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Unveiled: Sony PXW-Z150 XDCAM Professional Camcorder

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Sony’s latest addition to their professional XDCAM lineup, the PXW-Z150, is a compact and versatile camcorder that merges usability and built-in advanced networking capabilities with broadcast-quality 4K and Full HD video. Most notably, it features a large 1.0” type Exmor RS CMOS sensor, making it the first professional camcorder to utilize Sony’s “stacked” sensor design, promising a 2x increase in read-out speeds compared to traditional 1.0” type sensors. The sensor supports continuous high-frame-rate Full HD image capture at up to 120 fps, as well as UHD 4K recording up to 30 fps with full pixel read and no pixel binning.

In many ways, the PXW-Z150 can be thought of as a 4K-capable HXR-NX100, as it shares a similar physical design, from the compact and lightweight chassis to the Sony G lens that offers 12x optical zoom range (29 to 348mm equivalent). Clear Image Zoom expands that range to 18x in 4K and 24x in HD. The camcorder sees an upgrade in the monitoring department, sporting a 0.39”, 1440K-dot OLED viewfinder to go along with the 3.5”, 1550K-dot LCD.

 

The PXW-Z150 is designed to be user-friendly for shooters of all experience levels, including those upgrading from DSLRs or smaller-form camcorders, while still providing a full set of controls. You can choose to shoot in full auto mode, or in full manual mode, which is supported by three independent manual lens rings for tactile adjustment of focus, zoom, and iris. To help control your exposure in bright conditions, there is a four-stage mechanical ND filter (Clear, 1/4, 1/16, and 1/64).

To fit into a variety of workflows, the PXW-Z150 offers several recording formats to choose from. High-resolution UHD 4K can be recorded using the XAVC-L codec at 100 Mbps (8-bit 4:2:0), while Full HD 10-bit 4:2:2 recording is available in XAVC-L (50 Mbps). You can also choose to record Full HD using the MPEG-2 (MPEG HD422) format at 50 Mbps for easy integration into broadcast workflows, or AVCHD when smaller file sizes are needed. AVCHD is also available for increased flexibility, with a time code burn-in feature useful for legal depositions. Two SDHC/XC card slots are available to support relay recording, simultaneous recording for instant backup, or dual codec recording.

The camcorder offers a wide range of connections to interface with peripherals, including 3G-SDI connector for HD output/monitoring and a HDMI output that supports 4K video. This allows you to easily connect the camcorder to a 4K TV, boardroom projector, or other display device. Additional connectivity includes professional XLR audio inputs, micro-USB multi-terminal, remote, and composite video (RCA). The camcorder is also equipped with a Multi-Interface Shoe for cable-free attachment of optional accessories such as the Sony UWP-D wireless audio microphone systems and HVL-LBPC LED light.

 
 

Rounding out this camcorder’s impressive feature list is built-in Wi-Fi and advanced networking capabilities, letting shooters add mobility to their work. You can FTP files directly from the camcorder or live stream over Wi-Fi without having to add any additional accessories. You can also use the camcorder’s Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity to remotely pair it to your iOS or Android mobile devices running the Content Browser Mobile app, giving you remote control over focus, zoom, iris, white balance, REC start/stop, and more. A cold-shoe on the handle provides an attachment point for additional accessories.

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When exactly can i get one??? in disponibility, you say that it will be coming soon... but which date?

Hi Daniel -

Expected availability: April 19 2016

Sony PXW-Z150 4K XDCAM Camcorder B&H # SOPXWZ150

Please contact us via e-mail if you have additional questions:  AskBH@BandH.com

Is it possible to attach an Atomos Shogun via SDI or HDMI for 10 bit 4K video output?  Thanks!!

Hi Eric -

No problem.  ATOMOS offers several 4K rcorders that would be compatible via HDMI/SDI:

Atomos Shogun 4K HDMI/12G-SDI Recorder and 7" Monitor (Full Version)

Atomos Shogun 4K HDMI/12G-SDI Recorder and 7" Monitor (Bare Bones Version)

HDMI Only:

Atomos Ninja Assassin 4K HDMI Recorder and 7" Monitor

Please contact us via e-mail if you have additional questions:  AskBH@BandH.com

This is a bad answer to a good question. While you can connect an external recorder capable of recording 10bit 4K video, unless the camera outputs a 10bit 4K signal (which it does not) all you would be doing is recording an 8bit signal at 10bit.

