Betacam SX Ingest question

PAD Imaging


I did search as best I could first. I found these two threads:


but, that's info circa 2008, and doesn't really answer my question.

So, I *thought* I got the steal of the century on a Betacam SX. Hey, SP was king and still can fight, so SX should be more better, right? :eek:

Well, I didn't do enough due diligence. Apparently, I bought the only Sony camera without the universal connector! :mad: In fact, it appears with one exception, the only way out is the tape (no interest in driving tapes to dub) or the friggin monitor tap.

It seems a waste to have all that glass and 3 chips if it's only a composite video out.

SO... options:

1 - sell camera, do better.
2 - Composite will be ok for local ENG stringer work, you worry too much
3 - start on the quest to find (supercheaply) the unicorn-like SDI 701/702 converter, and use that to squirt it into the laptop
4 - find a pinout of the semihidden 40pin accy conn and see if there's some usable video signals to make my own breakout box.


PS - I sent out an email to the local affiliates and community cable channels on what formats they prefer / accept. No responses yet.

Necktie Boy

Well-known member
Well. it looks like someone didn't do any research on his new old SX or what the local stations would accept.

The only shooters that still have tape based cameras are shooters that have had them for awhile, or got a very sweet deal that was used to pay off the camera for that project.

Saying that, you blew it. Going tape while everything has gone to cards was a big mistakes. SX never really made a big in the US. Betacam SP became the standard till HD came around. I don't even see used SX decks.

I hate to say you have a paperweight. You don't mention the model, but if it doesn't do 16:9, it's really useless. At least in my area, you have to be shoot 16:9 SD. Not great, but at least fills the screen.

I wouldn't invest any more money that you have now. I have gone out composite out into a KiPro, up converted on the fly. It did look pretty good, but when used with firewire, and up converted via hardware when broadcasted, it looked much better.
Also it depends how good the up convertors that are being used.

I would have steered away from that camera, and went with something more in you budget that was tapeless.

Going into a laptop via SDI will be costly since you have to find a box that will work with the laptop. The box will only work on the newer laptops with USB 3. You could find a laptop with Express slot, but those are real, too.

You must have wondered why the SX camera was so cheap?

PAD Imaging

Not really. I get crazy deals all the time. God takes care of me! I was kinda down until I could get back home and fire it up... that thing is AWESOME! I got a 702 service manual coming to see what that 40 pin does, so that's next.

I'm not happy shooting on what I call palmcorders. I have one consumer one (DCR?), and used to use an XL1 quite a bit. My hands shake too much for those. I haven't seen any rube goldberg contraption that seems to make one really shoulderable, but if you float through the amateur filmmaker sites, they certainly have a lot of ideas.

I woulda just bought a SP, several people around here use that and digibeta. All the solo talent here drag around what I want to say are similar to the DVX type.

Besides, if you're at the right place and time, they take phone videos all the time here. Sorry if I am coming off like I think I'm sounding, but I think as long as I can find a good way to get something out, I'm gonna be ok.

My plan was to come out of the thing into a DVR taped to the back, then into the laptop via firewire or usb even. I never really planned on shooting tape. Wouldn't an expresscard adapter knock out that problem?

Thanks for taking the time to respond though. They don't make a fullsized card/disk unit that comes complete used in the $200 range though, do they? ;) :) :)


Necktie Boy

Well-known member
I have seen so many Digital Betacam for sale at killer prices. The problem is that some are just 4:3 or don't have the SDI option. SX is even rarer to see for sale. In my area, only one station used SX. I do believe that CBS went into that format when it came out, but not too sure.

I hear you on the smaller cameras. A XL1 is a pain to use. My concern with small cameras is where to hang the wireless and battery for the light. But we may have to change our styles. The PMW-200 is a good example. It still lack real estate, but the chips are okay, and the recorder format is good.

If you could find the SDI out board, then I think you could use a NanoFlash for recorder. The Nano could still be used with other cameras or even a stand alone recorder/playback deck.

