September 13, 2019

The Sony FX9 is Here and it Does Something No Pro Video Camera Has Done Before

Sony FX9
Sony announces both the FX9 and Z750 professional video cameras.

What would you get if you threw a boatload of Sony Venice and A9 parts on a table and challenged Sony engineers to make a run and gun camera? Well, the answer is the follow up to the popular FS7 line. And it’s called the Sony FX9. Designed with the best technologies from the VENICE and A9, the new FS9 has roughly the same basic run and gun style body as the previous FS7 line, but with some notable improvements. Sony also announced the more TV-centric Z750 complete with 12GSDI and wireless capability. Let's take a look.

In what Sony calls a "world's first," the FX9 has a variable electronic neutral density filter that can be controlled from a hard dial on the side of the camera. 

Sony FX9

Sony FX9

Sensor 

Under the hood, the Sony FXW-FX9 has a back-illuminated full-frame 6K Exmor R image sensor that oversamples 6008 x 3168 resolution to create its 4K images capable of full HDR. For those keeping tabs the VENICE oversamples its 6K at 6048 x 4032. Sony says the Exmor R sensor provides 15+ stops of dynamic range and has a dual base ISO at 800 and 4000. (VENICE dual base ISO 500 and 2500). 

Like VENICE, the FX9 includes S-Log 3 and S-Gamut 3 Cine but Sony added a new color science called S-Cinetone that's said to have a more accurate color gamut and skin tones for a better cinematic look. The footage we were shown using S-Cinetone did have less of a video feel to it but still walked that Sony visual palette. The camera is Netflix approved.

Sony added a new color science called S-Cinetone that's said to have a more accurate color gamut and skin tones for a better cinematic look

Fast Hybrid AF & Face Detection 

Sony included the fast autofocus systems we find on its popular Alpha series cameras. The Fast Hybrid AF has 561 focus points covering 94% in the horizontal and 96% in the vertical in full-frame mode. Sony also added in face detection for filmmakers with the ability to choose and track your subject by setting it with the touchscreen LCD.

Fx9 side panel

Variable Electronic ND Filter 

In what Sony calls a "world's first," the FX9 has a variable electronic neutral density filter that can be controlled from a hard dial on the side of the camera. You'll also notice several other hard dials there, covering functions for customizable ND filter presets, dual-channel audio adjustment, Iris control, white balance, and shutter. This is a nice addition since it eliminates what Sony calls "Menu hunting" for the right setting, wasting time on set. And it's got a cool old-school vibe.

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Exmore R sensor recording modes

Recording Modes 

The FX9 is capable of shooting 4K full-frame (3840 x 2160) at 24p/25p/30p or S35 (3840 x 2160) at 24p/25p/30p/60p. A future firmware update will add 4K (4096 x 2160) and 60fps in full-frame mode and in S35 will see 24p/25p/30p/60p at 4096 x 2160. 

High frame rates of 100/120fps are supported in 1080p full-frame and S35. In a future update, 150/180fps will be added in 1080p and S35 will see 3840 x 2160 get 100/120fps.

 
Exmor R sensor frame rate

Build

The FX9 keeps the same run and gun style body as the FS7 with an E- mount lens mount and includes a slew of quick menu options on the side of the camera. Sony also added in 4 separate channels of audio.  

Other refinements include genlock timecode in/out on the body. Electronic viewfinder design can be changed to have a sunshade and the grip is more compact – merging the best features from the FS5 and FS7 grips.

fx9 back

FX9 Future Plans 

Sony has laid out plans for its future which will include 16bit RAW output, 4K60p recording in full-frame mode, full HD 180fps in 6K full-frame mode and DCI 4K recording. The firmware update was suggested to hit summer 2020 but nothing is confirmed. 

Sony also showed us an optional XDCA External mount module, which offers the following connections:

  • RJ45 ethernet
  • dual-link streaming
  • DWX slot in for wireless audio (future firmware update)
  • DTAP power
  • V mount battery support

Price and Availability

The target price for the FX9 starts at $`10,999, $13,499 for the kit, which includes an A-mount 28-135 kit lens. Shipping starts next summer. The XDCA Unit will be available in January 2020 for $2499.

Sony Z750 Camcorder

Sony Z750

Now onto the Sony Z750 shoulder camcorder. This TV-centric camera sports a 2/3" 4K 3 chip CMOS image sensor, with a global shutter. It's capable of recording in 4:2:2 10 bit HDR using Hybrid Log-Gamma and Sony S-Log 3. It has 12G-SDI connectors and wireless transmission support.

Other specs include:

  • 2/3" 4K 3 chip CMOS image sensor
  • global shutter
  • 4:2:2 10 bit 
  • HDR and S-Log3
  • 4K/HD simultaneous recording
  • HFR up to 120p in HD
  • XAVC-L 422 200M codec
  • VPID interface
  • 12G-SDI
  • Built-in wireless streaming to the internet

That's pretty much all we were told about the Z750, which looks like it'll be very popular with television news crews. It will be available in February 2020. Price is TBD.

Sneak Peek: Cinema Lens Series

Sony Cinema Lens Series

Sony also gave us a sneak peek of their new Cinema Lens Series of lenses. The three lens set starts off with the E-Mount FEC 16-35 T3.1. It covers the entire full frame of the image sensor, up to 96% coverage, and has power zoom. Here it is up close and personal:

Sony's New FEC 16-35 T3.1 Cinema Lens
Credit: James DeRuvo

I like having a constant aperture speed in a zoom lens, an at T3.1, that's going to be a very high performing piece of glass. Being Sony, the lens line will only available in E-Mount. There are no plans to create their own lens mount adapter, but they did tell us that Metabones adapters will support their lenses.

