I had a close encounter with the Sony XDCam PXW-FS5 at InterBee 2015. Unveiled in September with prototypes, this Super35 camcorder can shoot in 4K in excellent quality and low-noise, thanks to its very good noise-reduction algorithms. The lenses are interchangeable, so you can adapt its use to many different situations.
The main reason of being for this camcorder is its small size relative to its older sibling, the Sony XDCam PXW-FS7. In fact, this camera is small and light enough (800g) to mount on a (professional) drone once the handgrip is removed. I would just be very wary of drone crashes, since it’s not really cheap.
Sony is particularly proud of the ergonomic control system on the right, which looks like an elaborate joystick. Your comfort will depend on your hand size. I wear ‘M’ gloves, and I found it great, but someone with bigger or smaller hands, may see things quite differently. This is removable by the way, but I am not aware of a version with a different size from Sony. That said, it uses a standard 2.5mm connector, so other LANC camcorder controllers should work.
I do not have much experience shooting with this type of camera, but the smooth power-zoom is worth looking at. It can extend from optical to digital zoom if you want. The auto-focus is also very fast and can bet set up to follow people’s face. Finally, the optical stabilization system is good enough to compensate large motion, such as walking or running.
Interestingly enough, this camcorder records onto SD cards (2 slots) at 4K/30FPS at maximum quality using the XAVC-L CODEC. It is also possible to record in AVCHD in 1080p or 720p at 60FPS. The slow-motion mode can reach 960 FPS using ¼ HD resolution or 240 FPS in 1080p.
This is a great pro or semi-pro camcorder that has a great mix of quality, portability and features.