Pro video blog…Produced by Philip Johnston DoP/Editor


SONY BROADCAST UK “We are pleased to announce that the version N°3 of  PXW-Z100 firmware upgrade will be available the 30thOctober.

This free of charge firmware upgrade will be publish  in “Resources” area  on under the main page of PXW-Z100.”

The version 3 will include:

  • XAVC Long GOP* 4K(QFHD)/HD recording capability with max.150 Mbps on XQD media card
  • TC output from HDMI

*XAVC-L (long GOP) is a codec with MXF file wrapper, in QFHD is 4:2:0 with 8bit, in HD is 4:2:2 with 10bit.


The next firmware version should include AVCHD recording and will be available in January 2015.

The Direct Copy function we plan to update in first half of 2015.

We intend to email all our registered users with this information when the software is ready to download.


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.

32 thoughts on “Sony announce to HD Warrior v3 FW upgrade for PXW-Z100

  1. This good news indeed. It doesn’t entirely clear all outstanding firmware updates as those items listed on pages 8 and 9 of the Operating Guide (I can provide a copy of those pages with the relevant items underlined, principally the USB Type A connector and the “Memory Stick” media / SD Card C slot / access lamp) have yet to have anything said about them. But good progress is being made!
    Michael Thompson, Hardy Productions UK

  2. Looks like the PXW-Z100 will get the QFHD 3840×2160 420 8 bit just like my FDR-AX1 but with MXF wrapper instead of mp4 in my AX1. HD in 422 10 bit is just like the X160/180 which include all the other codecs too. Clearly a small team working on the FDR-AX1 and PXW-Z100 unable to finish the cameras as advertized or have been reassigned to bring to market the X160/180 and X70. I would be happy if they completed the product as documented. All the connectors and buttons actually work !!!

  3. My supplier has obtained further information on the hardware side of things:

    Memory Stick media/SD card C slot/ access lamp
    Yes, the AVCHD recording of PXW-Z100 will be on the Memory Stick” media/SD card C slot. In other words AVCHD cannot be recorded on the XQD media. (January 2015)

    USB connector (A type)
    Yes, Direct Copy function will activate the USB connector. Until then there will be no function with that USB connector. (1H 2015)

    So, the camera should be able to use all of its facilities by the end of the first half of 2015, over 18 months after the camera was first made available on the market. I think Ron Evans is right in what he says in his comment.

    Does this sort of practice end here? I suspect not. And it won’t be Sony alone, there will be others I am sure.

  4. Before I retired, some years ago now, I spent my career in high tech so am well acquainted with how development is done. Product development teams take technology from the ” parts bin” of hardware and software and are not always developed by the actual product team. Software needs to be compiled for the product processor used etc. You can see the parts comparison between the NX5U, FDR-AX1, PXW-Z100,PXW-X160/180 Not all the same but bits !! Sony has always done this with consumer product lacking XLR connectors and/or SDI and timecode connectors. But usually these products come out together and are finished. In this case I think the push for the FDR-AX1 and PXW-Z100 were to support the Sony push for 4K and sales of 4K TV’s etc and B cameras for the high end stuff. Next priority was introduction of new codec XAVC and XAVC-S throughout the line. So the NX5U and PMW series had to be replaced. A much bigger volume than the FDR-AX1 or the PXW-Z100. So we have the PXW-X160/180 that replace a large part of the range and the X70 removes the need for the NX30 and the PMW100. I can see that this move was of greater benefit than finishing the FDR-AX1 and PXW-Z100 !!! It would be nice if they just came clean and gave a little more to the FDR-AX1 and PXW-Z100 when they got around to it. Making these have the same basic capabilities like the past differences would be a start keeping the true 4k and 10bit for the Z100 and having both have 422 10bit for HD would be nice. This would place the FDR-AX1 between the NX3 and the rest of the pro line too. I am sure the hardware has been there from the start as it was so easy for them to implement HDMI 2.0 with a small firmware update.

    Ron Evans

  5. Ver 3.0 for the FDR-AX1 has been released and I have updated my FDR-AX1. All it seems to have is AVCHD record to the SD card slot which of course now becomes usable and will record AVCHD and format cards or Memory sticks. Record format is either AVCHD OR XAVC-S not both unfortunately. Data code button still does not work. Reading from the SD in the camera is also not possible must use a card reader and for some reason it says Playmemories will not read the card and one must use Vegas to read the card. Not tried recording yet will report back though I do not see myself ever using AVCHD from this camera when I have a NX5U and NX30U to use with all the features working !!!

  6. It looks as though the two models are being treated differently as I have not seen version 3 of the firmware upgrade for the PXW-Z100 yet, not due until 30th. I checked a short while ago, just in case.

  7. It looks as though Sony failed to meet their deadline, set only about three weeks ago.
    It is now October 31 and there is no sign of the Version 3.0 firmware upgrade that I can find.
    This does not inspire much confidence in Sony, regrettably.
    Bearing in mind this is the first of three promised upgrades, what chance of the others being published in a timely manner?

  8. Since they have made no explanation or apology for the delay (albeit hours), I think it reflects badly on Sony as a leading manufacturer. There appears to be no accountability on their part towards their customers. At the very least, if there was going to be a further delay, they should have said so.

  9. Well said Michael, I`ve sent email to Sony asking for their comments… guess what.. no response,…

    patience and waiting seem to be our only option ?

  10. You are right, Dave, waiting seems to be our only option. However, I won’t be caught out another time when purchasing new equipment, and Sony would have to work hard to bring me round to considering equipment from them again. The first thing would be to convince me that what I am buying is fully functional, or, alternatively, to sell at a price that reflects that it is not.