Hi David -

Excerpted from our Hands-On Review: 

"The camera also does XAVC Long GOP—4:2:2 8-bit in 4K, and 10-bit in HD. Let us also mention MPEG2HD (4:2:0 and 4:2:2 in 8-bit), as well as AVCHD, making the camera suitable for existing broadcast workflows and matching legacy production. Please don't get upset that it is only 8-bit in 4K; yes, 10-bit would be nice, but 8-bit is perfectly acceptable, and the camera can capture pleasing images."

Please contact us via e-mail if you have additional questions:  AskBH@BandH.com

David, You wrote that the Sony PXW-Z150 does XAVC Long GOP - 4:2:2 8-bit in 4K. Can this camera really record 4:2:2 8-bit 4K or did you meant to say 4:2:0 8-bit 4K? I'm confused. Thanks in advance for clarifying.

Hi Noel -

It can record 4K in XAVC Long at 4:2:0 8-bit, and HD in XAVC Long at 4:2:2 10-bit, as well as MPEG2HD at 4:2:2 or 4:2:0 in 8-bit only.

They took the NX100 and added "4K" and charge $2000 for it? Disappointed

This is not quite true: the Z150 is equipped with Exmor RS CMOS Sensor whose stacked structure makes possible a considerably faster data read out, also, the lens structure is almost the same as NX100 but the Z150's lens is optimised for 4K shooting. Also, the operability of Z150's lens rings (zoom/focus ring) is better than NX100. Finally, the price dropped to $3,199.00.

Sony Answers Questions on the New Sony PXW-Z150 4k Camcorder:

http://www.cameratown.com/news/news.cfm/hurl/id|11194

Justin, I think this paragraph needs editing:

"To fit into a variety of workflows, the PXW-Z150 offers several recording formats to choose from. High-resolution UHD 4K can be recorded using the XAVC Long GOP codec at 100 Mbps (8-bit 4:2:0), while Full HD 10-bit 4:2:2 recording is available in XAVC Long (50 Mbps) for easy integration into broadcast workflows. MPEG-2 AVCHD is also available for increased flexibility..."

It is MPEG2 HD 4:2:2 is for easy Broadcast integration, I guess...

That has to be an error. AVCHD is MPEG 4, not MPEG 2, and that is available in case you cannot work with XAVC Long or XAVC-L, which is a codec that will record 10 bit, 50 Mbps Full HD at 4:2:2 and 8 bit, up to 150 Mbps 4K at 4:2:0. In this case Sony elected to use 100 Mbps for 4K, instead of the highest 150 Mbps. XAVC-L is a step higher than the consumer or prosumer XAVC-S codec, which records both, Full HD and 4K, in 8 bit @ 4:2:0. Because Sony elected to use the 100 Mbps, which is the highest the XAVC-S codec will do, There isn't any advantage with the XAVC-L codec recording in 4K, unless a firmware update increases the quality. However, the quality of the HD video is significant, although there is no difference in the compression. Sony's highest codec for HD and 4K is XAVC-I or Intra XAVC. The fairly new codec is based on MPEG 4.

AVCHD is consumer MPEG 4, just like HDV is consumer MPEG 2. So most likely the MPEG 2 mentioned along with AVCHD is an error in the description and actually MPEG 4, 8 bit, up to 28 Mbps at 4:2:0. Although there is an MPEG 2 up to 50 Mbps, 10 bit at 4:2:2, I doubted it is used in this camera since it has XAVC-L. 

Just looked at the specs. I am wrong; it does also have the MPEG 2 codec at 50 Mbps, 10 bit @ 4:2:2. I guess they added that for professionals who cannot work with XAVC-L yet. 

Hi John,

Thank you for pointing out this error. You are, of course, correct; AVCHD is an MPEG-4 based format. Our write-up has been updated accordingly.

Hi Ilya,

You are absolutely correct. It is MPEG2 HD 4:2:2 that enables easy integration into existing broadcast workflows. Thank you for pointing this out and the paragraph has been updated accordingly.

Good to see someone as picky as me.

That was a great and informative review.  However, I believe you made one small but obvious typo in your second paragraph, ( thought of as a 4K-"cappable" HXR-NX100)

Best Regards

Raymond 

Hi Raymond,

Thanks for reading and for the keen eye! Typo has been corrected.

does it have slo mo?

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