In the course of my tests with the FX3 and comparing it with the FX6 and FX9 I discovered a strange anomaly with the FX3 and A7SIII ISO ratings when compared to the FX6 and FX9.
The FX3’s default picture profile is PP11 and S-Cinetone. If you have an FX6 or FX9 these cameras also default to S-Cinetone in SDR mode. In the FX6 and FX9 the base ISO for S-Cinetone is 320 ISO. Therefore you would assume that if you also set the A7SIII or the FX3 to 320 ISO and expose all the cameras the same, same aperture, shutter etc that the exposures would match.
BUT THE EXPOSURES DON’T MATCH!!
The FX3 and the A7SIIII are just over 1 stop brighter than the FX6 and FX9 when all the exposure settings are matched. I tested all the cameras with the same lens to ensure this wasn’t a lens issue, but it isn’t the lens.
I then went on to test other gamma/picture profile settings and I found a just over 1 stop difference between the FX3 and my FX6/FX9 in any similar combination EXCEPT S-LOG3!
When using Picture Profile 2 on the FX3 which is uses Sony’s “Still” gamma and then using the “Still” Profile on the FX6 there is a difference of around 1 stop. If I set the FX3 to PP3 (ITU-709) and the FX6 to ITU-709 then the difference is again around 1 stop, in every case the FX3 is brighter except when you select S-Log3 where the FX3 and the FX6/FX9 match almost perfectly!
I find this very strange. They should not be different. My light meter suggests to me that the FX6/FX9 are correct.
Comparing to my light meter I believe the FX6/FX9 ratings to be correct and the FX3 to be between 1 and 1.3 stops brighter than it should be when using gammas that are not S-Log3. What I really don’t understand is why the FX3/A7SIII match the FX6/FX9 when using S-Log3 but do not match when using the other profiles, normally I would expect to see a consistent offset. This further makes leads me to be sure this is not a problem with my light meter, but something else.
I would love to hear from anyone else that’s able to take a look at the ISO ratings of the A7SIII and compare it with an FX6 or FX9.
The bottom line is – DON’T EXPECT TO PUT THE SAME EXPOSURE SETTINGS INTO BOTH AN FX3 AND AN FX6/FX9 AND GET THE SAME RESULTS, because you won’t, unless you are using S-Log3, then they match.
Also in the clip metadata I found that 0dB for S-Cinetone is 100 ISO, and whether this is a coincidence or not, if I set the FX3 to 100 ISO and the FX6 to 320 ISO and then match shutter speed and aperture then the exposures are very close.
What do I think about the new Sony FX3. It’s certainly an interesting camera because it seems to be a bit confused about what it is. It’s isn’t a mirrorless stills camera like the A7SIII, but it’s very, very like the A7SIII. It isn’t a cut down FX6 or FX9, it’s very different to them.
So what is it and who is it for? Personally I see the FX3 as a great B camera option to pair with an FX6 or FX9. The FX3’s flat top and additional 1/4″ mounting points on the top and sides will making rigging it in more unusual situations much easier. It’s a camera I would use to rig in cars like a giant Go-Pro, perfect for any Top Gear or motoring shoots. It’s a camera I would use on a gimbal, it’s a camera you could sling from a drone.
In most cases it would not replace any camera I currently have, but instead compliment it. It could be a good option for FX9 owners in particular as it would give them 4K 120fps as well as a second camera when needed.
The FX3 is not much more than an A7SIII in a different housing, with the EVF removed, new mounting points added and an removable handle with XLR connectors. There are some changes to some of the button positions and these make it easier to use when shooting video providing direct access to ISO, IRIS and White Balance. The flat top makes it easier to mount in different ways and the built in 1/4″ mounting threads make it easier to mount accessories such as monitors.
Really the FX3 is an alternative version of the A7SIII biased more towards video than photos. It doesn’t replace the A7S, just gives potential owners the ability to choose between the two different form factors depending on individual preferences.
For more information why not watch this recording of my Facebook live stream on the FX3.
With the new FX6 making use of SD cards to record higher bit rate codecs the number of gigabytes of SD card media that many user will will be getting through is going to be pretty high. The more gigabytes of memory that you use, the more the chance of coming across a duff memory cell somewhere on your media.
