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Sony has introduced three new camcorders as upgraded replacements for predecessor models. Heading the list is the professional news gathering/TV production XDCAM PDW-850, replacing the PDW-700 and PDW-F800 and offering a long list of new features. The other two, NXCAM NEX-EA50M and NXCAM HXR-NX3/1, both designed for small- to mid-range productions, offer a choice between shoulder-mount and handheld operation among their many differences.
Top among the new features of the XDCAM PDW-850 is a new generation CCD imager (3x 2/3” PowerHAD FX IT CCDs) with the resulting improved S/N ratio, increased from 59dB to 62dB and supporting a sensitivity of F11 @ 60i. The camera has the same B4 lens mount and continues to use the same XDCAM Professional discs, allowing you to retain your previous disc-based workflows.
SDI and Composite inputs are now standard among the connections, and a 50-pin interface is available for studio camera adapters. A USB port is also available for high-resolution compatibility with the CBK-WA100 wireless adapter. The LCD has been upgraded to a higher resolution of 960 x 540, while the sub-LCD panel that was available on the PDW-700/F800 has been eliminated and all information that it provided is now displayed on the new LCD during power-on. In addition to the ALAC function (Auto Lens Aberration Compensation) that’s standard on XDCAM and PMW camcorders, the PDW-850 also features vertical ALAC to correct for lateral chromatic aberration. Digital magnification has been increased to 4x. The camera now also offers 24Psf HD capability and records in MPEG IMX and DVCAM SD formats.
The NXCAM NEX-EA50M, replacement for the NEX-EA50UH, comes supplied with the Sony SELP18105G 18mm-105mm servo zoom lens, which offers a maximum aperture of f/4 throughout the zoom range. Alternatively, when using fixed focal length lenses or manual zoom lenses, the NEX-EA50M is capable of up to 2x variable speed digital zoom thanks to the camera’s high pixel density Exmor APS HD CMOS sensor. The camera uses the same familiar semi-shoulder mount and Sony E lens mount as the previous model. It records in AVCHD 2.0 and supports your choice of memory sticks or SD cards via a single memory card slot. For E-mount lenses, it offers the additional benefit of the use of intuitive functions like touch focus, which lets you pull focus by touching a particular point on the LCD.
The PDW-850 and NEX-EA50M camcorders are both capable of recording in 60 Hz and 50 Hz, allowing you to service clients internationally.
On the more compact side, the NXCAM HXR-NX3/1, which replaces the HXR-NX3, features an integrated G lens with 40x zoom range, three control rings, and a four-stage ND filter. This new version includes a battery, charger, and power cable package so you don’t have to purchase these separately, and the charger can be used to not only charge the camera but also power it. The camera supports WiFi and remote control from mobile devices using Sony’s PlayMemories mobile app. Remote functions include record start/stop, zoom, aperture, and touch autofocus, which is the focus feature that works at the touch of the LCD. The WiFi capability also allows you to transfer files in MP4 format—and MP4 and AVCHD files can be recorded simultaneously, except for when recording in 1080p60.