Sony video camera xdcam. Sony PXW-X180 XDCAM Camcorder Review

Sony XDCAM: Still kicking after all these years!

It is the tail end of 2004 and every camera that is in current use records to some sort of tape system. Analogue Betacam is still in widespread use, the Canon XL1 and XM1 are the go-to low budget corporate industrial work horses and are often the indie no-budget cameras of choice. The DSR-500 is your ‘achievable’ dream camera. Digibeta is the gold standard, although if you were really lucky, you might have been able to use one of those newfangled HDCAM things. It is a time when debates raged as to whether high definition would take off in the mainstream and, if it did, would we really need any higher resolution than 720p?

It seems like the dark ages now, but that is how it was only just a smidgen over 15 years ago. It was at this time that Sony decided to release a new camera system into the world – one that would eventually go on to change the way we thought about footage acquisition. It didn’t really receive much fanfare at the time of its initial release. Unlike now, there was a dearth of camera gurus and tech websites that were really that bothered about the professional camera systems. For better or for worse, I helped change that and ended up playing my part in creating a monster, but that is another story.

The system in question was XDCAM Optical Disc and it helped catapult a revolution in the way we thought about and dealt with footage acquisition and editing.

Sony’s initial XDCAM lineup, camera wise, consisted of the PDW-510 and the PDW-530. The 510 was a sort of DSR-500 equivalent, while the 530 sat between that and the Digibeta line. Both cameras were standard definition, 16:9 affairs, and both used the same 2/3 chips, capable of both interlace and PsF (Progressive Segmented Frame) modes. The 510 recorded DVCAM 25Mb/s footage at 4:2:0 or 4:1:1 colour sampling depending on your region, while the 530 recorded up to 50Mb/s 8-bit footage with 4:2:2 colour sampling.

The PDW-510 XDCAM camcorder. Image: Sony.

XDCAM was a revolution of features

What made these cameras stand out from the crowd was that they recorded to nonlinear optical disc. You could delete clips (the source of more heated debate), record pre-recorded caches to ensure you didn’t miss surprise moments and add meta-data to help editors highlight particular parts of the footage. You could name clip filenames and group them into scenes. Even something as straightforward as easy timelapse to single frame accuracy was now possible – something that could not be done on a single frame basis very easily on tape based cameras.

Footage could now be transferred to the editing system faster than realtime, and lower resolution proxy files were created alongside the full resolution footage to allow the editing process to be sped up before being conformed. You could, for example, ingest the proxy files for faster transfer while the editing system continued to import the full resolution footage in the background. A few firmware updates later and you could even perform rudimentary assemble edits in camera.

You could show a client any clip from those you had recorded, too – a total revelation at the time. There were many other functions and, as a system, it would help change things forever. But it wasn’t without its critics. Just like the debate with high definition, there were many stalwarts who would only move to a tapeless recording system over their dead bodies! I recall once being told that I was an idiot (their words, not mine) for even thinking that a nonlinear tapeless recording system could ever begin to approach the reliability of tape.

The reason? The person in question only had his experience of writable DVD and CDs to go on and compare to the entirely different XDCAM Optical Disc system.

Yes, I got myself onto the cover of one of the XDCAM brochures.

Rival systems. The arrival of P2.

Panasonic brought out its P2 at the same time as XDCAM Optical, and debates raged as to whether discs or solid state were the way to go. When the systems were first released, Optical was by far the most practical. Footage could be stored longer and the discs were cheap enough that you could afford to bring a lot with you onto the shoot. Discs could also be handed over to clients, if you could find one who knew what to do with it! By contrast, P2 cards were very expensive. They couldn’t be handed over to clients and it was much more difficult to afford the costs of bringing a lot of them along. Indeed, many US news operations who used P2 cards at the time had to record at lower bitrates to conserve space, although P2 did offer much faster footage transfer speeds and other benefits.

What was truly great about XDCAM Optical was that Sony created a whole ecosystem – not just the cameras, but a whole workflow, from acquisition, through to footage transfer, logging, editing, and long term storage at the end of a project.

I owned a PDW-510, possibly one of the first in the UK, and aside from the solid state PMW-EX3 that I had much later, it was the best camera that I have ever owned. I was alone in a sea of tape users at the time, but I made it work because I rarely had to hand over footage to other companies or camera ops. Even when I had to work with news organisations on occasion, it was usually pretty simple to bung over the DV stream via the Firewire port, even if it did cause a few raised eyebrows. But that wasn’t my bread and butter, so it didn’t matter.

The PDW-500 series was superseded shortly afterwards in the latter half of 2006 by the PDW-300 series 1/2 XDCAM HD cameras, which are now much more widely known and people often think of when XDCAM disc cameras are mentioned. But it was the PDW-510 and PDW-530 that started it all off.