Even adding a Nano, you have spent about $2k for the unit, and then few more bucks for the cards. You don't say if how much you paid for your camera, but it must have been a screaming deal. My buddy scored on an used JVC-750 for $5k. It only had about 10 hours on it. The two weakness on that camera is the VF and deal pixels. Still don't understand how a new camera has dead pixels.

My SD camera does have a firewire, and my laptop does, too. I even have a little camera to use as a feeder in the field.

I don't remember where the 40 pin connector is. If I remember correctly, the SDI board is the same for SX and for Digital Betacam. I would check around with the used equipment dealers.

The other cameras to look for is Sony PDW-510. It's disc based with a fire wire, and USB(?) to transfer footage. Still a 16:9 SD camera, but tapeless. I have seen those as long as $4k with a lens.

Good luck on your project.

Necktie Boy

Well-known member
I found some information and pictures on the two adapters that output an SDI signal. The 40 pin on the Sony is a standard pin that sits under the battery. So, it may be difficult to break out. The battery may be in the way. The pins are actually contacts.

My bad, there is no SDI card option for any of the SX line.

You never mention what version you purchased. There were four models. The top of the line was the DNW-90WS. The other model that could shot 16:9 was the DNW-9WS. I hope your model is a widescreen version.

The two adapters that you can use to output a SDI signal is a CA-701. This was used to add two more audio channel for recording. It does have two SDI outputs. The other back is a CA-702. This adapter has a 26 pin Component Analog out with one SDI out. The feature of this back was the "pool feed" on a BNC.

The question is how many of these adapters were made? I would say not many. Ebay may be your friend, but that screaming deal is turning out to cost you more in the end.

If you are really handy, working with circuit boards, the hack would be to make one of the BNC's, SDI out. It seems lots of work to get an SDI signal out. Also, I believe that AB battery adapter has the 40 pin. Maybe using one of those plates or adapter will give easier access to the pins. The durability would depend on the quality of the hack.

I do like building stuff and hacking, but really don't know if it's worth all the trouble? As a stringer, the pay isn't going to be that great. Going out composite with balance audio to a firewire converter in the field or at the studio would be the best way, for the time being. It would be cheaper, too.


Well-known member
NB beat me to the punch on using a Nano, but I didn't realize that the SX cams didn't do SDI out(at least as an option). He's right that SX never seemed to really catch on that much here in the US. The cams made good images in their day. The station I used to freelance/string for went SX back in the late 90's or early 2000's AND they are still shooting on the same cameras today. 16:9 SD in 2013? They should have been doing it in 2003(but hey, I still have to shoot 16:9 SD LS's for network, too, at times). Somebody(AJA or Black Magic, I don't think my Decimator takes IN analog, but it will output it) probably makes a converter to go analog composite to SDI, but it's gonna get cumbersome on the camera with a converter and outboard recorder, etc.

Just looked and there is a CA-702 on eBay right now for $1200.

And I saw a Nano for $1500, about $500 less than new.

The 702 and the Nano would be a workable solution(even though that's another $2700 JUST to shoot tapeless SD)(but the Nano could be used with an HD camera, too), but you would have to trigger the Nano manually or get a remote cable to tie into the lens grip, because SD-SDI can't trigger the Nano(doesn't send TC, I believe), only HD-SDI

Necktie Boy

Well-known member
Run &Gun

You are correct about being too cumbersome. You need an Blackmagic Analog to SDI box to the Nano. You have to find power for both items. The cable runs would be a pain. Video and audio cables going into the converter. Lot of junk on the back of the camera...What about the wireless?

You could trigger the Nano via TC, but you need a special cable, and still roll tape. Either way, extra cost.

