After Sony announced the Sony FX6 back in September, Sony has just released full details, specifications and prices for its new small Cinema Line camera. Also read our practical assessment. The FX6 is a native dual ISO camera that will likely use the a7S III sensor. It can record up to 120 fps in 4K and 240 fps in HD (both with full sensor display) and has an integrated electronic variable ND, S-Cinetone & S.-log 3 and much more. Read on to find out more!
There was a lot of anticipation for this camera and now the time has finally come: The Sony FX6 is a small powerhouse camera that seems to be a perfect combination of your professional FX9 and the much-vaunted, still quite new Sony a7S III.
Sony FX6, housing only without handles. Image source: Sony
Sony FX6 Specifications – Exmor R 10.2 Megapixel 4K Sensor
Let's go over the facts first: the Sony FX6 has a 10.2 megapixel full screen CMOS Exmor-R sensor with backlighting, which means it's a native 4K full screen sensor as opposed to his bigger sibling, the FX9, which has a 6K sensor, is downsampled to 4K for recording. Sony hasn't been able to confirm whether they're using the a7S III sensor in the FX6, but it looks like we can judge (and if you do the math it'll be the same – if you're using the 12.1-megapixel 3: Take 2 sensor from If you shave the a7S III and up and down to match the FX6 aspect ratio, you get roughly a 10.2 megapixel sensor.
It is important to note that the FX6 does not have a 4K crop mode for Super35mm. This is also identical to the a7S III. In my opinion, this is the camera's biggest downside, as it means you can't really use it effectively with a lot of scrap glass, especially professional PL mount lenses that typically cover an S35 image circle. There is an HD crop for S35, however.
BIONZ XR processor
The new BIONZ XR processor, which is already used in the a7s III, is also used in the FX6. This gives it the processing power it needs for various demanding tasks, such as excellent low-light performance and high-speed recording – more on this below. Sony says in its data sheet that "future-oriented architecture increases processing power up to four times". It's unclear what this comparison refers to, could be compared to the a7S III or the FX9.
Dual native ISO 800 and ISO 12,800
The Sony FX6 is a dual native ISO camera. Although this has not been publicly confirmed by Sony, the a7S III clearly has a dual ISO system with similar native ISO values, as it shows the clearest picture in these two modes (see our review of the a7S III here). The low native ISO of the FX6 is not 640 like the a7S III, but 800, but the high native ISO is ISO 12,800 for both.
As I can confirm in my first practical test, the FX6 seems to be just as faint as the a7S III, if not more because of better processing (less noise). We will test this closely with a production unit of the FX6.
Sony claims a dynamic range of more than 15 stops in the FX6. This is tested by us as usual in our laboratory tests, and usually the information provided by the manufacturers does not match our scientific comparison tests.
Assuming that this is the same or a similar sensor as the a7S III, we have high hopes for this camera as the a7S III performed very well in our lab test (mind you, we retested the 12,800 native ISO, which has changed from 16,000 in the production version of this camera and will update the laboratory test a7S III accordingly shortly).
S-Cinetone Look & Slog 3
Like the FX9, the camera also has Sony's built-in S-Cinetone “Venice Look” image profile, which creates pleasant skin tones and removes the “cold” Sony look that many people have had problems with in the past. Of course, Slog 3 is also integrated in the camera.
Fast hybrid AF – even in S&Q mode
Like the a7S III and FX9, the Sony FX6 also has exceptional auto focus functions with face and eye detection and tracking. In contrast to the a7s III, touch tracking does not work on the screen for objects. However, they are very good at tracking faces. The 720p screen used in the FX6 is the same as the FX9, a touchscreen, but not as responsive or versatile as the a7S III.
The Sony FX6 uses the same 720p screen as the FX9. Image source: Sony
The special thing about the FX6 compared to the FX9 is that you can also use the autofocus in the S&Q modes: You can use faces at up to 100 fps in 4K with a time base of 25p and even up to 120 fps in 4K track a time base of 29.97. It's a little confusing when it's available at what frame rates and when it's not. Please read my review to learn more about it.
High frame rates – slow motion with up to 120 fps in 4K and 240 fps in HD
The FX6's high frame rate modes are the same as the a7S III's: it can record up to 120 fps in 4K and up to 240 fps in HD, both in a full sensor display. That's amazing compared to its bigger sibling, the FX9, which can't get more than 30p with a full sensor readout. You'll need to trim back to a 5K crop mode that covers about 83% of the sensor to be able to record 50 or 60p. In HD in S&Q mode, 180 fps are achieved. More on this in my review.
Electronic variable ND
Sony's extraordinary electronic variable ND is back, which is still one of the biggest differences between Sony cameras and others. The stepless adjustment of the ND between 1/4 and 1/128 ND intensity is simply amazing and therefore very useful.
