The Sony FS5 Shoulder Rig
In September 2015, Sony released another PXW series camera, the Sony PXW-FS5, a Super 35 interchangeable-lens camera with a small and compact body. It can record in HD or UHD 4K and also shares many of the features of the PXW-FS7. The FS5's overall design is a relatively light, detachable combination to adapt to different scenarios. After landing one of the FS5's, I’ve been testing different rigging options to use on my shoots.
I’ve been using SmallRig components for quite a while. They provide fair quality rigs with favorable prices, so after browsing their website, I got the FS5 accessory kit.
The FS5 accessories kit comes with:
Top Plate (Two Parts) 1796
LCD Screen Mounting Clamp Adapter 1831
Male-Male LANC Cable 1835
The SmallRig Top Plate includes two symmetrical bars used to mount accessories to the FS5. There's a small hole reserved for the tape measure hook. There's also a hole for the LCD cable clamp. Nice touch. A side plate is now available for the wireless receiver which I haven’t had a chance to dig into yet, but, according to the staff, they also had a cold shoe mount on the plate too.
The SmallRig FS5 baseplate uses 1/4’’-20 and 3/8’’-16 screws to attach the camera to the baseplate. This is great, as I'm never that happy attaching cameras to plates with only a single screw, as per some other plates.
The main feature I was interested in was the two ARRI rosettes on the plate to allow me to attach arms to the plate.
On the baseplate I mounted the Rosette Handle Kit 1442 on the left side. I used my original FS7 handle on the right hand side of the camera for LANC control.
Still quite sturdy when you have the Rosette handle on, however, there's a small amount of play connecting the rosette extension arms together (I use two), but it is possible to lock them tightly, you just need to align them properly.
Other than the run and gun configuration, I’ve also tried it on my tripod, the baseplate has got 1/4’’-20 and 3/8’’-16 holes on the underneath. I used these to attach a Manfrotto Quick Release Plate, but you could use a VCT plate.
The baseplate does not have a perfect balance with the tripod which is a shame, in particular, the shoulder pad I attached via the rails gets caught under the tripod head.
This appears to be caused by the location of the holes in the bottom which is a shame. I mentioned this to SmallRig and they listened my idea and told me they will start designing an updated model which will relocate the holes forward a little.
Anyway, I’m reasonably happy with this setup, even though the baseplate is not flawless, they do seem to take feedback onboard which is cool.