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Sony a7S III vs FX3 vs FX6 vs FX9 – Which One to Decide?

Sony has a completely fleshed out lineup of cinema cameras right now which they sensibly name the Cinema Line. This contains all of the FX-series choices plus the VENICE 2, although for many of us the FX3, FX6, and FX9 usually tend to discover a means into our private kits.

In case you are searching for a brand new digital camera then you definitely could be interested in discovering out which mannequin you want or which has options that could be price the additional value. For that you simply’ll need to try this information from CVP that breaks down all the important thing variations. Plus, they threw within the a7S III for good measure.

One of the best ways to interrupt issues down is to start out on the backside and work your means up. Every time you progress upwards there are some new options and design decisions (and price).

On the very begin is the query that has been bugging us because the FX3 was launched: must you go for the a7S III or FX3?

Picture Credit score: Sony

a7S III vs FX3

Timing of the a7S III and FX3 releases made a multitude of issues. The a7S III simply turned the highest Sony video digital camera in such a compact kind issue after which Sony determined to drop the FX3 with an precise “Cinema Line” label. 

The 2 cameras are virtually the identical internally. Here’s what they share:

  • 12MP full-frame sensor
  • BIONZ X processor
  • UHD 4K as much as 120p
  • 10-bit 4:2:2 inner
  • Exterior uncooked output
  • Twin CFexpress Sort A/SD card slots
  • And on and on…

Whereas the FX3 is a good digital camera, it was a bit complicated that it was a devoted Cinema Line physique with out some pretty important “cinema” options.

That was true till a pair weeks in the past at the least when Sony launched firmware model 2.0 for the FX3.

This took some preliminary steps in separating the FX3 from the a7S III and makes it only a tad extra appropriate for conventional cinema use.

Sony FX3 Cinema Camera

Picture Credit score: Sony

Here’s what was added solely to the FX3:

  • Log Taking pictures Modes: Cine EI, Cine EI Fast, & Versatile ISO
  • Capability to retailer and use 16 consumer LUTs
  • Help for brand spanking new VMC-BNCM1 Timecode Adapter Cable for true timecode sync
  • New Essential Menu Format
  • Tweaking monitoring display screen to maneuver data off picture space

Sadly, there are nonetheless some options that many individuals want to see within the FX3 that aren’t right here but. Together with false shade, open gate recording, shutter angle, noise discount management, true 24.00 fps, and extra.

One space the place you may nonetheless need to take into consideration the a7S III is for those who actually love an EVF. The one on the a7S III is spectacular. The FX3 solely has the rear monitor.

Sony FX3 V2 Menu System

Picture Credit score: CVP

As for design, the FX3 has some clear benefits as Sony went and added a bunch of 1/4”-20 mounting threads for rigging it up. Plus, the button format is optimized for video-first use and there are tally lights.

Oh, and the FX3 has a fan. This could assist handle any overheating for prolonged taking pictures occasions.

For audio, the FX3 has a detachable XLR deal with within the field, which might make it a barely higher deal than getting the a7S III with the optionally available XLR-K3M Adapter.

In case you are a videographer or filmmaker first, you need to in all probability get the FX3. The a7S III solely wins on two factors: having an EVF and offering a extra conventional mirrorless design.

FX3 vs FX6

Transferring on up! Sitting above the FX3 is the FX6. That is the place we begin stepping into the extra conventional cinema cameras. You might be additionally stepping into excessive worth factors because the FX3 sits round $4,000 and the FX6 hits $6,000.

We nonetheless have the identical sensor within the FX6 as was used within the a7S III and FX3. That’s good. The distinction is within the processing which provides the FX6 a really slight edge.

Exterior recording in uncooked does deliver the FX3 as much as match the FX6. In-camera with the FX6 you do have significantly better management over noise discount which may get you a sharper picture.

Each the FX3 and FX6 work with the identical media and have very comparable recording choices. The FX6 provides a number of extra decisions with DCI 4K and true 24.00 fps being out there.

Autofocus is analogous in each fashions, although they do give the FX3 a slight benefit owing to its contact interface.

Sony FX6 Cinema Camera

Picture Credit score: Sony

Talking of interfaces, the menus are very, very completely different. The FX3 makes use of a more moderen menu construction that blends Alpha and Cinema setups whereas the FX6 sticks with a extra normal cinema menu.

The FX6 does have some video-specific options that the FX3 doesn’t:

  • Waveforms
  • Shutter angle
  • Acquire
  • Focus Respiration Compensation
  • Image Cache Report
  • Bokeh Management Mode
  • And extra…

The design of the FX6 is that of a compact cinema digital camera. It builds up effectively and has all of the controls you could inside attain. Additionally, not that it ought to matter however it does, the FX6 seems to be good on set and can make your purchasers really feel extra assured in your talents.

Audio is a bit odd. The FX6 has a prime deal with with two XLR inputs which might be a significantly better design than the FX3.

Nonetheless, if you wish to take that deal with off for a stripped-down rig you lose all potential to enter audio and should depend on the inner mic for scratch. The FX3 at the least has a 3.5mm enter on the physique.

The FX6 has a detachable aspect deal with for creating a way more ergonomic handheld setup. This provides a number of versatility for constructing a rig.

Each the FX3 and FX6 have followers, however the FX6 is a little more strong and is designed particularly for video taking pictures in any circumstances.

