Pro Moviemaker Spring 2019


SONY Z190/Z280

There is also face-recognition AF, where you can register someone’s face, then it recognises and tracks that face, even if other people are in the scene. It’s great for tracking a bride at a wedding, or an important person in a group of hangers-on. It even remembers the face after you’ve turned the camera off – freaky at first, but you soon get used to it. Once you’ve used it, it’s tough to go back to a camera that doesn’t offer it. Of course, we are including these new cameras in our Livestreaming Special because they are both very suitable for livestreaming or TV broadcast – and even remote control via a smartphone. Sony’s Content Browser Mobile app lets you control your camera from a smartphone and then the footage can be sent to Sony’s cloud- based ENG server XDCAM Air, or uploaded via wired or wireless networks. The Z190 and Z280 have slots for two 4G dongles to allow streaming while out in the field without Wi-Fi or ethernet access. They are ideal for recording fast-paced events, as well as getting top-quality footage out quickly or in real time in fantastic quality. This can be lower-res proxy media while the cameras store the highest-quality footage for editing later. Both Z cameras can be masters of many things.

The quality from both cameras’ lenses is impressive, with great control of flare, punchy results and no nasty vignetting or aberrations. It’s impossible to compare the two lenses empirically, as both cameras have different sensors, but they both provide excellent performance. Similarly, both lenses have triple control rings that are easy to use and give a very mechanical feel, even though they are electronically controlled. While manual focus is the traditionalist’s chosen method of getting the image sharp, it’s in documentary use where autofocus can be very useful and has been a mainstay on cameras for many years. Both the Z190 and Z280 take this on in a big way, by using Sony’s own advanced AF system linked to clever face-detection technology that actually works incredibly well. There are face- detection AF and face-priority AF settings, where the focus locks onto any face in the scene and tracks it. Even if the person moves out of shot and back in, it quickly reacquires focus.

“The quality fromboth cameras’ lenses is impressive, with great control of flare, punchy results and no nasty vignetting or aberrations”

THE VERDICT It may seem a bit odd to compare one flagship camera that costs £6939/$6950 to its little brother that’s far cheaper at £3750/$3750. However, both are aimed at the same sort of user. Both offer 4K from three-chip CMOS sensors, both are highly connectable (which makes them suitable for livestreaming), both are HDR-ready and both have spectacularly huge zoom ranges. However, what you get for the extra money is the stunning FS7-like 4K 50p or 60p in XAVC-I, in 10-bit 4:2:2 at 600 Mbps, from larger sensors that the Z190 can’t compare to. There’s also the very useful USB file output to an external hard drive, which might bypass the need for buying many of the pricey SxS cards. Add in the S-Log3 profile for maximum dynamic range and genlock for studio users and it’s clear to see why the Z280 is a much

higher-spec camera and commands a premium. If you have a need for those features, then the Z280 is definitely a great choice that should give service for many years. It’s a workhorse camera that is solidly built and – with no interchangeable lens – you will never need to clean the sensor. If you can live without the high and impressive spec, the Z190 is also a very capable camera, with stunning 4K footage and great low-light performance, although not quite as good as the bigger Z280. However, it’s not far behind and handles just as well. If you want an all-in-one solution to fast-paced live event recording and live broadcast, you can’t go wrong with either of Sony’s Z cameras.


Features: 9 Both cameras are packedwith spec –no super slo-mo though Performance: 9 Both cameras are designed to be a do-all solution and both deliver Handling: 9 Sony knows how to build cameras for professionals and gets it right again Value formoney: 8 Both cameras do a lot for themoney, but are not the cheapest on themarket OVERALL RATING: 9/10 If you know you need a fixed-lens camcorder, both newSony Z cameras should be on your shopping list Pros: Great AF, easy streaming, simple to use and stunning results Cons: No super slo-mo, SxSmedia for Z280 is very pricey

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