Sony has launched 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 incorporates some features found on the more expensive cinema cameras in a smaller and lighter body.
To say the FX3 is similar to the A7S III would be an understatement. As such, it would be easier to just list things that are different between the two cameras, and just acknowledge that everything else is basically identical.
One of the primary differences is in the design. The FX3 has the same stills camera-style body of the A7S III but is slightly thicker and shorter. The thickness is due to the inclusion of a fan that now actively cools the internals during recording, which should allow for 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 rig and as such has five 1/4-20 threaded mounts, with three of them on top. These allow the camera to be mounted inside a cage, on a gimbal, or a drone. Sony has made several changes to the design compared to the A7S III, including having a dedicated backlit record button on top, a top-mounted joystick, a zoom control around the shutter button, tally lights on the front and back, 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 XLR and a single 3.5mm, along with controls for adjusting mic inputs. The top handle uses two of the three top 1/4-20 thread mounts but adds three of its own, which allows you to mount other accessories such as an external monitor on top.
On the software side, the only major change on the FX3 from the A7S III is the inclusion of S-Cinetone. This video preset is identical to that found on Sony’s other cinema cameras and designed to give a soft, filmic look to out-of-camera footage without having to deal with the complications of grading log video.
That’s pretty much the extent of the differences between the FX3 and the A7S III, with everything else being identical. As for the price, the FX3 is priced at $3900, $400 more than the A7S III. Considering the A7S III is already plenty video focused, the FX3 feels like a bit of an odd product in Sony’s camera lineup. But if video is going to be your only use case, and if you value features like S-Cinetone and the supplied audio interface then the FX3 might be a better option.