Web Analytics
Sony FX9 - some observations
Topics

Sony FX9 - some observations

Christopher Rowe
 

This is not a review of the FX9, just a few interesting points and critiques I'd like to share after I had the chance to test the camera and try it out on a shoot with a simple 2-camera interview set-up.

Autofocus: This feature works well as long as the subject is facing the camera and features can be clearly seen. But the camera is not able to "lock in" to a profile or even a semi-profile shot, and on some occasions even the subject looking down (eyes not visible) or moving through heavy top light (eyes in shadow) caused the focus to be lost - in my opinion, one can only rely on this feature as long as both eyes are visible, which limits its usability to very specific situations, such as interviews or subjects walking towards the camera. Selecting and activating the desired focus point by touch screen would be a much better method than the joystick the FX9 employs.

Autofocus is disabled in S+Q mode - arguably the time when you need it most! So forget about those sport slo-mos in perfect focus, at least until a firmware update.

Display: Better, ie. higher resolutuion than the FS7, but with 2 major drawbacks: The loupe is of poor mechanical and optical quality (I cannot adjust it to my eye strength although this is not a problem with any other high-end viewfinder) and - a real bugbear of mine - there is no tally light in the viewfinder. If you want a clear view of the picture and press "Display" to remove the information superimposed on the image (no option to put this info in the margin) then the STBY/REC indicator also disappears and one is left with the option of either peering at the image through a forest of settings information, or shooting with the nagging insecurity of not being sure whether the camera is recording or not. I had hoped this terrible "feature" of the FS7 viewfinder would be fixed this time round, but sadly not. Strange that a company that has built good quality viewfinders with physical tally lights for decades should suddenly regard them as unnecessary.

MLUT: When shooting 4K SLog a LUT can be applied to the image, but although the menu appears to offer the option to choose a different setting for each output - viewfinder, SDI 1 & 2, HDMI, Proxies - in fact none of these lines in the menu can be accessed, one is left with the simple choice of MLUT on or off for all outputs. When shooting HD, even this option disappears, MLUT cannot be applied, viewfinder and monitors can only show the SLog image. I assume these are bugs that will be fixed in a future firmware update, but until then the only workaround is to use the "Assist" function in the viewfinder and use a LUT box or external monitors with LUT capability.

Some plus points:
- a GENLOC/REF VIDEO port has been reintroduced, good for multi cam shooting and both this and the TC in/out are on the camera body, not the extension unit. 
- High Base ISO images are almost grain free, I couldn't test this feature thoroughly, but this camera will certainly rival the Varicam for low light shooting.

As I said, not a comprehensive review, just some things I noticed. I'd be interested to hear other opinions, particularly regarding the practical usability of autofocus in documentary shooting, maybe I'm missing something.

Have a good week


Chris   

     


--

 

 

 

Christopher Rowe

British DP, based in Berlin

Arri Amira Owner/Operator

www.christopher-rowe.de

Colin Elves
 

Thanks for the observations Chris! A quick question about the high iso mode: have you seen any noise reduction artefacts? (or in either mode I guess).

The FS7 always looked like it applied quite a bit of NR so I’d be interested to see if this was improved or not.

Colin Elves
Director of Photography
 Berlin

On 12 Jan 2020, at 22:50, Christopher Rowe <chris@...> wrote:



This is not a review of the FX9, just a few interesting points and critiques I'd like to share after I had the chance to test the camera and try it out on a shoot with a simple 2-camera interview set-up.

Christopher Rowe
 

Hi Colin,

I haven't been able to properly test the high ISO mode, I just noticed in a quick side-by-side comparison that level of noise is very similar at both base ISOs, 800 & 4,000. I will be looking more closely at this aspect some time soon for an upcoming project, and comparing the FX9 with the C500 Mk2.

NR (Sony calls it noise suppression) can now be either deselected or set to one of 3 levels in Cine EI mode in the FX9, so more options for testing (sigh).

