Sony FS5 HFR Review with Philip Bloom

New upgrade available here:

This video was filmed using:

Main Camera - Canon C300mk2
Lens - Canon 35mm f1.4 L
Audio - Sennheiser AVX-ME2 Set

The free firmware V 4.00 upgrade has now been available to download for a month now, and many FS5 users out there have been pleased to be able to use features such as the ability to change the minimum ISO sensitivity number from 3200 down to 2000 when shooting in S-log2 or S-log3, support for HDR by shooting in Hybrid Log Gamma and - one which grabbed some people’s attention - Support for continuous 120fps high frame rate shooting in 1080p, all very exciting.

Dé ja vous

Now, the more astute among you will have noticed those two little words: “Support for”. Firmware V4.00 is a free upgrade which does not give you continuous HFR of 120fps, merely the capability to install the paid 120fps firmware upgrade at a later date.
If you feel like this is familiar territory then you may have already been down this road with the RAW output upgrade from last year, and the added cost of both has already raised some eyebrows in the FS5 shooting community, but with ours fully geared up we went on a trip to a local farm with esteemed cinematographer Phillip Bloom to test out the FS5’s new abilities, and to see whether it is worthy of the near £500 price tag.

Watch the film here:


Keep it cool, trigger...

Before now, high frame rate footage could be shot only in small bursts at a time using the super slomo function, which is all very well if you have your shot planned out and can start and stop the action whenever you like.  But what about those unpredictable situations such as live events, weddings or even wildlife? In Phillip’s opinion, the end trigger has been most useful for a long time, at least giving you the opportunity to capture unexpected action when you’re framed up and ready to go.  But in our test shoots amongst the wildlife there were many, many occasions where Philip was framed up on one subject as it did something interesting. But then when he stopped recording, the critter suddenly started to do something even more worth capturing!

Had we been using the end-trigger super slomo mode, we’d be helplessly stuck waiting for the buffering process to finish as our furry friend scampered smugly away. However, with our new continuous shooting at 100fps, Phillip could hit record again straight away and got the shot we would have otherwise have missed.  Herein lies a principle benefit of continuous shooting; yes, there may be more dead weight to cut out in the edit, but as Phillip says: “It’s all about getting the shot”

The FS5 high frame rate update of course can be bought through ProAV’s website, and is delivered as a physical product containing the activation key which, combined with your camera’s individual ID number can install the upgrade online.  All-in-all, the choice to adopt this upgrade may depend greatly on the type of work you wish to create, but could this be worth it in your opinion? Can you see the benefits over the start/end/end half trigger modes? Let us know how else continuous HFR shooting could be useful for the FS5 in the comments below, or indeed let us know if you’ve used it already. We’d love to hear from you.

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