Sony PXW-X180 – Bringing Life to the 3-Chip Camera Market
A couple of Sony PXW-X180 reviews have called this camera a device that the 1080p ENG market deserves. That is true given the much-devoted attention given to 4K cameras in recent times. That, and the rise of large-sensor, interchangeable-lens cinema cameras as well.
With all the attention swung in the way of those types of cameras, it seems that the traditional 3-chip ENG-style cameras were forgotten by manufacturers. However, Sony proved that it wasn’t the case at all by releasing the Sony PXW-X180.
The camera is well-suited for ENG and event shooters and this review for PXW-X180 will highlight the excellent features of this camera.
The design of the PXW-X180 is centered around the 1/3” full HD Exmor CMOS image sensors and it’s got three of them. All of these combined are capable of achieving high resolution, high sensitivity, low noise and a wide dynamic range. With 2 million effective pixels, shooting in full HD (1920×1080) is very much possible without any pixel interpolation. This also means that shooting under lighting conditions that are severe are made with ease. Ultimately, this leads to a greater expression of creativity. .
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The design of the PXW-X180 is centered around the 1/3” full HD Exmor CMOS image sensors and it’s got three of them. All of these combined are capable of achieving high resolution, high sensitivity, low noise and a wide dynamic range.
With 2 million effective pixels, shooting in full HD (1920×1080) is very much possible without any pixel interpolation. This also means that shooting under lighting conditions that are severe are made with ease. Ultimately, this leads to a greater expression of creativity.
Sony G Lens with 25x professional HD Zoom
The PXW-X180 comes equipped with a G series lens that has a fixed 25x zoom and a 26mm wide angle. The lens also comes with three independent rings, as well as end-stop and a large focal length.
Thanks to a quick electric zoom function, it is easier to make the transition from shooting a wide angle shot to a tele angle one.
High Quality XAVC Intra and XAVC Long GOP Recording
Recording in MPEG HD 422 50 Mbps in MXF (Material eXchange Format) is widely accepted by major broadcasters the world over, and this is something that the PXW-X180 supports. On top of that, it also supports XAVC Intra and XAVC Long GOP codecs.
The XAVC technology is based on the H.264 standard. This means that it is able to provide outstanding performance compression technology. With the XAVC Intra (frame) compression that is in this camera, the frames are encoded independent of each other. What this means is that users are provided with great picture without any compromises.
On the other hand, the Long GOP codec encodes certain frames individually. By doing so, it allows the codec to make the video use a much smaller bitrate compared to Intra technology. Where this benefits a lot comes during editing because the process can be a whole lot quicker.
Files that use XAVC Long GOP are much smaller in size too and therefore don’t need that much storage when compared to those that use XAVC Intra. This means that a lot of budget can be saved when it comes to recording media.
With 10-bit sampling, the XAVC codec is able to perform high-definition recording with rich tonal expression. XAVC recording has a bit rate of 111 or 112 Mbps at 1080/59.94i and 89, or 112 Mbps at 1080/23.98P or 25P. With this high bit rate, a better quality picture is achieved
Switchable recordings that offer flexibility
The PXW-X180 is capable of shooting in the following:
- XAVC HD
- MPEG HD 422 50 Mbps
- MPEG HD 420 35 Mbps
Other than those three, the camcorder is also capable of recording in the following:
- DVCAM at 25 Mbps in MXF file format
- AVHCD in MTS file format (compatibel with NXCAM camcorders)
MPEG HD 422 is ideal for chromakeying, as well as providing high-quality image with detailed color reproduction. This is also compatible with ither XDCAM HD 422 and NXCAM camcorders which include the PMW-500, PMW-200 and the HXR-NX3/VG1 among others. What this means is that workflow is streamlined and the time needed for editing is reduced.
The MPEG HD 422 50 Mbps is compliant with the EBU recommendations for long-form broadcast production. In addition, it is widely accepted in broadcasting stations and production houses.
With this kind of recording capability, the PXW-X180 makes an ideal camera to use for an array of applications such as news gathering and documentary production.
WiFi/NFC with Content Browser Mobile
A IFU-WLM3 dongle is supplied with the camera and when attached, the PXW-X180 can be controlled remotely from a smartphone or tablet computer. However, these devices need to be at least iOS 4.3 to 7.0 and Android 2.3 to 4.3. All of this is made possible through a WiFi connection.
What this also means is that the video that was just recorded can be transferred to a smartphone in MP4 format.
Smartphones with NFC connectivity also allow one-touch authentication. The Content Browser Mobile app can be downloaded from the App Store or Google Play.
Proxy Recording on SD Card
Recording proxy video H.264 on an SD card is possible with the PXW-X180 and the resolution and bitrate can also be changed to make workflow more flexible. MP4 format is used to record proxy video to maintain compatibility with broadcast systems. Proxy video is recorded separate from main line recording and allows the quicker sharing of content through mobile networks with low bandwidth.
Dual SxS Memory Card Slots
The PXW-X180 has two SxS memory card slots and is compatible with the following memory cards:
- SxS PRO+
The following memory cards can also be used with an appropriate card adaptor:
The two media slots are capable of recording in “simul” or “relay” mode. The former allows simultaneous recording to two memory cards while the latter means that recording is automatically switched to second memory when the first is full.
Variable Dual ND Filter Control Mechanism
The PXW-X180 comes with four conventional mechanical ND filter positions. These filters alter the density electrically which allows light to be reduced more conveniently.
Multi-Interface Shoe (MI Shoe)
With an MI Shoe, the PXW-X18- can communicate with an attached accessory. This means a more flexible connection without having to use an XLR cable. When the accessories are attached to the shoe, they can be controlled by the camcorder.
OLED Technology in Viewfinder
The 0.5-inch OLED viewfinder offers stunning clarity of 1024×768 High Definition. Plus, it offers awesome brightness, contrast and response.
Lots of Connection Options
The PXW-X180 comes with several connection options, and these include:
- 3G HD-SDI
- composite output
- timecode input/output
- genlock input
Lens Remote (LANC)
With a LANC interface, functions such as focus, zoom, rec start and stop and rec review can be controlled remotely.
Data from the GPS is recorded in two file locations automatically.
With this Sony PXW-X180 review, you got a glimpse of the features of this superb camera from one of the best brands in the camcording business.
|Viewfinder||0.5″ (1.27 cm) color OLED
2.36 million dots
|LCD||3.5″ (8.89 cm) color LCD monitor
Aspect ratio: 16:9
1.56 million dots
|Slots||2 x ExpressCard/34; supports SxS PRO+ and SxS-1 memory cards (for XAVC/MPEG2/AVCHD/DV)
1 x SD/SDHC/SDXC (for Proxy)
1 x SD/SDHC/SDXC (for Utility)
PXW_X180 Test Footage
Extended Introduction of the PXW-X180