Definition February 2021 - Web

SONY FX6 | GEAR REVI EW

a low-resolution sensor that’s good in low light, it means it can also be processed very quickly by the new, superfast Bionz XR processors – just like the A7S III. This means the rolling shutter issues are well under control. Most filmmakers would take great high-ISO performance, very little rolling shutter and no overheating issues over 6K or 8K sensors any day. If you do want to squeeze even more quality from the FX6, then it can output 16-bit Raw files to an Atomos recorder, which converts it to 12-bit ProRes Raw files for easier post-processing. With whispers of 16- bit Raw capture on the horizon, that would lead to even higher quality files, though very few people would ever look at the 4K, 600Mbps, 10-bit 4:2:2 All-Intra files from the FX6 and really want any more. The only users who might want it may be users of green screen or SFX, but in reality, this isn’t the target market for the FX6. The market for the camera includes larger productions that might want the FX6 as a crash cam or B camera, but the real target audience is independent filmmakers who want the true cinematic, full-frame look and run- and-gun usability, albeit for a price they can afford. TRUSTY AUTOFOCUS Many independent filmmakers already have an investment in Sony E-mount glass, as it fits the A7 and A9 series of mirrorless cameras, as well as Sony’s popular FS5 and FS7 range. These fit right on, and the beauty of this is the advanced AF system that uses 627 phase detection points across almost the whole frame. Along with Canon, Sony is pioneering usable autofocus for filmmakers, and the

reduction at higher ISO settings. With both cameras, we managed to get the best results by lowering the in-camera noise reduction and instead using de-noise software in post. That makes a big difference, and certainly the FX6 edges ahead in terms of low-light/ high-ISO performance. CODEC AND BASE SETTINGS It is in the codecs and base settings that the two cameras differ. The FX6 uses the MXF wrapper, similar to its big brother FX9, and there is no H.265-based codec like the A7S III. When you boot up the FX6, you can choose between two modes: custom or CineEI. In custom, it uses standard colours as well as the S-Cinetone colour technology borrowed from the Venice and FX9. This is a fantastic option for great colours right out of the camera, offering a subtle palette that is still lifelike, but slightly more cinematic than standard. This setting produces great skin tones and is better at retaining highlight detail than the standard profile. If you want to shoot Raw or Log, you can select S-Log3 in CineEI mode, giving the most dynamic range and offering the best setting for grading in post. The camera records in either ISO 800 or 12,800. CineEI mode allows you to add a LUT to SDI or HDMI outputs, so you can get a good approximation of what it is going to look like in the final edit. There are built-in LUTs or you can add your own, and they even work in S&Q settings up to 120fps. In CineEI mode, with the base ISO set to 12,800, there is a simply amazing amount of dynamic range for low- light scenes. And as the camera uses “WE GOT THE BEST RESULTS BY LOWERING THE IN-CAMERA NOISE REDUCTION AND USING DE-NOISE SOFTWARE”

AF on the FX6 appears to be leading the way. Some might say there is no better way than manual focusing, but if that’s the case, they haven’t tried a full-frame, fast aperture lens shot wide open that can nail focus on a fast-moving car or motorbike, or lock on to a subject’s eyes while they rock back and forth in a chair. The FX6 masters this with ease, once you know how to apply the system. The face and eye detection is excellent. There is standard face detection, just focusing on faces, and Face Priority, which focuses all the time, but as the name suggests, it gives priority to any face it detects. Up to eight faces can be detected, and you can select the one that stays via the toggle switch or touchscreen. You can set AF transition speed; fast for sport or slow for slower-moving subjects. AF subject shift sensitivity is how ‘sticky’ the focus is – how long it locks on to a subject before finding something else to focus on. Then there’s the focus area, which can be set from a wide area to a tighter zone, and even a flexible spot for the most precision. You can move these areas around with a toggle switch

ABOVE There are nine buttons that can be used to program a user’s most-used settings, enabling easy access

FEBRUARY 202 1 | DEF I N I T ION 27

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