Sony FX3 Review: The ultimate camera

Sony FX3

At the heart of the FX3 is a back-illuminated 12.1MP full-frame Exmor R sensor. The 12MP sensor has a high ISO of 409,600 and promises up to 15+ stops of dynamic range when recording in S-Log 3. The sensor can also record still images at up to 10 frames per second. In the Sony ILME-FX3 preview, we will take a closer look at the functionality of the new product.

Sony FX3 review

Design

Sony designed the FX3 for handheld (solo) photography, while other Cinema Line cameras are more geared towards production teams. To this end, the FX3 has a smaller, more mobile and lighter body than the existing FX and Venice cameras. For single shots, the FX3 offers more autofocus options.

Sony says the layout of the controls is very different from other Cinema Line cameras. The appearance is about the same as that of the A7S III series cameras. But for more streamlining, the minimalist rectangular shape of the FX3, like the Canon EOS C70 , lacks the viewfinder protrusion. There is also a large grip on the right for handheld shooting.

Sony FX3 - design

You might think that such a small case will overheat after prolonged use. But that won’t happen thanks to the built-in fan. There are options for working in Auto, Minimum or Off mode in recording, or off completely. The fan runs very quietly. The FX3 can record 4K / 60p videos for 13 hours.

Of course, environmental conditions can affect this result, but it’s still impressive considering the size of the camera. There are several mounting holes on the magnesium alloy body. With their help, you can attach various accessories.

Camera control

Sony FX3 Cinema Line has 6 customizable buttons. All controls are easily accessible with one hand. The 3.0-inch LCD screen tilts to the side and tilts for high and low viewing angles. The included detachable XLR handle attaches via the Multi Interface Shoe for easy handheld shooting from small angles.

Users can also instantly “split” functions between automatic and manual mode. For example, if you quickly needed the camera to take over the ISO or exposure functions. There is no need to use an all-or-nothing approach: you can let the camera take care of what you want and then instantly switch the function back to manual control when needed.

Video quality

The Sony FX3 camera records 4K UHD video at up to 120fps. When recording Full HD video, the maximum frame rate is 240 fps. The camera includes the Sony S-Cinetone Picture Profile, which promises a beautiful cinematic look with soft tones. There are 11 selectable picture profiles in total.

FX3 includes S-Log3, S-Gamut3 and S-Gamut3.Cine color spaces. When shooting in S-Log 3, the FX3 promises over 15 stops of dynamic range according to internal Sony testing. With All-I (XAVC S encoding) bitrate up to 600Mbps. The FX3 records 10-bit images in 4: 2: 2 format.

The FX3 camcorder supports MPEG-H and HEVC / H.265 encoding. 10-bit Hybrid Log Gamma 4: 2: 2 (HLG) is also available in all recording formats. FX3 includes the function of recording proxy files. Proxy options are available in 10-bit Full HD and 8-bit 720p.

Autofocus and stabilization

The Sony FX3 camcorder has a built-in 5-axis image stabilization system. This is the first time Sony has included IS in a Cinema Line camera. IBIS includes Active Mode, which expands the compensation range in exchange for cropping the image area by about 10%. Focusing on handheld shooting, the FX3 can be used without a gimbal.

You can also use Catalyst Browse and Catalyst Prepare software to account for gyro data stored in the metadata of recorded clips. Using such software, the operator can choose the compensation range and the resulting cropping when processing video files.

Sony FX3 - overview

Autofocus performance is provided by Sony Hybrid AF technology. The Sony FX has 3,627 AF points covering approximately 94% of the image area vertically and 95% horizontally. The FX3 also includes face detection and real-time eye AF.

You can use the rear variable-angle touchscreen to enable touch tracking and autofocus for manual focus. Significantly, as with the FX6 and Sony A7S III , there is user control over AF transition speed that is sensitive to subject movement. Sony also promises strong low-light autofocus performance.

Lens mount

Unsurprisingly, the FX3 is equipped with Sony’s E-mount system, which allows access to a wide variety of lenses. Moreover, both native and other attachment systems through adapters. The only aspect it lacks is the built-in ND filter. But it, we are told, would be difficult to implement in a camera of this size while retaining the AF and IBIS system.

Sound recording

When used with the included XLR knob, the Sony FX 3 offers 4-channel 24-bit audio recording. The handle has XLR inputs, a built-in stereo microphone and a 3.5mm microphone jack. The FX3 body itself contains microphone and headphone jacks and also includes a built-in stereo microphone.

Connections

The camera is equipped with a full-size Type A HDMI slot that supports 16-bit RAW output. You can use a wired LAN via a compatible USB adapter. The FX3 has a super speed USB Type C port in addition to a micro USB connector. There is also built-in Wi-Fi with 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands.

Sony FX3 - connectivity

FX3 uses new type A CFexpress cards as well as SDX SD cards. The only time fast Type A CFexpress cards (VPG200 or higher) are required is when shooting in S&Q 10-bit 4: 2: 2 Intra 60p. The data bit rate can be up to 1200 Mbps. If you plan to shoot in high quality at high frame rates, the V60 or V90 will do. So far, CFexpress Type A cards are expensive.

FX3 supports mobile modem, remote control and FTP data transfer. You can also use a USB charger to supply power via USB-C. The I / O interface is covered by pressure doors. There is a certainty that when the door is closed, it will not open accidentally. and water and dust will remain outside.

Conclusion

At its core, the FX3 is the alliance between the Alpha hybrid mirrorless camera series and the high quality Cinema Line camcorder series. With the Alpha series and cameras in general, there has been a major push for cameras to address the multimedia shift in video filming.

More and more photographers are turning to video, more and more videographers are looking for photo opportunities. The lines are blurry and the FX3 sits in the middle but leans heavily towards filmmaking. Surprisingly, this makes the FX3 a strong candidate for photographers looking to move towards high quality video. Especially if they are already shooting with Sony Alpha and have E-mount lenses.

The FX3’s most distinctive strengths are its form factor, image stabilization, and its physical design, which is designed to eliminate the need to add any accessories. If you’ve already considered the a7S III for filmmaking, the FX3 is a tempting option in terms of workflow.

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