Sony FS5 Review – First Impressions & Footage

Just two months ago the Sony FS5 was introduced, a promising little camera and little brother to the highly successful, large sensor Sony FS7.
Now the Sony FS5 is almost ready for its official launch. I’m currently in Japan and one of my tasks was to test this new camera which was kindly supplied by Sony’s HQ for a very short time.

Please note that the tested camera is a prototype and as such, some tweaks to the final image quality and camera features might happen before its release. This is certainly not the last time we will look at this camera so please consider this short Sony FS5 Review as “first impressions content”.

Johnnie Behiri reviewing the Sony FS5

Johnnie Behiri shooting a Sony FS5 Review

My Findings in Summary

Who is the camera for?
Mainly documentary shooters and documentary style filmmakers.

Its strongest selling points for me: (in no particular order)

  • Size and balance.
  • 2 x SD Card Slots for reliable and continuous shooting.
  • Proxy recording for easier editing on older, less powerful computers.
  • Affordable for the professional who is looking for a large sensor interchangeable lens camera.
  • 2 cleverly located XLR audio inputs.
  • Built-in ND filter with an ingenious Vari-ND option. In other words, you are now able to keep your desired F-stop and ISO speed, yet add nuances of ND filtration to change your exposure.
    An additional benefit when using an electronic lens, is the possibility to shoot under different lighting conditions (indoors to outdoors for example) and change the intensity of your ND filter smoothly, “as if” you would change aperture with a proper video/film lens that has a step-less aperture ring.
  • Clear image zoom: This is Sony’s name for what was previously known as “digital zoom”. While any professional wouldn’t use this feature on any other camera, I like the implementation on the FS5, because it gives you the ability to create results that are really hard to distinguish from optical zooms. (more information about the new technology behind it can be found here).
  • Excellent battery life when using BP U60 batteries.
  • A modular LCD attachment for versatile placements.
  • Up to 240 frames per second in HD mode (Quality was not tested in this review).
  • Together with the supplied kit lens, the steady-shot function of this camera preformed extremely well.

Its weakest points for me: (in no particular order)

  • The XAVC-L codec. Because of its Long GOP nature, this codec will make your computer work hard while editing.
  • For me personally, the supplied camera grip is not easy and comfortable to work with. In my opinion, the REC button is located wrongly.
  • The camera will record 10 bit color internally in HD mode only. In 4K it will record 8 bit color. We advise to avoid shooting in S-Log 3 in 4K as it is problematic in most shooting situations. We saw that on the a7S II already.
  • EVF is just OK. The a7S II and a7R II EVFs are better!
  • The supplied kit lens has a good Run&Gun focal length range for an APS-C sensor (18-105), BUT, it has an extremely thin focus throw. Every little adjustment and you are out of focus. Autofocus is fine in most cases but not on long focal lengths.
  • The menu structure is irritating. After accessing some functions, there is no RETURN button. You simply have to press MENU and start all over again if you need further camera adjustment. A known weak point on Sony cameras, but I hope it will be improved for the final release FS5.

Things you might want to consider before purchasing the camera:

  • At times the camera would stop recording and report: “rebuilding the video file”. It can be because I was using SDXC U1 cards in 100 Mbit mode. Please be aware that Sony is recommending U3 type cards.
  • The use of S&Q (slow-motion) is confusing. You need to set the camera to HD recording mode in order to access the higher frame rates. It is not possible to stay on QFHD normal recording format and set the slow-motion to HD. I believe the Sony FS7 has a similar system.
  • The histogram looked incomplete. It was hard to know where I was exposure-wise.
  • White balance could not be changed with the WB button when shooting in S-log mode. (You can do that only with-in the PP7/8 menu. Sony is trying to unify its cinematic workflow across the line and implementing that type of WB choice on  lower end cameras.
  • Face detection is not available when shooting in 4K mode. It is available in HD mode (without proxy recording) only.
  • FOCUS MAG(nification): When pressing REC, the image would not return to normal mode but would stay in MAG mode.

