The Best Entry-Level Cinema Camera Is The Sony FX30.

The Sony FX30 is the company’s most cheap cinema camera to date, thankfully without sacrificing performance. This new camera has the same ergonomics and functionality as the Sony FX3. There are several FX3 features that are absent, though. Having said that, the FX30 offers a more reasonable pricing point for those who make cinematic videos and internet content. This camera gives producers a significant improvement in production quality over smartphones and improves post-production potential, which is typically only possible with more expensive cameras.
Can designers use their smartphones instead of the Sony FX30, or is it truly worth the extra money? We’ll determine in this evaluation whether the FX30 is an upgrade that’s worthwhile. We’ll determine whether it’s merely a small FX3 or a super duper FX3 at a fraction of the price.


The sensor is, of course, the main component. It is Sony’s highest resolution APS-C sensor, at 26.1MP. It’s interesting that the FX30 would use it first rather than a camera from the A6000 series. The electronics is on the back of the sensor because it is backside illuminated (BSI). To optimize the speed of data readout, it is not stacked; instead, the processing circuit is directly coupled to the sensor.

The FX30 is clearly a Cinema Line camera based on its appearance. It also doesn’t hurt that it has a similar appearance to Sony’s previous entry-level cinema camera, the FX3. The FX30’s design is one of its most unexpected features. The FX3 was regarded as a fantastic camera system due to its cage-free design and small weight, and the FX30 now shares all of that. Sony was able to alter one important component of the system: the cost, by swapping the FX3’s full-frame sensor for a recently created 26.1MP APS-C alternative.
In 2010, Sony released the NEX-3 and NEX-5 along with its E mount. Both of these cameras used APS-C sensors, and Sony has been making lenses for this mount for both full-frame and APS-C sensors for the past 12 years. The E 11mm F1.8, E 15mm F1.8 G, and E PZ 10-20mm F4 G lenses, which Sony recently added to its lineup of APS-C lenses, are the ones I utilized while using the FX30. The FX30 is compatible with a wide variety of lenses, and it might even offer Sony’s APS-C E mount lenses a second chance.

The camera is all you would anticipate in terms of photography in some respects, while falling short in others. When taking still pictures, the sensor’s sensitivity range increases to ISO 102,400 from ISO 125 to 32,000. You can use the full 26.1MP resolution for raw and JPEG photography. You have access to every type of autofocus capability imaginable, including Animal and Bird AF.
Nevertheless, there is none for the rate of continuous shooting. The FX30 can take only one shot. Moreover, it lacks a mechanical shutter, which might not be the best option for shooting moving subjects, and has no flash options. Without a sure, the camera is a Sony Cinema model rather than an Alpha one.
We won’t cover all of the FX30’s cinema parameters since there just isn’t place for them here. Instead, we’ll focus on the most notable ones and those that, in my opinion, make it a compelling camera for aspiring filmmakers.


This movie, which we put together to test the FX30’s stabilization, 4K 120 footage (100p in our test), and S&Q timelapses, is available.
The relatively new Sony E 10-20mm PZ lens and our own Zeiss 16-35mm f/4 lens were used to evaluate the FX30’s capabilities. While we didn’t try anything fancy with log modes and LUTs in the time we had available, we did employ the S&Q modes while shooting both still photos and video.
Regarding Sony’s AF system, which is currently thought to be the best available, there isn’t much more to say. The only thing left to do is determine the Autofocus mode and settings required for your shooting style and subject matter.

The stability is not as obvious. In-body stabilization is better than none at all, to be sure, but although it works well for handled still photography and shooting from a stationary position, it is far less effective for all but the slowest pans and struggles to keep up with walking while filming.
Nevertheless, the narrative alters with the aid of digital stabilization and Sony’s Catalyst Browse software. This software can produce almost uncanny smoothness from the shakiest seeming video by using the gyro metadata present in the movie to automatically correct camera movement.
That’s excellent, but the catch is that you need Sony’s software to do it, which makes workflow a little more difficult and comes with a substantial crop factor.

Structure and Handling

As was already mentioned, the FX30’s body is nearly identical to the FX3’s. The name badge is obviously different, and the FX3 has a destination marked “Full Frame” behind the lens mount. In contrast to the FX3, all 3/4 inch sockets and the strap lugs are now anodized black. The absence of the IR remote receiver on the handgrip and the self-timer LED on the FX30, which have been replaced with the camera’s tally light, are the other less obvious outward changes. The FX30 is a large cuboid with a handgrip, therefore it would be unjust to call it a brick. As compared to a still camera, it is bulky, but as a camera for filmmaking, it is the perfect minimal set-up, especially with the 5 points where filmmakers may add accessories. You can use the camera without a cage even if the choice is there with so many FX3 cages readily available.

While the architecture is comparable to that of a Sony Alpha body, there are a few oddities. The power switch is now located on the top left of the camera’s back instead of being next to the shutter button. Instead, a zoom control is located near the shutter. If you use power zoom lenses, like the APS-C ones Sony recently introduced, this is fantastic. Without touching the lenses, you may zoom them in and out.


In conclusion, the FX30 offers excellent value and produces high-quality images. It’s a great companion camera for the rest of the Cinema Line and works well for shooting interviews, but it has a lot of limitations when used as the primary camera. Although I love the S35 format, the stills camera form factor isn’t for me. Nevertheless, all of that depends on how I utilize my cameras and the type of work I do; your method may be very different. Can you really purchase a fully functional cinema camera for less two grand? Not really, but Santa Claus also doesn’t exist.

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