ILME-FX6 Version 2 Firmware Update

bt_1ftp_460x150_xdcam ILME-FX6 Version 2 Firmware Update

Coming soon, very soon is the version 2 firmware update for the FX6. Like the recently released version 3 update for the FX9 this update is a significant upgrade for the FX6 adding lots of new and very useful features.

AF Touch Tracking:

The big feature that almost every FX6 user has been wanting since the day it was launched is touch tracking AF.  This feature allows you to touch the LCD screen where you want the camera to focus. The touch tracking AF works in conjunction with the cameras face detection AF to provide what Sony are calling “Advanced AI based AF”. If you touch on a face for example, that face is then prioritised and tracked by the AF. If the person turns away from the camera so the face can no longer be seen then the AF will track the side or back of the persons face. If they leave the shot and then come back into the shot, provided the AF can see their facial features the AF will pick up and focus on that face again. When touching on an object that isn’t a face the camera will focus on the touched object as it moves around within the frame. Touch AF makes it very easy to perform perfect pull focusses between different objects or characters within a shot or scene. It’s a very clever system and a welcome addition to the FX6.

Breathing Compensation:

Another new feature that will be of assistance when using the AF is the addition of the Breathing Compensation feature first seen in the Sony A7IV. This feature works by electronically adjusting the size of the recorded frame to minimise any any lens breathing while changing the focus distance. This helps to mask and hide focus changes made during a shot. It is a nice feature, but I will say that sometimes when you pull focus for example, that slight change in the image size can be nice as it re-enforces the focus change and gives the viewer a visual clue that something about the shot has been changed. If the only thing that changes in a shot is the point of focus, sometimes it can look odd or perhaps electronic rather than the more natural focus changes we are used to seeing. Of course the feature can be turned on or off, so you are free to decide whether to use it or not depending on what you are shooting. 

The breathing compensation only works with certain Sony lenses, mostly GM lenses and a few G series lenses. The lenses include: SEL14F18GM, SEL20F18G, SEL24F14GM, SEL35F14GM, SEL50F12GM, SEL85F14GM,  SEL135F18GM, SEL1224GM, SEL1224G, SEL1635GM, SEL2470GM, SEL24105G, SEL28135G, SEL70200GM (NOT with a teleconverter), SEL70200GM2, SEL100F28GM (NOT when the macro switching ring is set to “0.57m–1.0m.”).

Bokeh Control:

While I’m on the optics, another change is what Sony are calling “Bokeh Control” .  You have already been able to do this on most of Sonys cameras with the variable ND filter by turning on the auto gain/ISO function while using the auto ND filter. Set this way when you change the aperture, the ND filter and auto gain/ISO will maintain a constant image brightness allowing you to use the aperture as a bokeh and DoF control. This is now all rolled into a dedicated new feature to make it easier to achieve the same result, so it’s not really new, but it is now easier to do. The brightness of the image is held constant as you change the aperture, so the aperture becomes a  bokeh and DoF control.  This works best with the Sony lenses that have a stepless aperture ring. A word of warning however is that you will need to keep a close eye on what the ISO/Gain is doing to avoid an excessively noisy image if you don’t have sufficient light for the aperture you are using as the camera will add lots of gain and the images will become noisy very quickly if you are not careful. In practice, while I do like the concept behind this it is only really useful when you have lots of light as you want the ND filter to be doing the work, not the auto gain/ISO so this tends to limit you to exteriors or when using the FX6’s high base ISO which is already a bit noisier than low base.

Cache record in both normal modes and  S&Q.
This is a great new feature. You now have a recording cache that can be used in both normal modes and S&Q motion. The recording cache allows you to capture things that have happened prior to the moment you press the cameras record button. Of course the camera has to actually be pointing in the right direction, but this allows you to capture unexpected events such as lightning in a thunderstorm.  I often find cache recording useful for interviews in case the interviewee suddenly starts talking when you are not expecting it. For many applications this will be a very useful function. Depending on the resolution and frame rate you get a cache period of up to 31 seconds available by selecting short/medium/long and max. 

4 Audio Meters:

bt_1ftp_300x250_xdcam ILME-FX6 Version 2 Firmware Update

This is something almost everyone asked for from day one. You can now monitor channels 1 & 2 as well as 3 & 4  on the LCD when shooting. Hooray!

Raw out via HDMI. 

As well as outputting raw via SDI you can now output the raw signal via HDMI. This will be very useful for those that already use the HDMI raw out from their FX3/A7S3 etc as now you won’t need to have the extra SDI adapter for the Ninja V. You will need to update the firmware for your Ninja V or Ninja V+ and the update from Atomos is already available for download.

SR-Live HDR workflow.

Like the FX9 the FX6 gains the ability to change the viewfinder monitoring mode when shooting with HLG. Using Viewfinder Display Gamma Assist and monitoring in SDR the image in the viewfinder can have a dB offset applied. This offset allows you to expose the HLG such that it is fully optimised for HDR viewing while seeing a correctly exposed SDR image. The details of the offset are stored in the cameras metadata and then in post production as well as your already optimised HDR stream you add the same dB offset to the HLG to gain a stream that will look much better in SDR than it would do without any offset. This way it becomes much easier to deliver great looking and better optimised content for both HDR and SDR audiences.

Other new features:

The A and B recording slots can be individually assigned to the record buttons on the camera handle and body record button so that each button controls the recording of one slot. This allows you to record some shots to one slot and other shots to the other slot depending on which record button you press, or by pressing both buttons you can record to both slots.

