On Friday September 13th Sony announced a brand new camcorder the PXW-FX9. The FX9 is a whole new beast of a camera, featuring a new full frame 6k sensor, dual base ISO and a Hybrid Autofocus System. This is a brand new camera system and we are still just getting all the details but let’s break down what we know so far.
The PXW-FS9 features a newly developed 6k Exmor R sensor. This is a rear illuminated sensor, meaning that the architecture of the circuitry is designed for better light sensitivity as compared to a sensor with traditional architecture. The sensor is rated at 15+ stops of dynamic range.
6k Resolution with 4k Recording
You might wonder why the FX9 only records a 4k file when it has a 6k sensor. There are a number of reasons we can think of for this. Firstly, doing a 4k recording of a 6k resolution sensor does a lot of good things for imaging. It improves the signal to noise ratio of the recording, and it in many ways overcomes the Bayer pattern problems by oversampling for many more photosites than are strictly needed for 4k.
Another reason that the camera does not have 6k recording built in is that the internal XAVC codec is not designed for 6k capture, perhaps with future updates we could see a 6k XAVC or maybe a h.265 based codec, but for now XAVC is limited to 4k.
Dual Base ISO 800/4000
This is one of the more exciting features of the FX9 in our opinion. We have seen some amazing results from the dual base ISO on the VENICE camera and we are excited that that capability is coming the this new camera. If you are not familiar with dual base ISO, the concept is that by working some electronic sorcery with the circuitry of the sensor of a camera you can have two ISO ratings that offer the best signal to noise ratio and dynamic range possible, all without introducing any electronic noise (grain) to the image. If you want to learn more about how it works and why it is a better solution than simply boosting the gain on the sensor check out our article on Dual Base ISO and Shot Noise.
Fast Hybrid Autofocus System
One of the biggest challenges with the FS5 and FS7 cameras when compared with some other manufacturers was the lack of fast reliable auto focus. With the FX9 those challenges are a thing of the past. The new Hybrid Autofocus System features both Phase-detection and Contrast autofocus. This is the same type of system that is found in Sony’s mirrorless A7 series of cameras that are among the fastest autofocusing cameras in the world. Other great features of those systems carry over as well, like subject tracking, face detection, and adjustable speed and sensitivity. This is a must have feature for documentary, fast paced, and challenging situations where nailing focus is critical.
Electronic Variable ND Filter with Auto Function
Most people who have used the FS5 or the FS7m2 are familiar with how revolutionary the electronically variable ND filters on those cameras were. With the FX9 we see that capability come to Full Frame. We were surprised to see it on this camera because last we heard the reason the VENICE did not get this feature was that it was not possible to produce the variable ND filters reliably enough to meet production demands. But our guess is that in the couple of years since the design of the VENICE was finalized they have overcome production problems. What’s really great about variable ND, for anyone that hasn’t worked with it before, is that you can use the ND filter actively to adjust exposure for shots where the lighting conditions change rapidly, like on a partly cloudy day, or going from inside to outside. Using the ND filter to control the exposure in those situations means you don’t have to ramp your ISO, shutter, or aperture, so your creative choices about the way a shot looks are consistent.
S-Cinetone Color Science
S-Cinetone is the new default look that Sony developed for VENICE. It offers a much more pleasing rendition of skin tones and highlight rolloff than past cameras out of the box. Say goodbye to the “Sony look”.
More I/O Connections
Sony has added Timecode and Genlock BNC connectors to the camera body itself, no longer relying on an extension unit to add those functions like with the FS7.
You would think that a camera with all these great new features would cost a large sum of money, but it is going to be far more affordable than you might think. The price for the body of the camera is just $10,998.00. That is just $2,000 more than the current FS7m2 camera.
The first units are expected to ship towards the end of this year, with wider availability beginning early in 2020. We will keep this page updated as we learn more
Reserve Yours Now
Call us at 952-974-3140 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve your camera ASAP. We have a feeling this is going to be a very popular camera and the earlier you get on the list, the earlier you will get yours.