PXW-Z150 first impressions at DVinfo.net

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Sony 4K Ultra HD Handhelds
Pro and consumer versions including PXW-Z150, PXW-Z100, PXW-X70 / FDR-AX100


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Old April 20th, 2016, 05:04 PM   #1
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PXW-Z150 first impressions

It weighs twice as much as my X70. It is a tad front heavy when not using the F970 batteries, and it should be noted this camera is fine with aftermarket non chipped batteries. The focus mechanism is not like the X70, you can actually rack focus when zoomed in. Low light performance and sensitivity is identical to the X70, but with a slight reduction in apparent noise at each gain setting. Green/yellow color cast is not visible on the LCD, which I hope means they fixed the weird "off" green cast that has plagued my X70. Color correction values for the X70 seem to be compatible with the Z150, assuming you are not trying to transfer over any alterations that were meant to fix the green cast, which seems to be gone. Otherwise, everything is identical to the X70 if you judge it by the LCD and menu structure.

There is a menu item for "wide conversion lens". I don't know what that does, but it gives me hope there will be an OEM bayonet wide converter for this camera sometime in the near future....which for Sony means within 2 years.

Camera is going into service tonight, so I will begin posting clips and on air links shot in 1080p60 overnight.

Paul
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Old April 20th, 2016, 05:42 PM   #2
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Re: PXW-Z150 first impressions

The manual says that the wide conversion setting is for "compatible lenses only", "sold separately". Since Sony doesn't provide electronic lens compatibility with non Sony lenses, we can expect a Sony converter option I presume. :-)

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Old April 20th, 2016, 07:14 PM   #3
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Re: PXW-Z150 first impressions

A few more notes......

The lens is NOT f2.8-4.5 as listed by Sony. At full zoom, the camera is showing f4.0, just as on the X70.

Also, live streaming is available in XAVC, XDCAM, and AVCHD codecs. The X70 could not live stream while set to AVCHD.

ALL custom assignable buttons cease to function when you are in live streaming mode, you cannot access menu either, just like the X70. PITA that I cannot switch Steadyshot on and off if I am live streaming.

Paul
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Old April 20th, 2016, 10:14 PM   #4
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Re: PXW-Z150 first impressions

Ran into the first firmware "glitch". When AGC limit is set to OFF, it in actuality sets the AGC limit to 27db instead of allowing full 33db. This glitch also exists in the v2.0 firmware of the X70, but ONLY when in 4K mode. Obviously, someone copied and pasted this when writing the Z10 firmware. Would be nice if Sony addressed this in the v3.0 X70 firmware as well as the next Z150 firmware updates.

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Old April 21st, 2016, 07:12 AM   #5
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Re: PXW-Z150 first impressions

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Originally Posted by Paul Anderegg View Post
The manual says that the wide conversion setting is for "compatible lenses only", "sold separately". Since Sony doesn't provide electronic lens compatibility with non Sony lenses, we can expect a Sony converter option I presume. :-)

Paul
Might be something like what is on the Canon XF300/305, which has a similar menu item. They came out with the WA-H82 wide-angle adapter that screws onto the fixed lens. Setting the Wide Attach. Lens option to ON in the menu does two things; it limits you to normal AF (no instant AF) and it adjusts the image stabilization to suit the wide attachment.

Canon WA-H82 0.8x Wide Attachment Lens 4591B001 B&H Photo Video


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Old April 21st, 2016, 07:45 AM   #6
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Re: PXW-Z150 first impressions

The lack of bayonet mount wide converters for the X70, X180, and X200 has always irritated me. In fast paced breaking news, I can't afford to spend a full minute trying to line up threads and such to get the converter on!

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Old April 21st, 2016, 07:57 AM   #7
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Re: PXW-Z150 first impressions

I'm really excited to see more test footage out of this camera. It's a bit over my budget but I have been looking at gear like the NX100 and haven't seen anything that really impresses me. a killer cam might just have me throwing some extra cash on it. Also looks like I can use the same batteries as I have on my V1e.
I'd really like to have a see some HD footage (not downscaled 4K) as I don't see me using 4K in any of my work for the next 1-2 years. Nice to be future proofed in some way, though.
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Old April 21st, 2016, 08:31 AM   #8
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Re: PXW-Z150 first impressions

Not to mention you would need to remove the lens hood first... another 30 seconds gone. Could be worse, could be the WA will introduce a magenta cast... (sorry).

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Old April 21st, 2016, 08:51 AM   #9
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Re: PXW-Z150 first impressions

The magenta cast would cancel out the green CMOS cast. :-P

Don't wait for any test footage, there is absolutely no point, just look at any X70 footage and that is what this camera does. I will most likely return it though, as it is ergonomically not well suited for handheld use with my farsightedness. Also, I cannot adjust the exposure and adjust focus at the same time, the controls are too far apart and placed badly for me. Sony also had the bright idea to not match the button placement to the LCD indicators for iris, gain, and shutter etc.

Anyway, the ONLY thing I like about this camera is the focus is quicker when at full telephoto than the X70, but everything else about it i am not happy with. Obviously, these opinions do not matter when used on a tripod in the day, which it would be wonderful for, and the controls would be amazing. I only ever adjust GAIN. I have an iris ring, adn a zoom ring that I wish to gosh I could set for gain or AE shift. I shoot 100% handheld with these cameras, I already have a proper shoulder ENG camera with 100 watt spotlight for tripod work. :(

If you have any questiosn regarding the operation or limitatiosn of this camera, or any specific aspect of it, please feeel free to ask and i will make sure you are "in the know". :-)

Paul
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Old April 21st, 2016, 11:31 AM   #10
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Re: PXW-Z150 first impressions

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Originally Posted by Sverrir Fridriksson View Post
I'm really excited to see more test footage out of this camera. It's a bit over my budget but I have been looking at gear like the NX100 and haven't seen anything that really impresses me. a killer cam might just have me throwing some extra cash on it. Also looks like I can use the same batteries as I have on my V1e.
I'd really like to have a see some HD footage (not downscaled 4K) as I don't see me using 4K in any of my work for the next 1-2 years. Nice to be future proofed in some way, though.
If you do not want UHD then the CX900 at less than 1/3 the cost may give you almost the same picture, especially if you are not going to play around with scene files etc. Also has touch focus and nice wheel for controlling AE shift etc. Or get the AX100 which give you the future proofing of UHD but still with all these cameras only at 30P. As Paul as mentioned the X70 will give you all the Pro controls you may want too. The core of these cameras ( CX900, AX100, X70, Z100 are likely the same) with the Z150 having a new sensor but likely the rest is the same. X70 and Z100, Z150 use mxf wrapper and have time code while the CX900 and AX100 are mov wrapper with no timecode. However the latest AX53 does have time code and data code in XAVC-S mov wrapper so that is possible. If you want to try the 1" Sony cameras the CX900 is the lowest cost and about the same price as the AX53 ( which has UHD 30P ) As to batteries these new Sony's require the NP-F V series batteries not the older NP-FH batteries. They will give an error message if you try and use an older battery.

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Old April 21st, 2016, 11:52 AM   #11
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Re: PXW-Z150 first impressions

Great points Ron.
I'm ordering the AX53.
Still on the fence between the 150 and FS5,one of which will be my main cam,although I'll keep my reliable ex.
Was good to find out at nab sonys software upgrade for the18 105 focus issues
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Old April 21st, 2016, 01:20 PM   #12
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Re: PXW-Z150 first impressions

Easy choice. The FS5 is a much better camera with interchangeable lenses and option of RAW out to get UHD 60P . But at some cost !!! The Z150 is a x70 basically in a different form factor with a new sensor. If you are going to keep your EX1 I don't think there is a need to hurry. Wait and see what Sony does about competing with the DVX200 and the AG-UX180 if you do not want interchangeable lenses. If Sony do nothing then either of the DVX200 or AG-UX180 would be a much better choice than the Z150. Just my opinion.

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Old April 21st, 2016, 06:57 PM   #13
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Re: PXW-Z150 first impressions

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Originally Posted by Paul Anderegg View Post
It weighs twice as much as my X70. It is a tad front heavy when not using the F970 batteries, and it should be noted this camera is fine with aftermarket non chipped batteries. The focus mechanism is not like the X70, you can actually rack focus when zoomed in. Low light performance and sensitivity is identical to the X70, but with a slight reduction in apparent noise at each gain setting. Green/yellow color cast is not visible on the LCD, which I hope means they fixed the weird "off" green cast that has plagued my X70. Color correction values for the X70 seem to be compatible with the Z150, assuming you are not trying to transfer over any alterations that were meant to fix the green cast, which seems to be gone. Otherwise, everything is identical to the X70 if you judge it by the LCD and menu structure.

There is a menu item for "wide conversion lens". I don't know what that does, but it gives me hope there will be an OEM bayonet wide converter for this camera sometime in the near future....which for Sony means within 2 years.

Camera is going into service tonight, so I will begin posting clips and on air links shot in 1080p60 overnight.

Paul
Paul...thanks for the short review...I'm very interested in knowing how the rolling shutter at UHD is compared to the X70. Keep up the good work ; )
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Old April 21st, 2016, 08:02 PM   #14
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Re: PXW-Z150 first impressions

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Originally Posted by Ron Evans View Post
Easy choice. The FS5 is a much better camera with interchangeable lenses and option of RAW out to get UHD 60P . But at some cost !!! The Z150 is a x70 basically in a different form factor with a new sensor. If you are going to keep your EX1 I don't think there is a need to hurry. Wait and see what Sony does about competing with the DVX200 and the AG-UX180 if you do not want interchangeable lenses. If Sony do nothing then either of the DVX200 or AG-UX180 would be a much better choice than the Z150. Just my opinion.

Ron Evans
If I didn't require mpegts streaming, and low light capability, the other brand UHD 60p cameras would be a better choice. And the sensor in the Z150 is the same as the X70, the processor has been relocated to make it speedier, but it really doesn't look any different and is 100% not more sensitive than the X70
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Old April 22nd, 2016, 04:13 AM   #15
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Re: PXW-Z150 first impressions

So, here is some 4K footage from my Z150. It looks identical to footage shot with my X70, no difference whatsoever. However, it is much much better at being operated on a tripod, by an order of magnitude! I hated trying to use the X70 on a tripod, but the Z150 is just big enough, and the controls are just right, for tripod operation.

Unfortunately, I have a camera that is better than the Z150 for tripod use, so I am still suck with a turd of a handheld device. Reverted to my X70 last night for all my live shots.

Footage below shot in 4K, black gamma high +7, detail +7. I was playing with the gamma and forgot to set it back to a much lower level. The detail boost is because the 4k clips are downrezzed to 720p, so I need the baked in sharpening to prevent blurring.

Paul

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