Sony Expands 4K Non-Cinema Camera Line- Focus on ENG, Camcorders, Studio

For the most part 4K acquisition has been relegated towards cinematic style production. The majority of professional 4K cameras on the market are “cinema” cameras that utilize interchangeable lenses and have Super35mm (or similar) sized sensors. There has been very little traction in implementing 4K in traditional television production with classic acquisition tools like studio cameras, ENG-style cameras, or hand-held integrated lens camcorders. Sony is aiming to start the shift towards 4K in all forms of video production.

Before NAB Sony already had several good options including the X70, the Z150, and the Z100. All include an integrated powered zoom lens. All of these camcorders have a single sensor image system. The X70 & Z150 use a 1″ sensor and the Z100, the oldest of the group, a 1/2″ sensor. At NAB this year Sony is debuting several new cameras including the new PXW-Z450. The Z450 is based off of the same body as the PXW-X400. This gives users the first Sony traditional ENG shoulder mount form factor camera that offers 4K acquisition. Sony has intentionally stuck with a 2/3″ sensor design for the Z450 so that it will be fully compatible with all of the existing 2/3″ B4 broadcast ENG servo powered zoom lenses that are already in the field. Interestingly it appears that the Z450 uses a single 2/3″ sensor. Additionally, there is an upgrade kit for owners of the 1080p X400 camera. If you currently have an X400, or buy an X400 in the future, and decide you need 4K, you can send your camera to Sony and the camera will be converted to a Z450 for a fee.

Finally, in the studio space, Sony is introducing the HDC4800 studio camera. This is very interesting as this will have a newly designed single Super35mm 4K sensor. The sensor can generate up to 480fps in 4K. Yes, thats 8x slow motion in 4K. This is incredible. The camera has a native PL lens mount meaning that you will need some of the hig-end cine servo glass, like a Fujinon Cabrio, to use the camera in 4K. The HDC4800 has another trick up its sleeve. In the promo video for the camera Sony shows it’s PL lens mount being adapted to a B4 2/3″ mount. When the camera is in 1080p mode it can utilize a 2/3″ crop of the sensor, thus allowing it to be fully compatible with stadium or large studio style box lenses. Also, when in 1080p the maximum frame rate jumps to 16x normal, or 960fps for 60p countries. Imagine a sports game where a couple of these cameras are mounted onto large box lenses with 40x zoom magnifications as your primary cameras and the 4K super slow-mo camera is on the sidelines for close-ups using a 4.5x Fujinon Cabrio 19-90. The HDC4800 is also designed to integrate well with the 4K studio camera Sony introduced last NAB, the HDC4300. The HDC4300 uses 3x 2/3″ 4K image sensors and has a maximum frame rate of 60p in 4K or 480p in 1080p. Both cameras have matched colorimetry for ideal compatibility.

Sony PXW-Z100: The 4K Revolution is Now

We have the Sony PXW-Z100 4K ENG hand-held broadcast camera in-stock and ready to go. Wondering if this is the right camera for you? We’ve got a demo model. Come down and play with it. Arrange and out-of-office evaluation and shoot with the camera in your circumstances. Why do we call this a revolution? Imagine you’re shooting a reality-style TV show or a run and gun documentary for eventual 1080p release. If you’ve captured with this 4K 60p 10-bit 4:2:2 camera you have so much extra data to work with that you can zoom, crop, stabilize, and create whole new cut-away angles and still have plenty of resolution and data to create an acceptable image. Don’t want to shoot in 4K? No problem. What about 1080p at 60fps 10-bit 4:2:2 on a 1/2″ CMOS sensor with a 20x powered servo zoom lens. All of this power in a hand held camera. Oh, and we’re throwing in a 32GB XQD card for free for a limited time. Take a look at it in our office today or see it next to 30 other cameras at the Cascade Mt. Video Show on February 26th.

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Early Thoughts: Sony Z100

Sony recently released a very interesting camera called the PXW-Z100. We’ve used the word “revolutionary” a few times when discussing this camera. Personally, i think in 6-12 months, if you’re shopping for a traditional camcorder with a servo zoom lens, this is going to be the sure-bet camera for you. Here are my early thoughts.

I like the design. I’m not always a huge fan of Sony designs. They tend to use a a lot of clumps of buttons that aren’t well organized. This camera, while not my favorite, was fairly easy to wrap my head around in terms of control layout. The weight is good, coming in at 5.4lbs it’s lighter then a Canon XF305.

