FS5 design team interview

Sony’s PXW-FS5 camcorder was developed to be simply the best Super35 handheld camcorder: lightweight but robust and fully featured with superb 4K picture quality. The team reveal how they did it.

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This exclusive interview features the principal team leads for the PXW-FS5 discussing how they set about revolutionising the large frame sensor market.

According to Product Planner Toshiyuki Kanayama, the ‘grab and shoot’ concept came from close analysis of customer criticisms of existing large frame sensor cameras – ‘hard to balance… a hassle to set-up and shoot.’ And of course, all these problems were what the team would need to solve with the FS5.

Product Designer Koichi Maeyama reveals how countless designs were tried and discarded in pursuit of this goal. For example, to resolve the conflicting demands of a compact but still fully featured camcorder, the team decided on a curved body line.

“By creating more surfaces, the layout can incorporate additional controls,” Meayama explains, “each button of a different size and type to be easily recognised just by touch.”

Mechanical Engineering Lead Nobuhiro Onouchi demonstrates how easily the FS5 can be taken apart, its modular design providing the ultimate in flexibility for applications such as mounting on a drone or gimbal. Onouchi also consulted with the consumer team to achieve an ambitious target of less than 1kg for the camcorder’s body. This led to the team adopting magnesium, a costly material, difficult to work with but offering the weight savings they needed.

We set the grip closest to the centre of gravity, so that it feels 500 grams lighter. You can shoot forever with this lightweight and easy-to-hold camcorder.

 Nobuhiro Onouchi
Mechanical Engineering Lead

The weight balance of the camcorder was also critical, according to Onouchi; “We set the grip closest to the centre of gravity, so that it feels 500 grams lighter. You can shoot forever with this lightweight and easy-to-hold camcorder.”

Product Leader Kuniaki Hirahaya explains how a built-in electronic variable ND Filter was essential to the ‘shoot and go’ concept by avoiding the need for carrying around conventional filters. This led to the F55 becoming the world’s first Super35mm camcorder with this feature.

Hirahaya concludes the interview by saying how everyone on the team, not just the designers but everyone from manufacturing to quality control, were determined to deliver the absolute best handheld camcorder on the market.

“We want everyone to pick one up,” Hirahya says, “to feel how it fits in your hand.”

Contact your local Sony solutions specialist to find out more