of the capture system, if you can't get a quick-enough or deep-enough focus, you are not going to get the shots of the marine life that a broadcaster would be interested in.

Some of the new high-end cameras seem wonderful. And they are. But for underwater, we have some special needs. I've recently played with a Red, a Canon CS300 and a FS100 but ruled them out for now because of both lack of depth-of-field and lack of momentary AF. These are both often make-or-break underwater, unless you (a) have a focus puller swimming alongside you or (b) have control over the marine environment. "Cue the whale shark now!"

I also ruled out the FS100 for its 28mbps and 4.2.0, which are disappointingly low-spec for a camera in this category. Sony have made some strange design decisions in recent years...

Regards
Peter

#13 wagsy

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 07:55 PM

Yeh Peter I am with you, underwater you need a camera that can track subjects while zooming in and while on auto focus if needed.
Shoot tiny things then pull back to grab the wide shots and a heap in between for connection shots.
Both my old Sony FX1 3CCD and HDV A1 CMOS do this nicely.

If I was in the market I would go for the Canon XF100 in a housing or a larger 3 chip one as it would enable me just that, but it is still a CMOS camera so has the moire and shutter skew problems but that MPEG2 50mbps 4.2.2 is pretty neat.

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#14 DeanB

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Posted 18 March 2012 - 12:52 AM

HDV A1 CMOS do this nicely.



Aww the old A1 ... Oh how they laughed... RIP my old friend

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#15 Pete L

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Posted 18 March 2012 - 02:23 AM

Pete my DVD, yes it's made :-)



Woohoo, just ordered a copy...
Cheers Pete.
Now back on topic......

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#16 Video-Joe

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Posted 18 March 2012 - 05:22 AM

I also ruled out the FS100 for its 28mbps and 4.2.0, which are disappointingly low-spec for a camera in this category. Sony have made some strange design decisions in recent years...

Regards
Peter


We will be supporting the Atomos Ninja recorder & monitor, with HDMI connection to the FS100 it will allow data to be captured in uncompressed 10 bit data, 4:2:2 Apple Prores.

Edited by Video-Joe, 18 March 2012 - 05:23 AM.

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#17 Drew

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Posted 18 March 2012 - 05:38 AM

Some of the new high-end cameras seem wonderful. And they are. But for underwater, we have some special needs. I've recently played with a Red, a Canon CS300 and a FS100 but ruled them out for now because of both lack of depth-of-field and lack of momentary AF. These are both often make-or-break underwater, unless you (a) have a focus puller swimming alongside you or (b) have control over the marine environment. "Cue the whale shark now!"


The Red Epic-M/X and Scarlet do have AF, including momentary but only with certain lenses. It's contrast detection and not fast but it works. As for manual focus, people have been shooting underwater with manual focus since there have been underwater cameras. It's just a matter of knowing the equipment and of course having a good monitor. Testing and get the markings right help too! AF can fail to lock on the correct subject as well since it is contrast driven for most camcorders.
With a well thought out gear ratio for focus, racking focus isn't too difficult for the camera man, especially for wide angle shots. Shooting @ 16mm on an S35 (APS-C) sensor, hyperfocal is less than 2m away (off the cuff) so you can't really miss that whale shark if it's set properly. Otherwise, all those guys shooting IMAX/35mm etc would have very OOF shots all the time ( of course they do have some but you'll never see them! LOL). It is very true though that many underwater rigs are with sensors about 2/3" or smaller because of focus issues. The Beeb (or really the production houses it contracts) has now specified Epics for the 120fps for certain jobs. Also remember hyperfocal doesn't mean eveything is sharp but just in focus.

As said by a few already, choose according to what your needs are, not what's cool, hot and what someone else uses, because there are skills etc to consider too.

I also ruled out the FS100 for its 28mbps and 4.2.0, which are disappointingly low-spec for a camera in this category. Sony have made some strange design decisions in recent years...

Well it's a very clean 1080p60 and the resolution is good. For underwater, it is useful for fast action that needs to be slowed down cleanly. The only big issue is really banding and that's where 422 does a better job of gradation.

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