Pro video blog…Produced by Philip Johnston DoP/Editor


The Sony PXW-X70 arrived during polling day, the 18th of September, as you can imagine other things were on my mind that day so it wasn’t till the next day that I had a good look over the camcorder and spend some time filming with it. In XAVC mode you get various flavours from 720 50p 50Mbps to full HD 1080 50p 50Mbps, to 50i and 35Mbps to save on card space.

The cards I am using are Transend SDXC 64G class 10, speed 3 (R95-W60Mbps) anything else like the SanDisk class 10 speed 3 (45Mbps) won’t allow XAVC recordings. This is the major bonus for me using fast SDXC cards at about £30 a pop you are not having to fork out for expensive £329 64G XQD cards. I have been using these cards with my 4K GH4 for a few jobs now without any problems.


Its heavier than I was expecting and slightly fatter than my previous NX-30 but someone in Japan has been thinking carefully about this camera and packed a ton of features into a wee body. In XAVC 50Mbps mode you now get 10bit 422 footage which is stunning and very noiseless.


A shot taken at 0dB’s if you double click you can view the 1920 x 1080 10bit 422 JPEG from the timeline.


Main body with switches (above)

All the main switches are on the side of the camera and as usual pressing the Thumbnail button gets you into playback mode, the headphone socket is also on the side now (green socket).

I went up to view a local chip shop I have in mind to get some run and gun shots and took the camera with me…this little monster can shoot 18dBs with virtually no noise.


Setting your white balance is in my opinion slightly convoluted in the PXW-X70 you have to press the WHT BAL button (seen above in main body pic) and finnish off the WB in the camera menu under “WB SET”.


The Zeiss 12x optical zoom starts at f2.8 which is disappointing as its not a constant aperture lens, a feature I would have gladly paid extra for. Very sharp and lots of detail especially in XAVC mode. The good thing about a 4K ready camera is you get sensors and glass that exceed HD and therefore give you cracking HD pictures.



Headphone volume is another strange menu driven task under the wee audio ikon, its just called “VOLUME” then you can raise or lower your headphones.

Like previous smaller cameras like the HXR-NX70 the camera powers up by opening the LCD unlike the NX70 this has an HDSDI socket and a full size HDMI socket. The wee joystick beside the start /stop button is in the perfect position when flicking through the menu.

So far…The pictures from this camera are some of the punchiest, noiseless 10bit 422 I have seen, this camera was bought as a run and gun compliment to my Sony A7s (more about that in another post). Sony are pulling no punches with this camera to a season’d professional who prefers shoulder mounts this camera will slip by them…if you need a camera capable of green screen work. news and corporate this will fit the bill, the only feature I can’t find on the X70 is syncro scan , a small detail. Sony do not give you any microphone or charger with the X70 but as I already have the AC-VQV10 double ActiFORCE “V” charger its no great shakes.

Another function missing is Lanc control which is surprising …admittedly you can use Wi-Fi or NFC to remote the camera but not having a simple Lanc for a zoom control is poor.

UPDATE :  Sony VMC-AVM1 DOES NOT CONTROL the Lanc on 3 controllers that I have this micro USB seems to be for video/audio only.

The PXW-X70 really benefits from being 4K ready, I saw this with the Sony PXW-Z100, having a 4K sensor, 10bit 422 engine gave you some stunning HD footage and the X70 is no exception.


A WORD OF WARNING : If like me you are using Apples FCPX you may have a problem…I have not got to the bottom of this yet but FCPX should be able to ingest XAVC footage, I have tried the X70 in many XAVC frame rates with no success. A more sinister problem has occurred which I have not got to the bottom of is when you pop the SDXC card into the card reader and try to get FCPX to look at the footage you end up with a corrupt card, as can clearly be seen above. Sony do supply a plugin for XAVC called PDZK-LT2 for mac but offers no solutions for my problem.

