This is the Sony FX6 and today we’re going to see how it compares from a technical perspective to the two cameras that it fits between, the a7S III and the FX9. Let’s get undone. So, as usual, a little disclosure. Sony lent me this camera for a couple of weeks to make this review. This model is pre-production, but pretty close to final form from what I’m told. Sony did not pay me to make this blog, nor do they get any input on it’s production, and the camera is just a loaner. This blog does have a sponsor, though, and that’s Storyblocks. The simplest way to think of this camera is imagine an a7S III in a shrunken FX9 body. Because that’s essentially what it is. The sensor is very similar, if not the same, as the a7S III. In the specs it lists it as a 10.2MP sensor, but that’s because they’re ignoring the photo aspect ratio of the a7S III, because this camera doesn’t take photos. But when you take only the video aspect ratio of the a7S III, you get the same 10.2MP. It has the same processor, and has mostly the same capabilities, including the same excellent rolling shutter performance. When testing the dynamic range of S-Log3 on the FX6, it was almost identical to the a7S III. And best of all, the FX6 finally validates my claim that the a7S III has dual native ISO, because the FX6 has a second sensitivity setting that starts at 12,800, the same position I suggested was the second ISO on the a7S III.
There are some differences in the final look and processing of the image, though, and we’ll get into those details in just a moment. But, like I said, fundamentally an a7S III. But the fact that it’s in this FX9-like enclosure means that it has some of the features we saw on the FX9 that the a7S III doesn’t. For starters, it has a pair of XLR inputs with phantom power, but to keep the body small, these are located in the top handle instead of on the body like the FX9. Which I have mixed feelings about. But I think they sound great and are basically intermixable with my Zoom F6. Here, have a listen while I switch back and forth between the FX6 and my dedicated audio recorder while I tell you about today’s sponsor, Storyblocks. Has this ever happened to you? You’re working on your magnum opus and it’s almost complete, but on the last day of shooting your horse wrangler skipped town and you don’t have the budget or time to source new horses for that beach riding scene you needed. Well, fear not. Storyblocks has you covered with not only a surprisingly thorough amount of beach-themed horseback shots, but a massive collection of other stock footage featuring various subjects with unlimited downloads and 4K video. They’re also amply supplied with backgrounds, overlays, and after effects templates and the interface is easy to use and navigate, and the clips are royalty free for both personal and commercial use. So, you can use them as much as you want wherever you want. So, if you think you could take advantage of a fantastic library of quality stock footage and effects, check out Storyblocks using the link in the description below. OK, so, the audio sounds great and it’s feature-rich with plenty of control just like you’d find on the FX9. And I prefer this over my current setup of using the a7S III with the XLR-K3M module because of the whole 24-bit MP4 problem that I talked about in a recent blog.
The FX6 doesn’t have any of those issues because it uses the MXF container so you can record up to eight tracks of audio with no compatibility issues in post. However, it does have one major design flaw. If you take the top handle off, which includes not only the two XLR inputs, but also the multi-interface shoe and the better built in mic, you’re left with no way to add a microphone to your camera, and all you have is this terrible, tiny little mic hole on the body, which is only borderline useful for scratch audio and is unusable for any kind of quality sound recording. I wish they would have at least put a 3.5mm input or something on the body, because it kind of undermines the goal of making the camera smaller if you need to keep all the accessories on it to fully use it. For example, if you wanted to fly it on a gimbal, you can do that easily on even a one-handed gimbal like the new DJI RS2, thanks to the size of the camera when stripped down. But then you have no audio unless you record externally. That being said, once you do strip it down, the main brain only weighs 1.1 kilos, or 2.4lb with a battery and SD card installed, so, it’s surprisingly light. And speaking of those attachments, I do really like the added functionality of them. Both the side grip and the top handle feature a control dial, a joystick, a zoom rocker, and a couple of customizable function buttons. I find the grip comfortable and I like how it’s installed in the body using this twist lock method with a levered release instead of the typical rosette-style tightening ring.
