Review: Sony PXW-Z100 4K camcorder

4K camcorders

Sony PXW-Z100
4K for tomorrow? The Sony PXW-Z100

There’s no doubt that 4K is picking up momentum in the video production and TV industries. The price of 4K TV sets is falling, and online video services – including Vimeo and YouTube – now support 4K playback. And 4K cameras are also making their way into HD productions, because of the creative options they offer, including being able to crop in on an HD image in post.

The interest in 4K is being driven, too, by a growing number of both professional and consumer camera options.

There are already several 4K smartphones, notably from Sony and Samsung. Sony has launched its consumer 4K A1000 and the A7S is capable of 4K via an external recorder. Blackmagic Design has its 4K production camera, and the upcoming URSA. And then there is the Panasonic GH4, which produces a remarkable 4K image at a very affordable price.

This is the landscape, then, surrounding Sony’s PXW-Z100. When the camera was first announced, at IBC 2013, there were few viable professional 4K options out there, or at least, few affordable ones (not everyone can afford a RED).

Sony, too, acknowledges this, and bills the Z100 as the “Z1 for 4K”. Sony’s marketers believe that the Z100 will appeal to production companies, and possibly broadcasters, that want to try out 4K acquisition, without tying up large sums of money, but which also want a camera that is a reliable HD workhorse.

This is similar to the role played by the venerable Z1: companies could buy it for its DVCAM capabilities, but it had HD if they needed it.

Next: A Z1 for 4K