Pro video blog…Produced by Philip Johnston DoP/Editor


When we bought the Sony PXW-X70 back in October 2014 part of the deal was an firmware upgrade to 4K, four months later and no sign of the promised software ! Yet the exact same model in its domestic guise the FDR-AX100 came out before the X70 with 4K as part of the deal.


Almost every 4K Sony professional camera to date is unfinished, awaiting software, the PXW-Z100 just got AVCHD last week after a year, PXW-FS7 awaiting FW for the back unit (Pro Res etc) and the PXW-X70 awaiting its 4K upgrade !


This is becoming the norm rather than the exception for Sony. I do think if you are going to sell sequential cameras like “buy part one and get part two free” you need to be as honest as possible with your “part two” dates.

Sonys web site still bangs on about a 4K upgrade “The PXW-X70 is also 4K ready and can handle 4K recordings with a future upgrade.”

Sony Reply…” Hi Philip, we will be confirming the 4K upgrade details by the end of this month. The plan was for the upgrade to be available ‘early 2015′ and the exact detail we will confirm in due course. Apologies if this was not clear in the communications! “


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.

46 thoughts on “Sony PXW-X70…When are we getting 4K ? Update …”Sony reply”

  1. ditto, may I add “when are we gonna get a real XAVC 50Mbps 10:2:2 ?” since THAT was part of the deal too.

  2. I share your concerns – the Sony PXW-Z100 came out late in 2013 and has yet one more firmware upgrade so that it becomes fully functional, promised before the end of the first half of 2015 nearly two years after the camera first went onto the market. You still cannot use the USB A connector.
    On the plus side, Sony do seem to be waking up to the disgruntlement of its customers as firmware version 4 was issued more or less on time in Jan 2015 unlike version 3 which was three or four months late. Version 5? Who knows as they do not give advance information.
    On the negative side, I believe that all of these firmware upgrades, as with the PXW-X70 and the PXW-FS7 should have been there from the start, and customers could feel cheated that they were not.
    I wonder whether we should be saying to Sony’s suppliers that we will only buy their cameras when they are fully functional.

  3. When Sony announced the 4K upgrade for the X70 last year, they said the release date would be in “first half of 2015” and they – and the retailers – keep saying the same today. So there still is plenty of time to be on time as promised and no reason to complain already in mid-February. One might guess that the new firmware will be released together with the probably rather identical 100Mb/s upgrade for the AX100 which is scheduled for March. At least I’m sure we will see it before NAB.
    BTW, it’s not only Sony that sell “unfinished” cameras. Nowadays it’s pretty normal for every manufacturer (Arri, RED, Panasonic and even Canon included) to add more functionality to its cameras by new firmware later. Not all of them are as straightforward as Sony to tell the world months before what they are going to release and when, though. I can’t see anything wrong here.

    HDW : Bernd you are missing the point…Why does the same domestic camera come with 4K installed, what are we waiting for the software has already been produced.

  4. Mark, what do you mean “when are we gonna get a real XAVC 50Mbps 10:2:2 ?”
    As far as I know the PXW-X70 already has XAVC 50Mbps 10:2:2…

    HDW : Your 100% correct Rob the X70 has got XAVC HD 422 LongGOP 1920 x 1080 50p @ 50Mbps

  5. @rob and HDW
    I know, problem is that it doesn’t work with vegas, and after I transcode with catalyst I end up with the same quality of AVCHD but files 5 times bigger, plus the idiotic transcoding process (from xavc to xavc, mxf to mxf -makes sense????) takes forever. So I’m asking : is it real XAVC ? and what’s with the incompatibility with my (Sony) editor? It makes no sense to me, but the most important complaint is that it doesn’t look any better than the “inferior” 28mbps. After the work of transcoding shouldn’t be better? methinks there is something funny here.

    HDW : I will ask Sony when I am down at BVE.