I did look into this from my camera, I have 26 pin, so I could go component out, and use unbalance audio into the converter. I would have had to made a custom short video cable, and then make some kind of bracket to mount everything on the camera. Use the AB tape to power everything. At the time, I was suppose to do a live hit via SDI. The deal didn't happen, so I didn't get the converter, nor the Nano.
The Sony camera adapter is really a converter box that mounts on the V-mount. Ideally, you could go with a converter and Nano. There a few other recorders that would work, but they are a bit bigger.

Like I said, that screaming deal is turning out to be not that great of a deal.

I saw that the original price for the CA-701 was $6300 bucks. I figures that the adapter would run about $2k used.

PAD Imaging

Y'all make great points, and I appreciate not being beat up when the right answer is the obvious one.

NB-you're right! I had forgotten about the other stuff that hangs on them, and you're right. No sdi option board available.

It's a -7. I paid $100 for one with decent head (irrelevant) and no dead pixels @ 9db. Got a clean 14x lens with a doubler for $45. Gonna build a sla battery belt to run it and a lamp. THOUGHT it had a slot wireless in it, but was wrong.

I saw that ebay 702. LA house, won't budge on price. Found two others that had sold in the $100-200 range, so maybe I'll just wait for another...

PAD Imaging

And, I *do* love to hack! I found news articles before I bought that body saying the NFL had adopted them, and like CNN or someone, so I figured=ton of parts and knowledge around. :/

I bought a 702 service manual last night. I had hopes pin one was SDI IN, but noooOOOoooo. Lol
However, it DOES dump raw, 4:2:2 in nine data lines out. So, today I'm researching digital boards. Take MPX0-9, and convert that?
I'm trying to determine what 64FS and 512FS do. I see it runs on a 27Mhz clock.

Far as storage, I had the concept of a one channel dvr and a ssd. Size of half a battery, weighs less and h.264. (Shrugs)
I don't expect to make anything. I am working 2-3 part time jobs that runs me around knoxville tn (loudon,blount,roane). Seems like there's always a wreck or a fire, so one more part time revenue stream, plus I build up more stuff on the resume / reel, right?

Necktie Boy

Well-known member

That was a screaming deal! No idea of the pins out, but I saw a few service manuals for free? Okay, I decide to look for a service manual for the camera. Freebie Video/Manuals/Archive/DNW-7, DNW-9WS, DNW-90, DNW-90WS - Maintenance Part 1.pdf

It does show the circuit board, but no pins out. I might have missed it. There is a Part 2, but I didn't look for it. It may be on that same site.

Also, there are two versions of your camera. Video/Archive/DNW-7 - Quick Spec.pdf

Maybe the Sony MPEG Camera line(MSW-970) service manual may have the pins out. I believe I came across that both models uses the same adapter.

PAD Imaging

thanks for all the help! My google-fu is usually strong, and so I already snarfed the rv. 5 op man and the rev.3 1st ed maint man part one. I found where a guy listed parts 2-1 and 2-2, but I don't want to make a donation to his cause to get them, so I'll keep searching.

Since the last post, I've found out that sony refers to the connection as the "Digital Component Parallel Port". It does indeed blarp out 8 bit 4:2:2 as well as signals for tally, vtr, audio, etc.
Now, I gotta identify that connector physically.
I spent some time, and found some digital parallel to serial video chips, and I even found a non-oem DCP to SDI box (Miranda DVC-100/120), but honestly, I'd like 40 pin to firewire at this point.
Then, I can either shoot on beta, run back to the truck and jack into the system and upload, or come out of the 40 pin into either a card or a drive. Pretty sexy!
I also found a standard for this protocol, (SMPTE 260M), but didn't find a doc that explained it in the time I had left yesterday.

Version II? Hm, now I have another thing to keyword search. I didn't find much on searching betacam SX.

I did find this:

It doesn't list SX as an approved shooter, but it DOES want the master in SX. That was just 6 years ago. Oh, I found where someone referred to SX as SuX. LOL!!

