Sony FX9 – First Thoughts

So about this time in 2013, I was looking at buying my first big boy camera. The Canon C300 was a strong contender in the field and a camera I’d used a number of times and although wasn’t perfect, the images it produced were lovely – and still are. However, the form factor and the usability of the camera didn’t quite work without some additional third-party add-ons which made the camera heavy and more cumbersome to use. But then Sony released the details of its latest development. The Sony Fs7, and if you read the specs, you’d be a fool not to wait for it.

As a Sony Fs7 owner-operator, I couldn’t have been happier with my purchase. Most of my work in documentaries has taken me into a number of situations where the kit needs to be as versatile as possible. The camera could be fully loaded filming a scene from a short drama one day, to running and gunning across middle America the next.

The sony Fs7 has been a workhorse in the field and since day one, I’ve never looked back. Its usability across a number of formats has been incredible and it’s also the only camera that has gone up in price after my initial purchase!

So, as time has gone on and the camera market begins to slow down, I’ve been waiting to see what happens next. Which direction as an owner-operator should I go? RED? ARRI?? Back to Canon??? Should I look to climb the Sony camera ladder, working my way up to an F55? Just as this decision became harder to choose Sony announces a new camera. The Sony FX9.

Not a replacement to the Fs7, but an addition to their range. Some may argue, their overly saturated range…  To sit above the Fs7, but not quite good enough for the CineAlta badge currently on the F5 & F55 + ranges. So why bother investing in something that’s so similar to the Fs7 but not as highly rated as the F55? Especially as a new Fx9 sits in the same price range of a used F55… Surly an F55 is a steal?

Well, would you buy an older sports car that has plenty of miles on the clock or buy a new car for the same price? Sure, the F55 is made to a stronger build and has a Global shutter, but the Fx9 sensor is newer… and when we live in a world where technology is changing more often than my underwear, maybe there’s more to a camera then the build quality. So the question became not should I buy an F55 or FX9, but why should I exchange hard earned cash for an FX9 when I already have a workhorse in the Fs7?

Looking at the new features offered in the FX9 it soon doesn’t take long to see why this could be the right choice for me. The FX9 offers dual iso, 15 stops of latitude, electronic variable ND, the same but more stable E mount, S-Cinetone, 4x audio controls, autofocus – that works… oh and did I forget to mention the 6K full-frame sensor…? Ok, the camera is still just 4K due to the limitations of the codec, but at least it’s true full-frame, UHD and the low light capability is incredible!

In truth, I’ve been waiting for Sony to launch a new CinaAlta camera that would replace the F55 and although this could still happen in time, it was clear to me that the FX9 would quickly become the new workhorse. The versatility of this camera is even greater than the Fs7 and ultimately when you have directors asking ‘so… what do you think to the new Sony camer…?’  I knew I had to get one.

The Fs7 will still very much stay with me as a perfect addition to the FX9 as a B cam, gimbal/Steadicam, or in time a beautiful doorstop to the office…!