Sony bolsters its FS family of XDCAM camcorders with the announcement of the new PXW-FS5. Slipping in between the FS700 and FS7, the FS5 brings to the 4K lineup something it was previously missing¡ªa compact, handheld option. Aesthetically, the camera bears a similarity to the FS7, but comes in substantially lighter and more compact. Weighing less than half of its big brother, the FS5¡¯s 1.75-lb body is well built for mobility and handheld operation, a shooting style that is further benefited by the inclusion of a rotatable side grip, rear electronic viewfinder, and an LCD screen that can be mounted in nine different locations. With the?PXW-FS5, Sony gives shooters a flexible system that is equally at home as a main camera or as a companion B camera and ready to?fit a wide range of applications from run-and-gun documentary and event work, to independent narrative productions.
The FS5 shares the same 11.6MP (8.4MP effective) image sensor as the FS7, delivering 4K Ultra HD (3840×2160) video and up to 14 stops of dynamic range. Internally, the FS5 uses Sony¡¯s XAVC-L (Long-GoP) codec at 100 mbps to record 8-bit 4:2:0 UHD video at 24 and 30 fps. While Sony¡¯s intra-frame XAVC-I isn¡¯t available in the camera, the long GOP XAVC-L offers high image quality without requiring the high bit rates, resulting in smaller file sizes. In addition to UHD recording, the camera also supports 10-bit 4:2:2 1080p recording up to 60 fps, as well as 1080p video up to 240 fps for durations of eight seconds and 120 fps for 16 seconds for slow-motion playback. Lowering the resolution enables speeds up to 960 fps. For recording media, dual SD card slots are provided, rather than the XQD slots of the FS7, with simultaneous, relay, and proxy recording options available.
To capture the most dynamic range, you¡¯ll want to shoot using Sony¡¯s S-Log3 gamma at the native sensitivity of the camera, which is ISO 3200. To facilitate shooting at this ISO outdoors during the day, the FS5 features a built-in 7-stop electronic variable ND filter, letting you dial-in the right amount of filter density for the shot at hand. This will be a welcome feature for run-and-gun shooters, as they won¡¯t have to worry about constantly changing filters on their lens or matte box to get the correct exposure. In addition to S-Log3, S-Log2 is also available to fit into existing color workflows.
The FS5 uses Sony¡¯s E-mount, which offers compatibility with a wide range of native lens and third-party lenses via available adapters. For increased lens compatibility, the camera features a 2K Center Scan (crop) feature for use with Super 16 and B4 (2/3-inch) lenses. When recording 1080p video with full-frame or Super 35 (APS-C) lenses, you can also use the feature to effectively double the reach of any lens. A 200mm lens, for example, would have a field of view similar to a 400mm lens when activating the Center Scan feature. Also available is Sony¡¯s electronic Clear Image Zoom, which can be used on its own or in addition to Center Scan with zoom or prime lenses.
In terms of connectivity, the FS5 features one SDI connector that provides 10-bit 4:2:2 HD output and one HDMI 2.0 port for 4K output. Sony says that the SDI connector will be able to provide FS-RAW output via a future update. Both connectors can output record trigger and TC. The camera also has built-in Wi-Fi capabilities that enable live streaming to PCs, tablets, and smartphones, as well as remote control using the Sony¡¯s mobile app. An Ethernet port located on the rear panel provides a more reliable connection with Wi-Fi isn¡¯t available, as well as for transferring files to an FTP server. For audio input, a single XLR connector is provided on the included top handle, as well as one the body itself, allowing it to be available even when the camera is stripped down.?
The FS5 is modular in nature and can be configured for the job at hand. It includes a rosette handgrip, top handle, and an LCD screen. The PXW-FS5 is also?available as a kit, with 18-105mm f/4 zoom lens included. The ergonomic handgrip attaches to the side for compact handheld shooting, and features zoom, record start/stop, and assignable function buttons. For shoulder-mounted shooting, you can add an optional extension arm to the handgrip much like the FS7, a shoulder support, and even a viewfinder loupe for the LCD screen. The top handle provides attachment points for the LCD screen, as well as traditional camcorder functions such as a zoom toggle, secondary record start/stop button, Multi Interface Shoe, and a shotgun mic clip with XLR input.