Sony FX9 Firmware V3 Released – Adds Anamorphic Viewing Modes, Touch Tracking AF and More

November 25th, 2021 Jump to Comment Section 5

Sony FX9 users rejoice! It took a while, but now, as promised, the Sony FX9 firmware V3 is here. I was lucky enough to pay a short visit to Sony’s HQ and have learned first-hand about what the new firmware has to offer to those dedicated FX9 users.

The Sony FX9 was brought to the market a bit over two years ago, and it is with no doubt nice to see Sony renewing its appeal. After all, it is one of the most popular cameras out there, especially in the (creative) broadcast world. We have already covered what this new FW update brings in a separate article, but here is a quick reminder of what to expect.

Sony FX9. Credit: CineD

Sony FX9 Firmware V3 Key Features include:

  • anamorphic lens support plus 2x desqueezing in the LCD viewfinder
  • S700PTP remote protocol for controlling the camera over Ethernet
  • B4 lens support when using the Sony LA-EB1 adapter – S16 scanning mode (up to 1080p), lens control, and ALAC (auto lens aberration correction)
  • center scan mode switch on assignable buttons, allowing users to toggle seamlessly between different scan modes like with a Digital Extender known from camcorders such as the PXW-Z280 (FF6K – FF crop 5K – S35 – S16)
  • real-time tracking (touch tracking AF) allowing users to choose a focus point by touch on the LCD viewfinder and track its movement throughout the shoot
  • C3 portal support – quick connection to the cloud through a dedicated mobile app
  • clip naming (Cam ID + Reel number) – as known from the PXW-FS7
  • focus zero marker (numerically indicating focus gap from specific focus position during MF) enabling users to specify a point of focus in time and return to it at will
  • additional items can be modified in the Status Screen
  • SR Live for HDR metadata support
  • recording proxy clip real-time transfer

From this long list, I would like to highlight the following enhancements:

S700PTP remote protocol for controlling the camera over Ethernet. Credit CineD

Camera Controlling with Remote Protocol over Ethernet

As the Sony FX9 is a very popular filming tool among broadcasters, extending its capabilities for studio and live event applications, including the ability to remotely control it with the S700TP, is obviously a smart thing to do.

B4 lens adapter and Broadcast lens on the Sony FX9
Before correcting the crop mode Credit: CineD
B4 lens support setup – S16 2K. Credit: CineD
Correct Crop Mode. Credit CineD

B4 Lens Support (S16/2K)

As you can imagine, there are A LOT of good broadcast zoom lenses out there, mostly glass made by Canon and FUJINON, and for those who are not familiar with the issue of using those lenses on the Sony FX9, I’ll say that those lenses are made for 2/3 inch sensors found within the most common broadcast cameras. Now, the Sony FX9 is a full-frame camera and as such, the lens image circle is too small to cover the entire sensor. So what Sony did here, is to allow S16 2K scan crop mode so that when filming in HD, the entire frame is being properly covered. On top of that, this new mode can now be assigned to a button via the camera menu for quick access. (Be sure to be on the appropriate recording HD mode and not 4/6K, otherwise this crop function won’t be taken into account).

Working in this mode will allow you to benefit from the following: Huge zoom range (as you are now cropping into the sensor), and, as the sensor does not skip any pixels, filming above 60 frames per second will result in a cleaner, better quality image than when filming in full-frame.

Touch Tracking Autofocus. Credit: Alister Chapman

Touch Tracking AF

Changing autofocus points by touching the LCD screen is now possible. Moreover, it is possible to lock AF on your subject and move the camera if needed.

VF De-Squeeze Function for 1.3x and 2.0x anamorphic lenses. Credit: CineD

Anamorphic Monitoring Mode

A De-Squeeze option has been added and the result can be seen in the camera Viewfinder/LCD. Now it is possible to film with 1.3x or 2.0x anamorphic lenses in S35 mode and De-Squeeze the image correctly. The anamorphic image can of course be outputted to an external monitor, but you will obviously have to rely on the external monitor capabilities to De-Squeeze the image properly.

Final Thoughts

It is no secret that the Sony FX6 “stole” the attention and probably sales from the aging and more expensive Sony FX9, so it is nice to see the company try to make that camera EVEN better and competitive again by adding new features and capabilities with the release of the free firmware update. Will it make people consider buying a new FX9 more than before? Will it shake the FX9 second-hand market? Only time will tell.

Price and availability

The V3 firmware update is now available for free as a download by clicking here.

Do you have experience working with the Sony FX9? Do you find the new Sony FX9 firmware V3 update useful for you? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.


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