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Sony HandyCam FDR-AX100 Takes the Stage

4k camcorder with bright images

The price of the Sony FDR-AX100 is $2,000, and that is good enough for 4k video, a 7-blade aperture and dual recording of AVCHD and MP4. This is an incredibly feasible price for many videographers. The 4k video records to SDXC and at 30p in the XAVC-S format. Compare this with two other cameras, Sony's own HandyCam FDR-AX1 which is more than twice the cost, much larger and requires an XQD card workflow. The AX1 still has the pro audio capability, and the AX100's drawback is not having an XLR input. Then again, most camcorders at $2,000 are stuck at 1920x1080p. The selection of good cameras at $2,000 is intense, so here's some features that stick out about the AX100. Sony includes a Wi-Fi, NFC, silent zoom, Linear PCM 2.0 channel audio, and an internal ND filter with three stops.

Not to stop there, Sony also presents the HDR-CX900, which, for lack of a more elegant description, is like a DSC-RX10 as a camcorder. The coolest part is that it has a 1-inch ExmorR BSI CMOS sensor which is much larger than the sensor in most camcorders. Though CMOS sensors are often discounted for their weakness to moire, the direct all pixel readout seeks to reduce such aberrations. High frame rate is mentioned above in the AX100 and shows up with this one too. The CX900 also reprises the Balanced Optical SteadyShot from the HandyCam line and is a welcome image stabilization feature. So for $1,500 the CX900 can capture uncompressed video, and provide a large sensor camera.

The next big announcement is more of a small item. The HDR-AS100V action camera has new color, white, instead of the classic Sony-gray. The BIONZ ExmorR imaging system allows for 50Mb/s video. The SteadyShot feature measures the frequency bumps and counteracts them. Beyond the video capabilities, what you can do with video comes down to the PlayMemories app which allows for time-lapse and other control options. The casing makes the AS100V weatherproof and adds the tripod mount.

Lastly, and very noticeable are the improvements to the HandyCam line with updates for the PJ650, PJ430, PJ380, and PJ230 projector cameras. These respectively become the PJ810, PJ540, PJ340 and PJ275. The prices top off at $1,100 and range down to $399. The PJ prefix here indicates which HandyCam has a projector, whereas if you choose a CX model, there's none. So, say we started with the PJ810 at the top for $1,100, we'd get the substantial imaging capabilities, as well as a 50 lumen projector. How significant is the 37 lumen difference between the top and the lowest end 13 lumen projector? Exactly our first question when we saw it, the answer came when we saw them side by side. In a very non scientific answer, it is like going from 1/4 brightness to full, a very noticeable difference. Our takeaway, look at the entire HandyCam line and decide if you want built in memory, a projector, Balanced Optical SteadyShot or other features and compare away.

Check it out on the CES Show Floor

 

Jackson
Wong
January 06th, 2014

Press Release

SONY ELECTRONICS LAUNCHES FIRST COMPACT 4K HANDYCAM® CAMCORDER

by Communications 01/06/2014

New model delivers highest resolution image quality, diverse record and playback capabilities as well as easy sharing — at a quarter of the size and one third of the weight of current model

LAS VEGAS (CES BOOTH #14200), Jan. 6, 2014 – Sony Electronic’s newest 4K Handycam®FDR-AX100 camcorder delivers a compact solution for people who want to capture and enjoy their special moments in the highest possible image quality – four times the resolution, clarity and detail of high definition.

The AX100 is 74% smaller and 66% lighter than the recently announced FDR-AX1 model, but despite its small size, the new 4K camcorder houses the very best digital imaging technology. Sony’s AX100 model is the first 4K Handycam to feature a large, 14.2 effective megapixel back-illuminated 1.0-type Exmor R™ CMOS sensor. Far larger than the sensor in conventional consumer camcorders, it captures flawless 4K Ultra HD images (3840 x 2160 pixels) while also allowing beautiful “bokeh” background defocusing effects, even in low light conditions.

“The innovative new AX100 4K camcorder is a natural extension of our popular ecosystem of 4K products,” said Patrick Huang, director of the camcorder business at Sony Electronics. “With unparalleled performance, it’s the perfect device for enthusiasts, hobbyists and even professionals looking for a more affordable, compact and high performance 4K video solution.”

Sensor, Processor and Lens

The new 4K camcorder realizes incredibly vivid, lifelike footage due to its ultra-powerful BIONZ X processor that employs area-specific noise reduction and detail reproduction technology. The blazingly fast image processor makes it possible to record 24P and 30P movies at the camera’s full resolution and play them back with incredibly smooth, sharp motion. This new image processing technology achieves an even better balance of exceptional detail and advanced noise control, while its ability to record at 120p enables slow-motion playback at one-fifth the speed in a 24p environment in post-processing. Together with the camcorder’s advanced Cinematone Gamma/Color function, a sumptuously warm, rich look to footage can be achieved. For even more polished results, Optical SteadyShot image stabilization keeps footage smooth and blur-free when shooting handheld with the compact camcorder.

