Lenses & Accessories for Panasonic’s AF100
Tuesday, 14 December 2010
Panasonic’s new AF100 camera is a full-featured video camcorder with a large 4/3rd size sensor. Panasonic designed the AF100 to fit many different production needs and to be highly customizable. In this article, we present the many different lenses and accessories that can be used with the camera.
Lens Adapters | Lenses | Mattebox, Follow Focus, Shoulder Rigs | Power Options |
Lens Control | B-Camera | Recorders
The Panasonic AF100 has a Micro 4/3 lens mount on it – the same mount found on the Lumix GH1 and GH2. The Micro 4/3 lens mount has a very short flange back distance (the distance between the lens mount and the sensor). This allowed Panasonic to make the Lumix a very small still camera, but it also allows for the mounting of many different lenses. Here is a chart of the different flange distances.
Every lens type with a flange back distance greater than Micro 4/3 can be put on the AF100 with an adapter. As you can see from the chart, there are many different lens options to choose from. Lens adapters for Micro 4/3 are widely available – here is a short list of our favorites.
Micro 4/3 to Four Third: Panasonic DMW-MA1
This little adapter allows you to mount Four Third lenses (Olympus & Leica) directly to the AF100. It passes through all controls and power. Not all lenses will support auto focus controls, but with the DMW-MA1 you will always be able to control iris settings.
Micro 4/3 to Nikon F & G: Novoflex MFT/NIK and MTF Micro 4/3 to Nikon
Both the Novoflex MFT/NIK and the MTF Micro 4/3 to Nikon adapters allow all Nikon F & G mount lenses to be attached, and they feature an iris control ring for any lens that does not have external control. They will work with the Zeiss ZF.2′s, as well as new Nikon lenses.
Micro 4/3 to PL Mount: Hot Rod PL Adapter and MTF Micro 4/3 to PL
Hot Rod Cameras has been making a high-quality, shimmable Micro 4/3 to PL adapter since the release of the Lumix GH1. The Hot Rod PL Adapter sells by itself, but it is also recommended to use it with their X-Baseplate support system to handle heavier lenses. Additionally, they have a full camera support system – the Hot Rod Tuner (more info below). MTF Service also makes a PL mount adapter and will release a support bracket in the near future.
Micro 4/3 to Canon FD: NovoFlex MFT/CAN
If you have older Canon FD lenses with manual controls, the Novoflex MFT/CAN is for you. If you have the new Canon EF lenses, then you’ll have to wait for a different adapter, which should be on its way soon.↑
The AF100 does not come with a lens, but with all of the available adapters out there, there is a huge variety of lenses you can put on the camera. Here are some models that you’ll find at AbelCine. We have also created our AF100 kits using these lenses.
Zeiss ZF.2 Lenses
Zeiss designed these high quality lenses for the stills world, but they also work very well for video. They are F mount, meaning the Novoflex MFT/NIK adapter is required, however since they are completely manual, no electronics are required. The ZF.2 lenses have manual aperture rings and the focus ring has hard stops, which makes pulling focus much easier. There are many different lenses to choose from including 18mm, 21mm, 25mm, 35mm, 50mm, 85mm and 100mm. The lenses vary in size and speed, but they all match in terms of color and contrast.
Zeiss Compact Primes (CP.2)
Building on the success of the ZF.2′s in the video world, Zeiss released their Compact Prime lenses. They feature the same glass found in their still lenses, but with the mechanics of a cinema lens. Designed for easy focus pulls, seven out of the nine lenses have the same front diameter, which makes for quick switching on set. The lenses have interchangeable mounts, with Micro 4/3, PL, Nikon, Canon and Alpha mounts available. They can be purchased in whichever mount you prefer, with the flexibility to switch mounts as needed.
Panasonic Lumix Lenses
Panasonic has made several lenses for their Lumix line of still cameras. These lensees are designed to be small, lightweight, and generally inexpensive. Because the AF100 shares the same mount as the Lumix cameras, these lenses work well with it. The Panasonic 14-140 f4-5.8 has a nice 10x zoom range and is fully supported by the AF100. This means that the camera can control the lens iris, focus and image stabilization. Auto Focus, auto iris and even face recognition features work well with this lens as well. It is not a very fast lens at f4-5.8, but the functions make it a good option for run-and-gun shooting. Panasonic also has a 20mm f1.7 lens and a 7-14 f4, which work with the camera’s iris and focus features as well.
Olympus makes lenses in both Four Third and Micro 4/3 mount. Their lenses are compatible with the AF100 either directly or with the Four Third to Micro 4/3 adapter (DMW-MA1). They offer two fast zoom lenses, the 14-35 f2.0 and the 35-100 f2.0. These lenses make a great image and can be controlled by the camera. Iris control works, as well as the push auto function. Auto Focus doesn’t work, but focus can be adjusted externally with a controller (some examples are listed below). The focus motors on these lenses are not quiet, so they might not work for all situations. However, they will work well for anyone who needs a fast lens in a run-and-gun situation.↑
Mattebox, Follow Focus and Shoulder Rigs
Many people have been asking how to rig the AF100 with accessories. Here is some info on several different setups that we’ve tested with the camera.
Arri MMB-1 Kit
The Arri MMB-1 mattebox and MFF-1 follow focus have been a very popular since they came out a few years ago. The MFF-1 follow focus works well on a huge variety of lenses from SLR still lenses (with a gear) to large cinema style lenses. The mattebox and follow focus can be combined with the MPB-2 base plate with an HVX200A plate adapter.