The Multi-Function dial settings can be assigned to the hand grip dial so that the hand grip dial behaves in the same way as the muti-function dial.

FTP transfer speeds are improved.

More functions can be controlled via the touch screen.

Increased control functionality when used with Content Browser Mobile version 3.6 (you won’t be able to use earlier versions of CBM with the version 2 firmware). Content Browser Mobile version 3.6 is already available for download. 

This new version 2 firmware update is out just yet, but it will be available by the end of January.

 

 

17 thoughts on “ILME-FX6 Version 2 Firmware Update”

  1. Agreed on the fact that some focus breathing is not bothersome and maybe somewhat filmic indeed.
    However the Sony GM 20 1.8, 24 1.4, 35 1.4, 50 1.4, 135 1.8, and more suffer from such terrible focus breathing that there is no way one would not want to switch this focus compensation mode on when using them 😉
    At least the Sony and 3rd party zooms mostly have much better focus breathing control.

  2. Alister,
    From what I understand you WILL have cache record in normal (non S&Q) mode. Up to 31 seconds in normal (4K 24p) mode as opposed to up to 5 seconds in 4K 120.

  3. This wil be a truely awesome update to an laready great camera! I am looking forward to the new features, they should come in very handy indeed.

  4. The title of one of the paragraphs above is “Raw out via SDI. ” Meanwhile this is not new, out via HDMI is. I know it’s just a typo.

    Thanks

  5. Is the technology with picture caching able to send that cached signal to an external recorder, similar to how the FS700 would in 100fps burst mode with the shogun 7? Or is the camera always recording/caching to the memory card to achieve this?

    1. No. It is a very different system. The cached footage is added to the start of the internal recordings but is not seen on an external monitor. The benefit of this is that you can start and stop recording whenever you wish. You never have to wait for the recording buffer to empty before you can start to record the next clip.

  6. Thanks for the preview, Alister. Do you know if V2.0 also has added:

    1. Proper file naming – (A001C001, etc) with auto-incrementing Roll #s and auto-resetting Clip #s, like all of their other Cinema cameras – F5/55, Venice, FX9 (not to mention every Alexa, Red, Canon out there).

    When working in a film-style workflow with the FX6 (especially with multiple cameras), it can be quite frustrating to not have the option of using the standard file naming conventions. This means we must manually change the Roll and Clip # metadata every time we reload the camera. It is especially annoying on long documentary interviews when you just want to roll again as quickly as possible. On my F5 ( and most other higher-end cameras), you can pre-format your cards at prep, and every mag change will automatically have the correct Camera Index, Roll #, and Clip # metadata applied just by ejecting the exposed media and loading fresh media.

    Since they’ve recently added this feature to the FX9 V3.0, it seems like it should be coming soon to the FX6 as well?

    It would also be great if clip name metadata could be send out of the SDI output, so it can be read by an external recorder, for automated matching file names. I believe Red cameras have done this for years and if I recall correctly, the old Sony F3 did this as well.

    2. The ability to toggle Frame Guide/Markers Only on the LCD Display. Again, something we are used to on F5/55, Venice, Alexa, Red, Canon, etc. This one is extremely frustrating for camera operators who want a clean image without metadata overlays cluttering the frame, but still need custom frame guides and center markers. Seems like a very easy firmware fix?

    My personal preference would be for an additional Alexa/Venice-style scaled overlay mode, with the important metadata outside of the clean picture area. Though since only the Venice has this so far in the Sony lineup, I’m not holding out much hope for this one…

    Thanks again for your thoughts.

    1. No, there is no change to the clip naming in version 2.

      No there will not be an option to toggle the only the frame guides and markers. I’m sure if it was really easy that it would have been implemented.

      I very, very much doubt you will ever see a scaled overlay mode in a camera that doesn’t have it from day 1. If the cameras hardware isn’t capable of performing the re-scaling and overlay functions on top of all the things it already does, no amount of firmware will suddenly make it possible.

      The FX6 isn’t really a “high end” camera, it a low to medium budget camera with very good performance, but also many limitations. Just because a more expensive model gains a feature I would never view this as an indication of a cheaper model gaining the same feature. There has to be something to differentiate between the more expensive models and the cheaper ones.

  7. At least the RAW output isn’t a disaster like it is from the Sony A1 (line skipped 4.3k) I had to give up with the A1 RAW as it creates horrible aliasing/colour artefacts obvious around vertical and horizontal fine lines. Not possible to fix in post. Alistair you should have a word with Sony about this.

  8. I’m wondering if anyone has found something to cover the hand grip port on the fx6c when and if they relocate the hand grip. In my case, I’m relocating to a zacuto rig, and I don’t like the feeling of leaving this sensitive port exposed.

    @Alister, I hope you see this. I didn’t want to pester via email.

  9. Hi Allister, or anyone else who’s able to help me out with the following:
    I am having problems with the firmware update of the FX6. I have done lot’s of updates in the past, not sure what I am doing wrong here.
    The camera is not able to version up. I have tried with formatted cards and connecting to the computer. Using cards, the version up cannot proceed and when connecting to the computer, it says that the camera is connected but I need to disconnect and I can’t go any further from there. The current firmware version is V1.10.

    1. It works for almost everyone, so it must be something you are doing wrong.

      If using a card the card must be in the lower bottom slot and the file not inside any directory or folder on the card.

      If doing it via a computer, Macs, can be troublesome so try to use a windows PC if you can.

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