Lenses and Accessories for the NEX-FS100
By Jeff Lee, Thursday, 16 June 2011
Sony’s new NEX-FS100 camera is a Compact HD camcorder that shares the same Super-35 sized sensor and image characteristics as the PMW-F3. Because of it’s relative diminutiveness, the FS100 is suitable for many situations where larger cameras may not be. In this article, we present the many different lenses and accessories that can be used with the camera.
Lens Adapters | PL Adapters | Still Lenses | PL Mount | Support Systems | Output Converters | External Recorders | Viewfinders & Onboard Monitors | Batteries & Power Options
The NEX-FS100 uses Sony’s E Mount, which is seen in some of the new still cameras and first appeared in a video camera on the Handycam NEX-VG10. Because of the short flange back distance (18mm), the E Mount is well suited for adaption to other lens systems.
Alpha (α) Mount Adapter
The LA-EA1 adapter from Sony allows Alpha mount lenses to be mounted and controlled by the FS100. It passes aperture control from the camera to the lens and also features Auto Exposure support.
Nikon & Canon FD
Adapters are already available from both MTF Services and NovoFlex that allow for Nikon and Canon FD lenses to be mounted to the camera. These adapters are strictly mechanical, so all control is done directly on the lens. Both the MTF Services and NovoFlex adapter for Nikon lenses feature an iris control ring for Nikon “G” series lenses that do not include aperture control.
Around the launch of the camera several adapters will also be made available to mount PL lenses to the camera. Hot Rod Camera is making an adapter that is the same design as the AF100 adaptor. The adapter is available with or without their whole Tuner support system. If you already own an X-Baseplate from Hot Rod, you can use the new FS100 riser to properly center your lenses in a mattebox. 16×9 is also making an adapter with a simple support adapter. We saw it at NAB and were really pleased with the build quality. MTF has had a PL adapter out for sometime, which was originally designed for the Sony VG10.
Alpha (α) Mount
Several lenses are available in Alpha mount, both from Sony and other manufacturers. There are two zoom lenses from Sony with Zeiss glass that are particularly nice – the 16-35 f/2.8 and the 24-70 f/2.8 offer both the speed and range for day-to-day shooting. On the longer end, there is the 70-200 f/2.8 “G” lens from Sony, where the “G” designates Sony’s professional series of lenses. For the prime lovers out there, Sony offers several lenses with Zeiss optics, including the 24mm f/2, 85mm f/1.4 and 135mm f/1.8. There is also a Sony 35mm f/1.4 “G” lens to round out the range. The Alpha mount was inherited from Konica Minolta when Sony purchased their camera division, so you may also find older Alpha mount lenses labeled as “Maxxum” or Minolta AF.
The Sony FS100UK comes with a Sony 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 kit lens, which is also available separately. With Optical Steady Shot image stabilization and a quieter AF motor, the 18-200mm was designed with video shooting in mind. Also available is the Sony 16mm f/2.8 pancake lens.
Zeiss ZF.2 Lenses
Zeiss designed these high quality lenses for the still photography world, but they also work very well for video. These lenses have a Nikon F mount, meaning the MTF or Novoflex Sony E mount to Nikon 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, 50mm macro, 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)
The Zeiss CP.2s are lightweight lenses that are affordable and versatile. Built for cinema applications, each features a 14-blade iris and a long focal range. They are also unique in that the lens mount can be changed between PL, Nikon, Canon EF and other mounts. The size and weight of these lenses would fit very nicely with the FS100.
Arri Ultra Primes
The Arri Ultra Primes from Zeiss are universally known for their quality, color, contrast and speed. A set of these lenses would be a beautiful addition to the FS100 camera.
Zeiss Light Weight Zoom 2
The Zeiss Light Weight Zoom 2 (LWZ.2) is an incredibly high quality 15.5-45mm T 2.6 zoom lens. Like the Compact Primes, it comes in PL, Nikon, Canon and other mounts, and is lightweight at only 4.4 lbs.
Angenieux Opitmo DP Rouge Zoom Lenses
Angenieux designed the DP Rouge Zoom Lenses specifically for digital cinema cameras. There are two lenses in this series, a 16-42mm T2.8 and a 30-80mm T2.8. Angenieux lenses are known for their quality, and these two lenses are no exception.