As a way to say thanks, I have clipped several pinouts in the docs I've acquired, and I will post them in the newbie section soon as I can, maybe they will help someone else.


PAD Imaging

WOW! Blast from the past!!

Is SX Dead??

Says (in 2003) that Sony would support SX until 2011! lol, I am betting the NFL didn't hold them to that. My favorite was cameragod, I think he picked the winner (XDCam)even way back then.

Necktie Boy

Well-known member

I got to wondering if the camera does have digital tap out? $6300 bucks for the adapter is a high price. I wonder if the AD-DA was in the adapter. The adapter just tapped an analog component signal? And wondering if audio was in the SDI stream? Maybe the adapter added audio to the stream?

With that said, I found a thread that asked if Blackmagic cards supported SMPTE 260M. They don't! Without additional reading, even if you do manage to tap out a digital signal, maybe nothing will accept it.

Another direction to go in is to find the portable recorder/player that Sony made for SX. They were well hated, but may be cheaper than finding an adapter or hacking. I don't even remember the model numbers for the decks. Can't even say what the inputs/outputs are on the deck.

The version 2 had better chips....Like a BVW-400a.

If you check my earlier post, I did mention the PDW-510. I belive that is what Cameragod was talking about. I don't know if the PDW-530 was released at the same time. The 530 records at a higher bit rate than the 510. Recording to disc is really nice for a number of reasons....Cost is about the same for tape. The disc can be put on a shelf. It can be access nonlinear. I believe at the same time, Panny released P2.

Keep us informed!
Last edited:

Necktie Boy

Well-known member

It may be better off to find a DNW-A25 or DNW-A28. They run off 12 volts and do have SDI out. Found a set of 25's that went for $355 bucks.

A Blackmagic Analog to SDI is $300 bucks.

Necktie Boy

Well-known member
Maybe you had better luck.....

Looking at the block diagram, I didn't see any digital out points? I saw analog outs for video and audio that lead to the 40 pin.

Land Rover

Well-known member
Ahhhh. SX. I remember those days. I still have some SX show tapes I need to get converted to DVD but I don't know anyone that has an SX deck anymore. Don't want to pay dub house rates.

PAD Imaging

And so....

Here's the pinout:

I sent several emails, and got a few back. Sony says the part is only 228 dollars, and the item is:

CN-1176 > attaches to HN-252 (1pc A-8317-758-A o MOUNTED CIRCUIT BOARD, HN-252)

1pc A-8274-768-A o MOUNTED PWB, CN-1176
Unfortunately, I don't think it's bisexual, but a female. They have no idea what the mate would be. Neither does TE.

AJA says:

The C10PS accepts a parallel component digital signal at either 27Mhz, 14.3 Mhz , or 17.7 Mhz
It converts these 3 formats to 270mb (D1), 143mb (D2), and 177mb (D2) respectively.
If the SX machine has one of these parallel outputs it could work for you.
So, I continue to hunt for a mate with flyleads.

OH - I got it running today. Back focus wasn't as bad as I was expecting. It's not a bad picture even via the test out.

The wide end of the lens is still awful narrow. I thought 9mm (comparing to what I know from the still world) would be borderline fish eye.

Heads are in great shape! Tracks well.

Far as power, I just soldered a long cigarette lighter plug. (shrugs). I'll build out a battery for it soon. I'll buy one of those dead battery packs, and shoehorn whatever I come up with. Maybe throw another vee adapter on the back to hang my battery pack from.

That's where I am at for now. Oh, and gotta find someone who knows lens archaeology, I need to adjust out my iris and zoom sensor, and not sure which pot in the lens handle to crank.



Well-known member
Back focus is adjusted with a chart.

You must have an 15+ year old lens. All SX cameras have 2/3" chips, the normal 2/3" ENG lens nowadays is at 7.7mm. A wide angle went from 5.2mm to now 4.5mm.

Are you talking about the rotary encoder for the iris and zoom that displays what setting you're at on the VF?