The body and the top handle have mounting holes, but unfortunately they’re all 1/4-20. It would have been nice to see some 3/8″ mounting points. Several of those mounting points can be used to attach the included monitor, which is a decent display, but nothing special. It’s not particularly big or sharp, but it gets the job done. And you can also use the mounting points on the body for the monitor so that you can position it kind of centre in the middle of the body so that you can balance it on a gimbal with the screen on if you don’t want to use a screen off of the body. Now, when it comes to the attachment, there’s no loupe included with this kit like there would with the FX9. All it has is this, sort of, sunshade hood kind of thing, which uses the same buckles that we found on the FX9 and previous ones. Which I absolutely hate. I even kind of teased in the previous blog that I was able to remove it with just a paint brush. I do think these buckles need a redesign. The FX6 comes stock with all the firmware updates that were promised for the FX9, which includes the Eye AF and touchscreen interface, but to be honest after using the a7S III for the past couple months, this implementation of touch leaves a lot to be desired. It’s very cumbersome to use.
You can’t just touch where you want it to focus. You first have to use the buttons, either on the body or on the grip to enable the focus switching area and then, when the box is illuminated, you can move it with your finger. By that point your hand is already in position so you might as well use the joystick and buttons. Because as soon as you set your point, if you want to move it again with touch, you have to go through all those same steps again. So, it doesn’t really make a lot of sense. Now, while the autofocus performance is pretty great, and back when the FX9 came out I was quite impressed with it, again, I feel a little spoiled by the a7S III. If anything, this is better than when I tested the FX9 because now it has Eye AF. But it’s just more difficult to use than the a7S III and seems to be a bit more sluggish and not quite as good at predicting what I want to be in focus when using the wide mode, compared to the a7S III. But with the a7S III if it’s focusing on the wrong thing, I can just quickly tap to fix that. On this camera, I cannot. It does have the face only mode which I like for allowing me to keep focus on faces and prevent hunting when there are none, and you don’t get that option on the mirrorless cameras and overall, the autofocus is good, but it just feels like a step backward from the a7S III. Compared to the FX9, though, the FX6 is much better when it comes to overexposure capability while maintaining face and eye detection. On the FX9 if you chose to overexpose your log images for better noise reduction, you’d lose face detection quite quickly. On the FX6 this is vastly improved and similar to the a7S III, allowing me to shoot around five to six stops over exposed and still keep detection. Much more useful.
There are quite a few limitations when it comes to using autofocus in S&Q, though, and it’s really rather picky. I made a chart to better explain this. If you look at the “System Frequency” on the left, those are the frame rates that you can set the camera to, and then under the “AF Supported” column, those are the frame rates that actually have autofocus. There are other frame rates, but they don’t have AF enabled when you use them. So, with 23.98 for example, you only get autofocus at 30p, 60p, and 120p. And none in 48, which I thought was kind of interesting, ’cause that’s a double frame rate. Then in 24 you don’t get autofocus at all. And you’re forced into DCI 4K resolution and at 60 fps max even if you were to use S&Q. And that note at the bottom just says that if you put the camera in DCI 4K it doesn’t matter what frequency you’re in, you can never get above 60 fps for S&Q. Jumping back to the body, my package came with a BP-U35 battery which lasts me just over three hours on a full charge, which I was quite happy with. And the battery charger can be repurposed as a mains power connector for the camera for unlimited run time. Well, until you run out of space. This camera uses the same memory card interface as the a7S III. So, dual slots that can each accept SD and CFexpress Type A. I’ve already covered the SD card recording mode compatibility in that other blog I mentioned earlier. But I did find the FX6 to be less picky than the a7S III.
