Rant: 16-Bit RAW

I’ve already made my aversion to external recording solutions known in plenty of previous posts: they add bulk, require additional power solutions, cables, SSDs, magic arms and a cage – unless you’re one of the cool guys willing to gamble on mounting one directly to the hot shoe of the camera! Firmware updates to older recorders become less and less frequent, forcing you to purchase newer models for no particular reason. Either internal RAW or recording to a portable SSD are far more elegant solutions – if you even need RAW at all!

Regarding the FX9, Geoff Boyle has this to say about Sony’s implementation of 16-bit RAW:

Now we get to an area that I fail to understand. The camera has a 6k sensor and this is always oversampled to 4K or 2K. This is clear and works well in AVC. The thing is they have a RAW recorder available that apparently records 16 bit RAW but at 4K or 2K. HTF can you record RAW if it’s been oversampled down from 6K to 4K???

Apart from that it looks truly hideous. Sony looks as if they handed the design of the RAW recorder to someone’s blind and physically handicapped cousin. No, not a particularly PC statement but an accurate one! It is just revolting, a weird afterthought.

Not only is the form factor revolting, but so is the exorbitant cost and the fact that you’ve got to purchase thousands of dollars worth of cumbersome accessories (which become worthless junk the moment you switch systems) when other cameras can record RAW internally. We’ve got full frame cameras no larger than a pack of cigarettes and costing a mere $1,700.00 that can record gorgeous 4K 12-bit RAW directly to a cheap Samsung 1TB portable drive for goodness sake!

From Y.M.Cinema:

Catch-22: $3,800 to capture RAW on the FX9

In order to get ProRes RAW from the Sony FX9, you need to purchase the Atomos Shogun 7 as the recorder, and the Sony XDCA-FX9 extension unit as the acquirer. That will cost you $3,800 which is approximately 35% of the whole camera itself ($14,800 in total).

In addition, keep in mind that this apparatus will allow external recording, which is quite an old-school approach, especially when there are so many RAW internal alternatives like Canon, Blackmagic, ARRI, RED, and the forthcoming Kinefinity MAVO Edge. The question is, should filmmakers invest that money and absorb this complexity to get that ProRes RAW out of the FX9?

And that’s just for useless 12-bit RAW! 🤣 Professional colorists and filmmakers around the world pretty much unanimously agree on how flexible 10-bit S-log3 is (it’s good enough for Netflix), yet out of nowhere, a few anonymous online pundits declare it inadequate! hehe And lest we forget, when recording ProRes RAW with Sony cameras, white balance cannot be adjusted in Final Cut Pro X, making it even less attractive. If you’re really serious about grading, chances are you’re working in DaVinci Resolve, a far more refined and powerful platform than FCP X, but which unfortunately is incompatible with PRR.

For those wanting to purchase the a7s III RAW recording kit, the cost is $4,524.00.

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