Pro video blog…Produced by Philip Johnston DoP/Editor



I have put together a 3m 30s video to let you see the capabilities of the Sony PXW-X70. Having XAVC 10bit 422 at 50Mbps onto a fast SDXC card produces some stunning footage only seen from shoulder mounts at 5x the price of the X70. All the green screen was shot with the X70 as were the flowers and chip shop footage. The 1080 50p footage was taken into FCPX via Ultra Studio 4K.

The PXW-X70 soaks in the light, thank goodness for the ND filters, this is a camera you need to work with but I did find setting it in full auto mode for a couple of shots did a fine job. You can work up to 15dBs with this camera without any discernible noise, for the money its a no brainor.


Today (Friday 3rd October 14) I was filming an interview with a very ill patient for a major NHS job that we are producing and the quality of the pictures are stunning, I am blown away with the picture quality from the X70 and I love the ability to view my HDSDI output to my Sony PVM-740 OLED monitor. This was the perfect scenario for the smaller camcorder to capture 1080 50p pictures in a tight space.


The PXW-X70 comes with a second cold shoe that you can mount onto the rear of the handle, very useful for my Sony hybrid radio mic UWP-D11.




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.

23 thoughts on “Sony PXW-X70…1st Thoughts Video (Updated)

  1. Hi Philip,
    thank you for the video on PXW -X70. Wow ! That looks great. The PXW X 160 is very promising but this one too, and for the half of the price. So, what do you think?

    Best regards,

  2. Hi, good to see you can edit it. I’ve just got my X70 today and I’m very pleased except I cant load MXF files at all! I use Premiere Pro CS6, I’ve tried all the readily available converters, including the Sony content browser without success! The converters convert the sound but not the video, yet I can see the video file!. Using iMaci & PP6.

  3. Many cameras lose quality when upping the framerate — more alias and/or reduced sharpness. How well does the X70 cope in this regard when switching from 1080p25 to 1080p50?

    HDW : Hi David, I never use 1080 25p unless its 4K. The X70 produces some of the finest footage I have seen to date at 1080 50p especially at 0dB and I have used some fine Sony, Panasonic and JVC cameras in my time. The XAVC codec produces very clean, sharp pictures. Lets be honest most people have been forced to use 1080 25p in the past due to card space and the lack of most cameras to have 50p as an option.

  4. do you think the footage could be graded quite easily with that 10bit 422 codec, also how do you think it fairs up to the GH4? cheers.

    HDW : As far as the GH4 the X70 is very comparable but can’t compete with an f1.2 lens for shallow DoF. The 10bit 422 50Mbps certainly helps in grading remembering you need to choose a 10bit timeline in FCPX or PremierePro, you don’t get the colour banding as seen in 8bit footage.

  5. Hi

    When you say this camera is 4k ready, what does that mean? Will there be a firmware upgrade to allow 4k? And if so, when, and what 4k frame rates will be supported?

    HDW : A FW upgrade will come out early 2015 to enable 4K…I suspect 1080 25p.

  6. I noticed some highlight clipping similar to the Canon XF105. Is there colour fringing as well. The nice shot of the fine dog showed some evidence of clipping.
    Am I wrong?

    HDW : Hi Tim well spotted but the dog footage was slowed by 50% and treated to optical flow in FCPX, the shot was fine till I added optical flow !
    PS. Fringing is not as apparent as in previous 8bit camcorders.

  7. Hi
    Could you test if there is delay on SDI output?

    HDW : Not as far as I can tell.

  8. Thanks for the fast review, there’s not much available from this camera yet!
    Is it easy to get the XAVC into Premiere Pro CS6? I really don’t want to have to buy more software right now.
    What’s the best way to shoot from the X70 for edit in PP CS6?


    HDW : I have not yet tried to import XAVC into PP-CC yet I will do a wee experiment over the weekend.

  9. Thanks for the review, particularly since we are expecting delivery of an x70 today. I was extremely disappointed to read that there is no lanc, which is crucial in our work. Do you think this is just an oversight that might be corrected in future models? I’ll be sending this one right back now that I know there is no lanc, but I’d like to think Sony could eventually find a space for this important item!

