Sony PXW-FS5 with Prime lenses

Categories: Miscellaneous 8 Comments

FS5 Prime

As you can see from an earlier post my first outing with the Sony FS5 was almost a nightmare, since then I have learned a lot more and will pass on my advice to fellow FS5 owners.

I came back from a non paying job with 2 shots that I was not expecting to be out of focus which unnerved me, the first thing I did was experiment with the FS5 and Samyang lens viewing the footage on a 50″ plasma TV.

me and FS5

My dog was in the middle of the garden about 45 feet away, I focused in on her legs with the peaking (focus assist) switched on. The red edging in the FS5 told me her legs were in focus as was the fence which was a further 20 feet away, that didn’t make sense. I was using the Samyang 35mm T1.5 cine lens wide open, the same one that had let me down. I punched in (4X magnification) to reveal the fence was not in focus. I did the exact same process on the FS7 with the same results, so its NOT the fault of the peaking. Since this I have spoken to Alister Chapman who told me peaking works on hard edges so the fact my dog was “peaking” it did not stop the “hard edge” fence peaking also, peaking is not infallible and must be used in conjunction with magnification etc.


Now the hard facts…You cannot rely on Peaking (focus assist) as your only source of help when focusing, unfortunately Sony no longer give us high resolution viewfinders any more so we have to rely on 3rd party EVF loupes or use 4x magnification punch in which works a treat.

Using Sony lenses with your FS5 will lessen the need for edge detection as the auto focus in the words of Alister Chapman is “a lot faster and more accurate than the human eye, especially if set to face detect”. Seemingly Sony have given the FS5 an auto focus which is a lot more accurate and faster than the FS7. Having tried it myself the FS5 AF is certainly better than the FS7 but this relies on Sony lenses, I have the Metabones smart adapter IV but it does not activate AF in video mode…

  • With PXW-FS7, NEX-FS700 and NEX-FS100, autofocus works only in photo mode but disabled in movie capture mode.

Very limiting in my opinion if your 3rd option to focus via AF is not activated using the Metabones adapter with Canon lenses.

The Samyang is a good lens but don’t rely on it at T1.5 as its soft, this can be used to good effect for an interview.

One little nugget I did find was that Sony have also connected the zoom rocker switch to the centre scan which allows you to digitally zoom 2x while using a prime lens…very useful, this is activated in the menu.


Having a loupe with a + 4 diopter on the FS7 certainly helps, the FS5 has no such luxuries, the OLED VF is a tad small but does allow you to see critical focus in daylight.

The only difference between my FS7 and FS5 is the loupe on the FS7s LCD which does make a big difference when it comes to critical focus.

Having a loupe on the FS5 LCD would have been an advantage, I am coming to the conclusion that the use of Sony lenses with AF is going to get quicker and more accurate focus on the FS5 than using non dedicated prime or zoom lenses, but certain lenses have their place and the Sigma 18-35 f1.8 Canon fit with E mount adapter is one of those lenses.

Dan Chung

The FS5’s native ISO is 3200 so why do we need lenses wider than f4 ? Here is the perfect example Dan Chung of Newsshooter shot this footage with a Sigma 18-35mm f1.8 ART lens on the Sony FS5 with adapter to good effect. Sony FS5 London anti war demonstration footage – graded from Dan Chung on Vimeo.

For all your video production needs in Scotland, get in touch with Small Video Productions

NEW Manfrotto LED lights the LYKOS bicolor LED Light and LYKOS daylight LED Light.

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Manfrotto LED light title

A new range of smaller LED lights from Manfrotto with a power output of 1500lux@1m the Bi-colour is slightly less powerful than the daylight only model at 1600lux@1m. I love the size and design allowing you to hold the light plus the ability to use Sony “L” type Lion batteries as well as the supplied mains adapter. Mounting is via a tripod mount both top and bottom, very useful.

Light back

Manfrotto… “Manfrotto LED lights excel in reliability and light quality and stand out from standard LED panels thanks to their slim and elegant design. Due to its excellent colour rendition, the Manfrotto LED fixture enables high fidelity colour reproduction and always ensures subjects’ skin tones are truly lifelike. These devices are carefully designed paying close attention to reliability and consistent flicker-free functionality. They also give you the possibility to explore and experiment with new lighting solutions and produce new creative effects. With Manfrotto LED lights, you can easily bring your images to life by adding a catch-light in the subject’s eyes or by filling-in undesired shadows. Continuous lighting makes it possible for you to see the actual end result you will be getting, in real-time.
Manfrotto LED Lights are lightweight, compact, easy to use and reliable, in other words, they’re perfect portable lighting systems. Their exceptional versatility makes them one of the most essential tools in every photographer or videographer’s equipment line up. They can be used not only on cameras, but also in combination with many other supports in the Manfrotto product range.”

