Category Archives: FX6

FX6 Q&A LiveStream (recording) with me Alister Chapman.

I recently did a 90 minute long livestream Q&A in association with Visual Impact. Lots of topics covered from AF to S-Cinetone.
Topics covered:

S-Cinetone,   Differences between the FX6 and FX9,   interlace output, AF zones and touch screen,   using it in low temperatures,   the LCD screen,   3rd party lenses and AF,    differences between FS5/FS7 etc,   Dynamic range,   image quality,   raw output,   tuning the AF,    Eye AF,    Scan modes and crops,   SD cards and recording media,   changing the custom mode look using LUTs,   Adjusting the knee to make the FX6 broadcast safe,   High base ISO and noise,   Scene files and Base looks,    clear image zoom,   base ISO levels,   firmware updates.

You can watch the recording of the stream here:

 

What’s the difference between Full Format and Quick Format in the FX6?

The Sony FX6 offers two different ways to format the the SD cards and CFExpress cards. These are Quick Format and Full Format. 

What’s the difference and which should I use?

Full Format erases everything on the card and returns the card to a completely empty state. All footage is removed/deleted from the card and it cannot therefore be recovered later should you perform a Full Format by mistake. Because Full Format returns the card to a completely empty state removing any junk or other clutter it also ensures that the cards performance is maximised. Full Format should be used whenever possible as it ensures maximum performance. However once a card has been Fully Formatted you cannot ever recover lost files from it.

Quick Format erases the cards database about what files are on the card. Quick Format is faster than Full Format, but it does not actually remove your video files. When you then start a new recording on the card the new recording will use any empty space on the card if there is any. If there is no empty space then the new file will overwrite any existing files on the card. This does mean that in some cases if you have accidentally done a quick format you may be able to use data recovery software to rescue any files that have not already been overwritten.  But file recovery is not guaranteed and should not be relied upon. As quick format does not clear all data from the card, over time the performance of the card may be degraded, so a Full Format should be performed periodically to ensure the best card performance.

It’s also worth noting that if you want to load LUT’s into the FX6, the card should be formatted in Slot B so that the correct file structure including the LUT folder is added to the card. Once any LUT’s are placed in the LUT folder the card must be placed back in slot B to so you can load the LUTs into the camera. You cannot load LUTs via slot A.

For more FX6 posts and information click here: http://www.xdcam-user.com/camera-setup/ilme-fx6-sony-fx6/

ProGrade SD Cards For The FX6

Screenshot-2020-12-09-at-16.51.27-339x450 ProGrade SD Cards For The FX6

I’ve been testing a lot of different SD cards with the Sony FX6. I have been a long time user of Integral, Lexar and SanDisk cards and generally found them to perform well and to be reliable. But in my search for affordable v90 SD cards I came across a good deal on the ProGrade v90 64Gb SD cards.

I hadn’t ever used the ProGrade brand before and their pricing almost seems too low. But I decided to purchase one to test. Well I have not been disappointed.  The card performs very well and has no problems at all with all of the XAVC-I frame rates up to and including 60fps. 

If you try to use it to record UHD at 100 or 120fps you will get an “unsupported media” warning but the camera will try to record to the card. Most of the time the recording will be OK provided you keep the duration short and don’t try to stop and then restart recording too quickly. Of all the SD cards I have tried this seems to be one of the best.

However you will still see recording failures with this card at 100 and 120fps. Often resulting in the card suddenly becoming completely full. So I still would not recommend relying on any SD card for 100/120fps UHD.  But, as I have said this is one of the better cards that I have come across and given the low price it seems like a winner.

Other cards I have been using successfully with the FX6 are:

Integral Ultima ProX v90 for all codecs including XAVC-I up to 60fps.

Lexar 1667x Professional v60 for all codecs including XAVC-I upto to 30fps.

Sony Tough CFExpress Type A 80GB for all recording modes and formats including UHD 100/120fps.

Catalyst BRowse and catalyst Prepare Updated.

Timed to coincide with the release of the ILME-FX6 camcorder Sony have updated both Catalyst Browse and Catalyst Prepare. These new  and long awaited versions add support for the FX6’s rotation metadata and clip flag metadata as well as numerous bug fixes. It should be noted that for the correct operation that a GPU that supports OpenGL is required. Also while the new versions support MacOS Catalina there is no official support for Big Sur. Catalyst Browse is free while Catalyst Prepare is not free. Prepare can perform more complex batch processing of files, checksum and file verification, per-clip adjustments as well as other additional features.

For more information go to the Sony Creative Software website.

Hypergamma LUT’s for the FX6 (and others).

The Sony FX6 does not have the same Hypergammas or Cinegammas as found in many other Sony camcorders. However you can load a LUT as a base look in the cameras Custom Mode. See this post for details about this.

So I have prepared a set of LUTs that mimic the Sony Hypergammas with rec709 colour.  These LUTs are for S-Log3/SGamut3.cine as used as the base input in the FX6. HG1 and HG2 are broadcast safe so these give you a broadcast ready option for the FX6.
 In addition to the Hypergamma LUT’s there is an additional ACBCST LUT. This is a broadcast safe version of the Sony s709 LUT with added contrast and saturation, suitable for broadcast and other direct to air applications.

As well as the FX6 these LUT’s will also work with any Sony camera that accepts LUTs and has S-Log3 and SGamut3.cine. They can also be used in post production.

If you find these LUT’s useful please consider buying me a coffee. Thank you!


 

Your choice:



pixel Hypergamma LUT's for the FX6 (and others).

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE Hypergamma LUTs

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 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 (20.5 megapixels) 4K Full Frame Sensor (10.2 megapixels, large pixels)

6K Oversampled Full Frame 4K recording, max 30fps. 5K up to 60fps, 4K up to 60fps

More rolling shutter when using 6K FF (more pixels to read).

4K Scan for Full Frame UHD recording upto 60fps.

Compared to the above:-

10% crop when recording UHD above 60fps.

5% crop if recording or outputting DCI 4K.  

10% crop if outputting UHD raw.

FF Crop 5K Scan max 60fps.  No
4K Super 35mm Scan max 60fps. HD Super 35mm Scan max 120fps (the camera can go to 240fps using S&Q but the quality is slightly reduce above 120fps).
2K Full Frame Scan max 180fps (IQ reduced). No
2K Super 35mm Scan max 120fps (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 100/120fps internal recording.
Shooting above 60fps requires reduced quality 2K scan mode (currently waiting for s35 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, 2 x XLR on body 2x Audio control dials for ch1 and 2. Ch3 & 4 controlled via touch menu or main menu. 2x XLR on handle.
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 4 pole 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 30p/25p/23.98p 9Mbps, 1080p 60i/50i 9Mbps, 720p 9Mbps, 720p 6Mbps, 360p 3Mbp Proxy recording 1080p 60p/50p 9Mbps
Dual slot simul 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, 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)
Clip flag metadata OK/Keep/NG by assignable button. Clip flag metadata OK/Keep/NG dedicated button.
Genlock No
Volume Control Buttons Volume control in menu
Face/Eye AF controlled by AF zone selection. Face/Eye AF controlled by AF zone selection.
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