Doug “I’ve noticed the same problem when trying to import the XAVC files from the X70. Not only is FCPX unable to read them but Sony’s very own Content Browser won’t recognize them either. There was a recent XAVC plugin for FCPX but that was only for XAVC-S which uses the MP4 container and this camera’s XAVC-HD codec uses the MXF file format. I’ve even tried a few converters but nothing seems to work. After attempting to upload the clips I was unable to view them on the camera or locate them again in the thumbnail browser. The files were still on the card but unreadable even in the camera. Very strange. I do hope there’s a firmware update coming soon that will fix this.”

So its not just me, I can get the footage into FCPX via my Ultra Studio 4K and Ultra Studio Express software but I bought this camera for its 10bit 422, cracking pictures and dual card system and the ability to transfer quickly from card for news use.

Update : Sony sent me this link to a new updated content browser, see if it helps you…

Sony are on the case and hope to have a workaround by the 31st of September 2014, I will keep you posted. 

I will post some footage when I get more time.




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.

61 thoughts on “Initial thoughts of the Sony PXW-X70 Camcorder (updated)

  1. Nice review. I’ve been keeping my eye on this camera and what to hear more about your experiences with it in post.

  2. I’ve noticed the same problem when trying to import the XAVC files from the X70. Not only is FCPX unable to read them but Sony’s very own Content Browser won’t recognize them either. There was a recent XAVC plugin for FCPX but that was only for XAVC-S which uses the MP4 container and this camera’s XAVC-HD codec uses the MXF file format. I’ve even tried a few converters but nothing seems to work. After attempting to upload the clips I was unable to view them on the camera or locate them again in the thumbnail browser. The files were still on the card but unreadable even in the camera. Very strange. I do hope there’s a firmware update coming soon that will fix this.

  3. Hi, I have a problem to import video clip created with new camcorder PXW-X160 (like this PXW-X70) with XAVC LONG Gop codec in Final Cut Pro X.
    I use last versione of Content Browser and Final Cut Pro X and I have installed this plugin correctly.

    In Content Browser I can see the clip in XAVC, but if I clic with right
    button on video clip and go to IMPORT INTO FINAL CUT PRO a window appear
    on screen 🙁 (see )

    Instead in Final Cut Pro X if I try to import clip, I see only clip recorded in MPEG 422 and nothing else.
    I have already unistalled Content Browser, reboot, and re-installed…but nothing change 🙁

    I have see in this page under “Applicable Products” there is’nt any model PXW…it’s normal?

    Can you help me? Thanks.

    Thanks for help 😉
    Riccardo Molinari

    HDW : Hi Riccardo it looks like Sony need to get updated XAVC software for FCPX URGENT !!!

  4. Hi from Spain.
    Please, I need your opinion. Do you think this is a great camera to make nature documentals for TV? I am a producer.
    Thank you very much.

  5. looking forward to seeing some footage from this camcorder, very tempted to buy it, but want to see more than just the demo Sony footage first.

  6. hello
    SONY HDR-CX900 / FDR-AX100, Consumers versions of PXW-X70 can shoot (14.2 megapixels) while filming.
    Is this possible on the X70?

    HDW : Just had a look through the manual and no sign of this function.

  7. Hi Philip,

    Thanks for the review. Please keep us informed about using the camera with FCP X. I was looking to buy a number of PXW-70s for student use, but the FCP X issue has put that in doubt. Is their any chance you can upload some sample clips from the camera?

    Thanks, Ian

    HDW : Hi Ian the FCPX issue is a minor blip, Sony can’t afford end users moaning about XAVC I recon this will be fixed very soon.

  8. Hi Ricardo,

    I’ve downloaded your clips. They show up in the new version of the content browser and play fine, as expected. The content browser says they can’t be exported to FCP X as a required CODEC is missing. I tried importing directly in FCP X. The folder can be opened but nothing shows up inside it.

    This is using FCP X 10.1.2

  9. The Lanc control is in the micro USB connector and will need an adapter for use with 2.5mm controllers. You could also get the Sony VCT-VPR100 tripod that comes with 4 cables for all the Sony interfaces.