Is XDCAM a product of the past?

The XDCAM Optical Disc system, you would have thought, would now be a product of the past, but in fact it still has a lot of relevance. Sony not only still produces Optical Disc cameras in the form of the PDW-850, but a modified optical disc system is now a major part of Sony’s long term storage solution in the form of the write-once Optical Archive cartridges.

There are still many advantages to the base XDCAM disc system. Price is one aspect. A triple layer 100GB disc can be bought for £70, while a 50GB one can be purchased for around £28. While the read/write speeds cannot match those of solid state, they do offer alternative features. XDCAM discs are extremely well protected inside a hard plastic case and the surface of the discs themselves is incredible tough. They have extensive error protection systems, too. Data can often be retrieved from damaged discs by sending them off to Sony, something that cannot be said for solid state cards.

The PDW-850 XDCAM camcorder. Image: Sony.


In all the time I used the XDCAM Optical Disc camera system, I never once had a breakdown, truncated footage or recording error. It is an incredibly robust system. I also never had any issues thinking that I had pressed record, but in fact hadn’t. When that record button is pressed, XDCAM disc cameras give a good reassuring clunk that lets you know that recording has started! When a disc is full, it can be taken out and the details of what is on it written on a decent sized label. Fancy that!

In fact, when Jeremy Clarkson et al stopped Top Gear at the BBC, their main cameras were PDW-800’s for location recording, due to their extreme resilience and reliability. Andy Wilman is on record as saying that it was difficult to leave those cameras and their known reliability behind for the need to record 4K for the new Grand Tour series. In the many environments they found themselves in, the reliability of the system far outweighed considerations of outright filmic picture quality and it allowed for huge volumes of footage to be dealt with easily and efficiently.

The read/write speeds may be slow by current tapeless standards, but in comparison, I have had all sorts of recording errors and dropped frames since moving to non-proprietary solid state SD cards. The only way to minimise this is to use a proprietary system such as P2 or Sony’s XQD and SxS cards, which do, of course, have a significant price tag attached, as well as becoming useless if you move to a different system.

Time to go back to discs?

Would I go back to recording to optical disc now if I was given the chance? Umm, no. With the transfer speeds it was capable of 4K and above would be painfully slow working, and the speed of solid state really is fantastic. But solid state is still relatively pricey for the capacity and speed of card that we now require for both 4K and 8K recording. There is simply no solid state equivalent to the price/reliability ratio of XDCAM discs today despite their now quite glaring shortcomings.

There were many people who said that the XDCAM disc system would be finished within a couple of years, that the footage recorded on them wouldn’t last, and that it wasn’t as reliable as tape. But it is still here and it is still in use around the world; its reliability is very well proven. The original basis for it has now given us some sort of solution to long term footage storage, too.

But while XDCAM Optical Disc cameras were a lovely system, the system’s speed and in fact the size of the media, wouldn’t be accepted in wider circles today. It still has relevance for some purposes, but its days as a truly mainstream footage acquisition format are over. I only hope that at some point in the near future, thoroughly reliable solid state recording, with error protection will become as affordable as the XDCAM discs are.

Sony PXW-X180 XDCAM Camcorder Review

Video shooters and independent filmmakers are always on the lookout for the newest cameras with which to capture beautiful images — without emptying the bank account. In recent years, DSLRs and mirrorless cameras with interchangeable lenses and large sensors have been all the rage. However, all-in-one style camcorders remain a favorite for professional run-and-gun video shooters because of their versatility and ease of use.

Sony continues their long tradition of quality camcorders with the PXW-X180, a handheld solid-state memory camcorder and the latest addition to the XDCAM Series. The Sony PXW-X180 has many hardware upgrades and more recording options, plus added wireless functions that take advantage of the latest mobile technologies.

Chip Goodness

What really sets the PXW-X180 apart from most camcorders are the three ?-inch Full HD Exmor CMOS image sensors. It shoots beautiful Full HD (1920 × 1080) without any pixel interpolation thanks to two million effective pixels from each CMOS sensor.

Are three chips better than one? When comparing ?-inch size chips, absolutely. By recording primary colors of red, green, and blue to separate chips, the three-sensor design produces the highest quality and most precise color reproduction possible. Single chip cameras capture all three primary colors on one sensor, interpolating missing RGB color information and reducing the color accuracy. Three-chip cameras also have increased dynamic range due to larger individual photosites than a single-chip CMOS sensor of the same size.