I was able to record 4K60 All-Intra and 4K120 S&Q All-Intra with my TOUGH V60 cards, which aren’t guaranteed to be capable of the 600Mbps codec, but they gave me no issues, where the a7S III just won’t let you record. On the FX6, it just warns you that they’re not guaranteed, but it let’s you go ahead. I checked afterwards and it hadn’t dropped any frames, but I think to be safe I’ll probably still stick with the V90 cards. But I found this interesting. The FX6 has mostly the same recording modes as the a7S III, but there are some differences. Most notably, you can’t record 4K120 without using S&Q, which means you can’t record true 120fps with audio like you can on the a7S III. But it does still have the 10% crop when in that 120p S&Q Mode like the a7S III has. Also, you can’t switch frame rates quickly like on the a7S III, you have to reboot the system when changing frequency, just like the FX9. And perhaps the most disappointing if you want 10-bit colour on the FX6, you have to use the All-Intra Mode. If you use the LongGOP Mode, you’re forced to 8-bit when shooting 4K. I believe you can still get 10-bit LongGOP in HD, but not in 4K. This is frustrating and I definitely prefer the flexibility the a7S III offers in this regard. The FX6 does offer a few things when it comes to recording that the a7S III doesn’t have, though, like tally lights, shutter angle, and the ability to record in DCI 4K. And when you switch to DCI 4K you’ll notice a slight crop. This is because the sensor is switching to a 1:1 readout instead of the slight oversampling that happens in UHD. The same is true if you use the raw output. You’ll be getting a 1:1 read out and it’ll seem a little bit more punched in than the UHD. And you can’t do 120p over raw, only 60p max.
Speaking of that raw output, it’s a similar implementation that we’ve seen before going from 16-bit linear to ProRes RAW using an Atomos recorder. But one way that this stomps all over the FX9 is that you don’t need that massive and expensive expansion unit and it works on the FX6 right out of the box. It comes out of the SDI port though, not the HDMI. But you can use either port for general monitoring or recording of UHD signals. And since the FX6 is using a better processor than the FX9, there’s fewer limitations regarding that. You can output Ultra HD signals simultaneously from both ports while recording internally, and you can independently control whether to show the on-screen display info and menus over those ports or not. And if you’re using Cine EI Mode you can now enable MLUTs on the SDI/HDMI output without affecting the VF monitor, and vice versa. This makes Cine EI more friendly than on the FX9. But best of all, you don’t even need to use Cine EI anymore. If you’d rather use the camera more like an a7S III by enabling Custom Mode. Custom Mode on the FX9 was used to get the S-Cinetone profile and to have a more traditional gain response. Increasing the ISO or gain would be immediately reflected in the image preview, just like you’d see on a mirrorless camera, whereas Cine EI was more for using only two base sensitivities. The draw back with Custom Mode on the FX9 was that you couldn’t use S-Log3 properly because you couldn’t set a matching colour gamut. So, it made the FX9 kind of a two trick machine. Put it in Custom if you want to get a “What you see is what you get” mode with S-Cinetone, or put it in Cine EI for a less intuitive experience, but with better dynamic range using S-Log3 with a proper colour gamut.
Well, that’s all changed now on the FX6. The base profile in Custom Mode is the same as Cine EI, and that’s S-Log3 with S-Gamut3.Cine. And I tested the dynamic range when using S-Log3 in both modes, and the results came back exactly the same. So, there’s no disadvantage to using Custom Mode now, and you can easily switch between S-Log3 and S-Cinetone by just enabling the S-Cinetone preset. And you can also load 16 custom LUTs into the FX6 that can be used in either custom or Cine EI now, the only difference is that in Custom you can’t use them as MLUTs, which means turning them on bakes them in, where in Cine EI you can choose whether to bake the LUT in or not. The base sensitivities work the same in both modes too, which are ISO 800 and ISO 12,800, which, as I suggested earlier, essentially confirms my theory that the a7S III has dual native ISO, with the second starting at ISO 12,800. However, there are some differences between the FX6 and the a7S III in this regard. First off, the low sensitivity base is ISO 800 on the FX6 instead of the ISO 640 on the a7S III. And perhaps most importantly, there’s more consistency and dynamic range when switching on the FX6 versus the a7S III. At ISO 800 I got very similar dynamic range results when comparing the two cameras. Thanks again to DSC Labs for providing the charts I use for these tests, like the extremely useful Xyla 21, and thanks to Imatest for providing the analysis software. When using this combo, I measured both the FX6 and the a7S III at around 13 stops at ISO 800 in S-Log3. But when we switched to ISO 12,800, the a7S III loses about half a stop, but the FX6 stays consistent.
