Category Archives: FX6

Changing the FX6’s base look in Custom Mode using LUT’s

This is extremely cool! You can change the FX6’s base look in custom mode using LUTs. This is not the same as baking in a LUT in Cine EI as in custom mode you can change the gain or ISO just as you would with any other gamma. But it’s there’s more than that – you can even adjust the look of the LUT by changing the detail settings, black level, matrix and multi-matrix. Watch the video to see how it’s done.


The LUT’s used in the video can be downloaded from here. http://www.xdcam-user.com/2014/11/new-film-look-luts-for-the-pxw-fs7-pmw-f5-and-pmw-f55/

Or from here: https://pro.sony/en_SC/technology/alister-chapman-blockbuster-lut-v2

Correction re FX6 LANC Control.

Correction re FX6 Lanc: I wish to make everyone aware that I may have given incorrect information about the LANC control ports on the FX6. My excuse is: It was very hard to get official spec sheets from Sony and I hadn’t notice a subtle change. I apologize to anyone this may have affected. The hand grip on the FX6 appears to be the same as the FS5 hand grip, except it now uses a 3.5mm 4 pole plug instead of the 2.5mm 3 pole plug that the FS5 have. So the hand grip socket on the camera body is also now 3.5mm 4 pole and not 2.5mm 3 pole. THERE IS HOWEVER AN EXTRA 2.5mm LANC PORT THE SAME AS THE FS5 ON THE REAR OF THE CAMERA BODY. I have also discovered that the FX9 handgrip when plugged into the USB style Multi connector on the back of the FX6 will result in an unsupported device message. This might simply be a firmware issue, the cameras I have played with are pre-production with beta firmware. But I have not been able to confirm this.

The Sony FX6 is Full Frame – Sometimes!

Perhaps I’m splitting hairs here a little bit – and I still think the FX6 is an amazing camera. But the more I look at it’s different scan modes and recording mode the more I’ve realised that it’s only actually “Full Frame” in few certain settings. 

When the FX6 is set to UHD and operating from 1 to 60 fps then it’s full frame and the whole width of the sensor is used. Put a Full Frame lens on the camera and you get the same FoV as an FX9 or any other camera with a similar sized sensor.

But if you want to shoot 4K DCI then something strange happens. Switch the FX6 to 4K DCI and the sensor is cropped/windowed by 5% and instead of the field of view becoming 5% wider as happens on most cameras, it instead  becomes 5% narrower. In 4K DCI the FX6 is very slightly less than Full Frame. 

To shoot at more than 60fps the camera has to be in UHD. 60 fps and below it’s full frame but when you go above 60fps the image is cropped even more, this time by 10% so the FoV gets 10% narrower.

If you want to record UHD Raw at any frame rate the image is also cropped by 10% so UHD with raw out at 30fps results in a 10% narrower FoV than when you are not outputting raw. When you enable raw at 4K DCI raw it’s a 5% crop.

So while none of these crops are huge it is worth noting that the FX6 is actually a little less than full frame more often than not!

Just to put all this into some perspective the FX9’s Full Frame Crop 5K mode involves a 17% crop. The FX6 outputting UHD raw or recording UHD at more than 60fps is a 10% crop. That’s not a vast difference. In these modes the FX6 is closer to the FX9 5K mode than to Full Frame.

Why is this? Well the FX6’s sensor is 4.2K pixels across. In the “normal” UHD frame rates (up to 60fps) the full 4.2K is read and downscaled on the fly to 3840 x 2160 UHD.  When you shoot 4K DCI there is no downscale and instead the sensor is read out at 4K and the extra 0.2K of pixels at the edges of the frame are not used – 0.2K being 5% of 4.2K and thus you have a 5% crop and the FoV becomes 5% narrower in DCI 4K than in UHD.

When you shoot above 60 fps then the sensor is read directly at 3840 pixels rather than 4.2K to make the readout simpler and faster. So now we are reading 0.4K fewer pixels from the sides of the sensor which is 10% of the total pixels and we get a 10% narrower FoV above 60fps as a result.

