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Product Reviews

Product Review: Sony FS5 II Super 35mm Compact Cinema Camera

Fully featured, lightweight, compact cinema camera!

What does the product do and what it’s intended use?

The Sony FS5 II (PXWFS5M2K is a fully-featured HDR compact cinema camera that is affordable and has some innovative features to help you use it for non-scripted ‘run & gun’ applications. The face detection auto-focus feature with supported lenses is excellent. The Variable ND filter allows you to keep the iris open for a shallow depth of field effect while still retaining the ability to adjust for varying lighting conditions while you are shooting. There is support for up to 120 frames per second in full HD continuously. The Clear Image Zoom feature allows you to utilize the 4K sensor while filming in HD, this allows you zoom further than the lens’s optical zoom limit by using the same zoom rocker you use to zoom the included servo zoom lens. The camera body is 800 grams and the small form factor means you can easily fit it in a bag suitable for carry-on luggage.

 How does the Sony FS5 II Compact Cinema Camera rate for my application?

News & DocumentaryYes, but with mixed results

Digital CinemaPerfect for this!
Commercials & MarketingPerfect for this!
Corporate & EducationYes, but expect challenges.
Live Events & Outside Broadcast
Yes, but expect challenges.

Online Video
Perfect for this!


What we love about Sony FS5 II Camera
Super 35mm Sensor – great low light sensitivity
Being able to shoot slow-motion footage at 240fps in HD
4K Raw SDI output direct from the camera 
Variable ND – greater exposure control
Clear Image Zoom – using 4K technology to provide up to 200% more zoom!
What’s not so hot about Sony FS5 II Camera
Limited 4K Internal Recording of only 8bit 4:2:0, you may need to record this externally to improve.
The limited resolutions of the Display screen and Viewfinder
SDXC cards only – slow transfer rates in comparison to XQD cards

What application is the Sony FS5 II Compact Cinema Camera most suitable for?

The flexibility to build up or strip down the PXWFS5M2, as well as the combination of its new colour science derived from the Venice and the 4K Super 35MM sensor, this compact camera, can be used in many applications from drama productions, documentary, commercials and creating content for online in both HD and 4K for just about any setup including low-light. By using an external Atomos Shogun recorder this extends its applications to more high-end broadcast and professional filming applications with the ability to record RAW and HDR formats (Note: this is a ProRes format when you use an Atomos Recorder).

Why should you consider Sony FS5 II Compact Cinema Camera for your kit?

The number of professional features in a really affordable and compact camera that shoots amazing HD imagery and also cranks out 4K with colour science derived from the top of the range at Sony, this is a versatile tool for quick setups as well as more planned shooting production setups – so it comes down to the versatility for great value!

What is included with the Sony FS5 II Compact Cinema Camera?

1 x Sony PXW-FS5M2 4K XDCAM Super 35mm Camcorder
1 x Handle
1 x Grip Remote
1 x LCD Panel
1 x Wireless remote commander
1 x Accessory shoe kit (includes the accessory shoe, shoe plate and 4 screws)
1 x USB cable
1 x BP-U30 battery pack
1 x  AC adapter/ battery charger
1 x Power cord 

Plus if you buy the kit verson you can also get the Sony E mount PZ 18-105mm f/4 G OSS Zoom Lens

What results should you expect from the Sony FS5 II Compact Cinema Camera?

Great dynamic range to capture the images in a wide range of applications and lighting conditions without crushing shadow details or blowing out highlight due to its Super 35mm sensor and extensive feature set will ensure the best results

Features of theSony FS5 II Compact Cinema Camera that we love.

HDR Workflows: There are two workflows you can use for HDR shooting with the PXWFS5M2 – if you are looking for a fast workflow then check out the Instant HDR workflow and shoot edit and view in the HyperLogGamma (HLG) or if you are looking to gather as much data as possible for colour grading then use  S Log 2/3 options.

4K Raw output: The PXWFS5M2 features a RAW SDI output which enables you able to maximise the quality of the 4K signal in real-time to an external monitor/recorder like the Atomos Shogun (Note: this is a ProRes format when you use an Atomos Recorder). 

High Frame Rate: The PXWFS5M2 also features slow-motion recording options with both burst and continuous modes available. So you can shoot continuously in up to 120 frames per second in very high-quality HD codecs for broadcast, this is really helpful where you just not sure where the action will actually happen and you don’t need to wait for the buffering of a burst mode option. For planned shots, the burst mode can shoot up to 240 frames per second in the same high-quality HD codec.

Variable ND: The Variable ND filter allows you to keep the iris open for a shallow depth of field effect while still retaining the ability to adjust for varying lighting conditions while you are shooting. Whilst this feature is not exclusive to the Sony PXWFS5MK2 it certainly is an awesome one to have around for fine-tuning your exposure especially when you are shooting outdoors particularly in really harsh sunlight. So you are able to specify the aperture and shutter speed settings and then apply ND up to a fairly strong 1/128 of ND to get exactly the exposure you need. The auto mode version of this also works well when you are transitioning from harsh lighting to more shaded areas or from outside to inside style of tracking shots.

What’s the Alternative?

You should also consider these other cameras Panasonic EVA1, Canon C200, Blackmagic Ursa Mini Pro G2, check them out in more detail but it is hard to go past the PXWFS5M2


This product has been reviewed by Simon Anderson – Videocraft Production and Education Sales Specialist. 

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