All the best

Chris


--

 

 

 

Christopher Rowe

British DP, based in Berlin

Arri Amira Owner/Operator

www.christopher-rowe.de



On 13.01.2020 07:31, Colin Elves wrote:
Thanks for the observations Chris! A quick question about the high iso mode: have you seen any noise reduction artefacts? (or in either mode I guess).

The FS7 always looked like it applied quite a bit of NR so I’d be interested to see if this was improved or not.

Colin Elves
Director of Photography
 Berlin

On 12 Jan 2020, at 22:50, Christopher Rowe <chris@...> wrote:



This is not a review of the FX9, just a few interesting points and critiques I'd like to share after I had the chance to test the camera and try it out on a shoot with a simple 2-camera interview set-up.


Doug Jensen
 

I shot some test footage with a pre-production FX9 back in November that some people may find of interest.  Tests #3 and #9 were a comparison of gain/noise in different modes.



I believe the files can still be downloaded from Vimeo if someone really wants to take a closer look.

Doug Jensen
Cape Canaveral, Florida



Hi Colin,

I haven't been able to properly test the high ISO mode, I just noticed in a quick side-by-side comparison that level of noise is very similar at both base ISOs, 800 & 4,000. I will be looking more closely at this aspect some time soon for an upcoming project, and comparing the FX9 with the C500 Mk2.

NR (Sony calls it noise suppression) can now be either deselected or set to one of 3 levels in Cine EI mode in the FX9, so more options for testing (sigh).

All the best

Chris

tom@gleeson.net.au
 

Further to this discussion the Australian Cinematographers Society has also released a detailed video report on the FX9 including tests that cover many of the issues being discussed here.

The FX9 article  on NewsShooter.com 

In summary we found the high ISO mode to be excellent and visually indistinguishable from the base 800 setting. The well informed Alistair Chapman* thought the 4000iso mode looked like about the equivalent of 3db gain over 800iso. The 4000iso is so clean it gained up cleanly to 8000asa and even 12800iso is “useable.” 

We found the AF to be pretty dam good but it is configureable and your results will depend on how you set it up. We did some tests using the full frame sensor with a 50mm lens open to F1.4 at 1.46 meters. The AF was set to face detection but from there you can instruct the camera to hold the focus motor if it looses the face or to fall back and continue to track focus using contrast detection. In our test we chose the later and when the model closed her eyes or covered her eyes with her hair the camera maintained good focus. 

Bob you asked about the colour gamut and the FX9 is very close to covering Rec 2020 and is right up there with the Venice gamut but at a fraction of the cost.

*if you google ”Alistair Chapman FX9” there is a video of a presentation he gave showcasing the FX9. it’s not really a review of the FX9 but instead goes into great detail on the operation and capabilities of the FX9. At 3 hours it gives you an idea on how deep you can go on this camera. The ACS Video review is an abridged version and we had to leave material out or we would have also ended up at 3 hours!

Tom Gleeson
SYDNEY DP
ACS Tech Committee 

On 13 Jan 2020, at 17:36, Doug Jensen <doug@...> wrote:


I shot some test footage with a pre-production FX9 back in November that some people may find of interest.  Tests #3 and #9 were a comparison of gain/noise in different modes.



I believe the files can still be downloaded from Vimeo if someone really wants to take a closer look.

Doug Jensen
Cape Canaveral, Florida



Hi Colin,

I haven't been able to properly test the high ISO mode, I just noticed in a quick side-by-side comparison that level of noise is very similar at both base ISOs, 800 & 4,000. I will be looking more closely at this aspect some time soon for an upcoming project, and comparing the FX9 with the C500 Mk2.

NR (Sony calls it noise suppression) can now be either deselected or set to one of 3 levels in Cine EI mode in the FX9, so more options for testing (sigh).

All the best

Chris

Mark Sasahara
 

Thanks for the info, Chris and everyone!

