Sony Introduces Cinema Line and teases the PXW-FX6

FX6_side_44062_02-Mid Sony Introduces Cinema Line and teases the PXW-FX6
Sony are teasing the PXW-FX6.

So there is no IBC show this year and instead Sony are doing various online sessions with the latest news as well as guides to some of the most recent products and firmware. 

Today’s news is of new branding for Sony most recent digital cinema cameras, Vence and the PXW-FX9. These cameras are now members of what Sony are calling “Cinema Line” and in addition there are pictures of a smaller camera not surprisingly called the FX6 that looks like – well – what you would expect an FS5 replacement to look like. 

In the past Sony’s digital cinematography cameras were denoted by their “Cinealta” badges. But to some extent this became somewhat confused as all sorts of cameras like the Sony EX1 and Venice were classed as Cinealta. So what exactly is the new Cinema Line?

To quote from the Sony Press Release:

“At Sony, we celebrate and have the deepest respect for filmmakers, cinematographers, and storytellers. With Cinema Line, we’re tapping into our DNA from both the film industry and digital imaging prosumer market and combining it to develop new creative tools. This line of products will enable creators to push their creative boundaries further and capture the emotion in each and every frame.” says Claus Pfeifer, Head of Connected Content Acquisition, Media Solutions, Sony Professional Europe.

So, I’m not really sure! My guess is it’s a set of products, not just cameras  aimed at what we now tend to call Cinematography rather than broadcast television or industrial video applications. Of course there is a huge amount of cross-over between all these different genres these days, so I’m sure the Cinema Line products will be used all over the place.

My main hope from this is a more unified look from any cameras in the Cinema Line. My big hope is that the FX6 will have S-Cinetone and that when you shoot S-Log3 with the FX6 that it will look like the S-log3 from the FX9 or Venice. This will make grading and post production easier where you mix and match cameras.

What about the FX6?

I don’t have any more solid information than you right now. We can expect it to be Full Frame, to shoot 10 bit 4:2:2 4K using S-Log3 and to probably have a raw output. As the FS5 is based on the A7S hardware with an F5 sensor it wouldn’t surprise me if the FX6 was based on the A7SIII hardware with the FX9 sensor perhaps. So it might have 4K at 120fps. From the pictures it appears to only have 2 channels of audio and the cover for the card slots (there must be 2 as there is a slot select switch) doesn’t look big enough for two XQD or CF Express Type B, so I would guess that like the A7SIII it’s SD cards or perhaps CF Express Type A.  Another thing I notice in the pictures is a lack of an AF/MF focus switch and in particular no menu navigation controls, so I will guess the LCD is a touch screen and it will rely on this for a lot of function control and menu navigation. But this is just speculation, so don’t hold me to any of it!!!

7 thoughts on “Sony Introduces Cinema Line and teases the PXW-FX6”

  1. What about a long awaited significant firmware upgrade for the newer PXW-FS7 MK 2? e.g. Venice color profile or similar, Perhaps CF Express Card compatibility, active follow focus, or 120 FPS 4K UHD, how about an optional upgrade to a touch screen EVF maybe? Even the lesser PXW FS 5 MK2 got an update for 14 bit external RAW recording via HDMI a few years back! While I still cherish my FS7 MK2, I now have a video camera purchased a year ago that the flavor of the month club people will now consider it obsolete. While Sony have been listening and responded to end users of late to make improvements to their lineup, I’m sorry I currently feel betrayal and abandonment with the intro of the FX6. The FX 9 didn’t bother me so much. In fact, I applauded it. I figured my new Firmware would soon be on its’ way. Not so much anymore.

    1. The FS5 did not get 14 bit raw over HDMI, it is still 12 bit raw over SDI.

      The FS5 and FS7 are mature products with complete feature sets. It is not reasonable to expect cameras to be forever upgraded. But more significantly there are limits to the hardware that firmware upgrades cannot overcome. If the hardware can’t do it, all the firmware in the world won’t change that. A lot of the Venice look comes from the sensor, CF Express compatibility require compatible processing chips. Touch screen needs not only a device with a digitiser but also the processing power and memory space for the firmware to deal with the new input method.

