Tag Archives: update

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:

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.

 

 

FX9 Version 3 Firmware Released.

Sony have today release the version 3 update for the FX9. This is a significant upgrade for the FX9 and I highly recommend all users update their cameras.

The update process is robust and provided you follow the instructions in the PDF guide that is included in the update download package you should not have any problems.



EDIT: I WILL SAY THIS AGAIN – YOU MUST FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS INCLUDED IN THE DOWNLOAD PACKAGE. DO NOT SKIP ANY OF THE STEPS IN THE INSTRUCTIONS. I’m seeing lots of people with failed updates because they are formatting their SD cards on their computer or not turning off the cameras network functions. It’s all in the instructions, the instructions are there to help you, please follow them to the letter. The “root” of a card is the very, very bottom of the cards file structure. It is NOT a folder, anything on the “root” of  a card will not be inside a folder of any sort, the root is the bit of the card where the first folders will be, in the case of an SD card formatted in the FX9 the root is where you will find  the “PRIVATE” folder. The “root” is NOT the XDROOT folder.  And if something does go wrong the instructions tell you how to recover.


Do be aware that when you start the update process the  cameras LCD screen will go blank for around 10 minutes and the only clue that all is good will be a flashing red tally light. Just leave the camera alone, go and do something else and come back an hour later. The upgrade will also appear to stall at around the 80% mark. Again, just be patient and wait for the update complete message before turning off the camera.

There are a lot of new features in version 3 but the three that I think most are going to like the most are the Real-Time tracking AF (aka touch tracking), the Anamorphic monitoring modes and the Super 16mm 2K scan mode.

REAL TIME TRACKING AF

The Real Time tracking allows you to use the viewfinders  touch screen to touch where you want the camera to focus. A white box will appear where you touch and then the camera will track the touched object while it stays with the frame. To cancel the touch tracking touch on the grey cancel box that appears in the top left of the viewfinder.


touched-book_1.1.3-600x338 FX9 Version 3 Firmware Released.
In the image above the camera is in Face/Eye priority mode. As the real time tracking AF over-rides the other AF modes, by touching on the book on the book shelf (circled in red) the AF is now focussing on the book and will track the book if the camera pans or if the book were to move through the shot. If the book were to move out of the shot the AF will revert to Face/Eye AF.

When used in conjunction with the Face/Eye AF, if you touch on a face the AF will prioritise that face and track it. If the person is facing the camera and can be identified as an individual face, the face gets saved and a “*” will appear next to the Face AF symbol top left of the VF.

If the person turns away from the camera the focus will then track the persons head, if they turn back towards the camera it tracks their face again. It is even possible to start by touching on the back of a persons head and then as they turn towards the camera the face/eye AF takes over.

The way the camera “registers” faces is changed from previous firmware versions. As above, to save a face simply touch on a face. Touch a different face to save a different face. When a face has been saved a * will appear next the the Face/Eye AF symbol.

In the image below the face has been selected by touching on it and is now saved (note the * symbol circled in red). Not also the tracking symbol indicating that BOTH Face/Eye AF and Tracking are in use.
saved-face_1.1.2-600x338 FX9 Version 3 Firmware Released.

Whenever you stop the real time tracking the saved face is removed from the  camera.

If you are using Face/Eye ONLY AF then normally the camera will only focus on faces/eyes, but if you touch on an object that isn’t a face then  the camera will focus on this object. If you touch on a face then the camera will only focus on that particular face and the AF will halt if the camera can’t see that particular face until you stop the real time tracking AF.

As well as the tracking stop button (top left of the VF, look like a grey box) If you have AF assist enabled, turning the focus ring on the lens will stop the tracking AF. Real-time tracking AF will also stop when a touched object that is not a face leaves the frame or when a button assigned with the Push AF/Push MF function is pressed.

Real-time tracking can also be used when the cameras AF switch is set to MF.  If in the menu, under shooting settings, focus, the “Touch Function in MF” setting is set to ON, The real-time touch tracking auto focus will also work when the AF switch on the side of the camera is set to MF. This allows you to use an autofocus lens to focus manually but then instantly switch to real time tracking AF simply by touching the LCD screen. For this to work if the lens has an AF/MF switch the switch on the lens must be set to AF. If using the 28-135mm lense the focus ring must be in the forwards position.

Real time tracking works across the entire frame regardless of the chosen AF frame area. Any objects being tracked must be distinct from the background. Textured, coloured or detailed objects are tracked more easily than plain objects. When using Face/Eye AF not all faces can be saved. To successfully save a face it needs to be facing the camera directly and sufficiently distinct that the camera can identify the eyes, nose and mouth.