  10. any further forward with sample footage? seems to now be in stock in UK but nobody has taken to youtube or vimeo with any footage yet. Is there a problem reading it off the memory card?

  11. The date/time stamp is available on the DV setting, and is also available on 1080 60i. Also, I found that using the little remote controller in my left hand and the tripod handle in my right hand is actually more comfortable to use than a zoom controller for normal use (with most settings on auto). One caveat is that you cannot use the remote controller from directly behind the camera, but it works well on the sides.

  12. A simple question which wasn’t even on the Sony site is if the AVCHD codec is in 422 sampling? With all the Xavc issues, i’m planning on staying away from that codec for a bit until mos issues resolve on their own. I just want to know if AVCHD will be delivering the same quality as the XAVC. If anyone is aware, I would greatly appreciate a response…

    HDW : AVCHD comes straight into FCPX and looks great…still added on blog post.

  13. Looks like nice little camera. I’m not keen on XAVC just yet mainly because I’m still using FCP7. Is the SDI out 10bit 422 and clean? I’m keen to just record prores on my Samurai. Easier for me and my current pipeline.

  14. The mic holder looks huge. Can it firmly hold a small diameter shotgun like the Sennheiser MKE600 (which is 20mm diameter)?

    HW : The mic holder holds a mic of about 25mm diameter, I cut off the end of an unused wind shield to pack it out.

  15. Thanks for the heads up on the Transcend SDXC 64G class 10, speed 3 (R95-W60Mbps) cards. I’ve just ordered the PXW-X70 from Vistek, a Toronto photo/video dealer who put on the ProFusion trade show last week. I’ve ordered two Transcend cards as well. Your reviews and glowing comments on the picture quality helped my decision. I enjoy reading your posts. In this case, it’s been very helpful.

  16. Hello there. I really appreciate the articles you have written on the X70, which I recently purchased partially due to reviews you gave the camera. I was wondering, in relation to that, do you have any recommended scene files for the X70? So far, I have used a few Sony ones from different sources (some really meant for the FS100), but I was wondering if you could give me any advice for the ones you have used for the indoor and outdoor shots so far with the camera.


  17. Hi. Thanks for the review. I do weddings and we been using an NX70 as well as an NX30. How would th X70 compare in this kind of situation? How does it handle low light, and does it have any rolling shutter / jitter when you pan. I used an NEX-VG10 a few years back and the footage was unacceptable. Thanks

  18. I have two X-70’s and I have noticed another problem (I posted the other problem on another thread on the same topic a few days ago). If you are using the face detection setting, the camera can still become confused and go out of focus spontaneously. It does recover in about 5 seconds, but it is pretty disconcerting. I have not figured out all the triggers that cause this problem, but one is clear at this time. Specular light sources trigger the problem, even ones as innocuous as the slanting light from nearby venetian blinds. Naturally I will use face detection only for fast moving people and lock down focus otherwise.

  19. I bought this to get fast and convenient footage to pair up with my Canon 5D3 setup. Does anyone have suggestions of picture profiles or settings that would help make the colors and look match nicely? I mostly use Marvels Advanced profile in the 5D3.
    Also I’m having trouble with XAVC on Windows PC. The Sony software will NOT convert to Prores on Windows PC, and will only convert one file at a time to h.264 as well. Any suggestions on how to get the best out of the X70? (I’m using Premiere Pro CS6, Don’t want to go to Creative Cloud since I will go long periods without editing followed by lots of editing. I’d have to pay the CC subscription even while not using it 🙁


  20. Maybe as a way to convert, although a long way round you maybe able to use Davinci Resolve lite.

  21. Premiere CC will convert the files, and you can get a 30-day trial if you need to convert the files now. I spent over a week trying to find another workable solution, and I have no success.

    As a note, even though I was perfectly happy with CS6, CC does seem to render a bit faster, I have to say.

  22. Resolve lite doesn’t offer XAVC to Prores on Windows.

    I really just want to continue using my Production Premium CS6 suite, and get the most of the X70 (XAVC). If Sony would provide a bulk converter (including XAVC to Prores on Windows) in Catalyst Browse everything would be fine. It’s pretty frustrating as it is now.