What makes Sony’s Exmor CMOS image sensors special? Exmor is the name of a technology developed by Sony, combining the speed of a CMOS sensor with the advanced sensor technologies Sony has accumulated through years of developing CCD (charge-coupled device) image sensors. Exmor performs on-chip analog/digital signal conversion and two-step noise reduction, resulting in enhanced detail with lower noise.

The PXW-X180 doesn’t shoot 4K, but it’s not meant to play in that category. Instead, it’s a 1080p powerhouse. The three 2MP image sensors provide crisp, accurate images, and its many recording options enable a smooth workflow from recording to editing to distribution.

What really sets the PXW-X180 apart from most camcorders are the three 1/3-inch Full HD Exmor CMOS image sensors.

sony, video, camera, xdcam, pxw-x180

Action shooters will be delighted with the X180’s slow motion capabilities. It can record up to 60 frames per second at 1080p. It can also record 120 frames per second at 720p. To shoot the higher frame rate, the camera samples the center of the image sensor, resulting in a narrower field of view.

Behind the Lens

The PXW-X180 comes equipped with a G Series fixed zoom lens that delivers a crisp, clean image even at its highest magnifications. Focus, zoom and iris can be manually controlled with three independent control rings with end-stops. The switchable FOCUS ring allows you to either lock the FOCUS control to the indexed ring or let it to rotate freely by pushing or pulling the grip. As an added benefit, the FOCUS indicator can be displayed even when focusing manually.

Run-and-gun shooters will also appreciate the optical image stabilizer, which works by using a floating lens element to offset horizontal and vertical vibrations. Those needing additional image stabilization can use Active SteadyShot, which digitally stabilizes the shot in camera by punching in on the electronic image and shifting the pixels frame by frame.

The coolest feature of the Sony G Series lens is its amazing 25x Optical Zoom. Aided by the X180’s ?-inch sensor size, the 25x zoom lens goes from a 235mm (the 35mm sensor equivalent of a 26mm lens) for nice wide angles all the way to a 650mm equivalent for telephoto shots. Turn the zoom ring for quick manual adjustments, or use either the zoom lever or the handle zoom for smooth fine adjustments.

ENG shooters and live event videographers will appreciate the PXW-X180’s large depth of field, but indie filmmakers seeking the shallow FOCUS “film like” look aren’t out of luck. Experienced camera operators can easily obtain a shallow depth of field with a long lens settings and open aperture. To allow shooters to keep the aperture open even in bright situations, the PXW-X180 features a Neutral Density (ND) filter with four mechanical positions. But it doesn’t stop there.

The PXW-X180 is Sony’s first professional camcorder to feature a variable ND filter controlled with a simple dial operation. How variable? Choose anywhere from 1/4ND to 1/128ND… that’s 12 f-stops! We found this feature incredibly useful when shooting outside under changing light conditions.

A Brighter View

The PXW-X180 is equipped with a 3.5-type QHD LCD panel (960 x 540 xRGB, 16:9) that provides easy viewing in a wide range of lighting conditions. In addition, the 0.5-inch OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) viewfinder offers brightness, contrast and clarity in 1024 × 768 High Definition. The high resolution and dynamic range aid in precise manual focusing.

You can put the screens to work with the usual on-screen meters and scopes using Sony’s efficient button layout. Zebra patterns and FOCUS assist are accessible with the touch of dedicated buttons, and you can switch between the Vectorscope, Waveform or Histogram with a press of the video signal monitor button. The wide array of external control dials, switches, rings and buttons lets you see the image you’re adjusting rather than having to wade through on-screen menus. This is especially useful for quick adjustments in the field.

Get Connected

Although the PXW-X180 excels in field videography, it’s also at home in the studio. Its many connection options let you hook up a wide variety of production monitors, media recorders and more. Connection options include: 3G HD-SDI (BNC connector) HDMI, Type A USB 2.0, one mini-B and one type A (for Wireless LAN module) composite output (BNC connector) timecode input/output (BNC connector) genlock input (BNC connector)

In addition to all these cabled connection options, the PXW-X180 has many wireless capabilities. Functions such as zoom, FOCUS and record can be controlled remotely with the Lens Remote (LANC) interface. The included infrared Wireless Remote Commander provides basic recording and playback functionality, and you can get more control through the Wi-Fi/NFC controls.

A IFU-WLM3 dongle is supplied with the PXW-X180 and when attached, the camera can be controlled remotely through a Wi-Fi connection with a smartphone or tablet. You can also download proxy MPEG-4 files to your mobile device for shot playback or quick field edits.

A Wi-Fi connection requires you to type in 12-digit IP addresses and a password, but fortunately NFC (near-field communication) capabilities allow easy one-touch setup of a compatible smartphone or tablet. Version 2.0 firmware update for the PXW-X180 now allows wireless streaming of content live from the field through a wireless network such as 3G, 4G, LTE and Wi-Fi.