This might be the reason as to why Sony doesn’t advertise the dual native ISOs of the a7S III. Perhaps it’s not consistent enough to earn that designation. It’s important to note, however, that this analysis is based on signal-to-noise and it doesn’t account for highlight roll-off or have any way to compensate for how aggressive the noise reduction is in these cameras. Because when it comes to noise reduction, there’s a big difference between the FX6 and the a7S III. First off, the a7S III doesn’t grant you any control over it, but the FX6 gives you three levels of reduction as well as the ability to turn it off. I definitely prefer having control over aspects like this and wish that the a7S III had this option, but I also think there might be some misconceptions about it and that the use cases are fewer than you might think. The noise reduction scales differently between the two cameras depending on the base sensitivity. If you’re shooting at low sensitivity at, say, ISO 800 to 3200, I found that the a7S III’s noise reduction is very similar to the mid setting on the FX6, and I found that both produced a great result. But if you’re on high sensitivity above ISO 12,800, there is no setting on the FX6 that is as aggressive as the a7S III when it comes to noise reduction. Even if you set the FX6’s reduction to high.
The FX6 has much more noise but preserves the edges better, where the a7S III quickly turns a bit smeary and posterized. But the mistake that I see people make all the time is to think that this is exclusively linked to ISO. It’s not. I can reproduce the same shot, still keeping at ISO 102,400 on both cameras, but if I just raise the exposure level of the scene by turning on more lights, then the differences mostly subside. And in fact, I would argue the a7S III might be a bit more usable right out of camera here. So, I guess my point is before you worry about the aggressive noise reduction in the a7S III, you should ask yourself if you’re going to be shooting subjects that are buried deep into the noise floor because you have no ability to expose for them correctly. If you expose them correctly, there is no real advantage to the FX6 in this regard. But if you shoot in extremely dark situations a lot, and you can’t control the lighting, then, yes, the FX6 will give you more flexibility and will preserve details. But be prepared for a lot more noise. And the noise reduction software that is required to clean that up goes well beyond the built-in tools in NLEs. You’ll need to use Neat blog and dial in your settings correctly. Otherwise, you can very easily create a smeary mess that’s worse than what the a7S III’s built in noise reduction will do anyway. But this whole noise reduction advantage of the FX6 comes at a big trade-off in my opinion.
There is a noticeable inconsistency in both colour and white balance as you dive into those high ISOs and extreme low light situations. Don’t get me wrong, the a7S III isn’t perfect here either, and there is a noticeable shift between shooting at ISO 800 and shooting at ISO 102,400. But the FX6 takes this to whole ‘nother level. And I found myself actually preferring the smeary a7S III shots just because the colour was much more pleasing in those extreme situations. A lot of this comes down to the bad white balance tool in the FX6. I made this complaint on the FX9 as well. The white balance is only really effective when you’re exposed reasonably well and when the entire frame is filled with the colour cast you’re trying to balance. But even then, it’s not terribly accurate. I found the a7S III was anywhere from 7-15% more accurate in a series of tests. And if you try to use a white balance card that doesn’t completely fill the frame, you have no way to select a specific range, so it can easily do unpredictable things. And even if you choose to dial in the Kelvin identically on the FX6 and the a7S III, the FX6 seems to be consistently on the wrong side of the green/magenta shift. On the a7S III, this is much easier with the movable target box that usually does a pretty excellent job at nailing white balance. However, something that the FX6 has going for it in the colour department, is that they’ve addressed the green issue that most of the recent Sony cameras have, including the FX9, with S-Gamut3.Cine.