The Handycam AX100 camcorder comes with a new ZEISS® Vario-Sonnar T* lens that is tuned for high resolution image description. Definition is finespun right into the corner of the frame, thanks to the 11 group/17 element lens that incorporates AA (advanced aspherical) and ED lens elements. This 29mm wide-angle lens is ideal for capturing grand landscapes, and also covers a wide-range of image expression thanks to a maximum 12x optical zoom and 24x (HD)/18x(4K) Clear Image zoom. Working in harmony with the large 1.0-type sensor, the BIONZ X processor and ZEISS® lens with a seven-bladed aperture produces beautiful “bokeh” background defocus effects and still images similar to those achieved by professional video cameras.

Impressive Video Capture

The FDR-AX100 camcorder records 4K and HD movies in XAVC S, a consumer friendly format based on the XAVC codec developed for 4K/HD and professional use, which uses MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 for video compression and linear PCM for audio compression, while saving files in a MP4 wrapper. For greater flexibility, Dual Video Recording simultaneously captures in XAVC S or AVCHD high quality movie clips for HDTV and Blu-ray disc burning, as well as MP4 HD video ideal for sharing on the internet. The ability to utilize all three formats makes this camcorder a versatile tool for creating content that can live in a number of different environments.

The new addition of My Voice Cancelling takes audio to the next level by automatically reducing vocals from immediately behind the camera without affecting the subject’s voice. As a result, unwanted vocal noise from the videographer is reduced so the subject’s voice is clear and ensures movies shot on the AX100 camcorder sound just as good as they look.

Electronic Viewfinder, LCD and Manual Control

The camcorder also features a bright, high-contrast 0.39” type OLED Tru-Finder™ which reproduces rich color and deep blacks. A new optical design of the Electronic View Finder, using four dual-surface aspherical lenses, allows for a 33-degree wide angle view for crisp edge-to-edge visibility. The 3.5” (16:9) WhiteMagic™ LCD™ screen (921K) displays sharp, vivid images, so consumers can compose shots more easily and even change settings to best represent the scene.

Sony’s AX100 camcorder gives filmmakers more control over shutter speed and aperture by offering a choice of selectable Clear, 1/4 filter, 1/16 filter or 1/64 Neutral Density (ND) filters to adjust light levels entering the lens. Together with its large image sensor, the built-in ND filters enables “bokeh” effects even in bright conditions without increasing shutter speed. An easily accessible lens ring provides fingertip control of focus or zoom. Film enthusiasts will also appreciate the side-mounted dial that can be assigned functions like gain or brightness, making it easy to control even when looking through the electronic viewfinder.

Wi-Fi and Other Convenient Features

The AX100 model has on-board Wi-Fi for easy connection with any iOS™ or Android™ smartphone coupled with Sony’s free PlayMemories® Mobile app, and features Near Field Communication (NFC) one-touch for simple connection to NFC-enabled Android™ devices. Wi-Fi also allows wireless playback of content stored in the Handycam on a networked TV (DLNA renderer compatible TV and access point are required; not compatible with XAVC S format). Additionally, a connected smartphone can be used as a remote to control the camcorder.

Playback of video and still photos on a 4K TV is as simple as connecting the supplied HDMI cable. Content captured on the new 4K camcorder can also be enjoyed using Super-sampled Full HD Playback which automatically down-converts 4K footage to very high quality 2K (Full HD), using the enormous amounts of data in every 4K frame for spectacular results.

Users can expand their photographic and movie shooting possibilities by attaching optional accessories via the Multi Interface Shoe, including a powerful external light, stereo microphones, and optional XLR kit. A compatible remote control can also be connected with the Multi Terminal.

Pricing and Availability

The Sony Handycam AX100 4K camcorder and its compatible accessories can be ordered via presale and will be available in March for about $1999.99, at http://store.sony.com, Sony retail stores and other authorized retailers nationwide.

 

SONY TAKES ACTION CAM TO NEW EXTREMES WITH MAJOR UPGRADES TO ITS LATEST POINT-OF-VIEW VIDEO CAPTURE MODEL

by Communications 01/06/2014

New splash-proof wearable camera records high-quality Full HD video

with enhanced image stabilization and range of sharing options

 

LAS VEGAS (CES BOOTH #14200), Jan. 6, 2014 – Sony Electronic’s new high-end, wearable Action Cam adds full HD image capture to its range of point-of-view video capabilities. The HDR-AS100V also adds 24p, high-speed shooting modes, and a high-quality still camera – all combined in a splash-proof body that lets the device be used without a waterproof case. The result is a POV camera perfect for capturing life’s adventures for playback on a big screen or the web.

“This new Action Cam model offers a total POV video solution for pros and video enthusiasts.” said Patrick Huang, director of the camcorder business at Sony Electronics. “With vast improvements in the optics, innovative post-shooting software, and a growing portfolio of accessories, our Action Cam lineup is second to none.”

