September 13, 2021 - by BROADCASTER

Sony Launches Professional PXW-Z100 4K Handheld XDCAM Camcorder

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Sony today announced the PXW-Z100, a professional 4K handheld XDCAM camcorder featuring a 1/2.3" Exmor R CMOS sensor. The camcorder is ideal for creating stunning 4K content (4096x2160) at 50fps or 60fps. The camcorder marks Sony’s latest step in expanding the 4K world to everyone, from high-end cinema to entry level productions.

The PXW-Z100, together with the fixed 4K-compatible high-performance G Lens, weighs less than 3kg. It uses the XAVC recording format first used in the PMW-F55 CineAlta camera. As with the F55, 4K (4096 x 2160, 50fps or 60fps, 4:2:2, Intra-frame, 10-bit recording in MXF file format) is possible at a high-bit rate of 500Mbps or 600Mbps. QFHD (3840x2160) and HD (1920x1080) resolutions can also be selected, both of which are compatible with most 4K TV’s.

Since the PXW-Z100 is based on the same shooting principles as a conventional handheld professional camcorder, it is possible to record 4K content with minimal crew. In addition, during editing, downscaling from 4K to HD provides new possibilities for HD content production. "This incredible new camcorder is capable of capturing stunning 4K content, making 4K acquisition accessible to a wider range of professional users than ever before" said Francois Gauthier, Marketing Manager, Acquisition Products, Professional Solutions Group, Sony of Canada "Corporate and Event camera operators can deliver 4K today for distribution via a growing number of platforms including video wall and large projection applications, and will be able to take advantage of the greater flexibility in post production that 4K acquisition offers when delivering in HD".

The PXW-Z100 will be available from November.

Sony has also announced the new FDR-AX1 Handycam at IFA 2021. The FDR-AX1 has a similar spec to the PXW-Z100 but is only capable of QFHD (3840 x 2160) recording in the XAVC S format. The FDR-AX1 uses 4:2:0, Long GOP and MP4 file format.

Key features

1. 4K (4096x2160) 50fps or 60fps shooting

The camcorder provides high sensitivity due to the back-illuminated Exmor R CMOS sensor even in 4K shooting. With 8.8 million effective pixels, the 1/2.3" sensor captures 4K images at 50fps or 60fps. The inbuilt high-performance G Lens offers maximum shooting flexibility, including a wide angle of 30mm in

4096x2160 mode or 31.5mm in 3840x2160 and 1920x1080 modes and 20x powerful optical zoom (equivalent to 35mm).

2. XAVC recording format at 4K 50fps/60fps, 4:2:2 10-bit at 500/600Mbps, HD at up to 223Mbps

The PXW-Z100 uses Sony’s XAVC recording format first employed in the PMW-F55 CineAlta 4K camera. MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 compression is used for HD (1920x1080), QFHD (3840x2021) and 4K (4096×2160) content. Image sampling is 4:2:2 10-bit, with an intra-frame system that compresses each frame individually at a maximum bit rate of 500Mbps or 600Mbps during 4K 50fps or 60fps recording respectively and 223Mbps during HD 50fps or 60fps recording. The XAVC format is ideal for those looking to implement a high-quality, secure and worry-free workflow.

A free firmware update is planned for the middle of 2021 to support the LongGOP mode for extended 4K recording time and to add support for AVCHD recording, a format that until now has been compatible with the playback environment of Blu-ray Discs.

3. XQD Memory Card recording

The XQD Memory Card is a new standard of solid state memory, which was recently defined by several industry leading companies. XQD uses the ultra-fast PCI Express interface and Sony’s unique camera processor to enable stable video recording at 500Mbps or 600Mbps. The PXW-Z100 features two XQD Memory Card slots. Multiple cards can be used in various ways, such as for relay recording. When the first card becomes full, recording continues on the second card without a break.

* The use of new S Series XQD cards (180MB/s transfer speed supported QD-S32E, QD-S64E) is recommended.

4. HDMI interface for 4K output and 3G HD-SDI interface for HD output

The HDMI interface on the PXW-Z100 can output 4K as a 50fps/60fps signal. When the PXW-Z100 is connected to a Sony 4K-compatible BRAVIA TV, the recorded 4K image can be displayed in 4K 50fps/60fps quality. A future firmware upgrade is planned to provide compatibility with the latest HDMI standard (so called HDMI 2.0) and enable 4K 50fps/60fps output to a wider range of devices. Other features include a 3G HD-SDI interface that supports output to an SDI of up to HD 60fps. It also supports HD output during 4K recording.

*It cannot simultaneously output 4K (HDMI) and HD (3G HDSDI)

5. Paint function for more creative freedom

The PXW-Z100’s paint function enables multiple image parameters to be adjusted including gamma curve, black level, skin detail and colour. Together with other parameter settings, a custom look can be recorded as a camera profile onto a memory card. The recorded camera profile can then be used to transfer parameters in another PXW-Z100 to enable the matching of quality and image tones when using a multi-camera setup.

6. Remote control with WiFi

Focus, zoom, aperture settings and ‘record start/stop’ can be remote controlled using the browser function of a smartphone or tablet.


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