Sony notes, 7 Oct 2008

Tidbits from the VMI show

The business end of the HVR-Z5.

There were a couple of unexpected surprises at VMI’s mini-Sony show today in Sunnyvale, CA. While the HVR-S270 and PMW-EX3 camcorders, the PMW-EX30 SxS recorder/player, wireless mics, and LCD displays were the main attractions, Sony also fetched along one of three prototype HVR-Z5 camcorders currently in the USA, as well as a fiber-connected studio setup for the EX3. I also saw the B4-mount lens adapter for the EX3.

The HVR-Z5 with CF card adapter docked on the rear.

The HVR-Z5 was introduced at IBC in Amsterdam, and its first major showing in the USA will be at DV Expo in Los Angeles in a month’s time, but the Sony folks gave us a sneak peek. It’s functionally like a Z7 with a fixed, 20x zoom with free-spinning focus, zoom, and iris rings. The wide angle is 29.something mm 35mm SLR equivalent, and it should be shipping in December at “under $5000 list price”.

Is it just me, or does it look a lot like a Canon XH A1?

Also shown was a fiber-optic studio rig for the PMW-EX3 built by Nipros in Japan and soon to be delivered in the USA by Sony as a package deal bundled with an EX3 for around $29,000.

The Nipros rig uses a sled adapting the EX3’s native connections (including its remote control port) to fiber, conveying HD-SDI, control, intercom, and return video up to 2 km (1.2 miles) to the base station.

The EX3 end of the Nipros rig. Fiber port is on the other side.

It includes the sled, the base station, a 3.5″ monitor for returned video, two intercom headsets, and all the short BNC and remote cables needed to connect the EX3 to the sled. The fiber cable is extra, and is available in lengths from 50m up to 2km.

The Nipros CCU / Fiber Base Station.

When it’s delivered, it’ll support full operability of the EX3 using the Sony RM-B150 or RM-B750 remote panels, including (on the 750) video display with superimposed EX3 menus. Sony will sell it only in a bundle with the EX3, but in response to audience questions, the Sony rep said you could probably arrange to buy the bundle now, take delivery of the EX3 now, and then get the Nipros rig when it ships in the next couple of months (assuming I remember the timeframe correctly).

Also shown: the B4 (2/3″) lens adapter for the EX3:

The EX-B4 adapter with 12-pin lens data port.

The B4 adapter allows both hot-shoe and separately-cabled 2/3″ lenses to talk to the EX3, so start/stop and various other lens functions can be communicated to the camera’s CPU (functionality depending on the lens, of course).

It’s about $1900. Not cheap, but if you need it, you need it.

Other observations:

  • The EX30 deck, with takes two SxS cards, is pretty cool. It’s only half as deep as a “normal” deck, and uses a separate wall-wart power supply (like the EX1 and EX3). It has HD-SDI in and out, making this the cheapest full-HD deck available with uncompressed baseband input. It also has HDMI, analog component, composite, and Y/C outputs. Cost? $4900. No proper jog/shuttle, though.
  • Sony’s 24 inch BVM-series LCD looks mighty nice, as it should for $21,500. LED backlighting, deep blacks.
  • The LMD-series LCDs are less impressive. The 24″ especially is still lacking in black depth, and in consistency with changes in viewing angle. The 42″ was better (and it’s big), but it’s not as good as the BVM—but at $9300 (list) with an HD-SDI input card, it’s a lot cheaper!
  • The version 1.11 firmware upgrade for the EX1 is now available; it adds support for 32 GB SxS cards, the PHU-60K 60 GB hard disk unit, and 23.98PsF E-E output on HD-SDI. It costs $100 (plus shipping) and requires that the EX1 be returned to Sony; contact your local Sony service center for details.

Adam Wilt

Adam Wilt has been working off and on in film and video for the past thirty years, while paying the bills writing software for animation, automation, broadcast graphics, and real-time control for companies including Abekas, Pinnacle, Omneon, CBS, and ABC. Since 1997 his website,, has been a popular reference for information on the DV formats. He reviewed cameras for DV Magazine and started its “Technical Difficulties” column, and taught classes and led panels at NAB, IBC, and DV Expo. He co-authored the book, “Optimizing Your Final Cut Pro System”, part of the Apple Pro Training series. He currently writes for and, and creates iPhone apps like Cine Meter II and FieldMonitor.

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