Industry News

Industry News: Sony officially announces the alpha FX3 cinema camera

This site contains affiliate links to products and services. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

Sony is set to unveil the Sony FX3 cinema alpha series full-frame mirrorless camera. This new body carries over some of the features and hardware from the Sony A7S III.

FX3 Product Highlights:

  • Compact and lightweight body design with high operability for hand-held shooting, gimbal and drone-mounted work
  • Multiple 1/4-20 UNC threaded mounting points to easily attach compatible accessories
  • Detachable XLR handle unit with two XLR/TRS audio inputs and one 3.5mm stereo jack
  • S-Cinetone™ look – inspired by the color science of the digital cinema camera VENICE  which is also used in FX9 and FX6 Cinema Line cameras
  • Built-in cooling fan enables effective heat dissipation to support uninterrupted 4K 60p recording
  • Records up to 4K 120pii
  • 10.2 megapixel full-frame back-illuminated CMOS Exmor R™ sensor and BIONZ XR™ image processing engine
  • Ultra-high sensitivity with ISO expandable to 409,600 for very low light conditions and 15+ stops of dynamic range
  • Fast Hybrid AF (Autofocus)Touch Tracking (real-time tracking) and Real-time Eye AF, also used in other Alpha™ cameras
  • 5-axis in-body image stabilization with “Active Mode”v supports handheld movie shooting

Sony Electronics Inc. today announced the FX3 (model ILME-FX3) camera that combines the best of Sony’s industry-leading digital cinema technology with advanced imaging features from Alpha™ brand mirrorless cameras to make Sony’s coveted cinematic look accessible to more creators.

As the latest addition to Sony’s Cinema Line, the FX3 delivers a cinematic look and professional operability and reliability in a camera that is accessible to early-career creators, as well as suitable to be used alongside Sony’s VENICE, FX9 and FX6 cameras. The new model provides outstanding image quality and usability for small scale and one-person shooting. The FX3 boasts industry-leading autofocus capabilities, 5-axis in-body image stabilization with Active mode, handheld shooting design and advanced heat dissipation for extended recording times. All this is combined in a compact, lightweight body that provides the performance and mobility to meet the growing demands of today’s content creators.

“The FX3 is the perfect tool for content creators looking to enter the world of cinematography,” said Neal Manowitz, deputy president for Imaging Products and Solutions Americas at Sony Electronics. “It combines everything our customers love about Sony’s video capabilities in our Alpha lineup with a new body optimized for videography. We are excited to add to Sony’s Cinema Line and continue to support the world’s creators with the best tools possible.”

Cinematic Look

The FX3 boasts Sony’s industry-leading image sensor technology to achieve high processing speeds and outstanding image quality. The full-frame, back-illuminated Exmor R CMOS sensor (approximately 10.2 effective megapixel count for video recording and approximately 12.1 effective megapixels count for stills) and the BIONZ XR image processing engine team up to ensure high sensitivity with low noise. The standard ISO range is 80 to 102,400 (expandable to 409,600when shooting video), and dynamic range is an impressively wide 15+ stops.

In response to a growing need for more expressive depth, the FX3, along with FX9 and FX6 Cinema Line cameras, allows users to create a cinematic look without post-production using the S-Cinetone color matrix. Inspired by the color science used in Sony’s flagship VENICE camera, S-Cinetone delivers natural mid-tones, plus soft colors and smooth highlights that are essential to create a cinematic look.

Creators can record in 4K at up to 120 frames per second. Extraordinarily smooth slow-motion imagery (up to 5x) at QFHD (3840 x 2160) resolution with autofocus provides new expressive capability.

Designed for Comfortable Solo-Shooting

Sony’s most compact and lightweight Cinema Line camera is ideal for handheld shooting, gimbal and drone-mounted work. It weighs just 1.58 lbs. (715 g), including the battery and memory cards, and the body is only 5.11 in x 3.33 in x 3.06 in (77.8 mm x 129.7 mm x 84.5 mm). The camera grip has been carefully designed to provide optimum flexibility, stability and comfort for long shoots.

Designed for mobility and efficiency, the FX3’s body features five 1/4-20 UNC threaded mounting points to easily attach compatible accessories while remaining light enough for handheld shooting and making it easy to set up and carry. The supplied XLR handle securely attaches to the body via the Multi Interface Shoe without any special tools and provides three additional threaded mounting points for accessories. Optional accessories such as external monitors, recorders, wireless microphones, or other add-ons can be securely attached.

To enable 4-channel 24-bit audio recording, the supplied XLR handle includes two balanced XLR/TRS audio inputs and an additional 3.5mm stereo 2-channel jack. With an optional XLR or TRS microphone connected, the XLR adaptor on the handle takes care of the A/D (Analogue to Digital) conversion and DSP (Digital Signal Processing), and transfers the digital audio data directly to the camera for outstanding audio quality.  Because the XLR adaptor is integrated into the handle and does not require any additional cables or batteries, it offers easy set up. If the handle is not being used, the FX3 includes a 3.5mm stereo mic input on the camera body.

