Pro video blog…Produced by Philip Johnston DoP/Editor

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.


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.

7 thoughts on “First outing with the Sony FS5 with mixed results ! (UPDATE)

  1. Hi,

    What profile did you shoot in each camera? So that you can easily match in post.

    Did you shoot HD or UHD?



    HDW : Standard profile in both cameras and shot on HD.

  2. Alister Chapman, who has lots of experience with the FS5, says it’s a very low noise camera. I note his videos have great image quality and are very low in noise–even in low light shooting.
    Could the noise issue you experienced be addressed by a different gamma and other setting adjustments?

    HDW : Its not a noise problem but a focusing issue.

  3. This is worrisome : “It seemed to be the focus assist on the FS5 that gave me the problem via my 35mm prime lens”

    What kind of problem? Focus assist is most important with fast primes. Are you saying you weren’t able to focus the fast prime on the FS5?

    Details would be great, thanks!

    HDW : Sorry Steve I just updated my blob post for you.

  4. Just looking at what you were shooting (and likely light levels) was f4 really that much of a “restriction” anyway?

    If you’d been using a DVX200, (arguably it’s nearest current competitor) you’d be stuck with f2.8 max (less over much of the zoom range) – and a base ISO of 500 versus 3200 of the FS5!

    So even allowing for f4 on the FS5, f2.8 on the DVX (which will give roughly the same dof), the FS5 looks to have a massive 1-2 stop advantage like for like?

    I appreciate what you’re saying – focus problems with non-native fast primes for run’n gun – but at least you can get an exposure in light levels that most cameras would just return mush in!

    HDW : David its habit, I prefer not to use gain if I can avoid it so my preference is my 35mm T1.5 Samyang which works flawlessly on the FS7. Having done a bit of research I think its down to my Samyang being a tad soft at T1.5 and closing it down to about f2.8
    I updated the FW on the Metabones adapter and also tried my 50mm Canon f1.4 with better results. I also phoned a friend who tells me to punch in with the magnifier even although the focus assist tells you otherwise.

  5. I’d love to hear more about the issues you are having with manual focus when using fast primes, because I hope to do a lot of that if I get the FS5. It’s odd that peaking works fine wide open on the FS7, but not on the FS5. Is that what you are finding?
    The FS5 allows you to use a sharper lut for viewing while shooting… did you use that? Does that help?
    Also how do you think the FS5 would cut with footage from the PXW-X70 ?
    Do you think this camera would be good not just for documentary, but for low budget narrative film as well?
    Since they are roughly the same price, how do you compare it to the Canon C100 mk II? Does the Canon have anything worthwhile to offer as an alternative to the FS5?

    HDW : “Sharper LUT while shooting” not aware of this, can you expand on this please.

  6. I take your point about not wanting to use gain, but the FS5 with it’s base ISO of 3200 is more sensitive at 0dB than many cameras with 12dB or more of gain! That’s what I meant about this camera being comparable at a stop of f4 to other cameras *needing* around an f1.4-f2 lens to avoid gain.

    And in more static locations, where focus is easier, you do get the option to use the fast primes and really see in the dark. 🙂

  7. I just got my fs5 yesterday.

    In using it I noticed that there’s an issue with the focus, whether in manual or auto.

    When in manual focus, it seems like it slips out of focus once I have zoomed in on my subject and zoomed back out.

    Also, the focus assist doesn’t seem to help much during a 2 person interview where we are going from a tight shot of the 1 person to a tight shot of the 2nd person.

    Finally, is it me or does the zoom seem a bit “wonky” for lack of a better word?

    It seems like if I press down slightly it barely moves so I push a little harder and it too fast of a zoom.

    Thanks for your time 🙂

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