Advanced Design & Optics

For the first time, Action Cam delivers Full HD broadcast-quality video in XAVC S, a consumer friendly format based on the XAVC codec developed for 4K/HD and professional use, at up to 50Mbps thanks to an all new BIONZ X processor. High quality XAVC S recording with 50Mbps high bit rate data transfer enables the AS100V model to capture quick action with extremely smooth image motion. Additionally, this model now supports 1080/24p video and high-speed 720/120p or 720/240p shooting with sound captured by its built-in stereo mic for slow motion footage with quality audio. And in photo mode, the new Action Cam can capture detailed 13.5-megapixel still images while Interval Still Recording mode offers 2-megapixel (1920×1080) time-lapse photography.

With a cool white finish, the AS100V model’s all new splash-proof body means shooters can use it in rain or snow without its supplied waterproof case. Its slim construction was designed with eye-level recording in mind, and the compact, narrow body makes it more svelte and stylish.

On-Board Features

The new Action Cam offers Sony’s unique advanced SteadyShot™ Image Stabilization which more than doubles the camera’s stability versus its predecessor. The new and improved stabilization automatically adjusts for different frequencies of vibration, from mild oscillations while walking to rapid vibrations when riding a motorcycle. A premium ultra-wide ZEISS® Tessar® lens yields an impressive 170-degree viewing angle (120° with SteadyShot on) to capture all the action on dynamic terrain like ski slopes and mountain trails. Perfect for panoramic landscapes, the AS100V model also steps up its Exmor R® CMOS sensor from 16- to 18-megapixels for superb images with less noise in low-light and night conditions. The addition of a second tally light on top of the camera provides instant visual assurance of start-stop recording status.

To satisfy serious filmmakers, the new Action Cam model offers a choice of color settings for extra creative flexibility when editing footage. Consumers can shoot video with ‘Neutral’ image quality or opt for ‘Vivid’ to achieve rich, powerful colors. Aspiring directors will soon be able to take advantage of Action Cam’s ability to record video with time code, to synchronize shots when editing scenes from multiple cameras. Editing with the time code will be available on Vegas™ Pro, XAVC S only. The “user bit” function records information such as date/time/scene number which is extremely useful for editing movies filmed with two or more cameras.

The new model offers a choice of several recording modes with MP4 and XAVC S, as well as the ability to capture images upside-down when the camera is inversely mounted.

Simply View & Share

In another first, consumers can wirelessly control up to five Action Cam AS100V units using the wearable wristwatch-style Live-View Remote (model RM-LVR1). To use Multi Camera Control, RM-LVR1 not bundled with AS100VR may need to be updated to version 2.00 by the user. This optional controller is waterproof and syncs wirelessly to the video cameras for easy operation when Action Cams are mounted in hard-to-reach places like helmets, kayaks or surfboards. Near Field Communication (NFC) and Wi-Fi allows users to instantly share their Action Cam content on smartphones or tablets using Sony’s free PlayMemories MobileTM app for easy upload and camera control using any Android or iOS compatible device.

A scheduled update in Summer 2014 will add live video streaming capabilities and let the camera relay live video wirelessly to an Android or iOS smartphone so users can easily transfer footage to the web for sharing online. The update will also allow a burst shooting feature, where 13.5 megapixel high-quality still images can be continuously shot.

Post-Shooting Tools

Once it’s time to play back footage, simply transfer content to Windows® or Mac® via USB then use the latest version of Sony’s PlayMemories HomeTM application to edit files and post to social sharing sites like Facebook® and YouTube™. The PlayMemories Home app now allows shots from up to four cameras to be merged into one exciting split-screen video composite. On-board GPS can be used in conjunction with PlayMemories™ Home to make viewing and sharing videos fun and easy. Consumers can also chart adventures or plot routes using Map View’s location and trail information or create a speedometer-style video overlay using Multi View’s recorded speed information.

With Sony’s PlayMemories Online App, users can upload images and videos to Sony’s free cloud-based storage service for easy access from multiple entertainment devices.

The camera also features expandable memory with a Memory Stick Micro™ and Micro SD/SDHC/SDXC card slot, an external mic jack, and an HDMI® output for sharing Action Cam videos on an HDTV (HDMI cable required/sold separately).

Growing Mount Options

Sony Electronics offers a more than 26 mounting attachments to suit all types of activities. A new tripod adaptor is supplied with the new model for use out of the waterproof housing, so it can easily attach to a variety of mounts. Newest mount additions also include an Action Monopod (VCT-AMP1), Hard Lens Protector (AKA-HLP1), Camera Leash Pack (AKA-LSP1), Arm Kit (VCT-AMK1) and Live-View Remote Kit (HDR-AS100VR).

Availability

The new HDR-AS100V point-of-view video camera from Sony Electronics is available for pre-order and will be available at retail in March for about $299.99. The HDR-AS100VR bundle will include the new Action Cam with a Live View Remote for $399.99. The current HDR-AS30V model will be offered at a reduced price.

These cameras and all other accessories will be sold at http://store.sony.com, Sony retail stores and other authorized retailers nationwide. For images and information, please visitwww.sony.com/news. Find out more through http://blog.sony.com and make sure to catch what people are saying about #ActionCam online.