Sony has now officially announced the new full-frame Sony FX3 cinema camera. As expected, it’s pretty much an A7S III in a new body, but there are some notable differences, geared towards dedicated video creators and filmmakers rather than hybrid shooters. It loses the EVF but gains a (removable) top handle to improve its audio options.
Like the Sony A7S III, the FX3 is a 12.1-megapixel full-frame camera, compatible with Sony’s E mount lenses, with the same backside-illuminated sensor that shoots 4K video at up to 120 frames per second. It also features IBIS, 10-Bit 4:2:2 colour sampling and 16-Bit RAW over HDMI video for external recording. But it’s also significantly more expensive than the Sony A7S III, coming in at $3,898 vs $3,498.
|Sony FX3||Sony A7S III|
|Mount||Sony E||Sony E|
|Stills Resolution||4240 x 2832 pixels (12-megapixel)||4240 x 2832 pixels (12-megapixel)|
|Stills Bit-depth||14-Bit RAW||14-Bit RAW|
|Shutter speeds||1/8000 to 30 sec||1/8000 to 30 sec|
|Flash sync speed||1/125 sec||1/250 sec|
|Continuous shooting||10fps||10fps (mechanical & electronic shutter)|
|Focus type||Auto & manual focus||Auto & manual focus|
|Focus modes||[Movie] AF-C, MF, [Still image] AF-A (Automatic AF), AF-S (Single-shot AF), AF-C (Continuous AF), DMF (Direct Manual Focus), Manual Focus||Continuous-servo AF (C), direct manual focus (DMF), manual focus (M), single-servo AF (S)|
|AF points||[Movie] 627 points, [Still image] 35mm full frame: 759 points (phase-detection AF)||759 phase detection, 425 contrast detection|
|AF sensitivity||-6 to +20 EV||-6 to +20 EV|
|Stabilisation||5-axis sensor-shift (5.5 stops)||5-axis sensor-shift (5.5 stops)|
|Viewfinder||None||1.6cm 9.44m-dot electronic viewfinder|
|LCD||3" 1.44m-dot tilting touchscreen flippy out LCD||3" 1.44m-dot articulating (flippy out) touchscreen LCD|
|Internal video||4K 120fps, 4K 60fps (10-bit 4:2:2), 1080p 240fps||4K 120fps, 4K 60fps (10-bit 4:2:2), 1080p 240fps|
|External video||4K 16-Bit 4K RAW over HDMI||4K 16-Bit 4K RAW over HDMI|
|Memory card slots||2x Multi-slot CFexpress Type A & UHS-II SD||2x Multi-slot CFexpress Type A & UHS-II SD|
|Connectivity||Wi-Fi, Bluetooth||Wi-Fi, Bluetooth|
|Dimensions||129.7 x 77.8 x 84.5 mm (without handle)||128.9 x 96.9 x 80.8 mm|
|Weight||~715g inc battery & memory card||~699g inc battery & memory card|
The FX3 is a tad smaller than the A7S III, but it’s a bit heavier. And with the increased price tag, I’m not sure what the draw of the FX3 is over the A7S III. There’s no built-in neutral density – that many were hoping for – and while it does have “Cinema Line” stamped on the body, I just don’t get the point. Sure, it has a top handle. But whether you’re shooting video with an FX3 or an A7S III, you’re likely putting it in a SmallRig cage with a handle anyway.
It’s basically just an A7S III with the EVF removed and a different button layout as far as I can tell so far. Ok, so the FX3 does have active cooling inside it, too, although the A7S III doesn’t seem to suffer much from overheating issues, really. It will likely appeal to video shooters who haven’t yet jumped on the A7S III train, but for those who’ve already picked up the A7S III (or several), I’m not sure the switch is worth the cost and hassle – not for a camera with the same specifications as the one you already own.
Personally, if I were buying now, I think I’d rather just get the A7S III, though. Or the Pocket 6K Pro. At least that one has built-in ND and shoots RAW internally, even if it is “only” a Super 35mm sensor.
If you’re interested in the new Sony FX3, it’s available to pre-order for $3,898 starting on February 24th and is expected to start shipping in early March.