Sample Footage from PXW-X180 XAVC/XDCAM/AVCHD camcorder.

I was lucky enough to get to spend some time with a pre-production Sony PXW-X180 here in Singapore. I put it through it’s paces shooting around the botanical gardens, China town and Clarke Quay.

For a 1/3″ camcorder it produces a remarkably good image. Really low noise, very clean images, much better than anything I have seen from any other 1/3″ camcorder. The 25x zoom is impressive, the variable ND filter is very clever and it might seem trivial but the rear viewfinder was very nice. It’s a very high resolution OLED, much, much better than the LCOS EVF’s found on many other models.

The zoom lens has proper manual calibrated controls with end stops, much like a PMW-200. The ability to use a multitude of codecs is fantastic and perhaps better still is the fact that you can use SDXC cards for XDACM or XAVC at up to 50Mb/s, so even XDCAM HD422 can be recorded on this low cost media. This will be great for news or other situations where you need to hand off your media at the end of the shoot.

A more in depth review will follow soon, but for now here’s the video. Un-graded, un touched, straight from the camera footage. Looks very nice if you ask me.

53 thoughts on “Sample Footage from PXW-X180 XAVC/XDCAM/AVCHD camcorder.”

  1. Hi Alister,

    thanx for posting the new PXW 180 video. I am interrested into the PXW 160 the same camera without WfI right? How does it compare to Panasonic AJ-PX 270 in your opinion? And the JVC GY-HM 600 with the new firmware 50Mbits/50P? It remains a 8 bit camcorder, but still?
    And maybe the most important qustion, if I go for the PXW 160 , do I get the 10 bit 422 when using the SDHX cards?
    Thank you in advance and best regards from Croatia.
    Igor

    1. X160 is X180 without WiFi and GPS. They are 10 bit cameras. Yes 10 bit long GoP 50Mbps XAVC 422 to SDXC cards. Not tested along side HM600 or 270, so can’t comment.

  2. Hi Alister,

    I was about to purchase the PMW 200 before the release of the PXW 180, and right now I am confused about which camera to buy. I do a lot of promotional video and soon I will be shooting on green screen, I also do documentaries and sometimes weddings (but not that much). Currently I am using Z5 and NX5 and I wanted to a more professional camcorder to my equipment. Please advise. Mthobisi Phungula from South Africa

    1. I would be confused too. The X180 is a very solid and more advanced camera than the PMW-200. My suspicion would be that sooner rather than later the PMW-200 will be replaced by a PXW-X model. But that won’t ship for at least 3 months so if you need a camera now it’s a tough choice.

  3. The X160 is strongly on my radar, too. Variable ND is something I’ve been wanting for years on 1/3″. What’s the slow end of the zoom like? Does it creep nicely? Also, I understand that adapters are required to use XDXC and XQD. What are they like to handle in the field? Are they fiddly, or can the adapter be left in the camera and the card swapped out while in situ?

  4. Thanks for the great article. Would you know how the PXW 180 compares to the nx5 in low light? The NX5 gets pretty grainy above 3db. Also do you know if the PMX 180 would be better in low light than the Sony HXR NX3?

    1. That’s a really tough choice. I’d wait until after IBC. The PMW-200 really needs a refresh soon. I would guess (I have no knowledge) that Sony will bring out a PMW-200 equivalent with XAVC some time soon.

  5. Hi Alister,

    I am a cameraman based in Tokyo, Japan.
    Will be investing in my first pro camera this month and after much research are looking to go for an XDCAM. My main areas are Events, Docs, ENG and Sport.

    Budget is an issue (as for us all) so this new camera interested me a lot. Especially because its so versatile and, in many cases, future proof. I would just like your honest opinion, would this camera be a smart and good buy for professional video production as a first time pro buy? I am mainly publishing for the web, but also broadcast here in Japan and Europe. Is the 1/3 inch sensor an issue perhaps?

    Would appreciate any advice you can give

    Cheers!
    Magnus Ahlberg

    1. This is the first 1/3″ sensor camera that I would consider buying. It’s a great piece of kit. However, world wide there is still some resistance to 1/3″ sensor for broadcast. Some places will accept 1/3″ while others will not. Time will tell whether this camera will get BBC acceptance.

