If the Sigma fp married the Sony A7, the result would not be much different from the Sony FX3, which looks like a Sony A7RIV without the hump for the electronic viewfinder. It’s Sony’s new cinema camera.
So, here is the much expected FX3 that some consider to be just a more expensive A7SIII with a fan and no EVF. Sony has other ideas, and the company has developed the camera to be the smallest offer from the company’s Cinema Line series. In fact, despite looking like a compact mirrorless, with a design that immediately brings the Sigma fp to mind, the Sony FX3 is something else, as it offers the best of Sony’s industry-leading digital cinema technology with advanced imaging features from Alpha mirrorless cameras to create the ultimate cinematic look.
It’s a camera that Sony hopes will be the first choice for young creators who strive for new cinematic freedom. The new model provides, according to sony, outstanding image quality and usability for small scale and one-person shooting. The FX3 boasts first-class focus performance, optical image stabilisation, handheld shooting design and advanced heat dissipation for extended recording times. All this in a compact, lightweight body that provides the performance and mobility to meet the growing demands of today’s content creators.
“The FX3 was designed to turn creative vision into reality,” saidYann Salmon Legagneur, Director of Product Marketing, Digital Imaging, Sony Europe. “It allows creators to bring their visual expression into the world of cinema through immersive content. We will continue to support the world’s creators through Sony’s Cinema Line Series.”
15+ stops dynamic range
The FX3 flaunts Sony’s industry-leading image sensor technology to achieve high processing speeds and outstanding image quality. The full-frame, back-illuminated Exmor R CMOS sensor full-frame 10.2 megapixel (approx. effective) count for movie recording (and 12.1 effective megapixels for stills) and the BIONZ XR image processing engine team up to ensure high sensitivity with low noise. The standard ISO range is 80 to 102,400 (expandable to 409,600 when shooting a movie), and dynamic range is an impressively wide 15+ stops, according to the information provided by Sony.
In response to a growing need for more expressive depth, the FX3, along with FX9 and FX6 Cinema Line cameras, allows users to create a cinematic look without post-production using S-Cinetone, something the recent Sony Alpha 1 also offers. Based on the colour science inspired by Sony’s flagship VENICE camera, S-Cinetone delivers natural mid-tones, plus soft colours and smooth highlights that are essential to cinematic look.
Create movies with in-camera 4K recording at up to 120 frames per second. Extraordinarily smooth slow-motion imagery (up to 5x) at QFHD (3840 x 2160) resolution with autofocus provides new expressive capability.
Designed for comfortable solo-shooting
The most compact and lightweight Cinema Line camera is ideal for handheld shooting, gimbal and drone-mounted work. It weighs just 715 grams, including battery and memory cards, and the body is 77.8 mm high, 129.7 mm wide and 84.5 mm deep – without protrusions. The camera grip has been carefully designed to provide optimum flexibility, stability and comfort for long shoots.
Designed for mobility and efficiency, the FX3’s body features five thread holes (1/4-20 UNC) to easily attach compatible accessories while remaining light enough for handheld shooting and making it easy to carry and set up. The supplied XLR handle unit securely attaches to the body via the Multi Interface Shoe without any special tools and provides three additional thread holes for accessories: two on the top and one on the end. External monitors, recorders, wireless microphone receivers, the accessory shoe kit (cold shoe plate), or other add-ons can be securely attached.
To enable high quality audio, the XLR handle unit includes two XLR/TRS audio inputs to the FX3. With an optional XLR microphone, digital audio data can be directly transferred to the camera for outstanding audio quality. Camera settings provide audio recording formats, including 4-channel 24-bit recording. Because the XLR adaptor is integrated into the handle and does not require any additional cables or batteries, it offers stress-free set up.
Fast AF, 5-axis image stabilization
The FX3 offers Fast Hybrid autofocus (AF) by using the 627 points focal plane phase-detection system during movie recording. The camera is further enhanced with Touch Tracking (Real-time Tracking) where simply touching the desired subject on the monitor screen initiates auto focus and tracking on that subject. Precise and smooth focus is maintained with Real-time Eye AF – technology that pinpoints eye even when subjects are looking down or up at steep angles. Additionally, other AF features have been included and refined in response to feedback from professional users, including AF Transition Speed, AF Subject Shift Sensitivity, intuitive control and AF support when focusing manually. These AF features have been implemented in the FX3 to ensure stable, flexible and precise focusing in any situation and are easy to operate for solo shoots.
The FX3 features 5-axis optical in-body image stabilisation – highly effective for handheld shooting. A high precision stabilisation unit and gyro sensors have made it possible to provide an Active Mode that is dedicated to movie shooting in each format, including 4K. In-body image stabilisation means that effective stabilisation can be achieved with a wide range of lenses, including E-mount lenses that do not include stabilisation of their own. In addition, the FX3 records image stabilisation metadata that can be done more practical adjustment during post-production using Catalyst Browse/Prepare.
Sony FX3 highlights
The presentation of the new FX3 was one of the shortest online presentations, somehow reflecting the compact size of the new Cinema Line camera. ProVideo Coalition will have more info about the model but for now here are the product highlights:
- 2 megapixel full-frame back-illuminated CMOS Exmor R sensor and BIONZ XR image processing engine
- Ultra-high sensitivity with ISO expandable to 409,600 for very low light conditions and 15+ stops of dynamic range
- S-Cinetone look profile which is inspired by the digital motion picture camera VENICE’s colour science, also used in FX9 and FX6 Cinema Line cameras, and records up to 4K 120p
- Compact and lightweight body design with high operability for hand-held shooting, gimbal and drone-mounted work
- Multi-thread (1/4-20 UNC) body makes it easy to mount accessories
- Detachable XLR handle unit with two of XLR/TRS audio input
- “Active Mode” image stabilisation supports handheld movie shooting
- Fast Hybrid Auto Focus, Touch Tracking (real-time tracking) and Real-time Eye AF, also used in other Alpha cameras
- Uninterrupted 4K 60p recording (Continued) by Effective heat dissipation and built-in cooling fan