Sony Electronics Inc. has released the FX3, a camera that combines Sony’s digital-cinema technology with advanced-imaging features from Alpha brand mirrorless cameras.
The latest addition to Sony’s Cinema Line, the FX3 features autofocus capabilities, five-axis in-body image stabilization with Active mode, handheld shooting design and advanced heat dissipation for extended recording times, all in a compact, lightweight body.
“The FX3 is the perfect tool for content creators looking to enter the world of cinematography,” says 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’re excited to continue to support the world’s creators with the best tools possible.”
The full-frame, back-illuminated Exmor R CMOS sensor (approximately 10.2 effective megapixel count for video recording) and the Bionz XR image-processing engine team up to ensure high sensitivity with low noise. The standard ISO range is 80-102,400 (expandable to 409,600 when shooting video), and dynamic range is 15+ stops.
Like other Cinema Line cameras, the FX3 allows users to create a cinematic look in camera using the S-Cinetone color matrix. Inspired by the color science used in Sony’s Venice camera, S-Cinetone delivers natural mid-tones, soft colors and smooth highlights.
Creators can record in 4K at up to 120 fps and achieve slow-motion imagery (up to 5x) at QFHD (3840 x 2160) resolution with autofocus.
Weighing 1.58 pounds (including the battery and memory cards) and measuring 5.11" x 3.33" x 3.06", the FX3 is ideal for handheld shooting, gimbal and drone-mounted work. The camera grip is designed to provide optimum flexibility, stability and comfort for long shoots. The camera body features five 1/4-20 UNC threaded mounting points to attach compatible accessories. 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; optional accessories such as external monitors, recorders and wireless microphones can be securely attached.
To enable four-channel 24-bit audio recording, the XLR handle includes two balanced XLR/TRS audio inputs and an additional 3.5mm stereo two-channel jack. With an optional XLR or TRS microphone connected, the XLR adapter on the handle takes care of the A/D conversion and DSP and transfers the digital audio data directly to the camera. The FX3 also includes a 3.5mm stereo-mic input on the camera body.
Controls frequently used in movie shooting — 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 are assignable to 15 custom keys. 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. 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 and handheld operation. 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.
The FX3 combines a fan for active cooling with effective heat dissipation, resulting in uninterrupted 4K 60p recording without thermal shutdown. The camera also features a dust- and moisture-resistant design and magnesium-alloy chassis. USB Power Delivery supports fast charging for uninterrupted recording.
The FX3 is compatible with several recording functions, including S-Log3 gamma and S-Gamut3.cine. 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 features two media slots that are 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. The new camera has been developed 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 adapter. The FX3 supports video- and still-file transfers to a specified remote FTP server and 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.