Friday, June 10, 2011

Sony NEX-FS100 Tap Test, & Alpha-E mount Adaptor

Thursday I stopped by Rule Boston Camera to see the Sony NEX-FS100 in the flesh. When I got there, they happened to have it set up with a Sony 16-80mm f/3.5-4.5 Alpha zoom lens, attached using the Sony Alpha to E-Mount Adapter.

Interestingly, they were trying to diagnose a problem with the adapter; the mount "clicked" quite loudly when adjusting the aperture of the lens. It didn't happen at the step-to-step change (though there's some noise then) but very loudly when it reached the limit of the lenses aperture.

In theory, the Sony Alpha adapter should allow the camera to control the lens aperture and focus, but while the camera could adjust the aperture, the focus command wasn't working. When you pushed any of the focus controls the camera said the lens was not communicating. Tom Talbot at Rule said they had just started working with it, so they weren't too sure what the problem was.

Tom also demonstrated a Zeiss 18mm lens attached using an MTF Services Ltd Nikon G to Sony E Mount Adaptor; there's no focus or aperture control from the camera using that adapter.

Build Quality
I got to spend a little time taping the camera (see video) and parts of the camera seem quite solid (the left hand side with all the buttons seems robust). The side on the right with the detachable handle and the removable panel where you can attach the HXR- FMU128 flash memory unit seemed rather light. The cover for the Audio/Video out jacks was similarly slight. I'd be a little worried about breaking those covers.

And yes, the buttons are small, and you have to really make an effort to click some of them. It took me a couple of stabs before it worked; I guess with a bit of time I'd get used to it.

Hand holding the camera
The NEX-FS100 is definitely an unusual shape of a camera, and hand holding feels a bit different. It's unlike any other camera I've used, but I think I could get used to it! Whether you use it with a zoom lens, the Sony kit lens, or a smaller fixed lens will change the handling characteristics quite a bit.

It was fun to get to handle the camera even for a few minutes. It's different, but quite frankly, if you can get used to using a DSLR to shoot video, this won't be nearly as much trouble.

Thanks to Tom @ Rule Boston Camera for putting up with me!

Upcoming Events
For those in Boston, Rule is having a LearningLab with the Sony NEX-FS100 on June 29th at 10am (RSVP to Tom Talbot said that they were hoping to also have an evening event on the same day with the NEX-FS100, a continuation of Rule's Pub Nights.

As of Thursday, Rule still had one more NEX-FS100 in stock from their original shipment. Rule is highly regarded amongst video pros in the Boston area; if you're in Boston, check out Rule Boston Camera.

See also: NoteOnVideoPub Night @ Rule Camera with the Sony PMW-F3


NeedCreative said...

The cover on the side that covers the flash spot is indeed literally hollow. But I'm not worried about that because it just covers an empty space.

The buttons have little tactile feedback, but they are responsive quickly from the camera when you press them. If that makes any sense. (i.e., you don't notice it as much in actual practice, but with the camera off you think "WTF were they thinking?"

The MTF adapter is over $200 and allows control of aperture even on Nikon G lenses, which don't have a ring (but do have a manual switch to change F-stop in the lens). Most other F mount and AI Nikon lenses (and Zeiss ZF and ZF2s) have a ring and can use a cheap $30-80 mount instead. That's what I'm currently using, though I'll need one that controls the aperture for G/DX lenses soon.

Michael Murie said...

I got to spend, literally, twenty minutes with it, so I'll defer to you Paul, but the part that gave me the most concern was the attachment of the side handle to the camera. The handle wasn't screwed on tight when I first picked it up and the camera wobbled quite a bit.

Tightening the screw seemed to fix it a bit, but it still didn't give me a solid feeling. If you're using it on a tripod or in a rig that's not going to be an issue, but if you're planning to hand hold it I just wonder how that's going to hold up.

NeedCreative said...

I agree the grip isn't fantastic. I wouldn't rely on it for handheld work solely, but screwed in tightly it's functional for short bits of time and even then with your hand on the lens or the corner of the body for more support.

This cam really needs a handheld rig to do handheld shots, especially because few lenses can have IS turned on on it. I have a rig coming in a month or so that's better than what I have now; we'll see how that plays out.

By the way, the lens mount is very sturdy but man does it scratch up easy.

AndyInBuffalo said...

I just got my a->e adapter and also hear a loud clicking when dialing in the aperture on the camera. It's the strangest thing. Unlike, Rule, I hear it all the time. Anyone else experience this ?

Michael Murie said...

Do you mean it's continuous, or that it happens whenever you adjust the aperture (the one on the Rule camera only seemed to click at the limits of the aperture adjustment)

I'm only guessing here, but do you have the camera set to automatically adjust aperture or focus? Those functions may interact with the adapter.

It's possible that it's might try Sony tech support?