As I said at the start, perhaps I’m splitting hairs. I certainly don’t think this detracts from the FX6 in any significant way. But if it’s a camera you are thinking of getting, you should be aware of this.


Differences Between FX9 and FX6

Here are some of the differences I have so far identified:

FX9 FX6
6K Full Frame Sensor 4.2K Full Frame Sensor
6K Oversampled Full Frame 4K recording, max 30fps. More rolling shutter when using 6K FF. Maximum 4.2K Scan for Full Frame UHD recording upto 60fps without crop, 10% crop above 60fps. 5% crop if shooting DCI 4K. 10% crop when outputting raw. No crop when shooting HD.
So the only time it’s actually FF is UHD up to 60fps recording internally – or HD.
5K Crop FF Scan max 60fps. No
4K Super 35mm Scan max 60fps. HD Super 35mm Scan.
2K Full Frame Scan max 180fps (IQ reduced). No
2K Super 35mm Scan max 180fps (IQ reduced) No
2K Super 16mm Scan ( coming in v3 firmware) No
No Clear Image Zoom (1.5x in 4K, 2x in HD) But not available above 60fps or when outputting raw. Also Face/Eye AF disabled when using CIZ.
Interlace recording and output, full 50i/60i support using FF crop 5K scan or s35 4K scan. Can use FF 2K scan but IQ is reduced. No internal interlace recording (interlace output is possible when recording 50p/60p)
No UHD 120fps internal recording.
Shooting above 60fps requires reduced quality 2K scan mode (currently waiting for full scan 120fps UHD raw to be released). Shooting up to 60fps uses full sensor scan. 60 to 120fps  1:1 sensor scan (10% crop).120 to 240fps HD uses reduced quality sensor scan.
Highest frame rate that can be recorded internally 180fps.  Highest frame rate that can be recorded internally 240fps. 
Highest frame rate that can be recorded via raw 180fps (optional XDCA-FX9  required) Highest frame rate that can be recorded via raw 60fps.
No Auto Focus in S&Q Auto Focus works in S&Q when the S&Q frame rate is a direct multiple of the base rate. So base rate 23.98/30/60fps AF works at 23.98/30/60/120fps. Base rate 25/50fps AF works at 25/50/100fps.
If base rate is 24fps then AF does not work in S&Q.
MpegHD Codec No
Can record 4K/UHD plus broadcast quality HD at the same time via sub record and MpegHD. Possible to record 4k/UHD S-Log3 plus broadcast quality MpegHD (or Proxy) with LUT added at same time. Can record 4K/UHD plus HD proxy (not broadcast quality) at same time. Possible to record 4K/UHD S-Log3 and proxy with LUT added at same time.
1x 12G SDI + 1 x 3G SDI + 1 x HDMI 1x 12G SDI and 1x HDMI
LUT’s independent of recording when recording UHD and outputting HD. LUT’s independent of recording in all modes/frame rates
XDCA Adapter required for raw out. No adapter required for raw out.
Can output raw + 2x SDI + HDMI out (with XDCA) Can output raw + HDMI out.
Can output 4K raw + record HD internally Can output 4K raw + record 4K/UHD internally (internal format follows raw format)
No.  SDI/HDMI are either 4K/UHD or HD but not both at same time. Can output 4k/UHD on SDI and HD on HDMI at the same time.
UHD 120fps raw out (expected, not yet released, via optional XDCA-FX9) Max raw UHD raw frame rate is 60fps.
35 watts, BP-U batteries 18 watts, BP-U batteries
QoS Streaming No streaming
4x Audio control dials 2x Audio control dials for ch1 and 2. Ch3 & 4 controlled via touch menu or main menu.
Radio mic slot in XDCA option No radio mic slot
2.5mm Lanc (same as FS5/FS7 etc) plus Sony USB style Multi connector for handgrip. 3.5mm Lanc for handgrip, not the same as FS5/FS7 etc + Sony USB style Multi connector + 2.5mm lanc (as FS5/FS7) on rear – however using FX9 grip via the FX6 Multi connector results in “unsupported device” message, this may be a firmware limitation in the pre-production beta firmware, but not sure. 
Standard USB 3 port for media offload. USB-C port for card offload and expansion options (tethering to phone and wired LAN expansion possible at time of writing).
XQD Cards CF Express Type A or SD v30/v60/v90 depending on codec/frame rate. CF Express Type A required for UHD 100,120fps, SD v90 specified for UHD/4K. upto 60fps.
Heavy duty locking E-mount Standard bayonet E-mount
Picture Cache Record No 
Planning metadata No
GPS No
Proxy recording 1080p 9Mbps, 720p 9Mbps, 720p 6Mbps, 360p 3Mbps Proxy recording 1080p 9Mbps
Dual slot recording HD only Dual slot recording 4K/UHD/HD
4K and HD sub recording (Mpeg HD 422) No
Gammas: S-Cinetone, Standard 1 to 6, Hypergamma 1 to 4, 7&8, S-Log3, Hypergamma, HLG(live), HLG(natural). Gammas: S-Cinetone, Standard, Still, ITU-709, S-Log3, HLG(Live), HLG(natural).

