Pro video blog…Produced by Philip Johnston DoP/Editor


Sony have seriously misjudged the backlash with the up and coming firmware upgrade, and the over the top price X70 owners are having to pay for a measly licence that many of us insist should have shipped with the camera from day one.

Assuming you need 4K 25p, 420 8bit footage you are expected to pay Sony a further 485 Euros for the pleasure…no chance. At least two of my colleagues own two X70s and they are thinking of now selling them on as the price for 2 licences… a whopping 970 euros is far too dear in their opinion.

To add insult to injury the AX100 (X70 domestic clone) came with 4K as standard and is being updated in March 2015 “The FDR-AX100 will also support XAVC S 4K 100Mbps high-bitrate recording through a firmware update scheduled for March 2015.”

While the PROFESSIONAL PXW-X70 will only support 60Mbps in 4K…this is shocking. Sony do say the following “We are looking to support a higher bit-rate recording mode than 60 Mbps for 3840×2160 XAVC-L in the future

A word from one of my readers “February 24, 2015, came the news that soon will be released an update for PXW-X70 will be available 4K resolution. Just judging by the presented data, the owners of professional cameras PXW-X70 will be able to improve their equipment to the level of consumer camera AX100, with PAYMENT ???? While AX100 will soon receive improved characteristics with 4K. Correct me if I’m wrong.”

This is turning into a “Marketing Disaster” for Sony Broadcast and I for one will not be paying 485 euros for any 4K 25p frame rate. Panasonic on the other hand recently gave all their Panasonic PX270 users a late Christmas present by giving away their AVC Ultra 200 codec for free, when it was rumoured to cost at least 2500 euros.

I love my PXW-X70 and XAVC HD 1080 50p works fine for me but a lot of disgruntled X70 users are becoming very angry at not only the time it has taken Sony to arrive at the 4K licence price but the unfairness of it all compared to the AX100 !

Lets look at the Mbps of other 4K camcorders…

Sony PXW-FS7 = Best quality 4K @ 600Mbps

Sony PXW-Z100 = Best quality 4K @ 600Mbps

Panasonic HC-X1000 = 150 Mbps

Panasonic GH4 = 100Mbps

JVC GY-LS300 = 150Mbps

Sony domestic FDR-AX100 = 100Mbps (FW coming June)

Does anyone think we are going to get top notch 4K footage at 60Mbps when Sony have already announced a FW update for the domestic AX100 upping it to 100Mbps…sorry but I really feel so angry that Sony Broadcast think professional camera operators will put up with this outrageously bad afterthought when their domestic partners are walking all over us…seriously very poor marketing Sony Broadcast !!!

Further thoughts :

What were we waiting for, the price, we knew that would be over the top and we were right. I thought Sony were working on some amazing professional codec that would give us a minimum 150-200 Mbps XAVC 4K, after all…We the end user bought into the fact that our X70s are “professional camcorders”. I also hoped we would get other codecs like XAVC I for HD work, allowing me to bypass Catalyst Prepare. SDXC speed 3 cards would cope with 150Mbps easily I use them in my X70, A7s and GH4 all the time.

Sonys announcement was a roller coaster for me but to pay so much for so little in return is not cricket.

Update : Before we go into the realms of fantasy the X70 is a 422 10bit HD camcorder but is not capable of processing 422 10bit 4K footage, thats why you buy an FS7 !


Why are we still bickering about 422/420, this video has been pointed out to me as a “Sony said 422” yet in the same German video there is a graphic stating quite clearly UHD is 420 8bit, this was recorded during IBC 2014.

4K in the PXW-X70 is 420, 8bit end of story.


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.

53 thoughts on “Sony’s PXW-X70…”Toy town 4K” Updated (Comments now closed)

  1. @ADISKIN007

    you know what? You are actually right: the “reviewers” said that the 4K upgrade was most likely a paid one. Sony never said anything about it as far as I know (but I may be wrong of course).

    and beside the written specs the quality must pass our tests, the buyers’ eyes: it’s not enough anymore “proclaiming” a 50MBps 10-4:2:2 with words : the pictures must be better on the naked eye … what the heck: I can say that I work 1000MBps (right now) : it doesn’t mean that my pictures are any better than the “ordinary” 28MBPS AVCHD, regardless of what I say… LOL


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