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. I Purchased this item recently, one of the features I liked apart from the price was the Histogram. but for some reason in the menu it is grayed out and I cant seem to change it. has anyone got any advice on how to access this.

  2. Hey there

    I just bought the X70 and was about to get the NTG1 when I saw this conversation. Do you think/know its gonna be the same problem with this mic?
    Its basically the same mic without the internal power so I am scared.

    Thank you

  3. What format have you set the camera for recording/playback? Certain combinations will cause some functions to be grayed out. See P. 107 in the Operation Manual:

    Menu items are grayed out or do not work.
    • You cannot select grayed out display items in the current recording/playback situation.
    • There are some functions you cannot activate simultaneously. The following list shows examples of unworkable combinations of functions and menu items.

  4. Jespers Dorian …. I use the Sennheiser MKE-600 without a problem and it is an outstanding mic for the price. I also use the Audio Technica AT 875 short shotgun without a problem. The AT875 stays out of camera view better than other mics because it is short, and although the audio is quite good, the MKE-600 is noticeably better.

  5. Thanks Gerry, I know I read the manual, but it doe snot mention any conflicts regarding the histogram. but I have restored it to factory settings and its now working.
    it might have something to do with the 4k upgrade. I purchased

  6. I bought the X70 yesterday and paired it with a Rode NTG2. On phantom power it has a horrible hiss noise that makes it unusable. Popping in the battery and switching the camera passive power gives crystal clear audio. If I use an unpowered stage mic (Sennheiser e815s) I also get clear audio.

    I don’t have another mic that requires phantom power to trial it out, so that’s a little frustrating. Not sure what to do now other than return the mic to the vendor.

    HDW : In general most of my pics are now Rode with the exception of the NTG-2 which was the first mic to fail on me. Though I have had rather expensive Sennheiser gun mic fail on me big time while on a job, which was replaced by Sennheiser.

  7. Hi Phillip Wong …. I have the X70, and I use the Sennheiser MKE-600. Like the Rode NTG-2 it can use battery or phantom and it works spectacularly well with the X70 both on battery and on phantom. I can say enough good about this mic. At this price point (US$330 at B&H) I think it’s the best value on the market. Off axis rejection is excellent and I even use it for handheld interviews outdoors in strong winds with the sennheiser deadcat (MZH-600 US$ 70).
    The Rode is a good mic, but I’d still recommend returning it and buying the Sennheiser.

  8. I have a problem with terrible audio hiss using +48 phantom power on the x70. I am using a condenser mic that requires phantom power (it doesn’t have battery). Do you think this could be a camera problem or should I look at alternative microphones? I haven’t got a mic that is includes a battery so have to use the camera’s phantom power.

    Thank you

    HDW : I no longer have this camera anymore but it would be sensible to swap the “hissy” mic with another phantom powered mic to test your mic input.

  9. Hi John,
    I was having the same issue with my Sony X70 using the Rode NTG-2. The noise was horrible. I called Sony and tried a few things. I took the battery out of the mic, so I absolutely know that the camera is powering the mic. I switched the setting to +48 and lowered the volume in the settings menu on the camera. This helped a little bit. I don’t think it is the mic. I use the Rode NTG-2 with a Tascam recorder and the mic works fine.

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