This is a Big Deal. The new Sony FX6 Cinema Camera.

This is a Big Deal. The new Sony FX6 Cinema Camera.

Sony has done it again. This time they did it in the Cinema Camera world with the newly announced FX6. I have been eyeballing this camera for a while as some of us were briefed on it long ago when it was just in development.

This is a HUGE deal as this camera offers so much, for so little. Make no mistake, IT IS going to hurt the sales of Canon’s cinema camera going forward. How so? Well, seeing that I am an owner of a new Canon C300 MKIII which sells for about $11,000, this new Sony FX6 offers a huge upgrade to the Canon. A FULL FRAME sensor. Typically, if you wanted a full frame sensor in Cinema Camera you had to spend at least $10,000. Canon’s C500 II which is full frame is a $16,000 camera. The C300 III that I own has a Super 35 sensor which is closer to APS-C than full frame.

The new Sony appears to have all of the features cinema users have been craving. Besides that full frame sensor, the Sony offers crazy low light capability up to 406k. It also brings full DCI 4k in 10Bit. Let’s just look at the specs:

  • 4K 10.2 megapixel full-frame back-illuminated CMOS Exmor R™ sensor
  • Compact and lightweight body design for on-the-go shooting
  • Ultra-high sensitivity with ISO expandable up to 409,600 for very low light conditions
  • 15+ stops of dynamic range[i]
  • S-CinetoneTM look profile, also used in FX9 and inspired by VENICE colorimetry
  • BIONZ XR™ image processing engine, first used in Alpha 7S III
  • Fast Hybrid Auto Focus, also used in Alpha cameras and FX9
  • Recording up to 4K 120p / HD 240p, 10-bit 4:2:2 color depth in full-frame[ii]
  • Support for up to 12G-SDI and 4K at up to 60p 16-bit SDI RAW output
  • Compatible with more than 50 native E-mount lenses

So we get 15 stops of DR, the S-Cinetone color profile, the same processing engine as in the A7SIII and 4k/120P. All in a small size body that is light and capable of gorgeous video. With so many buying a camera like the A7SIII just for YouTube creation I feel this camera at $5999 will explode for Sony. Video is the future but the future is NOW. Video is much more popular these days than still cameras and Sony just delivered a few body blows and an uppercut to Canon.

I have owned a cinema camera for many years, and I prefer them for some shooting over a mirrorless camera for a few reasons. For one, mine stays on its tripod and has one job. A cinema camera has no time limits on recording. They do not overheat. They produce images with stunning dynamic range and do it with ease. They have built in ND filters so no need to buy them for all of your lenses. The low light capabilities are usually fantastic with these cameras. They offer a depth to the image that even the best mirrorless cameras lack. This FX6 would be my choice even over the more costly Sony FX9 as I feel it’s a better camera choice for most of us, which is crazy. Smaller, lighter, just as capable, and less expensive.

I love Canon. I owned the C100 MKII for a long time, and recently sold it for a C300 III. I love the Canon color science, dual pixel AF, face detection and the fact that it delivers massive dynamic range with built in XLR ports for the audio but my $11,000 canon C300 III doesn’t even have a full frame sensor. If I would have waited I would have possibly switched to the Sony FX6 as it delivers so much for so little, at least in the Cinema world. I predict this one will be sold out for a while just like the A7SIII. 

You can pre-order the FX6 at B&H Photo here, and early pre-orders always guarantee you will get one quicker than those who do not! 

SAN DIEGO – November 17, 2020 – Sony Electronics Inc. today officially announced the FX6 (model ILME-FX6V) camera, the latest addition to Sony’s Cinema Line, a series of products that brings the company’s expertise in imaging technology to a broad range of filmmakers and content creators.

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 well as enhanced operability thanks to an innovative body design, extensive durability and intuitive customizability.

As part of the Cinema Line, the all-new FX6 incorporates Sony’s core technologies of image sensor, processing engine, and AF (autofocus) performance. FX6 is also compatible with the wide range of Sony E-mount lenses for creative flexibility.

