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Sony FS5 - why I bought one

Andrew Reid

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Is there interest to put this kind of camera to a gimbal? sure it would fit many generic size gimbal directly for occasional use, but a gimbal that is made to fit it could be quite small and easy to carry.

I just hope the camera manufactures would but a bit more focus to the camera design from the gimbal use perspective. Though FS5 looks nice and small and controls seem to be on one side, both good things, but the connectors are placed not so ideally for gimbal use. The way the cables leave the camera make the gimbal bigger than otherwise necessary. Also the viewfinder would be nice to be removable, not sticking so far behind the camera when installed on gimbal.

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Guest Ebrahim Saadawi

Ah this is a good sign.

Our resident Canon fan is upset!!


I wasn't upset until reading something like this. Really really upsetting to hear me being summarized as ''your resident Canon fan''. While everyday for years I've been contributing to building this website and community, giving the needed help new members come asking daily questions thus sticking here and becoming regulars, providing articles and information here for free other major websites are asking to pay for (redsharknews, cinema5d, nofilmschool, and others), but I contribute here because I love the members of this community and believe any help I give is something users deserve from us for free. With over 1100+ likes for them, members find my contributions very valuable and in many cases come here just to ask me specifically, including countless inbox help I am providing daily, if you ask anyone who's used EOSHD he'll say so. I've taken from, and gave to this forum a lot of time to enjoy sharing and discussing my passion even while being incredibly busy running a major medical institution, that's how much I love being here. Now on the exact 2000th post I see I am ''your resident Canon fan'' coming from the community owner, that's upsetting more than you think. 

But anyhow, I leave things behind and continue contributing, so back to the C100II VS FS5 debate:

Yes 10bit vs 8bit!!!

4K 100bit to 1080p in post is far superior to 36Mbit/s AVCHD on the crappy C100.

No you're just reading C100II specs. I think you & I agreed that the 8bit vs 10bit was one of the most overrated specs in the camera world. I've tested clearly and ll it really does is remove a few bands from a sky and leave the rest horrid banding. It's 12bit (BM) and 14bit (ML) where you see a step up in fine gradients. 

and no, 4K 100mbps to 1080p in post isn't superior to 36mbps on the C100. That's a rong statement Try it yourself, record UHD -> HD on the FS5 and compere the 36mbps codec performance to the modest C100ii, tell us which one shows less compression artefacts.

We'v long established that codec numbers mean almost nothing and that tens of other element define image quality. 12bit raw image from a BM4k with sensor FPN & noise is less gradeable than a GH4 H.264 image, just because a camera has a higher codec numbers doesn't mean it makes a better image, not by a long shot. 

Falls apart? 3200 as clean as on the FS7 and A7S II

There's very little difference between the FS5's image and the FS7.

Nope. You're in for a disappointment. 

A mega disadvantage for drone users then!

And a mega advantage for ground users. Plus the C100II LCD can be folded and it's not an actual burden for a drone carrying a C100/FS5 type camera. Without the top handle and side grip both camera are small and perfect for drone usage.


Who the hell wants to be spending attention on a shoot in this way... for every 1 second you do engrossed in a waveform monitor is 1 second wasted directing or using your eye.

Yes okay a waveform monitor is not a needed device, distracts from directing, well said.


EH? 240 is very high quality, similar to the 24p.

Again sorry, you're in for a disappointment. Severe noise, compression and aliasing are going to.


Well considering how I already have the 1D C and that betters the C100 II's image in EVERY RESPECT you can use that as a benchmark in future articles.

No you really need to get your hand on a C100II to give your readers an informed comparison. A 1DC isn't remotely related tothe C100II image, features, ergonomics, body, you know, what makes a camera.

**I really think that there are lots of C100II owners close by who'd be thrilled to share time with you testing the new FS5, just spread the invite. The C100II vs FS5 comparison is a VERY hot subject on the web now. It'd be great to have an objective test. 

...i think this is a fun discussion~!

cuz ykno, if we ALL agreed on this stuff 100% and we ALLLL shot with the SAME CAMERA...... well, how boring would that be~?! ?


Well said. It is fun, otherwise we wouldn't be doing it! :)

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Ebrahim, I'm finally logging back in from one terribly smouldering Asian megacity tonight asking that you rest easy in the quiet confidence that there is weight behind your words and they do carry forward. I for one, am lensing this incredible city on the C100 MkII and could not be happier with the image I am getting. Killer. Some of what you and others on this forum mentioned in our discussions helped confirm that I was headed in the right direction with my purchase. For sure I'd be happy to see a comparison between the FS5 and the C100 MkII but I'm pretty confident I made the right decision.

And towards your concern on being labeled a 'Canon Fan', it's no secret that there are a lot of folks who are harbouring hard feeling over the idea that Canon has somehow abandon them for not including more in their releases. Some of these folks have even named their websites after their product lines and that has got to sting a little in the wee hours of the night. I'd even reason that some even carry on taking shots at Canon somehow hoping that they get the message and finally give more. In any case, I would take Andrew's jab too seriously as I'm pretty sure he's just defaulting to his upbringing in a nation that has given rise to some remarkable forms of humour.

And finally, I think it's understood that there are all kinds of folks in this game with all kinds of reasons. For me, although I enjoy the 'most' unusual kinds of storytelling, I don't see feature length documentaries including 240fps very often and with that I rest easy knowing that at the end of the day remarkable storytelling is what gets me paid and having a camera that helps me do this is where I put my coin. To each his own.

