Pro video blog…Produced by Philip Johnston DoP/Editor


Its clear that Sony have an intention to update the PXW-Z100 but this was being discussed as far back as January the 9th 2014, its now October and still no AVCHD. One disgruntled owner Michael Thompson has written to HD Warrior with his tale of woe.

Michael Thompson (PXW-Z100 owner)…

“I have publicised within the Institute of Videography and some members there are appalled. I have also posted a message to the Sony Europe Facebook page in the the hope that they may sit up and listen. I have also written to the suppliers of the camera who could be considered to be in breach of contract.

You are already aware of some of this, but it is worth repeating the story:

I bought just under a year ago a Sony PXW-Z100 4K camera which I have been very pleased with, by and large. But there is a serious issue about this and other Sony cameras which I feel is giving them a less than good reputation. Essentially, it has been sold unfinished.
Let me clarify.

When I purchased the camera, the manual acknowledged the following:

The “Memory Stick” media / SD card C slot / access lamp – to be supported by a future (firmware) upgrade.

USB connector (A type) – to be supported by a future (firmware) upgrade.

DATA CODE button – to be supported by a future (firmware) upgrade.

TC/U-BIT/DURATION button (to switch between the timecode and recording time display on the LCD screen. The user bit) – to be supported by a future (firmware) upgrade.

This upgrade was promised by Sony for the middle of 2014. I quote Sony:

*A firmware update is planned for the middle of 2014 to support the Long GOP mode for extended 4K recording time and to add support for AVCHD recording, a format that until now has been compatible with the playback environment of Blu-ray® Discs.

There was a minor upgrade in February 2014 which did none of these things (so far as I am aware) but did correct sound channels 1 and 2 which were the wrong way round, and one or two other things:

What’s New

Improved Functions
Audio Channel Correction
HDMI version 2.0
Slow shutter speed setting in Slow & Quick mode

My concern is that I have been chasing the v3.00 firmware upgrade for months. Eventually, I pretended to be a new buyer and asked Sony the question. The salesperson was very conscientious and eventually came back to me with some newly released software (not the promised firmware) and indicated to me that the firmware might not be released until 2015.

I find this exasperating as it means that the SD card slot and the USB connector are unusable and I cannot record using Long GOP which would enable more running time on the cards. Since XQD cards are very expensive (currently £380 approx for a 64GB card – 1/2hr at 4K and 1hr at HD ). I have started to use an Atomos Ninja 2 with 240GB which gives me 5 1/2 hours with ProRes HD.

Now, it doesn’t end there, unfortunately.

The newly issued Sony PXW-X70 is being raved about as an excellent camera, 50% the price of the PXW-Z100, but, according to Sony, “The PXW-X70 is also 4K ready and can handle 4K recordings with a future upgrade.”

Oh dear, here we go again.

It seems that they are beginning to make a habit of it, spoiling excellent cameras by relying on the issue of upgraded firmware, AFTER the sale, some time. The problem is they are not keeping the new owner of the camera up to date as to when that firmware might be issued.

Personally, I think this method of business is appalling and can give a company a bad reputation. After all, does any of us wish to buy something that hasn’t been finished? The trust is beginning to wane, somewhat…….”


HDW : I have written to Sony on this matter and hope to get a reply very soon which I will publish in this post. Meantime you can watch my review on the PXW-Z100 which was produced back in January 2014.


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.

21 thoughts on “Sony’s AVCHD Firmware for the PXW-Z100 now 3 months overdue

  1. I am also waiting for the firmware upgrade for my FDR-AX1 !!! Same situation for the consumer version of the PXW-Z100. One had XAVC the XAVC-S really the same camera with different firmware.

  2. Many thanks to HD Warrior for posting this. I didn’t think that I would be the only one. I don’t know how many of these cameras have been sold, but all owners will be waiting.

  3. I stopped buying Sony products a good while ago and will not give this company my money ever again. As much as I would like a PXW-X70 I will wait for the Panasonic or JVC equivalent.

    HDW : Not a good policy… there is nothing to beat the Sony PXW-X70 in its class and price for a 10bit 422 SDXC camcorder and I should know !

  4. Many thanks to HD Warrior for posting this. I didn’t think that I would be the only one. I don’t know how many of these cameras have been sold, but all owners will be waiting.

  5. I am hoping that when the firmware comes out the differences between the FDR-AX1 and the PXW-Z100 will be just the interfaces, just like Sony have done in the past with the NX5U and the AX2000 for instance. I think that both these 4K camcorders were rushed out to the market and given more time would have had the normal Sony differences between consumer and Pro models. Not so bothered about histogram but getting data code to work etc would be nice !!!

  6. I’m ready to try to get Sony to buy this camera back. They’ve failed to honor the provisions under which I purchased it, however, it has been impossible to navigate Sony’s Beauracratic Morass to find just whom to speak to. Perhaps a call to my states Attorney General can instigate a response.

  7. Hey all… same issue as you have. I called the product support line number at the bottom of the Sony Pro site and spoke with a rep in their Fort Myers, FL location. When I called there in Augsut, they gave me a mid-September date. That has obviously come and gone. Speaking with them again this morning, they gave me a date of October 30 – which is Thursday – so we will see. -Jeff

  8. Same problem as @Freecam has…
    I did the upgrade but I can’t convert the MXF files with XAVC-L Codec

    I use FCP-X and I don’t have problem using the XAVC-I Codec

    HDW : FCPX will take A7s XAVC-S footage but not XAVC-LongGOP footage

  9. Hi everyone,

    I’m taking advantage of the holidays to test out some new stuff. I finally got an MXF converter that will take my Long GOP MXF Files shot on on PXW-z100 Sony camera and convert them to Apple Pro Res 422 HQ. Now I’m waiting for AVCHD and SD card support.

    Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays

  10. Hello do the new update is available pxw-z100 camera? if well which links?

  11. @Drzoom
    I use a 32GB Integral Ultima Pro(10) that handles up to 45 Mb/s
    without problems. On 1920 * 1080 AVCHD it offers me 158 minutes.

  12. By the way ,I allready lost my faith in FCP long ago. The longGOP clips fit seamless in the ever improving Premiere Pro CC.

  13. Where can I find out HOW to properly upgrade my Sony Z100? I asked at Sony and they wouldn’t give me an answer because “they can’t be responsible for any damage the camera might suffer during upgrade”.. I also asked if upgrading the latest version V.5 includes all the previous upgrades, I didn’t get an answer.

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