Sony has promised to launch the Sony FX6 before end of 2020, but at what price? In this post, I attempt to predict both. And once Sony launches the FX6 (hopefully soon), we’ll see how close (or far out) I was in my prediction.
Sony Cinema Lineup – 2020
Many of you will remember, that two months ago in early September, Sony announced their Cinema Line of cameras including the current flagship VENICE, the Sony FX9, and the soon-to-be-launched Sony FX6. The latter being the most compact and affordable Sony cinema camera of the three.
B&H has already a place-holder listing for the FX6, so if you are eager to find out pricing when the camera launches you may want to bookmark it.
Sony FX6 – Price, Sensor and 4K Video Specs?
Quick note: This is all pure speculation on my part, which you should take with a grain of salt. I have no access, nor have I been privy to any non-public information about the exact pricing or launch dates of any upcoming Sony or other manufacturer’s products.
So, with that said, let’s try and decipher the Sony FX6 launch and pricing.
Given the already available information released by Sony on their Cinema lineup – it’s easy to see that the FX6 will sit below the FX9 in the hierarchy.
Furthermore, the Sony FX6 in my opinion is looking like “a beefed-up Sony a7s III” in a very compact camcorder body with built-in NDs, and XLR inputs. And from the official image below, you can see that the FX6 will feature the awesome Electronic Variable ND from the Sony FX9.
Will the Sony FX6 be an A7s III with Built-in ND Filters?
Moreover, being an “X” camera, the Sony FX6 will most likely have a new full-frame sensor, however this has not being confirmed by Sony (nor any other specs).
However, I think it will be helpful to many to summarize the possible specifications and video features of the Sony FX6, given what we know from the already available Sony A7s III and FX9.
Sony FX6 – Possible 4K video Specs and Features
- 4K Full-Frame CMOS sensor (*likely NOT the same as in the a7s III)
- 10bit 4K XAVC-I 4:2:2 up to 30fps – Full-Frame
- 10bit 4K XAVC-L up to 60fps (Long-GOP) in S35 crop
- 4K/120fps in 10bit XAVC-L in Full-Frame
- Full HD up to 180fps
- Hybrid AF – Contrast and Phase-detect
- with Real-time tracking and Eye AF
- S-Cinetone picture profile
- Electronic Variable ND filters
- Dual XLR inputs
- 3G-SDI output and HDMI output
- 16bit linear RAW output via SDI to Atomos Shogun 7
- (recorded as 12bit ProRes RAW)
- Records onto dual CFexpress Type A cards
Okay, so that’s quite the specs – but what about the price?
Well, given that the Sony FX9 is priced around $11,000 USD (body only), and the A7s III costs $3,500 USD, means that the upcoming Sony FX6 can be priced realistically anywhere between $5,000 and $6,500.
So, is the Sony FX6 a mini-FX9 or a Sony a7s III in a camcorder body?
That’s a good question. I guess, it depends on your point of view. One can make the argument, that if Sony took the approach of cutting FX9 features to arrive at the FX6 specs then you could call it a mini-FX9. However, I believe there is more to it – the FX9 will possibly have a few big advantages over the FX6, even though they may not appear to be that big of a deal to many.
I think, the FX6 will not have the same 6K sensor as in the FX9, on the contrary, it won’t be even the sensor from the Sony A7sIII. Which means, in theory, no super-sampling from a higher res for a super-crisp 4K. If this is true, then there won’t be a 5K FF crop either.
Now don’t get me wrong, this is Sony we’re talking about – the FX6 will have a super nice 4K image, guaranteed, but it wont be the same as the FX9 (and likely less than 4K effective resolution). I think that the FX6 will also not have the higher bit rates of the FX9 in XAVC-Intra and it won’t have Timecode In/Out.
Sony FX6 vs Sony FX9 – Predictions?
- New 4K Full-Frame sensor (not 6K)
- No 5K or 6K down-sampling
- No Timecode I/O
- No 4-channel audio (without the XLR-K3M)
- More limited bit rates and frame rates in XAVC-I
- Mostly XAVC-L (Long GOP) based camcorder
- 1 x BNC (3G-SDI) output (FX9 has two)
- Non-touch screen (lower-resolution) LCD
- No viewfinder-loupe
- RAW output without the XDCA – this will be a huge plus if it happens
Sony FX6 vs Sony a7s III – Predictions?
- Full-frame sensor, but not the same 12MP from a7s III
- more likely a 8-9MP
- 3G-SDI output in addition to HDMI out
- S-Cinetone picture profile
- for great colors straight out of camera
- Built-in Variable NDs
- Dual XLR inputs
- More camcorder-oriented pro body
- However, it will be at least $1,500 more expensive than A7s III
Sony FX6 – Announcement and Shipping?
In my opinion, Sony is likely to launch the Sony FX6 sometime in the first two weeks of November and ship by early December. Of course, this is 2020, and anything can happen, but Sony have said they are aiming to ship before end of year.
…the next step is a new model that will appeal to a wide spectrum of visual creators. Sony will be releasing and shipping this next addition to the range, the FX6 camera by the end of 2020.
2020 has been a crazy year for camera announcements – we saw some incredible 12K sensor technology from Blackmagic and their URSA Mini 12K, Canon pleasantly surprised us with the very capable EOS C70, and Sony once again reclaimed their mirrorless crown among the video crowd with the Sony a7sIII.
Will they do the same with the low-budget/mid-tier pro camcorder market with the upcoming FX6? I guess, we’ll find out soon.