A laptop or a Teradek can function as the receiver necessary for the streaming function, and using the Content Browser Mobile app, a smartphone or tablet can be used as a camera remote control to operate start/stop, zoom, FOCUS and iris and also review clips. The Content Browser Mobile app can be downloaded from the App Store or Google Play. Mobile devices need to be iOS 4.3 to 7.0 or Android 2.3 to 4.3 in order to use the app.

News gatherers and metadata junkies will be happy to know that GPS data is recorded in two file locations automatically.

On-camera audio is what you’d expect from a high end camcorder, but the PXW-X180 is equipped with two XLR inputs. On top of the camera, you’ll also find the Multi Interface Shoe (Mi Shoe), which allows you to connect a Sony wireless microphone or top light without having to use cables. When compatible accessories are attached to the shoe, they can be controlled via the camera.

Memory Card Options

The PXW-X180 features two SxS memory card slots that can record in either Simul or Relay mode. Simul mode permits simultaneous recording to two memory cards, providing immediate file backup. Those who shoot for extended periods of time will appreciate the Relay mode, which automatically switches recording from the first card to the second when the first is full.

The SxS card slots are compatible with SxS PRO and SxS-1 memory cards, which feature tremendous speeds but are pricier than other media. With the appropriate adapters, you can also use XQD Memory Card S Series, Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo™ Media, or SD/SDHC Memory Cards (SD Card Class 10 or higher recommended.)

A separate SD card slot is available for the purpose of recording proxy video. The PXW-X180 records H.264 proxies on the SD card in the MP4 format for wide compatibility with broadcast systems and online sharing. The bitrate and resolution can also be changed to optimize your workflow and to speed up content sharing over low bandwidth mobile networks. Proxy video is recorded separate from main line recording.

Recording Options Galore

Sony offers a plethora of recording options on the PXW-X180 to fit your workflow. These include the XAVC codec for high quality work, plus many MPEG and AVCHD options all the way down to standard definition DV.

The PXW-X180 offers two flavors of XAVC technology. XAVC-I uses intraframe compression, which means that each frame is encoded independent of other frames. With 10-bit 4:2:2 color sampling and Intra-frame compression at up to 112 Mbps, this codec provides superior image quality at the price of larger file sizes. XAVC-L (Long GOP) files are much smaller in size because they use a lower bit rate compared to Intra technology.

The PXW-X180 also creates MPEG HD 422 (50 Mbps) and MPEG HD 420 (35 Mbps) in MTS file format for those seeking backward compatibility with other camcorders, production houses and broadcasters. Lastly, it can record DVCAM at 25 Mbps in MXF file format for those still stuck in the world of standard definition.

Hands On Testing

We tested the PXW-X180 inside and out, recording to a 64GB XQD memory card while proxy recording to an SD card. Wi-Fi controls were tested with a Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone operating Android 4.2.2. All features performed as advertised, and operating the PXW-X180 was a breeze thanks to the camera’s user friendly layout.

The 25x Zoom and variable ND filter allowed for quick on-the-fly adjustments under a variety of lighting conditions. Autumn colors were reproduced beautifully. There was very little image noise until we tried shooting in low light conditions with 9dB gain. Overall, the image quality is much higher than what we expected from a fixed lens camcorder.

Weighing over seven pounds with lens hood and accessories, the PXW-X180 is on the heavy side for a handheld cam. But that extra weight was worth it when you consider all the packed in features normally only found on much larger production cameras.

sony, video, camera, xdcam, pxw-x180


The Sony PXW-X180 is a superior professional camcorder for run-and-gun shooters. Its versatile all-in-one package provides beautiful images and a multitude of recording options to fit your workflow.

Sony Corporation www.Sony.com5,000

Tech Specs

Image Sensors:3 x ?-inch type Exmor CMOSFile Formats: XAVC/MPEG2/AVCHD/DVCAMFrame Rates: 1920x1080p: Frame rate selectable 1 to 60p (depends on Recording Format)1280×720: 1 to 120p (depends on Recording Format)Recording Media: 2 x ExpressCard/34; supports SxS PRO and SxS-1 memory cards (for XAVC/MPEG2/AVCHD/DV)1 x SD/SDHC/SDXC (for Proxy)1 x SD/SDHC/SDXC (for Utility)Shutter Speed: 1/32 to 1/2000 secSensitivity: ISO 200-409600 equivalentViewfinder: 0.5-inch (1.27 cm) color OLED, 2.36 million dotsLCD Monitor: 3.5-inch (8.89 cm) color LCD, Aspect ratio: 16:9, 1.56 million dotsHDMI Output: 1 x HDMI, Type ASDI Output: 1 x 3G-SDI, BNC connectorComposite Output / GENLOCK-IN: 1 x BNC connectorUSB Terminals: 1 x USB 2.0, mini-B1 x type A (for Wireless LAN module)Audio Inputs: 2 x XLR 3-pin, femaleAudio formats: LPCM, AC-3 (AVCHD): 2 channelLPCM (XAVC/MPEG2/AVCHD/DVCAM), Dolby Digital (AVCHD): 2 channelPower Requirements: 19.5 VDC (AC Adaptor), 14.4 VDC (Lithium Ion battery pack)


Joshua A. Siegel is a filmmaker and visual effects artist.