+

Custom base looks in custom mode via a user LUT.
Matrix: S-Cinetone, Standard, FL Light, Cinema, BT.709, BT.2020 – All fully adjustable. Matrix is tied to the selected scene file/gamma curve. It is adjustable but the type cannot be changed independently of the scene file.

Custom base look LUTs can be modified by matrix.
Skin Detail Correction No
Adaptive Matrix (helps with LED lights) No
Aperture Correction No
Separate HD Detail correction No
User Adjustable White Clip Level  No – and all the gammas exceed broadcast safe and will go “out of gamut”, so beware! You would need to use either Standard, Still or ITU709 and adjust the knee for broadcast safe (With Standard – turn auto knee off, set knee point to 85 and knee slope to +70 to stay below 105%).
User adjustable frame area markers. User adjustable frame area markers plus direct entry of any user aspect ratio.
No Body rotation metadata (landscape/portrait shooting)
No Clip flag metadata OK/Keep/NG
Genlock No
Volume Control Buttons Volume control in menu
Face/Eye AF controlled by AF zone selection Face/Eye AF always wide area.
Media Format Media Full Format + Media Quick Format.
No Zebra levels indicated on waveform display.
Highly adjustable peaking controls Peaking Hi/Mid/Low
Top Handle: Zoom + Rec button Top Handle: Zoom + Rec button + Assignable dial + 2x Assignable buttons + thumb stick
10 assignable buttons 9 assignable buttons
2 assignable dials (MFD + grip). 3 assignable dials (MFD + grip + top handle).

Dual Base ISO:

S-log 800/4000

S-Cinetone 320/1600 (0dB) In dB mode can also go to -3dB but in ISO mode does not go below 0dB.

Low/High Base ISO

S-Log 800/12,800

S-Cinetone 320/5000 (0dB) In dB mode  can also go to -3dB but in ISO mode does not go below 0dB.

Max 102,400 ISO Max 409,600 ISO
S700PTP remote Control (coming in V3 firmware) No
B4 ENG lens support via adapter (coming in V3 firmware) Includes ALAC. No

 

Common FX6 Questions.

So these are some of the questions I keep being asked about the FX6.

What will be in the box?

I believe the box will contain: Camera, Top Handle, Hand Grip, LCD + LCD Shade, 1x BPU-35 battery, charger, power supply.
You will need to supply: A suitable lens and recording media, either CF Express Type A or SD v30/v60/v90 (I recommend v90). The camera can act as a card reader if you don’t have a reader for the CF Express cards or SD cards, there is a normal USB-C connector on the rear.

Will there be a kit with a lens?
 