The FX3 provides Fast Hybrid autofocus (AF) by using the 627 pointsvii focal plane phase-detection system during movie recording. The camera is further enhanced with Touch Tracking (Real-Time tracking) where simply touching the desired subject on the monitor screen initiates auto focus and tracking on that subject. Precise and smooth focus is maintained with Real-time Eye AF – technology that pinpoints the eye even when subjects are looking down or up at steep angles. Additionally, other AF features have been included and refined in response to feedback from professional users, including AF Transition Speed, AF Subject Shift Sensitivity, intuitive control and AF support when focusing manually. These AF features have been implemented in the FX3 to ensure stable, flexible and precise focusing in any situation and are easy to operate for solo shoots.

The FX3 features 5-axis optical in-body image stabilization – highly effective for handheld shooting. A high precision stabilization unit and gyro sensors have made it possible to provide an Active Modev that is dedicated to movie shooting in each format, including 4K. In-body image stabilization means that effective stabilization can be achieved with a wide range of E-mount lenses, including those that do not include stabilization on their own. Alternately, the FX3 records image stabilization metadata that can be adjusted during post-production using Catalyst Browse/Prepareviii.

Expandability and Operability for Content Creators

Operability FX3 was designed to optimize professional operability. The controls frequently used in movie shooting such as ISO, iris, and white balance adjustment are located on the grip and on the top of the body for easy access. In addition, 140 functions assignable to 15 custom keys allow for ultimate efficiency.

The zoom lever located on the top of the grip not only controls compatible powered zoom lenses, but also allows Clear Image Zoom to be used with unpowered zoom and prime lenses – reducing the number of lenses required for many projects. This lever also enables smooth zooming that is difficult for manual zoom-ring control.

Recording lamps (tally) are provided on the top, front and back of the camera, so that the operator and talent can easily confirm recording.  A side-opening vari-angle touch-panel LCD monitor allows for easy operation and is suitable for gimbal-mounted shots, complicated angles, handheld operation and more. Flexible Exposure Mode allows the FX3 to have a similar Auto/Manual switch operation as other FX series cameras for iris, shutter speed and ISO, which can be set independently.

Reliability Creators need more than just refined features and performance; they also need reliability and durability. The FX3 combines a fan for active cooling with effective heat dissipation resulting in uninterrupted 4K 60p recording without thermal shutdown. The newly developed fan provides high-efficiency cooling by drawing air into the camera via the bottom panel and exhausts via the side.

The new camera also features a dust and moisture resistant design and durable magnesium alloy chassis. Moreover, USB PD (Power Delivery) supports fast charging for uninterrupted recording.

ExpandabilityThe FX3 is compatible with several recording functions including S-Log3 gamma and S-Gamut3.cine, which record in a high dynamic range and wide color gamut. It also supports internal recording in XAVC S™ (MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 Long GOP) and XAVC S-I (MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 Intra) formats in 4K (QFHD) and FHD, and XAVC HS™ (MPEG-H HEVC/H.265, 4K only) format. 4K 60p video in 10-bit 4:2:2 or 16-bit RAW format can be output to an external device via the FX3 full-size HDMI Type-A jack.

The FX3 also offers two fast, future-oriented media slots that contribute to unprecedented shooting freedom by being compatible with either CFexpress Type A or SDXC cards. The same data can be simultaneously recorded to both cards for backup and a “relay” mode will automatically switch to the second media card when the first media card becomes full during recording.

The new camera has been developed with advanced connectivity features to better assist professional creators with high-speed wireless LAN functionality (2.4 GHz or 5 GHz band) and wired LAN connection via a compatible USB-to-Ethernet adaptor. The FX3 supports video and still file transfers to a specified remote FTP server.  This FX3 also allows for remote shooting from a PC using the Imaging Edge Desktop™ application’s “Remote” function via Wi-Fi, or Superspeed USB 5Gbps connection over USB Type-C® terminal.

About Cinema Line

Cinema Line is a series of cameras that have a film look – cultivated from Sony’s long experience in digital cinema production – plus enhanced operability and reliability that respond to the wide variety of creators’ high demands.

Cinema Line includes the digital cinema camera VENICE, highly acclaimed in the feature and episodic production industry, the professional camera FX9, which is popular for documentary and drama production and the FX6, for grab and shoot action and content creation. With the addition of the new FX3, the most compact camera in the series, Sony offers a true line up of versatile creative tools for all types of visual storytellers.

Pricing and Availability

The new FX3 full-frame Cinema Line camera will be available March 2021 for approximately $3,900 USD and $5,000 CAD. It will be sold at a variety of Sony’s authorized dealers throughout North America.

Preorder the Sony Alpha FX3 at Adorama

Rocksthaman

Eos R , R6 , R5
Jul 9, 2020
115
93
Honestly looks like a fun camera, at that price though. I know I am not willing to switch for the same price as a c70 that has less features.
I don’t know what is in the kool aid over here on CR

First, These two cameras are not the same Price, fx3 will be no more than 4000 usd .