AVMATRIX Portable 6-Ch SDI/HDMI Multi-Format Streaming Switcher with 13.3″ Display


The PXW-Z150 4K XDCAM Camcorder from Sony brings high-quality performance, adaptability, and ease of use to a compact, handheld body that is the same size as the HXR-NX100. Suitable for corporate video, house of worship, and legal deposition recording. The camcorder features a single Exmor RS sensor with a UHD 4K (3840 x 2160) resolution, Sony G lens with 12x optical zoom range, and 18/24x Clear Image Zoom in 4K/HD. It can record 4K in XAVC Long at 4:2:0 8-bit, and HD in XAVC Long at 4:2:2 10-bit, as well as MPEG2HD at 4:2:2 or 4:2:0 in 8-bit only. The integrated zoom lens features individual lens control rings for FOCUS, iris, and zoom, and produces smooth-rounded-out-of-FOCUS highlights. The lens can be used in either full-auto mode with servo control, or as a completely manually operated lens.

Breakthrough imaging performance

The Z150 is the world’s first professional camcorder to feature a 1.0 type stacked CMOS image sensor. This breakthrough in sensor integration delivers a 2x increase in read-out speed compared to a conventional 1.0 sensor for stunning 120fps slow motion in Full HD and spectacular 4K recording. Full pixel read-out helps realise the full potential of the big 1.0 type sensor – there’s no need for pixel binning or line skipping which can result in moiré effects.

The large 1.0 type sensor is also brighter, has higher resolution and offers more bokeh with a shallow depth of field, allowing you to create beautiful, cinematic images that will inspire you and delight your clients.

Stunning 4K HDR image capture

The Z150 offers a step-change in image capture in its class with 4K QFHD (3840×2160) using the advanced XAVC Long GOP 100Mbps codec for truly broadcast quality 4K performance. 4K High Dynamic Range (HDR) content is also supported with Hybrid Log-Gamma (HLG) file-based workflow for truly stunning imagery with a wide colour gamut and colour range.

To maximise the quality of your images, the Z150 has a stunning optical 12x zoom lens that offers high resolution and contrast across the entirety of the image. Sony’s advanced Clear Image Zoom feature doubles magnification to 18x when shooting in 4K QFHD and 24x in HD, to fully exploit the imaging capabilities of the Z150’s large 1.0 type stacked sensor.

No compromises pro functionality

The Z150 transforms expectations of what’s possible with a handy camcorder so you can be confident using it for almost any application. This includes up to 120 frames per second (fps) High Frame Rate continuous recording in Full HD quality, delivering beautiful 5x slow motion. Stunning 4K picture performance is supported with 4K XAVC Long GOP at 100Mbps, while integration with established broadcast workflows is simplified with Full HD recording in XAVC Long GOP (4:2:2/10bit 50Mbps) and MPEG-2 HD (50Mbps/35Mbps). You can even use AVCHD to further expand workflow flexibility. However you want to shoot, the Z150 delivers.

The perfect handy camcorder

The Z150 isn’t simply a compact, lightweight design – it also integrates advanced features to reduce the need for bulky accessories that slow you down. A built-in four position ND filter means no need to carry a box of filters, Mi Shoe eliminates cabling when fitting a microphone or even light. Advanced networking capabilities include built-in Wi-Fi for live streaming and FTP wireless connection, greatly increasing your mobility, while the camcorder can also be easily controlled by a smartphone or tablet using Wi-Fi remote. Every last detail has been thought of – including power efficiency to deliver a remarkable 400 minutes continuous recording time.

Revolutionary imaging performance with Exmor RS

To deliver imaging performance previously impossible for a compact camcorder, Sony has developed the world’s first 1.0 type stacked CMOS image sensor for professional video applications. A 2x increase in read-out speed, compared to a conventional 1.0 type sensor, enables beautiful 5x slow motion image capture up to 120fps in Full HD and high resolution 4K recording with full pixel readout without binning.