“The new FX6 is the latest example of Sony’s drive to continuously push the boundaries of imaging technology based on the needs of our customers,” said Neal Manowitz, deputy president of Imaging Products and Solutions Americas, Sony Electronics. “With the advancement of our Cinema Line, we are dedicated to enabling the extraordinary skills and talent of today’s content creators and cinematographers. The FX6 leverages technology from Sony’s industry-leading VENICE cinema camera and marries it with the best of Sony’s innovative Alpha mirrorless camera technology.”

Full-frame Cinematic Image Quality

The new camera features a 10.2 MP[iii] full-frame back-illuminated Exmor R™ CMOS sensor that delivers a 15+ stop wide dynamic range[iv] with high sensitivity and low noise. FX6’s base sensitivity is ISO 800 with an enhanced sensitivity setting of ISO 12,800[v] – expandable up to 409,600[vi] – for shooting in low and very low light conditions. It is capable of recording in XAVC All Intra 4:2:2 10-bit depth with stunning image quality in DCI 4K (4096 x 2160 – up to 60p), QFHD 4K (3840 x 2160 – up to 120p[vii]) and FHD (1920×1080 – up to 240p) for incredibly detailed slow motion.  When more convenient file sizes are needed, FX6 can record in XAVC Long GOP 4:2:0 8-bit QFHD 4K (3840 x 2160 – up to 120pvii) and 4:2:2 10-bit FHD (1920×1080 – up to 240p). FX6 also includes a BIONZ XR™ image processing engine, first used in the new Sony Alpha 7S III camera, providing up to four times faster processing performance compared to the FS5 II.

Developed with the same expertise as Sony’s world-leading VENICE cinema camera, FX6 offers advanced cinematic color science including S-CinetoneTM for richer tonal reproduction right out of the box as well as S-Log3, S-Gamut3 and S-Gamut3.Cine for post-production flexibility. FX6’s cinematic color science is optimized for premium applications by capturing the maximum dynamic range from the sensor and providing creative freedom. Leveraging the color science of VENICE, FX6 also allows productions to easily match footage with other cameras in the Cinema Line.

Advanced Video Features

Pulling from Sony Alpha’s impressive AF features, FX6 offers Fast Hybrid AF by combining 627-point[viii] focal plane phase-detection AF with advanced Face Detection and Real-time Eye AF in high frame rates with continuous AF, allowing camera operators to effortlessly and precisely track fast-moving subjects in slow motion without losing focus. Fast Hybrid AF works with over 50 native E-mount lenses. The camera can also capture up to five times slow-motion with 4K (QFHD) 120fps.

The new FX6 also offers internal electronic variable ND filters for easy and seamless control of the camera’s filter density. Users can set variable ND to auto or adjust the filter density manually in smooth increments from 1/4 to 1/128 for perfectly exposed images without affecting the depth of field or shutter angle, even during changing lighting conditions. Combined with the camera’s ultra-high sensitivity, the electronic variable ND filter provides users with outstanding creative control in almost any shooting environment.

Made for Content Creators on the Go

Outstanding Mobility and Operability

Built with a durable magnesium alloy chassis, measuring just 4.6 inches x 6 inches x 4.5 inches (116 millimeters x 153 millimeters x 114 millimeters) and weighing just 1.96 pounds (0.89 kilograms), FX6 has a compact and lightweight design making it easy for users to grab and shoot at any time. The new camera includes a heat dissipating structure to keep the camera’s components within their normal operating ranges to prevent overheating, even during extended recording times. FX6 also features a modular design allowing users to easily pair accessories, such as grips and viewfinders, or attach the camera to other mechanisms, such as gimbals and drones.

FX6’s 3.5-inch LCD Viewfinder can be attached on multiple locations of the camera body for added freedom and easy menu control with touch operation. Using a quick access control menu for commonly accessed features, camera operators can change key settings with a single touch – including Codec, Imager Scan Mode, Picture Size and Frequency, Base ISO and Sensitivity, Shooting Mode and Audio Levels.

Professional-level Reliability

In line with professional workflows, FX6 includes a 12G-SDI output that also supports 16-bit RAW, HDMI output, timecode in/out, built-in Wi-Fi and four channel audio recording (via XLR Interface, Multi-Interface Shoe and built-in Stereo Mic). The new camera also features two media slots compatible with CFexpress Type A cards[ix] for higher overall capacity and faster read and write speeds in addition to SDXC UHS-II/UHS-I cards.

