Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Sony to Release New Cinema Line FX3 Camera

Sony Cinema Line - New Alpha Camera
Image Credit: Sony
Sony seems to be on a roll these days. Several internet leaks over the last few days have revealed that a tiny little Sony FX3 Cinema Line Camera is on the horizon. This has now been confirmed by Sony's announcement of a "New Alpha" to be released on February 23. It is said to be a "more video-oriented" a7S III, which already has hundreds of Facebook group members in an uproar. 

As you can tell there are some drastic design differences that clearly separate this camera from the a7S III. The most notable of which is the lack of a viewfinder. Instead, it looks like Sony has opted for a combo tilt flippy screen. Much like the one we see on the Panasonic S1H. Leaked photos show that an XLR handle attachment is available and my be included in the box. 

The body looks to be mostly metal and is the same gray color as the other FX cameras and Venice. It has several 1/4" mounting points on the body for any accessories you may need negating the need to for a 3rd party cage. The small size also makes one to believe that this camera will not include Sony's awesome variable electronic ND filter. 

The FX3 uses CF Express Type A cards or SD cards and all in/out ports are rumored to be identical to the A7S III. I would love to have timecode in/out, but I just don't see where it would go on this tiny body. 

On the software side, the FX3 is said to include the coveted S-Cinetone color profile which until recently was reserved for the higher end FX9 and FX6 cameras. The new Sony A1 also includes S-Cinetone, but it has yet to make it way down to the a7S III. (Update: Sony has confirmed S-Cinetone will be added to the a7S III via firmware update.) DCI 4K has yet to be confirmed, but in my opinion it should be there. 

One can hope for support for waveform, shutter angle, and LUTS. It is still unknown if the menu system will be like the other FX cameras or if it will use the newly revamped Alpha menu. It makes sense for Sony to use the FX menu for continuity, but it would need to have photo features added, which makes me think the FX3 will have the Alpha menu. (Update: Leaked photos have shown the FX3 with the Alpha menu system.)

Are these features enough to make current a7S III users have buyers remorse? I think not. This is a Sony's version of a modular box cine camera, more comparable to the Canon C70, the Red Komodo, and the Panasonic BGH. I will personally be switching out my a7S III for the FX3 because the added video features are more valuable to me that the feature set that the a7S III provides. 

It has yet to be seen, but I'm willing to bet that this camera has a slightly improved image quality and color science than the a7S III. Much like the FX6 seemed to have improved on the overly green color that some Sony cameras (hello FX9) exhibit. 

If you're hoping to get one on or near release day, you better act fast. Whether it be a global pandemic, a factory fire, or bots buying out stock online, one thing is clear. Sony has had some issues getting their products in peoples hands over the last year. FX6 pre-orders are still backed up. Although as of today it seems supply is starting to trickle in to retailers. I imagine the case will be the same for the FX3.

(Updated 02/18/2021 to included new info about menus and S-Cinetone.)

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