DEFINITION - April 2020 - Web


cycled between using the ND plus/ minus buttons or can be used as a full variable ND using the scroll wheel on the body. 6K BUT NO 6K While the sensor is a 6K sensor, you can’t actually record in 6K. The camera takes the 6K full-frame read-out and downsamples it to a full-frame 3840x2160 recording. At launch, only 16x9 resolutions are available and the highest frame rate when shooting 4K using the full- frame read-out is 30p (at the time of review). If you want to shoot 4K UHD 60fps, then the FX9 also has a Super 35 window mode. When using this window mode, you can also shoot 120fps, but only in 1920x1080. So, what about codecs? The FX9 shares the same XAVC-I and XAVC-L codecs from the FS7, with the data rate for 4K 50p option topping out at 500Mbps. Sony has promised that in future firmware updates (expected summer 2020, but not confirmed) the following resolutions and frame rates will be made available: full- frame 4K DCI up to 60p, 2K DCI and then a 5K 60p crop mode (which will downsample to 4K). As well as 180fps in NTSC and 150fps in PAL, both in 1920x1080 Super 35 crop. And finally, 100fps and 120fps in 4K UHD Super 35. This firmware release will improve the currently limited off-speed performance of the FX9. BODY MATTERS In terms of the camera body, what’s new? Aside from the obvious ‘Venice grey’ colouring, Sony has made a


BELOW The new directional buttons are easier to use at speed than the FS7’s wheel

few tweaks and improvements. As I mentioned earlier, the ND plus/ minus button is a great example. Another big change is that, instead of the scroll wheel for navigating the menus as per the FS7, the FX9 has four directional keys with a centre ‘selection’ button. These buttons feel a lot more tactile and easier to use at speed compared to the ‘mushy’ feeling wheel on the FS7. While the menus on the FX9 still look and feel similar to those of its predecessor, having this new faster and more accurate method of navigation makes the menu experience nicer overall and was a pleasant surprise when I first picked it up. But back to the body, one feature I absolutely love is the addition of three buttons near the front of the camera, located just above the gain/ white-balance preset switches, that allow you to change your ISO, shutter speed and white-balance on the fly! Pressing one of these buttons highlights the chosen setting on the viewfinder and you can cycle through the FX9’s full range of ISO, shutter speeds or colour temps and choose the desired setting without ever diving into the menus, making changing these important settings easier and faster than on the FS7. LENSES & AUTOFOCUS The FX9’s E-mount is also improved over the mount on the FS7, as it’s a locking E-mount, giving you a much more secure mounting system when working with heavier E-mount or PL lenses (via an adapter such as the one Vocas supplied to me). Sony has also added both time code and genlock sync to the body itself rather than via an extension as was the case with the FS7, but Sony

will have an extension backpack for the FX9 called the XDCA external mount module, which will offer the following connections: V-Mount battery support, DTap power, a DWX slot for wireless audio, dual link streaming and RJ45 Ethernet. One thing I’m yet to touch on, but is certainly a fantastic part of what the FX9 has to offer, is its new Fast Hybrid Autofocus system. I’ve tested the AF with the supplied 28- 135 F4 (SELP28135G) lens, so can’t confirm how well it would work with an adapted EF lens, as was a popular choice with the FS7. The FX9’s AF performance out of the box blew me away. I simply enabled AF on the lens and the camera tracked my subject’s face perfectly as he approached, even holding focus at 135mm wide open when he was within a foot or so of the camera and about to leave the frame. The autofocus is ‘hybrid’ and is contrast-based, but also uses phase detection, meaning the response is both fast and smooth, and it can reliably and precisely track subjects. VOCAS Now on to the Vocas Shoulder kit and PL mount that was supplied to me alongside the camera. The shoulder pad is the USBP-15 with soft shoulder pad and features 15mm rod holes on both the front and back, a very comfortable but stable shoulder pad and then a custom sliding plate designed specifically for the FX9. One thing I like about this plate is how it attaches to the camera. As well as multiple 0.25-inch and 0.75- inch threads, there are three small allen key screws on the back of the plate that screw into three holes on the bottom of the FX9 body, giving the plate a very solid and reliable

52 DEF I N I T ION | APR I L 2020

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