Sony PXW-Z280 4K 3-CMOS 1/2" Sensor XDCAM Camcorder

Sony PXW-Z280 4K 3-CMOS 1/2" Sensor XDCAM Camcorder

Sony PXW-Z280 4K 3-CMOS 1/2" Sensor XDCAM Camcorder

B&H # SOPXWZ280 MFR # PXW-Z280
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Sony PXW-Z280 4K 3-CMOS 1/2" Sensor XDCAM Camcorder

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Product Highlights

  • Three 1/2" Exmor R CMOS Sensors
  • 4K 60p Recording
  • Integrated 17x Optical Zoom Lens
  • Electronic Variable ND Filter
  • Supports XAVC Intra/Long, MPEG HD, DVCAM
  • Supports S-Log 3
  • Supports HLG for an HDR Workflow
  • Simultaneous 4K/HD Recording
  • 12G-SDI Output Supports 4K 60p
  • Built-In 2.4/5 GHz Wi-Fi
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Sony PXW-Z280 overview

  • 1Description

Sony's PXW-Z280 4K 3-CMOS 1/2" Sensor XDCAM Camcorder continues the fine tradition of the XDCAM series of cameras. It captures 4K at up to 60p relying on three 1/2" Exmor R sensors that provide improved low-light capability when compared to standard sensors. The camera integrates a 17x optical zoom lens and an electronic variable ND filter. The camera supports modern codecs such as XAVC, as well as legacy codecs such as MPEG HD and DVCAM, allowing you to use one camera to shoot 4K, HD, or SD video.

The camera supports S-Log 3 for improved performance, and HLG (Hybrid Log Gamma) which allows you to shoot and deliver footage compatible with both HDR (high dynamic range) and SDR (standard dynamic range) without needing laborious post-production work. You can record in both 4K and HD simultaneously, or output 4K 60p via the built-in 12G-SDI output. The camera features built-in 2.4 and 5 GHz Wi-Fi.

UPC: 027242913783
In the Box
Sony PXW-Z280 4K 3-CMOS 1/2" Sensor XDCAM Camcorder
  • Lens Hood (Pre-Installed)
  • EVF Eyecup
  • BP-U30 Lithium-Ion Battery
  • BC-U1A Battery Charger / AC Adapter for BP-U90, U60, U60T, U30
  • Power Cord
  • USB Cable
  • Shoulder Strap
  • Limited 1-Year Warranty Parts
  • Limited 90-Day Warranty Labor
  • Table of Contents
    • 1Description

    Sony PXW-Z280 specs

    Image Sensor 3-Chip 1/2" CMOS Sensor
    Effective Sensor Resolution 3840 x 2160
    Signal-to-Noise Ratio 63 dB
    Minimum Illumination 0.0013 lux
    Focal Length 5.6 to 95.2mm
    35mm Equivalent Focal Length 30.3 to 515mm
    Optical Zoom Ratio 17x
    Maximum Aperture f/1.9
    Minimum Aperture f/16
    Minimum Focusing Distance Wide: 2.0" / 5.1 cm
    Telephoto: 31.5" / 80.0 cm

