Canon C100 Shooter Jumps Ship for Sony FS5

by Hugh Brownstone7 Comments

But not just any C100 shooter. Slavik Boyechko is the co-owner of Video Dads, a two-person team with deep documentary experience — their work is lovely. And they’re not ditching just one C100 for the FS5 — they’re swapping out all three of them.

This is the first instance I’m aware of in which someone is switching out of the Canon C100 into the Sony FS5 [B&H|Amazon].

What makes it especially interesting is Slavik’s rationale:

1. The Canon C100 has better autofocus than the Sony PXW-FS5 XDCAM [B&H|Amazon] but only when using STM lenses [B&H|Amazon] – and he’s not thrilled with STM lenses. I understand his reservations about the STM lenses especially when it comes to speed and manual focusing, and his assertion about STM lenses with Canon’s autofocus align with comments Chuck Westfall shared with us at Canon Expo 2015 – see especially the video beginning at 21:16.
2. Slavik isn’t abandoning Canon glass [B&H|Amazon], but instead using the by-now-classic Metabones SpeedBooster [B&H|Amazon]. Since he’s chosen to return to manual focus in any case, he gets all of the benefit with none of the downside of the Metabones (poor autofocus, unless you’re using the Sony a7r II [B&H|Amazon] or Sony a7s II [B&H|Amazon] in which case they're even better than native Canon bodies with Canon glass.
3. The Sony FS5 has better color depth.
4. The Sony FS5 has a higher bit rate.
5. The Sony FS5 has a better and more flexible LCD and EVF combination.
6. The Sony FS5 is lighter.
7. The Sony FS5 is better in low light.
8. The Sony FS5 has better color indoors.

Sony Fs5

In other words: in the real world, Slavik asserts, the FS5 outpoints the C100 in areas regarded as the C100’s strong suit, while leveraging what is now arguably Canon’s strongest suit: its glass.

Your mileage may vary.

Slavik makes no mention of Sony’s menu system – the bane of many reviewers – and my personal experience with Sony’s menu system and grip (I’m just finishing up an in-depth review of their FS7) isn’t stellar.

But with all of this written, it’s clear that Sony continues its roll and Canon continues to become more vulnerable in what is likely its highest margin imaging product line.

We’re looking to going hands-on with the FS5 soon.

The Sony FS5: A C100 shooter’s verdict

Via Newsshooter:

For me, ergonomics and ease of use in a fast-paced professional doc environment are the biggest priority when I’m thinking about cameras, which is why I’ve used the C100 for a few years now (I have three of them). Small rigged-up Sony a7 cameras and the FS7 just haven’t done it for me, but a few hours with the FS5 and I’ve already decided to sell the Canons and move all our productions to it.

In HD, the FS5 has the C100 beat in just about every aspect, except autofocus. The AF on the Canon cinema cameras is really, really good, and on the Sony it’s just too slow and unpredictable to depend on. However, AF on Canons work best on the new fly-by-wire STM lenses, and to be honest those lenses are really not that great to use so you sacrifice a lot in order to get the best autofocus performance. Because the FS5 has only mediocre autofocus, it makes for an easy lens decision – leave the kit 18-105mm lens behind and use a Canon 24-105mm with an E-mount adapter. It feels good to get back to manual focus anyway.

Sony FS5 Autofocus Backyard Test

With a Metabones 0.7x Speedbooster, the Canon 24-105mm morphs into a 17-73mm (plus the crop factor), and in HD the FS5’s digital ‘Clear Image Zoom’ extends the long end 2x to 146mm. AND it becomes the equivalent brightness of a f/2.8 lens. So an affordable 17-146mm f/2.8 IS lens pretty much makes it a workhorse on the FS5.

Read full article at Newsshooter “The Sony FS5: A C100 shooter’s verdict”

(cover photo credit: snap from Newsshooter)


  1. I just received my FS5 and am at the start of the learning curve of all things Sony.  I have shot with my C100 for the last two years, and before that 5D3’s.  I am hoping the FS5 will compliment my other Canon cameras for multicam live music coverage.  The allure of the 4K, the variable ND, and the 50mbit 4:2:2 HD was enough to sway me away from adding another C100, as much as I love shooting with it and the quality of its images in low light.

    My question is this…and this might not be the right spot to ask…but where do I start with learning the ins and outs of shooting with SLog3?  Not so much the post production, more so attaining correct exposure as well as recommended zebra and viewfinder LUT settings.  I want to make sure what I see in the viewfinder is what I’ll be getting with the SLog capture.  And why am I stuck with shooting at 3200ISO in SLog3?  

    Or…as an alternative, and what I did with my C100, is pretty much shoot everything with a Wide DR profile, a happy medium between a LOG image and an over-contrasty over-saturated “Normal” profile.  Is there a way with the FS5 to emulate the Canon Wide DR profile?

    Thanks !!

  2. gschilling Congrats! In Episode 2 I recommend Doug Jensens’ PXW-FS7 Master Class video tutorials — HIGHLY HIGHLY recommend. Worth every penny.  I also suggest in Episode 2 you take a look at the Sony Professional channel on YouTube and avail yourself of the free video series by Alister Chapman, another expert DP very familiar with the FS5 in particular (I did a piece recently covering his hour+ long review of the FS5, including his admonition NOT to shoot log in low light.  Hope this helps as a starting point.  You can also always head over to Alister’s XCDAM-USER.COM web site.  Let me know how it goes for you!

  3. gschilling  Google the lengthy VOCAS review of FS5 on youtube. Lots of info that you’ll find useful, from none other but Alister Chapman himself.

  4. I just switched too. I’m still learning the Sony ropes but so far so good. I took it on a story today and the footage looks good. I shot an interview side by side with my C100. Next week I’ll be trying out the slow motion function. 

    gschilling I found PP3 to be the closest to the Canon Wide DR. I’ll be curious to see what others think.

    I think LUTs are one of the things Sony held back from the FS5. I might be wrong but I think that’s the case.

  5. HughBrownstone The C100 feels ergonomically better to me. I’m really used to shooting Canon and DSLR cameras so that’s probably no surprise. I’m sure that will adapt as I get used to it. The C100 feels a little sturdier too.
    So far I have found the FS5 easy to set up. I’ve heard all sorts of talk about how bad the Sony menus were and I wasn’t bothered by them at all. I like the focus peaking better on the FS5 over the C100. It feels like it just pops more. The variable ND filter is really nice. I like how you can move the LCD pretty much wherever you want it. The slow motion footage looks good. I might have some to share next week. I’m still not very fluid with some of the basic adjustments but that’s to be expected. 

    On a quick look at the interview I shot on both cameras I like the FS5 footage better. Granted it was a really fast set up and most of that set up time was spent on the FS5. I really need to put it through more time in the field before I can have a solid opinion on how the footage compares. So far so good.

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