A new firmware update for the Sony PXW-FS5 4K cinema camera enables Internal and external 4K simultaneously

by on December 24, 2015

Stephan Jukic – December 24, 2015

Only just recently was the powerful new Sony FS5 professional 4K video recording camera released to the consumer market and it’s already got a firmware update ready for it courtesy of Sony. This is likely due mainly to the fact that Sony slightly rushed the release of the camera and the typical attending bugs for such cases were quickly spotted by early users.

Specifically, early adopters of the FS5 have reported that the shipping models they received wouldn’t allow recording of 4K ultra HD and DCI 4K video both internally and externally simultaneously.

Sony’s otherwise excellent FS5, which we’ve already reviewed, here, uses the long-GOP codec XAVC-L when capturing 4K internally and this particular codec is somewhat inferior to the generally better intra-frame XAVC-I codec, which happens to be used by the more robust FS7 as well as by the Sony F5 and F55 pro video recorders.

Thus, a number of users who tried recording with the new FS5, were more motivated to utilize external recorders like the Atomos Shogun with their camera, therefore being able to capture ProRes video in 4K but in 8-bit output grade.

The FS5 is particularly sharp during low light video recording

The FS5 is particularly sharp during low light video recording

Early reports from users of the FS5 speculated that the camera couldn’t manage simultaneous internal and external 4K recording due to processing glitches in its hardware but now we’ve seen that this isn’t the case, instead Sony simply failed to include the capability in its first run models. This is shown as obvious with the new and clearly specific firmware update Version 1.1 for the PXW-FS5.

Owners of the camera can download the update from this link.

It’s also worth noting that there is yet another near-future update for the FS5 in the works, one which will allow for RAW output from the new Sony camera to also be an option. This second update is also expected to be free of charge and will probably be arriving in early 2016.

According to Sony’s own words on their Firmware Version 1.1 update, right from their download page:

“Version 1.1 allows simultaneous QFHD internal recording and QFHD output to an external unit that serves as the monitoring device. A new menu item (“QFHD REC OUTPUT”) in the recording menu permits switching between simultaneous QFHD internal/external recording, with loss of VF and LCD operation and internal recording. The loss of VF/LCD does not affect HD operations.

Version 1.1 is merely the next step in the PXW-FS5’s ongoing development. A future firmware build will add “FS RAW” recording. The OLED and VF will remain active regardless of the choice of format.”

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  • Robert
    December 31, 2015 at 8:01 am

    Will this 1.1 firmware allow output of 4k @ 10bit 422? Thanks for your time in advance.


    • Stephen
      December 31, 2015 at 9:27 am

      Hello Robert. No I don’t believe it will. The FS5 will still only offer 4K at 8-bit 4:2:0 for now. At least, we haven’t found anything to indicate the inclusion of this particular extra 4K feature in firmware update 1.1. Possibly down the road though. As the article I wrote mentions, Sony is planning further updates for the FS5.


  • mark brown
    January 2, 2016 at 3:54 am

    I have performed the update, but the QFHD REC OUTPUT is missing? or atleast I cant see it, help please.


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