  6. I know that you have used both cameras, and lets compare both cameras on what they both have (meaning XDCAM 422 MPEG-2 Codec at 50 Mb/s) not XAVC, AVCHD etc. I know that they have different sensors PMW 200 (1/2) and PXW X180 (1/3), and without waiting for IBC, and just using your judgement. You have notified me that the PXW X180 was gonna be available after 3 months and September is just around the corner and I have been waiting. Please Alister, which camera is a better camera between PMW 200 and PXW X180 according to you since you used both of them.

  7. Thank you for your response Alister.

    If i`m not mistaken, didn’t the BBC approve the JVC GY-HM650 camera which has three 1/3 inch sensors? Do they approve 1/3 inch sensors more often than not?

    Cheers!
    Magnus

  8. The HM650 has approval for news gathering and journalism, as do a number of other 1/3″ cameras. For documentary and other mainstream productions 1/2″ is normally needed with the exception of the Canon XF305 which does have approval.

  9. Many camera operators here in Japan are using the XF305 for that very reason.
    I can’t imagine this new cam from Sony to be of lesser image quality then the 305.
    What’s your guess on the EBU approval of the pxw x180 Alister? What could make them disapprove of long form usage?

  10. 2 questions…

    1) Can the WiFi on the PXW-X180 be used for real time monitoring or just review of recorded clips?

    2) Any word on low light performance vs. PMW-200? I’m interested in using the X180 for some low light event work. The PMW-200 does ok, but its low light performance is at the lower limit of what I need. Does the X180’s larger 1.6f aperture let in enough more light than the 200’s 1.9f to compensate for the smaller 1/3″ chips? The sensitivity on the 200 is listed as F11 (with no information as to the shutter speed or frame rate) and on the X180 the sensitivity is listed as F9 and F10 (59.94i and 50i respectively). Can I shoot 1920×1080 29.97P with a 1/30 shutter speed with the X180 and get a similar sensitivity to the 200?

    P.S. I know I’ll get motion blur shooting at such a slow shutter speed.

    1. Real time monitoring. X180 and PMW-200 are similar in low light due to PXW improved image processing and NR, but new PXW-X200 is better still.

  11. It appears to have 2 channels of audio. is it 16 bit or 24 bit? Also, I see 2 channel controls on the side of the camera, but no xlr inputs. Are the xlr inputs behind a little door? Are there 2 channel inputs in addition to an internal mic channel? Or, do you have to choose between the internal mic and 2 external xlr inputs. Yes, I know there is a shoe adapter for a wireless option). It also occurred to me that I might have to use the shoe to get the 2nd channel. What options are there for channel selections? XLR, Shoe, etc.

  12. I need maximum zoom for sports applications and along with the 25x optical zoom are there any user assignable digital zoom options available? Most of my Sony camcorders have a 1.5 digital zoom that we use a few times each game to get crowd shots. Need to purchase 4 – 6 something or others real soon. The panny AJ PX-270 is 22x with a 2x digital zoom that is pretty clean…. Anyone get to work through the menu settings on the 180 yet?

  13. How is the zoom rocker on this camera? Are you able to make a slow creep move with it? Is there dead space at the beginning of the rocker?

  14. Hi all,

    I need to be buying gear very soon and my first choice was the pmw 200 but I heard about this pxw x200 (releasing in oct/nov 14)

    I have not idea whether the image quality has been improved on the new model or if it’s “only” better zoom and wifi capabilities.

    Any advice will be much appreciated.

    Many thanks,
    Soso

    1. Knowing Sony there will be some small improvements to image quality gained through better image processing. But the difference will only be small, perhaps just lower noise levels.

  15. I have been looking into getting the Pxw-x160 for a while. I was hiring an ex3 and I just wondered if there is much difference caused by the 1/3 sensor in the x160 compared to the 1/2 sensor of the ex3. I want to make sure the image quality is very similar and my concern is the low lighting conditions with the x160. Any advice?

    1. The X160 os the best 1/3″ camera I have ever come across. I’m not normally a fan of 1/3″ bit the X160 performs more like a 1/2″ camera thanks to some really good image processing. It’s a lot of camera for the money and very, very close to an EX3 in terms of image quality.

