Category Archives: FX3

Beware Fake Sony BP-U Batteries!

Fake-real-bpu-600x225 Beware Fake Sony BP-U Batteries!Can you tell which is genuine and which is fake? It would appear that a number of fake BP-U batteries are starting to show up on ebay and other less reputable places. The battery on the left won’t charge on a genuine Sony charger, this tells me it is not a real Sony battery.

If you look at the labels on the batteries the quality of the printing on the fake battery on the left is not as fine as on the genuine battery, in particular the ® as well as the box around the level indicator LED’s is not as crisply and finely printed.

The sellers are clever. These are not so cheap as to raise suspicion, they just seem very competitively priced. These batteries might be a little bit cheaper, but how safe are they and how long will they last? I have to say this would have fooled me and I have a lot of sympathy for others that have been tricked into buying these. But if the manufacturer can’t sell these by legitimate means under their own brand name I really do have to question their quality and safety.

Thanks to Zachary Këpël for the use of his image.

What Benefits Do I Gain By Using CineEI?

This is a question that comes up a lot. Especially from those migrating to a camera with a CineEI mode from a camera without one. It perhaps isn’t obvious why you would want to use a shooting mode that has no way of adding gain to the recordings.

If using the CineEI mode shooting S-log3 at the base ISO, with no offsets or anything else then there is very little difference between what you record in Custom mode at the base ISO and CineEI at the base EI.

But we have to think about what the CineEI mode is all about. It’s all about image quality. You would normally chose  to shoot S-Log3 when you want to get the highest possible quality image and CineEI is all about quality.

The CineEI mode allows you to view via your footage via a LUT so that you can get an appreciation of how the footage will look after grading. Also when monitoring and exposing via the LUT because the dynamic range of the LUT is narrower, your exposure will be more accurate  and consistent because bad exposure looks more obviously bad. This makes grading easier. One of the keys to easy grading is consistent footage, footage where the exposure is shifting or the colours changing (don’t use ATW with Log!!) can be very hard to grade.

Then once you are comfortable exposing via a LUT you can start to think about using EI offsets to make the LUT brighter or darker. When the LUT is darker you open the aperture or reduce the ND to return the LUT to a normal looking image and vice versa with a brighter LUT.  This then changes the brightness of the S-log3 recordings and you use this offsetting process  to shift the highlight/shadow range as well as noise levels to suit the types of scenes you are shooting. Using a low EI (which makes the LUT darker) plus correct LUT exposure  (the darker LUT will make you open the aperture to compensate) will result in a brighter recording which will improve the shadow details and textures that are recorded and thus can be seen in the shadow areas. At the same time however that brighter exposure will reduce the highlight range by a similar amount to the increase in the shadow range. And no matter what the offset, you always record at the cameras full dynamic range.

I think what people misunderstand about CineEI is that it’s there to allow you to get the best possible, highly controlled images from the camera. Getting the best out of any camera requires appropriate and sufficient light levels. CineEI is not designed or intended to be a replacement for adding gain or shooting at high recording ISOs where the images will be already compromised by noise and lowered dynamic range.
 
CineEI exists so that when you have enough light to really make the camera perform well you can make those decisions over noise v highlights v shadows to get the absolute best “negative” with consistent and accurate exposure to take into post production. It is also the only possible way you can shoot when using raw as raw recordings are straight from the sensor and never have extra gain added in camera.
 
Getting that noise/shadow/highlight balance exactly right, along with good exposure is far more important than the use of external recorders or fatter codecs. You will only ever really benefit fully from higher quality codecs if what you are recording is as good as it can be to start with. The limits as to what you can do in post production are tied to image noise no matter what codec or recording format you use. So get that bit right and everything else gets much easier and the end result much better. And that’s what CineEI gives you great control over.
 
When using CineEI or S-Log3 in general you need to stop thinking “video camera – slap in a load if gain if its dark” and think “film camera – if its too dark I need more light”. The whole point of using log is to get the best possible image quality, not shooting with insufficient light and a load of gain and noise. It requires a different approach and completely different way of thinking, much more in line with the way someone shooting on film would work.

What surprises me is the eagerness to adopt shutter angles and ISO ratings for electronic video cameras because they sound cool but less desire to adopt a film style approach to exposure based on getting the very best from the sensor.  In reality a video sensor is the equivalent of a single sensitivity film stock. When a camera has dual ISO then it is like having a camera that takes two different film stocks.  Adding gain or raising the ISO away from the base sensitivity in custom mode is a big compromise that can never be undone. It adds noise and decreases the dynamic range. Sometimes it is necessary, but don’t confuse that necessity with getting the very best that you can from the camera.

