Definition February 2021 - Web

GEAR REVI EW | SONY FX6

“THE AF IS SUPERB AND FUNCTIONS RELIABLY IN LOTS OF SITUATIONS”

or through touch-to-focus on the touchscreen. This lets you do smooth focus pulls, too. It takes experience to know which settings work best in each different shooting situation, but if you are used to the A7 series Sony mirrorless cameras, while it’s not identical, it’s at least similar. The A7S III uses touch tracking, where you touch the screen to identify a subject, with the AF subsequently following it around the frame. Perhaps that is a future addition to an FX6 firmware update or the FX6 Mark II. Even without this, the AF is superb and functions reliably in lots of different situations. It locks on to its subjects quickly and stays with them like no other system in any cinema camera. Another wonderful feature on the FX6 is Sony’s electronic Variable ND filter that switches between controlled ND stops or variable ND. There’s also Auto ND, which allows you to keep your shutter speed and aperture constant for a consistent look. The camera alters the ND level to get the correct exposure. The built-in ND filters leave no room for IBIS, so only stabilised E-mount lenses can help in this department. Compared to the A7S III, which has full IBIS, it doesn’t come close and it’s one of the biggest disappointments with the camera. However, the FX6 records gyro metadata for every shot, before being

stabilised by Sony’s Catalyst Browse/ Prepare software. It works very well, but it’s another job in post. Also like the FX9, the FX6 has built-in Wi-Fi and it can be controlled remotely via a smartphone. Using Sony’s free Content Browser Mobile, you can alter camera settings and view what’s being filmed. It was a bit fiddly, requiring three attempts before success. Once it was set up, with passwords laboriously keyed in, it connected easily every time, though the resolution of the images on the phone left a lot to be desired. SMALL AND COMPACT Physically, the camera is small and compact, with an adjustable handle grip and lots of user- customisable buttons, but sadly there is no locking E-mount system. The top handle screws into the body and houses the two XLR inputs and the MI shoe. For a camera that’s so small and light, it’s suitable to be used with a gimbal or a drone, but by taking off the top handle, there is no way of attaching an external mic. And

while we’re on the difficult subject of complaining, the FX6 doesn’t have a viewfinder at all. Alongside the short body, this means it’s not very natural to use it on the shoulder. For shoulder- mount use, you’d have to acquire some sort of rig and either an EVF or an optical loupe to fasten on to the body’s touchscreen. The screen is very good and has a series of buttons to toggle peaking, zebras or the AF point, all of which are customisable. The touchscreen can be used to change settings, or you can use the large multifunction knob at the front or the small joystick near your thumb. The menu button is also a nice touch; a short push is used to bring up the most-used functions, while a long push brings up the menu in its entirety. There are lots of customisable options, and the FX6 feels like a real cinema camera that is designed for people who have worked with them for years. From waveforms and vectorscopes to focus peaking and adjustable zebras, plus all the proper audio controls, it really is a pro-based tool that is easy to use. There are nine buttons for you to program into most-used settings, too. Overall, the menu can appear quite complicated, but it is largely usable. Nonetheless, it’s a shame that Sony hasn’t fitted the new menu system of the A7S III as it’s much better. But with decent ergonomics, a full-frame sensor, fantastic autofocus, great image quality and fantastic low-light performance, the FX6 is a camera that makes lots of sense for independent filmmakers. But it’s also ideal as a B camera to an FX9, and its more compact size makes it better for use on a drone, gimbal or as a crash cam. In terms of value for money for a full-frame cinema camera, the FX6 performs well and simply has no competition at the moment.

BELOW For a reasonable outlay,

users obtain a product with a real cinema camera feel

28 DEF I N I T ION | FEBRUARY 202 1

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