Sony has announced the FX3, the latest member of the Cinema Line camera line that is also the smallest and most compact of the bunch. Many of its features are borrowed from the A7S III, with the main differences being in the body design and the benefits of extra shooting time thanks to an internal fan.
The FX3 is powered by a back-illuminated 10.2-megapixel full-frame sensor that promises low noise and high sensitivity up to ISO 409,600 and over 15 dynamic range stops in SLog-3. It includes the S-Cinetone color matrix found on the Venice, FX6, and FX9 to allow it to better match the images captured on these cameras. It also has eleven selectable picture profiles including S-Gamut3 and S-Gamut3 Cinema.
The new cinema camera can capture images up to 600 Mbps in All-I, can shoot in XAVC S / H.264 or MPEG-H HEVC / H.265, and can capture 4K at up to 120 frames per second ( with 10% image cropping from full frame) and up to 240 frames per second at Full HD 1080p. Video can be captured with 10-bit depth and 4: 2: 2 color sampling in all formats and it can also record 16-bit RAW video through the HDMI output. Finally, it will allow proxy recording in XAVC HS 10-bit and 8-bit 1080p and 720p.
The FX3 features a 627-point focal plane phase-detection autofocus system, the same one found on the FX6. It includes Eye-AF (in video modes, Eye-AF only supports human eyes) and real-time tracking AF which are available in all video modes. Touch tracking is built into the rear LCD screen, and there are many autofocus control settings that can be customized to change how quickly the camera focuses between subjects.
The body features 5-axis on-sensor image stabilization (a first for the Cinema Line) and for an additional 10% harvest, Sony claims that a digital stabilizer can work in tandem with the on-sensor stabilizer for the ‘improve considerably. This feature, called Active Mode, is not available in 120fps and higher frame rate shooting modes.
If these specs sound familiar to you, it’s pretty much the same as the A7S III offers. When asked about the characteristics of the FX3 compared to the A7S III, a Sony rep agreed that it looks very similar from a certain point of view.
“From a technology standpoint, maybe,” said a Sony representative. “From a usability perspective, we think they’re very different.”
Sony claims that with the FX3 and A7S III, it has created a different benefit proposition for those who don’t really need the still-image capture capability of the A7S III but want the functionality. video-centric in a housing designed to work in cameras. That doesn’t mean he can’t take pictures: he can. It has a mechanical focal plane shutter, just like the Alpha series, but Sony also says its electronic shutter should also be quite capable thanks to the sensor’s fast read speed.
As one notices immediately (and probably not a surprise considering the many leaks that have emerged over the past two weeks), the design appears to blend features from the Cinema line with the Alpha line. Sony says the camera is designed for solo shooting comfort and should offer an “extraordinarily different” grip experience.
The FX3 is Sony’s most compact Cinema Line camera. The top of the camera is completely flat as Sony has removed the viewfinder and top dials and it weighs 640 grams (~ 22.6 ounces) without a card and battery, 715 grams (~ 25.2 ounces) with a card and a battery. Unfortunately, unlike its Cinema Line brethren, it didn’t have space for SDI connectors and it was also too small to allow for the built-in ND filters. These are compromises Sony decided to make to keep the camera small.
The result is a more compact camera than an A7S III. It is the same width, but shorter. Camera depth is slightly less if you count the viewfinder eyecup of the A1 or A7S III.
The FX3 features what Sony calls “optimally positioned controls”. On the top are frequently used buttons located on the top face to enable thumb operation, and along with other controls such as the menu button and focus magnifier that allow convenient operation for right-handed people. Instead of an on / off switch, Sony replaced that toggle with a zoom rocker for power zoom lenses. The front has a customizable record button, and the rear of the camera features the familiar 1.44 million-point swivel touchscreen LCD (same as the A7S III) that gives shooter access to autofocus control and autofocus selection. Touch tracking has been implemented in the LCD screen to allow it to become a true control area. To the right of the screen, the back of the camera has ISO and shutter control, and these, along with the other buttons, can be customized by the user.
Sony wanted the FX3 to be a camera that doesn’t require a third-party camera cage and added several mounting points to reduce the size and weight of the system. It sports five 1 / 4-20 inch UNC thread holes on the body that allow direct mounting of peripherals and three 1 / 4-20 inch UNC threaded holes on the supplied handle. The threads are not only drilled into the magnesium cabinet, but supported by a stainless steel substructure inside the body which Sony says makes it extremely strong and supportive.
As mentioned, the XLR grip is included with this camera, which is further proof of its Cinema Line accent. It includes XLR / TRS combo connectors, a digital audio interface for 24-bit four-channel recording and a 3.5mm headphone jack (in addition to that of the FX3 box). This grip does not include a microphone, but the FX3 has a built-in stereo microphone on the body.
Speaking of the FX3 body ports, it includes two USB terminals (Type-C and mic), a headphone jack, and a Type-A HDMI port (full size). Two USB ports have been included for situations where the USB-C port can power the camera endlessly (more on this at the moment) while the microUSB port can be used for monitoring or transferring. files. Like the A7S III, the FX3 has two CFexpress Type A and SD memory card slots. Sony says the same requirements for writing to memory cards from the FX3 are basically shared with the A7S III.
The slight bulge behind the rear LCD screen is where Sony has hidden the FX3’s active cooling system and built-in fan. The fan can be set to multiple operating modes (Auto / Minimum / Off) and works with the heat dissipation structure of the camera to keep the device cool. It sucks air in from the bottom, moves it through the heat sink, and blows it out the side of the unit. The fan is almost silent and in cases where it is quiet enough to be heard, it can, as mentioned, be turned off.
One of the main advantages of the aforementioned active cooling system is the extended recording time: the FX3 supports “endless” 4K recording at 60 frames per second when paired with an external power supply. Sony actually found the recording limits to be around 13 hours of continuous shooting, but for all intents and purposes it’s as “endless” as videographers need.
Despite the inclusion of a fan, the FX3 is dust and moisture proof (although Sony states that it is not guaranteed to be 100% dust and moisture proof, and that the XLR grip does not have any kind of resistance to dust or moisture) thanks to the waterproofing provided at all seams of the body, battery compartment, slots for brackets and other areas . The FX3 also has a dust collection system via a filter on the front of the sensor which activates automatically to remove dust and particles.
The camera supports the same battery as the A7S III, but as mentioned, it can be powered externally via USB-C. It also differs from the A7S III (apart from the body design) with the inclusion of S-Cinetone (despite rumors this also happens to the A7S III) and three indicator lights (one to the ‘front, one around the record button, and one on the back, all of which can be turned on or off). Unfortunately, the FX3 does not support user-installable LUTs and does not have built-in SDI or ND ports, which sets it apart from the FX6. In a somewhat odd choice, Sony doesn’t allow shutter speed to be set as the shutter angle, which may annoy some filmmakers. It also does not support waveform or vectorscopes. However, the battery life should be better than that of the A7S III because it doesn’t need to run the power-hungry electronic viewfinder.
With all of these things taken into consideration, it’s no wonder that in Sony’s mind these differences place it perfectly between the Cinema Line and the Alpha Line. It has sacrifices that come from both sides of the aisle, but the end result is a high-performance, extremely compact, video-focused full-frame camera.
It’s slightly more expensive than the A7S III, but keep in mind that it comes with the included grip which may explain the slight price difference: the Sony FX3 is expected to hit the market in mid-March for 3899. , $ 99.