I have been led to believe that there won’t be a kit with a bundled lens from Sony. However some dealers may choose to put together a bundle deal or package for you.

What one lens would you recommend?
 
This is a tough one to answer as it depends on what you need. The Sony 28-135mm power zoom is a great lens, but it’s bigger than the camera! The Sony 24-70 f2.8 GM is a beautiful lens and one of the lenses I have on my FX9 almost all the time. But if I had to pick just one lens it would probably be the Sony 24-105mm f4. You get a decent zoom range and good optical quality. f4 on a full frame sensor gives reasonably shallow depth of field.
 
What Cards should I get?
 
See my other post about this by clicking here.
 
Does the Auto Focus work when using S&Q?
 
Yes, in most cases it does, but only when the S&Q frame rate is a neat multiple of the base frame rate. If the cameras base frame rate is set to 23.98p, 30p or 60p then it works at UHD 120fps or HD 240fps, but not at 100 or 200fps. If the camera base rate is set to 25p or 50p then the AF only works at UHD 100fps or HD 200fps but it doesn’t work at UHD 120fps or HD 240fps.

Does the camera reboot when changing frame rates?
 
The FX6 reboots when you switch between base frame rates except when switching between 25p and 50p or between 29.97p and 59.94p. When in S&Q it does not reboot when changing frame rates. It’s only base frame rate changes that cause a reboot (about 3 seconds).
 
How quickly does the FX6 start or reboot?
 
Very quickly. It takes under 3 seconds to start from off. You can actually start recording in around 2 seconds, before some of the LCD overlays have finished coming on.
 
Does it have clear image zoom?
 
Yes it does. I didn’t spot this initially as it’s buried in the technical section of the menus. In UHD it provides a 1.5x zoom, in HD a 2x zoom.
 
Could I use Clear Image Zoom in UHD/4K to work with super 35mm lenses?
 
Short answer is yes, in some modes. The longer answer is maybe. Be aware that as soon as you use Clear Image Zoom you will lose the cameras excellent Face/Eye AF and clear image zoom is not available when shooting above 60fps or when outputting raw. As you need to typically use between 1.4x and 1.5x zoom there is a small but noticeable loss of image quality. It’s slight, but the images are a bit softer and look a touch more processed. Any noise becomes more noticeable as the noise grain gets bigger. It’s not horrid, but the image definitely loses a little of the crispness and clarity that it normally has. This isn’t really a surprise as by the time you have zoomed in by 1.4x you are upscaling around 3.2K to 4K. You could use it if you really need to, but it’s a shame to use it as it just takes the edge off what are otherwise exceptionally good images, it’s definitely not comparable to the FX9’s proper 4K s35 mode.  I will put together some example images soon.

Can you use both the SDI and HDMI at the same time?
 
Absolutely, yes. And you can even have HD on the HDMI and UHD on the SDI if you want.
 
How long do the batteries last?
 
The supplied BP-U35 battery will run the camera for a bit over 90 minutes. A BP-U60 will run it for between 2.5 and 3 hours.
 
Can you use LUT’s when shooting at high frame rates?
 
Yes, LUT’s in CineEI seem to work at all frame rates and resolutions. I have yet to find a case where they do not work, including user LUT’s.
 
Does it have a LANC port?
 
Yes, it has three. One 3.5mm 4 pin mini jack that the handgrip plugs into on the side of the camera, this is different to the FS5/FS7 type connector. On the rear of the camera there is a 2.5mm 3 pin mini jack that is compatible with the FS5 or FS7. Plus the larger USB style multi-port that the FX9 remote handrip uses (but at the time of writing the FX9 grip does not work with the pre-production firmware).
 
Can I see all 4 audio channels on the screen at once?
 
Not normally. Normally only channels 1 and 2 are displayed on the LCD screen. To see channels 3 and 4 you use status page 3 where you can see all 4 channels and use the touch screen to adjust the recording levels for channels 3 and 4. This is also where you will find the volume control.
 
