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Andrew Reid

Sony's response to PXW-FS5 issues and why I am keeping hold of my camera

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Last week I had an insight into just how responsive Sony are becoming in rolling out support for their cameras. As users like myself and Paul Antico discovered soon after the FS5 was released the image had some issues. The very week I bought my camera Sony were in touch by email - I was then tasked to shoot some tests and send the XAVC footage to their engineers in Japan so they could work on analysing the problem. The detective work complete, Sony have now just released a statement saying they've identified the bugs and will squash these in upcoming firmware updates.

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EOSHD Pro Color for Sony cameras EOSHD Pro LOG for Sony CamerasEOSHD C-LOG and Film Profiles for All Canon DSLRs

Why aren't they reaching out to people like you in the super early stages before they release these kind of cameras? I bet they give it to a bunch of people when there's almost final pre-production units, but are these 'first look'-folks just so grateful to have the oppertunity to look at these things before everyone else that they dare not speak of any issues they encounter in the fear of ruining the relationship they have or what? Anyways! One of the greatest things you can show as manufacturer is that you care and that you listen to the people who end up buying and having to use these puppies!

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As someone online said recently, this camera is a firmware upgrade away from greatness. Yeah, I wish it had 10-bit 4K and IBIS (and lower native ISO), but all that with in-camera recording is another camera generation away. No need to miss out on what this camera can do now while waiting.

They really do need to work on their lens lineup, though. I hope Sigma comes out with some cine art lenses for Sony mounts...

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They could have saved themselves a lot of bad publicity and lost sales by having stronger critical judgement from their pre-production shooters

Alister Chapman is looking very silly now.

In the end the customer is always right... We are the ones that have to be convinced by the images, and at the moment there is unfortunately still too much XDCAM VIDEO DNA in the FS range.

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Their first camera with a good codec plus their variable ND will sell like freaking hot cakes. Doubly so if it is full frame. Variable ND is really the ideal/ultimate way to handle exposure compensation, and putting it in the body as an electronic system is just bonkers-awesome. Unless Samsung come back with a vengeance, my next camera will be a Sony. 

There's something about their color science that bugs me, but at the rate they're going, I'd be willing to deal with that in favor of other advantages.

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They released expensive cameras with issues that could cost you your job

Only if you're stupid.

That's why you test a new camera before deploying it at work.

Or read EOSHD before buying something.

Or just avoid the settings where the bugs occur. Not rocket science is it.

(no mention your prestige), but they are great because later they fix it with a firmware upgrade?

Not just fix it, but add new features like raw.

Hard not to get excited about that Mr Cynical.

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Sounds like it could be a killer. Didn't realize how extremely small that thing is, very cool.

This was also kinda my point the other day about not letting the first 5 troll reviews on B&H bring a camera down. 
Mostly because they aren't real issues or even real.
But even when it is true, real bugs like this, it usually works out if its a serious company.
Blackmagic fixed the white orb in the BMPCC and horizontal lines in the BMPC, Bolex corrected compatibility with small HD and now Sony is working on this.

Looking forward to following the progress of the camera and how you get along with it.

I have to pick out a new camera for my company. We already own a shogun, so I was thinking about the fs700. What would I be loosing/gaining with the f5?

Money ;)

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They could have saved themselves a lot of bad publicity and lost sales by having stronger critical judgement from their pre-production shooters

Alister Chapman is looking very silly now.

In the end the customer is always right... We are the ones that have to be convinced by the images, and at the moment there is unfortunately still too much XDCAM VIDEO DNA in the FS range.

We are totally right about this. Not sure if they are aware of this happening on the FS7 XAVC-L mode though? (although most shoot XAVC-I). 

The FS5 is the most interesting camera ergonomically I have seen. With the built-in features, it seems ideal for my type of my work. Rock music videos, documentaries and artsy pieces you can get away with noise and artefacts, but on commercial work... the FS5 is currently far too much of a risk, as each shot needs to be clinical and perfect. Other systems just make it easier to get there quicker. 

I'm honestly craving for a thicker, richer image now I've used Sony for years. The image (besides the F55) has always seems thin and diluted if that makes sense? I'll hit the market this year for a serious A-cam looking at Blackmagic Ursa Mini, RED Raven/Scarlet-W and Canon C300mkII (all rental and tested). I'll keep a careful watch on the FS5 RAW though... I can't seem to ignore those brilliant ergonomics!

