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Sony FX6 Firmware V2 now Available – Just like Philip Bloom’s 40-Minute Firmware Review


Sony FX6 Firmware V2 now Available – Just like Philip Bloom's 40-Minute Firmware Review

Today, the previously announced Sony FX6 firmware V2 is available for download and Philip Bloom published a 40-minute deep-dive review of all the new functions. In the video, he shares some useful insights, so I recommend watching it before using the camera with the new V2 firmware.

Roughly two weeks ago, I wrote an article about the newly announced firmware update V2 for the popular Sony FX6 full-frame cinema camera. In case you missed it, please read it as I will not repeat everything in this article again. There are two reasons I am writing about the firmware update once more. The first reason is that the V2 firmware actually became available for download today. You can go ahead and download it free of charge from the Sony Support Website.

The second reason is that Philip Bloom published his 40-minute video review of the new firmware V2 today as well. Like with all Philip’s lengthy in-depth reviews, there are some interesting insights. Let’s take a closer look.

Sony FX6 firmware V2 review by Philip Bloom

When the Sony FX6 was released back in November 2020, Philip also conducted a review that ended up having almost 43 minutes and was titled “A most CONFUSING camera!” In case you missed it back then, I recommend watching it again, in order to get a clearer picture of what exactly Sony changed with the new firmware V2.

Focus breathing compensation

Because many of Sony’s new photographic lenses exhibit quite a bit of focus breathing, the focus breathing compensation feature (first introduced in the Sony a7 IV) is a much-needed one for filmmakers.

The focus breathing compensation works with compatible Sony lenses and in order to work, it slightly crops into the image. From Philip’s tests with the Sony 35mm f/1.4 GM lens, the crop is about 12%. Keep in mind, that this feature currently does not work in the S&Q mode and it also does not work when shooting ProRes RAW with an external recorder as the camera just outputs the whole sensor resolution all the time.

Sony FX6 firmware
Sony FX6 firmware V2 – breathing compensation. Source: Philip Bloom

Raw over HDMI and sensor oversampling

Philip further explains the difference between the 16:9 UHD 4K and the 17:9 DCI 4K internal modes in the Sony FX6. With the 16:9 UHD 4K mode, the camera oversamples the whole 4240 x 2385 sensor into 3840 x 2160 and therefore offers a slightly wider FOV than the 17:9 DCI 4K mode which does not oversample and uses a pixel-to-pixel 4096 x 2160 area of the sensor.

Therefore, the 17:9 DCI 4K mode has a slight crop. This, however, changes in the S&Q mode when recording 100fps or more. Then, the 16:9 UHD 4K mode also becomes pixel-to-pixel and has, therefore, a slight 10% crop.

Sony FX6 firmware
Sony FX6 firmware V2 – raw output over HDMI. Source: Philip Bloom

The reason he dives deep into the topic is that with the new firmware, the Sony FX6 also supports the raw output over HDMI and not only over SDI. The supported recorders for the HDMI raw output are the Atomos Ninja V and Ninja V+. When recording raw over SDI, you can use either Ninja V and V+ with the SDI expansion module or the larger Atomos Shogun 7.

Philip found out that the HDMI output actually uses more of the sensor real estate than the SDI output, so that might be useful for certain scenarios. The HDMI raw output, however, does not work for 100fps or higher. For 100 and 120fps 4K slow motion in the S&Q mode, you need to use the Atomos Ninja V+ with the SDI module and output raw over SDI.

Bokeh control

This feature is not entirely new – Sony cameras already had this previously. It mimics the professional solution from cmotion called Cinefade. The aim of the bokeh control is to automatically change the built-in electronic variable ND filter to maintain a constant exposure when opening up or closing down the aperture.

With the firmware V2, the FX6 now also uses gain in addition to the internal ND to offer even more extreme bokeh changes. That way you can close down the aperture much further without the image getting too dark. Additionally, bokeh control is now also available with manual exposure.

Philip’s tip for using the feature is to start with a wide-open aperture, minimum ISO, and a maximum ND. Then the camera can get you the longest “iris pull” possible. This works, of course, best with lenses that have a clickless manual iris ring. Keep in mind that the new bokeh control feature only works in Custom mode. The CineEI mode is limited to native ISO values only.

New touch autofocus

With the new firmware V2, Sony brings the touch AF and touch tracking AF in both AF and MF mode to the FX6. Philip has spent countless hours studying and testing the Sony autofocus for his reviews of the FX9, a7S III, and the FX6 and he says the AF really needs to be set up correctly in order to work properly – especially the speed and sensitivity.

Sony FX6 firmware
Sony FX6 firmware V2 – eye tracking AF. Source: Philip Bloom

The face-only AF with the FX9 was good because it only focused when it registered a face. It could also be locked onto a certain person and only focus on this person’s face even though there were other faces appearing on the screen. In the FX6, prior to the new firmware V2, this mode has been working slightly better. According to Philip’s tests, after the firmware V2 update, the face-only AF sometimes loses the face when the speed and sensitivity is set to a higher number.

With the new firmware V2, the tracking AF now works in the clear image zoom mode as well. Previously, it was disabled in this mode altogether. The vital skill, according to Philip, is to know how to use manual autofocus, as in taking full control over the myriads of settings and modes to fine tune it.

Picture cache recording

Sony FX6 firmware
Sony FX6 firmware V2 – picture cache recording. Source: Philip Bloom

Another major new feature added to the FX6 is especially useful when shooting unpredictable stuff such as wildlife. Instead of rolling for hours just to get that 10 seconds of action, when the picture cache recording is activated, the camera pre-saves a defined amount of seconds and when the shutter is pressed, it saves the footage prior to that moment and continues rolling.

Additional new features and missing ones

There are some more minor new improvements that make shooting with the FX6 easier, such as seeing all four audio channels on the LCD screen or having the multi-function dial on the handgrip. Philip, however, did not forget to also include a few more features that are still missing from the FX6 and that would be really nice to have – sort of a firmware V2.1 wishlist.

Philip’s wishlist for the next Sony FX6 firmware update. Source: Philip Bloom

The conclusion of the new firmware V2 review, at least for Philip, is that the Sony FX6 is not such a confusing camera anymore. And that’s good. So again, the new Sony FX6 firmware V2 is now available for download free of charge from the Sony support website.

featured image credit: Philip Bloom (grab from his video)

Do you use the Sony FX6 fo your filmmaking work? How do you like the new features added with the firmware V2? Do you know how to use the AF properly? Let us know in the comments section underneath the article.


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