The Sony FS5 is known in the filmmaking community for providing professional 4K footage at a cost that comes lower than other cameras with similar capabilities and even being more affordable than some DSLRs. Meanwhile, paying for the RAW Output Upgrade License (CBKZ-FS5R) unlocks the full potential of the camera by allowing users to shoot in DCI-compliant 4K and 2K 12-bit RAW at much higher frame rates, making the device more versatile in most, if not all shooting scenarios.
While the Sony FS5 has received wide acclaim for balancing pro-level features with price, the video below shows an off-putting flaw of the camera that all videographers who particularly plan to shoot slow-motion footage with it should take into consideration.
Why we don’t film 200fps with the Sony PXW FS5 anymore from voodage on Vimeo.
The comparison puts the FS5 against the RED Epic with the Dragon sensor, and while the rig used in the video for the RED camera was not mentioned, it’s stated that the R3D files were filmed in REDcode 8:1 and REDgamma4 while the FS5 was recording both internally as well as externally to an Atomos Shogun Inferno Recorder. The team decided to use the Atomos’ recorder mainly due to the fact that the device is capable of converting the 4K 50p RAW signal into Apple ProRes 4:2:2 10 bit.
At first, the FS5 and the RED Dragon were pretty neck-in-neck when it came to image quality. Both produced natural skin tones and great detail in the image, although when it came to internal recording, the Dragon’s quality was far superior. The FS5, however, does show a drastic increase in the overall image quality when using the external recorder.
When it came down to comparing the 2K 200fps footage captured by the two cameras, however, a notable difference was spotted putting the FS5 in an odd position,to say the least. When looking closely at the footage of the Sony camera captured at 2K 200fps, contrasty areas reveal very distracting pink blocky artifacts. This unfavorable effect can be seen clearly in the shots of the backlit dancer, specifically in the areas near talent’s hair.
These artifacts are an unfortunate reality that FS5 users will have to be vigilant over when shooting at this specific recording setting. The good news, though, is that no other recording options seem to be affected by the same pixel artifacts rather than shooting in 2K at 200fps.
To process the footage, the selected recording formats (2K@200fps as well as 4K@100fps) were color graded in Davinci Resolve 14. Afterward, the clips were cut in Adobe Premiere CC and exported in 1080p25 and 2160p25 for uploading to Vimeo and YouTube respectively.
Sony PXW-FS5 XDCAM Super 35 Camera System (B&H, Amazon)
Sony PXW-FS5 FS RAW Output Upgrade License (B&H, Amazon)