Sony Releases The New APS-C FX30 Camera
Sony has finally announced its latest and cheapest APS-C film camera. The Sony FX30 cinema camera is set to be the best option for videographers looking for a dedicated film camera under $1800.
The FX30 takes all the best features of the older sibling, Sony FX3, and slapped it into a more compact APS-C body. The new FX30 features a 20.1 megapixel sensor with a a dual base ISO. It can shoot natively at ISO 8000 and 2500 and the best part is it has more than 14 stops of dynamic range - a win for cine-shooters.
But can the impressive dynamic range lift up the Sony FX30 against its competition such as the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K G2 (BMPCC 6K G2). Let's us compare them side by side.
Sony FX30 Specifications
Before we dive into the BMPCC 6K G2 specifications, let us check the other features of the Sony FX30 first.
The Sony FX30 has a rangefinder-style mirrorless body that houses the 20.1-megapixel back-illuminated APS-C sensor. It can shoot 4k videos via a supersampled 6K footage. This camera can shoot 24p, 30p, and 60p. If you love shooting slow motion footages, then this camera is just about right since it can shoot 4K videos at 120p, though it will have a 1.62x crop.
Moreover, the footages from this camera are easy to work with. Thanks to the 10-bit 4:2:2 H.265 or H.264 files. It also features RAW output through HDMI and to an external recorder.
The best feature of cinema cameras is its Log file capabilities and the FX30 has that as well. It can shoot S-Log 3 and has the Sony S-Cinetone profile. This makes color correction a breeze for video editors.
Lastly, the FX30 has two memory card slots and has multiple accessory mounts like the older FX3. This camera is essentially a smaller version of the FX3 - a win for cinematographers since it will not break the bank.
Sony FX30 vs BMPCC 6K G2 And Others
Blackmagic has been around the cinema industry for quite some time now and it is safe to say that it has mastered the craft of creating film cameras.
Now, the BMPCC has almost the same sized sensor as the Sony FX30 except that it falls a little bit shorter when it comes to dynamic range. The BMPCC 6K G2 only has 13 stops of dynamic range.
Another thing that FX30 has is in-body stabilization while the BMPCC 6K G2 has none. However, the Blackmagic camera has a gyro that helps editors stabilize footage in post.
Moreover, Blackmagic also has the BMPCC 4K (smaller sibling of the BMPCC 6K G2). This camera has a smaller micro 4/3 sensor but that does not mean that it cannot pack a punch. It can still shoot 4K footages and has the same amount of dynamic range as the 6K version.
Both BMPCC cameras can shoot BRAW footages and there is a ProRes recording option available.
When it comes to size, the Sony FX30 is smaller - thanks to its rangefinder-style body. It is a tough body though since it is made of magnesium alloy.
On the other hand, the Blackmagic cameras are made of lightweight carbon fiber polycarbonate composite. It is durable as well but the form factor take a lot of time to get used to. If you are using a rig though then it is not a problem at all.
The Lens Options
The Sony FX30 takes e-mount lenses and there are a lot of top-notch options at the moment. Whether it is from Sony or third-party manufacturers, you will not run out of lens options. Every focal length will be covered.
The BMPCC 6K uses a Canon EF-mount. Between the two, it is hard to decide since there are a lot of Canon EF-mount lenses available. The company has been making EF lenses for several years now and like Sony, you will never run out of options.
Some of the Canon EF-mount lenses are more affordable as well. Another advantage of the BMPCC 6K is the abundance of rentals and lenses from the second hand market. Since Canon is shifting to the RF-mount, there are EF-mount lenses that can be scored at a more affordable price.
Moreover, the BMPCC 4K uses a micro 4/3 sensor. This means that the lens selections is thorough as well since there are a lot of 4/3 mount lenses available today.
Ultimately, the decision boils down to the current system that you are using. There is no wrong choice if your deciding factor is lens mount since both systems have a complete lens lineup.
It All About The Price
The Sony FX30 is available for $1,800 for the body only option. The Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K G2 is slightly more expensive at around $2,000.
The price difference is negligible though since both cameras are great on their own regards.
However, the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K is worth considering if you are looking for a more budget option. It only costs around $1,300 for the body. It does not have the latest features of the Sony FX30 but it is still a contender.
Now, consider the Sony FX30 if you value excellent dynamic range, stunning battery life, and the in-body image stabilization. The Sony AF system is also top-notch and if you are not a fan of manual lenses, then this AF system will definitely impress you.
Sony FX series vs the Sony A7S series
The Sony A7S series of cameras are well-regarded by videographers due to its impressive lowlight performance.
Is Sony cannibalizing the sales of the A7S lineup with the new FX30? Possibly, but at the same time, the Sony A7S has a different target audience.
The Sony FX30 is dedicated to film enthusiasts and cinematographers who wants a dedicated cine-camera without breaking the bank.
On the other hand, the Sony A7S series is perfect for photographers and videographers who crave top-notch low light performance. The excellent low light capabilities comes at a price though since the latest Sony A7S III comes in at around $3,500 for the body alone.
If you shoot a lot of cine-videos, then the FX30 is worth considering. If you shoot a mix of photos and videos, then the Sony A7S III is the one for you.
The Sony FX30 is a massive win for cinematographers and aspiring film makers looking for an affordable step up from the usual mirrorless camera for video. It features almost everything that a videographer would need in a cine-camera.
For only $1,800, it is a no-brainer option especially if you are already invested in the Sony e-mount system.