Sony have released firmware 4.0 for the FS5, which unlocks their recently announced Instant HDR feature. Available to download from here, this system update for the FS5 will enable the following features:
1. Support for High Dynamic Range (HDR) by shooting in Hybrid Log-Gamma* (HLG) standard
2. Support for continuous 120fps High Frame Rate (HFR) recording in 1080p with CBKZ-FS5HFR (sold separately**)
3. Option to change the minimum ISO sensitivity number to ISO 2000 from ISO 3200 when recording S-Log2/S-Log3
*4K: XAVC-Long 4:2:0 8-bit, HD: XAVC 4:2:2 10-bit.
** See buy links below
According to Sony, Instant HDR “enables the shooting, editing and viewing of HDR content in HLG, without the need for additional colour grading.” The HLG mode can be set-up quickly through a newly-added picture profile option, just like setting up Slog3. Here are all the modes now available:
[HLG] Setting equivalent to ITU-R BT.2100.
[HLG1] Setting that provides greater noise suppression than [HLG2]. However, the dynamic range that can be shot is narrower.
[HLG2] Setting with balance between dynamic range and noise suppression.
[HLG3] Setting that provides wider dynamic range than [HLG2]. However, the noise level rises.
All of the above new profiles use the same gamma curve characteristic, only the dynamic range and noise suppression characteristics differ.
The great thing about HLG, and the reason Sony are branding it as ‘Instant HDR’, is that metadata embedded in the XAVC video file when recording can be read by a supporting TV or monitor and displayed automatically with the correct settings. Hybrid Log-Gamma was specifically developed for broadcast television by the BBC and Japanese broadcaster NHK. The main benefit it has over Dolby Vision (a competing HDR technology) is that HLG’s native compatibility allows existing broadcast infrastructure to be re-used for HDR and automatically displayed correctly on a viewer’s TV.
Aside from these new HDR options, I’m also really pleased to see the ability to reduce the ISO below 3200 when shooting in SLog3. This should make it easier to match the FS5 with its bigger sibling, the FS7 (which has a base ISO of 2000 in CineEI Mode). I will be shooting some tests on this new FS5 firmware very soon and will follow up with my thoughts on how much of an effect this makes on shadow noise and, of course, how easy the HLG workflow truly is.
Do you own an FS5 and will you be downloading this update straight away? Are you excited about HDR or not? Let us know in the comments below.