The Z150’s single 20 megapixel 1.0 type large size sensor gives you low noise and less blur because more light reaches the sensor, offering clear and steady pictures even in a dark scene with minimum illumination 1.7 lux. The large sensor size also enables beautiful background defocusing (bokeh) to enable you to FOCUS on what you want to show and defocus the rest of the image.

Instant HDR workflows

Shoot, edit and view HDR content in HLG without the need for additional colour grading.

As the expanding need for HDR content continues, internet video platforms and professionals producing corporate or event content are paying more attention to the added value of HDR. They need to deliver content quickly, without compromising on imaging expression and quality of content. To meet this demand, the PXW-Z150 offers Hybrid Log-Gamma (HLG) recording for easy file-based workflows, whilst achieving the image quality of HDR. This simple workflow enables the shooting, editing and viewing of HDR content in HLG, without devoting a lot of time to post-production work and additional colour grading.

Flexible 4K and Full HD recordings

The Z150 is designed to provide true broadcast quality performance for both 4K and Full HD productions, recording with the advanced XAVC Long GOP 100Mbps codec for brilliant 4K QFHD imagery and flexible workflows. XAVC Long’s higher bit rate produces outstanding images with more details and less noise to create the number one 4K picture quality in its class. For even more flexibility in workflows, the Z150 is switchable between PAL and NTSC operation.

120fps continuous slow motion

High frame rate shots can turn everyday actions into slow motion ballet and the Z150 delivers up to 120 frames per second (fps) in Full HD, giving you a maximum of 5 times slow motion expression. There’s no sacrifice in bit depth and no ‘windowing’ of the sensor. So there’s no crop factor, no loss in angle of view.

Sony G lens with maximum 24x zoom

A high quality 29-348mm wide-angle lens with 12x optical zoom makes it easy to capture even the most expansive landscape scenes while also offering superb clarity and sharpness – maximising the performance of the Z150’s large 1.0 type sensor and providing high resolution and contrast from the centre to the edge of your image.

Getting close into even the most distant scenes is further enhanced by Sony’s advanced Clear Image Zoom feature. Once you’ve zoomed in at maximum 12x optical magnification, By Pixel Super Resolution Technology can enlarge the image to 18x in 4K QFHD or 24x in HD, while still preserving image quality.

Networked for high mobility

The Z150 has advanced networking capabilities that give you more mobility in your work – FTP files directly from the camcorder or live stream from any event using built-in Wi-Fi features with no accessories required. Sony’s unique QoS technology dramatically improves the clarity that’s possible on a wireless connection, giving you better pictures even with the limitations of today’s real-world networks. You can also remotely control the PXW-Z150 with a smartphone or tablet, including the ability to adjust settings such as FOCUS, zoom, iris, white balance, REC START/STOP and more using Sony’s Content Browser Mobile software.

High resolution monitoring

The Z150 gives you precise monitoring and low latency, however you choose to shoot, with its advanced, wide viewing-angle and high contrast 0.39 type 1440K dots OLED electronic viewfinder (EVF) with large eye-cap, and an easily adjustable, flip-out 3.5 type 1550K dots LCD panel.

Compact and lightweight body

The Z150 is ergonomically designed to provide a lightweight and easy-to-use shooting experience. Three manual, independent lens rings enable smooth, natural adjustment of focusing, zooming and iris control. The camcorder can also be used in full-auto mode or completely manual for maximum creative control.

Dual media slots for recording flexibility

To extend recording times and workflow flexibility, the Z150 is equipped with two memory card slots and is compatible with SDXC and SDHC cards.

RELAY mode automatically switches recording from the first to the second memory card when the first is full, while SIMUL mode permits simultaneous recording to two memory cards (for example to create an immediate back-up version).

Multi-Interface (Mi) Shoe

The Z150 takes advantage of Sony’s flexible Multi-Interface (Mi) Shoe, which provides power, signal connections and coordinated on/off switching to compatible Sony accessories. For example, you can connect and control Sony wireless microphone systems such as the UWP-D11 or UWP-D12 or attach the HVL-LBPC light.

Wide choice of connections including 3G-SDI

There’s no need to worry about adapters as the Z150 provides a wide variety of built-in connectivity options including 3G-SDI, HDMI, Multi/Micro USB, professional audio XLR terminals, REMOTE and Composite (RCA). A supplied Sony cold shoe adaptor kit provides you with more flexibility for mounting accessories.

Simple live solution

The PXW-Z150 is designed to work seamlessly with Sony’s MCX-500 Multi Camera Live Producer, a robust and cost-effective switcher that makes it easy for one person to run a multi-camera live event shoot. When used with the MCX-500 and Remote Commander RM-30BP, a Tally indicator will automatically appear on each PXW-Z150’s LCD panel and viewfinder – a red icon indicates when the shot is live (PGM) while Green indicates preview mode (PVW). The MCX-500 supports up to nine video inputs, five channel stereo inputs including XLR with both internal recording and live streaming.