    Macro On

    Filter Size 77 mm
    Control Rings Focus Ring
    Zoom Ring
    Iris Ring
    Image Stabilization Optical Image Stabilization
    Focus Control Autofocus
    Manual Focus
    Shutter Speed 1/24 to 1/8000 sec
    Built-In ND Filter Mechanical Filter Wheel with Clear, 2 Stop (1/4), 4 Stop (1/16), 6 Stop (1/64) ND Filters and a 2 to 7 Stop Electronic ND Filter
    Built-In Microphone Type Stereo
    Recording Media 2 x SxS Card Slots
    Broadcast System Compatibility NTSC, PAL
    Recording Modes XAVC-I:
    3840 x 2160p at 23.98/25/29.97/50/59.94 fps (600 Mb/s) 
    1920 x 1080p at 23.98/25/29.97/50/59.94 fps (222 Mb/s) 
    1920 x 1080i at 50/59.94 fps (222 Mb/s) 
    1280 x 720p at 50/59.94 fps (222 Mb/s) 
    3840 x 2160p at 23.98/25/29.97/50/59.94 fps (150 Mb/s) 
    1920 x 2160p at 23.98/25/29.97/59.94 fps (50 Mb/s) 
    1920 x 1080i at 50/59.94 fps (50 Mb/s) 
    1280 x 720p at 50/59.94 fps (50 Mb/s) 
    1920 x 1080p at 23.98/25/29.97/50/59.94 fps (35 Mb/s) 
    1920 x 1080i at 50/59.94 fps (35 Mb/s) 
    1920 x 1080i at 50/59.94 fps (25 Mb/s) 
    MPEG2 4:2:2:
    1920 x 1080p at 23.98/25/29.97 fps (50 Mb/s) 
    1920 x 1080i at 50/59.94 fps (50 Mb/s) 
    1280 x 720p at 23.98/25/29.97/50/59.94 fps (50 Mb/s) 
    MPEG2 4:2:0:
    1920 x 1080p at 23.98/25/29.97 fps (35 Mb/s) 
    1920 x 1080i at 50/59.94 fps (35 Mb/s) 
    1440 x 1080p at 23.98/25/29.97 fps (35 Mb/s) 
    1440 x 1080i at 50/59.94 fps (35 Mb/s) 
    1280 x 1080p at 50/59.94 fps (35 Mb/s) 
    DV 4:2:0 8-Bit:
    720 x 576i at 50 fps (25 Mb/s) 
    720 x 576PsF at 50 fps (25 Mb/s) 
    720 x 480i at 59.94 fps (25 Mb/s) 
    720 x 480PsF at 59.94 fps (25 Mb/s) 
    Variable Frame Rates 1 to 60 fps
    Audio Recording XAVC: 4-Channel 24-Bit 48 kHz LPCM Audio
    Video Connectors 1 x BNC (Component) Output
    1 x BNC (12G-SDI) Output
    1 x HDMI Output
    Audio Connectors 2 x 3-Pin XLR Mic Level Input
    1 x 1/8" (3.5 mm) Stereo Headphone Output
    Other I/O 1 x BNC Timecode Input
    1 x BNC Timecode Output
    1 x BNC Genlock Input
    1 x 2.5 mm LANC Control 
    1 x USB Micro-B Data 
    1 x USB Type-A 
    1 x USB Type-C 
    1 x RJ45 LAN Data 
    Wireless Interfaces 2.4 GHz, 5 GHz Wi-Fi, NFC
    Global Positioning GPS
    Display Type LCD
    Screen Size 3.5"
    Screen Resolution 1,560,000 Dots
    Screen Size .5"
    EVF Resolution 2,360,000 Dots
    Battery Type Sony BP-U Series
    Accessory Mount 1 x Multi-Interface Shoe
    Dimensions 7.02 x 7.95 x 16.78" / 178.4 x 202 x 426.3 mm (With Protrusions)
    Weight 6.6 lb / 3 kg
    Packaging Info
    Package Weight 11.5 lb
    Box Dimensions (LxWxH) 20.5 x 11.0 x 10.0"

