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News for Sony PDW 700/800 XDCAM owner/operators

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Luis Perez
News for Sony PDW 700/800 XDCAM owner/operators
on May 17, 2010 at 5:10:28 pm

Greetings fellow XDCAM 700/800 owner/operators! I have some interesting news and observations. Some good, some bad! I own a Sony PDW 700 camera since February 2009. I purchased the SD option and better B&W viewfinder with the camera, but not the 24P option, as it was $4500 at the time.

I just recently upgraded the latest firmware to the camera (1.63). After doing this and reading the release notes I noticed that 24p was included in SD. Except that it is not a true 24p and it needs a pulldown from your favorite editing software. I decided to check Sony’s website as well as B&H Photo for the HD version of 24p... and lo and behold!

Sony is now selling the 24p option for a retail price of $699! You read this right! $699 is the list price of the 24p record and playback option. It used to be $4500. You can see the info below from B&H website:

Sony CBKZ-FC02 24p Record / Playback Software Key for PDW-700
• Mfr #
• Price : $ 699.00
• Shipping : $ 11.75
• Usually ships in 2-4 weeks
• Important Notice!
• This is a special order item and is non-cancelable and non-returnable. Est.

The Sony CBKZ-FC02 is the long awaited 24p option for the PDW-700 XDCAM broadcast camera. With this software, the camera will be able to produce and record images with a 24p film-like look, in both SD and HD resolutions. (from B&H features)
I called Sony reps and B&H, and both say that this is the same software key that used to sell for $4500... I’m glad I waited and didn’t purchase the option... even with the 1500 dollar rebate. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Here is another website that I found very interesting by Studio Scotland Ltd. Very interesting info and review of their 700 experience... especially about the travel, hyper gamma and nano flash.

I did some research on the Nano Flash and it is very interesting and promising indeed! Basically for the $2800 list price (I’m sure you can get it cheaper) you can have in your toolset, among other great features, over and under cranking for your 700! That’s right... over and undercranking! Check it out here:

Convergent Design makes the Nano Flash and they claim it supports; Loop Recording, time lapse, 7 second buffer, 3:2 pulldown, Long GOP of I-Frame recording, 8-280 Mbps, 8 Channel Audio, Very Low Power, PC & Mac File Formats and Over and Under Cranking! WOW!!! It connects either with HD/SDI or HDMI. I have not tested this yet but the potential is mind blowing! Basically you hook up this device to your 700 HD/SDI output, (or HDMI if your camera has that) and you set what recording rate you need and you have a separate external recording unit. It uses the same SONY XDCAM 422 codec at the variable bit rate of 18 to 280 Mbps. That means that at the sweet spot of 100 Mbps the long GOP video quality is superior to that of the camera’s recording codec of 50 Mbps. You can also record up to 280 Mbps in I-frame. You can choose to record in Quicktime, MXF or Mpeg. And all of this records to two Compact Flash cards that can be swapped out. Pretty cool... too much info for me to describe... check out their website.

On another note. This bit of news is not good! You must be aware of this! I recently had to send in my 700 because a recently shot Sony 23g disc got stuck in the carriage and would not eject. I had shot on it earlier in the day and on return home I ejected it, then later put it back in to view some of the clips. After viewing some of the clips I hit the eject button and heard some strange noises... the disc would not eject... tried everything! Power off, power on hitting eject button, etc. Even did the manual emergency screw turn, but to no avail! Had to rent another camera for the next day’s shoot...That sucked! I had to send the camera in for warranty repair... thank god it has a 7 year warranty on the laser block! I was out of my 1 year warranty. After doing some research on the internet I came across a thread about somebody else having this problem!... here is the link and what they had to say!

XDCAM 700 ( WARNING ) Loading drive problems #1

Just a warning to all owners of a XDCAM 700 and maybe other new models. Something that sony will not tell you. I work for a production company that has had a new XDCAM 700 for about 4 months. In that time they have had 2 YES 2 loading drives fail. In other words the disc would not eject. First time could no do a manuel eject the camera had to be opened up. Second time I was not there so not sure how they got the disc out.

Now good old Sony said that ohh the camera must have had some rough treatment. Well I am the main user and that comment is just utter rubbish. In fact the second time the loading drive failed I was using the camera. The shoot was a interview for about 2 hours and the camera was on a total lock off not even a reframe. After the shoot I ejected the disc and gave it to the editor. I put the disc back in about 30 mins later to see how much time was left on it. Then went to eject it and heard some not so normal sounds..and disc would not eject.

Now the second loading drive has been replaced Sony has said that there should not be any problems..YEAH right. So what you should do if you have a 700 or higher. The production company has asked Sony to replace the camera or a life time replacement warranty on the loading drive. I wonder what Sony would have done if the camera was out of warranty. I think the production company would have paid BIG Sony $$$$. The interesting thing is that the production company owns the first XDCAM that come out. Never had a problem and that camera saw a lot of work.


I would contact your sony dealer and make it known to them that you know that there has been problems with the loading drive. I would ask for a lifetime replacement warranty on that part and do all of the above in writing not by phone.

Hope this helps you owners out here. Please copy this and send this to any other owners you know or even production companies you may work for.

Posted on: 4/10 1:43

My camera is fixed now and working fine. I love the camera, its features and the great pictures it produces. Hopefully nothing else will happen! I have ordered the HD24p option. And if anyone has the Nano Flash and has tested the over and under cranking, especially on a Sony PDW 700, please let me know what you think! Thanks

Happy video trails!

Luis Perez

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David Brown
Re: News for Sony PDW 700/800 XDCAM owner/operators
on May 17, 2010 at 9:25:40 pm

Thanks for the update Luis!

I'm reminded that Sony has found potential semiconductor /optical laser problem last summer affecting PDW 700s with serial numbers 14209-14890. It's a warranty issue, and it shows up in cameras as a error in reading a disc recorded on a 700 with the bad part. Sony will pay for shipping both ways and fix this problem. What they might not do, is let you know about this problem. There are also problems with some PDW-U1s and PDW1500’s-I don't know which ones.

I bought my 700 directly from Sony but only found out about this problem from a friend who bought from, and was informed by, Abel.


David Brown

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