Recording eight second bursts, the Sony FS5 slow motion capture is a great feature, once you get the hang of it.
Over the weekend I got a chance to do some more playing around with the Sony FS5. This time around I focused on the Super Slow Motion function of the camera. I shot exclusively at 240 frames per second. At that frame rate the FS5 is still recording at its best possible quality, full 1080P 10-bit 4:2:2. When pushed beyond this speed the camera reduces the image quality an unspecified amount. The recordings at 480 and 960 frames will still appear as HD clips, but the actual quality of the images will be of a reduced resolution.
Here is a sample of the material I captured this weekend.
I was beyond pleased with the image quality of the camera at 240fps. When given enough light, the picture is crisp and detailed with minimal noise, definitely within acceptable limits for just about any application, and what noise is present is quite pleasing and natural looking. This held true at ISO levels up to 3200. I didn’t push the camera beyond 3200 ISO as it was not necessary for the conditions I was shooting in. There is a small amount of artifacting in the fur of the animals, and along the bottom edge of the siding on the exterior shot, noticeable if you’re looking for it, but not a deal breaker in my opinion, especially for such an affordable camera.
Cached super slow motion in eight second bursts
The FS5 records 8 second bursts at 240fps using a cache recording mechanism. Because of this it can be tricky to actually capture what you want, or something interesting, when working with unpredictable subjects. I started out using the Start Trigger mode for shooting, meaning that the camera would record for 8 seconds starting when the record button was pushed. I found this very frustrating when trying to record animals because you were left hoping that something interesting happened in the 8 seconds after you push the button. End Trigger mode on the other hand fills the cache continuously and when you press the record button it will write the contents of the cache (the previous 8 seconds) to the memory cards. I found this method to be much easier to use. I just kept the camera on my subject and then when something interesting happened I would push the record button and it would record what had just happened.
The write time for the cards was a bit frustrating as well, taking well over 30 seconds to write the files to the cards. That can seem like forever when you are waiting for the files to write and interesting stuff is happening that you can’t capture. I don’t expect that there is much hope for improvement here with current SDXC card speeds. I was using SanDisk ExtremePro U3 SDXC cards which are just about as fast as they get currently.
Lighting was of course a big consideration when shooting. For all shots I used either natural light or Fiilex LED lights, or both. Standard household light fixtures are not an option when shooting at 240fps because they will flicker. For the indoor shots of the dog I was using a Fiilex Q1000 on full blast with a diffuser dome and a reflector. For the kittens I was using the same light with a 5″ Fresnel lens, which balanced will with the natural light coming from a window.
I am quickly falling in love with the FS5 as an everyday shooter. Stay tuned for more videos featuring this camera.
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