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Sony XDCAM PXW-FS7 / FS5
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Old January 20th, 2016, 09:28 AM   #1
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EX1 to FS5

Lots of reviews of the FS5 about both written and in video. But can't seem to find the answer I'm looking for.

The EX1 is my workhorse for corporate and conferences. It can be a bit limiting at times but on the other hand it does pretty much anything reasonably and without fuss.

Any FS5 owners here who have come across from the EX1/EX3 using it for similar work? How are you finding it?

The biggest concern I have is not so much general film making but conferences where the EX1 can often be operating on full zoom all day (often with a stage bathed in crap blue LED light) with a couple of radio mics plugged in. The bundled 18-105mm lens sounds a bit weedy. I could go for the camera without a bundled lens and then buy the 18-200 but am unsure if this will make the entire thing rather front heavy.

Additionally all this business of not having the XLR's next to each other sounds like a bit of a pain. Is it?

4K is nice to have but doubt I will use it much.

The ability to "run and gun" is key to alot of the work I do. Good results with quick setup. I just have this niggling doubt that the FS5 looks like it may just be a bit too fiddly compared to the EX1. I need one lens that can work for the majority of situations and a camera that doesn't require lengthy setups for each shot.

In short is it the "jack of all trades" that the EX1 excels in being?

Any existing/former EX1/3 owners with any thoughts?

Thanks.
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Old January 20th, 2016, 09:43 AM   #2
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Re: EX1 to FS5

as an ex1 fan myself, i would ask, WHY are you looking to upgrade, and why this cam? 4k? shallow DOF? interchangeable lenses? are those features you or your clients have been asking for?

i would think the next step up from the ex would be something like the panasonic dvx200 or some other more ENG style/fixed lens cam, with 4k capability and better codecs/bitrates, not a large sensor interchangeable lens cam.
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Old January 20th, 2016, 09:48 AM   #3
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Re: EX1 to FS5

Hi Marcus,

I used to have a EX3 (and still have a PMW-300...and I even also have a C100).

I get what you're asking - asked myself it many times!

Yes the kit lens is a bit weedy - but for the money probably worth having. You can work VERY fast with a FS5 - just as you and I often have to do in the sort of work we do. One of the main advantages is light weight and small size - the FS5 (body) is super light compared to my EX3/PMW-300 and so if I need to fly anywhere/wander round exhibitions halls/factories/offices that's a big plus/less of a burden.

With any lens of "normal weight/good reach" (other than the very light weight 18-105 G kit lens) the FS5 will tip forwards when resting - but it's still easy to hand hold. Zoom on the FS5 with this lens is slow. Manual focus is a nightmare (as its a 'fly by wire' lens)...

Don't forget about the 2x Clear Image Zoom - it's fantastic at extending the range you have in your hand of whatever lens you choose to mount.

Split XLRs, well I quite like that.

Got to go as my render has just finished and need to get the film to the client before 5. Lots more about what I thought of the EX3 and my current crop of cameras in the More Information section of my website where you might find other useful stuff as to why I decided to buy a FS5.

Hope this helps a bit!
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Old January 20th, 2016, 10:08 AM   #4
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Re: EX1 to FS5

Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh Bass View Post
as an ex1 fan myself, i would ask, WHY are you looking to upgrade, and why this cam? 4k? shallow DOF? interchangeable lenses? are those features you or your clients have been asking for?

i would think the next step up from the ex would be something like the panasonic dvx200 or some other more ENG style/fixed lens cam, with 4k capability and better codecs/bitrates, not a large sensor interchangeable lens cam.
My EX1 is getting old. So that alone is a reason to upgrade.

Clients don't ask for the things you listed. They didn't ask for HD. They didn't ask for 16:9. They just expect the best quality video and therefore its my job to provide it.

Interchangeable lenses is important to me as I am currently using a VG10 with 11mm lens to get the occasional wide angle shot. That camera is far from ideal but you can just about get away with it on a cutaway.

If I go fixed lens I'd still end up carrying a second camera to get that occasional difficult shot (or buying a horrible wide angle adaptor which are often worse than the VG10 option).

I'm firmly in the Sony "family" so not really willing to consider anything but. Especially when I can use my existing battery investment.
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Old January 20th, 2016, 10:16 AM   #5
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Re: EX1 to FS5

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Originally Posted by Andy Wilkinson View Post
Hi Marcus,

I used to have a EX3 (and still have a PMW-300...and I even also have a C100).

I get what you're asking - asked myself it many times!