And I just used an A7siii this weekend(The evf froze up and blacked out multiple times, ugh), but the fx3 does not have less features than the C70. There are Different features but there are ALOT of things you can do with the fx3/A7siii that you can’t with the C70 and vice versa.

This is a very good camera for the money and I hope Canon follows suit. Canon R6c or R1c would make me pretty jolly.
 
  • Like
Reactions: EOS 4 Life

padam

EOS R
Aug 26, 2015
1,175
778
I am sure the Canon C50 will be announced not too long afterwards. Fundamentally different cameras, but targeting similar price points.
 
  • Like
Reactions: EOS 4 Life

Dearl4

I'm New Here
Nov 13, 2018
11
9
I don’t know what is in the kool aid over here on CR

First, These two cameras are not the same Price, fx3 will be no more than 4000 usd .

And I just used an A7siii this weekend(The evf froze up and blacked out multiple times, ugh), but the fx3 does not have less features than the C70. There are Different features but there are ALOT of things you can do with the fx3/A7siii that you can’t with the C70 and vice versa.

This is a very good camera for the money and I hope Canon follows suit. Canon R6c or R1c would make me pretty j

Agreed, this and the C70 are very different and shouldn't be compared so directly. With that being said, I still find this camera interesting but would prefer the C70 based on how I work.
 

Dearl4

I'm New Here
Nov 13, 2018
11
9
Is it me, or does Sony always seem to be the first to play their cards?
Then Canon sighs, and shows theirs.
 

Joel C

EOS R6, EOS R, EOS RP
CR Pro
Sep 22, 2019
66
63
Tacoma, WA
I don’t know what is in the kool aid over here on CR

First, These two cameras are not the same Price, fx3 will be no more than 4000 usd .

And I just used an A7siii this weekend(The evf froze up and blacked out multiple times, ugh), but the fx3 does not have less features than the C70. There are Different features but there are ALOT of things you can do with the fx3/A7siii that you can’t with the C70 and vice versa.

This is a very good camera for the money and I hope Canon follows suit. Canon R6c or R1c would make me pretty jolly.
The rumored price is 4700 euro. That's 5,500 usd. So, tell me, what's the price of a c70?
 

Maps

EOS M7 (please)
Jan 10, 2021
46
91
I think the gap between the A7S2 and the S3 looms large here. The S3 should have come out a couple years ago, probably with specs that were more in line with ~2018, and then the whole “twinning” thing wouldn’t be such an issue.
 
  • Like
Reactions: EOS 4 Life

DBounce

EOS RP
May 3, 2016
279
313
Can’t figure out why someone would buy this over the A7S3?
• XLRs can be added to the A7S3 and include a microphone.
• Battery grip can be added to the A7S3
• A7S3 includes the EVF
 

Rocksthaman

Eos R , R6 , R5
Jul 9, 2020
115
93
Can’t figure out why someone would buy this over the A7S3?
• XLRs can be added to the A7S3 and include a microphone.
• Battery grip can be added to the A7S3
• A7S3 includes the EVF
This. I guess I would say the same thing.

Sony’s reasoning does check out though. They wanted to provide an option to their customers that didn’t have the confidence or money to enter into the fx line. I like this thought because in the process, they didn’t take any features out. The camera did what the hardware would allow it.

This is my thing. I look at my R6 and go boy I wish it had the same juice as a A7siii in video.
Spoiler, If you frame your shot, the A7siii is a great stills camera. There is a price difference but even over heating aside the software COULD have the same features.

I just used an A7siii and shooting 10bit 1080 was something I didn’t know I wanted the option of.
 

EOS 4 Life

EOS RP
Sep 20, 2020
459
309
Can’t figure out why someone would buy this over the A7S3?
• XLRs can be added to the A7S3 and include a microphone.
• Battery grip can be added to the A7S3
• A7S3 includes the EVF
I would take active cooling over an EVF any day.
Sony conservatively rates A7S III to run 4K 60 FPS for 1 hour.
They rate FX3 to run 4K 60 FPS for 13 hours.
 
  • Like
Reactions: DrToast

EOS 4 Life

EOS RP
Sep 20, 2020
459
309
Everything the c70 should have been. Canon should have made a videocentric R5. I might get a few for wedding videos and events. The c70 autofocus is terrible( seriously canon fix that shit asap) and a bit heavy or weird on a gimbal.
I like the C70 the way it is but if Canon were to release R5 and R6 active cooling then it would be game over for everyone else.
Panasonic showed that was the way to go with the S1H.
 

RayValdez360

Soon to be the greatest.
Jun 6, 2012
595
364
39
Philadelphia
I like the C70 the way it is but if Canon were to release R5 and R6 active cooling then it would be game over for everyone else.
Panasonic showed that was the way to go with the S1H.
Canon finally makes a smaller cinema camera and the AF is broken. It's crazy. I hope they make somereal f2.0 zooms for s35. the speedbooster thing is cool but the af on my 18-35 is very crappy and the range is small the image is very nice though.