YouTubers Attach Rockets to Sony FX9 to Test Autofocus Speed

With a list price of around $10,000, the Sony FX9 wouldn’t be my first choice for strapping a pair of model rocket engines to and sending it down a dolly track. But that’s exactly what a pair of YouTubers did in order to test just how well the FX9 can keep focus while the camera is moving at a rapid pace.

Kidron Burgandy & Mark Palmer, known collectively as “Film Sandwich” on YouTube, seem like fun-loving guys, but putting their expensive Sony FX9 at risk by rocketing it down a track seems like just begging for calamity. But if you really want to see just how fast the Fast Hybrid Auto Focus is on the FX9, is there any more entertaining way?

Image Credit – Sony

Designed for electronic newsgathering and documentary film production, the Sony FX9 is both light and powerful, with a full-frame Exmore 6K CMOS sensor and Sony’s gyro-stabilized Fast Hybrid Autofocus system, that offers 561 points of focus across the oversampled image field. 

Other features of the FX9 include:

  • 6K Full-Frame Exmor R CMOS Sensor
  • 15 Stops of Dynamic Range, Dynamic HDR
  • DCI 4K and UHD 4K up to 59.94p
  • HD Recording up to 150/180 fps
  • Quad Full HD 120p Raw with XDCA-FX9 Unit
  • Sony E-Mount
  • 10-Bit 4:2:2 XAVC-I up to 600 Mb/s
  • Auto-HD, AF, 7-Stop ND Filter, 3D LUTs
  • Dual Base ISO up to 102,400, HLG Mode
  • 12G/6G/3G-SDI & HDMI Output up to 4K

Stripping the FX9 down to its absolute bare minimum configuration, the guys then gaffer taped the camera to a sled with a pair of the most powerful model rocket engines money can legally buy.  They also included a pair of GoPros to grab every angle.

They even put a Donatello action figure from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, straddled like Slim Pickens on the carrying handle, because … well, why not?

Image Credit – Film Sandwich

The sled was then put on a 40-foot dolly track with the poster-sized image of Burgandy affixed to a foam wall mounted at the far end. Then it was time to light the candle.

The camera flew down the track at a brisk speed, while recording, and the results were rather impressive. The FX9 was able to lock onto the image of Palmer’s face, keeping it in frame and sharp while the camera was rocketing down the track. 

It’s not exactly rocket science, but how else can you test if your camera can keep the focus on a fixed point while the camera is moving so quickly? It sure is the most fun way, even if you’re putting your $10,000 camera at risk. 

The FX9 ended up none the worst for wear, however, as the camera continued to record and lock into focus even though it was on its side after coming off the track. No harm done. So, not only is the FX9 fast focusing but as John Cameron Swayze would say, “It takes a licking and keeps on ticking!”

[source: Film Sandwich]

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