On September 28th, Sony announced the latest addition to its Cinema line—the FX30. The perfect balance of high-performance cinema technology and affordability, especially for aspiring filmmakers. This new camera follows suit after the Sony FX3 which was launched back in February 2021. Sony has been making huge strides in the cinema game and the FX30 is just a testament to that.
When the Sony FX3 came out, it had similar characteristics to the Sony a7s III and everyone was curious what was different. Now, with the new FX30, interested customers are curious on the comparison between the FX30 vs the FX3. To answer their question, let's take a side-by-side view of overall specifications in the chart below.
Sony FX3 vs FX30 Specification Chart
|Sony FX3||Sony FX30|
|Sensor Resolution||10 MP (movie) 12.1 MP (stills)||20.1MP (movie) 26MP (stills)|
|Sensor Size||35.6 x 23.8mm||23.3 x 15.5mm|
|Image Size||4,240 x 2,832||6,192 x 4,128|
|Sensor Format||Full-Frame||Super 35|
|Native ISO Sensitivity||80-102,400||100-32,000|
|Dynamic Range||15 stops||14+ stops|
|Mount Type||E Mount||E Mount|
|Autofocus points||759 phase detection AF||759 phase detection AF|
|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|
|Video crop factor||1.1x||1.6x|
|Audio Recording||Built-in stereo microphone, optional external stereo microphone||Built-in stereo microphone, optional external stereo microphone|
|HDMI port||Full HDMI||Full HDMI|
|Optional XLR Audio Handle||Yes||Yes|
|LCD Type||Articulating Touch Screen||Articulating Touch Screen|
|LCD Resolution||1,440,000 dots||2,360,000 dots|
|GPS||Geo-tagging via phone app||Geo-tagging via phone app|
|Battery Life||Up to 135 mins||Up to 175 mins|
|Dimensions||129.7 x 77.8 x 84.5mm||129.7 x 77.8 x 84.5mm|
First off, one major difference is sensor size. In the cinema world, an APS C sensor or Super35 is standard and nothing new. In fact, full-frame cameras joining the cinema line are actually more unique. In this case, the benefit of the full-frame sensor includes less noise, a slight advantage in dynamic range and more control with depth of field. In contrast, the smaller sensor in the Sony FX30 allows for a jump in resolution.
Like we mentioned, the Sony FX30 about doubles in resolution compared to the FX3. Even though this is primarily a cinema camera, we also see an increase in resolution for stills. The Sony FX30 can capture 26MP images which is a massive upgrade compared to 12MP in the FX3. In terms of video, the Sony FX30 uses oversampled 6k footage to 4k rather than the straight pixel-to-pixel 4k in the Sony FX3.
Sensor size can also determine what lens options are available. If you currently have more Sony E-mount lenses, then the FX30 would be very appealing. Vice versa, if you've invested in Sony FE glass, we recommend going with the FX3. The Sony FX30 can still use the FE lenses, just you will have a 1.5x crop. The same goes for if you use E-mount lenses on the FX3, you will just need to be in a crop mode setting but that limits 4K shooting.
Low Light Capability
As you see from the chart above, the ISO range in the Sony FX3 is quite better than the Sony FX30 due to the larger sensor in the Sony FX3. One benefit to both cameras is dual base ISO.
Video Recording Capabilities
The Sony FX30 comes with the same card storage options as the Sony FX3 and the capability to use large capacity cards like a CFexpress Type A and UHS-II memory card for higher recording options. One thing to consider is when shooting 4K 120p footage, the FX30 has and 1.6x crop vs a 1.1x crop in the FX3.
Camera Body Design
When comparing the physical specifications and camera design, both camera bodies are practically identical. They actually have the same dimensions with the only exception being that the Sony FX30 is slightly lighter, most likely due to the smaller sensor. For videographers looking to use an XLR handle or cage, both cameras have an optional XLR handle.
Like identical dimensions, both cameras share the same connectivity options, featuring a full-size HDMI, USB-C charging port, Multi/Micro USB, mic and headphone ports.
For the entry-level filmmaker, the Sony FX30 is a cinema camera with professional features and more. Both cameras are incredible options, but for half the price and matching features to its full-frame counterpart, the Sony FX30 is strongly recommended.