Sony’s FX9 Major Firmware 2.0 Update Adds 16-Bit RAW Output

In October 2020, there will be a firmware update (version 2.0) for the Sony FX9 Full-Frame Cinema Camera

On April 30, Sony announced a major free firmware update for the Sony FX9, but the firmware 2.0 upgrade won’t be available until this October. However, it will let users add some impressive features: 

  • It will now be able to capture 16-bit RAW output video (using the optional XDCA-FX9 accessory back, which costs extra),
  • and it will offer 4K-resolution video (at 60p/50p) recording through oversampling from a 5K-cropped area of 6K full-frame sensor.
For 16-bit RAW output, which you’ll need to use the optional XDCA-FX9 accessory back, there are a variety of frame rates available for Full-Frame or Super 35.

 

There will be an option for Full-Frame 5K Scan mode (oversampling 60p [59.94p]/50p recording.

Additional Features

Here’s an overview of other new features and capabilities that will be available:

  • The ability to upload user-created 3D LUTs, which, Sony says, makes “it easy to customize FX9’s look to your preferences.” You’ll be able to import LUT files from an SD card and store up to 16 files on the FX9’s internal memory. “This is particularly useful for shooting in S-Log3,” says Sony, “allowing you to preview on camera whatever custom look you create.”
  • Sony has deleted the name “Custom” from its two base setting modes menu. In its place, the FX9 will include three modes: SDR (which replaces “Custom”), HDR, which is new, and Cine EI, which remains the same. Sony also says that for HLG Look, [Natural] or [Live] can now be selected.

 

Sony’s Eye AF technology will be included in the update.
  • Eye AF: Sony says that this is the world’s “first professional camcorder with Sony’s world-leading eye tracking technology.” As it has in other high-end cameras, Sony says this Eye AF technology will provide high speed and high precision image processing, for pin-sharp focusing.
  • You’ll have the ability to capture footage up to 180 frames per second in in full HD-resolution.
The new update will provide the FX9 with a variety of touch-screen operations.
  • Touch Screen options: The new upgrade will support a variety of touch-screen operations. Sony says “Focus Touch Control allows you to precisely set the camera’s specific focus area by simply touching the LCD viewfinder.”
  • Gain improvements: Sony has increased the upper limit of its gain settings: For Base ISO: High you will be able to set it up to ISO 102,400 and For Base ISO: Low you’ll be able to set it at ISO 12,800.
  • Support DWX digital wireless audio receiver (with XDCA-FX9) 
  • Support XLR-K3M with digital I/F 

For more information on the firmware update, see the press release below.

[[ press release ]]

Sony Electronics Expands Filmmaking Versatility and Creative Freedom with VENICE and FX9 Full-frame Cameras Upgrades

PARAMUS, N.J. – April 30, 2020 – Sony Electronics Inc. will expand the capabilities of its digital motion picture camera VENICE and FX9 full-frame camera in 2020 to offer even greater expression and usability for cinematographers and their collaborators in production and post. These firmware upgrades build on the two platforms’ extraordinary image capture and color science. VENICE delivers more monitoring options and high frame rate and FX9 expands shooting as well as recording capabilities for content creators.

“Sony is committed to empowering filmmakers to fulfill their artistic vision with cameras developed by and for cinematographers,” said Neal Manowitz, deputy president of Imaging and Professional Solutions Americas, Sony Electronics. “Shooting capability and efficient workflow are key factors in the selection of camera. We listen to our customers and continue to enhance the functionality of VENICE and FX9 cameras to better meet their visual storytelling needs.”

Since its launch in 2017, VENICE has been used to capture more than 200 theatrical, broadcast, cable and streaming releases, including HBO’s “The Plot Against America” and sixteen other series premiering in March and April 2020. Regular firmware and hardware updates have been key to the wide adoption of VENICE.

Version 6.0 of VENICE firmware will allow the import of Advanced Rendering Transform (.art) files that improve monitoring picture quality and viewing options on-set. These .art files can be generated by Sony’s RAW Viewer software, from users’ own 3D LUT files. Additionally, Sony is collaborating with Technicolor and their award-winning color scientists to create a new “look library” for the VENICE camera, which will be available online as a resource for creatives wishing to quickly access some of Technicolor’s premier established looks inspired by their cinematic history.

Another enhancement in VENICE Version 6.0 firmware is the ability to shoot with a second user frame line. This enables cinematographers to more easily take advantage of VENICE’s large sensor size to shoot for both horizontal and vertical distribution within the same composition.

VENICE Version 6.0 features also include:

  • Expansion of HFR Capabilities – up to 72fps at 7K 16:9 and 110fps 3.8K 16:9, which simplifies post-production of slow-motion especially for TV drama workflows that have quick turnarounds. In addition, up to 72fps at 4K 6:5 imager mode for Anamorphic lens operation.
  • Improved 3D LUT monitoring – 3D LUT look can be fed to camera viewfinder
  • Gyro information in metadata – camera’s Tilt & Roll data can be referenced by VFX teams

FX9 was launched in 2019 to bring full-frame imaging to “run-and-gun,” documentary, and independent productions. Employing the form factor, ergonomics and workflow of Sony’s FS7 and FS7II camera, FX9 brings color science from VENICE, and auto focus (AF) technology from Sony’s interchangeable lens camera, Alpha, to creatives desiring a small camera footprint.

Version 2.0 of FX9 firmware supports 4K 60p/50p recording through oversampling from a 5K cropped area of 6K full-frame sensor. Version 2.0 also enables output of a 4K 16-bit RAW signal to an external recorder with the optional XDCA-FX9 accessory. This additional bit depth beyond the camera’s internal 10-bit recording is ideal for projects requiring more intensive post- production.

Additionally, FX9 Version 2.0 firmware will expand the camera’s operability with Eye AF technology and touch screen operation for focus control and menu setting on the viewfinder:

FX9 Version 2.0 features also include:

  • 180 fps full-frame HD recording
  • 4K (4096×2160) DCI recording
  • Ability to load user 3D LUTs
  • HDR shooting function recorded in Hybrid Log Gamma

Version 6.0 of VENICE firmware is planned for release in November 2020, and Version 2.0 of FX9 firmware is planned for an October 2020 release.

For more information on Sony’s full-frame cinema cameras and entire portfolio of professional imaging and production solutions, please visit pro.sony.

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