  23. Thanks for the write up. The lens not being able to hold its 2.8 stop is hugely disappointing. Could you please let us know where the aperture/focal length changes occur? Thanks so much.

  24. I have bought the camera and was told an upgrade to 4k would be ready end of this year.
    Still no news from Sony about delivery time and Price!

  25. I was looking to buy the NX70 (confusing model numbers) but saw the PXW-X70 had more features at the same price. Will the 1″ sensor give better AVCHD performance (than other camcorders at this price level) as I envisage sticking with this format until editing of XAVC has been sorted.

  26. Jeremy,

    You can edit XAVC files via Premiere CC without any difficulties.

  27. Very good interesting & valid comments re the pxw-x70, I’m still deciding whether to go for it.

  28. Is anyone else having a problem with sound recording on this camera? I’m finding it very noisy with the RODE NTG2 mic attached, even at 20dB attenuation. There’s a very strong hiss – white noise in the background. I’ve tried a Sennheiser 416 as well, which is much cleaner, but still there’s a level of white noise that really shouldn’t be there. Any tips?

    HDW : I would get your X70 back to Sony to check but try this first. I spoke to Sony about a similar thing with the A7s at BVE they told me usually its an earth problem…where the unit i.e.. in your case handle is not sitting correctly. Try this first.

  29. From the User Guide, p.44:

    To prevent unwanted noise when no audio device is connected to the INPUT1 or INPUT2 jack, set the INPUT1/INPUT2 (LINE/MIC/ MIC+48V) switch (D or F) to LINE.

  30. Thanks for your messages HDW and Gerry. I’ve already tried the Line trick, and I’m afraid it doesn’t work.
    Switching to Line does get rid of most of the white noise. But the input I’m using has to be switched to Mic+48v, so the white noise is still there. Having the input I’m not using switched to Line doesn’t make any difference.
    The hiss is 100% worse when I plug in my RODE NTG2, which is something I haven’t noticed on other cameras (but I am going to test this to make sure the mic isn’t faulty).
    So – if no-one else has this problem, I guess I will have to contact Sony, because there’s no way I can record audio like this.
    Thanks again.

  31. I also have the same issue:Rode NTG2 + 48V cause white noise. Would it be a compatibility issue?

    The only workaround I have is to power the mic with an internal 1.5v battery.

  32. Hi all

    I not only have problems with my NTG2 on this camera, but also with my Sennheiser wireless lav. My Sennheiser 416 doesn’t seem to have an issue. Using a battery instead of phantom power for the NTG2 does make the hiss go away to some degree, but it’s still not perfect. The wireless lav doesn’t need phantom, but the hiss is still there – only solution is to record onto an external device, which is insane (as is using a battery when phantom power should be available).

    I have actually been in discussion with Sony about this problem every since I posted my comment here. The first thing I had to do was send my camera back to Sony – they said that my unit was working just the same as the other units they had, so there wasn’t a problem. I was then asked to send them my NTG2, which I did. They said the same thing – “works the same on your unit as it does on ours” – so in other words, they did not acknowledge the hiss or admit that it was a problem.

    So I decided to make a formal complaint about the model. Sony doesn’t actually have a proper public complaints procedure, so I had to do it all via the company I bought the camera from. I sent a long email complete with several recordings clearly showing the problem of the hiss (and comparing to other cameras) and saying that Sony shouldn’t be producing a camera like this – how can they get something so basic so wrong? Sony paid absolutely no attention to this complaint. It took me months of needling to get a badly worded reply from them. Their reply: “we offer no guarantee that this camera will work with any third party microphones. It will only work with Sony microphones.”

    I don’t have any Sony microphones, so I don’t know if this is true. However, there is no “non guarantee” in any of their literature – not one that I can find. Whatever the case, I’m very disappointed in Sony. And I’m very disappointed in this camera (even though the picture is amazing).

