Upgrading from Sony FS5 to FX6

Dixon Wong
March 11, 2021

I’ve recently acquired the new Sony FX6 and the switch from the Sony FS5 has been absolutely confusing in the beginning. It has been frustrating to navigate around the menu and to figure out what settings I can enable and disable; as many options are greyed out depending on what settings you have enabled, or what equipment you have. Don’t be afraid, it’s straightforward now after a few months of usage.

The Menu

The first thing to learn is that the Menu button has two functions. A standard press opens you a quick access menu, and the press and hold opens the full menu. The quick access menu is great on set, very intuitive, easy to find what you need to control. Only the first few pages are relevant, the rest are just statuses.

One thing to know, shooting in 4K and shooting in 1080p will have some settings disabled and enabled. Don’t only think you should shoot on 4K, as there are limitations on some of these settings. An example is when shooting in 4096x2160, the max frame rate is 60fps. Whereas 3820x2160 is up to 120fps. And when shooting in the two types of 4K, you can only shoot in Full Frame, there is no option to go Super35. However, when you change to 1080p, the option is now available to change from FF to S35.

Picture Profiles now called Base Looks

Before, we had picture profiles. Now there’s two shooting modes, Custom and Cine EI, and they are now called Base Looks.

When shooting in Custom mode, you’re probably using S-Cinetone. On the FS5, it’s similar to Cine picture profile. This is where the colors are baked into the footage however you see fit. I use this mode when shooting talking heads or live connection feed to web conferences.

Cine EI was a little learning curve for me, but it’s the go-to mode as I am primarily a post production specialist. There’s only two base ISO looks, 800 and 12800. It’s always shot on s-log3, and you can input a LUT on your view finder monitor, you can monitor your waveform reading either the LUT applied, or what the s-log3 is reading. This maximizes the control on your picture in post, especially to not blow out the highlights.

You can add MLUTS by inserting SD/CFexpress Type A card into Slot B under this file path: ROOT Folder > SONY > PRO > LUT.

SONY folder initially is empty, so you will create a new folder for PRO and LUT. Import your LUT files. You may find that the camera cannot import, so make sure the LUTs are 33x for best compatibility.  Go to full menu, Paint/Look, Base Look, when the SD Card/CFexpress Type A is inserted, the Import is enabled.

Before we jump into the next category, matching the picture to another camera. I’ve tested matching the FX6 with the FS5, and it wasn’t so difficult to match. I used a color chart on set, and had my FX6 as the primary color. The FS5 is shot on s-log3, applied the necessary balance adjustments, and then applied a conversion LUT. I use the Sony Venice Look LUTs, Then adjust the skin tone, and that’s pretty much it.

Dual Native ISO

There’s a new feature called Base Lo and Base Hi. One thing you need to remember are the numbers: 800 and 12800 for S-Log, and 320 and 5000 for s-cinetone. In Cine EI mode, you can only record in two ISO’s. The rest of the control would be with your aperture and ND. For shooting on non-log, 5000 ISO is when the noiseless effect kicks in, the “dual base”.

Shutter Speed & Shutter Angle

Now, there's an option on the shutter speed to change to shutter angle. I’m familiar with 1/50 when shooting on 24fps. So with shutter angle, we know 180 degrees. What is the equivalent of each? 

Histogram / Waveform

The next setting I want the histogram on-screen. This is called Video Signal Monitor. You can locate it under Monitoring > Display On/Off. Now that I see there are three options, Histogram, Waveform, and Vectoscope, I’ll be primarily using the waveform.

Tally - Recording Red Light

While recording, there’s a red light that shows up in the front of the camera and the back. On the FX6, there’s 3 places. The front, the side Rec button, and the back above the battery. To change the settings, in full menu > Technical > Tally.

ProRes RAW

How is the ProRes RAW output? With the Atomos Shogun 7, via SDI output in 4K, to me, ProRes RAW isn't that much greater than internal code visually. Is it worth it? Is it necessary in you work flow? Personally, the workflow is unnecessary and not needed. It's great that the option is there though.

To set up to shoot RAW, you’ll find that XACV-I settings usually has XACV-I and XACV-L. The only way to enable RAW is switching to Cine EI mode, set the scan to FF, then back to Rec Format, you’ll now find two more options. Select RAW & XACV-I.


How about the wireless connection? There’s this thing called AP (access point mode). Once this is set up, you can see what the camera is seeing via an app called Content Browser Mobile (CBM). The distance is incredibly short.

Additional Info

Some additional settings for preparation, renaming the file names. Instead of the default Clip_0001, you can now change the prefix and suffix number. I currently named it FX6_ and kept 0001.

If you use Catalyst Browse, it reads the metadata files in the root folder. Therefore, you’ll need to make sure every time you dump footage, copy the entire memory card folder. Don’t just update the Clip folder. Without the metadata, Catalyst Browse will not see your video files.

A great thing about using CFexpress Type A memory card is when you dump footage using the ProGrade CFexpress/SD card reader, a full 160GB takes about 5-6 mins to dump. That's ridiculous!

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