I was able to spend a little time with the FX9 at Abel Cine's FX9 event, in NYC, last month.

Apparently, the autofocus, which is something we are all very interested in, is at version .5. The production models will be delivered with v1.0, according to Tom Cubby, who was there from Sony.

AF was pretty good with the 28-135 Sony lens, but was having trouble with other Sony G lenses, unfortunately. The 28-135 latched onto faces well.

I mounted my older (mk III) Metabones EF to E mount adapter and Canon 24-70 L mkII. No AF, but it did show a value for the zoom. Sadly, there was some vignetting with full frame. I never noticed this, because my other cameras are S35 sized sensors.

No vignetting with the Sigma, or Metabones mkIV adapters. Tom said the Sigma EF to E adapter works well. For best results, use G Series native E-Mount kenses, Native E-Mount lenses, Sigma lenses on a Sigma Adapter. He didn't have any info on Metabones.

When switching between FF and S35, you do not have to reboot the camera.

One cool feature is an app that allows you to view the image and control basic functions of the camera from your phone, or tablet. 

All in all, this is a pretty nifty camera, though it would be cool if it actually output 6K. But, full 6K abilities might piss off Venice owners, who forked over $4000 to upgrade to the full 6K. The FX9 over samples in 6K and outputs UHD, 3840x2160. DCI 4K will come in a firmware update.

This camera seems to hold a lot of potential. But it's up to us to bug Sony and Tom for features and capabilities. Tom says he does his best to pass info and feedback from us, to HQ.

Cheers, 

Mark Sasahara, DP, NYC



On Sun, Jan 12, 2020, 4:50 PM Christopher Rowe <chris@...> wrote:

This is not a review of the FX9, just a few interesting points and critiques I'd like to share after I had the chance to test the camera and try it out on a shoot with a simple 2-camera interview set-up.

Autofocus: This feature works well as long as the subject is facing the camera and features can be clearly seen. But the camera is not able to "lock in" to a profile or even a semi-profile shot, and on some occasions even the subject looking down (eyes not visible) or moving through heavy top light (eyes in shadow) caused the focus to be lost - in my opinion, one can only rely on this feature as long as both eyes are visible, which limits its usability to very specific situations, such as interviews or subjects walking towards the camera. Selecting and activating the desired focus point by touch screen would be a much better method than the joystick the FX9 employs.

Autofocus is disabled in S+Q mode - arguably the time when you need it most! So forget about those sport slo-mos in perfect focus, at least until a firmware update.

Display: Better, ie. higher resolutuion than the FS7, but with 2 major drawbacks: The loupe is of poor mechanical and optical quality (I cannot adjust it to my eye strength although this is not a problem with any other high-end viewfinder) and - a real bugbear of mine - there is no tally light in the viewfinder. If you want a clear view of the picture and press "Display" to remove the information superimposed on the image (no option to put this info in the margin) then the STBY/REC indicator also disappears and one is left with the option of either peering at the image through a forest of settings information, or shooting with the nagging insecurity of not being sure whether the camera is recording or not. I had hoped this terrible "feature" of the FS7 viewfinder would be fixed this time round, but sadly not. Strange that a company that has built good quality viewfinders with physical tally lights for decades should suddenly regard them as unnecessary.

MLUT: When shooting 4K SLog a LUT can be applied to the image, but although the menu appears to offer the option to choose a different setting for each output - viewfinder, SDI 1 & 2, HDMI, Proxies - in fact none of these lines in the menu can be accessed, one is left with the simple choice of MLUT on or off for all outputs. When shooting HD, even this option disappears, MLUT cannot be applied, viewfinder and monitors can only show the SLog image. I assume these are bugs that will be fixed in a future firmware update, but until then the only workaround is to use the "Assist" function in the viewfinder and use a LUT box or external monitors with LUT capability.

