New Lenses, New Firmware Arrive for Sony's NEX-FS100
Ring in the New Year with PAL Recording, New Selectable Indicators, and More
“That sets us aside from DSLRs and the new [C300] camera from Canon,” Martinez said. “We were unable to put on an ND filter because the flange depth is so shallow, but there are high-quality variable ND filters that can be attached to the front of the lens that are very simple to operate. You don’t have to run around with a matte box and a bunch of filters, because one filter does a wonderful job.” Sony will offer ND filters from companies including Tiffen and Kenko.
And while it was introduced in 2010 as a proprietary system, Sony this year opened the protocol to third-party lens manufacturers, expanding the range of E-Mount lenses available. Zeiss has a 24mm f/1.8 E-Mount lens shipping now. Martinez said Tamron announced an 18-200mm zoom earlier in December and Sigma has been showing a 30mm f/2.8 prototype.
With the Zeiss lens in the mix, plus new Sony 30mm f/3.5 and 50mm f/1.8 offerings, the number of E-Mount lenses available reaches seven, plus a fish-eye conversion lens and an ultra-wide-angle conversion lens (see chart). “These lenses are very nicely made – many have aspherical elements and extra-low-dispersion glass,” Martinez said.
|SEL-18200||18-200mm f3.5-6.3||Zoom (bundled with FS100UK)|
|SEL-16F28||16mm f/2.8||28mm pancake lens|
|VCL-ECF1||Adapter||Fish-eye conversion lens (requires SEL-16F28)|
|VCL-ECU1||Adapter||Ultra-wide-angle conversion lens (requires SEL-16F28)|
|SEL-24F18Z||24mm f/1.8||Zeiss wide-angle prime|
That’s just part of the lens story. The other big news is the recently introduced LA-EA2 lens adapter (pictured above), which allows continuous focus on Sony Alpha lenses. Its predecessor, the LA-EA1, allowed iris adjustment, but it was a bit clunky. “The iris would jump from stop to stop, snapping open and shut to the exact opening that was called for,” Martinez explained. “This is OK for still cameras, but not for motion cameras.”
The LA-EA2 uses a translucent mirror just a couple of microns thick that allows a small amount of light to drive a continuously operating phase-detection system for autofocus. This allows subjects to be kept in sharp focus even when operating a zoom lens that can’t hold focus throughout its entire focal range. “There are true par-focal zoom lenses [that maintain focus as the focal length changes] in the Sony Alpha line, and there are others that are not,” Martinez says. “With this system, all those zoom lenses can keep focus.”
Here’s what the new firmware gets you:
- 50 Hz (PAL) recording: 1920×1080 at 50p, 50i, and 25p; and 1280×720 at 50p.
- Camera profile: save and load menu and picture profile settings to and from a memory card
- 4x and 8x expanded focus magnification
- Selectable ISO or GAIN sensitivity display
- Selectable focus indication in feet or meters (E-mount lenses only)
- Selectable shutter indication as exposure time or shutter angle
- Added 2.35:1, 1.85:1, and 1.66:1 aspect-ratio markers
- Display on/off button allows zebra and/or histogram overlay on video output
There’s also a new 28 Mbps AVCHD bit rate reserved for a new multi-view codec (MVC), which holds a single 3D file containing two HD streams plus audio and timecode. The 28 Mbps can also be used for 1080 60p recording. (All other formats will record at the usual 24 Mbps.)
When the new firmware is available, download instructions will be posted to Sony’s FS100 web page and users can perform the upgrade by connecting the camera to a computer via USB. Alternately, Sony Professional Service Depots will upgrade the camera for you, but you’ll have to pay the labor charges if you go that route.
For more information: pro.sony.com.