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FX3 Mini Review - almost a little marvel


Oliver Daniel
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I had a C70 which has a lovely image and an excellent body concept but something was bothering me with it. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but in my gut, something wasn’t right. 

I also had an A7SIII at the same time, and still do. The gut feeling that overshadowed my positive view of the C70 might have been the A7SIII. That camera is simply a marvel that I love shooting with. Maybe I enjoyed the sheer flexibility of the A7SIII more, hence the demise of the C70. 

I always shoot with 2 bodies. Instead of getting an A7SIII again, I picked up the FX3 as I wanted the XLR’s and the video centric button layout. 

When the FX3 was delivered, I was very surprised at how it felt in the hand. I was surprised at how small the XLR handle unit was. The grip feels really good. I was thinking “wow, Sony have nailed this”. 

At first, the button layout was confusing as I’m used to the A7SIII. It still trumps me now as it has a function where you can lock your shutter, ISO or IRIS and I keep forgetting it does that. So I always have a few sections feeling frustrated when the values aren’t changing, because I’ve forgot they are locked. 😂

The camera is identical to the A7SIII, minus the body design. Everything is the same. 

I use it with the Ninja V which is a powerful combo for this size. It feels amazing handheld without the XLR handle and the Tilta cage but with the XLR handle it does feel a little clunky and unbalanced in the hand. Now when I’m handheld, I don’t use the XLR handle unless I’m recording some audio with a handheld look, which isn’t that often. On a tripod, it’s fine. 

Capturing shots with the FX3 is very liberating. You can do pretty much anything with it without lugging a brick around. Some people like to rig it up but for me, it’s just very unnecessary with a body this size. 

The image itself is fantastic. What I will say is that it won’t perform miracles for you. People have this misconception the FX3 or A7S3 will light an image for you. No, it won’t. Stop being lazy, feed the camera what it needs and it will shine. 

Again, Slog3 won’t perform miracles. It takes practice, patience and resilience. It isn’t the best between 3200 and 12,800 ISO. To shoot at these high values is a bonus but the best image is SLOG3 640 ISO, so to get great results, shoot for that as much as possible. 

The FX3, just like the A7S3, does have superb colour capability. If you don’t WB, or expose correctly or nail your focus, it would look like garbage. It is not forgiving, you can’t be lazy. I can match this very easily to the C70 - I couldn’t do that with previous Sony cameras. 

Using both Alpha cameras together is extremely powerful and liberating. When treated and operated correctly, and not lazily used to perform miracles, the image you can achieve is just fantastic. 

Peoplr saying these cameras are conservative and underwhelming need to re-check their opinions. Sony gave us almost everything in pristine 4k and it delivers. They are unique on the market in terms of feature set, and it shows. 

Most importantly, the FX3 as a step forward in camera concept for cinema application is the right one. It’s exciting to work with and getting great shots isn’t a pain in the arse or a cripple on your back. 

What I would like to see in the next version is the FX3 and A7S3 to merge into one camera offering with: 

- On-sensor ND or similar tech. 
- A thicker image in feel and robustness. Not bothered about 6k or 8k, just even better 4k please. 
- A larger back LCD. 
- A flip up EVF like BMP6k Pro. 
- An improved XLR unit that is more modular when used with accessories. 
- Possibly both an IBIS and non- IBIS version. 

If they deliver the above, that would be near perfect. 

 

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On 7/12/2021 at 12:37 PM, Andrew Reid said:

And a screen worth more than 10 dollars that you can see in daylight.

Haha. That’s why I use a Ninja, but I know having an additional 5 inch clunk isn’t for everyone. 

I’d love to see d as one modularity concerning screens. A bigger screen that actually detaches from the camera itself and takes SSD’s or something smaller. Would that get around the internal compressed raw issue? 

I know that this idea is essentially an external monitor, but my point is that it could be designed to work perfectly with the camera it’s made for - removing the need for fiddly unbalanced rigging and expensive third party accessories. 

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On 7/12/2021 at 7:37 AM, Andrew Reid said:

And a screen worth more than 10 dollars that you can see in daylight.

I get spoiled with the Panasonic S1, I forget not all screens are created equal haha. Thats where you have to dig deeper than the spec sheet. 

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Cant say enough good things about the Siii as well. While not perfect it is an incredible tool. I also have fell in love with the smaller file size and look of the photos. I really try to stay with 640 or 12800 as well. 

Frame grab for a short I am working on. Crazy bright day on the boat. 

 

test_1.1.1.jpg

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On 7/14/2021 at 12:12 PM, Andrew Reid said:

Not if you're focussing with a manual focus lens outdoors.

Dress like an old lady and wear a scarf over your head. 😂

I do agree with you on screens though, they need to be bigger, brighter and fit elegantly with the body design. Blackmagic have got this mostly right with the the 6k Pro. 

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13 hours ago, DFason said:

Cant say enough good things about the Siii as well. While not perfect it is an incredible tool. I also have fell in love with the smaller file size and look of the photos. I really try to stay with 640 or 12800 as well. 

Frame grab for a short I am working on. Crazy bright day on the boat. 

 

test_1.1.1.jpg

 

In my opinion the A7S3 is the best camera you can buy on a price / quality / features ratio. It's so versatile and really fun to shoot with. You can focus more on the story and worry less about the gear. 

Honestly, I think it's one of the best releases we've seen in terms of cameras, ever. 

It speaks volumes about how many people moaned about the camera being "too safe" - what? They absolutely smashed it and gave us way more than expected. Do people want the camera to fry their eggs too? 😂

They need to merge the cameras completely, get the EVF flipping up, increase the screen size and deliver an even more robust and sexy 4k image. That will be the one. 

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23 minutes ago, Oliver Daniel said:

It speaks volumes about how many people moaned about the camera being "too safe" - what? They absolutely smashed it and gave us way more than expected. Do people want the camera to fry their eggs too? 😂

That was Sony's earlier generation.

HOT!

But Sony has dropped that feature from their current range of cameras. 
(we hope...)

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2 hours ago, Oliver Daniel said:

 

In my opinion the A7S3 is the best camera you can buy on a price / quality / features ratio. It's so versatile and really fun to shoot with. You can focus more on the story and worry less about the gear. 

Honestly, I think it's one of the best releases we've seen in terms of cameras, ever. 

It speaks volumes about how many people moaned about the camera being "too safe" - what? They absolutely smashed it and gave us way more than expected. Do people want the camera to fry their eggs too? 😂

They need to merge the cameras completely, get the EVF flipping up, increase the screen size and deliver an even more robust and sexy 4k image. That will be the one. 

I agree. Using the KLR adaptor has really helped me out too. 

My biggest gripes. No shutter angle, preset 1/2/3 with no custom WB and the flip screen. I understand why they did the flip screen but one day a guy can dream to just have a normal shutter angle. 

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5 hours ago, Oliver Daniel said:

They need to merge the cameras completely, get the EVF flipping up, increase the screen size and deliver an even more robust and sexy 4k image. That will be the one. 

Don't forget it also needs to have a bigger, more comfortable grip, larger capacity battery, and SSD slot, and SDI port, and all in a body smaller and lighter than the current one 🤣

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17 hours ago, Matins 2 said:

~$4,000 for a camera without global shutter? Wow.

You can count on one hand (with fingers left over!) the current cinema available with a global shutter. 

It is zero surprise, and zero deal breaker, when a camera is released without a global shutter. That's normal. 

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