    HDW : I thought I remembered your name, how often do you use the X70…reason…send it to me and I can compare it to 3 X70s my friend owns along with the NTG2 which funnily enough may be your problem, I have an NTG1 that I stopped using and I think it was a similar problem. Send me an email to and I will send you my address. Sadly Sony have got rid of many of my influential contacts but assuming its your X70, I can fight your case for you if you like.

  33. I am thinking of adding the Atomos Assassin for better video monitoring and also because it will allow my to get 10 bit 4.2.2 4K rather than just 8 bit from the camera. However two queries if anyone has this combo.

    1. Does it work? I read a post that commented it worked fine in 1080p but as soon as they switched to 4k and pressed record… the Atomos screen went black and the audio meter worked but did not record??? Anyone else had same issue?

    Also the HDMI on the Atoms will also record the audio… does anyone know if this is better, as good or worse than recording direct into camera?


  34. Hi,I’ve had my x70 for a year now and find its great to work with. I shoot a lot of varied corporates and sports events. One major issue I’m having is my RODE shotgun mic. I’ve attached to the XLR ports with various cables and I’m constantly getting a low noise hum. Doesn’t happen on any other camera or with other pics. People have suggested padding, and I’ve played with settings. Any advice most welcome.

    HDW : I have had mixed results with RODE mics, personally I would send it back to RODE and ask them to replace it.

  35. I have had the X70 for about a year as well and I’ve done the upgrade to 4K. I was hoping it would help with the problem I’ve been having with a lot of noise in the picture, but it hasn’t. I’ve been looking at other people’s experiences with shooting in moderately low light and I am seeing a much cleaner image… mine, even at 0 gain, is pretty much unusable. My ND filter is off, f-stop all the way open, shutter speed 48, shooting 24p, XAVC at 60 mbps –any ideas on why I’m getting a picture that’s so much crappier than everyone elses?

  36. Thanks for the review

    I purchased the PXW-70 a few months back and did not initially bother with XACV so as to work seamlessly with FCP X. I thought it was something Apple and Sony would clear up in a month or two and that it would all work natively soon.

    I’ve downloaded all the bits and bobs the forums suggest and I still can’t open anything shot on XAVC on Apple. Nothing seems to like it – Quick Time, FCP X and the finder all seem to think it’s an audio track.

    What I did find that works just fine is the free download of DaVinci Resolve 12. I’m actually liking it so much I’m trying it out now thinking that maybe it will replace FCP X entirely. I like the idea of going from edit to colour correct to final render inside one application.

    I’m still working through some training videos from Ripple on DaVinci. I’ve noticed that unlike FCP, DaVinci does not “optimise” imported footage like FCP X.

    Rather, it gives various options on how the compressed codec should be optimised for editing. I’m comfortable with ProRes 422, but then I noticed DaVinci wanting to use ProRes 422hq with footage from the X70.

    When I read up on this online, I see that many commentators say that 422hq is for “10 bit and larger” footage. Then they mention that XAVC footage should be fine rendered at standard ProRes 422. So now I’m not sure which is best since this advice appears to be contradictory when dealing with 10bit XAVC footage from the X70.

    Any idea if there are advantages to optimising 10 bit XAVC footage from the X70 in 422hq for editing?

    HDW : Your X70 via XAVC produces 10 bit 422 footage therefore 422HQ is the correct choice as its also 10 bit 422.

  37. ProRes 422 is sufficient for most applications, in fact will be easier to edit with due to file size.

    FCPX will import XAVC-L natively. However it must be the latest version, 10.2.2. Make sure the X70 firmware is up to date, now at v.2.0. The SDXC card must be formatted in the camera under the latest firmware and contain ONLY XAVC-L clips. Copy the entire folder structure from the card to a folder on an editing drive (not the Mac system drive). From the Import window of FCPX point to the folder labelled Private, and then The XDCAM folder and your clips will appear.

    For more about ProRes:

  38. Thanks Gerry

    The firmware update to the camera itself did the trick. FCP X is reading the footage without a problem with the method you described.