Look at these test shots. First off, the a7S III white balanced pretty much perfectly, but the FX6 leaned far too magenta and too cool as well. Once I corrected that in post, and the greys were the same and neutral, we can see that the a7S III is still more yellowy-green than the FX6 when it comes to skin tones. It should be noted that the a7S III is actually more accurate here, but I’m sure many people will find it less pleasing. This makes the FX6 more appealing straight out of the camera as long as you fix the white balance. But there is an easy remedy for this on the a7S III. If you change your “Color Phase” in the “Picture Profile” settings to +2, you get very similar results to what the FX6 is doing. Color Phase is basically the same as hue rotate. It helps recreate the FX6’s more pinkish look without impacting your white balance. It’s still not exactly the same, but it solves the green issue on the a7S III while keeping slightly better colour accuracy than the FX6 and better white balancing, making it the better combination in my opinion. While we’re here, let’s talk a little about highlight rolloff. First off, this term is wildly misused. Highlight rolloff is the transition between clipped areas of an image and non-clipped areas. That’s it. You can examine highlight rolloff differences by introducing some clipped areas on a subject and observing the transition.
I also hear people talk about the “digital look.” And some people have suggested in the comments that the a7S III has an overly digital look. This in my opinion is complete nonsense. If you’re getting a digital look out of the a7S III or any of the other recent cameras from other brands that I’ve said have great dynamic range, you’re doing something wrong, which likely involves either improper exposure technique or improper correction of your log images. In fact, I was surprised to see that the a7S III actually has better highlight rolloff than the FX6. I exposed these two images exactly the same using the same lens and I found the a7S III to transition noticeably better, which is interesting because I was expecting them to perform identically. I tried it using different settings and turning noise reduction on and off and the a7S III was consistently a touch better than the FX6. However, none of this means that you can’t get great images out of the FX6. In fact, once we apply that Color Phase adjustment to the a7S III, and assuming you expose your shots well, you can interchange those two cameras quite easily. Both produce very filmic, rich looking images with lots of detail. And in fact, my friend James Matthews recently shot a short film using the FX6, and his images look fantastic. Actually, let’s give him a call and get him to talk us through some of his shots. [phone ringing] -Gerald. -Hey, how’s it going? -I’m good, mate. How are you? -Pretty good, thanks. Uh, so, I’ve got you. You’re on my blog right now. I was looking at your shots. First of all, I wanted to say I thought it looked fantastic, man. Really good job. Awesome. Cheers mate.
I appreciate that. Overall take? Like, are you happy with the images? How was it using the camera? Just kind of, like, high level review of the experience. Yeah, lovely. I mean, I’ve always been a fan of, like, the, like, FS5 ergonomics, you know, so, we’ve got all of the menu systems on the side, everything’s really easy to get to. One thing, not totally sure on the new menu system. Maybe it’s just like, uh, because it’s brand new and it’s kind of a bit of a slap in the face, you know, like, “Whoa. What is this new menu system like?” But overall, I mean, the camera is great. Um, handheld. Also flies on a gimbal, you know, so– You did use it on a gimbal? Like, one handed, or… -And how did that work? -Yeah, fit on a gimbal nice and easy. Single handed one, like, I mean, like, it fits on the CRANE 2S, the Ronin S2. Um, so, yeah, man, it’s nice and easy to run on there. You are going to have to take off the top handle and the side handle, though, if you’re going to run it on, like, a gimbal, but, I mean, it flew on my gimbal -really, really nicely, so… -[Gerald] What did you put on the front of it when you were balancing it? Anything up to as heavy as, like, the 16-35 G Master. Um, obviously, don’t put, like, a huge BP-U, like, 90 battery in the back. Try and keep, like, a small one ’cause the camera, you know, kind of gets quite long, but yeah, man, it flies really, really nicely even with a nice heavy lens on it. So, you’re using autofocus lenses. Were you using -autofocus for the shots? -Yeah, yeah. Well, believe it or not, this is like the first film I’ve only shot autofocus.