For monitoring the FX6 has an even bigger, repositionable LCD which comes with a hood for higher use in brilliant circumstances. There are additionally extra skilled outputs because the FX6 has an SDI out and a BNC in for timecode.

It took some time to get there however one of many largest options within the FX6 that isn’t within the FX3 is the built-in digital ND filter.

It has a spread of 2-7 stops and may provide utterly easy changes. This can be a large advantage of conventional cinema cameras.

Sony FX6 Rigged Up

Picture Credit score: CVP

For energy, the FX6 makes use of the a lot greater BP-U collection battery packs. When you begin third-party choices you may get rather more than simply some additional juice. Many provide extra outputs that’ll let you energy all of your equipment from a single level. It additionally comes with an AC adapter.

On the finish of the day, the FX6 is a greater digital camera relating to usability. Whereas the FX3 undoubtedly wins purely on the scale entrance, the FX6 has benefits in almost each facet that issues for video with the one draw back being slightly additional bulk.

The FX6 is a perfect digital camera for a one-man operation and is much more adaptable and able to use out of the field. Skilled connectors and energy separate it much more from the FX3. It’ll value you although.

FX6 vs FX9

The FX6 and FX9 are very completely different cameras, however it’s nonetheless price evaluating the 2. Upfront I’ll say that individuals who want or need the FX9 will know that because the worth for the FX9 is $5,000 extra.

What we’re with the FX9 is a full-frame tackle the FS7—one of many most-loved video cameras up to now decade. It has a number of extra inputs and outputs and controls, the issues that you simply want if you’re going to have this digital camera utilized in an actual manufacturing.

We’re speaking about a number of SDI outs, XLR inputs on the physique, Genlock and timecode in/out, RCP help, and lots extra. 

Out of the field, the FX9 is principally able to be tossed in your shoulder. It’s bigger and not so good as the FX6 for compact, handheld taking pictures, however it a lot, significantly better for full setups.

All of the Cinema Line cameras have the Sony E mount as a base, however the FX9 elevates it a contact. This one has a locking E mount which is rather more safe.

Sony FX9 Cinema Camera

Picture Credit score: Sony

An enormous change is that the FX9 makes use of a special sensor from the opposite FX-series cameras. This one is a 6K full-frame sensor and whereas the FX9 doesn’t file in 6K it can do correct downsampling for sharper, cleaner imagery.

There are a few downsides of this larger decision sensor which embody barely extra rolling shutter than the FX6 or FX3, probably barely much less dynamic vary, and a contact extra noise in low gentle.

The FX9 does have the identical wonderful ND filter system because the FX6.

Resolutions and recording choices do shift a bit as a result of new sensor. It’ll do 4K as much as 30p with none crop and 60p with a 5K scan mode. Full HD can attain as much as 180p, although oddly in Tremendous 35mm that is restricted to 120p.

As for uncooked output, the FX6 can do that natively whereas the FX9 wants an extra (and costly) XDCA-FX9 Extension Unit. This unit does add another options, equivalent to help for drop-in mics which will be helpful for broadcast.

Sony FX9 with XDCA Extension Unit

Picture Credit score: CVP

Going again to decision, the upper decision sensor permits for extra helpful crop modes. This implies you’ll be able to nonetheless get true 4K imaging even in Tremendous 35mm taking pictures. It even allows a Full HD Tremendous 16mm setting if that’s your factor.

The broader vary of resolutions and crop modes permits for a lot of extra lenses and taking pictures environments to be coated.

For some motive, the FX9 is while you begin getting in-camera anamorphic recording choices.

Autofocus between the FX6 and FX9 is analogous, although the FX6 could be a tad higher.

For extra sensible considerations, the FX9 has a number of legacy options, equivalent to interlaced taking pictures, compatibility with XDCAM Air, and extra.

Media is XQD on the FX9, which is older. It could actually additionally solely twin file in Full HD whereas the FX6 can do it in both 4K or HD.

Batteries are the identical between the FX6 and FX9, although the FX9 makes use of much more energy. It’ll burn by batteries twice as quick.

There are a number of extra options that solely the FX9 has:

  • Pores and skin Element Correction
  • Adaptive Matrix
  • Aperture Correction
  • Separate HD Element Correction
  • GPS Constructed-In
  • MPEGHD Codec
  • LUT use is unbiased from inner recording and output

The FX9 is designed to fit into skilled productions, possible with bigger digital camera departments and crew members who want to watch what’s going on or be hooked into different techniques. For many unbiased shooters the FX6 will possible be a greater match.

A number of the distinctive options of the FX9 aren’t that necessary or helpful for most individuals, however for those who want them they are often the distinction between getting a job and never.


Right here’s the issue. Even when precisely what digital camera you need you may need bother discovering it. From what I’ve seen, the FX3 is simply now beginning to develop into recurrently out there.

Nonetheless, the FX6 is backordered for months, probably half a yr or longer. The FX9 is a bit more durable to gauge, however it’s also displaying backordered from main retailers.

Put in your order ASAP as soon as you decide.

Which digital camera would you like in your bag?

[source: CVP]

Order Hyperlinks:

  • Sony a7S III Mirrorless Digital camera (B&H, Amazon)
  • Sony FX3 Cinema Digital camera (B&H, Amazon)
  • Sony FX6 Cinema Digital camera (B&H)
  • Sony FX9 Cinema Digital camera (B&H)
  • Sony VENICE 2 Digital Movement Image Digital camera (B&H)

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