Pro video blog…Produced by Philip Johnston DoP/Editor


UPDATE : Due to a set of circumstances that I cannot divulge the video review has been postponed meantime. Note. It has nothing to do with Sony or anything sinister that I have found about the PMW-100.


This is Sony’s fightback against Canon with their 50Mbps camcorder the PMW-100, I was hoping to use it in full 4:2:2 quality but you only get this if you use an SxS card or XQD cards in the Sony adapter.

For demonstration purposes I have two 8 Gig SxS cards but at 15 minutes max per card you don’t get a lot of footage at 50Mbps.

If Sony are to compete with the Canon XF305 they need to re think this mentality of using expensive SxS cards for 50Mbps recording, the Canon uses relatively inexpensive CF cards.

Will broadcasters take to the PMW-100…they might if they have a stock of SxS cards as used on PMW-350 and 500s but will they accept the picture quality ?

This camera uses a chip which is half way between the size of a 1/3″ and a 1/2″ chip, I do have to ask the question why ?

The EX1r/EX3 uses a very successful three 1/2″ Exmor CMOS chipset giving it very good low light capabilities so why reduce the size of the chip and not only that make it a single chip when you are chasing broadcast work ?

This camera is aimed at video journalists or VJs for short so will it step up to the mark.

The SxS cards at £550 are just far too dear for archiving, 50Mbs or not the XQD seems a far better way to go with the PMW-100, still dear when you compare it to 32G CF cards but at half the price of SxS it makes a lot of sense to buy into the XQD with additional Sony adapter.

Many of you are put off by the single chip used in the PMW-100 and my limited time with the camera tells me that this is not the only corner being cut by Sony, the exposure wheel is very MC-50 and using the plastic lens cap dangling from the camera handle is very poor when you consider Sony have a fine automatic lens hood design as seen on the NX70, the viewfinder is typically far to small to be of any use.

Pictures even at 50Mbs are no better than I have seen with the NX70 which was very surprising but remember the NX70 produces a mean 1080 50p picture which is not replicated in the PMW-100.

It was a tad better in low light than I was expecting but still no where near as good as an EX3 or EX1r, though it will produce a slightly better low light picture than the NX70.

At just over £3200 you get what you pay for, this is not an EX-3 replacement, it’s a cheap HD broadcast capable news camera at the lower end of the spectrum, don’t expect this to match your PMW-350/500, the single chip which on paper 1/2.9 inch makes you think it’s 1/2 inch but its only a gnats crotchet bigger than 1/3 inch !

CONCLUSION : I am not too sure where Sony was going with this camcorder if their remit was to plunder Canons XF305 market its no where near the mark, just making a camcorder 50Mbps is no recipe for success, this camera has been made to a budget and sadly it looks and feels like it.

If Sony are looking to hit the VJ market then looking at what they already use I would say they stand a good chance, VJs want a simple to use camera with no frills the PMW-100 certainly ticks all those boxes.

If on the other hand Sony had upgraded the EX1r to 50Mbps it would have made far more sense and revitalised a very good camcorder that could do with that extra 15 Mbps.


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.

6 thoughts on “SONY PMW-100 Paper Review “Is it up to the mark” UPDATED

  1. I wonder who Sony are going after with this. Seems that if you want a single compact cam the NX70 is a better compromise with it’s built in drive/SD card/included decent enough mic and weatherproofing (I’m certainly happy with mine!)

    Perhaps if you already have an EX rig then it makes a good B cam or backup. From broadcast maybe a good docucam to hand out to folks to collect diary/POV footage?

    That seems a small market, just can’t see many folks going for it as a stand alone only cam with the cost of the media.

  2. Oddly enough, Sony chose not to use its best 1/2.88 EXMOR-R sensor on the PMW100.

    Instead, they chose a slightly smaller and older standard EXMOR chip?… What?

  3. We had ordered one as a light travel camera for a one man job. It came by mid of May. But: The picture quality was not comparable to our F-350 and not what we had expected. The chip did big “stars” in the sun reflexes, the noise in dark areas was unbearable, the lens gave a slight corona on very bright surfaces and the focus was so slow, You could never work with. Sony announced us a firm upgrade for this. But we needed a small camcorder for this travel job right away. We will use a Panasonic HDC SD909 now, which -believe it or not- made in our tests great pictures, in my opinion and impression, better then the new chip of the PMW-100. So, we gave the PMW-100 back. Sorry to say, it was a big disappointment.

  4. We used two PMW-100 cameras on a shoot in Gaza in June, and it is clear, we can not work with this cameras again. Outdoors, when you need to use the viewfinder via the eyepice, you discover that the viewfinder is useless. It looks like the magnifier glass is gone, so finding focus is actually impossible. Combine this with a focus ring that you have to turn several full turns, well, say goodbye to any kind of focus control. Call me old fashioned, but I recon a picture out of focus useless.

  5. i have sale service sony in pakistan i have sale 4 camera pmw 100 that return insame fault zoom is working auto back slowly i think that manufacture fault . what can i do . if you have any suggestion for that .

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