Price for the first FE C 16-35 is targeted at $5,500 and will be available this Spring.      

Your Comment

18 Comments

One thing that is really confusing me: 4K 100/120p raw output.

Does this require the extension unit, or just the future firmware update? It's pretty hard to decipher which features rely on future updates and what relies on the extension unit. For example 6K raw out seems to need the extension unit. So does 10-bit 4K 120p output. But 4K 120p raw only says it requires the firmware update. So is the camera capable of certain types of raw output without the extension unit?

September 13, 2019 at 7:20AM

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Hi John - Your question: Does 4K 100/120p raw output require the extension unit?
Any 16bit RAW or RAW output will require the extension unit. So the camera is not capable of RAW recording externally without the extension or internally in any capacity. RAW being the key word. The extension unit will also be needed for 10-bit S35 4K at 120fps.

Internally, the FX9 can record 4K 4:2:2 10bit, UHD up to 60 fps, HD up to 180 fps. Nothing too ground-breaking. Hope that helps.

September 13, 2019 at 11:02AM, Edited September 13, 11:03AM

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Does it really come with an A-mount? Am I not getting something? Why not EF mount - I didn't even know they made those GM lenses on the picture for A-mount...

September 13, 2019 at 11:04AM, Edited September 13, 11:04AM

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I think you might be confused, it’s an E-Mount camera that has many specialized lenses available for it, both by Sony and others.

EF is a Canon mount, so it wouldn’t make sense to use.

September 13, 2019 at 12:19PM

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BD
797

Thanks but I am only confused by the article as it clearly states at two different parts that the camera comes with an A-mount and with an A-mount kit lens, otherwise I am quite familiar with the E-mount, I own two E-mount bodies...

September 14, 2019 at 2:23AM

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It would make sense for the millions of Canon users who own sh!tloads of Canon lenses.

September 19, 2019 at 3:50PM

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This article states that the camera is equipped with an A-Mount. It is incorrect.

September 13, 2019 at 8:52PM

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Seth Reiber
Videographer
72

World's first AF cine lenses...

September 13, 2019 at 5:35PM

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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
31361

What about the Canon 18-80?

September 14, 2019 at 5:06AM

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Right you are. Ok, world's first FF AF cine lenses...

September 17, 2019 at 5:33PM

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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
31361

I'm very into the ergonomics and I'd like to get to use this over my FS7 but it doesnt seem like that much of a replacement. I'd like to see 6K in the 2nd version of it, or if they do something in between. Whats great is that if you have an FS7 and like it, it seems like most of your AKS will work on this.

September 14, 2019 at 3:41PM

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The electronic ND has been around since the FS5, so not sure about world's first. It's the standout feature on the FS-X line and is a game changer for anyone who's used it.

There are some subtle and not so subtle differences. At some point we'll get 6k out of this thing, but they're holding off so they don't cannibalize themselves. The BIG differences are the new color science, real AF on a Sony Cinema Camera(the others had it but c'mon), a better EvF which I didn't find all that bad on our FS7II, 4 audio dials on the outside like their EnG XDcams and supposedly a much better zoom rocker. That was a big disappointment from our EnG days. The Fuji new gathering lenses are so smooth compared to anything I've slapped on our FS5 or FS7. Don't know if it's the lenses or the mechanism driving them. Guess we'll find out.

The ergonomics seem the same which are fine. Seems their so-so menu system is still intact. Ugh. And the rod for the EVF seems like the same length which bugs me, since it needs to be 1-2" longer for more adjustment options.

We're not rushing to 6k here, so I'm not on that bandwagon. Still shooting in 4k and delivering mostly in HD for the foreseeable future except on shows where we need more resolution for LED walls.

September 16, 2019 at 10:44AM

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Josh.R
Motion Designer/Predator
986

Yeah sorry NFS, you've made too many mistakes in recent articles. A-mount? Really? Please double check your facts. It's as if you've hired writers who aren't even interested in filmmaking. At this point it's more reliable to check newsshooter or cinema5d.

September 14, 2019 at 9:16PM

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Miguel Sotto
Cinematographer
261

good

September 15, 2019 at 5:37AM

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Hi, I probably didn't understand something, it doesn't have internal RAW?

September 16, 2019 at 10:40AM

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Amwalls
Director of Photography
8

The sensor size on FX 9 is 35,7 x 18,8 mm does that qualify it a full frame - should it not be at least 36 x 24 mm?

September 19, 2019 at 8:41AM

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Masse
8

James,

With all due respect, I am sick and tired of the ridiculous negative hype train that there is a “Sony look.” It’s not real, it’s not a thing. It’s marketing drivel, and you’re caught up in it too. Please drop that shit. It’s old and tired.

Secondly, you mentioned a touchscreen LCD? I haven’t seen a lot about the camera, but I heard that the LCD was not touchscreen capable. Can we double check this?

September 19, 2019 at 1:45PM

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Casey McBeath
DP/Gimbal Operator
97

What's the point of amazing auto focus if you can't tap on someones face and have the camera face detect / AF?
So yes - that would totally suck if it didn't have touchscreen.
It's not like they can't afford it - Sony sells $79 digital cameras - literally entire cameras - that have touch screens. So having a touch screen seems pretty reasonable even if you have buttons. It's just a better way to interface if they make the menu system useable.
Granted - I doubt it would be as easy as BlackMagic's touch screen system (known as one of the easiest menus) - or as big and beautiful touch screen as the new Black Magic Pocket Cinema 4k / 6k cameras.
Having the a9 auto focus engine without the ability to touch on a face and have it tracked is super annoying and just plain cheap.

September 19, 2019 at 4:29PM

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Travis Johansen - Minneapolis
Director of Photography & Producer
79