Sony announces PXW-X160 camcorder

Small-chip camcorders

Sony PXW-X160
The 3-chip PXW-X160. Picture: Sony
Sony is adding another small-chip camcorder to its professional XDCAM EX, solid state camcorder range.

The PXW-X160 shares much of its feature set with the recently-announced PXW-X180, but strips out some of the connectivity options. This, Sony says, makes the PXW-X160 suitable for budget programme making, news, corporate and events work.

The G-series lens is similar to that on the PXW-X180, starting at 26mm (35mm equivalent) at the wide end and extending 25 times. The lens has manual focus, zoom and aperture rings along with hard stops.

The PXW-X160, like the higher-end model, can record XDCAM EX, and XAVC, with MPEG (XDCAM EX) files recorded at up to 50mbs 4:2:2 for broadcast compatibility. The camcorder also supports 35mbps 4:2:0 recording, AVCHD, and DV formats.

Although Sony has not yet confirmed pricing for the PXW-X160 it will be a lower-cost option than the PXW-X180. To do this, Sony has removed the near-field communications (NFC), WiFi, and GPS connections.

The new camcorder does, though, have a distinctive feature set of its own. Whilst the PXW-X180 has a three-level, mechanical neutral density filter, the PXW-X160 has an electronic ND. This variable ND filter runs from 1/4ND to 1/128 ND, to allow camera operators to control exposure but still maintain a shallow depth of field. The variable ND is controlled via a dial, but there is also a conventional four-way ND switch for operators used to more conventional controls.

The PXW-X160 also features the multi-interface shoe introduced on the X180. This allows the direct connection, and automatic operation, of accessories including video lights and wireless microphone kits, reducing cabling and battery needs. Sony’s UWP-D11 and UWP-D12 will work with the camcorder.

The PXW-X160 is based around Sony’s Exmor 3CMOS sensor with 1/3-inch imagers. The image processing fitted to the camcorder, Sony claims, gives an image quality that competes with full-sized broadcast camcorders. It also retains the HD-SDI and timecode connections of higher-end XDCAM models.

The company expects the camera to take over from its PMW-150 in its professional broadcast line up, as well as the lower-cst AVCHD-based NX5. The PXW-X180 will be a “step up” model providing additional connectivity, to compete with cameras such as JVC’s GY-HM650.