Sony HXR-NX80 Review: A Deep Dive into the Features and Performance of this Compact
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- 02 May, 2023
As a professional videographer or an enthusiast, you are always on the lookout for a camcorder that not only delivers stunning visuals but also offers a plethora of features, compact design, and easy-to-use interface. The Sony HXR-NX80, a compact 4K camcorder, is a shining example of such a device. In this article, we will delve deep into the features and performance of the Sony HXR-NX80, understand its pros and cons, and compare it to its competitors.
Sony has always been a leading player in the world of professional video equipment, and the HXR-NX80 is another feather in its cap. This camcorder is designed to cater to the needs of both professionals and enthusiasts, making it a versatile and valuable addition to your gear. So, without further ado, let's dive into the key features of this amazing camcorder.
The NX80 is a compact, lightweight camcorder that boasts a professional-grade design. Its dimensions (171.3 x 187.8 x 371.3 mm) and weight (about 2.1 kg) make it easy to carry around and handle for extended periods. In addition to its compactness, the camcorder also has a rugged build, making it a reliable choice for outdoor shoots and challenging conditions.
This nifty camcorder features a 3.5" touchscreen LCD panel that allows you to navigate through settings and adjust focus points easily. The interface is intuitive, making it easy even for beginners to use. The NX80 also comes with a high-quality electronic viewfinder (EVF) that provides a clear, accurate preview of your shots.
What's cool is that this camcorder is designed with ergonomics in mind, allowing you to access all the essential controls without taking your eye off the viewfinder. The buttons and dials are strategically placed, so you don't have to fumble around to find the right setting.
Video quality and performance
The Sony HXR-NX80 is a powerhouse when it comes to video quality and performance. Equipped with a 1.0-type Exmor RS CMOS sensor and a BIONZ X image processor, the camcorder can capture stunning 4K Ultra HD footage at 100 Mbps in XAVC S format. This ensures that your videos are crisp, clear, and full of detail.
The camcorder also supports a variety of other formats, such as AVCHD and DV, making it a versatile choice for different shooting requirements. The high frame rate (HFR) recording feature allows you to capture slow-motion footage at up to 960 fps, adding a new dimension to your videos.
One of the most impressive features of the HXR-NX80 is its ability to shoot in low light conditions. Because this camcorder has a maximum ISO of 25,600, it ensures that even in challenging lighting conditions, your footage remains bright and noise-free.
Audio capabilities and options
Audio is an integral part of any video production, and the Sony HXR-NX80 does not disappoint in this department. It comes with a built-in stereo microphone that provides excellent sound quality for most applications. And if you require more advanced audio options, the HXR-NX80 also features two XLR inputs with phantom power, allowing you to connect professional-grade microphones for superior audio quality.
Furthermore, the camcorder also has a built-in Multi Interface (MI) Shoe that can accommodate a range of Sony-compatible accessories, such as wireless microphones and audio receivers. This ensures that you have all the necessary tools to capture the best possible sound for your videos.
The NX80 features a Fast Hybrid Autofocus (AF) system that combines both phase-detection and contrast-detection autofocus methods. This allows the camcorder to lock onto subjects quickly and accurately, ensuring that your footage remains sharp and in focus at all times.
This well-equipped camcorder also comes with various AF modes, such as flexible spot, zone, and center, which can be easily selected using the touchscreen interface. The HXR-NX80 also supports face detection and lock-on AF, enabling the camcorder to track and maintain focus on your subject even when they are in motion.
Shaky footage can ruin the professional appearance of your videos, and the Sony HXR-NX80 comes with an Optical SteadyShot image stabilization system that effectively reduces camera shake. This feature is especially useful when shooting handheld, ensuring that your footage remains smooth and steady even in challenging shooting conditions.
The camcorder also offers various image stabilization modes, such as standard, active, and intelligent active, allowing you to choose the level of stabilization that suits your shooting requirements.
Connectivity and streaming capabilities
The NX80 is also equipped with a range of connectivity options, making it easy to share your videos and live stream your content. It has built-in Wi-Fi and NFC capabilities, allowing you to wirelessly transfer your footage to a compatible device for easy sharing and editing.