There are multiple ways to build up the FS100 with Zacuto parts. We have tested the FS100 with their Z-Focus, Mini baseplate, Red plate V3, Doublemount V3, and the new Zwiss plate. Zacuto’s mini baseplate is a tried and true system, which fits nicely with the FS100. The larger Universal baseplate would also work, but since the FS100 is such a small camera, we feel that the mini baseplate is more appropriate. Both the mini baseplate and universal baseplate would require the use of a spacer or quick release plate such as the Manfrotto RC4 quick release to align the lens with a mattebox and other accessories. A battery plate can be attached to the Red plate V3 with the Doublemount V3, or directly to the Zwiss plate, which provides a great way to mount batteries for balance. At the same time, the Doublemount can be used to attach arms for accessories. Zacuto also has a couple of kits already put together that should work well for the FS100 including the Cine Baseplate Kit and the Indie Baseplate Kit.
Chrosziel has just announced the new 401-429 Light Weight Support designed specifically for the FS100. This purpose-built baseplate is expected to ship between July and September, and while it may not be as versatile as a universal style baseplate; this low profile, low weight support is perfect for those run-and-gun situations.
The new Genus Video Shoulder Mount is a inexpensive shoulder mount solution that works well with the FS100 when paired with a spacer or quick release plate such as the Manfrotto RC4. With a comfortable shoulder pad and included counterbalance weight, the Genus rig feels great while staying affordable.
OConnor’s new Universal Baseplate is a very versatile baseplate solution that fits the FS100 perfectly. In addition to the standard center tripod mounting points, the universal baseplate was designed with offset bridgeplate in mind – if you plan on using larger lenses that require 19mm support, the universal baseplate is a great starting point.
Hot Rod’s tried and tested X-Baseplate works well with the FS100 when combined with the new Hot Rod FS100 riser. The X-Baseplate is also designed for offset bridgeplates, so it’ll be easy to build up a support system for larger lenses.
If you’re trying to convert the HDMI signal on the FS100 to HD/SDI, there are several options on the market today. AJA’s HA5 mini adaptor, BlackMagic Design’s HDMI to SDI mini convertor, and iKan’s new HDMI-SDI-01 adaptor will all work with the 1080/60i output mode of the FS100.
Ki Pro Mini
The AJA Ki Pro and Ki Pro Mini both accept HD-SDI and HDMI 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).
The Convergent Design nanoFlash is a 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. The nanoFlash is one of the few devices available today that can accept a 1080/60p HDMI signal from the FS100 (other recorders can use the 1080/60i output mode). Its small size and high quality make it an excellent on-board recording option for the FS100.
The soon-to-be-released Sound Devices PIX 220 (HDMI only) and PIX 240 (HDMI & HD/SDI) are compact Apple ProRes & Avid DNxHD (optional update) recorders that feature a 5″ screen and multiple up/down/cross conversion capabilities.
The Atomos Ninja is a compact, affordable HDMI ProRes recorder with a 4.3″ touch screen and simple user interface. The Ninja records directly to 2.5″ HDD or SSD’s and is powered by the same Sony “L” batteries as the FS100.
Viewfinders & On-Board Monitors
If you’re using the FS100 on a shoulder rig, a nice alternative to the built-in LCD screen is the Cineroid Electronic Viewfinder. You can attach the Cineroid to your rods with the Zactuo Z-Mount II and Zacuto Zamerican articulating arm, offering you a truly versatile shoulder mounting solution. You can also attach the Cineroid to the several built-in 1/4″ 20 female mounting points with a standard Noga (NF1108CA) or Manfrotto arm.
Zacuto has just started to ship their Z-Finder EVF Pro. This electronic viewfinder has a high resolution screen, HDMI input and a loop through for additional monitoring, and many of the same features found on high-end viewfinders.
With a high resolution 1280×800 screen and built-in HDMI to HD/SDI converter, the TVLogic VFM-056WP 5.6″ monitor is a great tool for any FS100 user. Other features include a waveform monitor, vectorscope, and focus assist.
Batteries & Power Options
The FS100 uses the popular Sony “L” series batteries, which is available in capacities as large as 6600mAh for long run times. The FS100 ships with a small “L” battery and charger, but the AV-VQ1050D is an inexpensive dual charger and AC adaptor that would compliment any camera package.
The Anton Bauer QR-PD-HDV plate includes a built in voltage regulator and “dummy” battery you can use to power your FS100 from Anton Bauer batteries. It includes a pouch you can use to carry your Dionic 90 or Hytron 50 battery.
If you already own a Gold Mount or V-Lock style battery plate, you can use the Switronix XP-DV-S20 P-Tap to Sony “L” cable that includes a built-in voltage regulator.