Pro video blog…Produced by Philip Johnston DoP/Editor

FS5 main title IBC

IBC 2015 in the heart of Amsterdam is second only to NAB, Las Vegas, closely followed by BVE in London. This post will be added to during the day as more new products are added.

First up is the new camcorder from Sony the PXW-FS-5 this is a cracking addition to Sonys 4K range of camcorders.

At a list price of £4200 plus vat with no lens or £4600 plus vat with lens once again its a no brainer.


Despite its amazingly light 0.8kg body, the FS5 is more than tough enough for the rigors of real-world shooting. The main frame is magnesium, for high rigidity and light weight. Cooling is an urgent requirement in a 4K camera, all the more so in a camera as compact as the FS5. An advanced cooling system design features a vertical heat sink placed directly beside the image sensor and main circuit board to maximise its effectiveness. An air duct cools the heat sink while isolating the electrical components from exposure to dust.

Sony 4K

4K resolution 11.6 million total pixels and 8.8 million effective pixels deliver 4K resolution. Even if you’re delivering in HD, your recordings will capture detail and image texture that HD sensors simply cannot see.

Super 35 size sensor offers “bokeh,” the defocused backgrounds made possible by shallow depth of field, as well as excellent low-light sensitivity and an expansive field of view.

FS5 side

14 stops of exposure latitude deliver powerful grayscale rendition without crushing shadow detail or blowing out highlight detail.

Exceptional sensitivity enables you to shoot well after sunset, without tons of lighting and grip.

Sony’s Exmor CMOS design provides high-speed full-pixel read- out capability (without pixel binning) and sophisticated camera processing to ensure jaggies and moiré are minimized.

FS5 Frame R

Key features of the PXW-FS5

  • Flexible handheld shooting with a compact 0.8kg lightweight body

The lightweight body with excellent weight balance ensures comfortable handheld shooting as well as an easy fit with a drone or gimbal. The one-touch rotatable grip enables instant switching between low or high angle shooting. Shooting parameters can be changed with one hand even during recording thanks to the multi-functional grip. In the same way the zoom can be operated with a single hand. The detachable handle, one-touch rotatable grip and flexible LCD panel support various shooting styles.

  • Creative expressive performance, including 4K shooting and 240fps high-speed shooting

The camcorder is equipped with an 11.6million pixel Super35 Exmor™ CMOS Sensor, enabling 4K XAVC long GoP high-definition video shooting. It is the world’s first Super35mm camcorder with a built-in electronic variable ND filter, supporting linear control from 1/4ND to 1/128ND and further expanding the depth of field representation. 1/10 times Super Slow Motion reproduction is possible thanks to the 10bit 4:2:2 full HD 240fps High Frame Rate, with no sensor cropping. Low light capabilities and background defocus are heightened by the high sensitivity and large sensor size. On top of this, the 14 stops of latitude in exposure deliver strong grayscale rendition without crushing shadows or blowing out light details.

  • Variety of shooting applications and rich network functions 

The camcorder is equipped with enhanced interfaces including 3G-SDI, 4K HDMI output, MI shoe, SD Dual card slots, Wi-Fi and wired LAN terminal, supporting various system configurations. The Clear Image Zoom allows users to zoom in at up to 2x, even with a fixed focal length lens.

Alister Chapman via Facebook FS5. Affordable, estimate around £3.5k in the dealers, available this year. XAVC-L in HD and 4K. Variable ND filter. 2x SD card slots (uses SDXC). Super slowmo like FS700 so records burst into an onboard memory that’s then written to the cards with start and end triggers. S-Log2/S-log3, MLUT’s but do remember that XAVC-L is 8 bit 4:2:0. It’s really very small and very light. Remove the handle and hand grip and it could be used for many mini-cam/dash-cam type applications.

FS7 & 5

Sony PXW-FS5 Launch film “Free Spirit” from Den Lennie on Vimeo.

