Sony offers a fractional upgrade, at what cost?
As part of the NXCAM line from Sony, the HXR-NX5R is a solution to fit the on-demand needs of journalists, documentarians, webcasters, and professionals alike. A quick caveat though: if you’re looking for a 4K solution, this camera tops off at 50mbps full HD. So what are we exactly getting with this new camera? A souped-up HVR-V1U? A slimmed-down PXW-Z100?
The answer: a slightly enhanced HXR-NX3/1.
Dubbed as a "rebirth of the classic HXR-NX5U" that kicked off the NXCAM line, by all accountable measures so far Sony has taken the specs of the HXR-NX3/1 and added an OLED viewfinder, WiFi streaming capabilities, and a Multi-Interface (MI) shoe to create the HXR-NX5R. If you’re not familiar with the MI shoe, it allows you to use Sony proprietary audio equipment to record dual audio channels wirelessly.
The camcorder is equipped with multiple recording options: AVCHD, DV, and “glorious” FULL HD XAVC-S. If you caught the “glorious” reference, high fives. You might have also heard of XAVC-S. It’s based on the H.264/MPEG-4 video coding with the aforementioned 50 megabits per second and frame rates up to 60p. The XAVC-S uses a MP4 container that can be found on the Sony A7s camera.
At its heart is an Exmor CMOS sensor with three 1/2.8-type full HD image sensors, one dedicated for red, green, and blue which Sony says it provides “superb clarity deep into the shadows.” The lens is from its G technology which has been improved in areas of resolution, fine focus, bokeh, and stability. The HXR-NX5R boasts a 20x zoom from 28.8mm to 575mm. When the Clear Image Zoom is engaged, you can achieve a 40x zoom or 1152mm.
The build includes separate rings for focus, iris, and zoom. #Like. And unlike the HXR-NX3/1, it supports 3G-SDI output as well as HDMI and composite. At its front, Sony’s included an adjustable LED video light, along with the familiar pro-camera layout we’re used to seeing, with the addition of five customizable buttons. Dual SD cards slots provide increased recording reliability and the wide angled and high contrast OLED viewfinder provides image monitoring.
If you're thinking about a live stream package, this will theoretically allow one person to do a live muti-camera shoot on their own.
So, how does this camera compare to similar cameras at its price point, many of which have higher resolution sensors? How can reading about HD be exciting to a No Film School reader in the age of 4K?
What does stand out about the camera are its network capabilities. The built-in wifi allows you to stream over MPEG-TS & Ustream or transfer files onto your smartphone or tablet. You can also use your device to act as a wireless viewfinder and remote control for options like recording, zoom, and auto focus. While it’s not quite there, it would be great if Sony figured out a way to stream directly into Periscope or Facebook Live so you can use a more robust camera instead of your phone. This could open up the possibilities of other “live” content similar to what Sickhouse did with Snapchat.
Sony's also packaging this camera with the MCX-500, a compact, four-channel video switcher that has a built-in audio mixer, internal recording and live streaming via Ustream. If you're thinking about a live stream package, this will theoretically allow one person to do a live muti-camera shoot on their own. When combined with another add-on, the RM-30BP controller, a tally light appears on the HXR-NX5R’s LCD panel and viewfinder to indicate record in red or preview mode in green.
While this camera might not be the best investment in terms of creating higher resolution content down the line, it is a solid package for those knowing they'll work in the HD space for the foreseeable future.
Prices yet to be confirmed.
- HXR-NX5R – September 2016
- RM-30BP – October 2016
- MCX-500 – January 2017
- Exmor 3CMOS Sensor 1/2.8 type
- Full HD
- Clear Image Max 40x zoom
- Multiple Formats – XAVC-S / AVCHD / DV
- OLED EVF 0.39 type 1440K
- FTP and Live streaming with built-in Wifi
- Adjustable LED light
- MI SHOE
- Dual Card slots
- L Series Batteries
- 3G-SDI Output