I’m not going to sugarcoat it – the Sony FX3 and a7S III are practically the same camera. The sensor, processing, screen, frame rates, and features are all the same. What has changed is the body design. If you jumped on the a7S III when it came out you might be a little disappointed about the FX3. You might also just not care or know if there would be any benefit for you anyway.
ZY Productions has their hands on an FX3 and a7S III and runs through ten differences you might want to think about if you are planning on picking up one of these cameras.
1. EVF vs No EVF
Immediately, you’ll see the FX3 is missing the distinctive EVF hump of the a7 series. If you love the EVF, this alone might be enough to push you one way or another.
2. Top Handle/XLR Module
Where the FX3 is lacking an EVF, it makes room for a removable top handle complete with XLR module. To get this functionality on the a7S III you’ll have to pick up the XLR-K3M separately for $600. The add-on makes the FX3 more of a deal if you need the audio inputs. Also, the top handle does make the camera more ergonomic for video productions.
3. Active Cooling
Not that the a7S III was dying from overheating like other recent cameras… *cough* Canon R5 *cough*, but the addition of a cooling fan to the FX3 should help guarantee lengthy runtimes even in the more demanding 60p and 120p modes. There are even plenty of controls over the fan to make sure it doesn’t interfere with your shoot.
4. S-Cinetone (Not!)
This list was put together just days before Sony announced firmware version 2.00 for the a7S III which added the S-Cinetone profile. Designed to mimic the “film-like” colors and range of the VENICE’s s709 profile, S-Cinetone has become much loved for its appearance straight out of camera. It was a point for the FX3, but since the a7S III update they now both share the feature.
5. Mounting Threads
As part of the FX3’s body redesign, there are a few mounting threads across the top and sides of the camera. This should make it easier to connect accessories and allow you to work without always needing a cage. There are even some on the top handle.
Dimensions are somewhat similar between the two cameras (ignoring the bulky top handle). The FX3 is a bit thicker due to the fan and shorter without the EVF, but otherwise they line up.
Even though the FX3 appears to be smaller, it does actually weigh more than the a7S III in its base configuration. It’s not by much – 20 g – but the weight is there. Add on the top handle and you are tipping the scales even more.
8. Control Layout
There are some big changes and some subtle changes when it comes to control layout on these two cameras. The more obvious ones are the lack of mode dial on the top of the FX3 which has been replaced with a large Rec button and is the new home for the joystick found on the back of the a7S III.
Plus, there is a custom button/Rec button on the front. Otherwise, besides a few tweaks to the FX3 that make it seems more video-friendly the controls are very similar.
9. Tally Lights
One thing totally new on the FX3 are tally lights. These are big for video and do make the FX3 feel like a more premium video option over the a7S III. There’s one in the back, on the Rec button, and on the front.
Finally, if you shoot handheld you’ll notice the FX3 has a deeper, more comfortable grip. It’s a nice touch.
My take on the FX3 is that they took the goodness of the a7S III and tuned it for all the people who were planning to use it for exclusively video. All those creators, independent videographers, and those looking for a starter cinema camera will enjoy the slight differences of the FX3 and how it’ll help for video.
Which camera would you choose? The a7S III or FX3?
[source: ZY Productions]
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