To be continued…


Having been working in the video business since 1988 I have amassed a great amount of knowledge of both the kit and production values over the last 30 years.

14 thoughts on “IBC 2015 with Sonys new blockbuster the PXW-FS5 (Price €5800 £4200 plus vat with no lens)

  1. If they make cameras where you can change lenses, can’t they come up with some nice 10x zoom lenses to sell with them as a kit. I would imagine this lens would be used for most things, but the option is there to change when a better lens is needed.

    ATM these kind of cameras are useless to my kind of work because they just don’t have the zoom reach without spending stupid kinds of money……

  2. My initial reaction to the FS5 is extremely positive.

    I like the concept behind the design very much. What has surprised me and pleased me is that they are allowing the use of the FS7 grip with arm extension to be used on the FS5 with a SONY designed specific adapter, although this would have likely been possible with rods and an ARRI rosette anyway. The biggest surprise is that they are seemingly allowing the FS7 monitor also to be used!!! Useful if you have a Zacuto or similar VCT universal baseplate and want to use the camera on your shoulder for longer shoots. This flexibility is very welcome and I do hope this becomes a habit at Sony.

    I am therefore assuming/hoping that the ZEBRA and PEAKING functions will also then get dedicated buttons on the F5 for times when you want the functionality of the FS7, but it’s not practical to use it – for whatever reason.

  3. I agree with Gary : no shoulder mount and no servo zoom wide to tele. This is now becoming annoying. All those handycams to be held in mid-air to do what a GH4 can do for 5-7x the price. All with such a slow processing (intentional) making 4K good only for static takes (what are they for? movies? Who’s gonna rent this instead of a real Arri for movies?). I don’t get it.

  4. Hi Philip & friends,
    back on 30th March I posted a detailed comment, regarding the question of the actual size of the ‘Super 35mm’ sensor used in the Sony FS7, but for some reason that comment never made it past ‘moderation’ and onto the site?
    Still says “Your comment is awaiting moderation.”

    As it appears the new FS5 may use the same sensor as the FS7 (as usual, Sony only specify “”Exmor” Super35 CMOS Sensor” without telling us the actual size of the sensor in question …they make various sensors of differing sizes labeled as ‘Super 35mm’) those comments would also be relevant to the lens suitability selection for the new camera.
    Part of my comment (relating, in particular, to the ‘Sony FE PZ 28-135mm F4 G’ lens being partnered with the FS7) was:

    “From searching various information sources it appears that the situation regarding lack of wide angle coverage of the 28-135mm lens is even worse than you thought when using it on the FS7.
    It appears that the FS7 uses a sensor of the same size (22.6×12.7mm for 16:9 HD & UHD) as the F5/F55 (possibly the same sensor [?] but without the global shutter readout of the F55) which is slightly smaller than the sensors used in the F35/F3/FS100/FS700 (23.6×13.3mm).
    (Note: the chip is 17:9 capable and crops to 16:9 for HD and UHD).
    Hence the ‘crop factor’ is not the 1.5x that you have assumed but (*if my sources are correct!…?) more like 1.67x meaning that the 28-135mm lens is giving you a 35mm Full Frame FOV equivalence of ~47-226mm …so effectively no wide angle at all but a ‘normal’ to ‘telephoto’ zoom.”

    I also mentioned that the 18-105mm F4 G lens might be a better choice for the FS7 (now being offered as a kit lens with the FS5):

    “Sony E PZ 18-105mm F4 G OSS SELP18105G lens:
    (Zoom Ratio = 5.83x)
    @ Diagonal FOV Crop Factor of 1.67 = ~30-175mm (~36% wider – ~23% shorter compared to 28-135mm lens)”

    Gary, if you can live with the £5000 (+lenses) price tag on the FS5, have you considered the Sony E PZ 18-200mm F3.5-6.3 OSS lens? …it’s a ~11x servo zoom lens offering ~30-334mm FOV equivalence on the FS5/FS7. Not fixed aperture of course but, with the high sensitivity of the cameras, maybe worth a look. New price around £829 (there’s a used one on eBay today at £400).
    If you want a bit more telephoto and/or Full Frame coverage (see the newly announced Sony A7S II …should be a killer for low light work!) Sony also make the FE 24-240mm F3.5-6.3 Full Frame E Mount Zoom Lens (~40-400mm FOV equivalence on the FS5/FS7). Again not fixed aperture and it’s only manual zoom. New price around £750 (& £100 cashback from Sony at the moment).

