Ep. 5 - The Sony PXW FS5 Real World Review & Ramble

The "Brief" goes on for over an hour this week as Paul goes in depth about the new Sony FS5 and his experiences with it. (Yes, after going on about all the limits of the FS5 in the last show, he went out and bought one because... testing!)

It's a bit of a ramble due to being tired and the off-the-cuff unedited nature of the show, but it should still address many questions.  Why has the Internet gone mad over his test? Is it a nice camera or a POS? What are Sony's "No Limits" really about?

All the details are here in this latest episode above. Subscribe free on iTunes. 

Much thanks to Ben Eckstein for some of his test footage. I graded the shots you see here myself from his original files.

FS5 Screen Capture Gallery

Click on any image for full screen view.

A few notes:

  1. The Eckstein provided shots have the gentleman holding the clapper. Note the blue lit area to the left of his shoulder in particular - the banding and very bad macro blocking around the edges of it that do NOT appear on the A7RII with the exact same CODEC (or any of the other cameras). Shouldn't the FS5 process noise the same - i.e., more cleanly? This is the best example.
  2. The next set of shots with the Wizard of Oz box are self explanatory. Take a look at the printer in the background (looks like a dimly lit square box with vertical blinds on it to the left of the yellow Halls bag. Why is the A7RII cleaner? You can see large blocks of color in the printer in the FS5 image; they look much worse in motion. The last shot compares the FS5 and FS7 internally recorded. This is much more visible in motion; see the video at the end of this post to watch.
  3. The next two shots are me lit by one key - a cheap CFL based soft box. The first is with Neat Noise NR and the second without. Notice how the Neat NR cleans up the background poster nicely without sacrificing detail. This was shot in Slog 2 at ISO 3200. Sorry I look like a bum there; it was 4am.
  4. The remaining shots are from a private short film about my son. They are all shot in Slog 2 and Slog 3 with the Canon 24-105 Lens on a Metabones Speedbooster at an F2.8 equivalent - shot internally on the FS5 at 4K in good to low light. FilmConvert was applied along with a small amount of grain (25 or less) on some shots. No noise reduction was applied. I think they look quite good. This is not a "bad" camera, and it can look quite spectacular in a tiny, very pleasurable to use body. You just need to be aware it is not a "baby FS7" and has its quirks to work around like any camera. I ended up keeping it. :)

See Joe Simon's latest little test comparing a bunch of these cameras too (FS7, FS5, A7RII and a C100 for fun). Note the sky... XAVC-I even has some banding, but it's minor. XAVC-S is worse. XAVC-L on the FS5 is horrible and would need noise reduction in post or grain. 7Q cleans most up nicely but only FS7 is cleanest. C100 is close (and it's a $2500 camera!). This is all in HD; 4K is noisier on the FS5 but not by much. Download the original file off of Vimeo for the best look.