Sony Launches the FX3 Full-Frame Camera – Their Most Compact & Lightweight Cinema Line System for Creators
This morning Sony announced the launch of their latest cinema line masterpiece, the FX3, its smallest / most compact full-frame cinema camera in the group! Now this announcement may not come as a surprise to many of you given the amount of leak posts that have been hitting the internet over the last few weeks, but for those who’ve stayed away from the spoilers, the design looks a little familiar (I’m looking at you Sigma fp) and taking many of the features from the much-loved A7S III with a few notable differences.
Those being the expandability/customization of the system aimed at dedicated video shooters & filmmakers instead of the “little bit of both” kind of shooter. Like the Sigma fp, there’s no viewfinder, but improved over the fp is the optional top handle, AND a fully pivoting touch screen display, making it easy to see, and make quick changes no matter which way you use the system.
The new FX3 has a 10.2 Megapixel backside-illuminated full-frame sensor that has an iso sensitivity range of up to 409,600 ISO, and 15+ steps of dynamic range in SLog-3. It also has a built-in cooling system, 5-axis IBIS, and 627 point phase-detection autofocus system with Eye-AF in video modes and real-time tracking AF in every one of its video modes. Making this system even more attractive is it’s designed to work with your existing E-mount lenses!
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 120p
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” supports handheld movie shooting
If you’re someone who already has a collection of Sony gear, and are looking to do more in the videography side of things, this camera seems to be a no-brainer in terms of its worth buying, given the price point is only about $3,900, it’s an easy/affordable entry-way into a professional cinematography system.
Read the Full Press Release Below;
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.”
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 the 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
Our 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 an easy setup. 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 points 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 autofocus 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 Mode 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/Prepare.
Expandability and Operability for Content Creators
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.
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.
The 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 filmic 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 in 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.
Exclusive stories and exciting new content shot with the new camera and Sony’s other imaging products can be found at www.sonycine.com and www.alphauniverse.com, resources designed to educate and inspire all fans of Sony’s technology for content creation and photography.
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