Should Canon C100/C100 II Users Upgrade to the Sony FS5?

I’m sure that this question could spur a vigorous debate among filmmakers who tend to support unreservedly either of these brands, but that’s not the point here. The video below produced by LensProToGo tries to explain why the Sony FS5 might just be the right camera for some filmmakers and particularly for those who currently own either Canon C100 or C100 II. As a seasoned Canon C100 shooter, freelance director and DP Evan Bourcier shares his experience with the Sony PXW-FS5 and how it stacks up against the original C100. Just as a recap, the Sony FS5 has a Super 35 “Exmor” CMOS Sensor providing 14 stops of dynamic range and shoots UHD 3840 x 2160 at 100Mbps using Sony’s advanced XAVC-L codec. The camera is also capable of delivering a stunning Full HD 60fps utilising XAVC 10bit 4:2:2 codec along with slow motion recording up to 240fps without any sensor cropping. But, are all these features worth making the leap? Let’s find out.

The first thing that impresses Evan is the small and lightweight modular form factor of the Sony PXW-FS5 which makes the camcorder the perfect fit for various gimbal setups and other mobile applications. On top, the monitor can be moved on various places onto the camera body due to the available 1/4-20 mounts, plus the handle can be removed for even further convenience. The grip of the Sony FS5 also feels comfortable enough as well as it provides access to all important settings letting users control the camera with ease.


Regarding color fidelity and skin tones reproduction, C-Log gamma seems to be better optimized than S-Log according to Evan. Nevertheless, he found out that the footage out of this two cameras could be matched easily in post to a point where it’s virtually indistinguishable. The filmmaker also recommends utilising the 4:2:2 1080p mode of the camera when possible as well as pushing the exposure to the right when shooting in S-Log for optimal results. Due to the way Sony FS5 handles exposure, you should also avoid ISO settings higher than 6400, especially when filming in low light situations.

Ultimately, the two features that really set apart the Sony FS5 from the Canon C100 according to Evan are the variable electronic ND filter and the higher frame rate modes. The ability to dial in multiple ND increments electronically without any color shifts is indeed an extremely convenient and useful feature, especially when you’re using cinema style lenses and don’t want to get matte boxes and separate ND filters to control your exposure.


The ability to shoot up to 240fps in HD, on the other hand, is another appealing feature and a big selling point for many users, but keep in mind that you can shoot only for eight seconds in burst mode (equivalent to about a minute and a half real time) as it’s limited by the camera’s  internal buffer memory.

I’m sure that there are plenty of other features that are not included in the video, so what do you guys think? Do you prefer the proprietary color science of the Canon C100/ C100 II over all the bells and whistles the Sony FS5 provides? Share your insight below.

[source: LensProToGo]

B&H Link:

Sony PXW-FS5 XDCAM Super 35 Camera System – $ 5,599.00

Amazon Link:

Sony PXW-FS5 XDCAM Super 35 Camera System – $ 5,599.00


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  • These cameras are no longer in the same price range, but you know that already.