The images we’ve put up on the screen have been great. The ability to capture 1080p up to 60fps at 4:2:2 10-bit is amazing. The combination of an 8mp 1/2″ sensor and that great XAVC codec make this, i would say, the best image quality in a sub $10k 1080p non-large sensor camera. It might sound odd but I’ve already had multiple customers comment on how nice it will be to use something with a 20x servo zoom lens after spending most of the lat 3 years using interchangeable lens cinema cameras. Obviously it’s different tools for different purposes. But i think a lot of people have forgotten what the benefits of a great servo zoom lens are. Oh yeah, i can’t forget to mention, it’s “future proof” because it can record 4K at 60fps 10-bit 4:2:2 as well. While most of us might not have sue for 4K today it’s coming. It might not be a justifiable trade-off if the camera didnt’ also do amazing 1080p, but it does. Shoot amazing 1080p today, be ready for great 4K tomorrow. Plus, don’t forget about how useful shooting 4K for 1080p distrobution can be, zooming, cropping, and reframing.

Some other thoughts. The camera appears to lack a few basic things that it probably should have. There is no hystogram, no vectoscope, no waveform. It can’t do clip marking while recording. It also appears to lack any kind of pre-roll record. I’ve also never been a huge fan of Sony’s LCD screens in their hand held pro cameras. They’re always a little small and not super color/brightness accurate. The XQD cards that it records to are relatively inexpensive, 64GB cards run around $300. But in 1080p it’s about a 1:1 ratio, so you’ll get about an hour. At 4K it’s about a 3:1 ratio so you get about 22 minutes. Not the best dollar to minutes recorded ratios, but not the worst. Lastly i’m a little disappointed that, right now there is no 4K video output. A future firmware update will bring 4k via HDMI output, but SDI is 1080p only.

We’ve got this camera in our office display right now. Of course the best way to learn more about it is by coming to the Cascade Mt. Video Show on February 26th.

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Get a Free 32GB XQD Card with the Sony Z100 4K ENG Camera

We’re already taking pre-orders for the Sony PXW-Z100 4K ENG camera. We’re hoping these cameras will start coming in with in the next week. We’ll have a demo model for you to try out and evaluate. We’re also extremely excited to announce that, with your purchase of a Z100 camera, we’re including a free 32GB XQD memory card. That’s a $200 value. It’s not a rebate, not a send away, not a wait by the mailbox kinda deal. This is included at the time of the camera purchase. Take your camera out of the box, pop in that memory card, and start shooting. Post by Eric C. Petrie

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Early Footage From Sony Z100/AX1 4K ENG Camera

The good folks at Cinema5D have done some testing with the Sony AX1, this is the consumer version of the professional Z100 4K handheld ENG cameras. The imaging pipe is identical so, even though there are a lot of features that are different, the image quality will be an accurate portrayal of ether unit. There is some general beauty footage, some low light footage, and some general indoor footage. Check it out. Remember we’ll have the new PXW-Z100 ENG 4K camera in-stock and ready to go very soon. We’re including a free 32GB XQD memory card with your purchase. This revolutionary camera can do 4K up to 60fps at 300mbps 4:2:2 10 bit or 1080p 60fps at 4:2:2 10bit. It also features a 20x zoom lens and 1/2″ CMOS sensor. Contact us if you would like to do your own demo of the Z100. Watch the video here. Post by Eric C. Petrie

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Early Hands-On with the Sony Z100 4K ENG Camcorder

This a pretty good video that does a great job giving you an over view of the upcoming Sony 4K Z100 camcorder. We’re expecting to get our first Z100 cameras in any day now. We’re still accepting pre-orders. We’re also running a special promo where we’re including a FREE 32GB XQD Sony “S” series memory card with your purchase. Thats a $210 value. Watch the video here. Post by Eric C. Petrie

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Sony Announces Their First Broadcast 4K Camcorder

Generally speaking 4K has been thought of as something relegated to the cinema world. 4K camcorders such as the Blackmagic Production camera, the Canon C500, and the Sony F5 are all geared around a cinematic style of shooting, whether that be for feature film, commercial, or documentary purposes. But what about traditional ENG production? Sports, news, live event, education, corporate and other styles of shooting havn’t really had a fleshed out 4K solution.

Sony has just introducted the PXW-Z100. It appears to be very closely related to the HXR-NX5. It has a very similarly styled body and the same 20x zoom lens. It shoots in Sony’s XAVC format, a high quality 4:2:2 I-frame compression system. It can shoot 4K up to 60 frames per second progressive scan. It will use an 8 million pixel 1/2″ back-lit CMOS sensor. The back-light ensures that even with that many pixels is such a small surface area it will maintain good low light performance. It will record to “consumer” XQD memory cards. XQD is the format that some thing will take the place of Compact Flash for the highest quality, fastest, large-capacity memory cards. XQD has been very slowly adopted. The camera will also feature 3G HD-SDI output and HDMI that will output 4K at 60fps.

Just as the NX5 has a consumer counterpart, the HDR-AX2000, the Z100 will also have a consumer counterpart, the FDR-AX1. The consumer camera is said to have a list price of around $4,500 and the Z100 will carry a price tag around $6,500. The cameras are expected to start shipping before the end of this year. Post by Eric C. Petrie

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