Sony announces its first camcorders to feature phase-detect autofocus
posted Friday, September 15, 2017 at 11:00 AM EDT
Sony’s newest camcorders are its first to feature phase detection autofocus, and each also boast 1-inch sensors and 4K capture. The XDCAM PXW-Z90, the NXCAM HXR-NX80 and the Handycam FDR-AX700 are Sony's first camcorders to use a "Fast Hybrid AF" system which they say "ensures highly accurate focusing and tracking." The sensors in all three cameras feature 273 phase-detection AF points that cover approximately 84% of the shooting area, high-density placement of autofocus points and a newly developed AF algorithm. In movie recording mode, the appearance of phase-detection AF frames indicates the focused area and easily allows you to monitor a subject that is in focus.
Each camcorder combines fast and reliable AF adapted for video shooting with a 1.0-type stacked Exmor RS CMOS image sensor. The new camcorders support 4K HDR recording with Hybrid Log-Gamma (HLG) offering an Instant HDR workflow to produce high-quality HDR content smoothly. The Instant HDR Workflow enables simple shooting, editing and viewing of HDR content in HLG, without the need for color grading during post production.
The new camcorders feature a high-resolution OLED viewfinder (0.39-type OLED, 2,359k dots) and advanced touch screen operation, on the 3.5-type large LCD screen (1,555k dots), to allow you to quickly switch focus from one subject to another, while the AF Drive Speed, Tracking Depth Range and Subject Switching Sensitivity can all be configured as required for different subjects and content styles.
The PXW-Z90, HXR-NX80 and FDR-AX700 camcorders all work seamlessly with Sony’s MCX-500 live producer, a compact, cost-effective switcher that makes it easy for one operator to run a multi-camera live event. With the switcher and Sony’s RM-30BP controller, a Tally icon appears on each camera’s LCD panel and viewfinder. A red icon indicates when the shot is live (PGM) while Green indicates preview mode (NEXT).
The MCX-500 supports mixing between eight video sources, four stereo embedded audio channels plus two XLR Inputs, and a dedicated Title Input, up to nine video inputs, and five stereo inputs including XLR. Internal recording and live streaming is also possible via Ustream, Facebook Live and YouTube Live.
You can also synchronize timecode among multiple camcorders using Sony’s free Content Browser Mobile 3.0 app with optional CBKZ-WTCL upgrade and devices running iOS (9.0 – 10.3) or Android (4.4 – 7.1) operating systems.
A quick breakdown of key features includes:
- 4K full-pixel readout without pixel binning using an enhanced BIONZ X™ image processing engine
- Super Slow Motion recording up to 960fps, which is industry leading among palm categories and Slow & Quick Motion Full HD recording up to 120fps.
- S-Log3/S-Gamut3 capabilities for you to create and work with images as they desire.
- 29mm wide-angle ZEISS Vario-Sonnar T* 12x optical zoom lens and 18x Clear Image Zoom
- Less image distortion (rolling shutter phenomenon), in comparison to conventional models, when shooting moving subjects in motion
Workflow efficiency benefits such as proxy recording, relay recording and simultaneous backup recording are also delivered thanks to the new camcorders’ dual memory card slots and multi-camera operation capabilities supported by TC (time code)/UB (user bit). The new camcorders also have REMOTE terminals, Multi-Interface Shoe, and HDMI Type A for enhanced operability. They also feature dual XLR audio inputs, a detachable handle, and access to Content Browser Mobile a supporting smartphone application to enable Wi-Fi monitoring, remote control and wireless timecode sync among multiple cameras.
The PXW-Z90 also includes several features to suit broadcast-specific production requirements: XAVC L format recording, which provides high-quality images at 4:2:2 10 bit (HD) and 4:2:0 8 bit (QFHD) in addition to conventional broadcasting MPEG2HD format recording; 3G SDI connectivity for compatibility with existing broadcasting equipment; and networking functions to support news reporting, such as compatibility with XDCAM air, Sony’s cloud-based ENG subscription service. The HXR-NX80 and FDR-AX700 adopt XAVC S, an extended format of XAVC for consumer use.
Sony plans to launch the FDR-AX700 in October 2017, $1,899 USD, and the HXR-NX80 and PXW-Z90V in December 2017 for $2,299 USD and $2,799 USD respectively.