Those who couldn&t resist the "wolf in sheep&s clothing" analogy with the Sony Alpha 7S III now have to dig deep into the pun box for Sony&s new FX3 cine camera. Because the Sony FX3 is 99 per cent a Sony A7 SIII, but in a professional guise that is supposed to make its innards even more irresistible to filmmakers.
The FX3 also has everything that makes the Sony Alpha 7S III so special for filmmakers: a highly dynamic BSI 4K full-frame sensor with giant sensors that can record up to 120p in 4K in various modes: Internal and external with up to 10 bit 4:2:2 4K UHD 60p as well as only external via USB-A additionally 4.2K 16 bit RAW.
For internal recording, both H.264 and H.265 variants are available in many All-I and LongGOP flavours. The card slot equipment is also identical, i.e. two SD slots that can alternatively accept CFast-Express type A cards. Even the battery is the same: a 16.4 Wh NP-FZ100 battery is supplied in both cases.
With this camera generation, Sony makes no secret of the fact that the same signal processor is at work in many current camera models. Whether in the Sony Alpha 7S III, the FX6 or now also in the FX3: the new BIONZ XR processor is always behind the sensor.
In the same breath, Sony no longer goes to the trouble of maintaining different menu structures for cine and consumer cameras: The menu of the FX3 now resembles the Sony Alpha series except for a few functions. This may force long-established SONY Pro CAM users to make an uncomfortable change, but it is the right decision. With the new menu structures, Sony has finally created a really structured order in its own menus, in which you can immediately find your way around even without a manual.
But speaking of "finding your way". Where are the differences to the Sony Alpha 7SIII? The biggest hardware difference is the "grippier" but still extremely light housing (640 grams instead of 614 grams) and the built-in fan with open ventilation slots to the outside. This enables unlimited 4K 60p recording with full sensor readout.
In addition, the camera has a mini-zoom lever around the shutter release (which the optics used must also support with a built-in zoom motor) as well as three tally lights (top, front and rear).
For easy rigging, there are five 1/4 inch UNC threads on the outer shell. Also included is an XLR handle, which has three more threads. Unlike the A7S III, the FX3 can record up to 4 audio channels simultaneously in 24-bit LPCM (via XLR plus mini-jack inputs).
And last but not least, in addition to Rec709(800%), S-Log2/3 and HLG, the FX3 also allows recording in the Cinetone S colour profile, which Sony introduced with the VENICE for cine applications. The FX3 does not support user LUTs like the FX6.
The last surprise is the price: The FX3 is said to cost about 4,700 euros including VAT. That is just 500 euros more than the recommended retail price of the Sony A7 SIII, which is 4200 euros. The additional XLR grip should be worth that to many users. The camera is supposed to be available as early as March 2021.
We already had the pleasure LINK (to take a few test shots with the FX3). And our sensor experiences with the signal quality, rolling shutter and debayering of the FX3 can be read here.