Sony FX9 First Impressions, Filmmakers Cinema Camera

27 Feb 2020

5 Min Read

Brand new cameras are being offered every day in the market and have been offered for ages now. It’s something that we creators got used to as it’s the main tool for our work.

Each camera is filled with many amazing features, some of them unique to the model or brand which differentiates them from the competition and that’s how camera manufacturers compete.

So in order to choose a camera wisely, you need to know exactly what will you get out of a camera.

Here, is the point that questions raise. Should I go with Canon, Sony, Nikon or other brands? Do I need a full-frame camera in order to have professional footage or that’s not necessary ? 

Today we’ve chosen Sony’s new camera, PXW-FX9, to talk about and see how it can serve us to get our projects done.

FX9 is the new generation of Sony’s full-frame cameras and is intended to wrestle against the other full-frame rivals like Canon C500 mark II.

Many people see FX9 as a very similar camera to the FS7 but with some interesting upgrades of course. let’s see what these merits are and if they worth the usual increase in price we pay for full-frame cameras.

Sensor 

As I said Fx9 has a full-frame 6k sensor with the Exmor R technology that has more sensitivity and less noise when filming and enables you to create immersive wide pictures using its full-frame sensor. So the big upgrade from FS7 to FX9 is the size of the sensor. You can see the difference below;

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Sony FX9 6K Full-Frame Sensor
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Sony FS7 Mark II 4K Super 35 Sensor

Resolution

This camera records at DCI 4k, -which will be available in future firmware updates-, UHD, and HD. Although there are currently 6k options in the market, experiencing FX9’s 4k resolution would still be tempting.

Dynamic range

Sony FX9 camera offers more than 15 stops of dynamic range which is pretty good. This amount of dynamic range allows you to have better images with more details. Having a higher dynamic range is a noticeable point for full-frame cameras over the crop-frame ones.

FX9 supports internal recording in 4K 4.2.2. 10-bit and external recording in RAW 16-bit, but keep in mind that this requires an external recorder and  you also need to wait for the firmware update to come live.

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Sony FX9 Dynamic Range (HDR)
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4000 Base ISO Ideal For Dark Scenes

Lens mount

FX9 is also E-mount lens compatible which is Sony’s special mount. Full-frame cameras are usually EF mount but this new one has changed the routine. This change gives you the opportunity to use a variety of E-mount lenses including the new series of cinema lenses produced by Sony.

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Sony FX9 Lens Mount (E-Mount)

ND filter

But the feature that sony claims to be the first in the world for full-frame cameras, is the FX9’s Internal Variable Electronic Neutral Density Filter or ND filter that is controllable by a hard dial on the side of it. Sony has done a good job with this one as ND filters are useful in many cases to control the light and are usually applied to the camera externally, so having it in the camera itself is an advantage.

ISO

In terms of ISO, FX9 has dual base ISO at 800 and 4000 to be able to shoot in both low and high light with acceptable quality. This low light advantage can be seen in many full-frame cameras as a general trait.

Color

As for the color, this new Sony camera includes S-Log 3 and S-Gamut 3 Cine for color recreation but there’s also this new color science called S-Cinetone that enables FX9 to have even more accurate color gamut and skin tones that gives a cinematic look to the shots.
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New S-Cinetone From Venice Camera
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16-bit RAW With External Recorder
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Sony FX9 Color
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Sony FX9 Color
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Stabilization

Shaky footage is something that no videographer likes. The fact is that Sony FX9 doesn’t have a built-in image stabilizer like the Alpha 7 III, but they have created a solution to get rid of it much better than the routine ways. For the first time Sony has created a third-party software that fixes the camera movement while third-party softwares for cameras like ARRI and RED can only fix the footage’s color, lighting and so on. 

But FX9 has gyro that records real time metadata of the camera movement into each file to be used later by Sony’s developed software called Catalyst Browse to solve the shaky footage. In terms of fixing the shaky footage, Catalyst Browse reads the information captured by the gyro sensor and recalculates the movement and then gives you a stabilized footage. This way is much better than the classic ways like using Warp Stabilizer in Premiere Pro or After Effects’ feature to fix the movements as it’s a lot more precise.

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Sony FX9 Stabilization

Frame rate 

Sony FX9 lets you choose the frame rate for 4k up to 60 fps and Full-HD up to 120 p and also 180p in future firmware updates. It allows you to capture sharp fast shots like time-lapses and smooth slow-motion sequences.

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Sony FX9 Frame Rate Table

Autofocus

A huge difference between the FS7 series and FX9 is that FX9 has a very acceptable autofocus that has been added to Sony’s cinematic camera for the first time. Fx9 has a Fast Hybrid AF with 561 focus points covering 94% in the horizontal and 96% in the vertical while in full-frame mode. 

FX9 is also able to recognize faces and allows you to follow the subject by setting it with the touchscreen LCD.

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Sony FX9 Auto Focus
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Sony FX9 Auto Focus
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Sony FX9 Auto Focus
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FX9 vs FS7

And now let’s have a more detailed comparison between the FX9 and FS7 and check the features that Sony has upgraded in its new product including its price

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Audio

In terms of audio capability, FX9 offers 4-channel audio possibilities that can be controlled using independent control dials for each channel. This feature enables you to capture audios in different ways for different purposes like ambient sounds and more. So generally speaking, there is some good stuff included in this Sony PXW-FX9 that makes it a considerable option for many use cases like documentaries, music videos, and short films.

Price

Sony’s new camera is considered average in the case of price comparison. It’s around $11000 for the body only, while the previous product FS7 II cost you less, something like $9000. But FX9 is cheaper than its rival Canon C500 Mark II which is about $16000. But being affordable is only one aspect of a good camera.

Conclusion 

That’s why comparing FX9 to FS7 is not going to give you the whole picture and you should also check our next video which is going to compare FX9 to its competitors and then you can make a better decision for buying your next camera. So be sure to subscribe to our channel and also click the bell icon so that you will be notified when that video and our future works go live.

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