  6. Personally, I would also like to see cache recording included in one of the updates. That’s a terrible omission in my opinion.

  7. Three things…

    First thing….”How long is a piece of string?”…the problem is the use of ambiguous words like ‘early’. I wake up at 5am so early for me is 4am and late is 6am. Sony (et al) should be using phrases like ‘sometime in the 1st quarter’ etc, where we have a definable period to understand.

    Second thing…I was told by a Sony representative at Inter-Bee (Japanese equivalent of NAB or IBC) that we can expect the firmware update for the X70 by June. Even with the broadest understanding of ‘early’, June is most definitely not ‘early 2015’!!

    Third thing…a glimmer of hope – maybe! At CES 2015, it was announced that the AX100 would receive a firmware update in March to raise the bit rate to 100Mbps. Whilst the AX100 and X70 share similarities they are very different cameras. However, they are often perceived to be similar, I doubt Sony would release a firmware update on the AX100 before first releasing the firmware update on the X70 in order to prevent a partial flow of sales to the AX100 which would be expected to go to the X70. Of course, there is no guarantee that Sony will stick to the firmware update schedule for the AX100 and this is as I say, only a ‘glimmer of hope’ and my best guess.

  8. @HDW thanks, I appreciate it.
    I’ve been harsh and hyper-critical with Sony lately about the X70. But this little machine gives something new and (in a word) spectacular , and comes with a ridiculous price. The “strange” XAVC 50Mbps is indeed compensated (for now) by the stunning 28Mbps of the good old AVCHD. A state of the art AF , hands down the best ever for a prosumer camcorder. Picture profiles capable of transforming this camera into a real production tool! So I’m grateful to Sony for this amazing X70. it can get better of course. But we should also recognize Sony for it. There… I feel better now…

  9. isn’t the x70 also supposed to support live streaming? cant turn off the annoying standby or rec with memory chip icon from stream output from the hdmi.

  10. I was afraid of this and have been holding off on purchasing the X70 (Sony take note…), because I do not like the bait-and-switch experience. Sony needs to belly up and speak plainly about the promises, to regain customer confidence.

  11. Hi there!
    Have there been any “facts” around about the codec used for 4k?!
    I think it will be XAVC-L, but have there been any details about 50 or 100 MBit (there was a hint), 8 or 10bit, 4:2:2 or 4:2:0, perhaps even 50p instead of 24/25p in 4k?

    The X70 is no bad camcorder, but getting only AX100 4k features (4:2:0/8bit@24/25p) for another 500 bucks + vat would be a little less compared to a Panasonic X1000.

  12. So, specs are out but if you ask me these are “wrong”!


    the fourth bullet point is headlined “…4k ready”, in the following text we learn that: “Image sampling is 4:2:2 10-bit with high-efficiency Long-GOP compression at 50 Mbps, 35 Mbps or 25 Mbps. The PXW-X70 is also 4K ready and can handle 4K recordings with a future upgrade (fee required).”

    4:2:2 10-bit was not restricted to FullHD in Sony’s advertisement, it’s written as general and followed by the 4k upgrade offer, but now we only get AX100’s 4:2:0 8-bit in the 4k upgrade, “early 2015” is also end Q2 now.
    That’s not making me happy, also not that this cheap AX33 get’s 100Mbit and X70 only 60MBit.

  13. If Sony only adds 60Mbp/s 4k (UHD) than the X70 will literally be all by itself as the LOWEST 4K bitrate codec in the entire camcorder industry.

    Every Panasonic, JVC, Canon and all other Sony 4K models have a basic bitrate of 100Mbp/s. Even the very rock bottom cheapest entry level 4K models ALL provide 100Mbp/s or higher.

    Why wont Sony officially commit to 100Mbp/s? Even the tiny Sony 4K Action Cam does 100Mbp/s. No Sony XDCAM camcorder should EVER have a codec that is WAY below the cheapest consumer industry models.

