IBC 2014: Sony announce new PXW-X200, F55 updates, docks and more

Just when you thought you’d got a handle on the rapidly expanding PXW range, they go and sneak in another one. But they’ve also updated the F55 and F5, and released a whole slew of workflow accessories, so we suppose we’ll forgive them. 


Sony’s latest boasts 1/2″ type sCMOS sensors and a x17 soonFuji lens. It records in LONG-GOP and XAVC-Intra to SxS cards, but does allow proxy recording to an SD card. According to the press release, “Sony’s new addition to its XDCAM range of solid state memory camcorders, the PXW-X200, incorporates an improved 1/2 inch-type Exmor™ 3CMOS sensor, a new 17x zoom lens and XAVC Intra/Long GOP recording with 4:2:2 10-bit sampling. The successor to Sony’s PMW-200, the new camcorder has a 1/2 inch-type 3CMOS sensor and MPEG HD422 (50 Mbps) recording capability.”

Like many of its fellow PXWs, the PXW-X200 it allows for NFC and camera control over WiFi, so is ideal for events where you can’t (or don’t want to) be behind the camera at all times – this function and live streaming will both be added in a firmware update early next year.

In terms of format support, we hand you over to Sony’s press squad:

The camcorder efficiently compresses Full HD (1920×1080) resolution images using MPEG-4 AVC/H.264, and records XAVC using 4:2:2 10-bit sampling. In XAVC, the user can select Intra-frame compression at a maximum of 112 Mbps or high-efficiency Long GOP compression at 50/35/25 Mbps. In addition to XAVC Intra/Long GOP, the PXW-X200 also records in MPEG HD422 (50Mbps), MPEG HD420 (35/25 Mbps), MPEG IMX (50 Mbps) and DV (25 Mbps) formats. Four channels of 24-bit 48 kHz LPCM audio are recorded in XAVC and MPEG HD422, while four channels of 16-bit 48 kHz LPCM are recorded in MPEG HD420. The multi-format support is useful for different shooting applications and can be adjusted to meet users’ requirements. Operating on globally-established XDCAM HD422 or XAVC formats allows the PXW-X200 to deliver high-speed, intuitive workflows along with greater operational convenience.

The PXW-X200 should be available from November 24th.

F55, F5 and CBK-55-BK

The latest update for Sony’s F55 and F5 is a paid upgrade which requires an install by Sony, which makes it all sound very unnecessary and inconvenient until you learn that it will allow you to lease ProRes and DNxHD recording options on a project-by-project basis, so you can capture in whatever codec suits your work. There’s also a new 4K option available for the F5 (see below).

If you want to move your F55 or F5 into a broadcast environment, you’ll want to equip yourself with a CBK-55-BK dock, which turns both of them into broadcast cameras by altering the backplate. It’ll work with any F55 or F5 that’s on v5 of the firmware or later, and will set your back around €8000.

In Sony’s words:

We are excited to announce significant new updates and enhancements for both the F5 and F55 CineAlta 4K camera systems. As you know these cameras have benefited from an assortment of accessories, and a long and very rich firmware development timeline that has seen powerful new features implemented at no cost to the end user. These ongoing efforts have made them amongst the most advanced motion picture cameras available today

Continuing this tradition and further reinforcing our commitment to these cameras, there are several important announcements. All of the information below is detailed in our new charts

Version 5.0 firmware:

Our rich firmware development timeline continues with the introduction of version 5.0. This update has a number of powerful features such as interval recording (time lapse), simultaneous recording with HDCAM SR and MPEG 50Mbps 422, and much more. Version 5 is required in order to utilize everything explained below. Please refer to the v5 chart for more detail

– Free
– Planned Availability: December 2014

NEW Shoulder-mount ENG and Documentary docking unit – CBK-55BK

After significant feedback from people in the industry, many of whom were shown the preliminary design, we are excited to announce the newly designed ENG/DOC shoulder mount unit for both the F5 and F55. You can easily transform your F5 and F55 into the perfect Documentary and ENG run-and-gun shoulder mount camera by simply docking the camera body into the unit, no cables and with no fuss. The new design includes support for the AXS-R5 RAW recorder. A detailed chart explaining the CBK-55BK is below.

– Target Price: $7999.99 (USA)
– Planned Availability: December 2014

Apple ProRes and Avid DNxHD encoding – CBKZ-55PD

The F55/F5 cameras have established codecs including 10 bit XAVC, HDCAM SR 444, 422, MPEG 50Mbps 422, and 16-bit RAW via the optional AXS-R5 recorder. By popular demand, we are implementing Apple ProRes and AVID DNxHD encoding via an option board to be installed at the Sony service center. SxS Pro+ and XQD S-Series and G-Series media are supported for recording.

This optional hardware upgrade will offer even more flexibility in the workflow, allowing users to stay in ProRes or DNxHD throughout the entire pipeline, if they so choose. Please refer to the codec chart below for more details

– Target Price: $2250
– Planned Availability: December 2014

F5 4K upgrade program – CBK-55FX

As you may be aware, some users are able to modify the All File of the F5 to enable 4K XAVC internal recording. This modification is not authorized by Sony and may cause unforeseen operating conditions as a result of the F5 not being programmed by Sony to perform the 4K recording properly.

Due to the widespread adoption of 4K in the marketplace, and to further protect customers’ investments in the F5, Sony is implementing 4K internal recording and 4K output capabilities by way of an optional upgrade program.

We are happy to announce the CBK-55FX, a 4K Upgrade Option for the PMW-F5. Installed 4K capabilities are XAVC 4K/QFHD recording and playback, 4K SDI and 4K HDMI Output and Simultaneous recording (XAVC 4K or QFHD) with MPEG 50Mbps 422. This option will be activated by license key which will be purchased and installed by the end-user. Further details will be provided shortly

– Target Price: $998
– Planned Availability: December 2014

Want to know more? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email broadcast@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest IBC news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook or keep an eye on our roundup post.


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