Chrosziel AF100 Kits
Chrosziel has put together many kits specifically for the AF100. These kits include their 450W Super Wide Mattebox or their 456-R2 Academy Mattebox, a baseplate and a DV follow focus. Chrosziel has done a great job improving their mattebox systems with wider backs (130mm) and stronger fiberglass bodies. Their kits include step downs for different lens standards or their rubber ring for use with SLR lenses. All the kits worked on the AF100 without any problems.
Genus Shoulder Rig
The Genus shoulder rig and 4×4 mattebox is a solid rigging solution, at a very affordable price. The Genus 4×4 mattebox is extremely light and has two stages. Genus also has a step-down ring, called “nuns knickers,” which features elastic to help in holding SLR lenses.
Hot Rod Tuner
Hot Rod is known for making the original Hot Rod PL Adapter for the GH1, and also for modifying the Canon 7D with a PL mount. Now they have made a full system to add a PL mount to the AF100 and give it proper support. The Hot Rod Tuner kit includes the PL mount, PL mount support and the X baseplate. The baseplate system is adjustable and allows use of industry standard 15mm/19mm Arri studio dovetail baseplates. This combination allows use of 15mm/19mm studio sized accessories, as well as proper support for the camera and any 35mm PL mount lens. The PL mount itself has a professional shimmable flange, something that any rental house would require. Finished versions of the Hot Rod Tuner should be shipping in the near future.
OConnor O-box Kit
The OConnor O-box is brand new and growing in popularity. The O-box is extremely strong and even features a top bar which accessories can be mounted to. The mounting bar, which OConnor calls a ‘cheese-stick,’ has threads for 1/4-20″ and 3/8″ attachments. OConnor’s O-Grips system can be mounted to this top bar as well as to either side of the mattebox. The rear opening of the mattebox is 150mm, so it will work with a large variety of lenses. The mattebox comes with two 4×5.65 horizontal filter frames, as well as two top loading or 4×4 horizontal filter frames, at an incredible price. OConnor also has a brand new mini follow focus, the O-Focus Mini, and a baseplate prototype. The O-box is available for purchase now, while the other items should be available soon.
Vocas AF100 Shoulder Rig
Vocas put together a nice AF100 shoulder mount kit that uses many of the same parts as their DSLR rig. The kit includes an MB-255 mattebox, 15mm Pro Support, handgrips and shoulder support with an offset bracket. The rig feels good on the shoulder, and the handgrips are very solid. The Vocas MB-255 Mattebox has two 4×4 filter trays and a 114mm rear opening, so it will work with the Zeiss Compact Primes.
Zacuto Shoulder Rig
Zacuto got their hands on the AF100 not too long ago and put together a very nice setup. It combines their Z-Focus, Universal baseplate, Red plate V3 and Doublemount V3. Zacuto’s universal baseplate is a tried and true system, which fits nicely with the AF100. A battery plate can be attached to the Red plate V3 and Doublemount V3, which provides a great way to mount batteries for balance. At the same time, the Doublemount can be used to attach arms for accessories.↑
The AF100 uses the same batteries as the HMC150, which are not the same as those used in the HVX200. The VW-VBG6PPK is the standard battery from Panasonic, but there are some alternatives.
IDX makes a battery called the SSL-VBG50, as well as a two position charger (LC-VWP) for it. If you are looking for a V-mount battery plate, they make a plate called P-V257, which has both a 12 volt power tap, as well as a 7.2v tap. When you combine it with the C-PANCAVC cable, the camera can be powered directly.
Anton Bauer has designed a gold mount plate called the QR-VBG, which has an attached dummy plate for the AF100. The plate also has a powertap output for 12v accessories.
Switronix has two new products for the AF100 including a Powerbase 70 (PB70-VBG) and a PowerTab XP Cable (XP-DV-VBG). The Powerbase 70 is a battery system that mounts to the bottom of the camera; attached to the battery is a power adapter with a dummy plate for the AF100. The battery itself has 12v powertap connectors on it, so the system can power the camera and accessories easily. The Powertap XP Cable is an inline converter that takes power from any powertap and outputs to a dummy plate for the AF100. This is a great solution for anyone that already owns a power plate.↑
With Panasonic and Olympus lenses, lens controllers can be used to adjust focus and iris. We tested the Varizoom VZ-PFI and the Bebob Foxi focus / iris controller BE-FOXI. Both were able to control focus and iris remotely.↑
The AF100 could easily become your A-camera of choice, so if you need a second camera with a lower profile, the Panasonic Lumix GH2 is a natural fit. It shares the same sensor size as the AF100 and now offers live HDMI output and 24 Mbps recording. As an added benefit, it even comes with a Panasonic 14-140 lens, which can be used on the AF100 as well.↑
The Panasonic HPG20 will record an HD-SDI input in the AVC-Intra 100 codec on P2 cards. This is a great combo device for the AF100 when you need the quality of AVC-Intra 100 recording. The recorder does not accept 23.98 PsF signals though, so it will not work with all the outputs of the AF100.
Convergent Design nanoFlash
The nanoFlash is very popular tiny recorder. It accepts HD-SDI, SDI and HDMI inputs and records in various flavors of MPEG2. It can record 4:2:2 LongGOP video at up to 180 Mbit/s and 4:2:2 I-Frame at up to 280 Mbit/s. Its small size and high quality make it an excellent on-board recording option for the AF100.
AJA Ki Pro & Ki Pro Mini
The Ki Pro and Ki Pro Mini both accept HD-SDI inputs and record in various flavors of Apple ProRes. The Ki Pro has many different inputs and offers long recording to hard drive or SSD, while the new Ki Pro Mini is small and records directly to Compact Flash cards. Both units will record in ProRes LT, ProRes 422 and ProRes 422 (HQ).↑