It’s been an exciting few months for cutting edge camera technology. So far this year we've seen the launches of the Canon C300, the Canon 5D Mark 3 and also JVC’s entry into 4K imaging. It was about time Sony reacted, and reacted they have…

This coming NAB Exhibition will see three new – and very different- professional camcorders from Sony.

 

Sony NEX-FS700E Super 35mm Camcorder

The model that steals the headlines is the NEX-FS700E, which looks and sounds like a future-proofed update to the NEX-FS100, and to all intents and purposes it is an FS100 with the helpful and sensible addition of in-built Neutral Density filters. Using the same body chassis as the FS100, this camcorder packs a Super 35mm sensor behind a familiar E-mount and records AVCHD to SD-HC card. So far, so similar to the NEX-FS100. But the next two features set this apart from its predecessor and indeed the competition:

 

 

  • 4K resolution output via 3G-SDI with a future firmware update
  • Slow motion capabilities of 120/240/480/960 frames per second

Getting 4K from this camcorder will have large benefits: you’ll be able to shoot for cinema, have the option of cropping into shots if you’re going for a 1080P/2K finish, and get ultra clean chromakey shots thanks to this heightened resolution to name a few. However this 4K recording will not be on board the camera, and will instead be via the 3G-SDI output and onto an external recorder. Both output and recorder options will be added after the planned release of the camcorder in late June this year.

Now, there will be a bit of a resolution compromise for those ultra-high framerates, and right at the top end they are really “burst modes” (ie you only get it for a very short period) but still, Sony are neatly filling a gap here: quality high-speed filming at a low cost.

The estimated price of this camcorder will be around £7,000 for a body only and £7,600 with a 18-200mm E-Mount lens. Add to this that Birger Engineering’s long awaited Canon EF adapter is launching at NAB in two weeks, and the large sensor camcorder world just got a whole lot sharper.

 

Sony PMW-100 Compact Solid State Camcorder

Canon have had 50 megabits 422 single-chip shooters for nearly two years now in the form of the XF100 and XF105. In Sony’s world, 50 megabits has either meant spending £20K on the shoulder mount PDW models or adding a third party recorder onto their sub £10K range camcorders to record beyond the on-board datarates.

 

 

However, Sony have sensibly seen the high data rate light and will be debuting the PMW-100 compact camcorder at the NAB Exhibition. Here are the main features:

  • 1/2.9” CMOS Sensor
  • Capable of different datarates: 50mbps 422, 35mbps & 25mbps 420, and DVCam shooting at 25bmps
  • SDI output, Timecode and Genlock capabilities
  • Records to Sony's SxS memory cards

Preliminary pricing looks to be just over £3,000. This camcorder will be ideal for events and corporate videography. Moreover the high data rate and colour compression will make it ideal for chromakey work. No word yet on some of the more specific features: Hopefully a “world” camera? Hopefully the familiar Sony menu system from their professional range? Hopefully uses an existing battery system? Make it happen, Sony.

 

Sony NXR-NX30E UItra Compact NXCAM Camcorder

Is the diminutive size of the Sony HXR-NX70 still too large for you? Want something even smaller, still supplied with professional level XLR inputs but with the added bonus of an in-built projector? If you answered yes to all of the above then the upcoming NXR-NX30E is for you.

 

 

This looks to be the smallest professional level camcorder we have seen. It uses the NXCAM format and looks absolutely tiny. Pro level XLR inputs allow you to use real shotgun and radio microphones, and the inclusion of a projector means you can review your rushes whilst on location/in a hotel room/with your clients. At Prokit we got to have sneak peak of this projector technology in its prototype stage last year and it really is very impressive!

Pricing looks to be a little over £2,000. We still can’t quite get over how small this camcorder looks: let’s hope professional features haven’t been sacrificed in the same way Canon did with the XA10!

 

Exciting times!

So there you go guys. Three new Sony models: One is a biggie in terms of capabilities and potential, one fills a high bitrate gap in the Sony entry-level range and the other is a pro level travel camcorder. We’ll be checking these out at NAB in two weeks and we’ll be keeping you updated with our impressions of the new Sony’s, as well as responding to Canon’s upcoming “EOS 4K” announcement, and the hot new products from other camcorder manufacturers. Sony have set a precedent with these new announcements…it will be fascinating to see how the competition responds.

Today's blog by Stuart Dennis