    This is highly embarrassing for the XDCAM brand.

  14. And it’s up folks.

    Goto the firmware section for PXW-X70 and even though it says 1.02 still, once you click it, it takes you to download V2.0.

    Just tried out the new features, not bad. 4K is locked unless you have the install key..

    Streaming works great and is a simple MPG-TS over UDP.

  15. well done Carl!
    And I am sooooo glad that I sold both of my X70
    install key? seriously?
    what is that?

  16. Carl,
    never mind. I downloaded v. 2 firmware–so far so good.
    but is the 4k upgrade available?
    Can’t find it anywhere–I’m assuming it can
    be purchased on line and downloaded, right?

  17. Well, I’m not glad about these events. I own an X70 and it is a fantastic camera with tons of great features. I did the download for the new firmware but I don’t see where the 4k option is.
    I’m suspecting I quit the download early at this point, so I think I’ll do it again.
    4k aside I think the XAVC-L is a fantastic codec, with a high bit rate and the camera never loses a shot because it’s difficult to use or confusing.
    I’m sure Sony will rectify the 4k stuff in time; in the meantime the 4k they do provide will look just fine down sampled to 1080p.

  18. this is good for the manufacturer and bad for us. It will be only a matter of time before they will use the software locks to play with our money. This is the very first time that I see a firmware upgrading and immediately locking stuff unless a purchase is made instead of making the product work better. It will be like this if we don’t stop it: you buy a car and then after a year if you don’t buy a software then the car will stop running. People you really think that it won’t happen if we don’t open our eyes? Look Sony if you wanna sell a 4K camera then price it and I decide if I want to buy or not, but after you sold it then you don’t lock anything.The firmware trick to lock features unless I pay more must be well understood and made possibly illegal. This case is different but it will open all the doors to a nasty practice as a precedent. Let’s be careful and wise.

  19. Hi All, I have just bought and returned the X70 as the microphone mount on the handle was not sitting flush and was flexing like crazy. When unclipping and clipping in an external mic it felt like it was going to snap. Can anyone tell me if this is how it should be or was i right to return it?


    HDW : I assume you returned the X70 for a replacement…its the cameras picture quality you are buying into.

  20. I bought a GY-LS300 a few months ago and the shotgun mic wobbled like crazy in the mic mount. My Sony shot gun fit perfectly. 🙂

    I felt that the fitting of the mic in my X70 was a bit tight–but I didn’t have any problem with wobble.

    I will say this; I wouldn’t let a peripheral issue like that deter me from buying the X70–it’s a fantastic run and gunner—and, when properly used, you can get some beautiful DOF, with lovely bokeh,

    The internal preamps are very good, and you can get excellent audio for talking head educational presentations, and the video image is excellent.

    This is a great all around camera IMO, and if I wanted an easy to use run and gunner, a camera that will enable you to easily get every shot with great framing and exposure, with excellent studio quality as well I wouldn’t let anything stop me from doing it.

    There are a few things I wish were different, but nothing that constitutes a deal breaker.

    I think Phillip might agree with one thing: have the menu button on the back near the thumb selection switch, and also put the selection switch on the LCD as well–just like JVC did the LS300.

  21. @Ian it didn’t happen for the mic mount but the second X70 that I bought had the slot B broken. The store replaced the camera with a new one. I guess that the quality control is not up to the standards, so let’s be all careful and check everything when we buy.

  22. When i was updating my paw-x70 the updater stopped and now i can not turn my camera on. I need some help please.

  23. I did indeed return it due to build quality, and to cut a long story short, have taken a refund. But I do plan on buying it from a different reseller, as I was very impressed with the picture quality. But I agree with Mark. It does appear as if Sony aren’t quiet on the ball with the quality control,on this particular occasion. Let’s hope the next one is problem free.

  24. Roberto , I want to believe you but it does sound a little shady. In any case if you really need help then I guess that you already know that only Sony can help you, don’t you?

