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Sony PXW-X400 ENG camera: Hello modern news gathering as we bid goodbye to popular PMW-400

Thursday, November 12, 2015 11:35 AM

WTS Production specialist and freelance cameraman Patrick van Weeren bids adieu to the Sony PMW-400, an old faithful of the ENG world, and welcomes its newly upgraded successor, the Sony PXW-X400, due in February 2016.

Sony PXW-X400KC HD ENG camera with 20x zoom manual focus lens

After selling a total of more than 1,000 units to ITV, BBC, France Télévisions and RTÉ, Sony has decided to discontinue the highly popular PMW-400 ENG camera series from February 2016. Enter the new PXW-X400, one of the last of the PMW series of cameras to be converted to the upgraded PXW series.

So what does the new version of this much-loved classic bring? 

Sony PXW-X400 designed for comfort

Sony PXW-X400 HD ENG camera: designed for better balance and comfort during use

First interesting feature: a new, better-balanced ergonomic design, to help increase comfort and reduce fatigue. This will be music to the ears of news crews used to long shooting days. And they will also benefit from the PXW-X400’s lower power consumption (expected to be 22W), which will let you shoot for longer on the same battery.

PXW-X400 customisable body-only option available

Sony PXW-X400 HD ENG camera body

The PXW-X400 will be available as body only, meaning cameramen will have the option of customising their ENG camera with Sony’s newly launched HD OLED viewfinders, the HDVF-EL20 and HDVF-EL30, rather than the standard 'kit' LCD viewfinder. This is equally useful for those who just want the improved specs of the PXW-X400 and already own their own lenses, viewfinder and other accessories.

For those who don’t have their own lenses, there’s a choice of two lens kits – the PXW-X400KF, which comes with a 16x zoom auto-focus lens, or the PXW-X400KC, which comes with a 20x zoom manual focus lens. Both come with the equivalent of the CBK-VF02 viewfinder that we’ve seen on the PXW-X400’s big brother, the PXW-X500.

Let's take a look at those improved specs that the PXW-X400 boasts over the PMW-400.

PXW-X400 has improved network connectivity

One of the main features of the Sony PXW-X400 is improved network connectivity. The ENG camera includes a brand new button – rather than just a REC button, the camera operator has the option to press a dedicated ‘online’ button controlling live streaming, making the whole process simpler than dialing a phone number.

Sony PXW-X400: In-built live streaming and Content Browser Mobile

Sony PXW-X400 HD ENG camera in the field

Sony’s live streaming technology was already available for the PMW-400 – and other models with HD-SDI and USB connections – via wireless modules such as the CBK-WA100 or CBK-WA101, but the new Sony PXW-X400 ENG camera has these wireless modules already built in – as do the PXW-X70, X180, X200 and X500.

Similarly Sony has already made its Content Browser Mobile application available for the other ‘upgraded’ PXW models, and the X400 fits right in, so operating the camera wirelessly via Android and iOS will be a lot easier.

PXW-X400 in-camera recording extended with new codecs

Sony PXW-X400 HD ENG camera body

In-camera recording for the PXW-X400 has been extended with new codecs, giving cameramen a wide range of options for different workflow set-ups – and the old formats are still available for backwards compatibility.

XAVC Intra

XAVC-I mode: MPEG-4 AVC/H.264, CBG, Max.112 Mbps

XAVC Long

XAVC-L 50 Mode: MPEG-4 AVC/H.264, VBR, Max. 50 Mbps

XAVC-L 35 Mode: MPEG-4 AVC/H.264, VBR, Max. 35 Mbps

XAVC-L 25 Mode: MPEG-4 AVC/H.264, VBR, Max. 25 Mbps

MPEG HD422

HD422 mode: MPEG-2 422P@HL, CBR, Max.50 Mbps

MPEG HD

HQ mode: MPEG-2 MP@HL, VBR, Max.35 Mbps

MPEG IMX

MPEG-2 422@ML, CBR, 50 Mbps

DVCAM

CBR, 25 Mbps

HD-SDI input as standard in Sony PXW-X400 

Normally seen as an additional option, the PXW-X400 ENG camera comes with HD-SDI input as standard, which makes things much simpler when camera crews need to record a pool feed or ingest footage from another source.

Sony PXW-X400 price and availability

Sony is yet to confirm the price point for the PXW-X400. However, our sales team are able to take pre-orders with a deposit - please call 020 8594 3336 for more information. Delivery for thhe PXW-X400 is expected to be in February 2016.

Sony PXW-X400 HD ENG camera user

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