New Cameras

I started work with ALSAC/St. Jude on November 12. My official title is Senior Specialist - Media Production Services. Day-to-Day, I work with other members of the Media Production Services and Marketing teams to shoot and edit video content. The job has given me opportunities to work with a variety of cameras and lenses: the Sony F3, Panasonic AF-100, Panasonic 370, and Panasonic 250. We have a set of three primes for the F3, a set of Canon EF long lenses and a set of Canon EF wide angle lenses.

The Sony F3 is a beautiful camera. It's Super 35 sensor provides incredible image detail and a rich, soft, cinematic look. Focusing with the Sony primes can be tricky, especially at low f-stops, because the depth of field is so shallow. The camera really needs a larger LCD screen, a more accurate numerical reference for focus, a focus assist feature, or all of the above. An external monitor or follow focus system (or both) is recommended to achieve proper focus, especially during dolly moves.

The AF-100 from Panasonic gives your footage the DSLR look you love, but with the ergonomics of a proper camcorder. The AF-100 is a micro four-thirds camera, so the sensor is smaller than the F3, and the footage is more compressed, but the quality still looks great. We recently put the AF-100 to the test to see how it would work during documentary-style shoot, using Canon EF lenses. The camera performs well in a run-and-gun scenario, and it's easy to focus and expose shots quickly, even while handheld. I would recommend lenses with built-in image stabilization for situations in which you have to zoom in on your subject. I had to use a 200mm lens on a recent shoot, both handheld and on a tripod. Fortunately the lens had IS built in, so the footage wasn't too shaky. However, the camera does get pretty top heavy with that amount of glass hanging on the front.

In all, I'm becoming more proficient with a wider variety of camera gear. Remember, each camera is different and the camera you choose should fit with the type of projects you shoot.