The Sony FX3: What’s the Lowdown?Marc Ehrenbold
The Sony FX3 is the company’s smallest entry in its cinema line up of cameras, it fits neatly between the a7S III and its parent, the larger, FX6. To a certain extent, we can imagine the FX3 as a more filmmaker-friendly version of the A7S III. It is a camera for filmmakers who want maximum portability, coupled with higher end cinema functionality. Sony wants you to have your cake and eat it too.
The Sony FX3 borrows many features from the A7S III and the higher end FX6. It nabs the full-frame sensor and processor from the A7S, and it takes the S-Cinetone profile and AF system from the FX6. However, alongside these qualities it offers some of its own, mainly a brand new body design which is optimized for cage-free operation, and takes an overall new approach to usability and ergonomics.
- Image quality: The Sony FX3 shoots 4K UHD up to 120p and 1080p FHD up to 240p. It also records audio and maintains AF. The video quality matches the A7S III, which was Sony’s best consumer video camera to date. The images produced are sharp and offer plenty of scope for processing and colour rendering.
- Slow & quick motion recording: the camera can shoot in either XAVC HS or S-I video mode. It also renders the video in-camera saving time in post-processing, but meaning sound will be lost.
- HEIF JPEG format: this shoots 10-bit 4:2:2 images with great colour subsampling and compression. It also bridges the gap between JPEG and higher quality raw images by optimising quality and reducing file size.
- Low light performance: the low light performance mostly matches the A7S III, and so is outstanding. It features an ISO range from 80 to 102,4000.
Great battery performance: the Sony FX3 has the same battery as the A7S III, this means 600 shots per charge and 135 minutes of continuous video recording.
- Lacks DCI 4K: This is peculiar, considering Sony markets the camera as a ‘cinema camera’ it means the wider aspect 17:9 ratio cannot be used.
- No electronic viewfinder: also, sadly, Sony doesn’t offer an optional attachment. This is a bit of a contention point. The viewfinder is extremely useful, especially when shooting outside. It can also increase stability when shooting handheld. Without it, you are left with the back LCD.
- Lacks customisable noise reduction: the Sony FX3 does not benefit from the same noise reduction options of the FX6.
Who’s the Sony FX3 For?
This is not a beginner camera, it is for working filmmakers wanting something comprehensive, in a more compact package.