By site editor Dan Chung:
Sony have yet another camcorder to add to their range today aimed squarely at news and events shooters. The new ‘4K ready’ PXW-X70 has a one inch sensor and 20 megapixel resolution – which is used to create the 4K image which is recorded internally. The camera records 10-bit 4:2:2 HD in the XAVC codec using the popular MXF file format. It can record at 50 Mbps or 35 Mbps at 1920 x 1080 50p/60p/50i/60i/ 30p/25p/24p and there is also a 25 Mbps option at 1920 x 1080 50i/60i. An upgrade to allow 4K recording is promised but no date is specified, which is slightly curious.
The sensor is larger than the Super 16 sensor in the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema camera and when coupled with the integral 12x Zeiss zoom lens it should make for some reasonably shallow depth of focus.
The camera weighs less than 1.4 Kg yet still manages to pack in both HDMI and SDI outputs along with an XLR audio jackpack and three levels of switchable ND. Wi-fi control by smartphone or tablet is also available. Interestingly for many broadcasters there is also talk of a live streaming capability but no further details.
The PXW-X70 does bear more than a passing resemblance to the prosumer AX100 which was launched a few months ago. Key differences though are the audio backpack, HD capabilities with a different choice of codec, wi-fi and SDI output. Of course at present the PXW-X70 lacks the AX100’s 4K option. As long is the image quality is better in HD than the AX100 then I can see the PXW-X70 becoming a popular for video journalists.
Here is the official release from Sony:
Basingstoke, July 29, 2014: Sony has today launched the 4K-ready PXW-X70, the first compact XDCAM professional camcorder ever produced. Expanding the popular file-based XDCAM family to a new smaller form factor and lower price point, Sony has combined stunning picture quality, speed of shooting and robust performance into a package which is ideal for a wide range of applications from news gathering and documentary to events work.
The PXW-X70 features a 1.0 type Exmor® R CMOS Sensor with a resolution of 20 megapixels. The sensor, which is even larger than the Super 16mm film frame, delivers high resolution and fantastic low light performance, as well as offering more depth of field control as demanded by today’s diverse shooting requirements. The new camcorder has the ability to record High Definition in XAVC Long GOP, enabling 422 10-bit sampling at 50 Mbit/s. This in-turn supports a broadcast-quality workflow, increasingly adopted by productions in many different professional applications.
This addition to the expanding next generation XDCAM family follows the recently announced PXW-X180 and PXW-X160 and builds upon Sony’s successful heritage of compact professional camcorders. The PXW-X70 is the first professional compact camcorder from Sony to include Wi-Fi-enabled control via Smart Phone or Tablet using the Content Browser Mobile application. An upcoming release will also provide customers with the ability to upgrade the PXW-X70 to record in 4K Ultra High Definition, with file transferring, and live video streaming capabilities.
“This first compact member of the XDCAM family brings the performance and workflow benefits associated with XAVC to an even wider range of shooting scenarios,” said Robbie Fleming, Product Marketing Manager, at Sony Professional Solutions Europe. “Over the past couple of years we’ve seen the broadcast industry really embrace the picture quality benefits associated with large sensors; the one-inch sensor at the heart of the PXW-X70 sets a new standard for colour, depth and texture in a professional compact camcorder. Coupled with the ability to upgrade to 4K, this represents a multipurpose, future-proof option for customers looking for a tough camcorder which doesn’t compromise on image.”
Key features of the PXW-X70
• 1.0 type Exmor® R CMOS Sensor and Carl Zeiss Vario Sonnar T* lens for stunning picture quality. High sensitivity and fantastic resolution with 14.2 million effective pixels delivers striking detail and colours, even in low light conditions. The lens offers a 12x Optical Zoom, which can be increased to 24x with Clear Image Zoom while retaining full resolution thanks to Super Resolution Technology. Zoom performance can be doubled at any point with a Digital Extender by up to 48x.
• Compact, lightweight XDCAM camcorder packed with adaptable professional functions. The PXW-X70 weighs less than 1.4kg, including the XLR handle unit, battery (NP-FV70), lens hood and large eye-cup. It offers professional interfaces such as 3G-SDI and HDMI output connectors plus an XLR x 2 handle unit with zoom lever. Other professional features include a manual lens ring that can intuitively control zoom and focus, ergonomic palm grip with large zoom lever, two SD memory card slots for backup, simultaneous and relay recording, and a three-level switchable ND filter.
• Breadth of recording format capabilities. Provides multiple choices depending on application required, including XAVC, AVCHD and DV® file-based recording. When recording in XAVC, the PXW-X70 uses the MXF file format, efficiently compressing full HD (1920 x 1080) resolution using the MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 CODEC. Image sampling is 4:2:2 10-bit with high-efficiency Long-GOP compression at 50 Mbps, 35 Mbps or 25 Mbps.
• Built-in Wi-Fi control functionality for monitoring and remote control versatility. Near Field Communication functions enable easy, one-touch wireless LAN connection to a smartphone or tablet, while the Content Browser Mobile application allows confirmation of shot angles and operation of the camcorder by remote, including field angle setting, spot focus and iris adjustment.
• Upcoming announcements to add even greater, future-proof functionality. Sony is set to make upgrades to 4K and file transfer and streaming by Wi-Fi function available for the PXW-X70 in the coming months.