The Sony FS5 was the talk around town at IBC 2015 ever since Sony unveiled their latest 4K lightweight addition to the XDCAM lineup. There have been a lot of questions and discussion as to how the camera will stack up not only in comparison to the bigger and more powerful FS7, but also against the competition from other manufacturers. However, other than the officially released Sony promo footage, there hasn’t been much else out there. It’s no surprise of course, as the camera isn’t going to ship until the end of November, but recently some new footage shot on the Sony FS5 popped up over on the Sony Pro US website.
Sony FS5 Features & Highlights from our friends at B&H:
- 4K Super 35 EXMOR Sensor with 14 Stops Dynamic Range
- XAVC-L (UHD up to 30p, and Full HD 1080p up to 60p continuous) or AVCHD codecs – the XAVC-L codec can be used for 4K and HD recording, while AVCHD is limited to HD recording
- XAVC-L (or Long GOP) is 8bit 4:2:0 in UHD, but 10bit 4:2:2 in Full HD
- Slow-motion recording in Full HD up to 240fps in 10bit 4:2:2 in 8 seconds burst (80 seconds real time)
- Native E-Mount – you can use your Canon, Nikon, Leica and most other lenses via adapters
- The camera includes an ergonomic handgrip that Sony calls a SmartGrip, which features Zoom, Start/Stop and Assign controls. The SmartGrip facilitates camera operation with the right hand, leaving the left hand free to operate the lens. The handgrip can be positioned at different angles permitting greater flexibility.
- The camera features two SD media slots that support simultaneous or relay recording. One of the two SD slots also accepts Memory Stick-type media.
- All input, output connectors feature covers for dust protection; this applies even to the DC input and LANC connector. The media card slots and Multi-Terminal are likewise protected from dust by a swing away door.
- The camera includes a removable top handle that incorporates a second XLR 3-pin audio input that compliments the 3-pin XLR input incorporated into the body. Both audio inputs feature a selector switch for line/mic/mic+48
- The top handle allows you to attach the LCD viewfinder to the camera, providing you with a choice of using the camera’s built-in EVF, or a larger LCD view screen. Audio level control is on the main body of the camera and offers automatic gain control
- A built-in, electronic, variable ND system allows you to dial in anywhere from 1/4 to 1/128th ND filtration in the camera body, allowing you to eschew the use of optical ND filters. The variable ND also features four preset positions; off, 1/4, 1/16, and 1/64.
- One SDI connector provides HD 10-bit 422 output. In addition, one A-type HDMI 2.0 provides 4K and HD output. Both the SDI and HDMI ports can output REC trigger and TC following Sony’s established transmission method.
- The PXW-FS5 records to XAVC-L QFHD 8-bit 420 (up to 30fps) and HD 10-bit 422 (up to 60fps) internally
- The PXW-FS5 has Simultaneous-Recording capability with Individual Rec Trigger. Mirror or back-up recording is possible. There are two Rec s/s buttons: one on the camera grip, the other on the camera handle. The target SD card slot for each trigger is assigned in the Recording Menu.
- The PXX-FS5 is capable of simultaneously recording proxy files with the same name and time code as the main recordings.
- The camera has a built in Wi-Fi capabilities that enables live streaming to PCs, tablets, and smart phones. When using content Browser mobile, the user can even control the camera wirelessly. One (1) Ethernet connector located on the rear panel of the camera provides robust connections when a reliable Wi-Fi link is not available.
- Recorded movie files can be transferred via network to a designated FTP server. The following file format is available for FTP:
- * XAVC Proxy files
* XAVC-L recorded files (4K(QFHD) & HD)
* AVCHD files (only m2ts stream files)
I recently had a chance to check out the Sony PXW-FS5 4K camera at a recent Hands-On event at Pinewood Studios and was again impressed not only by the really compact size, but also by the intuitive ergonomics and ease of use. Unlike the FS7, the FS5 doesn’t really need any “rigging” as it is more of a “out-of-the-bag” solution for the shooter on the go. Event videographers, corporate video and docu shooters will love the compact size and powerful features inside such as the 240fps slow-motion and the 10bit 422 Full HD XAVC-L codec.
In the 4K side of things, the PXW-FS5 is limited to UltraHD (3840 x 2160) up to 30p and will likely remain this way for the foreseeable future. The codec is thin for 4K work – as it is 8bit 4:2:0 and will possibly not be able to sustain heavy grading in post or VFX work. Of course, there is a Sony FS7 for those who want to get a nice 4K/60p master for example and shoot in a 10bit codec on board.
In my opinion, the FS5 is simply not for those who want to master in 4K for the above reasons (thin codec, lack of 4K slow-motion etc.), but rather a better fit for the Full HD shooters out there who are working in events, mini-docs, corporate work etc. As far as resolution goes, the 4K is more of an extra bonus than the hottest feature here, however in Full HD, slow-motion, ergonomics and portability is where this camera excels. The small size and the handgrip means that you can easily operate it like a handycam but get professional images for not a whole lot of money.
Thanks to Danilo Del Tufo over at the DVXUser forum for the find.
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