Sony unveils the 4K 4:2:2 10-bit PXW-Z280 and PXW-Z190 camcorders

Sony have unveiled the 4K 4:2:2 10-bit PXW-Z280 and PXW-Z190 camcorders at NAB in Las Vegas. The PXW-Z280 is claimed to be the world’s first 4K 3 chip handheld camcorder with a 1/2″-type Exmor R CMOS image sensor, while the PXW-Z190 uses three 1/3″-type CMOS sensors.

Sony unveils the 4K 4:2:2 10-bit PXW-Z280 and PXW-Z190 camcorders

The PXW-Z280 (on paper at least) looks to be a feature packed camcorder. In this day and age where full frame and Super35 digital cinema cameras are all the rage, smaller sized sensor cameras are often overlooked. Depending on the type of work that you do, a smaller sized sensor camera with a fixed lens can offer a lot of advantages over say a FS5. For run and gun news and event shooting, the PXW-Z280 looks to tick a lot of boxes.

The camera has a newly developed 4K 3 chip 1/2-type Exmor R CMOS Sensor and the ability to shoot in 4K at up to 60p, all in a 4:2:2 10bit codec. This camera can record in XAVC Intra/Long, MPEG HD422/MPEG HD and DVCAM to SxS or SD cards. Another nice feature is that you can do 4K/HD simultaneous recording (4K + MPEG HD422). This allows users to easily turn around HD material for say a news application, while still recording a higher quality master. The camera also has a 12G-SDI output which is impressive for a camcorder.

Sony unveils the 4K 4:2:2 10-bit PXW-Z280 and PXW-Z190 camcorders

The addition of 4K up to 60p capture in 4:2:2 10-bit is impressive as even Sony’s own FS5 can only record in 4K XAVC-Long 60p in 4:2:0 8-bit. The FS5 only records 4:2:2 10-bit in HD. The PXW-Z280 also includes Sony’s electronic variable ND system which can be found in the FS5, FS7 Mark II, and a few other camcorders.

Sony unveils the 4K 4:2:2 10-bit PXW-Z280 and PXW-Z190 camcorders

For those looking for full manual control, the PXW-Z280 doesn’t disappoint. It has three independent rings for focus, iris and zoom, so you can control everything manually. This is a nice feature, as often a lot of the camcorders have a toggle switch that you need to use to go between say iris and focus control. The camera also comes equipped with a 17x zoom and what Sony is claiming is an advanced Face Detection AF system.

Sony unveils the 4K 4:2:2 10-bit PXW-Z280 and PXW-Z190 camcorders

As far as audio goes, the PXW-Z280 can record 4 channels of audio, all wth independent volume control. It can do this through the use of two XLR inputs as well as a Dual MI Shoe. The Dual MI Shoe, means you can mount the URX-P03D 2-channel wireless receiver and run two compatible Sony radio mics. Unlike the

With news organisations constantly wanting live broadcasts from the field, the PXW-Z280 can stream vision and FTP material through the use of an integrated wi-fi module, cellular modem or ethernet connector. The camera supports Sony’s XDCAM air (QoS Streaming, Remote Control, Metadata) system.

The PXW-Z280 will start shipping in July this year. We will update this post with a price once we have one available.
UPDATE: The price will be $6,950.

Sony PXW-Z280 features
• 4K 50p/60p 4:2:2 10bit
• S-Log3 or Instant HDR workflows
• Sony’s unique Electronic Variable ND filter
• 17x zoom lens, Full manual control rings for focus, iris, zoom
• Advanced Face Detection AF
• Streaming and FTP with Integrated Wi-Fi module, Cellular modem or Ethernet connector
• Supports XDCAM air (QoS Streaming, Remote Control, Metadata)
• XAVC Intra/Long, MPEG HD422/MPEG HD and DVCAM
• 12G-SDI output
• SxS or SD card
• 4ch Audio recording with independent volume control, Dual MI Shoe
• 4K/HD simultaneous recording (4K + MPEG HD422)

PXW-Z190

Sony unveils the 4K 4:2:2 10-bit PXW-Z280 and PXW-Z190 camcorders
Unlike the PXW-Z280, the PXW-Z190 is only capable of recording 4K at up to 60p in 4:2:0 8-bit, and HD at up to 60p in 4:2:2 10-bit. Instead of using 1/2″ sensors like the PXW-Z220, the camera has three 1/3-type CMOS sensors. The PXW-Z190 also takes advantage of Sony’s electronic variable ND system.

Sony unveils the 4K 4:2:2 10-bit PXW-Z280 and PXW-Z190 camcorders

The camera records in XAVC-Long, MPEG HD, DVCAM, Proxy 1080i up to 9Mbps, and in MPEG2 HD422 (with License) to SD cards. Just like the PXW-Z280, the PXW-Z190 supports 4K/HD simultaneous recording (4K + HD Proxy). The PXW-Z190 has a 25x optical zoom lens and face detection auto focus. You can zoom from 28.8mm to 720mm (35mm equivalent). The 1/3-inch type lens has three independent control rings, which allows manual control of focus, zoom and iris.

The image can be enlarged without any picture degradation in an HD mode and a 50x zoom equivalent image is captured with sensor cropping extender.
The PXW-Z190 has the same advanced network functions of the PXW-Z280, so it can support streaming and FTP delivery of content from the field. It also has Sony’s Content Browser Mobile smartphone remote capability.

Sony unveils the 4K 4:2:2 10-bit PXW-Z280 and PXW-Z190 camcorders

Just like the PXW-Z280 it canals record up to 4 channels of audio through the use of two XLR inputs and the ability to attach the URX-P03D 2-channel wireless receiver to a Dual MI Shoe. However, unlike the PXW-Z280, the PXW-Z190 doesn’t have independent volume controls for all 4 channels. The camera has a 3G-SDI output.

The PXW-Z190 is scheduled to start shipping in September this year. Again we don’t have a price just yet, but we will update the post when we do.
UPDATE: The price will be $4,000 in the US

PXW-Z190
• 4K 50p/60p video quality with three 1/3-type CMOS sensors
• 4K: 50/60p 4:2:0 8 bit, HD: 4:2:2 10bit
• Sony’s unique Electronic Variable ND filter
• 25x optical zoom lens
• Face Detection AF: Face Registration, Face Only AF
• HLG “Instant HDR” Workflow • Dual MI Shoe
• 4ch Audio Recording
• SD memory card media
• “Content Browser Mobile” smartphone remote capability
• Advanced network functions (same as PXW-Z280)
• XAVC-Long, MPEG HD, DVCAM, Proxy 1080i up to 9Mbps, MPEG2 HD422 (with License)
• Supports 4K/HD simultaneous recording (4K + HD Proxy)
• 3G-SDI output and remote control for compact multi-camera production

Competition
The competition for these new offerings from Sony looks to be from cameras such as the Panasonic HC-X1000, Panasonic HC-X1, and JVC GY-HM660 just to name a few.

Are camcorders like this still relevant?

Despite having much smaller sensors than those in Super35mm digital cinema cameras, camcorders are still extremely popular for news and event coverage, particularly in developing markets such as India, South America, Africa and South East Asia. With 4K 50p/60p capture in a 4:2:2 10-bit codec, electronic variable ND and full manual control of focus, iris and zoom the PXW-Z280 looks to be a compelling option for those doing run and gun assignments where a Super35mm sized camera may not be appropriate.

Once we have more information about these two cameras from the Sony Press conference here in Las Vegas, we will update this post. Stay tuned for more of our extensive coverage of NAB direct from the show floor.

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