Sony is known for being one of the biggest producers of cinema cameras, providing cameras to the likes of Hollywood, agencies, and solo filmmakers. It's already produced fan favorites including the compact-but-mighty Sony FX3 – and now it seems a more affordable version of that camera could be en route.
If you're a filmmaker who was priced out the Sony FX3 (which cost $3,899 / £4,200 at launch), this could be very good news indeed. The FX3 is a compact full-frame cinema camera that combines the build of the Sony's Alpha series with the advanced video features of its cinema lineup.
This compact solution provided an entry-level gateway to Sony's cinema cameras produced, while remaining familiar to mirrorless Alpha fans. It's based on the Sony A7S III, one of the best video cameras you can buy, but is even more of a pure video camera than that E-mount favorite.
Since the Sony FX3's release, it has proved popular among solo filmmakers and seasoned industry professionals looking for a small but powerful B-cam. Now, a year after its release, the rumor mills are rolling with Sony Alpha Rumors stating that a new APS-C version of the cinema camera is on the way in the form of the FX30. But what video treats will it bring? Here's everything we know so far, plus a wishlist of the kinds of specs we'd like to see.
Sony FX30 release date and price
It seems we may now have an exact release date for the Sony FX30. The usually reliable Sony Alpha Rumors is pretty confident that the camera will launch on September 28, although this may vary by timezone.
If so, that would see the camera land just over 18 months since the arrival of the Sony FX3, which arrived in February 2021. The FX30 would also be Sony's first new mirrorless camera of the year, with its last announcement being the Sony A7 IV back in October 2021.
There have been no major leaks or rumors about the FX30's possible price yet, but we can make some informed guesses. The closest cameras to this rumored new model are the Sony A7S III ($3,499 / £3,800 / AU$5,999 at launch) and the FX3, which cost $3,899 / £4,200 (around AU$7,485) when it landed last year.
Both of those cameras are full-frame models. If the FX30 has a smaller APS-C sensor, then it seems more likely to cost in the region of $2,500, a figure that did also appear in an earlier leak from Sony Alpha Rumors. That's still pricey for an APS-C camera, but could be justified if the FX30 keeps most of the FX3's features...
Sony FX30 rumors and what we want to see
Sony Alpha Rumors claimed on September 12 that it had seen the Sony FX30 and that it looks the same as the Sony FX3. However, the camera's rumored spec list has changed twice already, so we are taking the leaked information so far with a few pinches of salt.
It was originally believed that the Sony FX30 would have a full-frame sensor. But it now looks most likely that the FX30 will instead feature an APS-C sensor, while keeping the same compact form factor as the FX3.
One of the most interesting rumored specs for the FX30 is that it could have have the same 26MP APS-C sensor as the Fujifilm X-H2S, a camera that brings some seriously impressive video powers including 'open gate' 6.2K video (which comes from the sensor's full 3:2 size) and the ability to shoot 4K/120p video, albeit with a 1.29x crop.
Sony Alpha Rumors claims that the FX30 will be able to shoot 4K/120p video, but doesn't offer any more details on whether or not this will come with a crop. In fact, right now that's about it for the rumored specs for Sony's next cinema camera. But that doesn't mean we can't fill in the considerable gaps with our own wishlist...
Sony FX30: what we'd like to see
1. Open-gate recording
If the rumored specs are to be believed and the Sony FX30 will share the same sensor as the Fujifilm X-H2S, then we would love to see 6.2K 'open gate' video recording, where you are able to record the whole sensor in a 3:2 ratio.
2. Dual-native ISO
Prosumer mirrorless cameras that are able to capture photos and videos often have a linear ISO range where the image quality introduces digital noise and color-cast when going up the scale.
Video cameras can feature dual-ISO which enable cinematographer to set a lower ISO rating when shooting outside, and then switch to another ISO range suited for low-light conditions. This lets you capture images at optimal performance, no matter the conditions. We'd like to see this Dual-ISO on the FX30 set at ISO 800 and 4,000.
3. CFexpress Type B + SDXC cards
The Sony FX3 offered CFexpress Type A cards, along with SDXC cards for fast transfer rates. But as technology moves at an ever-evolving pace it would be good to see CFexpress Type B introduced to offer great read and write speeds and allow for higher resolution recording, like 6.2K 'open-gate'.
4. High frame-rate slow-mo
Even though the FX3 was able to record in 4K at 120 frames-per-second, it would be a real bonus if the FX30 came with a 240fps (or even 480fps) mode at a lower resolution, to give us even more slo-mo options and versatility.
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For nearly two decades Sebastian's work has been published internationally. Originally specialising in Equestrianism, his visuals have been used by the leading names in the equestrian industry such as The Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI), The Jockey Club, Horse & Hound and many more for various advertising campaigns, books and pre/post-event highlights.
He is a Fellow of The Royal Society of Arts, holds a Foundation Degree in Equitation Science and is a Master of Arts in Publishing. He is member of Nikon NPS and has been a Nikon user since the film days using a Nikon F5 and saw the digital transition with Nikon's D series cameras and is still to this day the youngest member to be elected in to BEWA, The British Equestrian Writers' Association.
He is familiar with and shows great interest in medium and large format photography with products by Phase One, Hasselblad, Alpa and Sinar and has used many cinema cameras from the likes of Sony, RED, ARRI and everything in between. His work covers the genres of Equestrian, Landscape, Abstract or Nature and combines nearly two decades of experience to offer exclusive limited-edition prints to the international stage from his film & digital photography.