    HDW : I think you seriously need to film at 1080 50p XAVC, plug in your HDMI to a 50″ screen and tell me you are prepared to send this camera back.
    You will not get better pictures for your money and the 422, 10bit is stunning…these pictures are equal or better than a SONY PMW-350.
    I have got Sony on the case to tell me if there is a solution to the lack of “Lanc” socket.

  10. Hi Philip – I really appreciate you putting this up. I’m pretty much sold on getting this camera. I was until this was announced fixated on a PXW-200 upgrade, but the X70 ticks a bunch of important extra boxes (including price!). My question here is – have you any news regarding issues importing to FCPX. I noticed you said you edited this footage using it and wondered if you have new conversion or workflow fix. Thanks!

    HDW : None of these new LongGOP codecs are supported by FCPX both Sony and Panasonic. Sony at least have a workaround with “Catalyst Browse” but they need to get Apple to pull their finger out. If you have a Black Magic Ultra Studio 4K you can also bring your footage into FCPX but its a bit tedious.

  11. Philip: How do you find the fly-by-wire focusing / zoom ring in practical use? Thanks.

    HDW : No problem, I am used to “electronic” focusing, many shoulder mount only boys would find it a pain.

  12. What audio receiver did you use in the picture above? I was under the impression it would be close to impossible to use a camera light and audio receiver on this camera. Waiting on mine to come in the mail this Wednesday

    HDW : Its a Sony radio mic, the camera comes with a 2nd cold shoe that you can fit on the rear of the handle.

  13. Hi Mike Griffith,
    you need to download the “Catalyst Browse” software from SONY for encoding the material. Than you can Import it into your NLE. It is pretty easy, though you have to take two steps.

  14. Now that Sony Catalyst Prepare is available all encoding issues have been solved I think. I can import from old HVR, MOV, MTS, do rough edits, simple colour grading then import into Premiere Pro CS6. Yippee!

  15. Just wanted to alert everyone to a problem with the X-70. Not fatal, but disconcerting. If you press the record button quickly on and off for any reason you may observe a flashing screen that will not respond to any attempt to turn the camera off conventionally. You will have to remove the battery. I have two X-70 cameras and it happened on both. Once you put the battery back on and start the camera back up, you will get a message that helps you retrieve the video you just shot. Scary when you first see it. But it works. Thank goodness. It will be important to remember that the camera needs a few seconds to finalize and store the video clip you just shot. So, don’t be quick on the trigger with this camera!

  16. Hi, I was using mine in full auto (intelligent auto) mode filming speeches so the camera was fixed on a tripod.It went in and out of focus a couple of times but mainly was fine. Lighting was not too good but have shot previously dark scenes without problem, seemed more like the focus beam was broken so camera tried to refocus but there was no movement. Very annoying if I cannot rely on it,have you had a similar problem? Thanks

    HDW : Thats the very reason I don’t use AF…no AF is reliable.

  17. @Mike – I had the same thing happen in both bright and dim light. Reported to Sony repair. They said the camera depends on contrast to maintain auto focus. I relayed my concern about that. Best I could do. Vowed to use manual focus as much as possible. Another problem is the camera becoming non-functional if you double click by accident. Nothing can be done except pull the battery off. After you reinstall the battery then you’ll have to go through a file recovery sequence which fortunately has been successful. Use the very best cards you can get.

  18. Hi Philip
    I live in Lima Peru and congratulate you on your work.
    I devote myself to record all kinds of events especially marriages and 15 years.
    I need to choose between PANASONIC HC X1000 and SONY PXW X70.
    Which is better in few lighting and which has more rapid approach. I wait offer to me an advice to be able to buy it,
    here in Lima they do not exist still.
    Thank you in your time.

    HDW : Camera choices are personal but to help you…Can your editing system cope with 4K 50p…if not you have no choice its the Sony X70.

  19. Hi Philip
    I will wait for the update and to the earring of the tests that you realize in 4k to take the best decision. Thank you.

  20. Has anyone actually seen any ‘real world’ 4k footage from this camera yet?

    This would help us to evaluate the performance of Sony’s 60Mbps codec. Although on paper the bitrate is causing concern, it would be so nice to be pleasantly surprised..

  21. Hi Philip,
    Greetings from Canada! I’d like to know what shoulder rig are you using for the PXW-X70?

    HDW : What shoulder rig ?

  22. Monopod with small fluid head. Use belt with pocket support. Nothing fancier than that is needed.

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