Why I Bought The Sony FX3 | Canon vs Sony
After an endless search to find the perfect camera — the Sony FX3 may take the crown.
Sony dropped significant heat when they officially announced the Sony FX3. This camera sits inside their cinema FX line, accompanied by various other cinema options — the FX6 and FX9. The FX3 bridges the gap between the legendary A7SIII and the FX6, giving the creator the best of both worlds: An absolute workhorse of a camera in a small, compact body, with a video-focused design and functions that you'd often find in high-dollar cameras.
Primarily made for solo shooters, this camera boasts high mobility and versatility. All of the tools and functions are within easy one-handed reach. You get six video-focused customizable buttons, and usability is enhanced by multiple screw holes on the body and handle, allowing accessories to be attached directly.
The FX3 is designed as a backup camera to the upper-end bodies in the FX line, though the camera holds its own through various shooting environments.
The FX3 sets a new standard for the consumer market; it's reliable and robust while highly compact. With a built-in fan, it doesn't overheat when recording all day. It's capable of shooting various 4k 10bit 422 codecs, 4k 60fps, and 120fps options while boasting legendary autofocus, incredible dynamic range, dual base iso, and solid battery life with various audio options. You get a ton of value for your money with the Sony FX3.
The younger brother to the FX6, the FX3 takes the A7SIII and gives it a new video-focused design. You get a tiny body with ¼" -20 mounting holes, tally lights, a built-in fan to prevent overheating, and an included top handle with built-in XLR inputs, 4k 422 10bit codecs, dual base ISO, incredible autofocus, and IBIS. This camera gives you everything you need.
This camera is an absolute workhorse that's perfect in various situations. Alongside the new design, Sony's new sensors are fantastic. Gone are the days of having that "awful sony color" the new 12.1MP Exmor R BSI CMOS sensor. The updated BIONZ XR image processor offers faster performance, improved noise reduction, a more comprehensive dynamic range, and great colors. This camera gives Canon a run for its money.
What We Love:
Full Frame Sensor
With insane DR and gorgeous colors, the depth you get from a full-frame sensor is lovely.
Video-focused button layout
Top handle with XLR inputs
Multiple record buttons
Dual Base ISO
For SLOG3, your base ISOs are 640 and 12800. It's insanely clean at 12800; it feels like a cheat code.
Product Type: Minimal Cinema Camera / Mirrorless Cinema Hybrid
Best For: The filmmaker who wants the most versatility with their gear. The most miniature cinema camera, with video-focused tools and features, insane lowlight, and a gorgeous full-frame sensor. Great for cinematographers, YouTubers, wedding videographers, and DPS alike. This camera punches well above its weight.
FX3 Full-Frame Cinema Camera Body
The new YouTuber dream camera could be the Sony FX3 Cinema Line camera. Compact and lightweight, easy to carry and handle is cinema power in your hand.Buy for $3,898.00
If you don't know me, hi, I'm Thomas. I'm a filmmaker who is constantly on the move, and I'm always finding myself in places where it's often a struggle to bring large cinema cameras. I deeply value owning only the gear I need and working with versatile, minimal equipment.
Let's go back to 2015, I was working with my GoPro, and I was ready for a change. Back then, the mirrorless scene was still pretty new. After loads of research, I eventually pulled the trigger on the Sony a6500 with a 16-70. The a6500 was Sony's hybrid apps-c camera that allowed you to get great-looking photos and video. This camera elevated everything for me: I was able to craft a more professional countenance vs. my old GoPro. This camera was tiny, allowing me to bring it to various places. This convenience deeply affected my career — I was only filming more because it wasn't a burden to carry around.
Fast forward to 2019, and I was ready for another upgrade. Unfortunately, these older Sony cameras suffered from gross colors and image quality. I was prepared to step into the world of video-focused cameras rather than solely working with hybrid cameras. My budget was pretty thin, so I was left to go to the Blackmagic Pocket 6K; it's a $2000 "cinema" camera that gives you 12bit BRAW and 10bit 422 prores. While the Pock 6K was an excellent upgrade for me at the time, it was just too cumbersome to use. It needed a big rig to be versatile: I needed a monitor because you couldn't see the screen in daylight, and it doesn't flip out (among many other facets). However, I was okay with rigging it out for a while because of the price. It wasn't versatile enough for the projects I had on my plate. Traveling with it was a pain, as it's pretty fragile with all the cables sticking out, and over time, I learned that I wanted something that would be a bit more run-n-gun, fitting the docu-style work that I do.
