Canon 5D vs Panasonic AF100 – Part 1

There continues to be a lot of buzz about Panasonic’s new AF100 camera, and whether or not it’s going to deal a deathblow to DSLR’s like the Canon 5D MkII. While I think not, there are many applications, from corporate video productions, Indie Films and even commercial productions,  where the AF100 will be a perfect fit. The camera is already in the hands of many video production crews and filmmakers, and reports I’ve seen are very positive. This is the second article in a series of tests on the AF100.

I wanted to see for myself just how the AF100 compares to the 5D in an identical set up, so I got my good friends and fellow DP’s Tom Myrdahl and Jefferson Miller to help me shoot some test footage here in my office at The Association. We’ve all had great success shooting with the 5D, and since Jefferson is the proud new owner of an AF100, we were naturally curious to see how they compare.

We called in our good friend, the very talented Jessica Drolet to be our model, and lit her with a 250 watt china ball for a key, a small Lite Panel for fill and a 150 Arri backlight.

Since most of the talk out there is about sensor sizes and bitrates, I was first interested in two things; how the AF100′s 24Mbps bitrate and the depth-of-field of the 4/3 sensor would compare to the 5D’s 44Mbps bitrate and full-frame 35mm still sensor.

Take a look for yourself. (Make sure you select 720p version)

View Quicktime here:

Not surprisingly, the 5D has a more shallow depth-of-field. The AF100 has a very good look and the image holds up well at the 24Mbps bitrate. The 4/3 sensor of the AF100 is very close to 35mm motion picture frame size, so it will have similar depth-of-field characteristics to those film lenses and cameras. I’m surprised at how well they match color-wise and I think images from these cameras would cut together very well.

Be on the lookout for Part 2 coming soon, where we start cranking up the ISO.

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