Does it have Clear Scan or ECS shutter?
 
Yes it does, this is very useful for shooting computer monitors or other screens and eliminating any rolling bands that may move up and down the screen. ECS is in the shooting menu under Shutter.


I will add to this list as more questions get asked.

Which Cards Actually Work with the FX6?

The FX6 takes both SDXC cards and CF Express Type A cards.

Sony recommend using a CF Express Type A for the UHD 120fps. For 4K. The CF Express card support all frame rates, but they are expensive, as is the card reader.

For UHD XAVC-I up to 60fps Sony say you can use v90 SD cards, for some of the XAVC-L UHD frame rates Sony support v60 SD cards and for HD you can use a v60 or v30.
 
The camera won’t stop you from trying to use a v90 (or even a v30) SD card at all frame rates and with all codecs. But if using a card outside of the Sony recommendations you get a “not guaranteed media” warning.
 
For example when trying to use a v60 to record XAVC-I at 60p or a v90 to record 100/120fps the camera will try to record but if the card can’t keep up you will get flashing tally lights followed by the camera dropping out of record and a “Recording Halted” message. In my testing most of the time the camera just displays the recording halted message and you have to press the menu button or OK button to remove the message, then you can try to record again. But around 30 to 40% of times, especially if it is a second attempt to record on a card that is not fast enough, after the recording halted message the card capacity will go to zero and the record tally lights will continue to flash until you remove the card.  You will not then be able to use that card until it has been restored and in most cases you will lose the last clip shot as well as other clips where the recording was halted. In some cases you can lose everything on the card.

As a card fills up it becomes significantly slower. So a card that is fine when only partially used may cause problems as it fills up. In addition as cards get older they slow down as the memory cell wear leveling has to skip extra blocks or cells. So a card that works today may not work tomorrow.
 
My advice: Use the cards Sony recommends. You are playing with fire trying to get away with other cards. The big risks are a: losing footage and b: ending up with no media as the capacity has gone to zero.

Get a CF Express Type A if you want to shoot UHD 120fps. For everything else SD v90 will work fine.

Thoughts on the FX6

89d2a633-248b-4211-95cc-b5b68b09fda0 Thoughts on the FX6

I’ve written a review of the FX6 that you can read here.

https://sonycine.com/articles/the-new-sony-fx6—the-definitive-review-by-alister-chapman/

But I thought I would also write more of an opinion piece here. What do I really think about the FX6 and also where does it fit in the grand scheme of things.

Sony_FX6_side_44062_02-Mid-1024x994 Thoughts on the FX6
Sony FX6 4K Camcorder

 

First off, it is a brilliant little camcorder. But it has to be. There is huge pressure from ever better mirrorless cameras and ever better larger cameras. Red’s Komodo is similarly priced and offers an interesting option if you are a film maker.

Sony really have packed an amazing set of features into the FX6, S-Cinetone, LUT’s, CineEI all make it a very, very interesting camera for film makers and corporate video producers alike. But the FX6 hasn’t been aimed at broadcasters, the lack of interlace recording and output and the lack of a streaming function make it less desirable for news and current affairs. That’s more of the realm of the FX9.

 

The FX6 is likely to be a huge success. I know I will be getting one. It will be fantastic for my trips overseas where size and weight are important, and I can’t wait to try to shoot the Northern Lights with it. The low light performance is indeed very impressive but this could become a problem area for it.

When you have a camera with a base ISO of 12,800 I think there will be an expectation that you won’t need to light, that it will produce brilliant pictures no matter how dark it is. But you have to remember that one of the keys to getting good results in any light level is not the amount of light but the amount of contrast. You will still need to think about how you add or control the light in your scenes and it will be all too easy to blame the camera when you don’t get great looking pictures on a pitch dark night shoot with no light to add some contrast.

