The FS100 is a pretty solid camera for the price. It really delivers in many ways. However, there are a few hiccups I’ve found with the camera that come up again and again after owning the camera for 4 months: color and highlights. The colors always tend to lean towards yellow straight out of the box, much like other Sony cameras I’ve owned and shot on. The 5D, despite its technical shortcomings on video, delivered the best in-camera color over any camera I’ve owned or shot on.
The FS100 needs a bit of help on colors to move away from the video look, which in the climate of “grade everything” we’ve moved into, is an ok scenario. Sony decided against including a ‘log’ gamma curve in the FS100 like is included on XDCAM cameras like the F3, so users must devise their own methods for maximizing range. That’s exactly what Frank Glencairn did when developed his “G-Log” picture profile for the FS100. Other very popular profiles are the set of Abelcine settings . Below are some screen shots of just a quick backlit subject tossing a frisbee to look at the information coming straight out of the camera.
The camera setup:
Pentax 50mm F1.7 with K mount to E adapter. This old lens has a slight yellow bias. When combined with the Sony chips which always seem yellow to me, I often find myself pulling yellows down while grading.
1080/24p FX AVCHD
5600k white balance
I feel as though my custom setting has the best of both worlds… the colors seem to represent what my eye is seeing fairly well with a hair less yellow while bringing up detail in the shadow areas a bit. Out of all of the gamma options on the camera, I prefer the cinematone 2 with raised blacks.
Here are the settings I used for my modified cinematone 2 look:
Black Level: +8
Black Gamma: High, Level +7
Knee: Manual, 80%, -1
Color Mode: Cinematone 2, 5
Color Level: 0
Color Phase: 0
Color Depth: R0, G0, B0, C0, M0, Y -5
WB Shift: all 0
I’m considering a Ninja-2 from Atomos, and will be interested to see how the 8 bit 4:2:2 HDMI out compares to the 8 bit 4:2:0 internal AVCHD recording…
Additional note: For dynamic range, along with carefully selecting your picture profile, the Fs100 does record superwhites up to 109 IRE, which is invaluable to know when editing. There have been some issues keeping the superwhites in Premiere however… be careful!