Digital Cameras Guide
Sony launches new compact XDCAM professional camcorder, the 4K-ready PXW-X70
First seen at this year’s BroadcastAsia, Sony’s new 4K-ready PXW-X70 replaces the HXR-NX70 in its professional camcorder line-up, and features a 1-inch 20-megapixel sensor that delivers high resolution and fantastic low light performance, thanks in part to the Carl Zeiss Vario Sonnar T* lens, which offers 12x optical zoom, further extendable to 24x with Sony’s Clear Image Zoom.
Clear Image Zoom uses interpolation of pixels across the entire sensor to produce zoomed-in video with no discernable loss in optical quality. This can be doubled further using Digital Extender, taking the camera’s zoom range up to 48x, but with some loss in quality, as Digital Extender uses a crop of the image sensor to produce the zoomed-in effect.
Able to record High Definition in XAVC Long GOP, the PXW-X70 is capable of supporting 4:2:2 10-bit sampling at 50 Mbits/s, thus allowing for a broadcast-quality workflow with direct streaming. Multiple recording format options are available including XAVC, AVCHD, and DV file-based recording, while the PXW-X70 uses the MXF file format to compress full HD (1920 x 1080) resolution using the MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 codec.
Built with the professional in mind, the PXW-X70 comes with a four-step adjustable Neutral Density filter, professional 3G-SDI and HDMI output connectors, and a XLR x 2 handle unit with zoom lever that allows for easy control over zoom in any position. A manual lens ring can be set to give precise control over either zoom or focus, while the camera has both a MS/SD card slot and a SD card slot, allowing you to either simultaneously record to both cards at the same time, or to extend the recording capacity by relay recording.
Though the PXW-X70 isn’t rain and dust proof like the HXR-NX70, it is just as compact, weighing approximately 1.4kg (including XLR handle unit, PXW-X70 battery, lens hood, and large eye-cup), and measuring just 130.3 x 180.9 x 287 mm (with lens hood, large eyecup, and XLR handle unit attached, excluding grip belt but including projecting parts). It’s also the first professional compact camcorder from Sony to include Wi-Fi-enabled control via Sony’s Content Browser Mobile application. Syncing is a quick and easy thanks to NFC support, and the wireless connection basically turns your smart device into a remote for the PXW-X70, allowing you to confirm shot angles and change settings like focus point and iris adjustments.
As mentioned above, the PXW-X70 is 4K-ready, but Sony has decided to lower the overall cost of the package by separating the 4K-recording capabilities. Those who need to record in 4K can purchase an additional firmware upgrade, expected to be made available towards the end of the year.
Finally. here's a short clip that better illustrates the effect of Sony's Clear Image Zoom technology (taken with Sony's PXW-X180 model), and an introductory video for the PXW-X70 itself. In the first video, the 25x optical zoom includes the extension by Clear Image Zoom, so you can judge how seamless it is for yourself.
The PXW-X70 will be available at all Sony authorized retailers for S$3,000 by the end of October.