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Gear & Apps

Sony FS5 Initial Impressions & Sample Footage

By Timothy Kwon on December 16th 2015

Just a few months ago, Sony announced their release of the Sony FS5, a smaller version of the popular Sony FS7. With its impressive specs ranging from 14 stops of dynamic range to internal Ultra HD 4K recording, the FS5 has made a name for itself as one of the market’s most highly anticipated cameras. I was able to acquire a review unit and took it out on my quick weekend trip to Big Sur, CA. Here are my initial impressions and sample footage.

Sony FS5 Initial Impressions

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The Sony FS5 is incredibly lightweight and compact in shape as it weighs approximately 1.8lbs (body only) and is similar in size to the Canon C100 series cameras. Its new shape also makes it perfect for gimbal and drone use. Sony’s “Smart Grip” feels comfortable in your hands and is also adjustable when you need to mount your cameras up high or down low.

The camera’s sensor produces some amazing images that show a lot of detail and dynamic range, especially when shooting in S-log-3 mode. The built in ND filter with the Vari-ND option is great for smoothly adjusting the intensity of the ND filter. In addition, the Sony FS5 boasts 10 bit 4:2:2 image recording and Super Slow Motion up to 240 FPS in HD. Another cool feature on the FS5 is its Clear Image Zoom, Sony’s “digital zoom” function. This gives your lenses the ability to enlarge the image an additional 2x (so, when I was using a 24-105mm lens, it became an effective 210mm).

The Sony FS5 is a somewhat affordable option for professionals looking to upgrade from the DSLR video world to the large sensor video-dedicated cameras. Its dual SD card slots are also ideal for all filmmakers that need on-site backup copies of their footage assets.

[Rewind: SAMSUNG NX1 FIRST IMPRESSIONS]

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However, I did find a few shortcomings when using this camera. Coming from shooting with Canon C100‘s, the Sony FS5‘s menu system is very confusing. In order to change certain functions and settings, I had to dive pretty deep into the menus to change even something as simple as white balance/temperature. The Electronic Viewfinder (EVF) worked just alright as I was disappointed to see that the FS5 EVF was not as good as the A7 series EVFs. As the camera does record in 10-bit color internally in HD, if you choose to shoot in Ultra HD 4K, the FS5 will only record in 8-bit 4:2:0.

To conclude my initial impressions, the Sony FS5 is overall a very balanced camera that packs a ton of useful features that would be perfect for a wide variety of professional filmmakers. Although I have only had the Sony FS5 for a few days, I am absolutely in love with it so far and the image it delivers. Take a look at the video below and I will let the footage speak for itself. In this video, I used the Metabones Speedbooster and adapted a few Canon L-series lenses to the Sony FS5.


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So, for those of you that are interested in getting your hands on Sony’s new “Handheld Hero,” the Sony FS5 is now available for purchase.

Stay tuned for my full review of the Sony FS5, coming soon!

About

Founder and Creative Director of the Cinematography branch of Lin & Jirsa Studios. I love producing and telling stories on screen; film-making is my true passion. Follow me on Instagram under the username onetake_timmy

Q&A Discussions

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  1. John Vincent Lagmay

    nice video quality, very smooth and very detailed ..

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  2. Liam Douglas

    Nice camera and exceptional video. I’m not much of a video shooter but this is one to look at for sure.

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  3. Michael Dubrow

    One last question…I’ve read that Slog3 should be overexposed by around 2 stops.(Philip Bloom and others suggest this.) Do you agree?

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    • Tim Kwon

      Hi MIchael,

      I have some upcoming shoots this weekend and I will report back on this!

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  4. Matthew Gruber

    That footage was so beautiful.. I want to cry.

    What was the music that you used? You’ve got me hooked on the image and the sound in this video. I’ve already watched it 3 times.

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    • Tim Kwon

      Thank you Matthew!

      First song: Fin – Air Review

      Second song: O My Soul – A. Taylor

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  5. Michael Dubrow

    Thanks for clarifying you were shooting in Slog3. That was my guess, as the dynamic range was amazing, even in HD! Did you use a third party LUT, such as Vision Color? If so, which LUT did you use, please? And can you tell us a bit more about how you graded those scenes.

    I’m excited to shoot more in Slog soon on my new FS5. Been using Cinegamma 3 mainly in the first couple of weeks as it requires only minimal grading to look quite good. But I want to shoot Log next.

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  6. Mike G

    Tim,

    I own a c100 markii. I love the image it produces. I’d like to switch to the fs5 if the image is better. Do you think this is a better camera than the c100 markii?
    Thanks
    Mike

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    • Tim Kwon

      Hi Mike,

      The C100 Mark II is a fantastic camera and I wouldn’t be so fast to switch systems if you already have that in place. However, there are some things the FS5 does that the C100 does not (4k, better color space recording, 240fps, etc). Both cameras produce amazing imagery but I’ll have to do some further testing against the C100 Mark II to come up with a more clear conclusion between the two.

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  7. Michael Dubrow

    Great test footage, thanks! Re the beautiful long and medium shots of the beach, were you shooting in HD or 4K? And were you shooting in Slog2 or 3, a Cinegamma, or what? Thanks!

    Michael

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    • Tim Kwon

      Thank you Michael! I was shooting HD in S-log3. I will be doing some 4K recording soon so look out for that in the full review!

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  8. Pye

    Great write up Tim! That was like watching pure visual pron baby, fantastic footage!

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    • Tim Kwon

      Thanks Pye! Hope to get some more pure visual pron footage just for you ;)

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