  16. just a follow up…I got the x180. The zoom is about the same as other cameras in this price range. Not as good as the Panasonic PX270 which is the best. However the thing that surprised me was the zoom rocker on the top handle. I rarely use the top handle for the zoom, but on this camera it is valuable. It has several levels (8 I think) you can set in the menu. The lowest of which will literally take 5 minutes to go from wide to fully zoomed it! If you want to really do a creep push in…wow. The problem is that the next setting only takes 30 seconds to make the same move. They need to change these step levels in the firmware to allow for a 2 minute, and 1 minute speed level.

  17. Hello, I have purchased an X180 as an upgrade for the NX5. And I love the NX5 and own 5 of them. The X180 is a great upgrade and I’m glad I bought it.
    One problem I am having is trying to make the X180 look like the NX5s. We use 5 camera for a live event shoot, and we do live edits using a DataVideo switcher.
    Even with the White Balance settings set the same for both models, the X180 and the NX5 have way different color matrix. I don’t know enough about how to manually adjust the x180 color matrix, in order to make it compatible looking to the NX5. Eventually, budget permitting, I want to replace all of the NX5 cameras with the X180, but in the meantime, would anyone know how to adjust the color matrix of the X180 to make it look / output color like the NX5? I have turned off the ‘Pre Set’ Matrix on the X180 which helps, but there is still enough difference that the two models don’t look the same. Any one have any experience with this?

    On another note: the previous poster talked about the speed of the zoom button on top of the X180 and he is correct. You can really creep smoothly with that! It is very impressive. The X180 is also excellent in low light and holds an F2.7 throughout the zoom range! The menu selections / executions are a bit slow or seem to lag compared to the NX5 models. But once you get use to it that is not a big deal. All of our shooters on our video team loves the X180, I would certainly buy it again.
    I would like to know how to setup the color matrix to it outputs like the NX5 look.
    Only because we want to use the X180 now and not wait until we can afford 4 more of them. SMILE.

  18. Hi,

    I am in Tehran and I have a PMW – 200 but My problem is it Audio HD Format record , it record 4 channel and close my hands during edit because time is very important for me as a cameraman in News channel.
    is X180 or 160 better than of pmw-200 I saw x180 record 2ch with better Video Quality. x180 price is same PMW-200 . I want to buy a new camcorder that have no 4ch audio after record and video format for editing is same X3 , meaning very easy can archive footage or edit with premier cs5-6

    what is your Advice?

    Best,

    1. If you are using CS5 or CS6 then there is no point buying any of the PXW cameras as you will not be able to use the XAVC codec with this out of date software. XAVC also has 4 channels of audio.

  19. Hi Alister,
    The new PXW-X200 with 1/2″ sensor, 17x Fujinon lens.
    PXW-X160 / PXW-X180 may have the advantage of 25x, but the image maybe softer that the 17x Fujinon.
    X160 + X200, many range of conference job can cover 🙂
    Alister, have you experience using the X200? Do you think Fujinon will be better than the 25x PXW-X160 because it is a Fujinon brand?

    1. Both lenses are very good, equally sharp. But the X200 has the benefit of larger sensors with less noise and better sensitivity, so the pictures are better, although the difference isn’t huge.

  20. Hi Alister,

    How would you compare a picture quality between X 70 and X 160, which camera will produce better picture quality? In other words I want to understand the difference of having one 1″ sensor and three times 1/3″ sensors. Lets leave aside the features and concentrate on the sensors.
    We have been comparing X160 and X200 (3 X 1/3″ vs 3 X 1/2″)
    Now lets compare X70 vs X160 (1″ vs 3 X 1/3″)
    Also compare X70 vs X200 (1″ vs 3 X 1/2″)
    Please compare them as far as the picture quality is concern nothing else.

    1. They are different, that’s the best I can say. Which is better? It depends on your definition of better. The larger sensor will produce less noise, but the 3 chip design will give more precise colors. In terms of luma sharpness and resolution in HD the X70 is better than the X160, but the X160 has better color resolution. The X160 has greater dynamic range than the X70 and lower skew.

      Overall I would say that in most situations the X160 will produce a superior image to the X70. But it depends on many factors and what you believe makes a “better” picture.