Normally solid state media will avoid using any defective memory areas. As a card ages and is used more, more cells will become defective and the card will identify these and it should avoid them next time. This is all normal, until eventually the memory cell failure rate gets too high and the card becomes unusable – typically after hundreds or even thousands of cycles.
However – the card needs to discover where any less than perfect memory cells are and there is a chance that some of the these duff cells could remain undiscovered in a card that’s never been completely filled before. I very much doubt that every SD card sold is tested to its full capacity, the vast volume of cards made and time involved makes this unlikely.
For this reason I recommend that you consider testing any new SD cards using software such as H2Testw for windows machines or SDSpeed for Mac’s. However be warned to fully test a large card can take a very, very long time.
As an alternative you could simply place the card in the camera and record on it until its full. Use the highest frame rate and largest codec the card will support to fill the card as quickly as possible. I would break the recording up into a few chunks. Once the recording has finished check for corruption by playing the clips back using Catalyst Browse or your chosen edit software.
This may seem like a lot of extra work, but I think it’s worth it for piece of mind before you use your new media on an important job.
In some regards this is now already old news. I’m under NDA so there are limits as to what I can, or what I should write. Hopefully I won’t get into too much trouble if I point out that there are already a lot of rumours circulating right now that a new camera called the FX3 might be about to be launched. The official line is that there is going to be an announcement on the 23rd of February, just a week from now. So why not just chill out for a one week as then you will be able to get the full facts about whatever it is that’s going to be added to the Cinema Line.
If you were an alien on another planet and had access to nothing but all the latest camera demo or “film-maker” reels on YouTube or Vimeo you would quite possibly believe that much of planet Earth is in perpetual darkness.
All you see is clips shot at night or in blacked out studios. Often with very little dynamic range, often incredibly (excessively?) dark. I keep having to check that the brightness on my monitor is set correctly. Even daytime interiors always seem to be in rooms that are 90% dark with just a tiny, low contrast pool of daylight from a window filling one corner and even the light coming through the window is dim and dull.
I recently viewed a clip that was supposed to show the benefits of raw that contained nothing but low dynamic range shots where 70% of each frame was nothing but black. Sadly there were no deep shadow details, just blackness, some very dark faces and where there were highlights they were clipped. It was impossible to tell anything about the format being used.
The default showreel or demo shot is now a very dark space with a 3/4 profile person, very dimly lit, low key, by a large soft source. Throw in a shiny car with some specular highlights or a few dim practical lights into the background for extra brownie points.
Let me let you in to a little secret – it’s really, really easy to make black frames. Want a little pool of light – add a light to your mostly black frame. It’s really easy to shoot under exposed and then as a result not have any issues with dynamic range. It’s really easy to shoot a face so that it’s so dark you can barely see the persons eyes and then not have a problem with shiny skin.
But try shooting someone at a desk in a bright office and make that look really great. Try shooting a proper daytime living room scene and making that look flawless. A summer picnic on a beach with brilliant blue sky perhaps. These are all challenging to do very well for both the DoP and the camera.
We have these wonderful cameras with huge dynamic ranges that work really well in daylight too. But we seem to be losing the ability to shoot anything other than shots that have very low average brightness levels and low dynamic range. They depend on often coloured or tinted lighting to provide some interest in what would otherwise be a very, very boring images. Where are all the challenging shots in difficult lighting? Where are the bright, vibrant shots where we can see the dynamic range, resolution and natural colour palettes that separate a good camera from a great camera?
I know this is something A LOT of people have been asking for. For a long time it has always seemed odd that only the Shogun 7 was capable of recording raw from the FX9 and then the FX6 while the the little Ninja V could record almost exactly the same raw form the A7SIII.
Well the engineers at Atomos have finally figured out how to pass raw via the AtomX SDI adapter to the Ninja V. The big benefit of course being the compact size of the Ninja V.
There are a couple of ways of getting the kit you need to do this.
If you already have a Ninja V (they are GREAT little monitor recorders, I’ve taken mine all over the world, from the arctic to Arabian deserts) you simply need to buy an AtomX SDI adapter and once you have that buy a raw licence from the Atomos website for $99.00.
If you don’t have the Ninja V then you can buy a bundle called the “Pro Kit” that includes everything you need including a Ninja V with the raw licence pre-installed, The AtomX SDI adapter, a D-Tap power adapter cable, a mains power supply and a sun hood. The cost of this kit will be around $950 USD or £850 GBP + tax, which is a great price.
On top of that you will need to buy suitable fast SSD’s.
Like the Shogun 7 the Ninja V can’t record the 16 bit raw from the FX6 or FX9 directly, so Atomos take the 16 bit linear raw and convert it using a visually lossless process to 12 bit log raw. 12 bit log raw is a really nice raw format and the ProResRaw codec helps keep the files sizes nice and manageable.
This is a really great solution for recording raw from the FX6 and FX9. Plus if you already have an A7SIII you can use the Ninja V to record via HDMI from that too.
Here’s the press release from Atomos:
The Atomos Ninja V Pro Kit is here to equip you with increased professional I/O, functionality and accessories.
The Ninja V Pro Kit has been designed to bridge the gap between compact cinema and mirrorless cameras that can output RAW via HDMI or SDI. Pro Kit also pushes these cameras’ limits, recording up to 12-bit RAW externally on the Ninja’s onboard SSD. Additionally, Pro Kit provides the ability to cross covert signals providing a versatile solution for monitoring, play out and review.
What comes in the Pro Kit?
Ninja V Monitor-Recorder with pre-activated RAW over SDI
AtomX SDI Module
Locking DC to D-Tap cable to power from camera battery
AtomX 5″ Sunhood
DC/Mains power with international adaptor kit
Ninja V Pro Kit offers a monitor and recording package to cover a wide range of workflows.
Why choose Ninja V Pro Kit?
More powerful and versatile I/O for Ninja V – Expand your Ninja V’s capability with the Pro Kit with the ability to provide recordings in edit-ready codecs or as proxy files from RED or ARRI cameras.
Accurate and reliable daylight viewable HDR or SDR – To ensure image integrity, the AtomX 5″ Sunhood is included and increases perceived brightness under challenging conditions or can be used to dial out ambient light to increase the view in HDR
HDMI-to-SDI cross conversion – HDMI or SDI connections can be cross converted, 4K to HD down converts RAW to video signals to connect to other systems without the need for additional converters.
Record ProRes RAW via SDI to selected cameras*:
Three ways to power your Ninja: – DC power supply – perfect for in the studio. – DTap cable – perfect for on-set, meaning your rig can run from a single power source. – Optional NPF battery or any four-cell NPF you might have in your kit bag.
The ProRes RAW Advantage
ProRes RAW is now firmly established as the new standard for RAW video capture, with an ever-growing number of supported HDMI and SDI cameras. ProRes RAW combines the visual and workflow benefits of RAW video with the incredible real-time performance of ProRes. The format gives filmmakers enormous latitude when adjusting the look of their images and extending brightness and shadow detail, making it ideal for HDR workflows. Both ProRes RAW and the higher bandwidth, less compressed ProRes RAW HQ are supported. Manageable file sizes speed up and simplify file transfer, media management, and archiving. ProRes RAW is fully supported in Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premiere Pro, Avid Media Composer 2020.10 update, along with a collection of other apps including ASSIMILATE SCRATCH, Colorfront, FilmLight Baselight, and Grass Valley Edius.
Existing Ninja V and AtomX SDI module owners
While the Pro Kit offers a complete bundle, existing Ninja V owners can enhance their equipment to the same level by purchasing the AtomX SDI module for $199, and the New RAW over SDI and HDMI RAW to SDI video feature can also be added to the Ninja V via separate activation key from the Atomos website for $99.
Existing AtomX SDI module owners will receive the SDI < > HDMI cross conversion for 422 video inputs in the 10.61 firmware update for Ninja V update. You will also be able to benefit from RAW over SDI recording with the purchase of the SDI RAW activation key. This feature will be available from the Atomos website in February 2021.
