Only today I got another phone call from a disgruntled FS5 user complaining about its noisy picture. Part of the problem is caused by Sony themselves by not producing an E mount servo zoom lens fit for purpose. The other problem is the cameras style…it looks like a cut down FS7 and users are expecting the noise figures of the FS7 in the FS5 body.
A company looking to film 4K part exchanged their Canon C100 and are now regretting this deal as they claim their FS5 is noisy compared to their C100. These complaints are a small drop in the ocean compared to some forums on the internet.
The “kit” lens for the FS5 is an older Sony G lens the 18-105 f4, 6x servo zoom. This lens came out about August 2014 mainly to accommodate the likes of the FS700 but at f4 this lens is seriously lacking “F” stops compared to other lenses on the market.
The kit lens does come with some advantages…
- Its a constant aperture lens at f4
- 6x servo zoom
- Holds its focus throughout the zoom range
- Sony have updated the autofocus in the FS5 giving you face detection which works extremely well
Starting at f4 gives this camera a serious disadvantage indoors as it promotes the use of extra gain or the need for extra lighting.
People are telling me they are disappointed with the FS5s low light capabilities, now thats not surprising if you are stuck with the kit lens but add a Metabones adaptor and a Sigma 18-35mm ART manual zoom f1.8 Canon fit lens and things are a lot brighter.
The Sigma covers a lot of bases apart from the tight end even with the s35mm sensors 1.5x crop factor, the field of view (35mm) is 27 x 52.5mm but with “Clear Image Zoom” you get a further 2x digital magnification so your 52.5mm becomes 105mm giving you the same throw as the kit lens but with one major advantage…f1.8 rather than f4.
One disadvantage of the Sigma is it does not hold focus from 18-35 but as its a photographic lens this is not a surprise.
To be fair the Sony FS5 will happily go up to 9dBs with little to no noise in the picture and further if needed but you have to be aware of the limitations, Sony have deliberately not given us a cut down FS7 for obvious reasons, compared to a Canon C100 once again they perform in their own unique ways and you don’t get 4K with a C100.
I keep pointing out the obvious but most cameras are noisy beyond 9dBs, I use 0dBs as much as possible because the camera produces the best pictures at 0dB/1000 ISO. I don’t bother with ISO as its the same thing but far more confusing.
Conclusion : I think some people think they are avoiding the cost of buying an FS7 by buying an FS5, while FS7 owners like myself have no expectations, they know they are buying a “B” camera and treat it as such.
I use the FS5 as a “B” camera or run and gun as the FS7 is quite heavy to hold compared to the FS5. There is a lot of sexy footage out there using the FS5 but I hark back to the demo footage produced by Den Lennie for Sony, …its a very capable camera in the right hands.
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