Sony FX9 6K full frame unleashed

Sony Fx9 Edited 1

Sony recently announced the new PXW-FX9 digital camera which at heart is a new 6K full frame based digital camera with some amazing upgrades to the FS7 including Venice-like color science, dual ISO, hybrid AF, and not to state the obvious but a full frame sensor. The camera has been labelled as an upgrade to the FS7, probably because it falls in the PXW line of cameras, but as an owner of the F55 since its release I fail to see how the FX9 wouldn’t give the F55 a run for the money even though it doesn’t sport a CineAlta badge.

I fail to see how the FX9 wouldn’t give the F55 a run for the money even though it doesn’t sport a CineAlta badge

First the FX9 uses a 6K full frame sensor which means being able to make use of full frame glass most of us already own but don’t benefit from when using on s35 cameras. 6k downsampled to 4k will yield a sharper image and with dual ISO the image is going to be noticeably cleaner and better looking. Add a twist of Sony’s yet again revised color science and this could be the camera a lot of color aficionados have been waiting for. (The S-CineTone seems to be a baked in Rec709 type of color profile for the moment)

The codec on the FX9 will have it max out at around 300mb/s but there will also be a 16-bit RAW stream available and Atomos has already announced the Atomos Neon monitor which will be able to record video from the FX9 using the 16-bit stream. Although this won’t be like recording Sony’s 16-bit RAW to an AXS-R5 or AXS-R7 on the F55, it’s not a massive concern as you’ll have plenty of options to record to other high quality codecs such as ProRes HQ for example, which far exceed XAVC 300mb/s anyway.

Other things that get me excited about the FX9 is the e-mount, something that I wish the F55 had. Also the metadata from the FX9 will record gyro movements which will be able to be used later in post to automatically stabilize footage without the time to perform the analysis and processing. They’ve also included a built-in mic which is great for a scratch track and can help keep the accessories down.

Unlike the F55 the FX9 won’t have global shutter, Rec2020 color, or other built-in high bit-rate codes like XAVC 480mbs — but I don’t see these as huge shortcomings to be honest and I think many of the pluses far outweigh what might be missing. Another nice thing is the FX9 is the weight. It is 3.4 lbs lighter than the F55. Once you rig up a F55 it can be quite a massive beast.

FX9 Highlights
  • 6K full frame sized sensor (6008×3168 pixels)
  • Dual base ISO 800/4000
  • Venice color science (profile / baked-in Rec709)
  • 15 stops dynamic range
  • 16-bit RAW via stream output
  • e-mount
  • Fast Hybrid AF
  • Electronic variable ND filter
  • 35.7MP sensor
  • 35 watts

More about the FX9

Sony bids farewell to slog2 since by design slog2 is limited in how much dynamic range it can hold so unless another flavour of slog comes along, slog3 is the only log gamma curve available on the new FX9. I’ve also read that white balance will be available when using slog, and the LUTs are possible in S&Q mode (I have not confirmed this) both of which are something missing from the F5/F55 cameras.

All and all I am thoroughly impressed and amazed with the FX9 and it’s definitely on my list of next cameras to own next to my F55.

  1. Prores HQ is NOT better than XAVC. Same quality, yes, but XAVC is half the file size, great for uploading etc, Atomis has done a great job in promoting Prores and Prores HQ, but I would always take XAVC over Prores,

  2. PJPJ11-10-2019

    Thanks for this write up!
    I just lost my FS7 in a saltwater incident and I’m looking to upgrade. Would you go for an FX9 or a used F55?


    • Dennis HingsbergDennis Hingsberg11-10-2019

      Hi thanks for posting a comment, hope you like the website. The F55 with R5 for RAW, or even newer high bit-rate XAVC 480mpbs class adds a lot of longevity to this camera if you ask me. I am still using my F55/R5 for shoots and once you learn to finesse the image in post from slog3/sgamut3.cine you can really take it anywhere you need to. The “newer” color science of the FX9 is a baked in gamma profile, so its not the same as shooting RAW or slog and then grading in post. This is a bit of a downside to the new color on the FX9, and you can achieve it in post anyway by downloading the Venice LUT Color aside, the FX9 is obviously full frame which is something you have to decide if it’s worth it to you or not. Lots to consider and definitely a very difficult decision. Good luck with your decision and I don’t think you would regret either one. 🙂

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