Sony has just announced the new PMW-300, replacing the very popular PMW-EX3. As an evolution of the EX3, it features an interchangeable lens system and side-mounted viewfinder. The camera comes with a 14x zoom lens, and a 16x version will be available sometime later in the year. The lens mount system on the PMW-300 is the same as the EX3, so 2/3″ lenses and still lenses can be used with adapters. The three 1/2″ CMOS sensors of the PMW-300 are also the same as those found in the EX3, but with improvements in noise levels for better low light performance. A more noticeable change over the EX3 is the form factor, gone is the curved back design and long loupe on the viewfinder. Instead, the camera has a flat base and a viewfinder similar to the Sony DVF-L350 viewfinder found on the F5/F55 cameras. This means that it should sit squarely on your shoulder with the viewfinder comfortably at your eye.
The PMW-300 is also the big brother to the PMW-200, so naturally it has the all important 50Mbps 422 XDCAM codec recording option. It will also record in 35Mbps mode, as well as IMX and DV, so legacy recording modes are covered as well. The big news here is that in 2014, Sony is planning an update that will allow the camera to support the new 10-bit XAVC compression mode, which is a welcome addition for anyone needing that extra quality. Standard resolution and frame rates are supported: 1080 60i, 50i, 30p, 25p, 24p, as well as all the 720p frame rates.
The camera has all the standard I/O you expect including HD-SDI & HDMI outputs and XLR audio inputs. Plus, like the EX3, the PMW-300 is made for multi-camera use, featuring a Genlock In and Timecode In/Out interface, so that it can be linked with other cameras for multi-camera operation and 3D configurations. It also has the standard remote interface (8-pin 700-Protocol) for remote adjustment via paintbox.
The PMW-300 should prove to be a very comfortable camera to have on your shoulder, and no doubt it will quickly become the documentary camera of choice for many. Check out Sony’s full press release, and look for the camera to arrive sometime in October.