I have recently returned from a trip around Canada. While I was there I spent some more time shooting with Sony’s new PXW-Z280 handycam camcorder. This neat little camera continues to surprise me. I used a pre-production sample to shoot parts of an airshow in the summer and it worked really well. It was so easy to use, I had forgotten how much quicker it is to work with a camera with a 17x zoom lens compared to a large sensor camera with a very limited zoom range or prime lenses.
The Z280 uses 3x state of the art EMOR Stacked multi layer sensors. Each is full 4K, so you have full RGB 4K, unlike a single chip camera where the chroma resolution is much reduced by the bayer layout of the pixels. The 3 chip, full resolution design also means no aliasing in the color channels as is often typical of single chip designs.
From the testing I have done in the cameras dedicated HDR mode, where you can choose between HLG and S-Log3, with S-Log3 the DR of the Z280 appears to be around 13 stops, which is really quite remarkable for this type of camcorder. The sensor readout is very fast so rolling shutter is minimal.
Like any small compact camera, it isn’t 100% perfect. Overall the lens is pretty good for a low cost 4K zoom, but like many 17x zooms it does have a touch of barrel distortion when fully wide. As well as the LCD It has an excellent OLED viewfinder that is much, much better than those typically found on Sony’s smaller cameras. It has Timecode in/out and genlock, all the XAVC-I and L codecs as well as MpegHD. There is a full suite of wifi, LAN and network functions for streaming, ftp and remote control as well as the ability to offload files from the cards to a USB drive or memory stick without a computer. It’s a modern camera designed for the modern news or documentary shooter and a big step up in terms of image quality from the PXW-X200 IMHO.
A full review and sample video will be coming in the very near future with lot’s more information.
17 thoughts on “Out and about with the PXW-Z280.”
Thanks for this review Alister. I’ve been looking at this camera for a while. Unfortunately they are not possible to rent here in NY, so I will have to wait
until I need one for a longer shoot to make it worthwhile to purchase.
” A full review and sample video will be coming in the very near future with lot’s more information.”
as soon as possible
With examples of your favorite presets
(I bought this Z280 after 3 years of use of the PXW X200)
Like those proposed for the PXW X200 that I used
Why not work out your own presets? After all – you’re the operator, therefore you should be in charge of the look from your own camera. Otherwise you’re just copying Alister Chapman and that look might suit him but not you.
MondoTV, you are right if you talk to a DP. Some camera users also mainly directors, focused on their story telling and not so much in the technique. It is their right to look for a good picture that will suit their story. If Alister’s profiles suits them, then that’s great for everybody as well as the viewers who will enjoy nice photography while learning more about our world.
Alistair, your thoughts on the depth of field?
Alister, your thoughts on the depth of field?
I am a hobbyist.
My FDR-AX1 failed recently
I am looking at a replacement – PXW-Z280
Waiting for your review.
When a review is indicated
but does not appear
You are busy
Camera has problems.
Any idea if a review will come ?
Sorry just been too busy.
1080i is 422 10 bit?
Depends on the codec
Could you help with matching the signal out (multicam) of an FS7, a A7S, and a Z280? What picture profiles to use for each camera?
Thanks in advance
Thanks for the info Alistair, would you treat this the same as Fs7 when using slog3? I.e. would you overexpose by a stop or two?
Oh yes. The Z280 is much more noisy than an FS7, so it needs a really bright exposure. While you can shoot log with the Z280, it isn’t really the right tool for Log and shooting S-Log with a Z280 isn’t going to deliver anywhere near the kind of image quality that a large sensor camera will.
Thanks for the reply, client is looking for Slog.
Have a good trip to Norway!
Could you tell how do you come up with ISO 650 – 700 for PXW Z280?
This was determined in the S-log mode using a grey card and light meter.