Conclusion

The Sony FS5 is a well balanced package for the documentary/wedding/indie/news shooter cameraman. For those who are looking for an easy to use large sensor solution, be it “full auto mode” or “full auto focus” this is a very good alternative.

On the other hand, the advanced shooter will not feel neglected and be able to take control on most if not all camera functions in a manual way. As with most of Sony’s latest products, this one will receive a firmware update soon after its release to answer some of the shortcomings already found since the time it was announced. Sony also promised to introduce a future RAW recording capability for this camera at a later stage. Exciting.

All in all, those 2 days with the camera were simply too short to come to an ultimate conclusion. It’s definitely a fine working tool and without a doubt it will serve a large group of professionals in their daily work.

Last but not least, I urge you to see this video presentation made by our friend and colleague Alister Chapman at Vocas.

Also see our: Sony FS5 Hands-On Article

Technical information regarding the video:
Shot in 2160/24p, PP7 (S-Log 2). Edited in Adobe Premiere CC 2015 and colour corrected with the aid of FilmConvert. Sound recorded directly to the camera with a Sennheiser AVX in conjunction with a Sanken COS-11D Mini Lav Mic.

Music by Musicbed
Cedric Conti – Alone in Tokyo

A special thanks to Masataka san for contributing for this video and to Tim Dillon who helped translate from Japanese.  

 

Johnnie Behiri is a freelance documentary cameraman/editor/producer working mostly for the BBC and other respected broadcasters. He is also co-owner of cinema5d.com

 
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Michael Sandiford Reply
Michael Sandiford November 17, 2015

How’d you like the ND filter Johnnie Behiri?

cinema5D Reply
cinema5D November 17, 2015

Working very well and very useful. Great new technology.

Riccardo Andreaus Reply
Riccardo Andreaus November 17, 2015

What about the quality? Is it neutral actually?

Reply
Johnnie Behiri November 18, 2015

Hi Riccardo Andreaus

Sorry, not sure I understand your question. What is “Natural quality” for you?

Thanks

Johnnie

 Aerokraft Mood Reply
Aerokraft Mood November 18, 2015

Only few ND filter (out of camera) are neutral, neutral in color cast… I think is this the question =)

 Lauren Cohn Reply
Lauren Cohn November 20, 2015

We find ourselves reading the same things! ;)

 Lauren Cohn Reply
Lauren Cohn November 20, 2015

;)

 Robert Gamperl Reply
Robert Gamperl November 17, 2015

You made such nice shots.
Looked like some high-end cinema movies.
Don’t you think it’s a really nice camera for commercial, corporate and short-films?

Reply
Johnnie Behiri November 17, 2015

Hi Robert.

Thanks for the thumbs up!

This camera can act as a “swiss army knife” recording device. I’m sure many professionals who are doing different productive creative work will try and use it.

Thank you.

Johnnie

Oreste Montebello Reply
Oreste Montebello November 17, 2015

Molto bello….

Reply
Johnnie Behiri November 17, 2015

Grazie!

Johnnie

Reply
Marcos Avlonitis November 17, 2015

Thank you for this beautiful and moving video. The cinematography was involving and beautiful without being overly-stylised and I really like your narration – it felt like a travel piece from a larger documentary and it was nice having your well-worded and interesting insights into his life and work. Of course, one could argue that it would be interesting to hear your subject say the words instead but I think in this case it worked very well because the words were backed up by visuals and it still felt like an honest depiction of your subject.

Thank you again for taking the time to review the camera in such an interesting and worthwhile way.

Reply
Johnnie Behiri November 17, 2015

Hi Marcos Avlonitis

Thank you for your kind words. Very much appreciated.

Johnnie

 Max Carlson Reply
Max Carlson November 17, 2015

For documentary use, something easy and quick to get filming, do you think this camera is better than the new a7sii? In the past I have filmed a documentary on both the canon 5d + sony z7u, which are both equivalent sizes to the new a7sii and fs5 and I always found the Sony z7u to be much easier because of the much better built in audio mic, xlr input, and also the ability to place the camera partially on my shoulder for more stabilization. What do you think would be best from a documentary standpoint?

Reply
Johnnie Behiri November 18, 2015

Hi Max.

I’m so used to work with the a7xxx cameras but I have no doubt that the FS5 can be as easy if not easier to work with in documentary situations.

I do need to explore more before making a concrete decision.

If you do get the FS5 for documentary work, please share your findings.

Thanks!

Johnnie

 Michael Zeisse Reply
Michael Zeisse November 17, 2015

Hi Jonnie nice Movie ……are you now a proud owner of a cat shirt .-)

Reply
Johnnie Behiri November 18, 2015

Hi Michael, good to hear from you again!

Actually got one for my daughter last year…

Take care

Johnnie

 Michael Zeisse Reply
Michael Zeisse November 17, 2015

Hi Johnnie ,
nice storytelling , nice footage , when we could expect your 90min project
looking forward to see it in cinemas and you in vienna
thanks

Reply
Ajit Patel November 17, 2015

Hi Johnnie,

Lovely short film, takes me back to my short time in Japan..

Would love to have your feed back on the quality of the evf..is it anything like the ones on the NEX 6000 and A7r?
Thanks in ADVANCE..AJIT

Reply
Johnnie Behiri November 18, 2015

Hi Ajit Patel

Thanks for taking the time watching the video and commenting.

The build in EVF is inferior to the ones found on the a7RII and a7SII.

I can not compare it to the original a7R. Simply can’t remember…

Thank you!

Johnnie

 Danilo Del Tufo Reply
Danilo Del Tufo November 17, 2015

Thanks Johnnie for the video. What lens did you use?

 Phil Maurion Reply
Phil Maurion November 17, 2015

I’d like to know this as well as it isn’t mentioned but the photos shows you with the kit lens. Is that what you used the whole time?

Reply
Johnnie Behiri November 18, 2015

Hi Danilo.

The Sony E PZ 18-105mm f/4 kit lens.

Thanks.

Phil Maurion Reply
Phil Maurion November 17, 2015

Hi, were you using the kit lens the whole time with this camera?

Reply
Johnnie Behiri November 18, 2015

Hi Phil.

Yes!. I wanted to keep it as close as possible to the way people might work with the camera.
It was also a good chance to test that particular lens.

Thanks!

Johnnie

Kabir Teja Reply
Kabir Teja November 17, 2015

Thanks for the review – quick question about XAVC-L… can’t you easily get around the process intensity issues by just transcoding to Prores or some other codec before you sit down to edit? Or am I missing something?

Reply
Johnnie Behiri November 18, 2015

Hi Kabir Teja

Probably, yes. The thing is, when you are on a tight schedule, you wouldn’t want to transcode..

Thanks!

Johnnie

Derek McCabe Reply
Derek McCabe November 17, 2015

great editing, framing.. and most notable to me.. the color grading.

Reply
Johnnie Behiri November 18, 2015

Thank you Derek. Very much appreciated.

Johnnie

Antonio Tieri Reply
Antonio Tieri November 17, 2015

as you think about this video? best sony alpha? I’m in love with this camcorder

Art Sanchez Reply
Art Sanchez November 17, 2015

Wich is the minimum selectable iso setting for slog 2?

Reply
Johnnie Behiri November 18, 2015

Hi Art Sanchez

ISO 3200.

Thanks

Johnnie

 Kirill Kripak Reply
Kirill Kripak November 17, 2015

Sony Middle East were kind enough to lend me the (pre-production) camera for a bit over a day as well, and I came away impressed.

I have some footage that I will compile but I’ll put it this way: i decided to shoot the Dubai 48hour film project on it and it allowed me to tackle 8 scenes over 7 locations over 6 pages in less than 30 hours.

The lens has pincushion on it still, but I’m told there may be a setting that is off by default to fix this. I agree about S&Q being a bit odd to activate as its a dedicated button. Hopefully firmware will address this.

Also, on my unit, accessing the thumbnails and playback of QHD was very, very slow. Did you notice the same?

Reply
Johnnie Behiri November 18, 2015

Hi Kirill Kripak

Thanks for sharing your thoughts! I hope you can also share your film when done.

It was only once that I used the playback function to see if this prototype camera is actually recording…:)

Thanks!

Johnnie

 Danilo Del Tufo Reply
Danilo Del Tufo November 18, 2015

Hi Johnnie, someone tested the FS5 lens, the Sony 18-105, you can watch there: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rGsUnHur3WU
It shows a problem during zoom at center of the frame, a sort of pulsating image that expands and contracts rhythmically.
Did you noticed this problem? It seems that it’s in every lenses (it’s not a defective lens) and when it’s enabled the lens correction in the menu.

Angus Khan Reply
Angus Khan November 18, 2015

No slow mo huh?

Brian Cutts Reply
Brian Cutts November 19, 2015

8 seconds of 1080p @240fps from what I understand

Angus Khan Reply
Angus Khan November 19, 2015

I meant in the sample video…

 Leo Kelion Reply
Leo Kelion November 18, 2015

Loved the film – beautifully filmed and you got a good sense of the subject in a brief time

Reply
Miltos PAVLOU November 18, 2015

great work Johnnie! loved the film, diving in your Japan

 Yazzman Donquichote Reply
Yazzman Donquichote November 18, 2015

you create a Nice atmosphere. The rolling shutter in the train clip is recognizable but not much. I have 4 Questions:
1. Did you use the original Lens from Sony 18-105 for the hole Film?
2. How was the manual focusing with this Lens?
3. Did you try the clear Image Zoom for some Shots?
4. On what System did you edit the Film? Mac Book Pro 2014? Processor/ RAM?
Thankx

Reply
Johnnie Behiri November 18, 2015

Hi Yazzman

Happy to know you find this review useful!.

To your questions:

1.Did you use the original Lens from Sony 18-105 for the hole Film? Yes.
2. How was the manual focusing with this Lens? It sucks! Very thin focus throw.
3. Did you try the clear Image Zoom for some Shots? Yes, it was always on. Great quality!
4. On what System did you edit the Film? Mac Book Pro 2014? Processor/ RAM? MBP Retina Mid 2012, 2.6 Ghz Intel I7 processor. RAM- 16 GB 1600 MHz, DDR3

Hope it helps.

Johnnie

Reply
Johnny Huh November 18, 2015

I think its a great 1080p Kamera. And will be a working horse for HD for the next 5 years, until 4k is Standard. People saying its not a cinema camera because the fs7, f55 is there but for indie guys working now with black magic and canon it can be a cinema camera.
I like to buy this camera for commercial use where i earn money but also for indie films. I hope it will work ;) Actually its the 1080p camera we have been waiting for. Now 4k comes so we feel like there is something missing, but when do we need 4k? I was never ask for 4k. Tv is hd and for Internet also not needed now.

I wish the streetprice goes around 5k then its a nobrainer at 7k i dont know if it makes sense for me because in 3-4 years i will buy something new xD Cameraprice droping like apples…

Reply
Kaster Troy November 19, 2015

The images produced by this camera look amazing, cinema quality imo.

Dave Allen Reply
Dave Allen November 19, 2015

And here is the largest FS5 group on Vimeo to host your FS5 films

https://vimeo.com/groups/329546

Thomas Raadgeep Reply
Thomas Raadgeep November 19, 2015

At quick glance I thought I saw our national soccer coach (Danny Blind) was reviewing the FS5, I am glad it’s you Johnnie. Nice video!

Reply
Michael Großmann November 19, 2015

Disturbing news from newshooter.com:
The FS5 seems to have a few bugs more in 4K/UHD mode that people might need to know before they’re ordering this camera.

I would like to buy the FS5 because it’s lightweight and good for gimbals and sliders BUT I also need to be able to use external (bigger) monitors in 4K recording modes.

According to newsshooter.com this camera has only 3 options in 4K/UHD mode:
1. Internal recording but you don’t get to use an external monitor even if you don’t want to record externally.
2. Internal recording but you keep the sony monitor at home, don’t use the EVF and the external monitor needs to loop through an external EVF.
3. You have to use/buy a monitor with recording capabilities in order to use the EVF but you get two basicly dead SD media slots.

Option 1 is not an option: even the BMPC4K can output 4K while recording and using the internal monitor, as well as the DVX200 (although just at 8-bit) both cheaper than this.
Option 2 is not an option: EVF not working on a camcorder???
Option 3 is not an option: the camera is even advertised for its simultaneous internal dual recording capabilities.

Face detection is not available when shooting in 4K mode.
All these drawbacks make the camera basicly a FullHD camera with a bit of “4K ready”.
With a Sony product you shouldn’t make these “compromises”.
Hopefully Sony manages fix this with an update because then this could be a great camera.

Reply
Johnny Huh November 19, 2015

Sony already said say will ad hdmi Output while 4k recordering. The only question is when ;) But its coming!

Reply
Michael Großmann November 19, 2015

But unfornatunately not simultaneously with the built in monitor or EVF. According to newsshooter.com and Atomos CEO Jeromy Young even with the upcomming firmware update (supposedly comming in January) the camera still has these limitations:
http://www.newsshooter.com/2015/11/18/want-to-record-4k-internally-and-record-externally-on-the-fs5-and-use-the-built-in-monitor-or-evf-no-can-do-say-sony/

Reply
Johnny Huh November 19, 2015

Okay thanks. Thats bad… But you could use an external recorder+external Monitor to record and watch. Is the 4k Output 10bit 422? I thought it will he 8bit 420 at 4k…
So 4k is still not easy to do in small Cameras. The dvx200 also got noticable delay at 4k Output…

Grisel Daniel Morales Reply
Grisel Daniel Morales November 19, 2015

For the price I can get 2 Blackmagic URSA Mini’s 4K camera! SMH

 Tim Ouillette Reply
Tim Ouillette November 23, 2015

Think again, you would need to buy a evf for $1,500, batteries and a v mount for $300, Shoulder mount for $300 and a ND filter. Plus the media is going to cost you a couple of hundred at least. You would easily spend more on even the 4k version of the mini.

 Tyler Peck Reply
Tyler Peck November 19, 2015

Nice work, Johnnie. How was the low light performance?

Muhammad Darwish Reply
Muhammad Darwish November 19, 2015

Edward Kiernan – in case of interest

Edward Kiernan Reply
Edward Kiernan November 20, 2015

Thanks man, will check it out

 Franco Sacchi Reply
Franco Sacchi November 20, 2015

Hi Johnnie, wonderful video. really enjoyed. My apologies if someone already asked but was it originally shot in HD 1080 or 4K?

Reply
Johnnie Behiri November 25, 2015

Hi Franco. My apologies for the late response.

That was shot in 4K

Thanks.

Johnnie

Anthony Finocchiaro Reply
Anthony Finocchiaro November 20, 2015

Alexandre Lecoeur ;)

Reply
Tim Naylor Naylor November 20, 2015

Johnnie,

Just need some clarity. Does the 1080p 10 bit use the full super 35mm sensor size or is it cropped in? Also, could you elaborate about crop in or not at high speed frame rates.

The other thing I was wondering is the image quality better in 1080p 10 bit vs 4k 8 bit downconverter to 1080p? Virtually all the work I do is still 1080p deliverable. Would there still be banding issue in the 4k 8 bit downconverter to 1080p?

Thanks

Oscar Goldman Reply
Oscar Goldman November 21, 2015

Decent review. You present specific and important criticisms that are so often lacking in reviews on here.

It’s depressing that manufacturers like Canon and Sony still don’t understand that they’re ruining their cameras with junk codecs. And they’re compounding the offense by putting this crappy content into essentially proprietary, horseshit files instead of versatile standard file wrappers (preferably MPEG-4).

Reply
Francesco Ulisse Cammarata November 21, 2015

Hi dear Johnnie, in my point of view this FS5 is a A7SM2 with camcorder dress around, more comfortable use for many situations.

Reply
Johnnie Behiri November 25, 2015

Hi Francesco.

An interesting way to look at this camcorder but personally I disagree.

With a stronger codec and extra features not found in the a7SII (like 240 fps), yet equipped with a smaller sensor, we can “argue” if that was Sony’s intention.

At the end of the day, there is no job that can’t be done with the a7SII, but to say the FS5 is an a7SII dresses as a camcorder is in my opinion, a mistake.

Thanks!

Johnnie

Reply
Paul Antico December 17, 2015

I am an FS7 owner/op , as well as an A7RII and RX100 M4 (for personal stuff) owner. I have owned a C300 and C100 in the past (mark 1). I also have a Shogun recorder.

I received the Fs5 yesterday and performed some basic high ISO tests using the internal recording in Slog at ISO 3200, 6400, and 12800. I wouldn’t recommend 12800 but 6400 and 3200 (native) are certainly normal ISOs to use in run n gun doco work.

I tested against the A7RII and RX100M4 in 4K in both Slog2 and Cine (1/Pro), and graded with Filmconvert. All were exposes similarly, at the same F stop except the RX100M4 which was a stop faster. All were recorded at 100Mbit 8 bit 420 XAVC (L, or S).

My FS7 was out on rental so I did not test it, but you would expect it to perform better owning to the better 422 10bit 240Mbit codec. Previous tests show it cleaner at the same ISO as the A7S (see NewsShooter), and the A7RII is a little noisier than that. Thus even without shooting in this specific test we know the FS7 looks great at ISO 6400 as I have shot it many times before at that ISO with no issue (Custom Slog2; Cine EI is noisier but still no weird compression artifacts.. just noisier.)

Conclusion? I sent the Fs5 right back. The image is intensely noisy at even ISO 3200 in anything resembling even moderately low light (6 60 watt bulbs in this case). The noise is very blocky, big, and digital looking. Further, on high contrast junctions I saw a digital looking blocky smearing of the image, as if the encoder was starved for bits.

I did not see any of these artifacts on the A7RII or RX100M4. The A7RII (in S35 mode) was significantly less noisy. The RX100M4 was noisier but had a much finer grain to the noise with no major compression artifacts.

There were other issues as well, including no real “custom” like Slog mode… you only have 3 white balance options in Slog much like Cine EI does on the Fs7. The handgrip I found uncomfortable too, though otherwise I thought the body was very well considered and built.

Bottom line, the FS5 in 4K at least seems to be an incredibly flawed camera. It was the first time I was so disturbed by a test result that I sent it back that quickly. Sony should be ashamed for putting something out that looks worse than a camera even 1/5 the cost and selling it as a professional tool.

This camera gets my lowest rating possible due to the compression issues.

Reply
Johnnie Behiri December 17, 2015

Hi Paul.

Thanks for taking the time to share your findings with us!.

I’m very surprised to read about your results. My above “Catman” short film was all shot in Slog-2 (native ISO 3200) and mainly in an available light conditions. At times, it can be that I was shooting in even higher ISO settings, but simply can’t remember…In any case, I don’t recall seeing extensive noise like you are describing in my FS5 footage.

Thank you

Johnnie

Reply
Paul Antico December 17, 2015

Hi Johnnie. I saw some of the noise in your video but what I experienced was far worse. There was additionally some nasty artifacting as I described that I did not see on the A7RIi etc. I just couldn’t recommend the camera to anyone for 4K unless they intend to use a shogun or odyssey with it. And that kind of defeats the purpose of the small form factor! For only $2500 more the FS7 is a FAR more capable camera. And for $2500 less the A7r/s II are also much better looking, if not real video cameras.

Thanks for all the tests you do here especially the real world DR ones. Much appreciated.

Oscar Goldman Reply
Oscar Goldman December 17, 2015

Thanks for that detailed post, Paul.

Reply
Paul Antico December 17, 2015

I have a little time tonight so I’m going to light a basic scene and give it one more test with internal recording against the fs7, a7rii, rx100 in slog and cine. I’ll try HD too if I have time.

Reply
Johnnie Behiri December 18, 2015

Thank you Paul!

Looking forward to see/hear about your findings.

Johnnie

Reply
Paul Antico December 18, 2015

Here is the full test! Download “original” lightly compressed 4K file for best results from Vimeo but it’s streaming in 4K on YouTube

I’ll follow this commentary up with a podcast to talk about more aspects of the camera.

This video compares the FS5 in ISO 3200, 6400, 12800 in slog2, cine/pro both internally and externally recorded in 4K (with a look at HD too) for the same scene with an FS7, A7RII, and the RX100M4. All same lens except for the RX100. Both graded and original shown. The scene is somewhat dynamic and has dimly lit shadowed subjects in the distance and bright objects lit both.

Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/149383051
YouTube: http://youtu.be/N8EIWE6r0yQ?a

Reply
Johnnie Behiri December 18, 2015

Paul.

Can you please take an extra moment and summarize in a few sentences your findings? (unless the result of this test is exactly like the one you’ve previously posted).

Thanks!

Johnnie

Reply
Paul Antico December 18, 2015

Fine internal at ISO 3200 or below. Lousy blocky artifacts and noise at 6400 and above. Very clean and looks like FS7 (even a bit better) when recorded externally. (All of this is in 4K). Cleaner than A7RIi at 2400, but A7RII much nicer from 6400 on. FS5 is cleaner in HD but not by much. FS7 beats them all when internally recorded. Identical to FS7 when recorded externally except for minus 2 color bits.

Johnnie Behiri December 18, 2015

Thanks!

Martin Hantich
Martin Hantich December 20, 2015

I did some low light testing with my new FS5 today and found out that it already makes a difference whether I use EditReady for conversion or directly import into FCPX. I uploaded my results to Vimeo, the biggest difference can be found between 00:41 and 00:46: https://vimeo.com/149530108

Maybe I should add that I couldn’t find much of a difference between the 1080P clips from FCPX & EditReady.

Cheers, Martin

Reply
Tim Naylor Naylor December 18, 2015

I bought the fS5 about a week ago. Spent some time learning the menu, etc. Then today I decided to do some proper testing of the different presets at a variety of ASA’s. I started with 1080p as I figured I’d probably be using that the most for now. Then when I moved onto the 4k, I couldn’t believe my eyes! No external monitoring via SDI. You’ve got to be joking? An A7s II will monitor externally in 4k.

This is unacceptable that it’s not mentioned in any of the spec sheets. I wouldn’t have wasted my time on this camera otherwise. I was hoping to use it with clients but if they can’t see it what’s the point? I’m returning this weekend.

Utterly disappointed by Sony.

Reply
Johnnie Behiri December 18, 2015

Hi Tim.

Indeed an irritating lack of feature which might be fixed in the next firmware update although it can be that the simultaneous 4K internal recording and HDMI/SDI output will sacrifice the use of the camera’s built-in EV or LCD screen.

BTW, with the a7xII, you can monitor externally but the minute you press record, you lose the possibility to view the built-in camera EVF or LCD. Both will go blank.

Sony is aware of those a7xII limitations, but I’m afraid it will be fixed only on the next a7xII model.

Thanks.

Johnnie

Reply
Paul Antico December 18, 2015

Yes A7XII series operate just like FS5 in that respect. You can record externally but not internally AND simply monitor externally at same time. It’s a huge limitation. Next FW will allow both but then you sacrifice the EVF and all the data on screen from the camera.

Best way to treat this camera is as if it’s a giant A7xII as far as recording goes. I agree it absolutely sucks if you aren’t going to use a Shogun to record AND monitor.