Yes the kit lens is a bit weedy - but for the money probably worth having. You can work VERY fast with a FS5 - just as you and I often have to do in the sort of work we do. One of the main advantages is light weight and small size - the FS5 (body) is super light compared to my EX3/PMW-300 and so if I need to fly anywhere/wander round exhibitions halls/factories/offices that's a big plus/less of a burden.

With any lens of "normal weight/good reach" (other than the very light weight 18-105 G kit lens) the FS5 will tip forwards when resting - but it's still easy to hand hold. Zoom on the FS5 with this lens is slow. Manual focus is a nightmare (as its a 'fly by wire' lens)...

Don't forget about the 2x Clear Image Zoom - it's fantastic at extending the range you have in your hand of whatever lens you choose to mount.

Split XLRs, well I quite like that.

Got to go as my render has just finished and need to get the film to the client before 5. Lots more about what I thought of the EX3 and my current crop of cameras in the More Information section of my website where you might find other useful stuff as to why I decided to buy a FS5.

Hope this helps a bit!
Cheers. That's all very useful. I'll have a read of your website.

The weight and size does look good. The flexibility of different lens setups does appeal. For someone with a fixed lens background the biggest thing coming to interchangeable lenses is that it's quite like having a whole new camera every time you change the lens.

I'll have a look at the Clear Image Zoom. Alot of people have tried to make digital zooms. Every time I've been shown the latest variant I've not found it satisfactory. Although with a sensor as large as the FS5 I wonder if Sony have some witchcraft going on in there. Will have to find out more.

I don't plan to get rid of the EX1 (just as my Z1 hung around for years after I got the EX1). I'm just now at a position where the EX1 is getting on for 7 years old and its time to start planning ahead.
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Old January 20th, 2016, 12:09 PM   #6
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Re: EX1 to FS5

Me again. I was VERY sceptical about the Clear Image Zoom on the FS5. "Digital Zooms" are usually bad news/over promised by Marketing types but under-delivering due to technical limitations...but I have to say I've been very pleasantly surprised with how good it is. You get 2x in Full HD mode and 1.5x in 4K mode. Sure, it's "entry level" 4K (actually QFHD - Quad Full HD at the moment) but in good light 4K also offers further possibilities for cropping in in post, of course.

The other killer feature that you'll of heard of is the Variable ND - and in a future FS5 firmware update Sony have stated (so I've read...) that they will also add an Auto-Exposure option using the Variable ND system. Could be great for (some) fast paced run-n-gun stuff where you want to keep DOF consistent/don't want to change Iris or Gain.
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Old January 20th, 2016, 12:13 PM   #7
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Re: EX1 to FS5

Maybe read up on another thread (FS5 file please) on this forum about the fs5 and there is another thread with quite a lot of complaints, it seems that some find the artifacts caused by this camera at higher iso so bad that they want to send the camera back, since you want absolutely the best image possible for your clients you maybe have to reconsider and go for the more expensive fs7.
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Old January 20th, 2016, 12:51 PM   #8
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Re: EX1 to FS5

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Originally Posted by Noa Put View Post
Maybe read up on another thread (FS5 file please) on this forum about the fs5 and there is another thread with quite a lot of complaints, it seems that some find the artifacts caused by this camera at higher iso so bad that they want to send the camera back, since you want absolutely the best image possible for your clients you maybe have to reconsider and go for the more expensive fs7.
Quite happy to sit back and see what Sony have to say as am in no rush. Always amusing that with every new camera that comes out people seem to find faults. There were scare stories about the EX1 when I bought that! Lens assemblies failing, lettering rubbing off and there was one guy on here who wouldn't shut up about the rolling shutter!
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Old January 20th, 2016, 01:02 PM   #9
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Re: EX1 to FS5

Well, I"m ok with what I see but apparently many people find that the camera produces artifacts that are so bad it's unusable.
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Old January 20th, 2016, 02:30 PM   #10
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Re: EX1 to FS5

I still use my EX3 a lot, It is a great workhorse and a lot easier to focus then the S35 cams.

I have a FS7 as well as a FS5 since late November. I love both those cams. They are both capable of very high end work, the FS7 is more advanced of course but also a handful. The FS5 is fantastic as a grab and shoot.

But if I have to go shoot some action footage moving quickly and lots of shifting of focus, like rally cars I will take my EX3 as the R&G just because it is much more forgiving with the " chip.

Both the FS5 and 7 produce much superior quality and more dynamic range in stressed DR situations, but the EX3 is in most R&G instances just fine and will intercut with the FS cams, just pay attention don't shoot with the EX3 where you have bright highlights and need shadow detail.

