Sony announces the FX3 Cinema Camera
Tiny new mirrorless cinema camera
Sony has announced the release of the tiny FX3 cinema camera. It features unlimited 4K recording, 5 axis IBIS, 16 bit raw output over HDMI, multiple 1/4" 20 mounting points, and an included handle with dual XLR inputs. This camera has been popping up in a lot of rumors lately, and everything leaked about it seems to be true.
- 10.2MP Full-Frame CMOS Exmor R Sensor
- S-Cinetone/S-Log3/HLG, 15+ Stops DR
- Dual CFexpress Type A/SDXC Card Slots
- UHD 4K up to 120, 1080p up to 240
- 10-Bit 4:2:2 XAVC codecs and 16-Bit raw output over HDMI
- Included detachable handle with dual XLR + 1/4” combo inputs
- compact body with multiple 1/4" 20 mounting points
- 5 axis IBIS
The body is small and lightweight, at only 1.41 lbs (640g) and 5.1 x 3.3 x 3.1" or 129.7 x 84.5 x 77.8 mm. It loses the built-in EVF, but does have a flip-out LCD screen with 1.44M dots. It sits slightly away from the body to keep it away from the connections and to accommodate an active cooling system. The hot shoe supports the new handle with audio connections.
Among its various codecs is a 280 mb/s 4K 120 H.265, a S&Q 240 fps 1080 (no audio recording), and a 600 mb/s 4K60 ALL-Intra H.264. All codecs are 10 bit 4:2:2. Full frame recording is supported up to 4K60 with no time limit while 4K 120 has a 10% crop.
The FX3 has Sony's excellent autofocus features thanks to the 627 phase detect points. It has real time human and animal face detect with left/right eye selection, face priority, touch to focus, and more.
Video Focused Design
At a retail price of $3,898 USD, the FX3 is carefully placed between the Canon R5 and C70. It really is closer to the C70 as far as features, while being smaller than the R5. It doesn't have built in ND filters like the Canon C70, but it does include a carrying handle with dual XLR + 1/4” combo inputs. For such a small camera, it's a nice feature to have. Sony was smart to include it rather than offer it as an accessory.
Connections and Media
The FX3 shares the dual functionality of CFexpress Type A and SDXC card slots as other recent Sony cameras. It can record every onboard codec to SDXC media except for the 600 mb/s ALL-Intra 4K codec. The full size HDMI port can output a clean signal and also 16 bit raw. It can record four channels of audio - two from the XLR inputs and two from a stereo 3.5mm connection. The mic and headphone jacks are on the left side of the camera along with USB-C and USB micro connectors.
The battery is the same NP-ZF100 as used on the A7SIII, but is supposed to last 1.6 times longer. The camera can also be powered via the USB-C connector.
Although this camera is part of Sony’s cinema line, it is missing some key cinema camera features. First of all, it doesn’t have shutter angle. For a cinema camera this is unprofessional and silly. It should be a simple matter of changing firmware to add it. Secondly, it doesn’t offer DCI 4K. The difference of 4096 vs 3840 is just 256 pixels, but again this is a cinema camera and it ought to have this resolution. Lastly, it can’t do true 24 frame video. This isn’t important to me and I doubt it will be for many of you. If you are shooting 24 frames that means you are concentrating on a theatrical release where the digital projectors run at true 24 frames. That’s unlikely and if you are, you will probably be shooting on a different camera any way. Still, to be called a cinema camera it needs to have this cinema frame rate.
Where to Buy
The FX3 is available for pre-order and will ship in March. Use the link below to reserve yours now.