March 23, 2011

Sony's weather-proof HXR-NX70

The dust and rain proof Sony HXR-NX70E could be a useful little camcorder for news coverage, particularly in places like Afghanistan where dust and dirt regularly ruin cameras and (especially) tapes.

“Filmmakers and journalists will travel to some of the most remote and dangerous locations in pursuit of a story. We wanted to respond with a camcorder that, like them, can stand up to the rigours of the world’s most challenging conditions," said Bill Drummond, Strategic Marketing Manager, Sony Professional.

The NX70 is "a robust ultra-compact camcorder that allows them to not only capture footage in any conditions, but also store it on a 96GB internal memory. When you are miles from anywhere, you don’t want to be worrying about having to find an extra memory card.” There is also a combined SD/Memory Stick card slot.

Usefully, the camera can also copy direct to an external drive without using a computer or other back-up device, by plugging in an external USB drive.

The main unit of the NX70 has been proven to reach dust-proof and rain-proof performance requirements specified by IEC60529 IP54. Sudden rain or dust will not affect its operation.

The HXR-NX70E appears to be a professional, ruggedised version of the new Sony HDR-CX700 consumer camera, and incorporates a 1/2.88-inch Exmor R CMOS sensor claimed to deliver "superior quality low-light footage." It has manual controls plus such features as CinemaTone for deeper, more film-like colour tones, as well as an infrared light for shooting in low- or no-light conditions.

It has a reasonably wide-angle f1.8 Sony G 10x zoom lens (26.3mm to 263mm as a 35mm equivalent) and optical SteadyShot image stabilisation with Active Mode to compensate for greater camera shake than before. It also has GPS.

The NX70 can record 1080p 50/60 at up to 28Mbps (not yet part of the AVCHD standard, so not always supported by non-linear editing systems), as well as 50/60i or 24/25p at 24Mbps.

It has a demountable handle incorporating an audio pod (two XLR Line/Mic inputs with selectable Phantom power). However, the audio pod is not weather proof.

The HXR-NX70E will be available in June, and should cost about €3,100/$3,200.

By David Fox

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