Sony unlocks the 4K potential of the PXW-X70

Written by Andy Stout


Alongside a brace of upgrades for the PXW-X70 and PXW-X200 camcorders, a forthcoming firmware update from Sony will add the ability to purchase a 4K license for the increasingly popular X70.

We like the PXW-X70 and have written about it in suitably complimentary terms before (The Sony PXW-X70 is a camera you can just take with you…) so adding 4K capabilities pushes it even further up in our estimation.

The licence provides support for QFHD shooting at 30p, 25p, or 24p at 60Mbps and is only one facet of a X70 Firmware 2.0 upgrade which also adds a range of free updates on the HD side of things including proxy recording, FTP transfer, streaming and simultaneous recording. The same HD features are also added to the X200, alongside the activation of the MI Shoe to support Sony’s UWP-D wireless microphone system and HVL-LBPC battery video light.

But it’s the 4K upgrade to the X70 which grabs the attention. Both firmware upgrades are free but the list price for the unlimited X70 4K license will be €485 without tax (adding roughly 25% to the cost of the unit). It is also dependent on the X-70 Firmware 2.0 upgrade which is not scheduled to be available until June (the X200 upgrade is due a bit earlier in April).

Oh, and Sony also says that it’s looking to support a higher bitrate recording mode than 60Mbps for 3840x2160 XAVC-L in the future.

Full details of the new firmware over the page and in the accompanying press release.

PXW-X70 Firmware V2.0

Upgrade includes chargeable element and will be available June 2015

New Features & Improvements:

Support for 4K (QFHD) Recording (optional)
This 4K recording update provides support for QFHD shooting at 30p/25p/24p, allowing the X70 to capture scenes with stunning quality and at high resolution*. Furthermore, for projects finalized in HD, 4K recording greatly expands the creative possibilities by enabling digital panning, camera-shake correction and other post-production effects. NOTE: 4K recording requires purchase of the 4K Upgrade License (CBKZ-X70FX).

Proxy Recording
Proxy recording supports the use of a low-bit-rate video file in place of an XAVC-format, high-bit-rate file with the same timecode. The low-bit-rate proxy file, being smaller in size, can be used in many ways to increase efficiency. For example, the smaller file can be more easily transmitted to remote locations, while editing is greatly facilitated by the use of the smaller file, which is replaced at the completion of editing with the high-bit-rate file).

FTP Transfer
This feature supports FTP file transfers on the PXW-X70, allowing content files recorded with the XAVC Proxy Recording feature, and other content files shot in XAVC (4K/HD) and AVCHD formats, to be sent via the Internet for remote storage on an FTP server).

This feature allows images to be streamed live from the PXW-X70 for viewing at a remote location. Data transfer rate, specified by two image quality menu settings (9Mbps and 3Mbps), can be selected to suit the network environment being used.

Wired LAN Connection
When wireless LAN is unavailable, this feature allows the PXW-X70 to be connected to the Internet over a wired connection via separately available USB adapter cable VMC-UAM2 and Network adaptor CBK-NA1R which is included in CBK-NA1 Network Adaptor Kit, allowing files to be streamed or transferred by FTP.

4K Upgrade License “CBKZ-X70FX”
CBKZ-X70FX Upgrade License enables 4K recording on PXW-X70. Please note CBKZ-X70FX is an optional item that will be available for purchase soon. Firmware version 2.0 is also required for use of the Upgrade License. 

PXW-X70 V2.0 Firmware will be downloadable here in June 2015

PXW-X200 Firmware V1.2

Upgrade is free of charge and will be available April 2015

New Features & Improvements:

● Streaming via wired / wireless LAN or 3G/4G mobile network is activated. 
● MI Shoe is activated to support the HVL-LBPC battery video light and UWP-D11/D12 the wireless microphone system. 
● GPS data can be recorded as a metadata in XAVC-I and XAVC-L format.
● Simultaneous Recording feature is activated. Camcorder can record simultaneously on two media, for example creating one version for editing and one for archiving at the same time to enhance workflow.

PXW-X200 V1.2 Firmware will be downloadable here during April 2015

Sony announces 4K upgrade licence plus improved connectivity and workflow efficiency for PXW-X70 and PXW-X200

Basingstoke, February 24, 2015: Sony has today announced the availability of updates that will unlock the flexibility and efficiency of its incredibly popular PXW-X70 and PXW-X200 camcorders. The XDCAM camcorders will benefit from a range of new features, including 4K capability via a paid licence for the PXW-X70, plus a range of free HD updates for both camcorders, including proxy recording, FTP transfer, streaming and simultaneous recording. These upgrades are expected to be available in April for the PXW-X200 and June for PXW-X70.

PXW-X70 users can upgrade their camcorders with 4K acquisition capability through a new paid 4K licence. The licence provides support for QFHD shooting at 30p, 25p, or 24p, bringing stunning quality and high resolution to an incredibly compact camcorder. This capability will be available from all Sony dealers to PXW-X70 users, either at the time of purchase or at any point afterwards. The list price (without tax) for the 4K upgrade (CBKZ-X70FX) will be €485.

The PXW-X70 will also benefit from a free HD firmware upgrade to version 2.0, which will unlock several features within the camera that will simplify and improve broadcast and editing workflows. Proxy recording will increase efficiency for editing workflows and allow for easier content transmission to remote locations, while FTP transfer means that files created using proxy recording - as well as those shot in XAVC and AVCHD formats - can be sent via the internet for remote storage on an FTP server. This will be possible via the on-board wireless or by a wired LAN connection through a USB connector cable and network adapter. Images can now also be streamed live from the PXW-X70 for remote viewing or streaming.

The flexibility of the popular PXW-X200 has also been improved even further through its free v1.2 firmware upgrade, with streaming now possible via wired or wireless LAN, 3G, or 4G. Simultaneous recording means that the camcorder can also record on two different media simultaneously, enhancing workflow by creating, for example, one file for editing and another for archiving. GPS data can be recorded as metadata in the XAVC-I and XAVC-L format, while the MI Shoe has been activated to support Sony’s UWP-D wireless microphone system and HVL-LBPC battery video light.


Tags: Production


Related Articles

2 August, 2020

This is how the first DV cameras changed video production forever

The 1980s were the decade when video began to encroach on film – certainly for TV, if not for cinema. The 1990s was the decade when digital cameras...

Read Story

1 August, 2020

This is one of the biggest influencers on modern video you might not have heard of

If you’ve started using cameras in the last few years you might not be aware of just how far cameras have come. For some time one of the go-to...

Read Story

31 July, 2020

Why do we keep thinking in 35mm for focal lengths?

Replay: Do we really need to keep using 35mm as our baseline for focal lengths, or is there a much better way?

Read Story