Sony Releases The PMW-200 – A New 4:2:2 XDCAM Camcorder With Three 1/2-Inch Sensors
Before the DSLR revolution, the Sony PMW-EX1 was the “go-to” camera for indie filmmakers producing low budget features, but the compact camcorder was also a solid player in the broadcast television and documentary market. But as you’ve probably noticed, lately all of the attention has been focused on Sony’s NEX-line of camcorders, particularly the FS100U and the new FS700U, which both contain Super 35mm-sized sensors.
Well, for shooters who don’t necessarily need a Super 35mm sensor to enable cinematic shallow depth of field, Sony is releasing an exciting new camera to its popular XDCAM HD4:2:2 line – the PMW-200. A great upgrade to the EX1R, the handheld PMW-200 contains three 1/2″ Exmor CMOS sensors and is capable of capturing HD 4:2:2 50Mbps files (EX1R was able to output 4:2:2 only through HD-SDI at 4:2:0 35Mbps via SxS). Most broadcast cameras in this class of 4:2:2 50Mbps recording contain 1/3″ sensors so the PMW-200′s 1/2″ sensors should give you a good advantage in low light shooting capabilities.
The recording formats include 50-Mbps/35Mbps MXF, 35Mbps/25Mbps MP4 and even DVCAM to give you the workflow that best fits your production’s needs. Sony is also including its Slow & Quick motion function to capture speeds at 1-fps to 60-fps in 720p, and from 1-fps to 30-fps in 1080. (Not quite the speed of the FS700U’s but it’s a nice inclusion.)
Lens-wise, the PMW-200 contains a fixed 14x zoom lens with auto focus and image stabilization. Like most broadcast lenses, it has three rings for zoom, focus and iris adjustment, as well as greater control of ring positions on the camera’s LCD screen, which is a full color 3.5″ WVGA (852×480) LCD panel.
Another cool feature is that the camcorder has a 15-second cache recording, meaning its internal memory can capture footage way before the recording button is engaged. This is a great feature for documentary shooters, who may have missed a crucial once-in-a-lifetime shot.
Like all professional broadcast cameras, the PMW-200 contains Genlock and timecode making it easier for multi-cam or studio environment productions. For capture, the camcorder has two SxS slots for either SxS Pro or SxS-1 cards. You can also use SD cards, Sony Memory Stick and XQD cards (adaptor required). Also included is a Wi-Fi remote that will come in handy for studio or tricky location work. The remote will be available in December, 2012 with a free firmware upgrade.
The PMW-200 will be available in September for a retail price of $7,790. Looks like Sony has another winner for event shooters or indie filmmakers looking for an all purpose camcorder with less compression.
We’ll do an upcoming hands-on review in an upcoming issue.