When I had the pre-production FX6 I took it up to the Lake District, shot interiors at home and spent a couple of days examining the images with charts and test scenes. What I learnt was that it is a very easy camera to work with. Changing settings via the touch screen is quick and simple. The single menu button that first brings up what are referred to as status pages on the FX9 and then with a long push brings up the main menus is brilliant. One button for both. No fumbling around going from the status button to the menu button as on the FX9. The auto focus works brilliantly, and I love having a waveform display with the zebra levels clearly indicated on it. It makes judging exposure easy and reliable. Set the zebras to 61% and if you toggle the s709 LUT on and off you can check the brightness of a white card when looking at the S-Log3 or skin tones when looking at the s709.

waveform-s709-lines_1.2.1-1024x576 Thoughts on the FX6

Going back to the Auto Focus for a moment – Yes, it does work in S&Q and even when shooting UHD 120fps. BUT I did find it less responsive and slower to respond when shooting at 120fps, it definitely didn’t seem as good as when shooting at normal frame rates.

I’m really looking forward to using it on gimbals, lighter weight sliders etc. For those on a tight budget having a lighter camera means you can also save money on your support gear compared to a heavier camera. I think I’m going to enjoy shooting with the FX6 and I’m sure many others will enjoy it to.

 

And that’s the thing. It’s an easy camera to use, it delivers a beautiful image with very little effort. This is one of it’s big strengths and why I believe it will convert a lot of mirrorless DSLR shooters over to a “proper” video camera. It brings the ease of a built in variable ND filter, LUT’s and other great exposure tools for shooting log, good battery life and pro audio all together in an easy to use package at a good price. At the same time it isn’t so big that you need huge pro tripods and expensive heavy duty support equipment.



It will also appeal to users of Sony’s Venice digital cinema camera to get into places you simply can’t get the bulk of a Venice or as a crash camera for high risk shots. The picture match close enough that it won’t stand out in a finished production as an obviously different camera.

 

One issue is the lack of audio inputs when the top handle is removed. This does seem to be an oversight. Gimbal users will find it frustrating I’m sure. Time to break out the external audio recorders, at least the built in scratch mic will help with audio sync. Maybe someone will figure out a way to get audio into the camera body via the connector that the top handle plugs into.

So where does this leave the FX9? The FX9 is a great camera. It is worth remembering that the FX6 really is Full Frame only (unless you are happy shooting HD in it’s super 35mm mode). So users of normal 35mm PL lenses will be better off with the FX9 with it’s greater choice of scan modes including 6K FF, 5K crop FF and 4K s35. In the next firmware update the FX9 will also get a 2K s16 center scan mode. I still love shooting with my super 35mm Fujinon MK’s on the FX9, it’s a great combination. The FX9 also has no issues with interlace, so news shooters that still need 1080i will want the FX9 and not the FX6. I have every intention of getting an FX6 but I have no plans on parting with my FX9. Because the images from the two cameras look virtually identical they will compliment each other nicely (anyone want to buy my FS5??). 

And that for me is the thing: Two cameras for two different types of shoots, but both look the same, so I can just use whichever is the most appropriate for the job without any concern. 


Sony FX6 Launch

Sony will launch a new small 4K handheld camcorder – the FX6 on Tuesday the 17th of November.

Sony_FX6_side_44062_02-Mid-1024x994 Sony FX6 Launch
Sony FX6 4K Camcorder

To find out more about this new and very exciting camcorder you can watch the launch event via Instagram. After the launch event I am hosting a Q and A on Instagram. I’ve been lucky enough to have shot with the camera and have extensively tested it, so tune in to the Q&A to learn more. There is a lot to like and I am certain this camcorder will prove to be extremely popular. The Instagram session will be here: https://www.instagram.com/sonyprofilmmaking/

Then on Wednesday the 18th I will be presenting a webinar on the FX6 for Visual Impact in the UK at 11.00 GMT: https://www.visuals.co.uk/events/events.php?event=eid1748059180-892

 

 

 

Then once the initial launch dust settles I will bring you more information about this exciting new camera including tutorials and guides.