Sony Releases New Firmware for the A6000. Adds XAVC-S support
There was a nice little surprise for Sony A6000 owners yesterday when Sony announced a new firmware for the camera. Version 2 added one big new feature, and that is the XAVC-S codec. Up till now, if you were recording video on the A6000 you were stuck with the rather awful AVC-HD codec and a low bit rate, and frankly the quality wasn't the best. You could record uncompressed HD from the HDMI port on the camera, and having tried that in the past, the difference is remarkable. But adding an external recorder defeats the purpose of having a small camera. With the new firmware, Sony is adding a much better codec and the results are pretty great.
For details of the Firmware update, and more coverage, Sony Alpha Rumors has all the details.
I shot a very rough and ready test yesterday after running the firmware update, using only the kit lens and the default settings.
When I first tried shooting, it would't record as I had an incompatible card. So, first I had to get a new sdxc card. While in the city centre at the camera store, I shot some footage, because I was excited to try it. So, the video isn't particularly well shot. I didn't do any special setup and this wasn't designed to be a proper "shoot". I just used the kit lens, and with the standard picture profile, grabbed some footage around the centre of Dublin, so it's a bit shaky and the lens isn't great. I just wanted to get something so I could test the codec. I'll do a properly set up test soon.
Having said that, the difference between AVC-HD and XAVC-S is night and day. It's like the A6000 is now a different camera when it comes to shooting video. The quality is so much better it's quite remarkable. I'll have more on this soon, once I've filmed something properly, with a descent lens, and on a tripod!
Footage was edited (and by edited, I mean thrown together) in the New Premiere Pro 2015, and I did a very light grade using Film Convert (with the Kodak Porta 400 setting). One or two clips are stabilised, but there's no post sharpening. The camera was set to the Standard picture profile, and default settings.