UPDATED: The truth about the Sony FS5. Part 3 – Why we are NOT buying one (yet).

My friend was 100% right. “It’s a great HD camera, and a decent 4K camera.” Perhaps I should just listen to him and save myself a LOT of time testing cameras and writing about them.


  • Very light and compact
  • The smooth, awesome and super handy Variable Electronic ND Filter is simply magical. The ND covers seven stops (with linear adjustment from 1/4 to 1/128), and if there’s any color shift, I couldn’t see it.
  • Very customizable options/setting to tailor the camera to personal preferences and/or different shooting situations.
  • Very good battery performance. The FS5 is a 12v camera.
  • Inexpensive, reliable and widely available SDXC cards.
  • Very versatile E-Mount.
  • Having one XLR Jack on the camera body is wonderful.
  • Very well designed grip, many assignable buttons and 10 mounting points.
  • 240 fps slow-mo in HD.
  • Twelve 1/4″ threads on the camera body to attached the top handle (2) and LCD monitor (1) leaving nine additional mounting options for accessories such as small LED lights, wireless mic, or monitors.
  • S-Log2 and S-Log3 shooting options
  • Two XLR Jacks, one of them on the camera’s body
  • Removable hand grip

Handy chart to understand filet factor vs. Aperture reduction.


  • The performance of the XAVC-L codec in Adobe Premiere CC 2015. It would be great to record MOV or at the very least XAV-I (like the Sony FS7).
  • 4K 8-bit 4:2:0 at 100 mbps (max). Full HD is 10-bit 4:2:2 but only 50 Mbps. Both are very weak for a new system.
  • The lack of LUT support is truly astonishing. Add to this the lack of a waveform monitor and I wonder how anyone can shoot accurately with flat profiles.
  • The viewfinder is just OK. It works but I’m always second-guessing. The LCD monitor is better, but also limited.
  • The autofocus system works, but not as fast as Canon’s or Panasonic’s.
  • The proxies NOT having identical names as the master files, forcing us to rename each and every batch.

So, finally, should you buy a Sony FS5?

  • If you need the best low-light performance the Sony a7S Mark II is the clear winner right now. So maybe; I see an FS5 as the A Cam and an a7S Mark II as the B Cam making a killer combo.
  • If you work even with a small crew and can afford to carry external monitors and additional weight, then no, get the FS7 [B&H and Amazon].
  • If you shoot mostly HD and need something small, light and extremely versatile, definitively yes. Due its size, weight and amazing variable ND filter the Sony FS5 is an outstanding option for run-and-gun, and while not inexpensive at $5,600 it does offer tremendous value.
  • If, like me, you need something very small, under $10K, that shoots 4K, offers LUT support and works great under harsh and low-light conditions, we need to wait a bit longer.


UPDATE 20160622

Lots of folk have been emailing me regarding my Sony FS5 review, and many have the same two questions “After NAB, did your opinion about the camera change?” and “Which lenses would you recommend for his camera?”
So I’m updating these posts with my answers hoping that other people can benefit from them

First answer: “No. The firmware updates announced after NAB have not changed my opinions about this camera.”
Second answer: These are the3-4 lenses I’d get for this camera. Keep in mind that I have not shot with the new Sony f2.8 G Master lenses, but I’ll be doing it very soon and might update the list after that.

Canon EF 14mm f/2.8L II USM Lens (same price at Amazon and B&H)
Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens for Canon (same price at Amazon and B&H)
Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM Art Lens (same price at Amazon and B&H)
Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM Telephoto Zoom Lens (same price at Amazon and B&H)
Metabones T Speed Booster (same price at Amazon and B&H)

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For handheld operation the FS5 is incredibly light and well balanced.


Testing the Variable ND Filter.


Photo Credit: Catherine Panesso