Do I see the FS5 as a replacement for the EX1/3, in a word no. I would buy another " chip cam. Is it as light and easy to use, yes and no, it is lighter and has the great controls on the handle, but it is much more critical to nail focus. Except for the Focus the FS5 is easier to handle and it produces better pictures. The FS5 is also better in low light, if set up right. For real low light I use my A7s. These cams are all great tools but they are all good at different things. So an FS5 is not a modern EX1 nor is it a FS7 or a low light monster like A7s.

And the Clear scan makes the kit lens a 18-210 FOV equivalent lens constant f4 in HD (about 18-160 in UHD), quite remarkable for $500.00, and IMHO a great Grab and Shoot lens, but by no means a cinema lens. The VariND is also a huge step forward, I am sure every cam will soon have it. It makes using Canon EF lenses easy to work.
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Old January 20th, 2016, 04:24 PM   #11
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Re: EX1 to FS5

If I might chime in on the conversation: first thank you all for your insights. I attended an FS5 demonstration today at Rule Boston Camera, and was very impressed. I have a PMW-300, EX1r and a GH4 currently, and I am also looking to replace my aging but trusty EX1r. The fellow doing the demo (not a Sony employee) surprisingly (at least to me) recommended skipping the kit lens and going with a fast prime instead, then keeping the Clear Image Zoom on and using it full time! I found this most surprising. Is it really that good? In addition to corporate and broadcast, I shoot some low light events where having a 1.4 or 1.8 lens would be terrific if I had power zooming ability as well. Or should I just get the kit lens anyway, since it's not too much more money and a "good enough" all purpose lens? Any thoughts?
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Old January 20th, 2016, 11:27 PM   #12
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Re: EX1 to FS5

I'm in the same situation.been shooting the ex1r for years,I love it but I tried the fs5 and loved it.the ex to me is a light camera, I shoot a lot of handheld with it.the fs5 is a feather compared to it.I agree with olof on the ocus being a little more of a challenge cuz of the lens.the ex lens u get a fast focus.the fs5 is a different type with an infinite focus ring.I guess the cost for that camera would b more if it had the same type as the ex.
Luckily for me I can rent the fs5 locally and really learn it to see if I end up purchasing
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Old January 21st, 2016, 11:08 AM   #13
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Re: EX1 to FS5

I also have a PMW300 and am thinking about switching to the FS5. One reason being that I still have several E and A mount Sony lenses from my FS100 days, and the batteries from the 300 work with the FS5.
At an FS5 demo, I used the clear image zoom with my 35mm prime and was amazed at how good it looked. I wouldn't hesitate to use this feature.

A lot of producers are wanting the narrow depth of field you can get with larger sensor cameras. I'm happy with the image the 300 produces, but if I want more work, I may have to go to a large sensor camera. I'll admit, I do prefer the better depth of field control I could have with the FS5.

My only worry is if the HD XAVC-L codec is good enough for broadcast TV work. The usual minimum requirement is a 4:2:2, 50 mbps codec, but the FS5s is in MP4, not XDCAM. I don't know if this will be an issue.
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Old January 21st, 2016, 01:52 PM   #14
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Re: EX1 to FS5

My EX3 dropped to the floor a couple of months ago. Decided to go for a FS5 in stead of an PMW200 or 300. I really like the film look compared to the 'video' look of the EX3.
The camera is light, de nd filter is great, no prob with the xlr inputs. Although it gets a bit crowded with shotgun, sennheiser receiver, aputure monitor.

I use 4k a lot because of the possibilty to crop in post. You can do a wide interview and get close in HD.

The stocklens is not great. 4.0 and hard to get things in focus. I'm also thinking of a prime lens and use the digital zoom.

For real run and gun work I prefer the EX3. But the picture quality of the FS5 is great. (when in focus ;)
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Old January 21st, 2016, 02:18 PM   #15
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Re: EX1 to FS5

I am an EX1R owner. I'm personally waiting for the FS7 replacement with HDR/Rec.2020 compliance. This would include 10bit 4:2:2 Long-GOP in 4K. The FS5 to me was just rushed hardware with tons of potential, but has arbitrary limits like DSLRs that shouldn't exist in the price range it's entering. I'd go to say I'd pick a URSA Mini 4.6K over the FS5.
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I wait for the day cost-efficient global shutter 60fps capable CMOS sensors emerge for use on major manufacturers' cameras. (Sony, Canon, etc.) Rolling Shutters are a plague.

Last edited by Jack Zhang; January 21st, 2016 at 03:40 PM.
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