Side view of the Sony FX6 case. Image source: Sony
Codecs – XAVC-I and XAVC-L, just like the FX9
Amazingly, the Sony FX6 shares the codecs with the FX9, not with the a7S III: Both the XAVC-I (intra-frame) and the XAVC-L (long GOP) in the MXF wrapper are available, all based on H.264 . There is no H.265-based codec like the XAVC HS 4K UHD 120p from the a7S III. This means a good compatibility of all codecs recorded in the FX6 with existing processing platforms, since these are already known from the FS7 and FX9.
Here you will find the complete overview of the Sony codecs.
Sony FX6, FX9 and a7S III codecs compared. Image source: Sony
Here is more similar to the a7S III than to the FX9: The FX6 uses SDXC V90 (UHS-II / UHS-I) or CFexpress Type A cards (Sony Tough) as recording media. That means no XQD cards like the FS7 or FX9, but the fastest new cards on the market. The CFexpress Type A cards are expensive, but they give you all the recording capabilities of the FX6, and soon more manufacturers are entering this market, which should bring prices down.
Sony FX6 with all removable handles and screen removed. Image source: Sony
Body and handling, power
The body itself is very small and has a detachable top handle, a monitor that can be mounted in different places on the top handle, and a handle that is very easy to adjust. The overall design is similar to the Sony FS5 and FS5 II, but with one big difference: there is no EVF on the back of the camera.
The camera uses Sony's proven BP-U battery standard that we have had since the Sony EX1 / EX3 days. The FS7, FS5 and FX9 also use the same standard.
The camera has a new quick menu that gives you an overview of the most important functions in a ten-page grid overview. While it's a great idea, it takes a bit more work in my opinion as some features that are supposed to work with each other just don't work with each other. I've used the normal menu too many times, which is activated by long-pressing the menu button – but more on that in my full hands-on review of the camera.
Quick menu on the Sony FX6. Image source: Sony
Granted, the EVF on the FS5 wasn't great – no OLED – but it was nice that it was there. The FX6 does not come with a viewfinder magnifier like the FX9. So you definitely need an accessory to see your picture outside in bright sunlight. I was hoping that somehow they would have incorporated the brilliant OLED from the a7S III into the FX6, but that's not the case.
It really is time Sony sold a separate OLED viewfinder that can be used with any camera! You did it once with the RX100 viewfinder, which was movable with a long cable. Why not use the same technology and give it an HDMI port to be camera independent? If they just figured out the power supply it would be an extremely successful product as there is still a lack of camera independent small EVFs on the market.
Connections: SDI and HDMI outputs, RAW video output, TC in / out
The camera has both SDI and HDMI ports and both seem to be able to output 4K at the same time, which is amazing even for such a small camera. There may be some restrictions on some frame rates, as Yann from Sony mentions in the interview above, but we'll examine them in more detail as soon as we have a production version of the camera in our hands again.
All connections of the Sony FX6. Image source: Sony.
The FX6 can also output RAW video through its SDI connection. According to Sony (see interview above), this is the same RAW that we know from other Sony cameras. With the Sony FX9, this RAW output is only possible with the purchase of the expensive XDCA-FX9 adapter, which I also talk about in my practical FX6 test.
The Sony FX6 also has a BNC connector for outputting and inputting timecode, which of course is great and is badly needed for professional productions.
There's also a USB-C port which, to our knowledge, is only used for firmware updates and cannot be used to record footage (like in a Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K or 6K, for example).
XLR connectors and other audio
The two XLR connectors of the camera are located in the detachable upper handle, as is the “correct” built-in microphone. Obviously this is a challenge if you remove that handle and only use the barebones camera, e.g. B. when you take photos in a small space or on a gimbal frame.
The FS5 still had an XLR connector in the case itself and I found that choice to be very smart. As you can see in the interview above, this was controversial according to Sony and apparently more people wanted these XLR connectors side by side again.
In any case, it's a shame that we can't even find a mini-jack audio input in the body itself to be able to connect a small reference microphone to the “camera brain” with minimalist operation. At least in this camera brain there is a small, low quality microphone built in so it won't be muted like the original Canon C300. There's also a TC In / Out port so you can use a Tentacle Sync timecode generator or similar product to sync with your separate audio recording or second camera.
Sony FX6 with a 70-200 G-Master lens. Image source: Sony.
Sony seems to have really done its homework with the FX6, and it is probably the most powerful little camera they have ever produced. It remains to be seen how it will be received by the market, but I expect it will be hugely popular. After using a pre-production version of the camera for my first hands-on review for a few days, I'm thrilled with it – despite the fact that I bought an FX9 and in many ways this FX6 is half the price. I'm really excited to see how other FX9 owners will react to the introduction of the FX6.
Prices & availability
The Sony FX6 costs US $ 5,998 or EUR 5,500 plus sales tax / VAT. It should be available in December.
What do you think of the Sony FX6? Are you going to buy one in the end? Or are you an FX9 owner like me and “less than happy” with the great features of the new, much cheaper camera?