4K was the theme for the majority of Sony cameras in 2014, and by the looks of it, 2015 will be no different. The Sony FS7 was the big announcement at IBC 2014 with 4K XAVC internal recording, built-in ND filters and a Super 35 chip, however there was another camera announced around that same time. One of the many cameras announced by Sony last year, was the PXW-X70. The smallest camera to hold a XDCAM badge, the PXW-X70 is 4K “Ready”, which means that at some point in 2015 there will be a (paid) upgrade for 4K internal recording (we hope, not external, as with the FS700). The little camera that could has been generating some very positive reviews from video professionals and in this post we’ll look at a review and some tests that would hopefully answer most of your questions if you’re in the market for a PXW-X70.
Before we do that, here’s the specs of the Sony PXW-X70:
- 1″ 20 MP Exmor R CMOS Sensor
- 1080/25/24/23.98p Full HD Recording
- 12x optical zoom / 24x Clear Image Zoom
- 48x zoom with digital extender
- 2 x SDHC/SDXC Card Slots – Simul & Relay recording
- XAVC Long-GOP 10bit 422 50Mb/s recording
- Built-in ND Filters – 1/4, 1/16, 1/64
- Slow & Quick Motion
- 3G-SDI & HDMI Output
- Wireless LAN Control & NFC
- Planned Upgrade To UHD 4K
Check out the extensive 20+ minutes Pro’s & Con’s review by Rob from Online Video Solutions below and some tests against the GH4.
Sony PXW-X70 Sharpness Test Optical vs Clearview Zoom
Detail test of the PXW-X70 vs PMW-400 vs DMC-GH4
Sony PXW-X70 vs Panasonic GH4 Quick Gain / Noise Test
I think the PXW-X70 will be even better with the 4K upgrade, but even now it looks like a decent solution for event shooters, YouTubers and even documentary shooters, as it packs a 10bit codec in a small form factor. The optical zoom may be a bit limited, but from the tests the ClearView zoom function seems to do a good job of not degrading the image to a point when it renders it unusable, on the contrary, it looks very usable and could be very helpful.
I miss my AF101 from the days when I shot Red Carpet premieres & events, and even though it did a fine job, it was a bit bulky, and I can definitely see the PXW-X70 a logical choice for those shooters looking for a small foot print camera that they can stick on a monopod, stick a shotgun mic and a top LED light, run around and get great shots and interviews.
The 4K upgrade will be available hopefully in Q1/Q2 2015 and is rumoured to be around $500/€500.