Additionally, Sony’s Catalyst Browse/Prepare[x] software facilitates fast and easy editing. Users can import FX6’s image stabilization metadata into Catalyst Browse/Prepare to transform handheld footage into incredibly smooth and stable visuals. FX6 also has a dedicated Clip Flag button to easily filter and locate preferred takes using Catalyst Browse/Prepare. This software also reflects metadata indicating when FX6 is rotated or in its normal position, eliminating the need to rotate footage beforehand. FX6 is also compatible with Sony’s Content Browser Mobile App to easily monitor and control focus, iris, and zoom remotely[xi].

About Cinema Line

Cinema Line is series of professional cameras that have a filmic look, cultivated from Sony’s long experience in digital cinema production, and enhanced operability and reliability that responds to the wide variety of creator’s high demands.

Cinema Line includes the digital cinema camera VENICE, which is highly acclaimed in the feature and episodic production industry, and the professional camera FX9, which is has been popular for documentary and drama production. With the new FX6, Sony brings versatile creative tools to all types of visual storytellers.

FE C 16-35mm T3.1 G E-mount Cinema Lens

The FE C 16-35mm T3.1 G (model SELC1635G) lens, announced at IBC 2019, will be available in December 2020 to pair with FX6, FX9 and other full-frame Sony cameras. This new lens supports intelligent shooting functions unique to E-mount cameras – such as fast and accurate AF within shallow depth of field – while also offering manual focus options in a form factor familiar to professional cinema creators.

The FE C 16-35mm T3.1 G delivers stunning bokeh and corner-to-corner resolution thanks to two XA (Extreme Aspherical) elements with extreme surface precision of 0.01-micron, circular 11-blade apertures in addition to three aspheric lenses that are positioned in a way that effectively reduces field curvature, astigmatism and, in combination with two ED (Extra-low Dispersion) glass elements, reduces color distortion. Additionally, floating focus provides outstanding resolution at every zoom position. The new lens also features Nano AR (Anti Reflection) coating, to reduce flare.

The focus ring offers a 140-degree large angle of rotation for fine control, with distance scale markers for consistent focus reset during multiple takes. Linear Response MF enables smooth manual focus, allowing users to adjust focus accurately and intuitively. Three independent rings for focus, iris and zoom enable users to get the exact creative results they desire. Each ring has the industry standard 0.8mm pitch gear for use of follow focus accessories, and the 114mm barrel diameter is compatible with industry standard matte box accessories. A two-speed servo provides smooth, accurate control of focal length and can be activated from a switch on the lens or a lever on the FX6 Smart Grip.

Pricing and Availability

The new FX6 full-frame Cinema Line camera will be available in December and will be sold for approximately $5,999.99 USD and $8,048.99 CAD, at a variety of Sony’s authorized dealers throughout North America.

A new kit featuring the FX6 full-frame Cinema Line camera and FE 24-105mm F4 G E-mount Lens will also be available in December and will be sold for approximately $7,199.99 USD and $9,658.99 CAD. It will be sold at a variety of Sony’s authorized dealers throughout North America.

The FE C 16-35mm T3.1 G lens will be available in December and will be sold for approximately $5,499.99 USD and $7,199.99 CAD, at a variety of Sony’s authorized dealers throughout North America.

3 Comments

  1. Calm down Steve. Full frame is not the end all of the cinema world. You have had full frame with the 5D for years now. I own the FX9 and the C300Mk3. I use the C300mk3 for run and gun/low light/news coverage. We have no need for full frame for news coverage (and appreciate that Canon decided to give us the 720 option again after they did not include it on the mk2). The FX9 is cool because you can shoot full frame OR s35 and still get 4k, plus soon S16 in HD. the FX6 will only give you s35 in HD, and never mind super16. So you are still limited there. It seems that the FX6 is just the A7S3 with ND and XLRs, which is nice, and will make a good 2nd camera to the FX9 for sure, but if the FX9, same price as the C300mk3, already able to do full frame and S35 in 4k, AND with some kind of EVF looking loupe on the monitor, did not kill the C300Mk3, I doubt the FX6 will be enough for many of us. I’m not saying I won’t buy it, I’m just saying not to replace anything I have, just to add to it.

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