At the start of BVE 2016 in London, Sony launched a brand new 1-inch sensor, Fixed Lens 4K camcorder – the PXW-Z150. The new XDCAM camcorder features 4K/30p recording and 120fps Slow Motion in Full HD among many other features. The camera is in a similar handheld form factor reminiscent of the Z1/Z5 workhorses of olden times, but this time around the PXW-Z150 is powered by a new Exmor RS 1-inch 20 megapixel CMOS sensor and features an 12x Optical Zoom fixed lens with Sony’s ground breaking Clear Image Zoom technology expanding it to 18x zoom in 4K, which gets some extra zoom range out of the lens without sacrificing image quality. In Full HD the max zoom with Clear Image Zoom is extended to 24x.
I recently used this feature on the Sony FS5 with the 18-105mm kit lens and found the Clear Image Zoom to work wonders. But back to the new Z150 – the Exmor RS stacked design of the sensor allows for a faster readout and a better low-light performance allowing the Z150 to record in Full HD up to 120fps continuous slow-motion, which is a pretty amazing feature for a camera of this range.
According to Sony, the PXW-Z150 “is the world first professional camcorder that has adopted the stacked Exmor RS CMOS Image Sensor.”
Sony PXW-Z150 Features
20 megapixel 1-inch Exmor RS CMOS sensor
4K (UHD) up to 30p in XAVC-L 100Mb/s
12x Optical Zoom (18x in 4K/24x in FHD with Clear Image Zoom)
1080/120fps in XAVC-L 10bit 422 continuous
XAVC-L (Long GOP) 8bit 4:2:0 at 100Mbps in 4K
XAVC-L (Long GOP) 10bit 4:2:2 at 50 Mbps in Full HD
MPEG HD422 8bit 4:2:2 at 50Mbps in Full HD
MPEG HD420 8bit 4:2:0 at 35Mbps in Full HD
AVCHD 8bit 4:2:0 at 28Mbps in Full HD
Dual SD card slots for Relay / Backup recording
3G-SDI and HDMI outputs
Built-in Wi-Fi with Sony QoS
0.39 type 1440K dots OLED electronic viewfinder
MI Shoe – for UWP-D11 wireless mics, or any other MI shoe accessory
Weight: 1.9kg Body Only / 2.2kg with NP-F770 battery; around 5 lbs.
Alvaro Ortiz from Sony Pro Europe has the low down on the new Sony PXW-Z150 camcorder in the video below:
The PXW-Z150 seems like an updated model to the PXW-X70 with a more robust body or better yet the replacement for the PXW-Z100 4K camcorder, which never really caught on as maybe Sony would have hoped. One major difference apart from the new stacked Exmor RS sensor in the Z150 is the fact that it uses SDXC cards instead of the more expensive XQD media the Z100 uses. Plus the Z150 feels like a more solid camera thanks to the 1080p/120fps continuous and the solid XAVC-L in FHD.
Also, the sensor in the Z150 is a new design (RS) and not the Exmor R from the PXW-X70 as some might have thought, even though they are the same size and megapixel count.
For some this camcorder may be the perfect tool for their workflow, for others who want a more flexible cinematic solution – not so much. There is no trace of S-log2 or Slog3 on the Z150 so you’d have to do with fiddling with Cinegammas. Still, this isn’t really a camera positioned to be in the same class as an FS7 or an FS5, but I do admit it would be really nice to have that extra option such as S-log2/3 for the minority of shooters that would use it.
Here’s some sample footage from the PXW-Z150:
The Sony PXW-Z150 is expected to ship in late March and cost around 3,400 Euro or $3,595 in the US.