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The FX30 for budget DOCUMENTARIES?
The perfect entry cinema level camera for budget documentary shooters.
The FX30 from Sony is the newest addition to Sony’s cinema line. To explain why this camera is such a big deal, we need to see where this fits into the lineup: FX30, FX3, FX6, FX9, FR7, VENICE and VENICE 2. (In order of price lowest to highest)
I’m not going to go over all of the specs in this article, but to put it simply the FX30 is a cheaper version of the FX3, with a smaller Super 35 Sensor. If you want to watch a review check out this one from CVP, it’s the best one I’ve watched so far.
So why is this camera so game changing? There are three main reasons why this camera is so good for budget shooters, especially in the documentary world.
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The FX3 costs £4200, which is worth it for many, but for anyone on a budget, this price alone for just the body isn’t in the budget range. Your far better off going for a cheaper camera and actually being able to afford a lens right? However, now with the release of the FX30, costing £2,500, it's starting to look like an acceptable price, especially if you sell your old camera to cover the difference. What I like most about the pricing system however, is the choice between buying an XLR handle or not. If you decide to but the camera without the top handle, it will run you £4,100. This means that the handle is worth £400, which is smaller compared to the XLR addon you can buy separately for the A7S iii costing £500.
The Lens Choice
One of the main issues that stopped me from buying an FX3 was how expensive the lenses where. Even if you raised enough money to buy the £4200 camera, you would still need to buy lenses. The standard 24-70mm lens that probably one of the most popular lenses I saw being used with the FX3, alone cost approximately £2000.
This is where I believe the FX30 excels, because of the lense choice it opens up. By shooting with a smaller sensor you may limit your low light performance, but you open yourself up to so many lenses. This includes loads of vintage cinema glass, and all of Sony’s APS-C lenses that are incredibly popular for cameras like the FS5. The 18-105mm will be become a popular choice with this camera due to it’s Power Zoom feature that the FX30 implements on the shutter button.
Caleb Pike from DSLR Video Shooter explains this well:
The FX3 was ideally the perfect camera for me. A compact lightweight video prioritised design that is perfect for run and gun filmmakers, such as fast deadline video journalists and documentary filmmakers presenting fly on the wall content, that need to keep their gear as lightweight as possible. The XLR top handle was a game changer for professionals. If you wanted a professional audio solution, there were only three choices. A much more expensive camera like the FX6, which takes away all of your budget for anything else. An older camera, that sacrifices on image quality for audio, for example the FS5. Or recording audio externally, with a Zoom or Tascam recorder. Now with all the ergonomics in the FX30 body, it’s a no brainer to pick this up.
This camera is a great for anyone thinking of getting into Sony’s cinema line. The barrier to entry is so low to get into filmmaking now, so there’s no excuse not to get started. You don’t need an expensive camera, but it can certainly help. If you found this article helpful, check out my website. I’ve got loads more content like this. Have a great day.