Sony’s New $3,000 4K-Ready XDCAM Handheld Professional Camcorder

by on August 26, 2014

by Stephan Jukic – August 26th, 2014

Sony has released its first compact, 4K prepared XDCAM camcorder for both professional and home video use. It’s called the PXW-X70 and at just 1.4 kg, it is a lightweight, compact and very well equipped piece of video production hardware.

The X70 features a one inch Exmor R sensor that’s more than 8 times more powerful than a more typical 1/3 single chip sensor and better than a Super 16 mm film frame. While being superior to 16 mm isn’t as good as a full 35 mm sensor it still means that cinematographers who want a versatile little camcorder get to enjoy some truly excellent light sensitivity which makes the PXW-X70 great for low light performance and depth of field control.

In addition to the sensor, the X70 comes with a highly versatile Carl Zeiss Sonnar T lens that has a built in 12x optical zoom which comes with three selectable ND filter settings and a Clear Image zoom enhancement that allows extension of the 12x range to 24x while still filming in Full HD.. Beyond that, it also includes a lens ring that can intuitively control zoom or focus and a large ergonomic zoom lever built into the camera’s palm grip.

The optical and sensor features of the X7’ aren’t the only great aspects of the camcorder though: The camera is designed out-of-the-box to film and broadcast 1920 x 1080 Full HD video under a variety of different codecs at a ratio of 4:2:2 10 bit but while this makes for excellent video shooting, a soon to arrive upgrade will also give the PXW-X70 the ability to shoot full 4K Ultra HD video very soon.

What this 4K readiness means is that you can save some money right now by buying a great HD video production camcorder today while being fully equipped to upgrade to 4K as the resolution standard becomes more common or you end up needing it down the road. While, yes, Sony does also have an excellent 4K camcorder that they sell in the form of the FDR-AX100E, the PWX-X70 is a more professional camera overall.

Another interesting design feature of the X70 is the fact that it has two SD media slots built into it, thus allowing you to record without interruption onto the second memory card as you replace the full first one and vice versa. Except for needing to stop for a battery change during field use, you can use the camera for highly extended continuous shoots.

Connectivity on this powerful little camera is also superb in typical Sony style. It comes with full WiFi capability, has NFC built into it for the sake of enabling wireless LAN connections and controlling your shooting from a nearby mobile device such as a smartphone or tablet as long as either has the Content Browser Mobile application built into it. This NFC feature lets you control focus, iris and shooting angle confirmation from your tablet or phone and a soon to arrive upgrade to the mobile app will also allow you to stream live from the camera to the web and transfer video files wirelessly into your device memory as well.

Despite its small size and relatively affordable price, the PXW-X70 doesn’t skimp on external professional design features either: It has two 3-pin XLR inputs built into its top for attaching professional microphones and cables while the body is built to fit onto different types of tripods.

Furthermore, the large palm grip based zoom lever and eyepiece viewfinder with large cup make control of the camera while filming easy and comfortable.

Overall, this is a great camera for filming professional video in commonly transferable video formats while having access to some very respectable specs and professional design features. The 4K compatibility for future upgrades just sweetens the deal with the PXW-X70 even more.

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