ANAMORPHIC MODE

The anamorphic mode is a basic anamorphic monitoring mode for the LCD viewfinder. It has no effect on the recorded files or the SDI/HDMI outputs.
Anamorphic1_1.1.1-600x338 FX9 Version 3 Firmware Released.

It provides a 1.3x or 2x de-squeeze. The 2x desqueeze function is tailored for 2x anamorphic lenses designed to be used with 35mm film. To use these lenses the camera must be set to 6K Full Frame scan to gain the correct sensor height. This means that when you use a 2x 35mm film anamorphic lens the sensor scan is wider than it really needs to be so there will be some vignetting at the sides of the frame. The 2x de-squeeze function takes this into account and not only de-squeezes the image but also crops the sides to emulate how the footage will look after post production.

anamorphic2_1.1-copy-600x338 FX9 Version 3 Firmware Released.

If you are using 1.3x lenses then you can use either the Full Frame 6K scan, the FF 5k crop or the S35 4K scan modes, but for 2x anamorphic lenses you will need to use FF 6K scan.

S16 2K Crop.

The S16 2K crop mode allows you to use just the center Super 16mm sized 2K scan area. This mode is actually very useful for shooting at high frame rates above 60fps because unlike the FF 2K or S35 2K scan modes, this mode is using every single pixel within the scan area. As a result there are none of the image artefacts common when shooting at high frame rates using FF 2K or S35 2K.  The 2.5x crop (compared to FF) does mean that for wide shots you will need a very wide lens. But where you can use it, this mode is great for better quality slow motion.

s16-hfr_1.1.4-600x338 FX9 Version 3 Firmware Released.

The other use for this scan mode is with Super 16mm lenses or with B4 2/3″ ENG lenses via suitable adapters. The image quality in this mode on the FX9 is a little better than the similar mode on the FS7. But you do need to remember that this is a 2K scan, so you will have a little under HD resolution. In addition the cameras noise appears worse in this mode because you are enlarging fewer pixels to fill the screen, so the noise isn’t as fine or refined as in FF 6K or S35 4K. So where possible you want to make sure you use a nice bright exposure for the best results.

The images below were shot with the same 16x ENG zoom lens at its widest and longest focal lengths.

s16-wide_1.1.2-600x338 FX9 Version 3 Firmware Released.S16-zoom_1.1.2-600x338 FX9 Version 3 Firmware Released.

Here is the full list of new features:

  • S700 Protocol over Ethernet
  • B4 lens support
    – S16 scanning mode (up to FHD 180fps)
    – B4 lens control using with LA-EB1
    – ALAC (Auto Lens Aberration Correction) function
  • Assignable Center Scan
  • Anamorphic lens support
  • Clip Naming (Cam ID + Reel#)
  • Real-time Tracking (touch tracking auto focus)
  • Additional items can be modified in the Status Screen
  • SR Live for HDR metadata support
  • Recording Proxy Clip Real-time Transfer
  • Camcorder Network Setup using Smartphone App
  • Remote control using smartphone over USB tethering
  • USB tethering activated using iOS14 iPhone and iPad

*Network feature above also support C3 Portal (only available in specific countries)



You will find the version 3 download files here:  https://pro.sony/en_GB/support-resources/pxw-fx9/software

DaVinci resolve Frame Rendering Issue and XAVC

There is a bug in some versions of DaVinci Resolve 17 that can cause frames in some XAVC files to be rendered in the wrong order. This results in renders where the resulting video appears to stutter or the motion may jump backwards for a frame or two. This has now been fixed in version 17.3.2 so all user of XAVC and DaVinci Resolve are urged to upgrade to at least version 17.3.2.

https://www.blackmagicdesign.com/uk/support/family/davinci-resolve-and-fusion

FX6 Firmware Update Adds 120fps Raw.

Screenshot-2021-05-21-at-09.37.54-1024x160 FX6 Firmware Update Adds 120fps Raw.

Sony have just released firmware version 1.10 for the ILME-FX6. This firmware update adds the ability to output raw at 100p and 120p to a suitable external raw recorder.  The only raw recorder that can record the 100 and 120fps raw is the Atomos Ninja V+ which will be available very soon. This is a welcome update for the FX6 and it also includes some “stability fixes” so I recommend that all users update their cameras.

I’ve found the most reliable way to update the camera is to download the SD Card/CFExpress card version and place the Bodydata.dat file on an SD card. This is listed on the Sony site as “ILME-FX6 Update Guide(SD Card/CFexpress card. Put the SD card in the BOTTOM of the cameras 2 SD card slots (slot B) and then start the update from the Maintenance, Version, Version Up  setting in the cameras full menu. You should insert a fully charged battery and also connect mains power when doing the update.