For live streaming, it supports the Real-Time Messaging Protocol (RTMP), enabling you to stream your content directly to video-sharing platforms such as YouTube and Facebook Live. The camcorder also has an HDMI output, allowing you to connect it to an external monitor or TV for instant playback and review.
It also has a range of physical connections, such as two SD card slots, a USB port, and an AV output. This ensures that you have all the necessary connections to transfer, edit, and share your content with ease.
Battery life and power management
Out of the box you'll get a high-capacity NP-FV70A battery that provides impressive battery life for extended shooting sessions. The camcorder also supports the use of the optional NP-FV100A battery, which can offer even longer recording times.
You also have a range of power management options that help conserve battery life. These include the Power Save Start Time function, which automatically puts the camcorder in standby mode after a specified period of inactivity, and the Quick Power On function, which enables the camcorder to start up quickly from standby mode.
Pros and cons of the Sony HXR-NX80
- Compact and lightweight design, making it easy to carry and handle
- 4K Ultra HD video quality with various format support
- Impressive low light performance
- Fast Hybrid AF system for accurate and quick focus
- Optical SteadyShot image stabilization
- Advanced audio capabilities with XLR inputs and MI Shoe
- Comprehensive connectivity options, including Wi-Fi and NFC
- Long battery life and power management features
- Limited lens options due to the fixed lens design
- The touchscreen interface may be challenging to use in bright sunlight
- No built-in neutral density (ND) filters
Comparing the Sony HXR-NX80 to its competitors
When comparing the Sony HXR-NX80 to its competitors, such as the Canon XA11, Panasonic HC-X1, and JVC GY-HM170, it becomes evident that this camera offers a competitive edge in terms of video quality, autofocus, and connectivity.
While all these camcorders offer 4K video recording, the NX80's XAVC S format at100 Mbps provides better image quality compared to its competitors. The NX80 also has a more advanced autofocus system, which combines both phase-detection and contrast-detection autofocus methods, providing faster and more accurate focus tracking.
What's more, the NX80 has better connectivity options, offering built-in Wi-Fi and NFC capabilities, HDMI output, and the ability to stream content directly to video-sharing platforms with RTMP support.
One thing to keep in mind is that when it comes to lens options, the Sony HXR-NX80 falls behind its competitors, as it has a fixed lens design. The Canon XA11 and Panasonic HC-X1, for example, offer interchangeable lens systems, allowing you to switch between different lenses to suit your shooting requirements.
In terms of price, the Sony HXR-NX80 sits in the mid-range, with a price tag of around $2,300. While the Canon XA11 is a more affordable option, priced at around $1,200, and the Panasonic HC-X1 and JVC GY-HM170 sit at a higher price point, hovering around $2,500 and $2,000, respectively.
Overall, the NX80 holds its own when compared to its competitors, offering a range of advanced features and impressive performance at a reasonable price point.
Who should consider the Sony HXR-NX80?
The Sony HXR-NX80 is a versatile and valuable addition to the gear of both professional videographers and enthusiasts. Its compact design, advanced features, and impressive performance make it a suitable choice for a variety of shooting scenarios, such as weddings, events, documentaries, and vlogging.
If you are a professional videographer looking for a compact, reliable, and high-performance camcorder, this one is an excellent choice. Its advanced autofocus and image stabilization systems, combined with its 4K video quality and comprehensive connectivity options, make it a reliable tool for your video productions.
For enthusiasts who are looking to take their video skills to the next level, the NX80 can help you get there. With its user-friendly interface, intuitive controls, and advanced features make it easy to use, even for beginners, while providing the tools to capture impressive video footage.
The Sony HXR-NX80 is a compact 4K camcorder that packs a punch in terms of features and performance. Its advanced autofocus and image stabilization systems, combined with its 4K video quality and comprehensive connectivity options, make it a versatile and valuable addition to your gear.
While the HXR-NX80 has some limitations, such as its fixed lens design and challenging touchscreen interface in bright sunlight, its pros outweigh its cons. If you are in the market for a reliable, high-performance camcorder, the Sony HXR-NX80 is definitely worth considering. Ready to buy? Shop the Sony HXR-NX80 today at the best price!