Rated 5 out of 5
I recently upgraded from the A7siii to my first cinema camera with the FX3. I wasn't expecting the learning curve to be that steep, but I was surprised by the number of differences between the FX3 and the A7siii. I really enjoy the menu being video focused, the addition of recoding indicators all over the camera, and the ability to mount additional peripherals all over the camera is a nice feature.
I didn't realize how much I would miss an EVF. I'm looking at getting an Atomos ninja v+ to better monitor what I'm filming. I'm also still getting used to where the record buttons are located. Also, I'm still learning the ins and outs of filming solely in S-LOG3.
If you are looking to get a cinema camera, then the FX3 is a great choice. It doesn't feel overwhelming and the form factor is familiar enough that I am more confident with learning some new features.
Superb Workhorse Camera
Rated 5 out of 5
I solo produce a 3-cam video every week in addition to varied other freelance work. For years I used a trio of A7SII's but the limited battery life and 4:2:0 8-bit video eventually got to me. I initially bought just one FX3 but after just one gig, went back to trade in for another. With two FX3's and one A7IV, I can fit three cameras with lenses, my full audio setup (mics + recorder + cables), external monitors, and all necessary batteries in a SINGLE backpack. It is also remarkably light, letting me bring heavier lenses to bear (Cosina-Voigtlander APO-Lanthars). This is an incredible boost for solo videographers, trekkers, and urbanites who need minimal bulk and weight while retaining high quality.
I was absolutely not prepared for how much of a leap the touchscreen GUI would take towards actually modern. The home screen is genuinely usable and useful, and this is the first time I've actually felt compelled to use touch to access or modify functions on a Sony camera. There's more work to do for future models, but it's progress!
The buttons covering the rest of the camera are also very useful and easy to remap (except the zoom toggle, which is annoyingly easy to accidentally rotate if you're used to older Sony mirrorless cameras). My lenses are full-manual so I remapped aperture dial to color temperature, for example. The grip is excellent, very similar to A7IV. Pivoting screen is controversial, but I much prefer it, because you can rotate the screen inside-out to protect it when transporting. There are so many other quality of life improvements that I can't even mention them.
I chose the FX3 over A7SIII because of the smaller size, lighter weight, cooling fan, and the more ergonomic video-centric controls. The mic preamp arm isn't all that useful (doesn't fit typical 20cm studio SDC mics!) and I feel like Sony included it just to justify the higher price vs. SIII, but thankfully it's easy enough to just leave it in the box. I think it's also valuable to compare the FX3 with the A7IV, as the A7IV trades one stop of noise performance for the ability to crop to Super35 4K, very useful for primes users. If you are not sensitive to noise and don't need the smallest size possible, the A7IV is much more economical while providing 90% of the quality and only a mild reduction in quality of life.
I did several real-world tests, and found with standard settings, no mic handle, a full manual lens, and Fan on 'Low', I was able to get just under 2h30m of 4K24 4:2:2 10-bit (S-Cinetone) continuous recording, exactly identical to the A7IV. Even with the mic handle and a condenser mic drawing 3mA of P48, I still managed 2h15m, very impressive. This is a massive improvement over the A7SII's mediocre ~70 minute battery life, and will genuinely last an entire 2-hour concert with plenty of safety time to spare. Even the A7C (3h battery life) makes more sense than A7SII's now.
You can also compare the FX6. Instead of IBIS, you get built-in variable ND and a bunch of exterior physical controls. If you're more comfortable with the traditional cine cam or camcorder style or have no space/bulk concerns, that may be more appropriate for you. Personally, I can't wait for the day you have to attach FF cine cams to lenses instead of the other way around.
S-Cinetone color to my eyes is much improved over Cine & Pro color profiles. Finally yellows fall into place easily and correctly, and the tint seems much more natural out of the box. I was almost upset with how fast I was able to grade compared to usual. If you need a wider dynamic range, it is easy to pair S-Cinetone color with the older Cine1-4 gamuts and get great results. I don't shoot Log, but the 10-bit recording or up-to 16-bit output should help considerably with that.
Overall this is an incredible camera and I regret not upgrading sooner. Sony seems to have actually listened to users and introduced sweeping ergonomic and QOL improvements compared to earlier models. Clients genuinely and regularly notice the improved quality and I genuinely notice the improved everything else. These cameras are not for beginners, however, and I honestly recommend a full read of the online user manual to start to understand the insanely deep (sometimes frustratingly so) feature set. Unusually, with the higher bit depth RAW output (yay full-sized HDMI!) and USB-C power/transfer, these cameras promise to have an unusually long service life; there's a very good chance I'll still be using these even 10 years from now!
Attached is a comparison in size/shape of A7C, A7IV, and FX3. CV 21, 110, and 65 lenses. While the FX3 is larger and deeper than A7C, it is still smaller than the A7IV when considering the viewfinder, but otherwise a similar depth and width.
Best all around bang for your buck portable cinema camera
By Michael Kozlowski
Rated 5 out of 5
I've had this camera since it's inception and it's worked flawlessly since. Weddings, corporate, you name it! There are cameras with slightly better specs or 5% better color science, but if you want what you need as a video producer in this day and age, for a sub $4000 price point this has got to be at the top of your list. Just a joy to use every time.