"Sony’s PXW-FX9, whilst it isn’t officially a replacement for the FS7 and FS7 II, it is clearly the successor to these hugely popular cameras. I have had my FS7 for over 5 years and the FS7II, which itself is already 3 years old, only improved a few physical things on the camera body as well as a variable ND filter. This is the camera I was hoping the FS7 II was going to be.Whilst it isn’t perfect, as no camera ever can be, the image out of the full-frame sensor is beautiful. The autofocus, colours and low light performance are also really impressive. It's still missing a lot of features that are due to come with firmware updates over the next 12 months but even without them I feel this is the camera that every FS7 owner will be salivating over."
- Philip Bloom
We sat down with Philip Bloom and Sony Engineer Tom Cubby to talk about this impressive new camera. And, we took your questions LIVE as part of our #ZacutoLive show! Watch and check out the video comments to get all the info you need about dual base ISO, fast hybrid autofocus, new color science, autofocus, and much more.
Philip is working on a longform Sony FX9 review. We'll embedd it here as soon as it's ready!
The Sony FX9 and Zacuto
Philip had a chance to work with some of our new gear for this camera. You can get 15% off everything in our Sony FX9 category here with coupon code BLOOMFX9.
Here's what he had to say...
Sony fixed a lot of the physical body issues the FS7 had when they released the FS7II. The FX9 has inherited these improvements but not actually improved them even more.
Thankfully, Zacuto have solutions which make using the FX9 much less fiddly and better ergonomically. What I like is that you don’t have to buy them all. So, if you have no issues with some of the things Zacuto have replaced then you just get the ones you need. The other really good thing is that if you already have an FS7 and have some of these, many of them will work just fine with the FX9. Not all of them but most of them.
Starting with the 15mm rod system that the LCD screen and microphone are attached to, there is still no quick release for it. So Zacuto’s FX7 & FX9 Top Plate solves that very easily. Staying on that part of the camera, the LCD screen itself has had a big resolution jump over the FS7/ FS7II and so works way better as a viewfinder in conjunction with the loupe.
The problem for me is that I have disliked that loupe ever since they first used it 8 years ago on the FS100. It has improved since then but it’s still too long for on the shoulder operation as it forces you neck back. It is also not robust enough, it isn’t something you ever want to drop.
Trust me on this.
The good old Z-Finder (for FS7, FS7 II and FX9) is a big step up from it, much shorter, very robust and nicer optics. It is also a flip down design like the Sony one. If you are going this route I would also recommend the Axis Mini EVF arm and the adaptor to attach the camera’s LCD screen to the ARRI rosette of the arm. This gives you way more flexibility and music easier adjustments to adjust to where you need it for comfortable operation. You don’t have to get it and can use the Z-Finder just fine on Sony’s rods, it’s just not as good.
Adding an EVF?
You can of course replace the LCD loupe with a proper EVF but the camera has no power out which all the Zacuto EVF’s need other than the Gratical HD/X as they use a Canon L series battery. If you have 3rd party batteries with a D-Tap on them or the extension back then you will have no problem using the Gratical Eye or the Kameleon Pro. When I use a proper EVF with the FS7 and now the FX9 I reposition the LCD screen to the rear of the camera so you can still access menus easily without looking into the EVF.
The grip extension on the FX9 is OK, you don’t need to use a screwdriver to extend it like the original FS7 but it’s still fiddly and doesn’t have enough adjustments. Zacuto’s Sony FX9 Trigger Grip not only makes it easy to adjust with a press down on the top trigger but it is longer and can also be rotated so you can get it into the perfect position to reduce wrist strain.
The last key part is the Shoulder rig. The camera can be used on the shoulder much like the FS7 can without any add ons but it will always be front heavy and uncomfortable to use with prolonged periods of time. To really make the camera a pleasure to use handheld, alongside a Z-Finder or EVF, then you need the VCT Pro Baseplate which gives you a comfortable shoulder pad, a VCT tripod plate connections, rods and an ARRI rosette connection to get your grip even further away from the camera if needed.
(Zacuto Note: Our Recoil Pro shoulder rig for the Sony FX9 is available in single grip or double grip configurations and can be use with a Z-Finder on the Sony LCD or an EVF of your choice.)
Zacuto’s accessories make a great camera a much more ergonomic camera. If I was going to prioritise what you should get first if you are on a budget then that would be the Top Plate and Z-Finder. Absolute essentials that Sony really should bundle with the FX9!