Additional information

24p: 1/6 – 1/10,00050i: 1/6.1/10,00060i: 1/8 – 1/10,000

AVCHD 60i: 1,2,4,8,15,30,60 fps 50i: 1,2,3,6,12,25,50 fpsXAVC Long – HD Only 60i: 1,2,4,8,15,30,60 fps 50i: 1,2,3,6,12,25,50 fpsMPEG HD 60i: 1,2,4,8,15,30 fps 50i: 1,2,3,6,12,25 fps

AAuto selectableBColor temperature set range: 2300-15000KIndoor: 3200KOutdoor: 5600K±7 steps

Effective: 14.2 MP (approximately)Total: 20 MP (approximately)

Clear Image Zoom: 18x (4K) / 24x (HD)Digital Zoom: 48X (HD)Optical: 12x (optical)

ON/OFF selectable, shift lens

f/2.8 to f/4.5, auto/manual selectable

1 x 2.5 mm stereo mini jack

0.39″-type / 1.0 cm (approx. 1.44 M dots)

3.5″ / 8.8 cm (approx. 1.56 M dots)

MPEG 4:2:0: Linear PCM 2ch, 16-bit, 48 kHz AVCHD: Linear PCM 2ch, 16-bit, 48 kHz / Dolby Digital 2ch, 16-bit, 48 kHzMPEG HD 4:2:2: Linear PCM 2ch, 24-bit, 48 kHzXAVC Long: Linear PCM 2ch, 24-bit, 48 kHz

1280 x 720 AVCHD MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 AVCHD 2.0 at 24/17/9 Mb/s1280 x 720 MPEG HD 4:2:0 8-bit at 35 Mb/s1280 x 720 MPEG HD 4:2:2 8-bit at 50 Mb/s1280 x 720 XAVC Long/MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 at 50/35/25 Mb/s1440 x 1080 MPEG HD 4:2:0 at 35Mb/s1920 x 1080 XAVC Long/MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 8-bit at 100/60 Mb/s3840 x 2160 AVCHD MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 AVCHD 2.0 28/24/17Mb/s3840 x 2160 MPEG HD 4:2:0 8-bit at 35Mb/s3840 x 2160 MPEG HD 4:2:2 8-bit at 50Mb/s3840 x 2160 XAVC Long/MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 8-bit at 100/60 Mb/s3840 x 2160 XAVC Long/MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 at 50/35/25Mb/s

1440 x 1080i MPEG HD 4:2:0: 59.94/501920 x 1080i XAVC Long/MPEG-4 AVC/H.264: 59.94/501920 x 1080p AVCHD MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 AVCHD 2.0: 59.94/50/29.97/25/23.981920 x 1080p MPEG HD 4:2:0: 29.97/25/23.981920 x 1080p MPEG HD 4:2:2: 29.97/25/23.981920 x 1080p XAVC Long/MPEG-4 AVC/H.264: 59.94/50/29.97/25/23.983840 x 2160p XAVC Long/MPEG-4 AVC/H.264: 29.97/25/23.98720 x 1280p AVCHD MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 AVCHD 2.0: 59.94/50720 x 1280p MPEG HD 4:2:0: 59.94/50720 x 1280p MPEG HD 4:2:2: 59.94/50720 x 1280p XAVC Long/MPEG-4 AVC/H.264: 59.94/50

64GB 3840 x 2160 AVCHD MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 AVCHD 2.0 at 17 Mb/s: Approx 450 min64GB 3840 x 2160 AVCHD MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 AVCHD 2.0 at 24 Mb/s: Approx 340 min64GB 3840 x 2160 AVCHD MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 AVCHD 2.0 at 28Mb/s: Approx 290 min64GB 3840 x 2160 MPEG HD 4:2:0 at 35Mb/s: Approx. 170 min64GB 3840 x 2160 MPEG HD 4:2:2 at 50Mb/s: Approx. 170 min64GB 3840 x 2160 XAVC Long/MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 at 100 Mb/s: Approx. 65 min64GB 3840 x 2160 XAVC Long/MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 at 25Mb/s: Approx. 220 min64GB 3840 x 2160 XAVC Long/MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 at 35Mb/s: Approx. 170 min64GB 3840 x 2160 XAVC Long/MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 at 50Mb/s: Approx. 120 min64GB 3840 x 2160 XAVC Long/MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 at 60 Mb/s: Approx. 100 min1920 x 1080720 x 1280p AVCHD MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 AVCHD 2.0 at 9 Mb/s: Approx 750 min