    Sony PXW-Z280 reviews

    PXW-Z280 4K 3-CMOS 1/2" Sensor XDCAM Camcorder is rated 4.0 out of 5 by 10.
    Rated 4 out of 5 by from Additional from my prior reveiw Still no response from Sony on registering. The varizoom remote that B&H sold me is poor in that it cant creep the zoom as good as the rocker on the camera. The Waveform is fantastic, however I believe the histogram is wrong. Does not show proper histogram graph. Maybe they can fix that in an update. The vectorscope is also unusable. Still trying to figure out the scene files... is that a new word for picture profiles? I agree with another reviewer about the overlay text on the LCD screen..... its too small and hard to read. Power consumption does seem to be very high. Dont know why that should be the case. So far generally happy. ED
    Date published: 2018-10-14
    Rated 5 out of 5 by from Lens 1.9 throughout I just received my Z280. My main concern was about the lens. I am relieved to find out that it is 1.9 throughout the range, like EX1/EX3. Because Sony does not list it clearly on it's website and B&H does not have the full specs (as of August 3, 2018) here, there has been some confusion. Rest assured it's 1.9. Beautiful! I am looking forward to selling my EX1 and EX3 and buying one more of this baby :)
    Date published: 2018-08-03
    Rated 5 out of 5 by from Auto Electronic ND, and Facial Recognition Focus Just starting to get comfortable with the menus and buttons of my new Z280, practicing a bit every day so that I can changes settings "by feel" in a darker theater or reception venue, places where I film frequently. It was a short learning curve for me having come from the EX1 to the EX1R to the PXW X200, and now to the Z280. The overall menu layout and the user buttons on the left side of the camera felt very familiar to me. The three features of the camera that I enjoy most, and the primary reasons why I purchased this camera are the AUTO ELECTRONIC ND filter, the f1.9 low-light capability, DIGITAL EXTENDER and FACIAL RECOGNITION AUTO FOCUS. AUTO ELECTRONIC ND FILTER: It's pretty amazing to be able to manually vary the ND filter density while holding constant an f1.9 wide-open aperature, or having the camera automatically vary it for me. Be aware that for the auto electronic ND Filter to work, you must set the ND filter switch to one of the 3 available positions. This function will not work in the "clear" position. By setting the ND filter switch to position 1, 2, or 3, flipping the ND variable/preset switch to variable and setting the ND menu setting to manual, rotating the ND filter wheel changes the density of the ND filter in a range of 1/4 to 1/128 without changing the f-stop. As expected, depth of field can be manually increased and decreased by varying the density of the ND filter, particularly with a wide open aperature. (f1.9) By selecting the "auto" ND menu setting the Z280 adjusts the ND filter density automatically, depending on the amount of light that is entering the lens. Your manually set f-stop still remains constant. Moving the camera, for example, from a darker image on my patio to the bright sky, the camera will adjust the ND filter appropriately from 1/4 to 1/128 automatically. If the sky is still too bright at 1/128, you can further alter the exposure by rotating the iris ring until the image looks good to you. Because I use the electronic ND frequently, changing back and forth from manual to auto, I found it convenient to assign it to a user preset button. FACIAL RECOGNITION: I took my Z280 out for its debut performance to a kids show at a theater to try out the facial recognition focus feature. I have a user preset button assigned to change the settings of this feature quickly. Available settings are AF off, face priority AF and face only AF. According to the user manual the face priority AF, when it finds a face, focuses on that face. When the face is no longer detectable, auto focus mode is engaged. I filmed the entire show using this feature and it worked flawlessly. Not a single scene was out of focus. In "face only AF" the accuracy of focusing is equally accurate, but when the face is no longer detected, focus is lost; it doesn't automatically switch to auto focus, exactly as explained in the manual. This varies from person to person but in my case I found that other useful user presets to assign to the 10 available buttons are facial recognition focus, last clip playback, digital extender (which looks beautiful, BTW), and last clip delete. You can assign any of the user-assignable functions to any button you wish. These are the ones I use most often in my work flow. I'm very happy with the Z280. Looking forward to using it in special event and corporate video settings very soon.
    Date published: 2018-09-02
    Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good camera with one issue and Sony repair dept is HORRIBLE I have had several cameras in this Sony line including the two predecessors such as the PXW-x200. Though the optics and specs are similar my initial observation is that is camera is better in low light. This says a lot because the x200 was also great--and this one is even better. The thing I hate about this camera is the zoom. I film a lot of professional dance. I need very slow and smooth zooming. Generally I set the handle zoom's control to a very slow speed. It ramps up and down nicely and looks very smooth. With the z280 the slowest setting for handle zoom is far too fast for me to use. It is almost as if the engineers designing this camera have never watched a television show. I spoke to Sony about this and they know about the issue but do not even seem to care. If you film sports you might have the same problem. The rocker zoom does have the ability to do very slow speed zooms however it is easy to accidentally put too much pressure on that and cause the zoom to be way to fast--or not enough pressure and have it jerk on and off. A few other positives about the camera. The monitor is amazing! I think they may have gone with an OLED screen. The camera also has a waveform monitor built in which I prefer over the histogram used on previous models. You can still set the camera to histogram if you prefer that. You can now manually set the white balance without going through the profile settings. One generally note about Sony Professional. Their repair department is horrible--let me repeat HORRIBLE. They make you pay $100 just to get a call back within 24 hours. Otherwise it may take you days just to get the authorization to send a unit in for repair. You can no longer speak to a service department tech simply by calling them. If you need a quick repair you can consider that $100 a shake down fee. You will not be treated as person, but rather a number by some uncaring phone gatekeeper. If you need your camera fixed quickly it simple will not happen because of this bureaucratic change Sony has made. Sony professional customer service is some of the worst I have ever seen. Even cell phone and cable companies are nicer and faster.
    Date published: 2018-09-12
    Rated 4 out of 5 by from Pretty Impressive Been shooting with EX1's and EX1R's for the last 10 years. I have had the 280 now for about 2 weeks. Spent most of the time trying to make sense of the manual and familiarizing myself with the layout etc. Also doing tests to see which codecs work best with my memory cards and Editor. Got a lot more work to do but here are my preliminary thoughts. The engineers have done a nice job improving the menus while keeping to many of the EX1 layouts like the location of gain, white balance etc. The image quality is great. Dont see a big quality difference between shooting in Mpeg 422 and the XAVC codecs. There are a few things that could have been done a lot better.... like the manual. Great to tell us what the buttons do but little info on what the functions for those buttons are. Telling us that a button turns this or that on or off does not add much to understanding what is happening to my image when it is on or off. Saving scene, file and ALL file is a total mystery. Where did the picture profiles go? From what I can tell picture profiles are the file saves or the scene saves and must be saved on a SD card... Not much info there. The 4 tracks of audio are a bit misleading since you only have two xlr inputs... so you need a shoe attachment for adding other external inputs... and the audio settings are very confusing. Lovely to be able to gain up to 18db with no noticeable noise. And the X2 digital doubler is fantastic. So you not only have 17x zoom but can double that wtih the x2 digital doubler without digital artifacts. Which they would have added a high quality MP4 for doing 4k or HD simultaneosly with mp4. The only Mp4 function is doing Proxy recording on the SD card. Wish they would have given us RTMP live streaming. They did in on the 5R. The network stuff is all there. How hard would it have been to include RTMP protocal for streaming directly to Youtube etc?? Have only done a little in the 4K area. ANyone tried to register their purchase yet? Sony's registration site wont let me even enter the model number unless there is some other site to do that. Asked for more help on the SOny site and its been a week - no reply yet. Too bad their customer service is so poor.
    Date published: 2018-09-20
    Rated 5 out of 5 by from Nice camcorder The z280 is pretty good in low light, has a fast lens and lots of improvements on audio controls. Based on shooting with it for a week, the image quality is very nice and the ability to gain up with little noise is a nice feature.
    Date published: 2018-09-26
