FS-5 the hard & fast facts

Focus Magazine (UK) by Jim Planks

I first set eyes upon the Focus Enhancement FS-5 Digital Hard Disk recorder at the IOV AGM. It did look very different to the previous versions and it supposedly does a lot more. Eventually I received the machine from the UK distributors, Holdan Ltd, together with a USB Wireless Dongle.

The FS-5 is a sleek black plastic and anodised metal design with a very nice colour LCD and a control panel full of buttons and dials. Surprisingly, it weighs in at just 12 ounces (.22 kg) and is just 1.25-inches thin.

As far as physical size goes it is comparable to a 2.5-inch disk drive case but twice as thick. The case has a battery compartment that accepts a Focus Enhancements battery which actually lasts the advertised time of three hours. They are bringing out a six-hour version in the very near future and this will be enough to ensure you only need
one battery to fill the hard disk with over 500-minutes of video.

Format Compatibility
When it comes to video this machine is bang up to date, recording in DV 25 in the following formats: AVI 1; AVI 2; Canopus AVI; Matrox AVI; MXF OP Atom; Quicktime; and Raw DV. The HDV formats are: M2T; MXF 720p30 & 1080i50/60; and Quicktime 720p25/30 & 1080i50/60.

As you can see the Focus Enhancements FS-5 now records HDV as well as DV and this is a bonus with all the new cameras appearing using this format.

Being a Mac User most of my trials were in Quicktime and I used both DV and HDV and completed several weddings and corporate video using it with a Sony AE1 and XDCAM EX. This gave me the ability to compare download speeds between various devices and I was surprised at how quick and easy it is. Alright, it took me a few minutes browsing through the manual which, unfortunately, did not appeal to me. It’s a bit disjointed as a user manual but good as a technical manual. Iwill come back to this later. read more...

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