Firmware V.2.00 from Sony for the FX6 which was announced a few weeks ago is now available for download.
Firmware update includes RAW output over HDMI, AI-based real-time AF tracking, focus breathing compensation, bokeh control mode, new image cache recording function image and four-channel audio meters.
RAW output over HDMI
The inclusion of RAW output via HDMI certainly increases the versatility of the FX6. The NINJA V and NINJA V+ provide the entry point for Sony’s FX3 and FX6 to use HDMI with resolutions up to 4.2K and up to 60 fps.
ProRes RAW over HDMI with the NINJA V/V+ when combined with the Sony FX6 supports 4.2K up to 60 fps. There is a caveat with recording RAW over HDMI with the FX6. You cannot record 4K RAW up to 120p, as this can only be done with a NINJA V+ Pro Kit/NINJA V+ and an SDI module with SDI. RAW Activation For RAW support including HDMI cross-conversion, additional RAW license activation can be done online using the my.atomos.com portal.
Until this update, the Sony FX6 could only record ProRes RAW in combination with the NINJA V/V+ on SDI. This forced customers to buy the AtomX SDI expansion module for the NINJA V/V+.
Recording ProRes RAW over HDMI with the Sony NINJA V/V+ on the Sony FX6 is exactly the same as recording ProRes RAW with the NINJA V/V+ over HDMI on the Sony FX3. This HDMI RAW update requires the Sony FX6 camera to be updated to firmware version v2.00 and AtomOS Firmware v10.72 or above.
Sony states that from January 2022 only the Atomos Ninja V and Ninja V+ can be used. This could potentially mean that other solutions from other manufacturers could appear later.
Real-time AF tracking
Real-time AF Tracking uses color, pattern (brightness), and distance (depth) data to process spatial information in real time, and AI detects and tracks the subject’s eye and face.
Tracking AF lets you touch the LCD screen and that’s where the camera will focus. Touch Tracking AF works hand-in-hand with the FX6’s Face Detection AF. When selecting an object that is not a person’s face, the camera will focus on that object no matter where it moves in the frame. Touch AF, which has been available on Canon Cinema EOS and mirrorless cameras for years, makes it easy to focus repeatably between two different objects.
Concentrated breathing compensation
Focus breath compensation can be used in conjunction with AF. This is not a new feature as it was first implemented in the a7IV, but it is new to the FX6. So how does it work? Well, it electronically adjusts the frame size to minimize any lens breathing while you change focus. It’s designed to try to mask focus shifts that are common when using prime lenses. You can disable this feature if you don’t like the results. It won’t magically turn your fixed lens into a cine lens, but it will help alleviate some of the breathing.
Breath compensation cannot be used when Distortion Comp. is off; when shooting in S&Q mode; or when the Rec Format codec is RAW or a selection that includes RAW. For supported lenses, please check here.
Bokeh control mode
The Bokeh control mode takes advantage of the variable ND filter found on the FX6. This mode automatically adjusts the ND filter and gain when the iris is operated.
This isn’t exactly a new feature as you’ve always been able to do the exact same thing when using any Sony camera that has a variable ND. By selecting the Auto gain/ISO function and setting the variable ND to Auto each time you change your aperture, the brightness level is compensated to maintain the same level of image brightness.
All Sony has done now is make it a single setting you can select instead of having to manually tweak two other settings. It works well, however, I’m always personally wary of ever selecting Auto Gain/ISO on any camera, as you can quickly find that your image becomes very noisy.
This feature is only available with E-mount lenses that can communicate with the FX6, and the maximum effect can only be achieved through iris ring operation. Depending on the operating speed, lens, shooting settings and subject, the image may appear different and the
brightness may change. Brightness may change when the direction of operation is reversed, such as when opening the iris after closing it or when closing it after opening it. Sony strongly recommends testing the camera before shooting.
Cached recording is something the camera arguably should have had at launch. It’s not some kind of magical new feature and the cameras have had cached recording for a long, long time.
Cache recording can be used in both S&Q mode and normal shooting mode. When enabled, a memory buffer permanently stores a certain number of seconds of footage (this depends on the resolution and frame rate you are shooting at). When you press the record button, this cache is written to the card, so you end up with a number of seconds before hot recording. It’s good for certain shooting situations where you could potentially miss something. What you need to clearly remember is that if you don’t have the camera pointed in the right direction, it won’t do any good. A cache period of up to 31 seconds is available depending on resolution and frame rate. Sony gives you the option to set the cache to short/medium/long and max. You should also be aware that saving cache, when enabled, will drain your battery faster.
4-channel audio level meters
Again, this is another feature that should have been available from day one. The camera has always been able to record four channels of audio, but somehow Sony didn’t think anyone actually needed to see four channels of audio! Now you can finally see audio levels for four channels as well as independently select to monitor channels 1 and 2 as well as 3 and 4 on the LCD screen.
These are nice updates and if you are an FX6 owner you are going to be very happy. Arguably some of these features should have been in the camera from day one and Sony has a habit of releasing firmware updates over a long period of time for its cameras. I think what frustrates some owners is that Sony is announcing a camera with a lot of features that aren’t available at launch. On the plus side, Sony has consistently included many new features in its cameras that were never originally promised.