Pro video blog…Produced by Philip Johnston DoP/Editor

While I was down at Haydock Park last week I had a play with the new Sony HXR NX70, this was a working model and not some trumped up plastic demo unit with no gubbins.

Sony let me film for about 45 minutes getting a few interviews and shots round the show so how did the new baby perform…

When I tried the camcorder side by side with my MC50 the first thing that struck me was the lack of light compared to the MC50, this was disappointing as I had been assured by Sony that it was using the same chipset as the MC50. I decided to dig deeper and discovered that the last person to play with the camcorder had set the shutter to 1/2000, so that was my discrepancy solved the shutter had been on with no indication in the viewfinder.

The first thing that strikes you is the new home screen I did not have time to photograph it so this is thanks to CVP who have also done a good review of the NX70. All the above are touch screen the same as the MC50 but with far more manual over rides, gain, shutter, iris to name a few. As a note the “Camera/Audio” icon is not as you first think a menu for the “Audio” it’s the main menu for the camera functions and the audio.

This camcorder is just bristling with features the main one being it’s ability to produce 1080 50p pictures…unheard of from such a small professional camcorder until now, with Sony Vegas 10, Edius 6 from Grass Valley and the new Final Cut Pro 10 you can now edit the “holy grail” of  1920 x 1080 Full HD 50p.

I decided to let the 1080 50p pass by me till I get my hands on my own NX70 but from all accounts it’s a further step up the HD ladder that will be hard to climb down from and will even give dearer camcorders a run for their money but time will tell.

The camera is bigger than the MC50, thank goodness, but it’s still small enough to give you that ease of use of a hand held but with all the big Pro features and more. There is no slacking in the audio department with phantom powered XLR inputs and gain pots, you also get audio level indicators on the viewfinder…fantastic.

The SD card slot is easily accessible and the camcorder comes with a built in 96GB of memory which can record simultaneously with the SDHC card giving you a nice back up feature.

The camera performed flawlessly and it was great to be able to set your gain to 0dB giving you a very punchy picture indeed. I am a big audio buff and having balanced XLR inputs is a joy, I will be doing a full video review when I get my own NX70 possibly by the end of May but this wee camera will find it’s way into some big HD productions. From weddings to broadcast there is no doubt in my mind that Sony have produced a cracking jewel in their crown and I hope Japan can keep up with the world wide demand on such a perfect wee camcorder.


Having been working in the video business since 1988 I have amassed a great amount of knowledge of both the kit and production values over the last 30 years.

11 thoughts on “Sony HXR-NX70 camcorder “1st Play”

  1. How is the viewfinder? As a stills photographer looking to purchase a little run & gun camcorder the viewfinder is always an area of concern!

  2. You don’t need the viewfinder the LCD is big and sharp for 99% of your needs. As an aside the VF is a lot better than came with the MC50 but is no better than the VF on the F3, in other words “average”.

  3. On paper, the EVF is the best of the compact camcorders, better than the Panny HMC41, JVC HM100, and slightly better than the Canon XF100 – over 1 million pixels, I think. Philip, many thanks for your views on this camera, I have taken a punt and asked that nice Mr Preston to get me one.

  4. Looks like Sony will sell bucket loads of this little camera.

    What’s its low light performance like and in terms of picture quality, how does it stand up to the EX1/3?

  5. It shares the same chipset as the MC50 which is exceptional in low light, the NX70 should be better in one major respect, gain control…the MC50 boosts the gain to achieve low light so having the ability to limit the camera to say 9dBs will be fantastic.
    Against the EX camcorders you do have to take into account the EX range has 1/2″ chips so they will be cleaner in low light but the NX70 will certainly compete in low light it’s what it majors in.

  6. Thanks Phillip

    Were retiring an old SONY V1E HDV camera after four year of service and the NX70 is one of our short listed replacement options. Were also considering the EX1R and the Canon XF305 so were looking forward to some real world NX70 feedback!

    How are you enjoying the PDW-350? I hear great things about this camera…add a Nano and it takes on the 500, 700 & 800 from Sony!

  7. Interesting reading, thanks.
    We are using a PMW350 for News, but I am looking at a smaller camera for those more discreet applications and in car stuff. Originally had the JVC HM100 in mind ( it has an ND filter), but having read your review of the Sony NX70, I may change my mind. There appears to be not much in the price. How do you rate the JVC against this Sony?

  8. I have 2 JVC HM100s for sale. Both are mint with around 100 hours on the meter and come with extra batteries and wide angle adaptors. They are great little cameras but I am often using them on multi-camera shoots and could do with something with timecode in.
    I am looking for around £1500 each which is a saving of £800 – £900.

  9. I can’t find the option to record simultaneously to the SDHC & internal memory…
    Are you sure you can do this for video on both media simultaneously?
    Everywhere i look i find video+photo only.

  10. This camera looks ideal to replace an older model, can you use the view finder simultaniously with the lcd screen? Cheers .

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