Like, I’m traditionally, like, a manual focus guy. But, erm, this was the first time I kind of, like, gave over the control to the camera, you know? It’s a bit nerve wracking trusting the camera to, like, do the manual focus for you, but I just kept it in the Face and Eye Priority the whole time and luckily my subject was in the frame the whole time, mostly facing the camera, so it was like tack sharp, you know? Um, yeah man, the autofocus worked great. [Gerald] There’s one shot here that I like in particular. The one on the beach. You’ve got the, uh, boots -in the frame, and then– -The push-in shot, right? Yeah, with the actor’s back there. Looks fantastic. Cheers man. Yeah, so, I was on the 16-35 G Master shot at 2.8. Erm, obviously, we’ve got the internal ND so I must’ve had the ND on, like, five stops or something like that. Erm, autofocus as well, so… It’s quite interesting because a lot of, like, a lot of autofocus cameras will do a little bit of hunting if there isn’t, like, a face or something directly in the middle of frame. Even if they are locked on they will usually hunt a little bit and, like, kind of second guess themselves, but it didn’t do anything. -So that was really good. -[Gerald] S-Gamut3.Cine, S-Log3? [James] S-Log3, S-Gamut3.Cine, 24 frames. Was there anything that, uh, I don’t know, gave you a hard time when using the camera? Mm, not particularly.
I mean, the camera got really wet so even though it’s not technically weather sealed it done really well in all of them conditions. The only thing I would say is… I mean, it hasn’t got an audio– it hasn’t got an audio input on the body. And I would have loved, like, a 3.5mm audio input as well instead of just the two XLRs on the top handle. Erm, and a lot of times, people are going to want to run a gimbal, and if you haven’t got the top handle on the gimbal, how are you going to get audio, you know? So, erm, I definitely would have liked some kind of audio input on the body itself, you know? So, final thoughts? Are you going to buy one? Where are you sitting right now with it? Well, I have come to the conclusion I am definitely getting one. It hits my, kind of, aspects in all aspects, -if that makes sense. -A final note on colour and one area where I would say the FX6 has a clear advantage is for straight out of camera looks. I covered the a7S III in this regard quite extensively in my recent picture profile guide blog, which I recommend you watch, and I also recommend it if you want a deeper look at the noise exposure and dynamic range topics we discussed a moment ago. But in that blog I suggested that there was no perfect combination for the a7S III, because if you want more accurate and easier colour using Standard, you’ll get less dynamic range. And if you go for more dynamic range with Cine, you’ll get worse colour. Well, the FX6 has that solved with S-Cinetone, which offers a respectable 11.5 to 12 stops of dynamic range and colour that is a nice mix of pleasing and accurate right out of camera. It’s essentially that magic combination I was saying was missing from the a7S III. I still think the better workflow is to shoot S-Log3, but if you need to do something live or have an immediate turn around, S-Cinetone is an excellent choice.
The other important advantage the FX6 has over the a7S III is that it inherits the FX9’s built in electronic Variable ND. This thing is exceptional. Responds very quickly and smoothly to changing exposure, both of which are customizable, and can be manually controlled from 2 stops to 7 stops of reduction at either intervals or using a stepless knob to smoothly change density. I said it about the FX9 and I’ll say it again, this is the best ND system available today. There’s no noticeable effect on colour quality by changing density, and best of all, your focus isn’t impacted. It’s truly exceptional. However, when compared to the a7S III, it does come with a trade-off. To implement the Variable ND meant removing the IBIS of the a7S III. The FX6 does have the gyro data and can be stabilized using Catalyst Browse, but when it comes to quick and easy handheld steadiness, the a7S III wins in my opinion. But like I said, I was impressed by how easy it is to balance and fly this thing on a gimbal. So, if you want steady shots you have plenty of options. Lastly, let’s talk a bit more about the body and ergonomics. It has some of the side panel of the FX9 with many similar buttons and toggles, but also quite a few missing. It still features the 3.5mm headphone jack, it has a port for timecode, which can be switched between input and output, and it has a strip of customizable function buttons.
