What do I think of the new FX3?

Screenshot-2021-02-24-at-09.28.59-448x500 What do I think of the new FX3?
Sony’s new ILME FX3

What do I think about the new Sony FX3. It’s certainly an interesting camera because it seems to be a bit confused about what it is.
It’s isn’t a mirrorless stills camera like the A7SIII, but it’s very, very like the A7SIII.
It isn’t a cut down FX6 or FX9, it’s very different to them.

So what is it and who is it for? Personally I see the FX3 as a great B camera option to pair with an FX6 or FX9. The FX3’s flat top and additional 1/4″ mounting points on the top and sides will making rigging it in more unusual situations much easier. It’s a camera I would use to rig in cars like a giant Go-Pro, perfect for any Top Gear or motoring shoots. It’s a camera I would use on a gimbal, it’s a camera you could sling from a drone. 

In most cases it would not replace any camera I currently have, but instead compliment it. It could be a good option for FX9 owners in particular as it would give them 4K 120fps as well as a second camera when needed.

The FX3 is not much more than an A7SIII in a different housing, with the EVF removed, new mounting points added and an removable handle with XLR connectors. There are some changes to some of the button positions and these make it easier to use when shooting video providing direct access to ISO,  IRIS and White Balance. The flat top makes it easier to mount in different ways and the built in 1/4″ mounting threads make it easier to mount accessories such as monitors. 

Really the FX3 is an alternative version of the A7SIII biased more towards video than photos. It doesn’t replace the A7S, just gives potential owners the ability to choose between the two different form factors depending on individual preferences.

For more information why not watch this recording of my Facebook live stream on the FX3.

24 thoughts on “What do I think of the new FX3?”

  1. In my humilde opinion. I will prefer it have a nds vs active IBIS. Because we have a a7SIII and for a Cinema Line I think nds are more useful to express your story.

  2. I’m an FX9 early adopter. The fact I could record raw out of an FX3 and not out of my hugely expensive FX9 (without a hugely expensive and cumbersome extra unit) bothers me immensely. I would be a very happy person indeed if the FX9 v3 firmware holds some as yet unannounced treats for me to address this burning camera inequality!

    1. Will, my situation and thoughts word for word! Sony: give us FX9 owners some internal raw please. People buying early into FX9 feel they’ve been burned, and will think twice about trusting Sony when replacement time comes around.

      1. Something tells me this won’t happen John! I don’t suppose FX9 was engineered for recording RAW ‘straightforwardly’. We can but hope. Even for higher frame rates at 4k? Albeit cropped?

    2. It was known that the XDCA-FX9 would be required for raw from day 1. We had also seen that the FS5 could output raw without any adapters, so it would have been apparent to most that there was a very real likelihood of other cameras outputting raw without adapters.

      1. I take your point Alister, thanks for that and thanks for all your work, big fan.

        I hadn’t given RAW much thought at the time of purchase. On refection is does seem a bit bonkers that a post FS5 camera would still need a hefty unit to output RAW.

        I think more broadly however the point I am making is that cheaper price point cameras (FX3, FX6) in the same ‘line’ outgun FX9 in some quite big areas. The FX6 was released around a year after FX9, giving me some buyer’s remorse. I’ve considered swapping ‘down’ which seems perverse.

        RAW aside, I’d be a happier, more contented and loyal Sony user if they could acknowledge this by pushing the V3 FX9 firmware to address some of the ‘inequalities’ – such as AF in S&Q modes, higher 4k frame-rates (cropped?) etc.

        1. I think we have to be realistic with what to expect from the firmware. I am quite sure that if a lot of the things people are hoping for were possible Sony would be making noise about it. Firmware can’t get past hardware limitations and we know the FX9 shares a lot of the same hardware as the FS7, so I wouldn’t expect anything beyond what the FS7 can do.

          The FX6 and FX9 are very different cameras. If you are a news shooter the FX9 is far better specced than the FX6 which can’t even record interlace, won’t ever have a useable 2K center scan or good B4 lens interoperability. Plus many FX6 users are now struggling with zoom options, as essentially there is only one Full Frame 5x or more parfocal lens that costs less than $20K. There are so many more options for s35.
          As some FX6 owners are already discovering a single SDI can be limiting if you want to add a better VF as then you can’t use the raw out.

          I don’t think it’s fair to state that the FX6 outguns the FX9. Both cameras have strengths and weaknesses so it really depends on individual needs.

          1. Of course Alister I know I’m being hopeful re: V3 firmware. I said also (without wishing to be pedantic) that FX6 outguns FX9 in *some* areas. AF in S&Q I hope achievable as the FX9 AF system surely in no way based on FS7.