You will find the various firmware updaters here: https://www.sony.com/electronics/support/camcorders-and-video-cameras-interchangeable-lens-camcorders/ilme-fx6v/downloads 

The Atomos Ninja V+ is an upgraded version of the Ninja V. It’s the same size and shape but has much more internal processing power. The extra processing allows it to record 4K 120fps raw or 8K 30p raw (it will be interesting to know which cameras are going to be outputting 8K raw). I really like the Ninja V, it’s small, compact and packed with useful features for not a lot of money. To record the raw from the FX6 do remember that you have to add the AtomX SDI module.

Important Firmware Update For The FX9

A few days ago Sony quietly released a new important firmware update for the PXW-FX9. Firmware version 2.10 adds the long awaited 4K 120fps raw function to the FX9 (you do still need the XDCA-FX9) but also importantly includes some change the the daylight white balance settings. 

From my before and after testing it appears that a change has been made to the daylight white balance preset settings. For some time it has been apparent that if you used the white balance presets in the daylight range (4000K and higher) that the FX9 has a tendency to accentuate any green in the image. If you white balance of a white card this tendency is not there.

The new preset white balance settings now provide a much more neutral white balance with less green bias. This should also help those that were suffering from green fringing in extreme contrast shots as the reduced green bias will stop the camera from accentuating chromatic aberration as it did before. It won’t eliminate the chromatic aberration, but it won’t be nearly as obvious.

The first image was taken before doing the firmware update using a preset of 5500K. This test was done in a bit of a hurry as it was threatening to rain, but I wanted to use real daylight.

 

Before-preset5500k_1.1.1-1024x576 Important Firmware Update For The FX9
PXW-FX9, 5500K preset WB, before the firmware update

The second image, below, was taken after the firmware update (unfortunately the focus shifted slightly between the two shots, sorry). But you can clearly see that even though the white balance settings are the same and the same 5500K preset used this image is less green.

 

After-preset5500k_1.2.1-1024x576 Important Firmware Update For The FX9
PXW-FX9, 5500K preset after updating to firmware V2.10

It is a subtle difference, but if you look at the wood panels you can  see a difference. To help you see the difference here is a wipe between the before and after clips with the saturation boosted to make it more obvious.

 

Wipe between before and after the firmware update with saturation boosted.

As you can see this isn’t an “in your face” difference. But it is still none the less an important improvement as it makes it easier to match the FX9 to the FX6 and FX3 if you are using a preset white balance. I would still recommend white balancing off a white card for all cameras wherever possible as this will still normally provide the best results as it helps neutralise any lens or calibration differences. Whether you are shooting using S-Cinetone as in the examples here or using S-Log3, the new white balance preset provides in my opinion a much better colour response.

HOWEVER it’s important to consider that it will make cameras with version 2.10 and later look different to FX9’s with earlier firmware versions. 

The firmware update can be downloaded via the link below. It took around 35 minutes for my FX9 to complete the update. The process is easy but when the camera gets to 80% complete it will appear that the update has stalled. It stays at 80% for around 10-15 minutes with no indication that the update is still continuing. So don’t turn the camera off thinking it’s stuck!!! Be patient and give it time to complete.

https://pro.sony/en_GB/support-resources/pxw-fx9/software/

FX9 to get Anamorphic In Firmware Version 3.

Sony today release an update covering many things. But of particular interest to FX9 and FX6 owners was news that both the FX6 and FX9 will get firmware updates to add 120fps raw. For the FX9 you will still need the XDCA-FX9 and to be honest this has always been promised, but it’s good to see it hasn’t been forgotten about. This update should be out next month.

In addition the FX9 will gain the ability to shoot Anamorphic in the version 3 firmware update which will be released later in the year. There will be both 1.3x and 2x anamorphic desqueeze as well as the addition cinemascope frame lines. This is on top of the previously announced 2K super 16mm sized center scan mode with support for B4 ENG lenses and s700PTP control over TCP/IP.

You will find the full announcement here: https://sonycine.com/articles/firmware-updates-announced-for-fx9-and-fx6-cinema-cameras/

Firmware Update For The FX6 (V1.01). Fixes CineEI Playback ISO levels

FX6-Firmware-500x500 Firmware Update For The FX6 (V1.01). Fixes CineEI Playback ISO levelsSony have released a minor but important firmware update for the ILME-FX6 camcorder. This update fixes the back-to-front EI values that are used during clip playback in the CineEI  mode.

There are a couple of different ways to do the update. The update can be applied to the camera either by placing an update file on an SDXC card or CFExpress Type A card and updating via the camera. Or by downloading updater software for a Mac or PC and connecting the camera to the computer via USB and using the computer to update the camera. If you are a Mac user I have found this method to sometimes be challenging to make work, but easy with a Windows PC.

