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Sony’s PXW-X70 Is WiFi-Controllable But Needs a 4K Upgrade

Camera Supports 4:2:2 10-bit 50 Mbps Workflow in a Compact, Lightweight Design

Sony announced the PXW-X70, a compact, lightweight XDCAM camcorder supporting file-based XAVC, AVCHD, and DV recording. It looks to be another good, inexpensive option for newsgathering and some documentary work, as well as event videography — a field that's becoming increasingly crowded as more and more HD and 4K cameras are introduced in the sub-$5,000 prosumer range.

The X70 will offer 4:2:2 10-bit image sampling and will record HD using Long-GOP compression at 50 Mbps, 35 Mbps, and 25 Mbps. Image acquisition is driven by a single 1-inch type Exmor R CMOS sensor described by Sony as having 14.2 million effective pixels and a fixed 12x Zeiss-branded zoom lens. That's a fairly big sensor (Sony says it's larger than a Super 16 film frame) in a pretty small camera package — the X70 is said to weigh less than three pounds, including the XLR handle unit, battery, lens hood and eyecup.

Other features include 3G-SDI and HDMI output, a three-level ND filter, and dual SD card slots for backup, simultaneous, or relay recording.

Despite that high-resolution sensor, the X70 is just an HD camcorder for now, but Sony said it plans to future-proof it with an optional 4K upgrade, without providing any further details about frame rates or formats. Similarly, Sony said the X70 will be controllable over WiFi out of the box using smartphones or tablets loaded with Sony's Content Browser Mobile app, but in order to unlock file transfers and streaming video over Wi-Fi, an upgrade will be required.

Sony said the X70 is scheduled to ship this fall, with the planned upgrades available in late 2014. Pricing is apparently still up in the air, but you can expect it to come in below its bigger sibling, the three-CMOS PXW-X180 announced at NAB, which lists for $5,899 but should sell for around $4,999 when it ships in September.

Need more detail? Watch the video above for a sample of X70 footage, or read a hands-on round-up of the camera's strengths and weaknesses from Red Shark News following a launch event at Pinewood Studios outside of London.

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