Sony Debuts 4K Camcorder for Handheld Use
It’s no surprise that Sony’s focus at IBC will be on 4K, but there is one surprise in store for those who visit the stand: the new PXWFS7 4K XDCAM Super 35mm camcorder designed for long-form documentaries, reality TV and magazine shows, and even low-budget commercials and corporate videos.
“It’s truly optimized for longer, intimate handheld sessions as it is small and lightweight and even has a shoulder support and smart grip for control of the camera from the right hand,” says Juan Martinez, senior product manager, Sony Professional Solutions of America. “And record times can be up to two hours long.”
The PXWFS7 system stands on four technology pillars: the Sony alpha lens system, the XAVC-L codec, handheld-friendly ergonomics, and XQD cards. Measuring only 9.2 in. tall and 14.4 in. long (with lens), with the smart grip, it is a little more than 10 in. wide. Weight depends on the lens, but, without lens, it is a little more than 7 lb.
“The ergonomics are such that no rig is required,” says Martinez, noting that “it can be configured and used in many different ways.”
Other core technologies include the 4K Super 35mm EXMOR sensor, 16-bit A-to-D conversion; ISO of 2000 EI with 14 stops latitude; S-Gamut3.Cine color gamut; S-Log3 gamma; on-board 4K XAVC recording; and a magnesium frame. Limited lensing options have always been a challenge in 4K cameras, but the camera can use lenses with either E-mounts (natively) or A-mounts (with an adapter), giving it more than 50 lens options.
“We were able to shoot for many days with a 400mm lens without support,” says Martinez. “We have three alpha zoom lenses available, and that is expected to grow to five by the end of the year.” A 28-135G lens is expected to be available in December priced at $2,500.
Also helping with lens flexibility is a shallow flange that measures only 18mm vs. 44mm for Canon and Nikon cameras.
“With a small adapter, you can use any lens on this camera without optical conversion,” he explains, adding, “It can also capture all electronic metadata in real time and record it onto the digital payload.”
The XAVC-L codec, he says, is the most advanced version of the MPEG4 AVC/H.264 recording format, with 4:2:2 and 4:2:0 sampling at 10 or 8 bits. An intra-frame version is also available, delivering 4:4:4 and 4:2:2 performance at 12 or 10 bits. Recording is done on XQD cards with a sustained data rate of 180 Mbps and a price that is 75% less than that of CFast 2.0 cards.
A new G series of XQD card, meanwhile, will offer read speeds of up to 400 Mbps and write speeds of 350 Mbps.
“It allows simultaneous recording of material on both cards in the camera,” explains Martinez. “It can also record MPEG-2 to both cards, and cache recording is also supported.”
As for the smart grip, it allows operation and control of camera settings with one finger, including focus magnification, zoom, iris, and record start and stop.