Omni-directional stereo electret condenser microphone

1 x 3.5 mm stereo mini jack

NFC Forum Type 3 Tag compliant

Sony PXW-Z90 4K HDR XDCAM with Fast Hybrid AF

The Sony PXW-Z90V 4K HDR XDCAM camcorder offers phase-detection autofocus (AF) and HDR capabilities in a compact, palm-style body. Suitable for corporate events, broadcast news, and television production, the PXW-Z90V camcorder features a stacked 1″ Exmor RS CMOS sensor with UHD 4K (3840 x 2160) resolution, a 12x Zeiss optical zoom, an OLED viewfinder, and 3.5″ touchscreen LCD monitor. It can record 4K in XAVC Long at 4:2:0, HD in XAVC Long at 4:2:2 10-bit, as well as MPEG HD at 4:2:2 (requires optional license key). S-Log3/S-Gamut3 functions offer users additional image control. Additional features include built-in 2.4/5 GHz for multiple streaming via RTMP/RTMPS protocols and FTP options.

The PXW-Z90V’s Fast Hybrid AF uses high-density placement of autofocus points and a newly developed AF algorithm to offer highly accurate focusing and tracking—a boon when shooting UHD 4K, especially for individual operators. In movie recording mode, use the appearance of phase-detection AF frames to monitor your subject’s FOCUS. The PXW-Z90V’s 3.5″ touchscreen is used to quickly switch FOCUS among subjects. AF Drive Speed, Tracking Depth Range, and Subject Switching Sensitivity can each be configured to suit different subjects and content styles.

Hybrid Log-Gamma (HLG) enables you to future-proof your output by smoothly integrating your 4K recordings into an HDR workflow without the need for color grading during post-production. Capture images with high-quality contrast and resolution using the PXW-Z90V’s 12x optical Zeiss zoom, and 18x 4K digital zoom (24x in HD). An integrated ND filter function enables greater exposure and depth-of-field control.

The PXW-Z90V camera supports Sony’s Slow and Quick Motion for shooting HD video at variable frame rates, including 120 fps. Recording to a variety of formats, frame rates, and codecs, the camcorder supports 100 Mb/s XAVC Long recording of 4K UHD video at up to 29.97p, and 50 Mb/s capture of HD up to 59.94p. Footage is recorded to two SD memory card slots, either simultaneously to both cards or in relay mode to create a backup. The PXW-Z90V’s 3G-SDI output offers integration with professional studio environments.

The PXW-Z90V provides external microphone support via two 3-pin XLR audio inputs (line, mic, mic 48V phantom) and a 3.5mm mini input. You can also use the PXW-Z90V’s built-in microphone to record audio when shooting. For multicamera productions, the PXW-Z90V integrates seamlessly with Sony’s MCX-500 live switcher (available separately).

Live Streaming

The camera supports RTMP/RTMPS live streaming protocols. This is included with the camera and as a free upgrade if your camera does not have this functionality. You can stream directly from the camera using Wi-Fi or via Ethernet with optional converters such as the Sony VMC-UAM2 or CBK-NA1. No computer is required for streaming.


The camera is compatible with Sony’s XDCAM air, so you can upload proxy footage to the Cloud, and editors can start working with your footage remotely. You can even control the camera from your smartphone or tablet using Sony’s free Content Browser Mobile app.

sony, video, camera, xdcam, pxw-x180

Zeiss T Lens with 12x Optical Zoom

The PXW-Z90V’s fixed 12x optical wide-angle zoom with 18x Clear Image Zoom technology in UHD 4K (24x in HD).

Frame Rate Flexibility

Record up to UHD 4K video (3840 x 2160p) at 29.97, 25, and 23.98 fps, in XAVC Long in a choice of 100 Mb/s or 60 Mb/s, or HD at frame rates up to 59.94p.

Slow Quick Recording

Uses Sony’s Slow Quick Motion for recording 1080p/i60 HD video at 1, 2, 4, 8, 15, 30, 60, and 120 fps.

Multiple-Codec Choice

Record in XAVC Long (UHD 4K), MPEG-4 HD at 4:2:0, XAVC Long (HD) 4:2:2, HD 2.0, or XVAC Proxy at 4:2:0, at a variety of data rates (license key required for some codecs).

Built-In ND Filters

The PXW-Z90V incorporates an ND filter function with Clear, 1/4ND, 1/16ND, and 1/64ND for optimal exposure and depth-of-field control.

sony, video, camera, xdcam, pxw-x180

″ Exmor RS CMOS Sensor

1.0″-type Exmor RS CMOS sensor with approximately 14.2 million effective pixels provides optimal image quality.