Special Offer for Pro Kit buyers
The first batch of Ninja V Pro Kits will include a FREE Atomos CONNECT in the box. Connect allows you to start streaming at up to 1080p60 directly from your Ninja V!
Sony have today released version 4 firmware for the Z280 and Z190. This is a nice update for these cameras as it adds the ability to stream directly to platforms such as YouTube or Facebook using the RTMP or RTMPS protocol. There is no longer any need to go via an intermediate convertor such as OBS.
In addition the looks used in th HDR modes are adjusted to bring them into line with the latest cameras with HLG Natural and HDR Live.
So there are now quite a lot of these devices appearing on the market. I have a Hollyland Mars 400 kit and it works really well. But this one caught my eye because it includes the ability to stream to platforms such as YouTube using RTMP. In these days of remote production being able to stream the cameras output to a remote client or producer could prove very useful.
I haven’t seen one in person and I don’t know the company, so no idea if it’s actually any good. But certainly on paper it’s really interesting.
Here’s the info from the press release.
Accsoon releases Cineeye 2S super-affordable 5GHz wireless transmitter with SDI
Wireless multi-device iOS and Android monitoring for SDI cameras at an unbelievably low price point has arrived with the new Accsoon Cineeye 2S. The SDI and HDMI camera-top 5GHz transmitter is perfect for the new normal of socially distanced filmmaking at every level of production.
View a camera signal remotely on up to 4 iOS or Android devices at a range of up to 150m (approx. 500ft) – perfect for directors, producers, clients and anybody else that needs to see the image live on set. Once connected to your smartphone the Cineeye 2S can even stream to audiences or remote clients using Youtube and other content delivery networks via RTMP.
Strong, stable, low latency 5GHz transmission
The Cineeye 2S can accept and transmit a 1080P video signal at up to 60fps from practically any modern mirrorless, cinema or professional camera. Signal strength, stability, and an average latency of less than 60ms mark it out as superior to other similarly priced systems.
At startup it uses automatic frequency selection to select the cleanest channel from up to 20 available. By choosing the frequency with least resistance it will be less prone to signal interference. If the user wishes they can override this with their own selection.
The Cineeye 2S also streams the embedded audio accepting 44.1KHz/48KHz 16bit/24bit inputs which it then transports using a low compression codec for nearly lossless sound monitoring.
Transform your smart device into a monitor with LUTs
The Cineeye 2S uses the free Accsoon Go app for iOS and Android to turn almost any modern iOS or Android phone or tablet into a fully featured monitor. It has advanced features like pinch to zoom, user selectable LUTs, peaking, false color, waveform, histogram and blue only display. The interface allows users to rapidly switch between setup menus and a totally clean uncluttered view of the image.
A user’s own custom LUTs or CDL can be loaded to preview on the iOS or Android device screen. Alternatively there are multiple presets for popular camera Log types that can also be selected. Users can display masks so that different aspect ratios can be previewed. There is also support for anamorphic lenses with 1.25x, 1.33x, 1.5x, 1.78x and 2x de-squeeze options.
Control your camera
The app also allows users to send Rec/Stop commands to a range of popular cameras. Using the appropriate accessory cable you can trigger Sony A7/A9 series, Canon EOS R/5D IV, Panasonic GH5/GH5S/S1H, Nikon Z6/Z7, Fuji X-T3 and others.
Rugged fanless design
The Cineeye 2S has a striking modern industrial design with all metal construction. Importantly it is fanless and so runs completely silently. Integrated twin antennas fold into the body for easy transport and storage and it has compact dimensions of just 108mm×68.5mm×30mm. Weighing in at only 213g without battery it is easy to attach to cameras of any size. A 1/4 20 thread on the base of the unit features additional ARRI style anti-rotation holes that offer extra security when mounting using an appropriate arm or shoe mount.
Multiple power options and amazing battery life
The Cineeye 2S has a super long battery life with up to 14 hours of runtime off a single NP-F970 battery. Alternatively it can be powered via DC barrel connector with a wide ranging input of 7.4-16.8V which is perfect for use on rigs where a single battery is used to power all accessories. If the two options are used in combination the battery can even be hot swapped without having to power down the unit.
