Last month, Sony officially announced the latest addition to their Cinema Line, The Sony FX3. This marks the most recent camera added to Sony Cinema Line that’s at an affordable price. The announcement and reveal of the specs were met with an overwhelming consensus that the FX3 is basically the A7S III trapped in a compact cinema body.
That is in no way a criticism.
The FX3 features both a full-frame 10.2MP back-illuminated Exmor R sensor and a powerful Bionz XR image processor. Sony claims this processor can read a sensor 4x faster than the FS5’s. Pairing the fast image processor with the 10.2MP sensor makes the rolling shutter almost non-existent in the FX3. It also features a “dual native” ISO. (Sony prefers to use the term higher ISO), UHD 4K recording, and allegedly captures 15 stops of dynamic range.
Sounds familiar? It should. These are the same specs as the A7S III and the similarities don’t stop there. In fact, the a7s III and the FX3 only really differ when it comes to the camera body itself.
I think we’ve talked enough about similarities. Let’s talk about what makes the FX3 stand on its own.
See all the specs to the FX3 on the Sony website.
The key differences between the FX3 and the a7s III are with internal cooling and audio recording. The fan built into the FX3 extends the recording duration by hours when compared to the a7s III which is known to last an hour or less at 4K. The FX3 also comes with a detachable handle that contains 2 XLR inputs and a mount for a shotgun mic, similar to the FX6. The a7s III does not have XLR inputs but you can buy an XLR adapter kit for $600.
The cinematic body lends itself towards video but the FX3 still has both a photo and video mode. The features and the small body makes the camera perfect for run and gun shoots but there are also downsides.
The FX3 has 5 built-in thread holes but when you attach the XLR handle, most of those holes are unavailable for use. The camera doesn’t have a locking E-mount which means investing in lens support would be a good idea if you’re using larger lenses. The main downsides come from what the FX3 doesn’t have like e-ND filters or DCI 4K resolution but it doesn’t seem like Sony was trying to spend too much time making the FX3 stand apart from the a7s III.
There’s been a lot of unexpected camera announcements in recent months and Sony’s FX3 proves to run with some of the best at the lower level camera price. If you’re a fan of the A7S III and you want a similar version that’s a little more cinematic, then you might want to consider looking into the FX3.
The FX3 is priced $400 above the a7s III's at $3,899.99.