Reply
Tim Naylor Naylor December 18, 2015

I’ve taken a breather since my discovery last night. I’ll be doing more tests to see whether it’s a keeper or not. It sounds like the FW update will let the monitor run but disable the camera’s viewing. I’m OK with that as my onboard is a 702 which obviates the need for a view finder. Where it may be pain is if I’m doing doc work or narrative where I’m going wireless feed. I’ll probably end up rigging my F&V EVF then out to wireless TX.

I’m somewhat torn as to return or not. In my testing I’ve found the S Log 3 even in 10 bit too noisy for my tastes while the Cine 1 through 4 with Pro Color Gamut look amazing. What’s more they’re roughly two stops more sensitive than S Log 3.

I’ll post a link soon. Doing more testing this weekend.

Reply
Tim Naylor Naylor December 18, 2015

Also, I forgot to mention, the Cine Pre-sets are much easier to grade accurate reds. The S Log reds always have this orangy tint that’s a pain to correct as where the Cine reds on my Macbeth looked true in a way I was never able to get on an A7s I.

Guillaume Juin Reply
Guillaume Juin December 18, 2015

Thanks Johnnie for this awesome test. Do you know the minimum iso setting possible on this camera? (i’m not alking slog2 here). Impossible to find good reliable info about that. I’ve seen it would be 1000, but i can’t get it… this is very high… let’s say you want to shoot on a very bright day at 1.4, if you’re on iso 1000, nd filters won’t be enough… even 1/64

Martin Hantich Reply
Martin Hantich December 20, 2015

Hi Guillaume, the minimum sensitivity is ISO 640 in CINE2 Gamma. Other 709 & CINE Gammas have ISO800 or 1000 as minimum sensitivity, while SLOG2/3 starts at ISO3200.

Cheers, Martin

Martin Hantich Reply
Martin Hantich December 20, 2015

First off, thank you Johnny for another impressive review. I picked up my FS5 two days ago and so far I am very happy with it. My work mostly consists of shooting documentaries, events and local news reports. Loving the S35 look of my “big rig” Sony F5/FX55, I was hoping some manufacturer would come out with a cam that might make me forget my not-very-low-light-capable Canon XF305 that served me so well since 2010. As solid as the F5 is and as impressive its appearance is for certain clients, it’s a heavy beast that also demands heavy support, thus it is not the ideal choice of camera for fast-paced news work in the mountains. After trying out various DSLR solutions, ending up with the hybrid Canon XC10 (which shoots great images if you know how to work it right), I got really tired of all the loose mini-jack audio solutions and the requirement to run around with a backpack full of different battery solutions for light, preamp, mic etc.

But now the low weight FS5 hit the market, equipped with a solid 6x optical power zoom lens, true XLR PP connections, mount points, the first built-in variable ND and the spectacular clear image zoom. Also, the layout of the buttons is outstanding, especially in comparison to the C100/C300 family (that is the main reason why I never invested in any of these).

Even though I read about the macro-blocking issues, I daresay this camera is rather usable up to ISO 6400 as-is, and even higher with the use of NR in post. It will always look better and be more versatile than my GH4.

The one thing that really bugs me is that the FS5 has a built-in stereo mic PLUS two XLR ins and records in a codec that supports four audio tracks, yet there is no way to record the

The most annoying thing is actually that the audio possibilities of this camera can’t be used for the benefit if my productions. So the FS5’s got a built-in stereo mic PLUS two XLR ins AND records with a codec that supports FOUR audio tracks, yet there is no way to record the stereo mic and the XLR ins at the same time. Most of the time it would be so useful to just have additional stereo ambience (on auto-gain) together with the shotgun and the lavalier. But that doesn’t even work on the F5 (unless you go for an expensive add-on or use a mixer that supplies two AES streams).

Apart from this minor failure there are a couple of things that will hopefully addressed in firmware upgrades.

Ergonomics and handling are superb, and at 1080P, the image quality rivals my F5 (it’s actually a wee bit better in low light).

The one thing that I really need to recommend is using a solution like EditReady for 4K ingest as the interpretation of 4K XAVC-L can differ between the NLE and the actual recorded image, as can be seen here (take a look at the candle): https://vimeo.com/149530108 .