Sony PXW-Z100 4K under $6.5K


Sony’s latest  4K camera, PXW-Z100 XDCAM camcorder, shoots HD, QFHD and 4K.

With a list price of less than $6,500 (street price probably $5,500), jaws were dropping at a press briefing. “This new camcorder puts professional 4K capabilities in your hand,” said Takahiro Kagawa, Product Manager at Sony Electronics.

With the familiar “Handycam” shape (viewfinder in back, hand inserted between grip and tight strap, integral zoom lens) this camera from Sony takes off where its previous lines of affordable HD cameras left off. Clearly, Sony is moving 4K not just into movies, but into the home, corporate world, sports, and government.

As Sony’s Hugo Gaggioni pointed out, when you get televisions as large as 84 inches (and more are coming), HD no longer holds up. The new Z100 feeds a Sony 4K Bravia directly via an HDMI cable.

The new Z100 is intended for corporate, medical, graphics, events, weddings, and, as Mr. Kagawa pointed out, “a growing number of applications including large venue 4K projection and 4K monitors.”

But don’t trade in your F55, F65, or FS700. The new Z100 has a 1/2.3 inch sensor–much smaller than the Super35mm size of the F55 or F65. This is a fixed lens, 20x zoom camcorder.  However, it shares some of the technology of its powerful siblings.  The Z100 uses Sony’s XAVC recording format, also used in the F55. MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 compression is used for HD (1920×1080), QFHD (3840×2016) and 4K (4096×2160) recording. Image sampling is 4:2:2 10-bit, with an intra-frame compression of each frame at a maximum bit rate of 500 Mbps or 600 Mbps during 4K 50 fps or 60 fps recording. Bit rate is 223 Mbps during HD 50 fps or 60 fps recording.

You can select 4K (4096 x 2160), QFHD (3840×2160) and HD (1920×1080) resolutions.

The Z100 camcorder, together with its built-in 20x 30-600 mm (35mm format equiv) G Lens, weighs less than 7 lb. It has a  back-illuminated Exmor R 1/2.3-inch CMOS sensor with more than 8.8 million effective pixels.

The new Z100 uses XQD solid-state memory cards. XQD uses the PCI Express interface and Sony’s camera processor handles data up to 600Mbps. The Z100 camcorder has two XQD Memory card slots.  A 64 GB card, available now, costs around $300. The camcorder has an HDMI and a 3G HD-SDI connector. Sony’s Juan Martinez pointed out that this camera shares the same battery as the popular FS700. He also reminded us that 4K cameras shoot better HD than HD cameras can.

The PXW-Z100 4K camcorder is planned to be available by the end of 2013. For more information, go to




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