Some plus points:
- a GENLOC/REF VIDEO port has been reintroduced, good for multi cam shooting and both this and the TC in/out are on the camera body, not the extension unit. 
- High Base ISO images are almost grain free, I couldn't test this feature thoroughly, but this camera will certainly rival the Varicam for low light shooting.

As I said, not a comprehensive review, just some things I noticed. I'd be interested to hear other opinions, particularly regarding the practical usability of autofocus in documentary shooting, maybe I'm missing something.

Have a good week


Chris   

     


--

 

 

 

Christopher Rowe

British DP, based in Berlin

Arri Amira Owner/Operator

www.christopher-rowe.de

Steve Oakley
 

Thanks guys. All of this is interesting as I’m debating some gear upgrades for work in the next year. Basically if I trick out my C300-2 for full ENG style shooting with a Fujion 20-120 or similar, EVF, should pad or if I go for a full size ENG cam. I’ve owned a few sony’s back in the 90’s, currently have access to a couple HPX3000 series which are simply way way too heavy when built even though they make perfectly great pix. So FS7 and FX9 had been on my radar, although outfitting the camera I have and plan to keep is probably my cheapest option.

S

On Jan 13, 2020, at 1:05 PM, Mark Sasahara <marksasahara@...> wrote:

Thanks for the info, Chris and everyone!

I was able to spend a little time with the FX9 at Abel Cine's FX9 event, in NYC, last month.

Apparently, the autofocus, which is something we are all very interested in, is at version .5. The production models will be delivered with v1.0, according to Tom Cubby, who was there from Sony.

AF was pretty good with the 28-135 Sony lens, but was having trouble with other Sony G lenses, unfortunately. The 28-135 latched onto faces well.

I mounted my older (mk III) Metabones EF to E mount adapter and Canon 24-70 L mkII. No AF, but it did show a value for the zoom. Sadly, there was some vignetting with full frame. I never noticed this, because my other cameras are S35 sized sensors.

No vignetting with the Sigma, or Metabones mkIV adapters. Tom said the Sigma EF to E adapter works well. For best results, use G Series native E-Mount kenses, Native E-Mount lenses, Sigma lenses on a Sigma Adapter. He didn't have any info on Metabones.

When switching between FF and S35, you do not have to reboot the camera.

One cool feature is an app that allows you to view the image and control basic functions of the camera from your phone, or tablet. 

All in all, this is a pretty nifty camera, though it would be cool if it actually output 6K. But, full 6K abilities might piss off Venice owners, who forked over $4000 to upgrade to the full 6K. The FX9 over samples in 6K and outputs UHD, 3840x2160. DCI 4K will come in a firmware update.

This camera seems to hold a lot of potential. But it's up to us to bug Sony and Tom for features and capabilities. Tom says he does his best to pass info and feedback from us, to HQ.

Cheers, 

Mark Sasahara, DP, NYC



On Sun, Jan 12, 2020, 4:50 PM Christopher Rowe <chris@...> wrote:

This is not a review of the FX9, just a few interesting points and critiques I'd like to share after I had the chance to test the camera and try it out on a shoot with a simple 2-camera interview set-up.

Autofocus: This feature works well as long as the subject is facing the camera and features can be clearly seen. But the camera is not able to "lock in" to a profile or even a semi-profile shot, and on some occasions even the subject looking down (eyes not visible) or moving through heavy top light (eyes in shadow) caused the focus to be lost - in my opinion, one can only rely on this feature as long as both eyes are visible, which limits its usability to very specific situations, such as interviews or subjects walking towards the camera. Selecting and activating the desired focus point by touch screen would be a much better method than the joystick the FX9 employs.

Autofocus is disabled in S+Q mode - arguably the time when you need it most! So forget about those sport slo-mos in perfect focus, at least until a firmware update.

