Sony's newest camcorders are its first to feature phase detection Auto Focus (AF), and expand its line of 4K and HDR-capable tools for shooting applications ranging from video enthusiasts to broadcast news and TV production.
The three new palm-style models are the XDCAM PXW-Z90, the NXCAM HXR-NX80 and the Handycam FDR-AX700. The camcorders' Fast Hybrid AF system ensures highly accurate focusing and tracking - especially useful during 4K shooting - delivered by 273 phase-detection AF points that cover approximately 84% of the shooting area, high-density placement of autofocus points and a newly developed AF algorithm. In movie recording mode, the appearance of phase-detection AF frames indicates the focused area and allows users to monitor a subject that is in focus.
Each camcorder combines fast AF adapted for video shooting with a 1.0-type stacked Exmor RS CMOS image sensor. The camcorders support 4K HDR recording with Hybrid Log-Gamma (HLG) offering an Instant HDR workflow to produce HDR content. The Instant HDR Workflow enables simple shooting, editing and viewing of HDR content in HLG, without the need for color grading during post production.
The new camcorders feature a high-resolution OLED viewfinder (0.39-type OLED, 2,359k dots) and touch screen operation, on the 3.5-type large LCD screen (1,555k dots), while the AF Drive Speed, Tracking Depth Range and Subject Switching Sensitivity can all be configured as required for different subjects and content styles.
The PXW-Z90, HXR-NX80 and FDR-AX700 camcorders all work with Sony's MCX-500 live producer, a compact switcher that makes it easy for one operator to run a multi-camera live event. With the switcher and Sony's RM-30BP controller, a Tally icon appears on each camera's LCD panel and viewfinder. A red icon indicates when the shot is live (PGM) while Green indicates preview mode (NEXT).
The MCX-500 supports mixing between eight video sources, four stereo embedded audio channels plus two XLR Inputs, and a dedicated Title Input, up to nine video inputs, and five stereo inputs including XLR. Internal recording and live streaming is also possible via Ustream, Facebook Live and YouTube Live.
Users can also synchronize timecode among multiple camcorders using Sony's free Content Browser Mobile 3.0 app with optional CBKZ-WTCL upgrade and devices running iOS (9.0 - 10.3) or Android (4.4 - 7.1) operating systems.
The new camcorders enable the following features:
4K full-pixel readout without pixel binning using a BIONZ X image processing engine
Super Slow Motion recording up to 960fps and Slow & Quick Motion Full HD recording up to 120fps.
S-Log3/S-Gamut3 capabilities for users to create and work with images as they desire.
29mm wide-angle ZEISS Vario-Sonnar T 12x optical zoom lens and 18x Clear Image Zoom
Less image distortion (rolling shutter phenomenon), in comparison to conventional models, when shooting moving subjects in motion
Workflow efficiency benefits such as proxy recording, relay recording and simultaneous backup recording are also delivered thanks to the new camcorders' dual memory card slots and multi-camera operation capabilities supported by TC (time code)/UB (user bit). The new camcorders also have REMOTE terminals, Multi-Interface Shoe, and HDMI Type A for enhanced operability.
The models also feature dual XLR audio input, a detachable handle, and access to Content Browser Mobile a supporting smartphone application to enable Wi-Fi monitoring, Camcorder remote control and wireless timecode sync between multiple cameras.
The PXW-Z90 also includes several features to suit broadcast-specific production requirements: XAVC L format recording, which provides high-quality images at 4:2:2 10 bit (HD) and 4:2:0 8 bit (QFHD) in addition to conventional broadcasting MPEG2HD format recording; 3G SDI connectivity for compatibility with existing broadcasting equipment; and networking functions to support news reporting, such as compatibility with XDCAM air, Sony's cloud-based ENG subscription service. The HXR-NX80 and FDR-AX700 adopt XAVC S, an extended format of XAVC for consumer use.
The following is planned availability and suggested list pricing for the new models:
FDR-AX700 - October 2017, $1,899 USD
HXR-NX80 - December 2017, $2,299 USD
PXW-Z90V - December 2017, $2,799 USD