Soft box

You can get an optional soft box which is very useful and an optional Bluetooth dongle allows the panels to be controlled individually or in groups via a Smartphone app that has a memory function to recall light levels and temperature. The app is also compatible with Litepanel’s Astra models, so both types can be controlled from one app simultaneously.

Pricing is as follows…The daylight only version is £300 while the Bi-colour is £100 extra.

For all your video production needs in Scotland, get in touch with Small Video Productions

First outing with the Sony FS5 with mixed results ! (UPDATE)

Categories: Miscellaneous 7 Comments

STV title

We have a policy of producing one free video per year and this fell to the STV Children’s Appeal, so it was a no brainer to use both the Sony FS7 and its wee sister the FS5.


The FS5 was bought for its compactness and this low angle shot of a local celebrity wrestler called Grado was a breeze with the FS5. It wasn’t without issues, keeping the noise down inside I used a Samyang 35mm T1.5 lens which works well on the FS7 but had mixed results on the FS5. It seemed to be the focus assist on the FS5 that gave me the problem via my 35mm prime lens, I looked into this the following day to confirm this. Problem is, none of my Sony AF lenses open wide enough in fact you are restricted to f4 so it looks like I may have to dig deep into my pockets for a wider f1.4 Sony AF lens. The AF works very well on the FS5.

On 2 shots, focus assist told me with red edging that my shots were in focus but the shots on the timeline were not pin sharp and this was not obvious looking at the EVF, LCD or my 9″ Sony, saying that my t1.5 lens was wide open which may have a part to play. Further research is needed tomorrow (Friday). I used the same lens on the FS7 with no such problems.


It was a Christmas party night out at the Alea casino at Glasgow Quay, the Casino gave us free run of the 1st two floors so I put the Sony FS7 on my Manfrotto dolly wheels to make it easier the get about. All the PTC were done with the FS7 while all hand held shots were done with the FS5.

For all your video production needs in Scotland, get in touch with Small Video Productions

Black Friday Deal of the Century…Half price BM URSA…Today only

Categories: Miscellaneous 1 Comment

Prod Gear Friday

Special order today only at this price and EF mount only.



Phone NOW on 020 8236 1212 …Remember to tell them you saw this deal on HD Warrior

For all your video production needs in Scotland, get in touch with Small Video Productions

DJI OSMO bad firmware

Categories: Miscellaneous 2 Comments

Osmo WS clyde crane_HDR FW title

The DJI Osmo is potentially a great piece of kit but until DJI get their act together the Osmo is a bit hit or miss.

DJI “The Osmo firmware v1.1.1.50 released on the 6th November occasionally caused problems of system instability and abnormal filming behavior, and our team is working around the clock to resolve these issues.

Osmo co TX

Meanwhile, we are releasing firmware v1.2.1.60 for users to restore the Osmo to the factory default firmware. The firmware version ‘v1.0.1.19+’ should be displayed in the DJI GO app after the restoration is complete.”

Personally I would refrain from doing this as I found the v1.2.1.60 to be even worse than v1.1.1.50

Osmo to cam better

Unfortunately the original software causes blank screens and communication problems between the Osmo and the tablet.

Osmo plus screen

DJI need to resolve the slanty horizon problem ASAP and can I just add you need more than one battery when purchasing an Osmo as you are lucky to get 50 mins per charge. The screen would also benefit from audio metering as you have no indication that your sound is going into the Osmo !

Note. If you are using a radio mic you must test it first to check the output of the receiver is loud enough for the input of the Osmo.

On the whole the Osmo is a great tool when used in full HD 50p, hopefully DJI will have a new firmware up before the end of November.

For all your video production needs in Scotland, get in touch with Small Video Productions

5 Training Films on the Sony PXW-FS7 over at XDCAM USER

Categories: Miscellaneous 5 Comments

Ali title for HDW

Just had a wee peek at Alisters training films for the FS7 and as usual the man is the master. All this vital information for free…fantastic.

I hope he does one for the FS5 in fact a tutorial in matching an FS5 to a FS7 would do the trick.

