Sony FX30 Review: A Compact Camera with Professional-Level Video Quality
Sony has released a compact camera with professional-level video and image quality, called the Sony FX30. The FX30 is a professional-grade digital cinema camera designed for videographers and filmmakers, which was released in 2022. It is compact, lightweight, and modular, allowing for customisation and versatility in various shooting scenarios. In this review, we'll take a closer look at the key features of the FX30 and what makes it stand out in the crowded world of compact cameras.
Sony FX30 Overview
The new Sony FX30 is a professional-grade digital cinema camera designed for videographers and filmmakers released in 2022.The camera features a 26 megapixel APS-C sensor, capable of shooting 4K video up to 120 frames per second, and a wide dynamic range of up to 14 stops. Additionally, it includes features such as fast and accurate autofocus, 5-axis image stabilisation, and up to 16-bit raw output, two memory card slots, timecode, S-Cinetone picture profile and Cine-EI shooting modes making it a highly capable and adaptable tool for filmmakers.
As part of Sony's Cinema line, the FX30 boasts impressive video capabilities, including 4K recording at up to 120fps and 1080p recording at up to 240fps for slow-motion footage. It also features 14 stops of dynamic range in S-Log3 for capturing more detail in highlights and shadows, making it ideal for shooting in challenging lighting conditions. For low light situations, this new 26.1 MP back-illuminated Exmor™ R APS-C CMOS sensor also features a dual base iso of 800 and 2500 to improve performance in the dark.
The camera's autofocus system is also noteworthy, with fast and accurate tracking of subjects even in low light. And for those who want to take their video production to the next level, the Sony FX30 has advanced features such as the ability to preview or upload custom LUTs directly into the recorded video files for a highly efficient workflow. Or for those who want a cinematic look without too much effort, the FX30 also contains the S-Cinetone picture profile that has the same color science as their top of the range Venice cameras used in production of Hollywood movies, allowing you to easily create beautiful cinematic imagery.
Video Centric Features
The Sony FX30 boasts several video-centric features that make it a popular choice among videographers. First, it has six mounting holes that allow for flexible rigging and attachment options. The camera also has an HDMI output, making it easy to connect to external monitors for a larger viewing experience. For an additional cost, users can purchase an XLR handle unit for enhanced audio recording capabilities. The fully articulated 3-inch LCD display makes it easy to shoot from various angles, and the customizable FN menu allows for quick access to frequently used settings.
The zoom rocker is especially useful for power zoom lenses. However, the camera lacks built-in ND filters, which may be a drawback for some users. It also has a crop factor and offers focus breathing compensation options. With a shutter speed of up to 1/8000, the camera can capture fast-moving action with ease. Additionally, it has the ability to stream 16-bit RAW video from its HDMI port. The camera has decent battery life and uses the same batteries as the Sony A7RV, A7SIII, and A7IV, making it a reliable choice for long shooting sessions.
Log and picture profiles
The Sony FX30 features a number of Log and Picture profiles, including SLog3, S-cinetone, and HLG. Sony says the dynamic range is 14 stops at S-Log3. S-Cinetone can be a good option in the newer cinema cameras. It can emulate an iconic cinematic look of a Sony Venice film camera. S-Cinetone is an excellent tool to create rich content without consuming costly postproductions. The S-Cinetone offers an additional dynamic range compared to using no profiles.
EI (Exposure Index) shooting
It also features the Cine EI (Exposure Index) mode for log-shooting newly added in the FX3, which is a nice feature. The devices represent a new alternative to the conventional ISO - system, always retaining the amplitude level fixed at its optimal state. If the exposure is reduced, the EI can be changed to create cleaner light colors or increase its exposure so the entire scene in the preview still appears correctly exposed. Easy EI modes do the same thing, but automatically switch between upper or lower gain if you minimize exposures too far beyond what a basic level can handle. Mounting accessories
The Sony FX30 has a decent battery life, using the same batteries as the A7RV, A7SIII, and A7IV. Sony claims that the battery can last up to 95 minutes of continuous recording in 4K at 60fps, which is not bad for a compact camera. However, for longer shoots, you might need to carry extra batteries or a battery grip.
