Sony introduced the new FX3, a compact full-frame camera that is now the most affordable model in the company’s cinema lineup. Based on the A7S III, the FX3 packs some features of more expensive cinema cameras into a smaller, lighter package.
To say the FX3 is similar to the A7S III would be an understatement. As such, it would be easier to just list the things that are different between the two cameras and recognize that everything else is basically the same.
One of the main differences is in the design. The FX3 has the same camera-style body as the A7S III, but it’s slightly thicker and shorter. The thickness is due to the inclusion of a fan which now actively cools internal components while recording, which should allow the camera to shoot indefinitely, even in warmer environments. The shorter height is due to the removal of the electronic viewfinder.
The FX3 is designed to be part of a platform and as such has five 1 / 4-20 threaded mounts, three of which are on the top. These allow the camera to be mounted inside a cage, on a gimbal, or on a drone. Sony has made several design changes over the A7S III including a dedicated backlit record button on the top, a top-mounted joystick, a zoom control around the shutter release, indicator lights on the front and on the back, a sliding power switch, and shortcut buttons optimized for video workflow.
The FX3 comes with a top handle as part of the package. The top handle includes an audio interface similar to the Sony XLR-K3M minus a built-in microphone. The audio interface has three mic inputs, including two full-size XLRs and a single 3.5mm, as well as controls for adjusting the mic inputs. The top handle uses two of the top three 1 / 4-20 thread mounts, but adds three, allowing you to mount other accessories such as an external monitor on top.
On the software side, the only major change on the FX3 over the A7S III is the inclusion of S-Cinetone. This video preset is identical to that found on other Sony cinema cameras and is designed to give off-camera footage a smooth, filmy feel without having to deal with the complications of logging video scoring.
That’s roughly the extent of the differences between the FX3 and the A7S III, everything else being the same. As for price, the FX3 is priced at $ 3,900, $ 400 more than the A7S III. Given that the A7S III is already heavily focused on video, the FX3 feels like a bit of a weird product in Sony’s camera line. But if video is your only use case, and you appreciate features like S-Cinetone and the included audio interface, the FX3 might be a better option.
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