    I’m disappointed by the lack of UHD 50p/60p on the FS5 (protecting the FS7?) …but the compact size and potentially high quality Full HD and slo-mo capabilities (cached, not continuous …8 sec @240fps, 16 sec @120fps) (and, thank goodness, recording to SDXC cards rather than XQD!) are interesting.

  5. Looks like the FS5 comes with a zoom with 18mm on the wide side. Big question: Is this lens usable with the FS7 too? The FS7 standard zoom is 28mm only on the widest angle. And most of the FS7 owners are waiting for a better wide angle lens. Any news regarding this topic coming from the IBC??

    HDW : Hi Roland this is the 18-105 f4 G lens, I have this lens and use it with my FS7…likes…Effective 27mm angle of view…dislikes…does not have a manual iris ring.

  6. Interchangeable lens PXW-X70 with large sensor in a smaller FS7 type body. If it had 50/60P at 150Mbps would be lovely and would be a competitor for the Panasonic DVX200 for me. Will wait to see if they produce a replacement for my FDR-AX1.

  7. This actually looks like the camera of my dreams … almost exactly what I’ve been waiting for.
    Really excited to see reviews on this baby!

  8. At first glance it looks like Sony just delivered the final, lethal bullet directly to the head of the Canon C100 mk II.

  9. Steve , to be honest the markII is the ONLY consumer camera with increased processing speed to make things fluid instead of blurred when panning. Since Canon is the new guy on the block (in the consumer market)then I’ll just assume that they didn’t get the memo: consumer cameras with no servo zoom and slow processing (that was the memo). Canon didn’t get it. They thought that they did a cool thing for the customers , thank goodness the others are all running the processing in slow motion so we’ll never get a good fluid pan like the F55 does (and the alexa to be honest). Limit and impera (the Romans used to do the “divide” instead, but it’s the same concept)

  10. Hi Mark … I like the C100 form factor, and I’m hoping Canon will respond with a mk III with full sensor DPAF and some other tricks. I have a lot of Canon glass and I’d like to keep using Canon bodies.
    BTW … speaking of other consumer cameras … don’t some of the BMD cameras have global shutters now? That should solve the panning problem.

  11. Steve : in my opinion the shutter has very little to do with the blur panning, that’s instead due for the 98.9% to the speed (or lack of) of the readout. In fact that’s the most obvious marketing trick that they all use to limit the consumer models from the real ones (at stratospheric prices). Just check how the alexa and the F55 respond to both RS and blur panning: see? one with a global shutter and the other with a mechanical shutter. And both with NO RS and NO blur panning. Meaning? the global shutter is a myth (wondering who started it) .. regarding RS and blur panning.

  12. Am I being dense, but I need to ask the question. I don’t see any reference in the official specs to basic monitoring features such as zebra and peaking? Are they included on this camera or have they been sacrificed in the downscale from the FS7?

    HDW : There are very few cameras these days that don’t have zebra and peaking as standard, even some DSLRs have these features.

  13. This is the first Sony product design I like. If Sony would borrow some good things from BM Ursa Mini like sensor, codecs/resolutions, LCD and 12G-SDI it would be a perfect cam. Good things like Clear Image Zoom and Centre Scan Mode (thanks JVC) are already there…

    HDW : As it is a cutdown FS7 it will never get better codecs etc as Sony will not compromise FS7 sales.

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