Setup is straightforward with easy menu-driven options for channel selection and transmission settings. A clear 1.3 inch OLED display shows the status of the Cineeye 2S at all times. Simple push buttons on the facia allow users to make rapid adjustments and settings can also be controlled with ease from the Accssoon Go app.
Leading the way in 5GHz wireless
The Cineeye 2S builds on the success of Accsoon’s previous HDMI-only Cineeye products and demonstrates the brand’s commitment to professional users by bringing them genuinely useful wireless features at a hitherto unthinkable price point.
As well as film and TV work the Cineeye 2S has many other uses. It will allow for the creation of simple wireless streaming setups in education, sports, house of worship and countless other applications where a high quality mobile camera feed is required.
The Cineeye 2S is available immediately from authorised dealers with a MSRP of $329 US/ 329 Euro (VAT included)/ 239 GBP (Tax not included).
Channel?Auto/Manual, 20 channels (dependent on local RF laws)
Range?150 meters?open sight, 1 transmitter to 1 phone?
Power Supply?Sony type NP-F550, NP-F750, NP-F970 or DC?7.4?16.8V) Input.
Power Consumption?4.0 Watt (Typical)
Mounting Hole?1/4‘’ with ARRI style locating hole pattern
Operating Temp?0?45 deg-C
Focus, Listening and Innovation are at Accsoon’s core. Founded by a group of passionate and innovative filmmakers, designers and engineers, the company is committed to designing and producing the most innovative high-performance video transmission products for broadcast, cinema and imaging applications.
I’ve added some updates to my guide to using the Cine EI Mode in the FX6 (towards the bottom) to cover the strange playback behavior where the EI levels are reversed. This can result in some very misleading brightness levels during playback that might make you think you exposed incorrectly. http://www.xdcam-user.com/2020/12/a-guide-the-the-fx6s-cineei-mode/
A dramatic headline perhaps, but once I start to look at what the Xperia Pro can do, I can’t help but say – I want one! The Xperia Pro is so much more than just a phone for making calls or watching YouTube videos.
The Xperia Pro shares many features of Sony’s flagship Xperia 1 II and adds an HDMI input.
HDMI IN. Yes, that’s right – it has a 4K/HD HDMI input. So you can plug your camera into it and use it as an HDMI monitor, plus its HDR so you have a small pocket sized HDMI monitor. When I travel (travel – hopefully that will happen again) to remote locations I often don’t take a monitor because of the extra bulk. But being able to use a phone as a monitor from time to time would be such a help. It supports HDR and Rec2020 and has pinch to zoom if you need to enlarge the image to check focus etc.
Streaming from the HDMI input.
Install a streaming app on the phone and you can use it to stream the HDMI feed from any connected camera direct to your favorite platforms. No need to use clumsy tethering, just plug in the HDMI and start your favorite app.
5G millimeter wave. Because the phone features 5G millimeter wave connectivity, where available you will have access to extremely fast data transfer speeds for streaming or ftp transfers. The phone also includes a Network Visualiser App that allows you to find the best network connectivity so you can be sure of the best possible connection wherever you are.
3x High Quality Cameras. The Xperia Pro has three 12mp cameras with Zeiss lenses that are the equivalent of 16mm f2.2, a particularly impressive 24mm f1.7 as well as a 70mm f2.4. The cameras have been co developed by engineers from the Alpha team and feature full manual control as well as raw stills. For video it can shoot at 4K HDR at 24, 30, 60 and 120fps with an optional wide screen 21:9 (2.370:1) aspect ratio mode that matches the 21:9 aspect ratio of the phone itself.
But all of this goodness comes at a price. Currently its priced at $2499 USD which is a huge amount of money for a phone. The very similar Xperia 1 II without the HDMI input can be found for less than half of that. But for someone that streams a lot, perhaps for TV news applications there is a lot to like. You could use the phone as your camera or use the phone to stream from a better camera, easily and simply. With 5G you can use it to upload finished packages quickly and easily. The cost of any high end phone plus an HDR 4K monitor would be close to that of the Xperia Pro, so while it is a lot of money it isn’t perhaps as outrageous as it first seems.