  25. @William Ridenour , I agree about the pre-amps and the sound control of the X70, which is first class. The only thing missing is the possibility to mix the external XLR (shotgun) with one of the internals (like almost all the others sony cameras do). I have the HM200 and HM70 now and I have to use an active beachtek to get a decent sound. The pain of having to worry about one more battery (9v) for the beachtek pre-amps is rewarded by the better sound. JVC sounds like. I dunno how to put it: BAD LOL

    anyway I’m re-thinking HM70 now and the beauty of a shoulder camera, which is priceless, even only for HD.

  26. I can’t go with most of these statements: 1. The X70 4k will be XAVC-L, that’s not the same as the AX100 is!! It also has customisable Picture Profiles the AX100 doesn’t have. 2. For that pricepoint the build quality is very fair, nothing to complain about! I had more complains with earlier and more expensive cameras!

    But, would be nice to have the XLR and the internal mics simultanous sinve there are 4 channels, but only two used.
    Even with 4k and XAVC-L it would be nice to have at least 100 or 150Mbps! 10-bit would have also been nice as “promised”.
    But don’t forget or compare that at least the 50Mbps XAVC-L is very efficient compared to other codecs. Simply do a test with a waterfall for example.

  27. Mark, in respect to a shoulder cam with excellent sound–EA50. It also produces a lovely image. But I was surprised at how clean the audio of the X70 was. It lacks depth, but nothing I can’t easily add in post. For important stuff, of course, I record it separate and edit in Apple’s sound program that came with the old Final cut suite. great editing.

  28. @william ridenour Yes I like the ea50 but I needed a second body to the HM200 and I had a quick test with the HM70 and it was a surprise! Very nice. The ea50 is fine on the shoulder but the HM70 stays a little better. Both are front heavy, the HM70 just less so 🙂
    and I paid 800 US for the HM70 (new). The time of the 7K (US) minimum to produce are finally over LOL

  29. @william ridenour One of the great things of a shoulder mount camera is that you can add stuff and the balance will stay almost the same. The HM70 needs good audio, so I added a beachtek (active, NOT passive): this way I have 3 more channels on the beachtek, plus one more channel in camera. If I use a splitter (3.5mm stereo to 2 mono) I can mix something like 5 microphones, with separate controls.

    Now the audio out of the beachtek is even better than the XLR on the handle of both the hm200 and X70 sony.

    but this is the thread of the X70 so I’ll leave it to it.

  30. Roland, I agree with everything you said. I looked seriously into the AX100 before I purchased the X70. The lack of control over the image, the build quality (which seemed shoddy and flimsy), and the terrible zoom control made me very quickly decide against the AX100. The X70 is much better built and gives pro-level image control—and a great zoom rocker. For the price, all things considered, that’s hard to beat. The biggest problem with the X70: the bungled roll out by Sony–that has soured many on the model and clouded their judgement of the camera its self. I refuse to let stupid Sony marketing color my view of the product its self.
    This is an amazing camera, and when I have to run and gun I turn to it above every other camera I have, knowing I’ll get all my shots and the video quality will be great.
    What’s not to like?

  31. both the X70 and AX100 give beautiful pictures, but so does the galaxy phone. The problem with those little cameras is the fact that they are little, but the galaxy is even smaller. All (AX100,X70, Galaxy) are extremely difficult to hold for a real take. It is time to re-consider shoulder cameras and put the end to this nonsense. Holding (any) camera in mid air is plain idiotic. and the frnkenrigs are funny, heavy and ridiculous at the same time. On the shoulder with a big handle : as it used to be, and for a reason! Then a shoulder camera can do everything but just better.

  32. I have a light rig for my X70 that is fantastically good. When I use it and set the cam on active steady shot it’s stable like a rock–and I can adjust it so the eyepiece is right up to my eye; awesome.

    There’s more than one way to skin a cat.