Ali Chapman

Here is a look at 1 off 5, here is the link to the other 4…

For all your video production needs in Scotland, get in touch with Small Video Productions

JVC GY-LS300 V2 Firmware update

Categories: Miscellaneous 15 Comments

LS300 V2 fw title

JVC Professional have sent me a LS300 with V2 firmware to try out. There are at least 7 major updates plus various FTP and WiFi additions.

One of the major updated features is ground breaking…Digital Zoom via Variable Scan Mapping (VSM). This one feature alone is in my opinion what sets JVC engineers apart from the rest of the competition, other companies give you centre scan which is a 2x crop via a user button.

JVC decided to link the zoom control on the hand grip with the VSM so you can digitally zoom with a “PRIME” lens and let me tell you it works a treat…is beyond genius. There is NO and I mean NO artefacts or pixelation and best of all no reduction in f stops.

This is only one of 7 new updated features I will be covering in my LS300 update video. I am poping into Glasgow tomorrow to get most of the filming done and using the DJI Osmo for my pieces to camera with a radio mic plugged into the Ozmo.

LS300 for HRD_HDR to PS

For all your video production needs in Scotland, get in touch with Small Video Productions

Vintage Leica R6.2 for sale (As New) kit cost £3500

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sale 50mm lens

A good friend of mine bought this Leica 8 years ago, brand spanking new, hardly used it and paid a whopping £3500.

Its NOT digital and takes 35mm film but it may be of interest to someone looking for a fantastic 35mm camera which is as good as new. The glass alone may be of interest to DSLR users.

Price, sadly he knows its not going to fetch anything near the price bought new but if you are genuinely interested give me an offer and I will pass it onto my friend.

Email Philip at with the words LEICA R6.2 offer, in the subject line.

Leica plus zoom

Details…Leica R6.2 35mm camera with 2 lenses a 50mm f2 and a 28-70mm f3.5-4.5 Leica zoom.

The Leica R6.2 stands for creative photography even under the toughest conditions. With its all-metal body and the battery-independent shutter, the Leica R6.2 is rugged enough for any adventure.
– Individual freedom for creative photography through simple manual adjustment of aperture and shutter speed.
– Supreme mastery of difficult light conditions thanks to two exposure metering methods available at the flick of a switch.
– Dependable functioning even under extreme temperatures from 25C to + 60C thanks to reliable battery-independent shutter with optimum running qualities.

  • Metering modes: center-weighted averaging or a central 7mm spot
  • Metering: via a match-diode display in the viewfinder
  • Autoexposure: none
  • Shutter speeds: 1-1/1000 +B, with X sync at 1/100
  • Motor drive option
  • Mirror-lock-up (the first Leica since the original Leicaflex to have one) *Interchangeable focusing screens
  • TTL flash metering with Metz SCA compatible flash units
  • Depth-of-field preview
  • Self-timer
  • Viewfinder diopter adjustment

For all your video production needs in Scotland, get in touch with Small Video Productions

Sony PXW-FS5 arrives at Small Video Productions

Categories: Miscellaneous 7 Comments

Me Sony FS7 title

Finally our Sony PXW-FS5 has arrived, this will compliment our FS7 and bring a lot of benefits.

Why would you want an FS5 if you already have an FS7 ? A second camera for a start, the FS5 produces full HD 50p, 10bit 422 footage in L-GOP mode which is a major plus for this camera.

Another plus point is SDXC cards, XQD cards are far too expensive and Sony’s decision to move over to SD cards was genius.

Size is also a major consideration as the FS7 is a bruit to use in run and gun mode, its the cameras petitness that finally clinched it for me.


Once again my thanks to John Preston for supplying us the Sony PXW-FS5, John tells us that although stock is limited it’s no way near as bad as the FS7 was initially…so get ordering.

Having a further play tonight and noticed centre scan, this is using the 4K chip and effectively giving you a 2x electronic extender with the added bonus of no light loss and no artefacts.

FS5 v9b

Assuming Glasgow gets a free day of rain I hope to do a comparison video between the FS5 and the FS7. Any questions as usual I will be happy to answer them.

For all your video production needs in Scotland, get in touch with Small Video Productions

The Rory Peck awards 2015

Categories: Miscellaneous 1 Comment


Rory title 2

Who was Rory Peck…

Rory covered the first Gulf War, the wars in Bosnia and Afghanistan and the many armed conflicts that followed the dissolution of the Soviet Union, where he moved with his wife Juliet and their four children after covering the coup against Gorbachev.