Herzog's Rogue Film School Rules

9) Censorship will be enforced. There will be no talk of shamans, of yoga classes, nutritional values, herbal teas, discovering your Boundaries, and Inner Growth.

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I like the image both the C100 and Sony FS5 cameras put out.  Not sure why anyone would be hung up from doing worthwhile production by the limitations of either.  They're capable cams that would be effective in any situation, I think.

The variable ND of the Sony sounds great for run 'n gun doc stuff, that's for sure.

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What about that form factor though? The FS7 and URSA Mini were a step in the right direction, ergonomically, in my opinion. Seems like it's a step backward when you can't shoulder mount the thing, but have to hold it out in front of you like a soccer mom. C300/100 bugged me for the same reason. Ergonomics and the 8 bit codec are the only demerits I see, but at that price, who can complain!


Anyone have tips on rigging it up to be shoulder mountable but still light and compact?

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I'd take 10bit 1080P over 8bit 4K any day.

So far I'm finding 10bit to be a bit of a pointless endeavour on the FS5, the 8bit 4K is much better. I am pretty sure they have only stuck it in for marketing purposes.

50Mbit/s is way too low for 10bit.

10bit it is a lot of data to compress the hell out of down to 50Mbit/s. With 10bit you need a higher bitrate just to maintain basic quality levels - and that is before you even think about taking advantage of the 10bit gradation. Ideally you should have 200Mbit/s+

Will be interesting to an external recorder though.

I wasn't upset until reading something like this. Really really upsetting to hear me being summarized as ''your resident Canon fan''

It was meant as a joke.

The C100 is definitely not as good as the 1D C which I will be using as the benchmark for the FS5 comparisons coming up on EOSHD

It's good for AVCHD but it won't beat a well tuned, well shot FS5 for image quality.



C100 codec is not exactly macro blocking free either!!

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So far I'm finding 10bit to be a bit of a pointless endeavour on the FS5, the 8bit 4K is much better. I am pretty sure they have only stuck it in for marketing purposes.

Is there a legit reason that holds them back from providing at least 4k 8bit 4:2:2 or 4k 10 bit 4:2:2 ?

Aside from purposely crippling the camera for their commercial product line marketing segmentation purposes.

Hasn't slog shown it's limitation with banding in the sky in 8 bit anyways?

I find it ridiculous that they release a 5'600usd camera in 2015 with 8bit 4:2:0

I'm keeping an eye on this camera for the raw option though, the ergonomics are definitively appealing.

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S-LOG 3 shows banding in the sky in 8bit.

S-LOG 2 is actually pretty good.

No you really need to get your hand on a C100II to give your readers an informed comparison. A 1DC isn't remotely related tothe C100II image, features, ergonomics, body, you know, what makes a camera.

I don't need to buy a C100 II just to show or inform people at all! I can show perfectly well what the FS5's image is like by comparing it to 14bit raw on the 5D Mark II/III.

I plan to do that. And 1D C is 500Mbit/s 4:2:2. Another good reference point for codec quality.

How does the C100 II have something magic? So magic that I MUST shoot with it to give an informed opinion on what the FS5 codec is like? Anyone who thinks the C100 has a better codec and better colour than the FS5 is just not looking at the right FS5 material, correctly graded or shot.

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The FS5 on paper is as near an ideal camera as I could imagine, and by far the best in its price range, no contest. But it needs a few things fixed nonetheless. For one, Sony needs to work on their color science. They also need better codec as Andrew pointed out. 10bit with macroblocking is a shame. All-I or at least clean 10-bit. 

I'm also with Andrew: why can't this brilliant new ND be used for auto-exposure?! That's the first and most obvious use for this new technology and there's no way the folks at Sony are so dumb that they overlooked that potential. 

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The only thing that bothers me on these Sony cameras are the colors... it just don't seem right to me yet.
And since i'm no colorist, i struggle a lot to make them look how i want.
I haven't test the FS5 yet but i hope it looks better then the A7 series (straight from the card).
And... don't want to go off topic, but i really liked the colors i've seem from the JVC LS300. You also get a 10bit 1080, ND filters and can use even 16mm lenses on it.
The built construction doesn't seem to justify the $3,495 price tag (specially if you compare it to Sony FS5), but at least on paper the specifications are really impressive to me. Don't know why Andrew didn't even think on test this one.

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Andrew again I ask:

The 240 fps - can you do the full 8-9 seconds with start/stop trigger (like the FS700) or is it only "half trigger" ~ 4 seconds?  Also tell me (us) about this Super16 center crop mode.  Is it available for 4k, 1080p and slow-mo?

Is there a 720p 480FPS like the FS700?  (actually I think it's a tad higher than 720p)...?

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They also need better codec as Andrew pointed out. 10bit with macroblocking is a shame. All-I or at least clean 10-bit. 

It sure does and this is one area I think I can finally agree with Ebrahim on!

I will be putting the case for one directly to Sony.

They also need to fix the edge ripping bug in 4K when not shooting S-LOG. That's clearly an image processing bug rather than a codec issue and it occurs even to an external recorder.

I still think even in it's current early-firmware state the 8bit 4K on this camera delivers better image quality than the C100 II when handled right. We could do with watching the overall images next, not just the flaws.

I really love what this camera can do creatively!

Here's an interesting comparison by the way between the C100 and C100 II

Neither can do smooth backgrounds particularly well, plenty of macro blocking and compression noise going on even at low ISOs.

It's an ok image... solid... but I still think the FS5 is capable of more. 8bit 4K 4:2:0 looks better on the FS5 than the best 8bit 1080p 4:2:2 from the C100 II.

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