    3. I own a SONY Venice, and I too would love internal raw. I knew it would never happen but I bought it anyway. FX9 owners should feel fortunate for the price of the FX9 and what they get for it. I had to pay an additional $4000.00 just to be able to use the full sensor.

  3. A very interesting camera, particularly for those who’ve come from a DSLR/mirrorless background. But I come from 16mm film and broadcast video, so I’m naturally more attracted to the FX6.
    But I wouldn’t buy either camera as I don’t want full frame – S35 (or smaller) is much more appropriate if you shoot documentaries, which is largely what I do.
    The Sony 18-110mm is the closest thing to the sort of zooms I cut my teeth on; full frame zooms are just to heavy or too expensive or too short. And I want greater DoF than FF will give me. I hope Sony will turn their attention back to S35.

    1. There is very size or little weight difference between the FF 28-135 and the s35 18-110. If you want s35 there is the FX9. But FF is fashionable and s35 is not, because everyone has been brainwashed into thinking the “Full Frame Look” is real.

  4. I think I’m a clear target buyer. I have an Fx9 and a A73. No complaints so far but I see a need for a 10 bit B camera that I can also use on a Ronin SC. The fx6 is too big and the A7s3 was the obvious choice. But I never use stills function or the EVF , so with the XLR/ handle included I think the fx3 will be cheaper so will very likely be buying the fx3 as a B / gimbal camera.

  5. As an FS5 user, I am just beginning to realise the short comings of 4K: 8 bit, but not wanting to clutter myself up with cumbersome external recorders like the Inferno 7, the FX3 with internal 10bit 422 on a more compact body taking all my Zeiss glass looked for a fleeting moment a tempting proposition… however no NDs, no RAW… come on Sony… that is the dealbreaker… and so disappointing… how does it earn its stripes as a Cinema Line Camera? Just because it’s on the logo??? Or is it really aimed at Airpeak???

    The Canon C70 will take a chunk of your market for sure… Looks like I am going to have to head over to the BMPCC 6K Pro… the body is half the price, and has NDs and plenty of options for RAW, ProRes all included… just a pity it won’t take my Zeiss glass though!!

  6. I own the A7siii and would have given up the viewfinder for built in NDs but they didn’t include this… WHY!?!

    The only positive for me over an A7siii is the tally lights, S-Cinetone and mounting holes. Tally lights can’t really be done but S-Cinetone is coming and a small rig will sort out mounting holes.

    Think they missed an opportunity to get some of the A7SIII users to switch with this. If you own the other bigger FX cameras it may make more sense but for myself.. meh.

    1. Almost certainly size. To add the ND filter system would have made the camera bigger, it would have needed to be wider to accommodate the ND when it’s not in use and then all the electronics that surround the lens mount would have needed to be moved elsewhere. This would have meant a lot more re-engineering and this would also have likely put the cost up to very close to the FX6. So you would have a camera that’s almost an FX6 costing almost as much. I don’t think that’s something people really want.

  7. Can you talk about that just a little? So it outputs 16b bit RAW, but the only RAW recording option converts it to 10 bit Prores RAW? Can we expect a higher bit RAW recording option in the future?

    1. 16 bit Linear output that is converted to 12 bit Log Raw. 12 Bit Log raw is a very good format, much better than the old 12 bit linear of the FS5/FS7 etc. 16 bit would be nice, but I doubt anyone would really be able to tell the difference between that and 12 bit log raw.

  8. Curious why Sony has never implemented a 12-bit 4:4:4 flavor of XAVC. It’s possible to do so according to the whitepaper, and seems like it would be just as good an alternative to X-OCN as shooting prores4444XQ is to arriraw. Perhaps someone can relieve me of my ignorance.

    1. 12 Bit ProRes 444 is more than double the size of X-OCN but lower quality than 16 bit X-OCN. The bit rate at just under 2Gb/s for 4K would be too high for most SxS or XQD cards.

  9. Has anyone had overheating problems with their FX3? I had repeated overheating warnings and subsequent shutdowns yesterday on a professional shoot. It was a hot day but not that hot really (I’m in the UK and I’d guess it was 27/28 yesterday; I shot for 3 months straight in India years ago on my old PD150 – obvs a somewhat silly comparison because of the heavy processing the FX3 is doing but the point is that I ought to be able to trust my cameras in lots of different situations!)

    I guess I’ll get in touch with Sony for a repair/replacement and hope it’s a fluke but just wondering if this is a common problem. I thought they’d sorted out the heat problems of the A7SII in this round of cameras…

    1. You can certainly use the FX3 with an FS7 but they will look different as the colour science is different and often the FX3 will produce better looking images than the FS7.

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