While narratives have mostly moved away from cameras with fixed lenses, there is still a huge place for them in today's market.
As long as people are shooting documentaries, TV content, or anything that requires a zoom lens, ND filters, long recording times, and depth of field that's not too shallow, these fixed-lens prosumer/professional cameras still have a place. Sony's newest, the PXW-Z150 4K XDCAM, can record UHD 4K 3840 x 2160 at 100Mbps up to 30fps, and is capable of full HD at 120fps. With its 1" sensor (which is a little smaller than Micro 4/3), it's possible to get shallow depth of field when you want it without too much effort.
The other big advantage to fixed-lens cameras like this is the insane zoom that's packed into such a small package. The 9.3-111.6mm f/2.8 to f/4.5 lens is equivalent to a 29-348mm on full-frame 35mm. This would be an impossible lens to get for larger formats and not only keep affordable (the camera will cost $3,600), but also keep the size and weight down.
In addition, the PXW-Z150 can livestream without any other accessories due to its built-in WiFi abilities. Check out the intro video:
And some test footage:
Just a few specs:
- Sony 1 Inch, 13.2 mm x 8.8 mm back-illuminated Exmor RS CMOS sensor
- Lens: 9.3 to 111.6mm (35mm Equivalent Focal Length — 29 to 348mm (16:9) — 62mm Filter
- OLED Viewfinder: 0.39"-type / 1.0 cm (approx. 1.44 M dots)
- LCD Monitor: 3.5" / 8.8 cm (approx. 1.56 M dots)
- UHD 3840 x 2160p: XAVC Long/MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 (8-bit at 100/60 Mb/s): 29.97 / 25 / 23.98fps
- 1920 x 1080p: XAVC Long/MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 (50/35/25Mb/s): 59.94 / 50 / 29.97 / 25 / 23.98fps
- 1920 x 1080p: MPEG HD 4:2:2 (10-bit at 50Mb/s) & 4:2:0 (8-bit at 35Mb/s): 29.97 / 25 / 23.98 fps
- 1920 x 1080p: AVCHD MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 AVCHD 2.0 (28/24/17Mb/s): 59.94/50/29.97/25/23.98
- 1440 x 1080i: MPEG HD 4:2:0: 59.94/50
- HD up to 120 fps at 50Mbps (XAVC -60i: 120 fps, 50i: 100 fps)
- 720p up to 60fps
- Sony G Lens with 12x Optical Zoom
- 24x Clear Image Zoom, 48x Digital Zoom
- Discrete Manual Focus, Zoom, Iris Rings
- XAVC, AVC/H.264, AVCHD 2.0, MPEG-4
- Slow and Quick Motion Function
- Card Slots: 1 x SD/SDHC/SDXC & Memory Stick Duo, 1 x SD/SDHC/SDXC
- Wi-Fi Built-In
- Clear, 1/4ND, 1/16ND, and 1/64ND
- 1 x BNC (3G-SDI), 1 x HDMI, 1 x RCA Composite Out, Remote: 1 x 2.5 mm stereo mini jack, Headphone: 1 x 3.5 mm stereo mini jack
- 2 x XLR (3-pin), line/mic/mic +48 V selectable
- Weight: 4.2 lb / 1.9 g (body only), 5.1 lb / 2.30 kg (with Lens Hood, EVF Eyecup, and NP-F970 Battery)
- Availability: April 2016
- Price: $3,600
While it would have been nice to have a constant aperture with the camera, it does have a crazy amount of high-quality recording formats, and the 120fps mode is probably more frames per second than you're ever really going to need. For those still doing shoots that require a camera like this, it's worth keeping an eye out for when it's released in April.