Within the last few months, it feels like Sony has been on a rampage with new camera releases and we're not complaining. Two cameras that have sparked our attention are the Sony FX3 and the A7S III. Although the two come from different lines—cinema and mirrorless—we have found that the similarities are undeniable. So we decided to dive deep into a comparison between the two, starting off with a side by side comparison chart as seen below.
FX3 vs. A7S III Specification Chart
|Sony FX3||Sony A7S III|
|Sensor Resolution||12.1 MP||12.1 MP|
|Sensor Size||35.6 x 23.8mm||35.6 x 23.8mm|
|Image Size||4,240 x 2,832||4,240 x 2,832|
|Native ISO Sensitivity||80-102,400||80-102,400|
|Dynamic Range||15 stops||15 stops|
|Mount Type||E Mount||E Mount|
|Storage||2 Dual Compatible CFexpress Type A or SD (UHS-II)||2 Dual Compatible CFexpress Type A or SD (UHS-II)|
|Image File Format||Stills: JPEG, HEIF, ARW (RAW) Movies:XAVC S, XVAVC HS||Stills: JPEG, HEIF, ARW (RAW) Movies: XAVC S, XVAVC HS|
|Image Stabilization||5-axis IBIS||5-axis IBIS|
|Video Max Resolution||4K/120fps||4K/120fps|
|Audio Recording||Built-in stereo microphone, optional external stereo microphone||Built-in stereo microphone, optional external stereo microphone|
|XLR Audio Handle Included||Yes||No|
|LCD Type||Articulating Touch Screen||Articulating Touch Screen|
|LCD Resolution||1,440,000 dots||1,440,000 dots|
|Viewfinder Resolution||N/A||9,437,184 dots|
|GPS||Geo-tagging via phone app||Geo-tagging via phone app|
|Battery Life||Up to 135 mins with LCD||Up to 135 mins with LCD|
|Accessory Mounts||Hotshoe, 6 x 1/4"-20 Male Mounts||Hotshoe|
|Dimensions||129.7 x 77.8 x 84.5mm||128.9 x 96.9 x 69.7mm|
As you can see from the chart above, these two cameras are nearly identical in terms of performance specs. When deciding between which camera is better for your needs it really boils down to your personal shooting style, and the kind of content you will be creating. The A7S III is a perfect camera for hybrid content creators needing high quality photos and video, wanting to travel fast, light, and don't necessarily need a myriad of mounted accessories. The high resolution viewfinder allows switching to shooting photos more seamless especially in bright conditions.
On the other hand, the FX3 is perfect for those wanting to take that first step into the high end cinema world, or wanting to add a smaller B cam without sacrificing quality. The lack of a viewfinder and included XLR handle really lends itself to video focused shooting, however the FX3 is still able to keep pace with the A7S III's continuous fps when shooting stills. The XLR audio handle also includes another 3.5mm audio jack allowing the FX3 to record four separate audio channels simultaneously.
Not to mention, for filmmakers who've enjoyed using the popular S-Cinetone color profile, it comes included in the FX3 and recently arrived on the A7S III via a firmware update.
Sony's smart design with the FX3 includes 6 extra 1/4"-20 male mounts around the camera and handle eliminating the need for bulky cages, reducing your video kit's overall footprint even more. Other additions to the FX3's feature list that benefit the cinematographer is the front facing tally light so the talent can immediately tell that the tape is rolling, as well as the zoom lever. That lever not only works with select Sony power zoom lenses, but can also be utilized with Sony's new Digital and Clear Digital Zoom features to provide new angle of view options with no additional equipment.
So, depending on your shooting style and what kind of content you'll be creating, both cameras are extremely good options. When it comes down to price, the FX3 is $400 more, but the fact that the XLR handle is included pretty much explains why. With the FX3 as one of the smallest 4K full-frame cinema cameras on the market and with a more affordable price tag, we wouldn't be surprised to see more mirrorless users switch over to the cinema side.