One of the standout features of the Sony FX30 is its autofocus system, which is powered by AI technology. This allows the camera to track subjects with incredible accuracy, even in challenging lighting conditions. The autofocus system is also highly customizable, allowing users to adjust the sensitivity and speed of the autofocus to suit their needs. Additionally, the FX30 features real-time Eye AF and Face Detection, which is especially useful for shooting video interviews or vlogs. Overall, the autofocus system on the Sony FX30 is one of the most advanced on the market, making it a great choice for content creators who need a reliable and responsive camera.
The Sony FX30 is not a cheap camera, as it is targeted towards professionals and enthusiasts who are willing to pay a premium for its features and quality. At the time of writing this article, the FX30 is priced at around $1,800, which is more expensive than some full-frame cameras such as the Sony A7 III or the Sony A7C. However, it is worth noting that the FX30 offers features and capabilities that are not available in those cameras, such as 4K video at up to 120fps and most importantly for video work the ability to shoot in 4:2:2 10 bit.
Who Is This Camera For?
The FX30 enables 6k video oversampling with real cinematics creating stunning images. This lightweight device allows for taking it everywhere, and sophisticated AF/stabilisation makes advanced filmmaking easier to understand. It allows you to quickly find what you are looking for. The FX30 provides increased production and smooth cinematic image quality in comparison with smartphone smartphones. It allows for more specialized color grading and post-production workflows than would otherwise require more costly setups. Instead of trying to develop hybrid models of a still-seen camera, Sony chose to make a more specific camera for film production.
Other notable features
Other notable features of the Sony FX30 include built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity for easy sharing and remote control, a tilting LCD touchscreen for easy framing and reviewing of shots, and a customizable control ring for quick access to frequently used settings.
Differences Between FX30 & FX3
The main differences between both cameras are that the FX30 has an 26.1MP APS-C sized sensor and the FX3 has a 12MP full frame sensor. The APS-C not only a smaller sensor but it has much smaller sized pixels, and will therefore fail to perform as well in low lighting conditions compared to the full frame FX3. The dual native ISO range of the FX30 is 800 and 2500, however on the FX3 it is much higher at 800 and 128000. However it is not all negatives for the FX30, as having more megapixels it natively shoots in 6k oversampled into 4k video, resulting in a less noisy image in brighter lighting conditions. The APSC sensor can be used to produce crop factors by adding lenses in increments of crop factor of 1.5x the multiplier, and APS-C lenses are generally less than half the price of full frame lenses
Sensor: 26MP APS-C BSI-CMOS Sensor ISO: 100- 32000 (expands to 50-102400) Stabilisation: 5-axis sensor shift Screen: 3.00” Fully articulated screen Shooting: 10.0fps continuous shooting Recording: 4K at 120fps and FHD at 240fps Video recording Bit rate: 10-bit 4:2:2 Color Weather sealing: Weather sealed body Size: 130x 78x 85mm Weight: 646g
Overall, the FX30 is an excellent choice for those looking for a compact size camera that offers professional-level video and image quality. Rather than trying to build a hybrid model from one of its stills cameras, Sony has opted to create a more dedicated video production camera. Its impressive video capabilities, fast autofocus system, and advanced features make it a top pick for videographers and content creators, while its excellent still photography performance and compact design make it a great choice for those who want a versatile camera that can handle a variety of shooting situations. Not just for people with a tight budget, the Sony FX30 provides great value compared to its bigger brother the FX3, with capabilities already exceeding other expensive cameras and at a more attainable price, enough for most users.
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About Victor Chan
Victor Chan is a dedicated researcher in the event planning space, exploring the intricacies of creating memorable experiences. With a focus on innovative strategies and emerging trends, Victor's work contributes to the evolving field of event coordination. He seeks to offer valuable insights and fresh perspectives to enhance the practice of event planning.