    I have written to Sony Professional Europe through Facebook Messenger (they contacted me that way to advise me of the upgrade date of 30th October). I have also posted my comments to the Institute of Videography and I have also written to my original supplier of the camera (who seems to have his contacts within Sony).

    I wrote the following to Sony Professional Europe, yesterday (1st November):

    Hi, unfortunately Version 3 of the PXW-Z100 did not appear on 30th October which looks bad for Sony, since the announcement that it would be was only a few weeks ago.
    Having for years bought Sony products, this failure by Sony is disappointing and will certainly influence me when looking on the market for new equipment. It is the final straw when it comes to trust.
    In the case of the Z100, selling a product in late 2013 which is not fully functional is bad enough, but promises that it would be fully functional by mid 2014 persuaded me to purchase what is otherwise a good camera. Sony now have indicated that it will be fully functional by the end of the first half of 2015 nearly 2 years after the camera was released. This suggests to me that Sony are not taking their customers seriously.
    I would ask what the revised release date for Version 3 is going to be, but there seems little point since Sony’s promises apparently have no value.
    Unfortunately Sony appear to be repeating their mistakes with equipment released only in the last month or so. Phrases like “4K Ready” mislead, since that is something they are definitely not, reliance being on firmware upgrades which, judging by my experience with the Z100, may not happen in a timely manner. Sony seem to be set on a course for disaster.
    Feel free to pass this back to the decision makers.
    Regards Michael Thompson

  11. Many thanks Michael, for your scalding imput to Sony..their apparent lack of `interest` just makes my blood boil.. an awesome piece of kit being spoilt by lack of after sales service by the Japanese,.. let`s hope they are shamed into some action…

  12. So do I Dave, but sometimes very large corporations forget their customers and only look to their own profits. The customers have to make their views known, or “vote with their feet” and go elsewhere.

  13. Today I received an email from Magdalena Dembrinska, , Sony, who informed me that pxw-z100 version 3 will be released within the next 2 weeks….fingers crossed, then…..

  14. The problem for me is that I have camera which was supposed to be fully functional by mid-2014, and frankly I begin to wonder whether it will ever be fully functional. I wonder whether some form of compensation is appropriate?

  15. I am in agreement Michael, Sony should apologise and make some sort of offer for not keeping their promises..maybe an xqd card with their complements, to every pro registered owner, might just show they care.. will this happen.? well.. best not to hold one`s breath!

    more likely they will release a z100 mk 2 with all included, at more £…

  16. Good morning. I received a call from Doug at Sony (New Jersey) this morning who said that the new firmware is now available on the ServicesPlus website, and will be working its way throughout the customer sites in the next 24 hours. Will be checking it out shortly!

  17. Downloaded and installed successfully – relief! But there are still two upgrades to come – it begs the question, but why aren’t these remaining upgrades available now?

  18. Jeff, the same question applies to Sony’s own program, Sony Vegas Pro 13. The latter reads the files but with a lot of pixelated interference. You then have to go out and buy Sony’s Catalyst Prepare (about £120) which does the conversion. The latter is a good program / utility for early editing (if wanted) and conversion, but shouldn’t be necessary in my opinion.

  19. Unfortunately Catlyst Browse, which I have, does not do the job – in fact I am not sure what job it does do. I had to purchase Catalyst Prepare which does do the conversion and allows a certain amount of other edit work as well. But it is good to hear that Sony and Apple are working together.
    We are now waiting for the next update for the PXW-Z100 which hopefully, if Sony keep to their word, will be released in January 2015.

  20. Catalyst Browse does the conversion on different codec and I choose ProRes to be able to edit with FCP 7 or FCP-X…
    There is even a version for PC if you use it

  21. Does anyone know how to make the Z100 produce discernible 4k video – am drowning in crappy output here – is it my fault? – who the hell knows. Can anyone show the way to better footage.

  22. Hi, it is not clear what your actual problem is but the original XAVC Intra codecs should give you the best 4K video footage, giving 250Mbps at 25P and 500Mbps at 50P, as in the original operating guide for the camera. Subsequently (in firmware v3), Sony provided the XAVC-L format which is more economical in terms of data (100Mbps for 25P and 150Mbps for 50P). (I am talking PAL standard throughout). With the original settings, you can import direct into Sony Vegas Pro 13 using the Device Explorer. The v3 codecs are more tricky and most likely you have to take them into something like Sony Catalyst first to get clean images. HD Warrior knows all about that!
    The real frustration is probably with Sony themselves who are exasperating at the best of times. There is yet another firmware version (4) for Z100, supposedly due during the first half of 2015, and needless to say not published yet. With any luck it will allow us to use the USB A socket provided from the start but so far with no functional use. I can’t understand why Sony do not issue their cameras fully functional from the start. Customers would feel less “cheated”.

  23. Hi Dave, yes, I am now fully up to date with version 5 which gives you the long awaited facility to transfer clips through the USB to a USB drive (upto 2TB in size). I have tried it out with a 2TB Transcend drive and that works fine. This is great as if you are travelling for a week or two, you don’t have to worry about having a large supply of expensive XQD cards. The transfer rate is not fast but what the camera does is transfer the entire contents of each card (you can tell it which one, A, B or C) into an “archive” directory which is dated (or you can give it a specific name).
    The upgrade also allows data codes to be displayed while playing AVCHD clips – not something I have checked out.
    I think the Sony PXW-Z100 is now almost completely functional, 2 years after the camera was first released onto the market. Not an impressive record in my view.

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