25 Nov 2021
The Sony FX6 is being rented out at Budgetcam. Like the Canon C70, the FX-6 is a camera that bridges the worlds of system camera's and cinema camera's. It is compact and lightweight, yet it has similar features and characteristics as the bigger formfactor cinema camera's.
We at House of Lumen were asked to try out the FX6 on a shoot. This is because in addition to commercial work, fiction, and documentary projects, we find it necessary to keep challenging ourselves with new ideas. That's why we decided to embark on an experimental project in which we challenge the habituation to the common forms of the visual and see where a more abstract project could take us. For this experimental project Budgetcam gave us the new Sony FX6.
The video experiment intended to capture something on a macro level that would eventually become unrecognizable on image and create its abstract visual manifestation. We filled an aquarium with ice cubes and recorded them in different melting stages using ink, dye, and color light. The free-spirited nature of the shoot made it essential to be able to shoot in a controlled environment to control all the factors that influence the final image. For this, we chose the studio environment of Studio Ferdinand in Amsterdam-West (a must for any project with a low budget that requires a studio).
To push the alienation even further, we took advantage of the FX6's 120 fps capability. For example, we achieved the macro shots at 4K resolution with the full full-frame sensor. The entire frame sensor of the FX6 increases the feeling of depth in the shots and ensures that the sensor can absorb relatively more light (compared to an MFT or Super 35 sensor).
The sensor's light sensitivity was not crucial for our project because we had a controlled shooting environment, but for run & gun projects where you are often dependent on available light, this capability of the FX6 is undoubtedly beneficial. The Lego LG-G260 RGB Skypanel and the Pavolite RGB Tubes were a good combination for creating an appropriate setting around the ice cubes in the macro shots. It was the first time that we used the specific Skypanel, and we liked it.
The model has a reasonably strong output for an LED panel, contains various FX options (candlelight also works very nicely), and can also generate tungsten to daylight in addition to the RGB range; In short, definitely recommended and very versatile. The V-lock mounts on the back also create an option for highly mobile situations where AC power is not available.
The standard screen of the FX6 felt quite small compared to what we are normally used to with our Canon C500 Mark II, therefore it was important to use an additional on-cam monitor. For this, the Atomos Shogun 7 was the perfect option. Besides the fairly large 7-inch panel, it also creates the possibility to shoot in RAW in combination with the SDI-out of the FX6. This allowed us to film the colorful macro shots with as much information as possible in the highlights, shadows, and color depth. This takes a lot of data, but with the included 1TB SSDs that was not a problem.
During the day of shooting we never experienced any overheating problems (something a camera like the Canon R5 is facing). With the cinema form factor of the FX6 you can count on a high degree of reliability, the entire camera body was produced specifically for video as opposed to a hybrid (photo and video) body like the Sony A7SIII. In addition, the battery life of the standard NPF battery (no V-lock!) was enough for the entire shooting day. Budgetcam supplies an extra battery as usual, so you can expect to shoot a whole day without charging the standard package. Something that also stood out was the weight and size of the FX6. The camera weighs remarkably little and even in combination with the Sony FE 90mm F/2.8G it was very compact and easy to carry. This made it simple for us to move the camera on a tripod during the day. This saved a lot of time, which freed up more time to make extra shots.
The FX6 is a capable camera that offers high-end specs for a meager price. Therefore, it is a good model for the intermediate maker to bridge the step from system cameras such as the Sony A7S series to a more video-oriented cinema body such as the FX9.
Being familiar with Sony's menu system is a plus because we had trouble getting used to it (we usually use Canon C500 MII). However, if you are not sure that you can easily navigate through the menus, I would recommend giving the camera a good try the day before your shooting day and orienting yourself in advance via the internet in how the FX6 works.
That said, the FX6 offers impressive image quality and can be seen as an entry-level model in the cinema camera world that uses many innovative specs within its price range. We would especially recommend the camera for run & gun scenarios that require a certain amount of flexibility. Think of run & gun situations such as after movies, documentaries, and music videos.