Sony's New FX3 Has Better AF than the FX6, Plus IBIS

Sony has announced the FX3, a compact cinema camera that blends features of the FX6 and the a7S III, priced at $3,900. 

Sony's Cinema Line started with the FX6, FX9, and VENICE cameras, but today has grown to include its smallest camera to date, the FX3.

Taking a page out of Sigma's playbook, Sony went with a compact footprint small enough that it can be stuffed into your pocket, but modular enough to easily attach a number of accessories to one of its 1/4-20" inputs, or rig it with the included top handle that supplies two XLR inputs to record up to 4 channels of audio. 

Let's dive into what the FX3 has to offer. 

Key Features 

  • 10.2MP CMOS Full-Frame Sensor
  • 4K 120p, Full-HD 240p
  • XAVC and XAVC S-I All-Intra (H.264), XAVC HS (H.265)
  • 10-bit 4:2:2, 10-bit 4:2:2 HLG
  • Proxy Recording
  • 16-bit RAW out 
  • ISO 409,600 Max
  • IBIS 
  • S Cinetone, S-Log3 S-Gamut3/S-Gamut3.Cine
  • Fan (can turn on/off)
  • Phase Detection AF, Touchscreen AF
  • 627 AF Points shooting Video 
  • Shoots Stills
  • Dual CFexpress Type A Cards
  • NP-FZ100 Battery
  • Full HDMI, Mic/Headphone/USB-C/Micro USB
  • Over 12 customizable buttons 
  • Tally light 
  • 5 1/4-20" mounts on body
  • Top Handle, XLR Inputs
  • 129.7mm x 77.8mm x 84.5mm 
  • 640 grams

Credit: Sony
Sensor

The FX3 is the first stepping stone in Sony's Cinema Lineup, but it doesn't skimp on features found on the more expensive FX9 or FX6 models. It sits between the FX6 and a7s III, but all three share the same full-frame 10.2MP back-illuminated Exmor R CMOS sensor. It also features Sony's latest BIONZ XR image processor, allowing it to shoot stills, something the FX6 does not. 

Our initial impression of the FX3 is if you're frustrated by the lack of I/Os on the a7s III or want longer record times, the FX3 is the option for you. It features Sony's S-Cinetone picture profile as well as S-Log 3, which provides up to 15 stops of dynamic range. Better yet, because of the internal cooling fan (which can be turned on or off), it provides uninterrupted 4K 60p recording using the full width of the sensor without any pixel binning. 

Credit: Sony
IBIS

Additionally, Sony has included 5-axis in-body image stabilization (IBIS) on the FX3, another feature not found on the FX9 or FX3. The stabilization has active and standard modes, where active mode has a slight crop of the sensor and is unavailable when shooting higher than 100fps or in S&Q modes. 

The FX3 does not record 8K like the Alpha 1, but who needs 8K when you have unlimited, no-pixel binning 4K 60p? The camera offers multiple recording formats including XAVC S-I All-Intra (H.264) and XAVC HS Long GoP (H.265) at 10-bit 4:2:2 for rich tonal reproduction and flexibility in the grade. Additionally, 10-bit 4:2:2 HLG is available in all recording formats. 

Sony has also included proxy recording in 10-bit XAVC HS (1920x1080) and 8-bit XAVC S (1280x720) to help speed up the post process. 

Credit: Sony
Autofocus

Low light performance and autofocus are other strong suits of Sony, and the FX3 continues that tradition.

The FX3 touts phase detection autofocus that covers 89% of the sensor with 627 autofocus points. The FX3 has fast hybrid AF and real-time eye AF and tracking AF.

What's great about the FX3 is that it features the same touch style AF as the a7s III, allowing you to easily adjust the autofocus point via touchscreen. While the FX6 has autofocus, it's clunky, as the AF needs to be adjusted via a joystick. Having touchscreen AF on the FX3 is much faster when finding focus. On top of that, Sony has included the same AF speed and AF shift sensitivity adjustments found on the FX6 and FX9. 

Credit: Sony

Body

Unique to the FX3 body are the multiple 1/4"-20 mounting points that allow you to attach several accessories. When adding the top handle to the setup, it provides three additional 1/4"-20 mounts for a total of eight. The FX3 is made from a magnesium alloy chassis and machined from stainless steel that's dust and moisture proof. 

The top handle provides two XLR/TRS combo jacks, allowing you to record 24-bit audio. Additionally, the top handle has a 3.5mm input and so does the body, allowing you to record up to four channels of audio. 

The FX3 has a vari-angle LCD that can be flipped to front-facing for vlogging. It also has dual card slots that accept CFexpress Type A or SD cards. 15 buttons on the FX3 can be customized from 140 different menu functions, and the interface menu is the same as the a7s III making it easy to jump between both cameras. 

For connectivity, the FX3 is WiFi compatible for wireless remote control. A full HDMI, microphone input, headphone jack, and USB-C type connector are available. You can also attach a Sony Xperia smartphone to be used as a monitor.

The Sony FX3 is priced at $3,900 and is available for pre-order now. What do you think of the FX3? Rattle off in the comments below.      

Your Comment

7 Comments

Wow!

I'm stuck deciding between buying the assortment of used Sony cameras that are still very good (FS7m1, FS7m2, FS5m2, AS7II) or buying one of the newer models that are just killer (AS7III, FX9, FX6, FX3)

Caveat: I don't need much above an FS7m1, i.e. a camera that shoots 4K, has XLR inputs, and takes Sony's FE mount.

February 23, 2021 at 8:12AM

0
Reply
Justin Gladden
Producer
699

Nice camera, I like it

February 23, 2021 at 8:57AM

2
Reply
avatar
City Call Girl
Mumbai Escorts Service
1

Why does it seem like all they did was rehouse the a7siii, take away a bunch of stuff, call it cinema, and add $400?
Don't get me wrong, it's a cool camera! But are people really going to spend the extra money just because it has the word "cinema" painted on it? Is that what we've become? :)

February 23, 2021 at 11:38AM

3
Reply
bp
619

You do know they include the XLR adaptor/handle right?

Also the fan and mounting points and a more cinema focused layout instead of stills.

What did they take away?

Wait .... did you read the article?

February 24, 2021 at 8:02AM

2
Reply
Justin Gladden
Producer
699

Haha yeah I did. I feel the fan isn't necessary because the a7siii never really overheats, and you can get a handle thing for any camera. They both shoot the same video and take the same stills so technically they are both "cinema focused" as well as "still focused", if you want to use such words that mean nothing...

If it walks like a duck, and it quacks like a duck, it's probably a rehoused a7siii for more money. Camera is still dope though haha :)

February 24, 2021 at 12:07PM

2
Reply
bp
619

Tests put its dynamic range just shy of 13 stops, not 15.

February 24, 2021 at 4:20AM

1
Reply
avatar
Álex Montoya
Writer/Director
674

I like the modularity of it with the detachable audio handle (4 separate audio inputs is 2 more than on my FS7 mark i). But, I assume that the FX3 does not have a built-in WFM function, and certainly not internal ND filters. Those would be more useful to me than some of the other bells and whistles. But, we all want everything in a pocket-sized package, don’t we?

March 3, 2021 at 9:51AM

0
Reply