The new Sony PXW-FX9 combines many functions, characteristics and features of both the popular FS7 and the large format Venice, offering professional large format video capture in a ‘run-and-gun’ lightweight body. We decided to take a closer look and outline the main differences between the FX9 and its hugely popular predecessor, the Sony PXW-FS7 Mkii:
Sensor size and resolution
Improving upon the FS7’s Super 35mm 4K sensor, the FX9 has been given a Full Frame 6K sensor. Despite this, the camera does not actually output 6K, instead the Sony engineers have put their efforts in to improving 4K by downsampling the 6K image, giving a much crisper 4K picture.
The FS7’s autofocus wasn’t too popular, so Sony have responded with a system that cannot be ignored. Called “Fast Hybrid Autofocus”, the extremely fast system is contrast based but can also use phase-detection. In addition to this, Sony have added their latest face detection technology, intelligently recognising specific faces to stay focused on.
Dual Base ISO
The FX9 has a base sensitivity of ISO800 with a secondary, high base sensitivity of ISO 4000. This allows for exceptional control over the image either using the higher ISO for low light situations, or a tool for control when used in conjunction with the wide range of the variable ND.
Unlike the FS7 Mki and Mkii models, the FX9 includes genlock timecode in/out on the camera body, without the need for an external recorder. Its predecessors both relied on the addition of the XDCA unit to give you switchable TC IN/OUT.
The resolution of the LCD has been improved. The FS7 used a 960x540 LCD but Sony have given the FX9 a new and improved 1280 x 720 LCD.
Though the FS7 and FX9 look very similar in design, Sony have made some small changes such as placing white balance, audio volume adjustment, iris control and shutter control next to the variable ND wheel, making it a lot easier to make adjustments whilst holding your frame and position.
Advanced Extension Unit
The extension unit has also had some improvement, the most exciting being the addition of a 16bit RAW output, as opposed to the 12bit RAW output of the FS7 XDCA unit. Other additions include a D-tap power output, Ethernet, DC Hi-Rose 4-pin output and DWX slot-in type audio, much like those on Sony’s flagship ENG cameras the PDW-F800 and PMW-500.
The FX9 has a built-in Wifi system allowing you to monitor what is being filmed using a smart phone, using an app with only a 1 second delay.