Still shooting on the A7SII extensively and Sony are seriously pushing things... so it's definitely worth staying in that pipeline. 

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The image (besides the F55) has always seems thin and diluted if that makes sense? I'll hit the market this year for a serious A-cam looking at Blackmagic Ursa Mini, RED Raven/Scarlet-W and Canon C300mkII (all rental and tested). I'll keep a careful watch on the FS5 RAW though... I can't seem to ignore those brilliant ergonomics!

 

perfect description of their color science. It shouldn't be so difficult to wrangle into something pleasing to look at. 

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I'm a nikon shooter (D4, D7000) and I just got a A7sII , and I would love to have a picture setting that is close to the Nikon Color space/flat preset with some dynamic range increase. 

Right now Im playing around with Cine4 with raised black levels.

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Thanks for keeping us posted. Unfortunately, I bought the FS5 the week it came out. After extensive testing, I found the image quality especially in low light too blocky and noisy, even in 10 bit. I then bought a A7s II and compared the two. Aside from the rolling shutter, IMO, I felt the A7SII delivered a much better image: Full Frame, none of the noise and artifact issues. But what sealed it for me was the monitoring problems the fs5 had in 4k and the long write wait for slo  mo. Also, the codec is far more computer processor intensive than the A7s II's. So I returned the FS5 and kept the A7s II. It was a tough decision as I could only afford to keep one and the fs5 has so many excellent features. Ergonomically the FS5 is amazing and the electronic ND is truly revolutionary. It works. But at five and half grand, I expected a better looking image. But based on the firmware updates coming down the line, especially the RAW update, I just may go back. I hope by then someone develops a small 4k recorder like an Atomos blade.

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Andrew, I love everything about the FS5 you outlined here and have no intention of selling it. But I do have an issue, not just with the FS5, but with Sony cameras in general I would like to hear you common on.

Sony skin tones in talking head shooting is not nearly as good as Canon. My C100 MkII has fantastic skin tone that requires very little adjustment to look very good. But the tendency toward magenta in the Sony makes skin tones look over processed and artificial by comparison. 

Am I way off the mark in saying this, if so, why, and if not, is there a way I can bring the Sony colors, especially skin tone, to be more like my Canon cams?

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On January 31, 2016 at 5:37 PM, Caleb Genheimer said:

perfect description of their color science. It shouldn't be so difficult to wrangle into something pleasing to look at. 

 

On January 30, 2016 at 5:53 PM, Caleb Genheimer said:

Their first camera with a good codec plus their variable ND will sell like freaking hot cakes. Doubly so if it is full frame. Variable ND is really the ideal/ultimate way to handle exposure compensation, and putting it in the body as an electronic system is just bonkers-awesome. Unless Samsung come back with a vengeance, my next camera will be a Sony. 

There's something about their color science that bugs me, but at the rate they're going, I'd be willing to deal with that in favor of other advantages.

Good luck with that. I've shot Sony for years, and finally gave in and bought a Canon 5D MKII and a Canon C100 Mk II---both SOOOOOO much more pleasing in the images, so easy to make things look good---and the C100 is much easier to shoot with than the FS5. Put a Ninja Star on it and you're got your 422 10 bit recording for grading. If Sony doesn't get rid of the magenta cast and poor, over-processed skin tones I'm afraid I'm going to give up on them altogether---all those other great features notwithstanding. 

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7 hours ago, tomsemiterrific said:

Andrew, I love everything about the FS5 you outlined here and have no intention of selling it. But I do have an issue, not just with the FS5, but with Sony cameras in general I would like to hear you common on.

Sony skin tones in talking head shooting is not nearly as good as Canon. My C100 MkII has fantastic skin tone that requires very little adjustment to look very good. But the tendency toward magenta in the Sony makes skin tones look over processed and artificial by comparison. 

Am I way off the mark in saying this, if so, why, and if not, is there a way I can bring the Sony colors, especially skin tone, to be more like my Canon cams?

The Sony cameras have a couple of issues at the moment.

Skintones are not flattering especially for faces, they're too revealing and contrast is too high.

I am working on a Skintones LUT for my FS5 to fix this.

Secondly the banding issue in skies with S-LOG 3. I am hoping Sony can address this in firmware, at least for the 10bit 1080p mode. Raw output will also fix it.

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