Sony unveiled the FX30 mirrorless camera today, the newest addition to its cinema line. The FX30 is a smaller shooter aimed at vloggers and filmmakers who want to take things to the next level. If you primarily use a smartphone or action camera to capture footage that you like to use to create content, the FX30 is designed to take footage and still photos of higher quality.
It’s not Sony’s first attempt to develop a camera like this. This one is a step below the FX3, which is a full-frame Cinema Line camera with a 12-megapixel image sensor. The FX30 has a 26-megapixel APS-C that, while cropped, offers the ability to take higher-resolution still images. Meanwhile, the ZV-E10 is a more entry-level model that lowers the footprint even further for convenient portability.
What the FX30 Cinema Line can do
In a nutshell, the FX30 is identical to the FX3, only with the APS-C sensor inside. The two otherwise share many similarities, albeit with contrasts that also keep them at different prices. About the sensor, it crops to 20.1-megapixels when shooting in 16:9, which is more the cinematic aspect ratio.
There is no electronic viewfinder (EVF), so the 3-inch vari-angle display in the rear steps in instead. Touch-sensitive and working in tandem with the physical controls, the idea here is to make changes in an accessible way. Sony envisions this camera to be one content creators use in the field, be they filmmakers or vloggers.
That also means many of Sony’s staple camera features apply, like face/eye detection for humans and animals, real-time tracking, broad hybrid autofocus, and more. Sony’s BIONZ XR processor also widens the ISO from 100-32000 and 14 stops of dynamic range. All of that should theoretically help capture images in various lighting conditions.
There are memory card slots for both SD and CFExpress for added flexibility in making your cards faster. The FX30 supports E-mount lenses, of which there are several to choose from. Sony says it will offer the camera with an XLR handle with input to offer some stabilization when shooting video.
Focusing on video
The FX30 can shoot in 4K at up to 120fps, though you will have to accept a crop factor of 1.4x when doing so. At 60fps, it’s a 1.04x crop. Footage is in 10-bit 4:2:2 with your choice of codec between H.265 and H.264.
Being a Super 35 camera, which means it aims to emulate the older cinematic production format, the FX30 also comes with modern tools. Sony’s S-Cinetone profile includes the ability to use LUTs (Look Up Table) to color grade your video clips. At the very least, it lets you see what the footage will look like when a LUT is applied right from your camera. You can import up to 16 of your own, while also trying the three presets Sony includes within the interface.
Videographers and filmmakers will find three log modes to utilize, each aimed at varying experience levels. Flexible ISO is for intermediate users who don’t want to commit to locking in settings. Cine EI Quick is more advanced, where the camera automatically sets the ISO based on the Exposure Index (EI). Cine EI is the most advanced, as it puts various parameters in your hands, though you will need to know what you’re doing.
As much as video stands out, the FX30 appears to be adept for photos. All of the modes and features Sony offers with the FX3 are inside, so apart from shooting with a cropped sensor, quality shouldn’t take a hit.
The Sony FX30 is available for pre-order on BestBuy.ca, both in body-only and XLR handle configurations.