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Fast forward to 2021, I still own the Pocket 6k, but I am currently working with the Canon C70, and I've been non-stop researching cameras that will be my upgrade to replace the pocket 6k. I was on this quest to find the perfect camera system for my needs- I wanted something small, powerful, versatile, and a camera that gave me a ton of value for the money. My Pocket 6k setup was solid for the price, but its workflow is very clunky, and the camera system was pretty fragile. The workflow with this camera wasn't ideal for the solo filmmaker. Sure, it's excellent on sets or for most cinematographers, but there are better options for the one-person filmmaker who needs versatility. The battery life was lacking, the audio preamps weren't good, there was no autofocus, the entire rig was pretty big, and cables were everywhere, making it relatively fragile. It was a tremendous first cinema camera for me, but I needed something else for my needs. I've always owned one lens per camera, so I wasn't tied down to a specific lens mount system, making switching much more accessible.
Some of you may know me from working with Samuel Elkin's helping him with his youtube channel. Early on, we were using my Pocket 6k, which was fine; it was just a pain to bring on my travels. We are always on the move, and the Pocket 6k rig was becoming far too heavy and fragile for our fast workflow. When the C70 launched — Sam made a move and bought one for us to use. This camera changed everything. We used it for over a year, allowing me a year-long rental with one of the cameras I was heavily interested in upgrading.
The C70 was indeed the perfect camera for me. It was lightweight, had great autofocus, image quality, audio options, battery life, and had a flip-out screen. The camera was considerably small for its amount of horsepower. It was an absolute joy to work with this camera. While researching my options, I was dead set on officially purchasing C70 for client work while rocking an R5 or R6 as a backup.
It wasn't until Sony released the FX3 that my mind changed.
Quick spoiler alert — I ended up with the FX3.
This camera is the best I've ever used.
It fits my needs perfectly, and I'm sure it'll accommodate the needs of tons of other creators. I love that I can use this camera out in the backcountry for my youtube channel and use it on set for client work. I treasure the flexibility and versatility this camera offers; it allows me to focus on the story and shot rather than being hindered by heavy equipment.
The new design is gorgeous; it's minimal for what it is, and having the video-focused arrangement makes changing settings a breeze. The autofocus is reliable, dual base ISO is incredible, and something I've come to love retaining. The IBIS never misses, and having a built-in fan makes shooting all day in the sun more comfortably. Sony's updated sensors bring out gorgeous colors. I can get a consistent look out of this camera every single time.
It's reliable, easy to edit, and saves a bunch of storage vs. shooting in RAW. Be honest with yourself. Do you need RAW? If you do, you can add an external recorder and shoot in 16bit Prores RAW, but after eight months of working with this camera, I have never wanted to shoot in RAW.
The Sony FX3 holds the best log profile Sony offers. You can plug in slog3, matching colors perfectly with the other cameras that shoot with similar settings.
Having reliable AF is a luxury that I've learned to worship. It's incredibly reliable, and I use it over 80% of the time. The dual base ISO is also a dream. Having 640 and 12800, yes 12800, be incredibly clean, is lovely for run-n-gun work. Often when at 12800, I need to add at least three stops of ND because of how sensitive it is. The built-in fan has been an attractive feature; other cameras in this segment often suffer from overheating, especially for long takes or all-day shooting. I've brought this camera out to Death Valley in 95F+ temps, shooting all day in the sun, done hour-long takes for youtube in a hot office, and I've never had it overheat.
Having a top handle with two full-size XLR ports makes interviews and doc-style work more manageable; I run my mics straight into the camera. If I want to run a smaller kit, I can take the handle off, throw on my rode video mic NTG, and obtain fantastic audio for personal work.
I love having excellent battery life; not having to run a bigger battery to power my kit has been charming. I carry three batteries around in my moment fanny sling, and I usually go through 1-to 2 per full day.
Am I exhausting you with the benefits list yet? The FX3 is the perfect camera for you for someone who wants a small, mirrorless-style cinema camera that they can use for client work.
Canon vs. Sony
When looking at what system to invest in, you need to step back and see your needs and what both companies offer. Leave all stigmas and preconceived notions at the door. For my personal needs, I needed a solid "B" camera that could crush it for client work and my career. When seeing what Canon offered at the time, the choice was clear. The video-focused Sony FX3 was perfect for what I wanted and gave me everything I needed without compromise.
For the hybrid shooters, you may opt for the R5, R5C, R6, or A7IV. If you're a video-focused shooter who wants a minimal kit, you'll be eyeing the R5C or FX3.
The FX3 is an excellent camera for literally anyone, especially the filmmaker who wants to own one versatile camera kit that can do it all.
