How to get the most from Sony Z5

The Sony Z5 has been superseded by several models in the series of cameras but it isn't obsolete just yet. The output is still of broadcast quality in full 1080p HD and the features of the camera make it a versatile piece of equipment. It has the usual bells and whistles, focus ring and manual zoom as well as touch button zoom on the side panel and on the top handle so you can operate the zoom from several points. If you want to use fast/crash zooms then you are better off using the manual zoom ring. To work swiftly you need a focus puller for the focus otherwise it can be rather difficult to work with single handedly and although the LCD screen and the eyepiece viewer are quite good, I personally find it difficult to be sure I am in focus without carefully studying the picture. From using the Z5 to film a lot of live events, I often opt for the auto-focus which is actually quite good and quick to work. The other features like the iris control are simple to use, however shooting outdoors in strong sunlight, it's difficult to achieve a satisfactory iris level without shutting the iris entirely on manual. For this, the auto iris is a satisfactory resolve. In low light it is best to remain on manual as the auto iris adds a noticeable amount of picture grain. The white balance control is something that is generally quite good, the one touch white balance is simple to operate and you can store two settings, as well as the presets in the settings menu, which itself is very easy to scan through to achieve the desired settings for fine tuning. Once you have set up your desired settings once, it is rare you will have to go into them again. Everything else can be adjusted on the physical unit itself. Things like sound are very easy to control with level dials built into the side of the unit. With two channels you can use both the internal mic and XLR mic channels or use both channels for XLR microphones or other audio input. I have used XLRs to take output from a sound desk and record a live performance. It is possible to use a separate sound mixer but I have found that this causes more problems than it solves.

One of the biggest problems I have found with the Z5 is that handheld it is a nightmare to hold for any length of time. It's odd seeing as there is a hand strap on the side which is ergonomically shaped to the hand, due to the weight, you will lose your strength very quickly, which can have a noticeable effect on the recorded footage. The unit itself generally doesn't have a good weight balance, neither is it elongated enough to mount on your shoulder. That is why where possible I would suggest mounting the camera on a dolly or tripod. That's not to say it can not be used handheld bit it can be an enormous strain. Apart from this, the Z5 is a very functional and useful piece of equipment.