    Thanks also for the advice on 422hq. I think I’ll save the HD space and use 422 standard when using Resolve.

  39. Hello Alistair…
    I purchased the X70 some months ago after reading your review and looking at numerous examples of footage off the camera… seemed a good upgrade from my GH4 and 5d2 as I could happily get rid of my Juiced Link box and an assortment of cables!!!

    However I think I may have found a major chink in its armour.

    I bought a Small HD 702 last week to monitor and nail focus in 4K. However when I press record button on the X70 the screen goes black! This does not happen in HD mode… Just when I switch to 4K mode.

    I rang Sony… they are coming back to me (no idea when). So in the interimand out of desperation I did some further research… I think it is because the HDMI is HDMI1 (HD) and not HDMI2 (4K)… but not sure… it is just something I read! I read also that the same issue is on the FS5 – that Sony are fixing in a Firmware update.

    My question is.. do you know if the X70 is capable of allowing a Monitor to show you a downscaled picture from 4K feed and if so is it coming as a Firmware update like the FS5… or is the hardware in the X70 incapable at any time of being able to do this – at which point it would render the camera useless for me. So does the X70 not have a good an output feed as the FS5?

    I have been told that a way around this is bolt on an Atomos Assassin and use the REC button on the Atomos to record – but I am not sure this is correct – will it not simply have the same issue as the Small HD Monitor and go black as soon as I hit record?

    Your advice would really be appreciated as I need to get this sorted one way or another pretty quickly!

    Thanks in advance…

    HDW : Alistair ?

  40. Hi Lizi
    Thanks for your comments on using the Rode NTG2. I’m having exactly the same noise problem on a brand new camera. I thought I was going mad as the NTG2 works beautifully on all other devices but is unuseable on the camera. I’ve tried other Rode mics such as the NT3 into the XLRs using phantom power as well as the Rode video mic and Stereo video mic into the mini mic socket and all work great. It’s just the NTG2 with what seems to be a compatibility problem. Such a pity because it’s a great mic.

  41. Hello, well i’ve been searching for over a year now to a solution for the Rode NTG2 noise situation. I love the camera, I shoot weekly with it but this is becoming a major issue. Mic works fine into my zoom H5 recorder and other mics work on it. Ive switched cables and settings to no avail. Any new advice would be more than welcome. Many thanks

  42. Hi Jenny.
    I’m in a privileged position because I work in a music shop that sells Rode mics and I’ve done some extensive testing. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to find a solution to the NTG2 problem. As far as I’m concerned it’s just incompatible using the xlr inputs. It did work fine using an adaptor plugged into the mini mic socket, but that’s not an ideal situation.
    The top of the line NTG3 works beautifully and the new NTG4+ works well using its internal battery power, but the NTG2 is unuseable. If you can’t sell it and upgrade to one of the others find an xlr to mini jack adaptor and give that a go.
    Melbourne, Australia

  43. The NTG2 has a battery. Have you tried it both with and without a battery installed?
    How does it work if you use the NTG2 on battery, and no phantom power?
    The NTG2 may have to have the power switch in Off position in order to use Phantom.

  44. Hello this a reply to Jenny Collins’ concern. I hope this will be of some help. I do not have your problems with the sound on my X70. I use either the microphone which came with my old JVC GY-HD101E or a Sony short shot gun mic of unknown model. However, with either mic I do sometimes get a kind of warbling eg approaching steam train whistle or bells. This camera replaced a Sony HXR MC 50 which gave utterly reliable sound. The JVC mic is now used on my Panny DVX 200 and the sound is superb. The Sony mic performed just as well when used on my EX1R. There does seem to be an inherent issue with the X70 which is a great pity as it is such a useful camera.

  45. Hi Steve
    I’ve tried every combination of phantom power and internal batteries. The NTG2 was certainly better when using the battery power, but the level of hiss is still terrible when using the xlr inputs.
    The NTG4+ also performed better on battery rather than phantom and, of course, there’s no battery option with the NTG3 but it out performed all the other shotgun mics.

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