The new Sony FX30 does not replace the existing Sony APS-C mirrorless line-up, but it offers a dramatic step-up in video potential for the APS-C lineup, offering a true cinema camera for this smaller format with immediate and direct access to a broad range of lenses.
• Read our Sony FX30 review
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Best of all, the FX30 also comes at an APS-C price! Cinema cameras normally come with a substantial price tag, but the FX30 will sell for $1,789 / £2,099 / AU$2,999, which puts it right in the mix with the best APS-C mirrorless models already out there, notably the Fujifilm X-H2S and X-H2.
The FX30 is not just a redesigned version of existing cameras in the same way that the smaller Sony ZV-E10 is. Instead, it’s a new camera, with a new 26MP sensor, and a design that puts cinema first and foremost. In fact, it becomes the new baby in the Sony Cinema Line, slotting in just below the Sony FX3.
But while the FX3 is a full frame camera, it has a 12MP sensor, which severely restricts its use as a stills camera. The FX30, however, can shoot 26MP stills, so while it’s not really a stills camera as such, it’s perfectly capable of capturing high-quality, high-resolution stills on set or on location, for example.
With the FX30, Sony is trying to bridge the gap between “future creators” and “top creators”. As Sony sees it, it will be ideal for those who want to use footage straight from the camera right now, but may want to move to a color graded post-production workflow later, making full use of the FX30’s S-Log3 support and other advanced features.
Sony FX30 key features
First, the sensor. This is a new back-illuminated Super35 APS-C size back-illuminated sensor that can capture 26MP still images and 4K UHD video with 6K oversampling. Sony is also referring to this as a 20.1MP sensor, presumably in reference to its 16:9 movie crop.
Equipped with Sony’s BIONZ XR processor, it offers a dual base ISO 800/2500 sensitivity for S-Log3 shooting and an overall ISO range of 100-32,000, and a 14+ stop dynamic range (Sony testing).
The new sensor and processing mean the FX30 can capture 4K video at up to 120p, though there is a tiny crop factor of 1.04x for 4K 60p and a larger crop factor of 1.4x for 4K 120p. The FX30 can capture video at 10-bit 4:2:2 All-Intra quality and offers a choice of XAVC HS 4K H.265, XAVC S 4K H.264 and XAVC S-I 4K H.264 recording formats.
Internal storage consists of dual SD/CFexpress Type A card slots, with only the fastest S&Q and HD 240p recording (and proxy recording) needing the faster card format.
Sony is placing a strong emphasis on cinematic expression, including the S-Cinetone profile from the rest of its Cinema Line, user LUTS and new log modes. Up to 16 user LUTs can be imported applied to both the monitor and HDMI output. Three new log modes include Cine EI (balances exposure latitude between strong and low light for pro users), Cine EI Quick (simpler setup, automatically switches base ISOs) and Flexible ISO for intermediate users.
The physical design follows the grey-black color scheme of the Sony FX3 with a body that’s thicker than Sony’s A6000-series cameras but otherwise about the same size. There’s no EVF, but it does have a vari-angle rear screen, and the expectation for more advanced users is that they may choose to attach an external monitor anyway.
The FX30’s cooling system means it can provide “uninterrupted” (i.e. unlimited) recording.
The FX30 does have in-body stabilization, and it does also story gyro data for accurate stabilization corrections in Sony’s free Catalyst Browse software. There is also a Catalyst Prepare application and Premiere Pro plug-in offered in both free and subscription versions.
Sony’s new camera also has the company’s latest 495-point hybrid AF technology, covering 97% of the screen height and 93% of its width, with Real-Time eye AF (human, animal, bird) and Real-Time Tracking. It also offers a ‘Focus Map’ for depth of field visualization and supports Sony’s Breathing Compensation feature (with compatible lenses).
The FX30 measures 77.8 x 129.7 x 84.5mm and weighs 646g. It has a multi-threaded body with 5 mounting holes, so a cage becomes unnecessary.
Sony FX30 price and availability
The FX30 will be supplied in two versions and available in late October in the UK, US and Australia. The ILME-FX30B is the body-only version and will sell for $1,789 / £2,099 / AU$2,999, but there will also be an ILME-FX30 version that includes Sony’s XLR adaptor/handle unit, which itself has a further three mounting holes. This version will sell for $2,198 / £2,499 / AU$3,699.
Pre-order FX30 + XLR Adaptor: