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-   -   Sony launches PXW-Z100 4K Handheld XDCAM (https://www.dvinfo.net/forum/digital-video-industry-news/518710-sony-launches-pxw-z100-4k-handheld-xdcam.html)

Andy Wilkinson September 6th, 2013 04:26 AM

Re: Sony launches PXW-Z100 4K Handheld XDCAM
Great info Matt - Thanks! Yes we are reading it!!! - as I noticed you missed off the 24p shutter speeds by accident (in your list in the post above). I can easily guess them but I'm only really interested in 25p and 50p personally.

Really pleased to read that the AC input is not hidden inside the battery compartment like on some of the newer PMWs - silly move that was and I'm glad Sony have listened. Pity the handle is not able to swivel from what I can see.

This cam is very interesting, but I'm still wondering just how poor this thing will be in less than stellar lighting conditions...I am probably still leaning towards a PMW-300 as a replacement for my trust EX3 when my baby eventually dies - hopefully she'll still keep going strong for a while yet!

It's early days and when we see some decent real world footage from this cam it'll become clearer (at least in my mind) but Sony sure have been spitting out some interesting cams to cover off almost every niche this last 12 months!

Matt Davis September 6th, 2013 04:27 AM

Re: Sony launches PXW-Z100 4K Handheld XDCAM
The controls are very much like the NX5 - but in the 'fine print' (and having got used to this on the FS100/700) it's a little bit more twiddly to set a 'fixed' white balance - you have to dive into the 'Paint' mode and set it there. A bit like the EX1.

So, yes, the lens is a bit 'fly by wire' and there's a little bit of latency on the iris. I preferred the 'manual' zoom to the rocker - maybe all that time with the Canon 24-105 has paid off.

Although there's a sort of TLCS, it's not got the finesse of the EX1 (don't let the iris go beyond f8, don't go above 9dB gain and so on).

I've not checked the audio limiters yet - the Z1's audio was great and the limiter was unburstable. The EX1's were... not so great. Noisy, and a truculent limiter. Great advert for the joys of a Sound Guy.

Biggest gripe so far: no histogram. A couple of Zebra patterns, but no histogram. Certainly no WFM! You really will have to keep one set of Zebras for 100 (or 109 if you dare). I found it very easy to overexpose - but then this isn't a finished unit.

OIS feels more Z1-like than EX1-like, a good thing. There's push-auto for focus and iris (but note that there's no TCLS rubber sheet - though you will be nagged for ND at appropriate times).

ATW speed can be set, and there's 'shockless' switch between the presets that's really helpful if you're dashing around a large venue with daylight and fluoro.

There was one cheeky little feature of the Z1 which I can't quite see if I can do on the Z100 (if I can't have easily dialled in white balances) - assigning a couple of buttons for 'upping and downing' the preset WB by a reasonable 'notch'.

This is a CineTone camera, not a CineGamma camera. Bother. So, I bet there's going to be the same game of people cooking up recipes to help tame the highlight compression and open up the dynamic range. This time, instead of having one central pot of Picture Profiles, you get to save the WHOLE CAMERA STATE, and move between them. You can have up to 64 of them (in theory - it's greyed out on my unit). Better still, these are stored on the right hand SDHC card, separate from your media, so most of the time your camera will have that slot filled. Yes, updates can be installed via this slot, but most of the time it will be 'your camera settings'. Good to see that separated from the footage.

You can't record to two cards at the same time, but when the AVCHD recording for SDHC in the left hand SDHC slot comes on line, one could record 1080p for now and 4K for later, or record 2x HD at the same time albeit in two different formats.

Sorry, drifting off away from 'dropped auto features'. But hey, it's a Sony Handycam. All the usual videographer 'lifesavers' are there. If you tape over the 4K and ignore some of the finer points, it looks and feels and works like a Sony NX5.

I'm going to be in 'random stream of factoids' for the next 36 hours - apologies in advance.

Matt Davis September 6th, 2013 04:39 AM

Re: Sony launches PXW-Z100 4K Handheld XDCAM
I think the markets for the PMW300 and the Z100 are very different. Even the PMW200 has a more ruthless optimisation for the 'broadcast stringer/fly-on-wall-docco/reality-tv gigs. The Z100 gets you a camera that's easy to live and work with, plus some 'expansion' to the average videographer's portfolio.

And I think it's a big move away from 8 bit to 10 bit - that's important. 4K isn't just about resolution, it's about a wider colour range, a wider contrast range. Rec709 is a TWENTY YEAR OLD STANDARD, and 4K moves us on - BT.2020 will be bandied about, I'm sure.

BTW, 422 10 bit HD looks phab on 4K - so I think it's important for the industry to 'gee things up' on that front (quiet at the back, Canon).


Originally Posted by Andy Wilkinson (Post 1811625)
It's early days and when we see some real world footage from this cam it'll become clearer (at least in my mind) but Sony sure have been spitting out some interesting cams to cover off almost every niche this last 12 months!

Sorry to keep banging on about it, but check out Malcolm Gladwell and his famous TED talk about spaghetti sauce. There is no one perfect camera. There is one perfect collection of cameraS. You can get a 20% share in one market with one product, but you can go for 50-70% share with a range of products that capture the ends of the bell curve too.

Ron Evans September 6th, 2013 06:40 AM

Re: Sony launches PXW-Z100 4K Handheld XDCAM
[quote=Glen Vandermolen;1811572]

Originally Posted by Ron Evans (Post 1811559)

600mbps is...a lot. But I think the Z100 will also get a long gop codec next year, correct?

edit - yes, the Z100 will get a free, less data intensive long gop codec in mid 2014. I'm assuming it's the same one on the AX1.

Yes it seems like Sony will give the Z100 add the firmware in the AX1 and that would make it a very nice camera.Both cameras in one. Next year it would be the camera to get. But not sure I want to spend the extra money or wait until next year !!!

I am just going through Matt's latest post and one comment is my experience with the NX5U is not to let the iris go beyond F5.6 as the image gets soft and for my comparisons with the CX700 and NX30U I have becomes inferior. I expect it will be the same with a similar size sensor and lens. I keep my NX5U at F4 or more open. My normal range is F1.8 to F3.4 just like the data code says on the small camera in semi auto. Clearly the sweet spot !! I use negative gain and ND filters even in the theatre at times !!!

The NX5U has picture profiles that I assume are now in the paint menu. Will read Matt's posts again.

Ron Evans

Ron Evans September 6th, 2013 06:51 AM

Re: Sony launches PXW-Z100 4K Handheld XDCAM
Just read Matt's post again. As far as gain is concerned I keep my NX5U at less than 9db. Going to 12db means filtering with Neat filter. On the CX700 and NX30U with the newer sensor they are still very usable at over 21db so this may also be the case with these new 4K cameras too. The camera looks to have the same rubber plug for the LANC remote control. Does it have this port ? The assignable button next to it is assign to expanded focus on the NX5U is this the case too.

Ron Evans

Matt Davis September 6th, 2013 06:57 AM

Re: Sony launches PXW-Z100 4K Handheld XDCAM
I can't provide any comment on the Gain situation other than listing the numbers (-6, -3, 0, 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18 and 21) as I'm not able to really judge picture quality on my early beta version yet.

But what I can tell you is that, yes - there's a LANC socket and your existing controllers should work just fine. Assign 7 is also marked Focus Magnifier, which is exactly what it does, and it does it whilst recording. There is also an Iris Push Auto button where your pinkie finger 'could' be. I've not developed the muscle memory for this yet so it feels a bit awkward, but I'd rather ride the aperture ring rather than push a button. IMHO. :)

Ron Evans September 6th, 2013 06:58 AM

Re: Sony launches PXW-Z100 4K Handheld XDCAM
Matt. The Z100 and AX1 seem to have both a host and peripheral USB interface just like some of the Sony Handycams. Do Sony say anything about the use for these ports ? Considering the amount of data it would be nice to be able to connect up large SSD or hard drive for long form recording especially for 10bit 4:2:2 other wise one would be changing 64G cards every few minutes !!!

Ron Evans

Matt Davis September 6th, 2013 07:14 AM

Re: Sony launches PXW-Z100 4K Handheld XDCAM
Yes: there's a big 'Type A' USB socket and a small 'Type Mini-A' USB socket in the left hand rear panel.

The Mini plug definately allows you to connect to your computer, where the camera switches into 'USB Storage Device' mode and you can access the XQD cards directly. However, I think (!!!) this is USB2 not USB3 - so you're going to be buying a USB3 XQD adaptor pretty quickly. Good in emergencies though. I had it plumbed into my Mac, it all went smoothly, and the 4K rushes slipped into Final Cut Pro X like a bar of soap in a hot bath.

Now, here be dragons... I may get this subtly wrong... but...

The big Type A USB socket is interesting too - you can attach a USB storage device to it and the camera can copy the contents from its XQD cards to it. I haven't tried this, and the only info I have is a little bit of PowerPoint that points to it saying 'USB Host'. You could do something very similar with the FS100, and whilst it could power a USB dongle, it wouldn't power a USB spinning disk - also, at USB2, it could take 45 minutes per card.

This feature may (or may not) be absent from the first release of the camera, as a 'future upgrade'.

I did ask if it could be a streaming video output (could it look like a webcam to WireCast or other streaming services?) or a way to record to external media, but I think it's a no. Yes, I do keep asking about this - the Z1's firewire (given enough Gaffer Tape and exclusion zone round the hardware) straight to disk was brilliant. Yeah, fine, there's ninjas, but... Sigh. Happy days.

Ron Evans September 6th, 2013 07:17 AM

Re: Sony launches PXW-Z100 4K Handheld XDCAM
Data code for the CX700 and NX30U have shown a max of 28db I think so the range of settings is similar. Just like the NX5U they like putting in the negative gain to make 0 look more sensitive !!! At these max gain settings the CX700 and NX30U as still more usable than the NX5U at 12db so we will have to see how these perform at 4k in low light.

Ron Evans

Philip Lipetz September 6th, 2013 07:27 AM

Re: Sony launches PXW-Z100 4K Handheld XDCAM
Can you even guess, and I know images are embargoed, if the Z100 will give as versatile an image as the EX1/3 did. They even did features with them. Then same cams on docs and weddings. Even broadcast. The last Swiss Army Knife cam. Is this the same?

Matt Davis September 6th, 2013 07:28 AM

Re: Sony launches PXW-Z100 4K Handheld XDCAM
The similarity to the NX5U may be slightly more superficial - different sensor (!), different processor (!), and so on. Again, usual warning - I can't offer any judgement on picture quality, but I have "noticed" (<-- big air quotes) that it's about a stop darker than my EX1.

My method was to set up zebras at 60% on both, zoom onto flat area of tone, set shutter, gain the same, look at difference in aperture - hardly ASC style testing, but hey. Dining room table stuff.

Also, I don't see a dramatic difference between shooting 4K, Quad or HD - the EX1 gives you an extra stop for 720p.

Ron Evans September 6th, 2013 07:36 AM

Re: Sony launches PXW-Z100 4K Handheld XDCAM
It may well be doing a bit better than the NX5U to EX3 comparisons I have available then. Was a little more than a stop slower. With better noise performance it should be better than the NX5U then. AX1 looks like a very nice successor to the NX5U can't wait !!!!

The hard drive unit for the EX1/3 is very useful. Maybe we will see a similar unit for the XQD interface if the USB is not usable.

Ron Evans

Matt Davis September 6th, 2013 07:46 AM

Re: Sony launches PXW-Z100 4K Handheld XDCAM

Originally Posted by Philip Lipetz (Post 1811654)
Can you even guess, and I know images are embargoed, if the Z100 will give as versatile an image as the EX1/3 did.

Well here's the thing... EX1/3 has CineGamma, the Z100 has CineTone - immediately, one can predict all that tedious mucking around with knee and black levels and gamma and the rest. We need to get this camera's dynamic range pegged first.

My waters tell me that it will not be filmic, it will have a reality feel - not video-ish, but HD-ish. It will reward people who muck around with the paint controls and control the highlights, who can light nicely, and it will bring back pictures that look good without the need for 'grading'.

Just like the Z1's HDV made for great SD, I'm, erm, guessing that the 4K will make great HD that's full of detail and punching above its weight for a corporate/event image. It's not going to be anywhere near the F5 territory, but the 10 bit 4:2:2 I-frame recording is going to make a difference. The EX1/3 has a bit of (cough) 'texture' to it, which can waste a bit of datarate.

Sorry, talking in circles here. I can give you a 'definite maybe'. :)

Philip Lipetz September 6th, 2013 09:11 AM

Re: Sony launches PXW-Z100 4K Handheld XDCAM
Matt, you are right, "We need to get this cameras dynamic range pegged first."

Cliff Totten September 6th, 2013 10:39 AM

Re: Sony launches PXW-Z100 4K Handheld XDCAM
Anybody care to speculate how many lines of resolution these two cameras would resolve?

Would 1500 lines be easy?

With Bayer and Nyquist issues calculated, would 2000 lines be out of the question at best aperture setting?


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