I had Panasonic GH2, GH3 and Sony cx900. Now I sold my GH2 and bought an used Panasonic AF100A. I was about to sell my sony cx900 too. So just to keep two camera. But I changed my mind. I keep it.
What is my thought process to purchase this old and not very popular model at this moment?
I need a big camera. What I have learned during my career so far is that if you are not famous, if you are just an average videographer. The gear you use play a big role on how people think about you. Let’s say there are two candidates apply for a video job. They have similar skill and both are not famous. The one carry bigger camera has greater chance to impress the client and get hired. I know it is kind a joke. We as photographer all know camera is not the most important thing, the most important thing is the person behind the camera. But I realize the mass do not think this way. People see the obvious. If people see bigger camera, bigger gears, they immediately think you are professional. I am not kidding. The company I currently freelance for. I do many event video for the company. The boss always tell me, “come on, you need to invest a bigger camera, so people can pay you more. I know I have small budget, so I am ok with your small camera now. But other client will think your camera not professional enough.” I really do not know what to say..I also encountered a few other times that clients think my camera too small, does not look professional and did not hire me at end..However I am very confident my camera is capable for the job. I assume many of you guys experience something similar.
So what is the cheapest big camcorder that has interchangeable lens? There are a few options. Sony fs100, sony nex-ea50, panasonic af100. A brand new panasonic af100a can sell around $4000. But an used one can be grab around $1300-1700 at ebay. And since I am using m4/3 system. It is an easy decision to go to panasonic af100.The model I got is af100a, it has some minor improvement over af100. It can record 1080p at 60fps. For me it is an must have feature nowadays.
My initial thought of this big camera is that it really do look professional. Have to say whoever hold this camera definitely do “look” more professional than someone hold a small DSLR. It has all the feature we miss from DSLR.
However after some test shots, I realize this camera indeed is old. My GH3 has better image quality than this big camera. Not to mention the new 4k camera GH4. I feel kind ironic. We use bigger camera to impress client, to make them think we are more professional, consequently to make them pay more. But the reality is that some big camera produce worse image quality than those newly released small camera. For example look at how small the BMPCC is, but it has way better image quality than most camera that is a lot bigger. How ironic it is? If you are a client you may think what’s wrong with this video guy, I pay you so much, you just bring a point and shoot camera? But this guy with this tiny camera can produce a lot better video quality than most of the cameras in the market. It is just so ironic. Any client if you are reading this article, really do not be fooled by the size of camera.