The perfect camera doesn't exist
... and if it does it's backordered until...?
I've been eying the new line of Sony cinema cameras for the last couple years. And it is pretty murky when you start to compare the three mid level options - the Fx3, the Fx6, and the Fx9.
Sony FX3 - $4999 CAD (body only)
Sony FX6 - $7999 CAD (body only)
Sony FX9 - $14,649 CAD (body only)
"why is it murky, they all look so different?" you ask?
Because it seems like camera manufacturers know how to perfectly craft their specs to make you equally have FOMO for all 3 of them. One of my favourite YouTube camera reviewers is the guy from the Camera Conspiracies channel. As his name suggests, perhaps it IS all a conspiracy. After all, if the perfect camera existed then they'd have nothing more to sell us.
But hollow conspiracy theories aside, the thing is... they're all great cameras and are fairly equal in a lot of ways. They all have different use cases for different types of shooters. The Fx3 is great for vloggers or low budget videographers who want a small crew, or people on tighter budgets. The others are for mid to large scale production houses and are comparable to the older Fs7s. But like I said above, they're all fairly equal, so why the extreme differences in price and why is one camera so much in-demand (ahem... the fx6), while the others are chop liver?
The first obvious differences are the sizes - Fx3 being the smallest with it's mirrorless DSLR style body, to Fx9 being the larger ENG style body. But other than that and a few technical differences that 90% of content creators or filmmakers wouldn't even need, I feel like they're all virtually the same camera on the inside.
I know that's an extreme glossing over of the technical specs. But I'll break down the specs that are most of interest to me, in my search for the perfect camera - as someone who likes run and gun doc, or film work, and doesn't like large crews:
Fx3 - 4K full frame CMOS sensor
Fx6 - 4K full frame CMOS sensor
Fx9 - 6K down scaled to 4K full frame CMOS sensor (better megapixels, but it's still 4K) -WIN ... 1 point awarded
Fx3 - Yes (plus touch screen tracking which is nice sometimes) - WINS... 1 point awarded
Fx6 - Yes (but NO touch screen tracking)
Fx9 - Yes (but NO touch screen tracking)
FX3 - Yes (Sensor-shift, 5 axis) - WINS... 1 point awarded
FX6 - No
FX9 - No
Built in Neutral Density Filters
Fx3 - No - HARD LOSE
Fx6 - Yes, with Auto Variable ND!! - TIE ... 1 point awarded
Fx9 - Yes, with Auto Variable ND!! - TIE ... 1 point awarded
Fx3 - 15 stops - TIE
Fx6 - 15 stops - TIE
Fx9 - 15 stops - TIE
FX3 - SD card (cheap) - TIE ... 1 point awarded
FX6 - SD cards (cheap) - TIE ... 1 point awarded
FX9 - QXD cards (Very not cheap!)
Cost (body only)
Fx3 - $4999 CAD - WIN... 1 point awarded
Fx6 - $7999 CAD
Fx9 - $14,649 CAD - OUCH!
Fx3 - No
Fx6 - Yes - TIE ... 1 point awarded
Fx9 - Yes -TIE ... 1 point awarded
Fx3 - In stock during supply shortages - WIN ... 1 point awarded
Fx6 - Not in stock anywhere, Massive backorders.
Fx9 - In stock some less trustworthy sources like eBay, but no one should buy a $15,000 camera on eBay.
Anyway, I wasn't planning on adding these points up - My gut tells me that the Fx6 is the best bang for your buck. With the variable and auto ND, plus great autofocus features (despite no touch tracking), I think it is worth the extra 3 thousand over the Fx3.
And so does everyone else apparently, because it's impossible to get anywhere!
But then again, an original 4K Sony Fs7 mark 2 (originally released in 2014) can be picked up used these days for abut $5000 CAD... That's starting to sound like a heck of a deal, when you think that the Fx6 is very comparable in specs to the Fs7 which is still a powerhouse in the industry to this day, and can be grabbed for the price of an FX3.
Oh also, due to the lack of Fx6 availability, people are scalping used Fx6's on Ebay for $10,000 CAD or more.
I'd wait if I were you.