He was one of a growing band of cameraman who worked independently, supplying footage to a range of organisations including the BBC and ARD, and was a founder partner of FrontlineTelevision News, a London-based co-operative of freelance cameramen, which he set up with Vaughan Smith, Peter Jouvenal and Nicholas Della Casa in 1989.

Rory was killed in Moscow in October 1993.  He had been filming a vicious gun battle outside the Ostankino television station during Russia’s October coup and was caught in crossfire. He was posthumously awarded the Order for Personal Courage by Yeltsin.

Rory Peck

The Rory Peck Awards this evening honoured the work of freelance cameramen and camerawomen in news and current affairs at a twentieth anniversary event hosted by Sky News Special Correspondent, Alex Crawford. The night’s four awards were presented to freelancers from northern Iraq, Pakistan and Syria, demonstrating how much the news industry is relying on local freelancers for its coverage of on-going conflicts and hard to reach stories. The ceremony also highlighted the work of the Rory Peck Trust and its support of freelance journalists worldwide.

The Rory Peck Award for News, was won by 27 year old Syrian freelancer, Zein Al-Rifai, for his coverage of the on-going conflict in his home city of Aleppo. Aleppo: Life in Ruinscommissioned and broadcast by AFPTV and shot between June 2014 and February 2015, shows the consequences of the almost daily barrel-bombing and the day-to-day reality of peoples’ lives in the rebel-held area of the city. Judges said Zein’s impactful footage, whilst showing injuries, death and grief  “never loses sight of the humanity – of what makes people continue to soldier on – in the worst of circumstances.”  The award was presented by BBC Chief International Correspondent, Lyse Doucet.

The Rory Peck Award for News Features was presented to Iraqi freelancer Zmnako Ismael for On the Road with Yazidis Fleeing Islamic State, a self-funded entry broadcast by Channel 4 News.  Zmnako filmed the exodus of tens of thousands of Yazidis from Mount Sinjar in northern Iraq during two days in August 2014, travelling the entire route from the Newroz refugee camp in Syria to the mountain and back, Judges described his footage as “incredibly moving”. “You felt completely immersed in that incredible story of what felt like an almost biblical exodus. It was beautifully shot and left a real impression.” The award was presented by freelance journalist and former Rory Peck winner, Sorious Somoura.

The Sony Impact Award for Current Affairs was presented to Pakistani freelance cameraman Haider Ali. Haider won for Pakistan’s Hidden Shame which reveals how tens of thousands of vulnerable young boys across Pakistan have become the victims of paedophile predators, many of them bus and truck drivers who have openly admitted to sex with the boys. Judges said the film was shocking and powerful, “It made a huge impact, the camera just quietly letting people talk. It was sympathetic and unobtrusive, I felt we were with those kids.” The film was produced by Clover Films for Channel 4.

This year’s Martin Adler Prize, sponsored by Hexagon, was awarded to Hassan Ashwor, a freelance fixer based in Dohuk, Northern Iraq. Hassan, has become a key contact for visiting journalists and human rights organisations, especially those investigating atrocities perpetrated against the Yazidi community by Islamic State. The Martin Adler Prize honours a local freelancer who has made a significant contribution to newsgathering under challenging and difficult circumstances within their own country.

Tina Carr, Director of the Rory Peck Trust, said, “After twenty years, the mission of the Rory Peck Trust continues: to provide practical and financial support to freelance journalists and their families worldwide. Tonight’s award winners and finalists demonstrate why – they bring us stories that are hard to reach and difficult to tell, and without their talent, determination and bravery our understanding of the world suffers. As journalists continue to be targeted all over the world, freelancers remain the most vulnerable. They deserve our recognition, support and protection more than ever.”

“The work of tonight’s Rory Peck winners and finalists leaves a real impact on all of us because they take us on a journey behind the images.” said Michael Harrit, Marketing Director, Media Solutions, Sony Professional Solutions, Europe. “These are important stories that reveal the different sides of humanity and the world we live in today – they connect us on a human level with situations that are often far-removed from our own.  Filming in countries like Syria, northern Iraq and Pakistan is an ever-growing challenge that requires skill, creativity and courage, which is why we continue to support the Rory Peck Awards and the important work of the Rory Peck Trust”.

For all your video production needs in Scotland, get in touch with Small Video Productions

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