Display: Better, ie. higher resolutuion than the FS7, but with 2 major drawbacks: The loupe is of poor mechanical and optical quality (I cannot adjust it to my eye strength although this is not a problem with any other high-end viewfinder) and - a real bugbear of mine - there is no tally light in the viewfinder. If you want a clear view of the picture and press "Display" to remove the information superimposed on the image (no option to put this info in the margin) then the STBY/REC indicator also disappears and one is left with the option of either peering at the image through a forest of settings information, or shooting with the nagging insecurity of not being sure whether the camera is recording or not. I had hoped this terrible "feature" of the FS7 viewfinder would be fixed this time round, but sadly not. Strange that a company that has built good quality viewfinders with physical tally lights for decades should suddenly regard them as unnecessary.

MLUT: When shooting 4K SLog a LUT can be applied to the image, but although the menu appears to offer the option to choose a different setting for each output - viewfinder, SDI 1 & 2, HDMI, Proxies - in fact none of these lines in the menu can be accessed, one is left with the simple choice of MLUT on or off for all outputs. When shooting HD, even this option disappears, MLUT cannot be applied, viewfinder and monitors can only show the SLog image. I assume these are bugs that will be fixed in a future firmware update, but until then the only workaround is to use the "Assist" function in the viewfinder and use a LUT box or external monitors with LUT capability.

Some plus points: 
- a GENLOC/REF VIDEO port has been reintroduced, good for multi cam shooting and both this and the TC in/out are on the camera body, not the extension unit.  
- High Base ISO images are almost grain free, I couldn't test this feature thoroughly, but this camera will certainly rival the Varicam for low light shooting.

As I said, not a comprehensive review, just some things I noticed. I'd be interested to hear other opinions, particularly regarding the practical usability of autofocus in documentary shooting, maybe I'm missing something.

Have a good week


Chris    

      


-- 

 

 

 

Christopher Rowe 

British DP, based in Berlin 

Arri Amira Owner/Operator

www.christopher-rowe.de




Art Adams
 

Hi Doug-

 

Your Vimeo links appear to be the same video: #9, part 2. I don’t see part 1.

_______________________________________________________
Art 
Adams
Cinema Lens Specialist
ARRI Inc.
3700 Vanowen Street
BurbankCA 91505
www.arri.com 

 
aadams@...
Get all the latest information from www.arri.comFacebookTwitterInstagram and YouTube.






This message is confidential. It may also be privileged or otherwise protected by work product immunity or other legal rules. If you have received it by mistake, please let us know by e-mail reply and delete it from your system; you may not copy this message or disclose its contents to anyone. Please send us by fax any message containing deadlines as incoming e-mails are not screened for response deadlines. The integrity and security of this message cannot be guaranteed on the Internet.


Doug Jensen
 

Hi Art,

Yes, my mistake. Sorry for the confusion.  I guess I might as well post links to all 10 videos.
I only had the camera for a couple of days but I tried to make the most of it.

Video #1: Custom Mode: S-Cinetone (Venice look) and HG 8

Video #2: Custom Mode: High and Low Sensitivity w/ HG 8
vimeo.com/373411453

Video #3: Custom Mode: Gain/Noise comparisons part 1
vimeo.com/373429935

Video #4: S-LOG: Indoor Footage
vimeo.com/373595256

Video #5: S-LOG: Outdoor Footage
vimeo.com/373605035

Video #6: S-LOG: Veterans Day Parade
vimeo.com/373641704

Video #7: Custom Mode: Orlando Park
vimeo.com/373630701

Video #8: FF and S35 Field of View comparison
vimeo.com/373674993

Video #9: Gain/Noise comparisons part 2
vimeo.com/373679052

Video #10: S-LOG: Exposure level
vimeo.com/373685531

Doug Jensen
Cape Canaveral, Florida





From: Art Adams <aadams@...>
Reply-To: <cml-general@...>
Date: Monday, January 13, 2020 at 2:01 PM
To: "cml-general@..." <cml-general@...>
Subject: [cml-general] Sony FX9 - some observations

Hi Doug-

 

Your Vimeo links appear to be the same video: #9, part 2. I don’t see part 1.