  33. Is the 4k licence for x70 available yet and if it is how do you purchase it. Does anyone know how to access the 4k as it is frustrating that the firmware seems to be available but not the 4K upgrade.
    Thanks Matthew

    HDW : It should be available today, you pay a retailer “X” and they issue you with an unlock code.

  34. Phillip, is the 4k code available in Europe and the British Isles only, or can the code the purchased now in the US as well?

    HDW : Sorry dont know

  35. @tom ridenour a light frankenrig is still a nonsense and is just like any other frankenrig. If you add handles (mandatory with any rig) then it makes the frankencamera extremely difficult to sit to rest a little between shots. To the other frankenrigs lovers I’d say this: try a shoulder camera ONCE, then … goodbye to the franken-nonsense.

  36. OK, so haivn read all of the posted comments about the Sony upgrade, when will the $K be availbale. I’m just on the edge of purchasing the X&), but now I’m thinking I will wait for the new $K Canon XC10 for $2500. It sounds like Sony has been stringing everyone along for too long. Can someone give a reason to purchase the Sonny X70?

  37. Sounds like the upgrade will be available soon. But i’m thinking about the Canon XC10 – should I wait and buy the Sony X70?

  38. Just for those of us in the US, I checked with three Sony dealers today and they were completely unaware of the upgrade and the code.
    I also called Sony and got stone walled in the labyrinth telephone tag they and most large companies play to avoid actually providing any information and customer service.
    My last message from them: all our people are busy now, but provide a phone number as AS SOON AS ONE IS FREE, he’ll call you.
    That was 5 hours ago…and so far, Nada, zilch, nichts, bupkis.
    So, if this 4k code sale is available Sony is keeping it super secret–from dealers as well as customers. That’s what I see.

  39. Finally, I gave up and call Sony back and finally got someone who could tell me something. According to him, Sony has stated the upgrade will be released here in the US at the END of this month(June).
    He knew nothing about what was going on in Europe or the UK/Ireland.
    He said not all Sony dealers could participate, but only those who are authorized broadcast companies. As best as he understands, the dealer, after the extortion fee is extracted from our bank accounts, will provide a code. From that code you’ll go to a web site and download what you need with the code provided. This would go on a card and be loaded into the X70.
    Why don’t we make things as complicated and difficult as possible!?
    I like the X70, but I’ll never buy another “incomplete” camera again. My advise to Sony: don’t market and sell it until it is COMPLETELY what it’s going to be.

  40. As of this morning, B&H now has the pre-order link on their web site. Looks like they ship on June 20th…about damn time! I ordered mine. 😉

  41. Steve Giroux wrote: “I’m just on the edge of purchasing the X&), but now I’m thinking I will wait for the new $K Canon XC10 for $2500. It sounds like Sony has been stringing everyone along for too long. Can someone give a reason to purchase the Sonny X70?”
    I looked up the Canon, which is said to be available at the end of this month (June) here in the US.

    It is very impressive looking–but, note without XLR inputs for sound. But I personally always take that with a grain of salt, because if sound is really important you record it separate anyway.

    As impressive image-wise as it looks only using one can really tell if it is what the makers present it to be. Looking at the specs I think there is no contest with 4k–the Canon will do the job much better. The footage looks great on youtube and vimeo—I guess if the lack of XLR capability isn’t a deal breaker the Canon might be your camera.

    Still, the X70 is fantastically easy to use and the active steady shot is a big plus in its favor. You gotta just make the list of what is important and go that way. But I wouldn’t buy it before I had a change to try it if at all possible. I thought I had a real gem, with real 4k with the X70, but Sony’s disingenuousness and their niggardly version of 4k is really an insult and a betrayal in some degree to what buyers were lead to believe. I don’t like the underhandedness.

    As a final comment: the internals on the X70 XLRs is not that great, so losing them really is not all that great a sacrifice in my view. Considering that, the Canon is certainly worth a look-see.

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