filters are built in. There are copious audio
controls, and two dials control the levels of the
two audio channels. You can select between
the internal stereo mics, external XLR jacks, or
a device plugged in to the intelligent hot shoe
on the camcorder.
Unfortunately, despite the fact that the clips
I imported into my edit system showed four
tracks of audio, the manual does not indicate
that adding a second audio adapter to the intelligent shoe, or any combination of the internal microphones and integrated XLR jacks, can
provide 4-channel audio recording in the camcorder, which I think is a shame. This would
have been a perfect opportunity for a unique
feature to differentiate the Z150 from the growing assortment of 4K prosumer camcorders.
The Z150’s three internal ND filters enable
you to really dial in a good exposure and make
use of as low an aperture as you can get for
the shallowest depth of field, even outside on
a bright day (as I did in my video). Without the
in-camera ND filters, you either need to add
filtering in front of the lens, increase the shutter dramatically, or iris down. Having the filters built in is a great convenience and helps
realize the value of the 1" sensor.
I really liked that Sony has continued to use
the same InfoLithium-L (NP-F) batteries that the
company introduced in 1995 with the VX1000.
The company also still uses an open-back bat-
tery area, enabling the end user to use any
size of battery he wants. These days, there are
third-party batteries that are even bigger than
the NP-F970, or that offer a power tap for exter-
nal components. You can only take advantage
of these features with an
open battery compartment.
Dual media slots enable
you to utilize two SD cards
or Sony media in one of
those slots. You can record
the same thing to both cards
for redundancy. You can re-lay-record one card to the
other for continuous recording (maximum of 6 hours
in XAVC/MPEG HD and 13
hours for AVCHD). You can
also record proxies—a 720p
version of your 4K footage
so you can immediately begin cutting the HD on a lower-end laptop in the field.
One thing I did notice pretty quickly was
that the menu controls on top, under the folded LCD screen, are not very touch-friendly. In
my many years of using Sony gear, the buttons
are usually raised and easy to differentiate by
touch. On the Z150, they are all flat along the
same surface, with no space, differentiation,
or dimples on the surface. I constantly pushed
the wrong button (or missed the button completely), and I had to look at the controls to
reorient my hand. This is not what I’m used to
with Sony camcorders.
The menu system itself is very similar to other Sony camcorders I’ve used over the years.
It’s familiar and easy to get around and use. I
had no problem finding and changing the settings during my time with the camcorder.
I really liked the Z150’s balance in my hand
(see Figure 1 on p. 107). It’s compact, and the
grip is in the right place for the weight of the
lens and a big battery on the back. This camcorder is very comfortable for handheld run-and-gun videography. Good balance is one of
the advantages on a camcorder with an integrated zoom lens (don’t call it a “fixed” lens).
You can also put a filter on the lens, if needed,
and leave it on under the hood.
The viewfinder has a sensor that activates
the screen when you put your eye up to it, but
like all sensors, it can be engaged if you are
holding the camcorder low and have the eyepiece against your body. This automatic switching can be disabled in the menus.
Some of the
on the Z150