Sony announces two new 4K, AI PTZ cameras

Sony revealed two new 4K pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) cameras to its lineup. The Sony SRG-A40 and Sony SRG-A12 use built-in AI analytics to automatically track and frame presenters.

PTZ cameras are designed for remote robotic operations, such as broadcasting live events, news broadcasts and unscripted series. These cameras are ideal for operating multiple cameras from a single operator. Their compact size also means you can fit them in more unconventional spaces.

Picture quality

Both the SRG-A40 and SRG-A12 use the same highly sensitive Exmor R CMOS sensor. This delivers high-quality, naturally vivid images with less noise at 4K 30p and Full HD 60p. The SRG-A12 has a 12x optical zoom while the SRG-A40 has a 20x optical zoom. However, the SRG-A40 also uses Clear Image Zoom technology to increase the zoom range to 30x in 4K and 40x in Full HD. In addition, both cameras have tele convert mode which means the SRG-A40 can extend to 80x zoom and the SRG-A12 to 24x.

PTZ auto-framing

Both the SRG-A40 and SRG-A12 cameras have Sony’s built-in PTZ auto-framing technology with AI analytics. This is the technology that enables the cameras to automatically track and frame your presenters. The multiple auto-framing feature also means that you can choose between well-framed options for close-ups, waist-up or full-body images. In addition, with auto-operation, the cameras begin to search for and rediscover an object to track as soon as they are switched on. A tally light on each camera means that your presenters can easily see which camera is in use and track their movements.

Flexible and stable production

You can hook up the SRG-A40 and SRG-A12 via 3G-SDI, HDMI, and IP connectivity. The cameras also include Power over Ethernet Plus Plus (PoE++). This means you can integrate them into new or existing setups without separate power supply cabling. In addition, you can control the cameras remotely through VISCA/VISCA over IP, using a single network cable for power, output and control. The SRG-A40 and SRG-A12 support Real Time Streaming Protocol (RTSP) for remote viewing and the Security Reliable Transport (SRT) protocol for stable video streaming.

Easy to configure

The SRG-A40 and SRG-A12 are simple to configure and use for operators with differing levels of ability. You can use the picture setting file feature to quickly set up and duplicate menu settings from camera to camera. The new cameras’ PTZ motion sync also enables smooth and rapid PTZ movement to a target position. In addition, you can use pre-set recall for quick transitions from one camera to other pre-set angles. There’s even a picture freeze preset which holds the last image captured as the camera moves to eliminate blurry transition shots.

What we think

The SRG-A40 and SRG-A12 promise a sophisticated level of automated tracking and framing. As such they could be great for small teams or even solo videographers who shoot events at conferences or places of worship. The sample footage shared by Sony features presentation-type scenarios so we will have to wait and see whether the new cameras could follow musicians on stage for example. It’s an interesting application of AI technology though and could be a sign of things to come.

Pricing and availability

The Sony SRG-A40 and SRG-A12 are expected to be available in September 2023 in North America. The cameras will be available with either a white or black body. Pricing has not yet been released.

Pete Tomkies
Pete Tomkies
Pete Tomkies is a freelance cinematographer and camera operator from Manchester, UK. He also produces and directs short films as Duck66 Films. Pete's latest short Once Bitten... won 15 awards and was selected for 105 film festivals around the world.

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