My preference is to download the SD/CFExpress update file and to put the update file on an SD card and update via the camera as this method has always proven to be easy and reliable for me in the past.

The firmware can be downloaded from here: https://www.sony.com/electronics/support/interchangeable-lens-camcorders-ilme-series/ilme-fx6v/downloads

PXW-Z280 and Z190 Firmware Version 4 Adds RTMP Streaming.

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.

You can download the firmware for the Z280 from here: https://pro.sony/en_FI/support-resources/pxw-z280/software/00257137

And you can download the Z190 firmware from here:
https://pro.sony/en_FI/support-resources/pxw-z190/software/00257141

Time To Buy A New Camera – But What To Do With The Old One?

So, you have decided to take the plunge and invest in a new camera. You’ve been shooting with your old camera for a couple of years or more and it’s served you well. But when you try to trade it in or sell it you find it’s really not worth a great deal. Maybe only a small fraction of what you paid for it. What do you do?

For a start a dealer won’t give you a great deal on an older camera that’s been superseded by a newer model, unless there is some kind of very special trade in deal (even then you may be able to negotiate a better discounted price from the dealer and then sell the old camera separately). I’m assuming you are buying the new one because it’s better than the old one. Dealers don’t want large numbers of older cameras sitting on shelves unless they can afford to carry the risk of them not selling. Some dealers might be willing to try to sell it for you on a commission basis and that might be one way to go. But if you can sell it privately, you’ll typically get a bit more money for it than a trade in.

Whatever you do it’s time to put your business head on, rather than allowing any emotional attachment to a camera (that may well have served you well) to influence your decision making. In a years time it’s likely the old camera will be worth even less.

Ask yourself the following question: Will  keeping the camera earn me more additional profit than the money I will get from selling it, even if it is an uncomfortably low price? If the answer is no, then sell it now while it’s still worth something and don’t hang around, get rid of it while you can.

Don’t just hang on to it because you can’t bear to sell it for such a low price. This isn’t a child or loved one, it’s a tool and there is no point in having a tool that’s not going to be used, or might get used once in the next year, cluttering up your office. I’ve often made the mistake of hanging on to a much loved camera to use as a backup or B camera and never actually used it. Instead it’s sat on a shelf for a couple of years gathering dust until it eventually it gets discarded (it might impact your equipment insurance, it still needs to be insured as an insurance company can sometimes refuse to pay out if something happens and you are found to be under insured).

Remember, to be useful a B camera will also typically needs it’s own tripod, batteries and all the other support kit the main camera needs. So hanging on to a second camera may mean having to also hang on to a lot of other kit as well.

But if you are confident it will make you that extra money then keep it.

Another consideration is what could you do with the the money you can get for it? Would it allow you to invest in some new lenses to go with your new camera? Perhaps a better tripod, new lights, stuff you would use day-in day-out rather than once in a blue moon. It’s much better to have you hard earned cash working for you on a regular basis than hanging on to something  “just in case”. In those once in a blue moon, just in case scenarios there are places called rental houses. And if the project that needs that once in a blue moon second camera isn’t going to pay to hire one, then why are you providing it? You are running a business not a charity aren’t you? A bit dramatic perhaps and there will always be exceptions to the rule. But that is the way you should be thinking.

If the old camera has been good for you, the emotional attachment often leads to hanging on to a piece of kit that really should be moved on to make way for new tools that will help you grow the business. If you do keep it, instead of it hanging out on a shelf, do consider hiring it out. It’s less damaging to your business if a spare or backup camera gets stolen or damaged on a rental than your main camera, so this could be a toe in the water of a sideline rental business. But do explore you insurance restrictions and limitations, plus consider whether you want strangers turning up at your home or place of business to pick up kit at all sorts of hours.

I’m definitely not saying you have to sell your older camera, just try to take any emotional attachment out of the decision and figure out what’s best for the business.

DaVinci Resolve 16.1.2 Released.

Blackmagic Design have just released the latest update to DaVinci Resolve. If you have been experiencing crashes when using XAVC material from the PXW-FX9 I recommend you download and install this update.

If you are not a Resolve user and are struggling with grading or getting the very best from any log or raw camera, then I highly recommend you take a look at DaVinci Resolve. It’s also a very powerful edit package. The best bit is the free version supports most cameras. If you need full MXF support you will need to buy the studio version, but with a one off cost of only $299 USD it really is a bargain and gets you away from any horrid subscription services.

https://www.blackmagicdesign.com/support/family/davinci-resolve-and-fusion