      Just like phones and computers, cameras will always be superseded at some stage by newer cameras with more advanced features. If you want the maximum life in terms of years then you purchase on the day it is released, but that is almost always when the cost is highest and the firmware least complete. You can wait until later in it’s life and pay less for more complete firmware, but you may get fewer years from it before you feel you need to upgrade it, that’s just the way it is.

      The FX9 or FX6 do not change what the FS7 is – a very capable camera that can produce excellent images. Your FS7 II still does everything it did before the FX9 was launched, it’s capabilities have not been diminished. Use it well and your audience won’t know what you used.

      1. I certainly agree with the majority of your statement, however the FS7 and FS7- 2 run on different firmware which suggest the components while similar are not exactly alike. Even camera settings cannot be shared between the two cameras with a single SD Card.

        An output of RAW over SDI without an adapter with version FS7 2 could still be possible. Sony has also been working on faster media for cameras quite some time. It would seem the newer FS7 2 would also get an upgrade to use these cards, but perhaps not at the extreme speeds the cards can theoretically do.

        1. To record raw to an internal card requires a codec that can take the signal from the sensor, process it and then compress it to make it small enough to pass through the camera data bus and the hardware card interface. There is no such codec in the FS7 II. The raw out that the FS7 produces is generated by the dedicated processor in the XDCA-FS7, it is not created in the camera. In addition there is a Red owned Patent that prevents compressed raw recording without complex and probably costly licencing agreements.

          There is very little difference in the hardware between an FS7 and FS7 II, but the firmware still needs to be different to account for the variable ND.

          1. How does the PXW-FS5 II output RAW via its’ own built in SDI output via firmware update and the FS7 II cannot without an additional $2K adapter? Because it also has Pro Res capabilities? Please! Its’ all just a different wrapper for the same candy inside. Pun intended. There’s a $4K base price difference between these two cameras. Isn’t the PXW FS7 II the more capable camera of the two? Doesn’t the PXW FS7 II have a better chip set? Doesn’t it have better processing power, etc. I personally don’t believe the maximum processing capability of PXW FS7 II ever reached its’ potential, and l base that on multiple greyed out functions in the menus that never came to fruition through firmware upgrades. The camera instead was replaced through accelerated planned obsolescence just like iPhones are.

          2. But it isn’t the same candy. The raw from the FS5 is not nearly as nice to work with as the raw from the FS7. There is a very clear noise difference and the FS5 raw is coarser.

            The only significant difference between the hardware in an FS7 and an FS7 II is the variable ND.

            What multitude of greyed out functions that never came to fruition? There was nothing promised for the FS7 II by Sony that they didn’t deliver. I think the expectation of continuous freebies is somewhat misplaced. People don’t buy cars without aircon in the hope they might get free aircon added at a later date. Entirely new models of cameras often receive updates in the first year to complete a feature set. The FS7 was a mature product when the upgraded MII was released so to expect even more freebies is not reasonable. Similarly the FS5 II has not received any significant updates in it’s life.

            The FS7 is only going to become obsolescent if you decide that’s what you want. It still makes images just as good today as it did the day it was launched and it can still be used for exactly the same things it’s always been used for. It hasn’t become incompatible with any of it’s accessories or with normal television workflows. If you made a programme with either an FS7 or and FX9 and didn’t tell your audience which you used they would be unlikely to notice any difference or care which camera you used.

            The bottom line is expect whatever you buy to have a limited lifespan. Buy early and get the longest run, buy late and get a shorter run. It’s always been like this and it isn’t going to change. Just be thankful that these cameras are only £10K. People don’t seem to mind buying cars that are £20K and replacing them every 5 years, but when it comes to tools of the trade suddenly £10k becomes an issue. When I started a broadcast quality video camera and lens was close to the cost of a small house and significantly more than any car I have ever owned, even then after 5 to 6 years it would need to be replaced.

  2. I know I have 2 six figure Sony BVW-600WS’s and an assortment of Fujinon, plus Canon B4- lenses sitting around here collecting dust.

    You’re a good brand ambassador Alistor Chapman. Sony chose well.

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