FX3 vs. R5 / R6
Some personal advice — you should always buy according to the camera's current state, instead of future promises. When I was researching my options, Canon was teasing the C50 / C90 and the R5C. Those C70 companions never showed up, and they weren't delivering on it. The R5C didn't come out until around 5-6 months after I owned the FX3. I didn't want to invest in a camera that wasn't a right fit for me, like the R5 or R6, because there were rumors of a new camera that would solve my problems.
FX6 + FX3 vs C70 + R5 / R6
I love how both the FX3 and FX6 share the same settings. They both have full-frame sensors with gorgeous colors. They both have full-size XLR inputs, and they shoot in slog3. Though the base ISOs are different (640 for FX3 and 800 for FX6), you can well match these cameras. These are both the perfect A / B camera setup.
While C70 is a great camera, the R5 / R6 wasn't a solid video option. Yes, of course, you can get great images with any camera, but the workflow and features of the camera can be a bit cumbersome. The C70 has a DGO super 35mm sensor, which is gorgeous, but the R5 / R6 are full-frame. The C70 shoots in clog2 (slog3 equivalent). The R5 and R6 don't. I'd rather have everything set in stone in-camera without compromising.
FX3 vs. R5C
So now that Canon finally released the R5C, would I have chosen that over the FX3? I don't think so. I do appreciate Canon going towards a more video-focused route with it, but again it's a hybrid camera. They did add the cinema menu, but the body is still quite big, you don't have immediate XLR options, you only get clog2 in raw, and that raw codec is complete overkill for most.
FX3 vs. A7SIII
The FX3 and A7SIII are very similar but over critical differences. The FX3 is a tad more expensive, at $3,900, vs. the A7SIII's price of $3,500. The FX3 gives you a new design, with tally lights and, most importantly, a built-in fan. It also gives you an XLR top handle, though you can get the Sony XLR-K3M accessory for your A7SIII to provide you with XLR ports. I love how with the FX3, I don't have to go through and customize each button to be a specific setting. With the FX3, you automatically get those presets, and they're labeled. Having those buttons be video-focused is so convenient. It's easy to change my settings for iris, shutter, white balance, peaking, and zebra, and having multiple record buttons makes starting / stopping easy no matter how you're holding it.
If you're a severe filmmaker looking to own one video-focused camera, I think you can go wrong with the FX3. Having those XLR inputs is valuable, but you still can't go wrong with the A7SIII. I plan to add the A7SIII to my arsenal as a backup to my FX3 once that time comes. I could go for two FX3s, but the cheaper A7SIII is an excellent choice to be a backup.
4k 10bit 422 is the gold standard; 10bit 422 gives you insane flexibility and color detail. There's no need to shoot in RAW for most things.
- Dual Base ISO
- Slog3's dual base ISO is 640 and 12800, giving you the cleanest image with the most dynamic range. 12800 is insanely clean. I use it all the time for lowlight work.
- S-Cinetone, an expressive cinematic look inspired by VENICE colorimetry.
Overhauled design with new touch interface
Brand-new 12.1MP Back-Illuminated Full-Frame Exmor R BSI CMOS Sensor
Sensor Size: 35.6 x 23.8 mm
Dimensions: 129.7 x 77.8 x 84.5mm
Lens Mounts: Sony E
Up to 4K 120p / FHD 240p 10-bit 4:2:2 and full pixel readout in all rec. modes
All-Intra recording, XAVC HS format with H.265 codec, and more
16-Bit Raw Output
Can record internal proxies alongside normal files.
15 stops of dynamic range
S-Log3, S-cinetone, & HLG Gammas
Memory Card Slot: Dual Slot: CFexpress Type A / SD
What It Has
Incredible AutoFocus with eye-tracking and touch tracking
Minimized rolling shutter
Top handle with 2x full-size XLR inputs
Compact Cage-free design w/ ¼" -20 mounting points: this camera is tiny
Video-focused button layout: wb, iso, focus magnification, zebras, peaking, iris, shutter, multiple record buttons, and a toggle button where your thumb naturally rests.
Designed with lightweight magnesium alloy to enhance durability and performance even in challenging environments
Who should buy the FX3?
So, who should buy the FX3? Any serious filmmaker who wants a minimal camera provides so much value for the price. This one is for you if you need significant audio inputs and a reliable camera that doesn't overheat. Wedding filmmakers, cinematographers, and YouTubers benefit from this minimalist, run-n-gun camera. The Sony FX3 shines out amongst the competition. It feels like a supercharged mirrorless camera.
Sony SLOG3 / REC709
An easy to use Lut for Sony videographers. Natural colors, subtle effect. Grade your footage fast.Buy for $40.00