For more information on CineEI see:

Using CineEI with the FX6  
 
 

How Do You Expose S-Cinetone with the FX6/FX3/A7SIII

exposing-cinetone-600x316 How Do You Expose S-Cinetone with the FX6/FX3/A7SIIILots of people have been asking about how to expose S-Cinetone, whether with the FX9, FX6, A7SIII or the FX3.

The short answers is:  So that it looks nice!

S-Cinetone has a variable toe and knee. So exposing it brighter results in not only a brighter image but also an image with flatter skin tones and less shadow contrast, overall looking more video like.

Exposing a little bit darker results in a more contrasty film like image. Faces and skin tones have more texture. There is no one optimum exposure level. A white card  could be anywhere between 78% and 88% depending on the look you want.  Typical skin tones will vary from between anywhere between 55% and 75%.

Personally I like the way S-Cinetone looks when it’s exposed with Skin tones at around 63% and white at around 81%.

See the video I on S-Cinetone on the FX9 for more details as it all applies equally to the FX9 and FX6 as well as the A7SIII and FX3. The only small difference is that the base ISO’s are a little different between each camera.

 

Alister’s FX3 Reminders

I’m putting these notes here for my own reference. I will add to them as I find new things to remember. They may help others too. As I already have a Sony FX9 and an FX6 I thought it would be a good idea to have some notes about some of the difference I need to remember when using an FX3 (and A7SIII) alongside the FX6 or FX9.

BASE ISO:

Gamma/Base ISO S-Cinetone Low Base S-Cinetone Hi Base S-Log3 Low Base S-Log3 High Base
FX3/A7SIII 100 2,000 640 12,800
FX6 320 5,000 800 12,800
FX9 320 1,600 800 4000

ISO RATING:
The FX3/A7SIII ISO ratings are just over 1 stop brighter than the same ratings on the FX6/FX9 except when using S-Log3 which matches correctly. So if using 320ISO for S-Cinetone on the FX6/FX9 use 100ISO on the FX3/A7SIII for the same brightness of recording.

HDMI:
To use both the HDMI out and the camera’s LCD screen at the same time you have to turn off the HDMI Info in the External Output settings.

STABILISATION:

To use post production stabilisation you must turn off Steadyshot in the menu.  

XAVC-S-I Codec has the same bit rates and appears to be the same quality as XAVC-I.

APPLICATION:

FX3 Uses “Imaging Edge” app and FX6/FX9 use “Content Browser Mobile” app.

EXTERNAL POWER:

The FX3 can be powered externally via the USB-C port. With a compatible USB-PD power source the camera can be run continuously.

 

 

Which Sony ISO RatingS Are Correct?

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!!

FX6-Exposure_1.1.1-600x338 Which Sony ISO RatingS Are Correct?
The FX6 at 320 ISO, 1/50th shutter, S-Cinetone.

 

FX3-Exposure_1.2.1-600x338 Which Sony ISO RatingS Are Correct?
The FX3 with the same 320 ISO, 1/50th shutter and S-Cinetone. It’s clearly brighter.



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.

FX3-S-Cinetone-scopes-copy-1 Which Sony ISO RatingS Are Correct?
FX3 S-Cinetone is brighter compared to the FX6/FX9 and over exposed according to my light meter by just over 1 stop. The white of the white card should be at approx 83% and my skin tones are well into the highlight roll off and looking flat as a result.

 

FX6-s-cinetone-scopes-copy Which Sony ISO RatingS Are Correct?
The FX6’s exposure much more closely matches my light meter and is only a fraction of a stop under with the white card just touching the 83% exposure I would normally expect with S-Cinetone.

 

 

Screenshot-2021-02-26-at-13.16.16 Which Sony ISO RatingS Are Correct?
Here’s the FX3 again, the whites are much, much too bright when exposed against my light meter, even the middle grey is over 60%. The MM+0.7 indication means the camera thinks it is over exposed.

 

Screenshot-2021-02-26-at-13.16.49-copy Which Sony ISO RatingS Are Correct?
And the FX6 with exactly the same settings and the same lens matches my light meter very closely, white is around 83% and middle grey around 45%, as I would expect. Something odd is going on here, it’s not just my light meter it’s something else as the cameras should at least match, even if they don’t agree with the light meter.



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!

Screenshot-2021-02-26-at-13.14.18 Which Sony ISO RatingS Are Correct?
The FX3 shooting S-Log3 now it matches my light meter very closely and the exposure is add I would expect.

 

Screenshot-2021-02-26-at-13.14.41 Which Sony ISO RatingS Are Correct?
This is the FX6 set exactly the same as the FX3 shooting S-Log3. Now they both match and now the both provide the same exposure and closely match my light meter.



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.

This one has left me confused!!!!

What do I think of the new FX3?

Screenshot-2021-02-24-at-09.28.59-448x500 What do I think of the new FX3?
Sony’s new ILME FX3

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.