    Rated 1 out of 5 by from Barrel distortion and soft edges on wide angle Full test images: I have owned many Sony video cameras over the years, but I usually dont scrutinize them. But when I pulled the 280 out of the box and fired it up, I immediately saw severe barrel distortion on door jambs in my house. I got curious and starting researching, hoping that I had received a lemon.  Other people reported similar issues, and a Sony rep told me that Japan said that the distortion was in spec.  In the day and age where cell phones and $350 point and shoot cameras shoot straight images throughout their zoom range, I found this curious.  That led me to run some test. So here are my final tests on the z280. I really did this for myself, because I dont take spending $7 grand lightly.   I shot the test outside on a sunny day, using a building which had detail and lines.  I shot at full wide, and at 50% zoom, at f/1.9 and f/5.6. I used manual focus and white balance, and shot in UHD and HD.  It was necessary to refocus each shot. I focused on the center of the frame on the steel mesh on the building which was closest to me.  I repeated the same test using my Z-150, which employs electronic lens distortion correction, and the Z-150s image is almost distortion free.  In spite of the Z-150s shortcomings (short zoom, button deficiency, no output to external monitor while recording UHD, and no 60p in UHD), the cameras image quality has always impressed me.    I used the Z-280s stock settings out of the box, where as the Z-150 is adjusted for the work that I normally do. So the 150s knee, gamma and black levels are adjusted to give the camera a flatter output signal. Theres much to like about the Z280.  Ive been waiting for a real servo zoom lens since my 537 DVCAM days with a camera body and Fujinon lens with a real servo zoom.   The 280 has it. Unfortunately, the smooth zoom doesnt translate to the LANC control, either using Sonys or Varizooms zoom controls, which isnt surprising given the LANC protocol.  But still, a much better zoom is there on the z280. Ive been waiting for a real viewfinder for a long, long time. You know, one that you can actually focus with.  And the 280 has one.  I did have more trouble focusing in the HD mode as opposed to the UHD mode, even with the expanded focus.  The 150 was a breeze to focus in both HD and UHD because it has two levels of zoom on expanded focus. The 280s expandable focus is probably adjustable, but I didnt check.  I like the button and switch layout and theres lots of them! Also, things such as the variable ND and total feature controls are great, and Ive become accustomed to using them in my x-180, which is similar to a z190 without UHD.     Things that I dont like on the 280 are the battery life, the lens softness on wide angle at f/1.9, the lack of electronic lens distortion correction which leaves you to record barrel and pincushion distortion (not an issue on the Z-150, or the X-180 which has a 26-650mm equivalent G lens), and the fact that Sony keeps moving the power button around. Its located on the left side on the z150, and under the viewfinder on the z280.  I wish they would just leave it on the hand grip near your thumb where its been for 40 years. The lens is very soft on the outer edges, especially on wide angle. I think this may be an additional problem with my 280. But I have seen other 280 footage on Youtube similar softness but not a s bad. Its typically worse on one side of the frame than the other.  The bottom line is that my Z-150 just plain looks better than the Z-280. I did not test the 280s features because as far as Im concerned, if a camera cannot produce a good image, all the features in the world wont help it.  My 280 was purchased new, and I have no way of knowing if the factory adjustments were accurately done.  But in my opinion, the z-280 doesnt produce the good image that it should. It does seem to fare better in HD than UHD though.  In researching things online, many people get the feeling that Sonys QC has gone downhill in the past decade or so. I (unfortunately) tend to agree with that.  Sony builds the best camera bodies in the world, but as many will attest,  the lens performance seems to be their Achilles heel. The Z-280 may work for your needs as is, but I sent my 280 back (B&H is GREAT about returns!).  If Sony corrects the IQ, I would probably repurchase the camera because - Ive been a Sony user all my life. But firmware corrections aside, Sony usually doesnt correct things in their models, they just release a new model a couple of years down the road.
    Date published: 2018-12-01
    Rated 4 out of 5 by from Not so fast, 1.9 :) Somebody in the Q&A sections says the Z280 ramps down to 2.4 at the tele end (even though the display remains at 1.9). Used in a live situation I felt it might. Further testing needed before assuming anything.
    Date published: 2018-08-15
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