Saturday, March 6, 2021

Sony FX3 Cinema Line Camera Misses the Mark

Image Credit: Sony
The Sony ILME-FX3 is the newest camera to join the company's Cinema Line alongside the FX6, FX9, and Venice. 

As expected, the Sony FX3 is very similar to the Sony a7S III mirrorless camera. I could continue writing about what this camera is, but there are already countless numbers of articles and YouTube videos covering that. 

Instead, here are the things Sony needs to add in a firmware update to make this camera more worthy of the Cinema Line namesake it has been given.

Image Credit: Sony

DCI 4K. Digital Cinema Initiatives created the standard resolutions of 2048 x 1080 (2K) and 4096 x 2160 (4K), which has an aspect ratio of 17x9. The FX3 is the only camera in the Cinema Line that does not include DCI 4K.

24.000 frames per second. Another standard since the early days of film in the 1920s, true 24p is still widely used around the world. The FX3 is the only Cinema Line camera to not include 24.000 frames per second. 

Image Credit: Sony

Waveform and shutter angle. Without an EVF, getting correct exposure on the FX3 will be a nightmare. A simple waveform display would alleviate some of that pain. I'm also a fan of the "set it and forget it" convenience of a 180-degree shutter. The FX3 is the only Cinema Line camera that does not have a waveform display nor a shutter angle option. 

If Sony ever decides to add these features through a firmware update, the Sony FX3 Cinema Line camera will be a huge seller. In its current state, the FX3 is just not any better than the Sony Alpha a7S III, and it can be argued that FX3 is worse with a higher price point at $3898.

Image Credit: Sony

Some wishful thinking. LUT support, noise reduction settings, Cine EI mode, ECS, open gate, anamorphic... I'll keep dreaming.  

Playing the wait-and-see game with this camera seems to be the best thing to do. I believe the FX3 is a firmware update or two away from being on my shopping list. DCI 4K alone may be enough for me to switch so I can match aspect ratios with both the Sony FX6 and FX9 (and Venice) Cinema Line cameras. For right now though, I'll stick with my trusty Sony a7S III.


Sony FX3 Official Press Release

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