The Sony ILME-FX6 is the latest entry into Sony’s Cinema Line, which also includes the VENICE and FX9 cameras, delivers a coveted filmic look cultivated from extensive experience in digital cinema production. As part of the Cinema Line, the all-new FX6 incorporates Sony’s core technologies of image sensor, processing engine, and AF (autofocus) performance. It is also compatible with the wide range of Sony E-mount lenses for creative flexibility and has enhanced operability thanks to an innovative body design, extensive durability and intuitive customizability.
We like to think of the FX6 as a mini FX9 with an A7S3 sensor. It really is a great compact cinema camera with very few compromises being made vs the larger bodies.
While it is not explicitly stated that the Sony ILME-FX6 uses the same Full Frame sensor as the A7S3, the specs seem to indicate that it is. The resolution is the same. 12.1 MP in total, with a usable area of 10.2 MP. The sensitivity characteristics are the same with optimal ISO ratings at 800 and 12,800. And its paired with the same Bionz XR processor, which likely means that the sensor read out speed is phenomenally fast. All of this should mean that the camera is a Low Light monster with 15+ stops of dynamic range.
Like the FX9, VENICE, and A7S3, the color science of the camera is based on the S-Cinetone curve developed for VENICE in 2018. This means that you will get pleasing images right out of the box without requiring any post grading or tweaking. This addresses one of the biggest gripes about Sony cameras over the years, that Sony color profiles were drab, clinical, and not aesthetic without putting in the extra work. Additionally the camera has S-Log.3 and S-Gammut3.cine gamma and gamut profiles for integration with the rest of Sony’s current and legacy cameras.
The Codecs and Frame Rates:
Unlike previous cameras in this segment of the lineup, the Sony ILME-FX6 is not hampered by inferior codecs. The FX6 has XAVC-L, like the FS5 did, but it also has XAVC-I as an option, just like the FX9. This means you get an All-I coded for 10-bit 4:2:2 recording up to 120fps in 4k QFHD (Quad Full High Definition, AKA UHD) and up to 60fps in 4k DCI. Like the A7S3 you can also do up to 240fps in HD.
The Variable ND:
Just like its FS5 predecessors, and the FS7m2 and FX9 cameras, the FX6 has a built in Electronic Variable ND filter. The filtration is from 1/4 to 1/128, or 2 to 7 stops. They did also adopt the dedicated ND wheel from the FX9, meaning no more going back and forth between ND and Iris control with a physical switch on the body.
The RAW Output:
No unsurprisingly the camera offers a 12G SDI output for sending a 4k signal to an external monitor or recorder. What is only marginally surprising, only in that it is not a paid upgrade as it has been previously, the Sony ILME-FX6 also uses the SDI spigot to send out a 16-bit RAW signal. I would not be surprised to hear that Atomos will support this on their Shogun 7 and Neon monitors in the very near future.
The Cine.EI Mode:
This is a new one for this class of camera. If you are familiar with the FS7, FX9, F5/55, etc you will already be familiar with Cine.EI. If you are not familiar with it, Cine.EI mode is a more professional way of recording S-log images, offering better color sampling and other advantages over S-log in custom mode. It also means that the FS5 will have real 1D and 3D LUT’s which mean more accurate and customizable monitoring of S-log signals than the Gamma Display Assist options available on the FS5 and A7S3 cameras.
The Auto Focus:
Just like the FX9 and A7S3, the FX6 has Sony’s amazing Fast Hybrid Auto Focus system. The face and eye detection processing is incredibly quick and accurate, and the FX6 is introducing some quick override and subject selection features that utilize the focus ring on the lenses. You can use the focus ring to override the autofocus system to manual focus, OR, you can use the ring to quickly switch between subjects when you have multiple faces in the shot.
The LCD Screen:
The FX6 sports a larger LCD screen than the FS5 with touch capability. You can use the touch screen to set focus points and to navigate settings in the Status Menu. There are also 5 mounting points on the camera to position the LCD in a variety of locations to aid different shooting situations.
The Smart Handle:
The newly designed smart handle offers some of the things you would normally expect on a top handle; Mic holder, XLR inputs, Zoom rocker, start/stop button, M/I shoe, etc. But it also offers a few new innovations. There are now 2 user assignable buttons for quick access to features you might need while shooting holding the handle as well as a multi-selector button (joystick) for navigating certain settings. There are also several 1/4-20 mounting points for accessories.
The Smart Grip:
Not much to say about it, other than that the connector is now a micro-usb instead of LANC. In theory you could potentially use an FX9 hand grip on the FX6 just like you could use the FS7 handle on an FS5.
A few other notable features that don’t fall anywhere in the above. Dual SDXC/CF Express Type A slots (just like the A7S3). Built-in Wi-Fi for use with mobile monitoring/control apps. TC in/out port. Simultaneous Proxy recording (likely limited based on selected frame rate/resolution). No doubt there is more yet to be discovered after getting into the camera.
The Kit Lens:
This package comes with the 25-105 G lens from Sony. This is a fantastic lens with a good reach and great optics.
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