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If you fell for the Sony FX3, then you’re going to like the news: this October Sony releases its newest cinema camera, FX30, which beats all other competing models of the brand.
In short - the same features as in FX3 but for half the price! Let’s explore what the new model has prepared for the creators - keep reading this article to discover the Sony FX30’s key features, strong points, and our verdict.
There is always just so much to learn about the gear world. We’ve prepared this full guide to camera equipment - check it out to boost your knowledge of cameras and more.
Sony FX30: Is it worth it?
If you are a video maker, vlogger, or even a full-on filmmaker, the Sony FX30 won’t disappoint. It’s currently considered one of the best cameras for those keen to make their productions more cinematic. Straight-from-camera video creators will also find this camera appealing, as it would let them expand their shooting and editing capabilities.
Additionally, if you’re not willing to invest twice the price for a competing model with relatively the same features, FX30 is just the ticket. Consider the APSC lenses that are also cheaper than full-frame ones - for videographers and digital creators who are starting this camera is pretty much a perfect choice.
Although the FX30 features a 26MP sensor, this camera is video-first. If you’re a photographer and are looking for an option that delivers captivating stills, it’s better to look another way and choose a camera that is focused on images rather than video.
Quick Sony FX30 review
The Sony FX30 is designed as a full-on cinema camera offered at a mirrorless camera price point and is positioned to assist ambitious creators in honing their professional skills. As mentioned before, it’s a video-first camera with outstanding video recording capabilities and a 26MP image sensor - this combined presents some real competition not only for models of other brands but for some Sony cameras as well.
The image sensor is the highest-resolution APS-C sensor in Sony’s lineup. The highest video resolution that the FX30 offers is 4K at 120fps or Full HD at 240fps - just perfect for those shooting slow motion, one of the trends in cinematic-styled videos today. The exceptional quality can be achieved even from the standard frame rates, with 4K 10-bit 4:2:2 internal recording.
The Sony FX30 comes with a wide range of Sony Picture Profiles, including S-Log, which will get you the maximum 14-stop dynamic range. You can also upload your LUT profiles to the camera - it’s easy to apply them directly to Slog3 footage to achieve any number of cinematic looks and insert them directly into your footage.
Sony FX30 pros and cons
- Cinema camera features and design
- Cinema Line LUTs and log modes
- Premium build quality
- Affordable price for a cinema camera
- Excellent autofocus
- Multiple mounting points
- No EVF
- IBIS could be better
- No 6K option
- A 3-inch rear screen can be too small for some
Sony FX30 vs. Sony FX3
Sensor size: APS-C BSI CMOS 23.5 x 15.6mm vs. Full-frame BSI CMOS 35.6 x 23.8 mm
MP: 26.1 MP vs. 12.1 MP
Cooling: Built-in fan vs. Built-in fan
Viewfinder: None vs. None
Resolution: 6192 x 4128 vs. 4240 × 2832
Audio: Up to 4ch with optional XLR handle vs. Up to 4ch with included XLR handle
Price: $1799 body-only vs. $3900 body-only
Complete Sony FX30 review
Build and quality
Sony’s previous APS-C mirrorless cameras have been rather small, especially with a professional lens on the front. The FX30 breaks this chain and comes in the same thick body as the FX3 - you wouldn’t call it big, but the new body is more substantial to hold and use. Sony positions its new camera build as dust and moisture-sealed, which comes in handy for videographers.
The interface is consistent with other recently released Sony cameras, but with some extra features added on top. This camera is quite literally built for endless customization. Pressing the Fn button brings up a customizable Fn menu, familiar to anyone who's used a Sony over the past decade. This part is separately customizable for both video and stills modes.
The Record button is placed on the top of the camera, and there’s a second record button on the front of the body, right next to the lens, which is equally convenient. The front dial allows you to adjust shutter speed, aperture value, and ISO/EI directly, making the use of the camera quick and easy.
The FX30 comes with a vari-angle LCD touchscreen and uses an NPFZ-100 battery similar to the Alpha series cameras. The dual CF Express type A and SD card slots are located together along with a mic and headphone jack. An attachable XLR handle goes on the multi-interface hot shoe mount, with two full-size XLR connectors and several different recording formats. Loads of manual controls on the side of the handle allow for making adjustments on the fly.