But for some reason I just found this camera more difficult to use quickly. I don’t have this problem with the FX9 or the C500 Mark II, or the C300 Mark III. And I certainly don’t have this problem with the a7S III, which might have spoiled me from an ergonomics and touchscreen perspective with the new menus and interface. As we already discussed, this camera has a lacklustre touch interface. It does have this new quick menu screen that you can pull up that gives you some touch control, but there’s ten pages of it and I quickly defaulted just to using it as a quick audio display screen, which it’s great for. I like holding this camera, and I’m pleased with the way they managed to cram so much of the FX9 in here, but there’s something about it that just feels slightly unintuitive to operate. But to be fair, I haven’t used it or the FX9 as much as another friend of mine has, so perhaps we should see what Philip Bloom has to say about all of this. Are you sure you want me to go down this path, Gerald? -Yes? -Still got a lot to say. I made a very long blog all about it, because it is the most confusing camera I’ve ever reviewed. Look, it has really good features, because it has a great image, great specs, great slow motion. It is pretty much everything you want in a video camera. Absolutely blown away by many aspects of it. The problem that I have is purely down to the operation. The user interface. The way you basically have to operate the camera.
The a7S III has a really nice user interface, and is– It’s not perfect, but things like the Touch Tracking Focus, and the quick menu, and all that sort of thing, the function menu. I love it very much. Now here we have the FX9 implementation. It doesn’t have Touch Tracking, which is very frustrating for me. In fact, the whole touch interface is clunky at best. You just need lots and lots of custom buttons, and there’s not enough of them. Because it has a smaller body than the FX9, the FX9 is easier because it has more buttons. Here, a lot of really important ones… well, you just need them all. And some of them are gonna be on the handle, and that’s really awkward to access when you’re shooting on a tripod. It’s very, very frustrating. It could be a brilliant camera if they just… gave it a much more modern user interface. You know, like the a7S III. I don’t know if that was helpful at all because I really don’t know which way to go. a7S III, FX6, FX9? I just… I’m lost, mate. Good luck. Hope you do better than me. The FX6 is interesting. I think in many ways it makes the FX9 mostly obsolete unless you need those somewhat niche broadcast features. Which is great, because it’s significantly cheaper than the FX9. However, when it comes to the question of did the a7S III make the FX6 obsolete before it ever came out, it’s a bit more complicated. I think it’s easier to list the reasons that you’d need the FX6. If you need more professional features like timecode, SDI output, DCI 4K at true 24p, shutter angle, or even just the features that come with this style of body, like active cooling and the client-appeasing appearance of using a bigger, more professional looking camera, then you can get all that at a much more compelling price point to the FX9 without really giving anything up.
Speaking of that cooling mechanism, by the way, you can see the radiator from the right side and there is a fan in there, but it’s very quiet. Nearly silent. And you can configure its operational mode in the menu. And as you would expect, I’ve experienced no issues with overheating and apparently the camera is still weather resistant despite this open cooling, but Sony didn’t provide an official rating for that resistance. But I’d say that if you don’t need any of those professional features I just mentioned, then there’s no reason to buy the FX6 over the a7S III. I feel like the colour and noise reduction aspects can be easily overcome, and while no variable ND you stick on the front of your lens will be as good as the one that’s in the FX6, you can still get the job done. And beyond that, I find the a7S III easier to use. And even though the images are very close, I prefer the ones coming out of the a7S III most of the time. So, for me, since I don’t need those features, the a7S III is still the ultimate camera for my needs. But I’m quite pleased to know that those features are now available in a well-sized body, with a full-frame sensor and with far fewer drawbacks than what existed previously. And at a price that I have no complaints about, making the FX6 likely the ideal camera for a great number of people. But that’s gonna be it for me.