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Want to record 4K internally and record externally on the FS5, and use the built-in monitor or EVF? No can do say Sony

Last week we published news that the Sony FS5 currently won’t allow simultaneous recording of 4K internally to SD card, and externally to an external recorder at the same time. This means that anyone wanting to record to an external 4K recorder like the Atomos Shogun and at the same time internally to SD card for backup is out of luck until next year. Worse still it also means that you can’t use other external SDI or HDMI monitors or wireless transmitters at the same time as recording internally either.

The SDI and HDMI outputs of the FS5
The SDI and HDMI outputs of the FS5

If this weren’t bad enough it turns out that new firmware fix that Sony expect to bring out in January that enables simultaneous 4K internal record and HDMI/SDI output sacrifices the use of the camera’s built-in screen and EVF. Essentially if you choose to record 4K internally and externally with new firmware you will have no way to see what your settings are, or adjust them while shooting.

When we first heard this news from Sony we couldn’t quite believe it. At the Interbee show in Japan today we got confirmation from Atomos CEO Jeromy Young. He is known to work closely with Japanese manufacturers and confirmed the issues to us. He re-affirmed that even with the upcoming firmware if you want to use the built-in screen and/or EVF then you will have to sacrifice either internal recording, or external recording and monitoring.

The FS5 with the Atomos Shogun 4K recorder
The FS5 with the Atomos Shogun 4K recorder

You can see for yourself what happens with the current firmware in the video above.

For some users this may not be a big problem. If you never record externally, or just want to shoot HD then you may be fine. But it could be a deal breaker for people who want to take the FS5 into a professional environment where external monitoring, transmission or 4K 10-bit recording are extremely important.

Jeromy thinks that the limitations are a result of the ASIC circuits used and that the FS5 issues will never be overcome with a simple firmware update.

This looks to be a very big design oversight from Sony and something that cannot be fixed without changes to the hardware itself. I’m sure many potential buyers of the FS5 will now be thinking twice about purchasing the camera.

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