The FX30 features a new 26MP APS-C-sized sensor that has never been seen in a Sony camera before. It has enough speed to capture still photos without a focal plane shutter, but not fast enough to work with strobes.
The sensitivity range of the sensor is ISO 125 to 32’000, extending to ISO 102’400 when shooting still images. You have an option of taking images in raw and JPEG. The lack of an in-built viewfinder and continuous shooting mode, however, doesn’t make it 100% suitable for serious stills applications.
Advanced AF system
The robust autofocus system of the FX30 features covers 90% of the frame with 495 points. With this 90% phase detection coverage, the camera seamlessly tracks subjects around the frame, and Human, Animal, and Bird AF are also here as extra additions. Touchscreen autofocus also works flawlessly - this technology has been tried and tested in the last generations of Sony cameras and is being constantly refined.
The video capabilities are what the Sony FX30 prides itself on, and rightly so. The camera captures 4K footage that is oversampled from 6K at up to 120 fps. You can also shoot full HD at up to 240 fps - the compressions and formats are the same as in the FX3. There is an option to adjust between Flexible ISO, Cine EI Quick, and Cine EI Log shooting modes to find what works best for you. The FX30 supports 16-bit RAW video output via HDMI and timecode synchronization by connecting to the time code source through an optional adapter and BNC cable.
The FX30 features Log shooting modes by enabling Cine El, Cine El Quick, and Flexible ISO modes for recording with the S-Log3 gamma curve, allowing more flexibility with color grading. The three modes make it possible to shoot videos while monitoring with an appropriate LUT to preview the final image.
There is also a selection of built-in cinematic looks available, like Sony's S-Cinetone. With FX30, you can enjoy advanced image processing capabilities with the BIONZ XR processing engine for realistic color reproduction.
The SteadyShot stabilization is another strong feature of this new Sony camera that goes along with upgraded video capabilities. The FX30 is equipped with a 5-axis stabilized sensor and can also take advantage of optically stabilized lenses.
The FX30 uses the same NP-FZ100 battery as most of the larger Sony Alpha models. Sony has made its cameras good at making a superb lifespan out of the batteries - the battery life of the Sony FX30 is said to be 570 shots, which is slightly under the FX3, offering 600 shots. The camera will most likely last through the average lengths of shooting time, but for videographers, it’s never a bad idea to have some spare batteries with them on the go.
The Sony FX30 is a go-to gear for filmmakers and videographers wanting to step up their video game, know what to look for in a cinema camera, and aren’t expecting a steep learning curve to use - that being, higher-end camcorders offered by Sony. The new FX30 sits is designed to close the gap between what newer creators want to create and what the high-end of the market is offering.
Vloggers and hybrid stills and video shooters may still want to go for a conventional mirrorless camera, but for more ambitious videographers who plan on extending their opportunities in the cinema camera realm, the FX30 is just perfect. A cinema camera at a regular mirrorless camera price - Sony has outdone itself once again.
Sony FX30 alternatives
As we already said, the Sony FX3 is the parent of the FX30, with the same features, only offered at twice the price. However, don’t rush to write this off your list of alternatives - after all, the FX3 is a full-frame cinema camera. The full-frame sensor gives you lower noise, better dynamic range, and reduced depth of field for a more ‘cinematic’ look. The FX3's full-frame image sensor comes with innovative light-gathering techniques to let you capture clear and usable images even in dim light. Tjek the Sony FX3 review.
Panasonic Lumix DC-GH6
Small and lightweight, this camera almost equals the FX30 sensor with its 25MP, and also achieves a certain level of proficiency in a remarkable array of video options. The GH6 can shoot a wide range of 4K-focused video modes, including slow-motion at 120 fps, full-sensor anamorphic, and record industry standard formats like ProRes 422 and 422HQ. It also offers excellent image quality, and boasts superb handling and image stabilization.
This model is probably Fujifilm's most capable video/stills hybrid camera so far. It’s a 26MP X-mount mirrorless beast built around a Stacked CMOS sensor that can shoot stills at up to 40fps and capture full-sensor 6.2K video or 4K at up to 120 fps. Its updated autofocus with subject recognition and improved tracking makes it ideal for shooting fast-paced sports and wildlife, both stills and video.
When was the Sony FX30 release date?
The Sony FX30 is set to be released in late October 2023.
How much does the Sony FX30 cost?
The Sony FX30 is available for $1799 body-only or $2199 with the XLR adapter or top handle.