  21. Hi Alister ,
    Nice review and good info. I’m new to higher end video and I’m tossing up between a NX3 and this camera, about a grand difference but the NX3 has no battery!!, so that’s $200.00 more. Do you think I should spend the extra few hundred and get the X160? It seems to have a few nice extra features and I can always buy a video light..LOL

    Thanks and cheers .
    Gregg.

  22. I purchased this camera And I really struggled with noise in low lighting conditions. What settings do you recommend to record in low lighting?

  23. Hi Alister,

    I have a PXW-X180 and in fact I’m a journalist, so I don’t have a lot of experience in cameras as a cameraman does. I can’t find how to import scene files on this camera. Does it accepted it? How do I do? Do you have some scene files to suggest into this camera?

    Thanks a lot,
    Fabrizio Rosa

  24. I purchased the X180 but cannot get my IKAN field monitor to take the HDMI output from it. The signal will work via my SDI output. The HDMI output will work on my large screen TV. Any ideas why?

  25. Thanks for the reply Alister.
    Yes. The output is set to 1920×1080 50i
    The response below is what I got from Sony Pro service centre. I am amazed that even if it is a new type of HDMI it will not play on an older monitor. Sony service said…….
    “The HDMI problem you have described is unlikely to be a fault as such, but rather an HDMI specification discrepancy or mismatch.

    The HDMI signal and transmission format has evolved and changed over the years as new formats are introduced.
    The HDR-CX7500 has an earlier version of HDMI than that of the PXW-X180

    As we are not familiar with the Ikan monitor, we can only suspect that the Ikan HDMI has an earlier version HDMI interface, hence works with the HDR-CX7500
    Another consideration is to ensure that the Ikan monitor is capable of accepting the video format selected on the camera

    We are capable of doing an HDMI signal format check on the PXW-X180 to confirm integrity of the signal.
    We would be able to do this check when you bring the camera in.”

    Any further thoughts?

    1. HDMI can be a real PITA as there are now so many different standards and sub standards. In addition an HDMI source won’t send a signal down the cable until it has had a chat with the receiver and agreed what signal to send. There are all kinds of conditions that have to be met such as DRM standards etc. If that hand shaking doesn’t take place correctly then no signal gets sent.

      I really detest HDMI for these reasons. I’d much rather have HDSDI any day as the camera will always be sending a signal no matter whats plugged in at the other end. So even if there is a slight miss-match there is more chance of the signal ending up at the other end.

  26. Hi, I am writing this message because I have a small problem with my PXW-X160.

    If I insert in X160 my original adapter Sony MEAD-SD02 with Sandisk SDXC da 6Gb U3 memory ( http://www.sandisk.it/products/memory-cards/sd/extreme-uhs-1-45mbs/?capacity=64GB ) and then an original SXS memory 16Gb I see this message on display:”Types of Media (A) and (B) are different”. ! ! !
    Here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kWz7EDYI7ZE you can see a short video and here http://i.share.pho.to/861f3a83_l.jpeg a memory card’s photo.

    It is normal ? I can’t witch from memory A to memory B….I must remove memory A (adapter + Sandisk memory) to use SXS card 🙁 🙁
    Someone can help me ?

    Thanks for all
    Riccardo

    1. This is normal as the interfaces used on SxS cards and SD cards are different. You can’t mix these different interfaces as both card slots have to be set up the same.

  27. Hello everyone! I’m from the Czech Republic, read here about discussion PXW X-160 I saw this video from Singapore and I am excited about the lowlight shots, but I’m not happy with skin color, and noise in shots of people in the market who are in the streets and there is a twilight, there is a picture roztlapaný and ugly, much like my Sony CX700 tourist, but as soon as the Singapore night everything is crystal sharp, it is perhaps setting a high profit ??? Would I buy NX3 but probably rather p?išet?ím and buy X160, night shots really the best I’ve ever seen from Sony 1.3 “

    1. Yes the X160 does produce the best images I’ve ever seen from a 1/3″ sensor camera, but that’s just my opinion.

  28. Thank you for the quick review, did you ever do the more in depth review that you mentioned, if so I haven’t been able to fine it.

  29. There are only standard gammas on the x160/x180. Is there a reason they don’t have cine gammas? Any recommendations on which SG’s to use?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *