Get 4k Video: Sony 4k Handycam FDR-AX1

professional 4k camera with large lens hood and LCD open

FDR-AX1 is the Sony Handycam that will allow producers of video to really play with 4k. With a very familiar body, the FDR-AX1 should fit right in with cameras that you've used before. When we see the camera, we're left with a "wow" because cutting edge technology is made tangible, and by getting the price below $5,000 with video output via HDMI, 4k video gets as close as ever.

While the FDR-AX1 is the first Handycam from Sony that shoots 4k, it reflects the look and feel of a camera with a long line of production history. You get the features and form of a professional Sony camera, with the new capability of 4k video. Polished and professional are well-deserved describers for the FDR-AX1. If you need numbers and specifics to back that up, here are some you might notice. The XAVC S format is for 4k video, while MPEG-4/H.264 Long GOP is also an option. These allow for long record times, meaning nearly 120 minutes of 4k video can record on a 64GB XQD card. One of these new-format 64GB cards can store three hours of 1920x1080 60p footage. The sensor that makes all this possible is a 1/2.3 Exmor R CMOS. Linear PCM gets you clean audio, as will the pair of XLR mics you're able to use. The FDR-AX1 has a G Lens that is aspheric with low-dispersion glass and up to 20x zoom. There are also zebra patterns, Optical SteadyShot, and internal ND filters. One aspect that really brings 4k home is the HDMI 2.0 standard, 4k video can be viewed through a single HDMI cable.

Getting a 4k monitor to go along with your camera may still be a stretch, but in the meantime, you'll have an LCD with 1,229,000 dots. Not to mention you're able to zoom into 4k footage and still have a 1920x1080 shot, this will help make your editor happy. The computer considerations are an important point here, there's a lot of data being worked with here, since at the top resolution, the FDR-AX1 records 150Mb/s and for 1920x1080 at 60p you'll get 50Mb/s. You may prep for the post-production with playback and editing available in-camera.

The boxed purchase for $4,500 will include the Handycam, Vegas Pro 12 Edit and a 32GB XQD card for one of the two slots, and will be available in October.

So much is familiar with the Sony Handycam FDR-AX1, it should feel like stepping into a brand new car, when all you drive is the previous model. There aren't many changes, because there's no need to change some features, and you'll feel very welcome since the camera is powered by an NP-F970, very standard Sony fare.

Head-on view of camcorder with mics on top


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Wed, 09/04/2013 - 12:07pm

Press Release



New 4K Video Camera Allows Creative Expression in Four Times the Resolution of Full HD


SAN DIEGO, Sept. 4, 2013 – Today Sony Electronics unveiled its first 4K consumer camcorder - the new FDR-AX1 4K Handycam. Now video enthusiasts can capture 4K content for expressive, powerful imaging with incomparable levels of clarity and exquisite color in every scene.


“Introducing a consumer level 4K camcorder offers budding filmmakers cutting-edge technology and imaging quality from Sony they haven’t been able to experience until now,” said Hidenori Toyoda, director of the camcorder business at Sony Electronics. “The FDR-AX1 camcorder is an exciting addition to our 4K ecosystem as we’re bringing personal content creation to the masses, dramatically expanding Ultra HD viewing.”



The FDR-AX1 camcorder records 4K and HD movies in the XAVC S format, which uses MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 Long GOP for video and Linear PCM for audio compression, while saving files in an MP4 wrapper. The XAVC S format allows longer recording times, storing almost two hours of 4K video on a 64GB XQD memory card, making 4K recording easier and more convenient. Switching to Full HD recording can store almost 3 hours of 1920x1080 60p footage on a single card.


Sony’s FDR-AX1 camcorder features a 4K image sensor that is essential to the stunning image quality it can achieve. The 1/2.3-type Exmor R® CMOS sensor captures true 4K resolution (3840x2160) images, containing four times the picture detail of Full HD, and has the output speed required by the massive 4K 60 fps data stream. An extraordinary image processor, identical to those found in professional 4K camcorders, rapidly processes signals transmitted from the CMOS sensor and finalizes images in real time at 60p.


Pristine imagery is also assured by Sony’s quality G Lens which redefines what an aspheric lens and special low-dispersion glass combination can reproduce. The G Lens is specially tuned to capture qualities of definition and color that put this ground-breaking Handycam® camcorder in a class of its own. In addition, the lens offers a broad zooming range from wide-angle to 20x optical (31.5-630mm 35mm equivalent) while Optical SteadyShot keeps footage crisp and stable, even at telephoto mode.



The FDR-AX1 camcorder can achieve beautiful, film-like results with three ND filters for adjusting the amount of light entering the image sensor from the lens. Four filter settings - Off (Clear), ¼ filter, 1/16 filter and 1/64 filter - give users the ability to modify light conditions, while maintaining desired shutter angle and aperture even on bright sunny days. Five paint functions (white balance, gamma, detail, skin detail and matrix) can be combined and altered to create expressive movie styling and cinematic looks.


Matching its impressive 4K picture quality, the camcorder features two external pro-style XLR connectors to complement its high-performance internal microphone for premium sound. These XLR jacks allow the addition of stereo microphones to capture balanced audio synchronized to the video for clearer ambient sounds and dialogue, which can be mixed with recordings made using the internal mic.


For ease of use during filming, the FDR-AX1 camcorder was designed with two strategically placed start/stop buttons and a zoom lever on the handle for convenient access from low angles. While dedicated controls are also provided for auto/manual focus, seven custom buttons can be reassigned to a user’s preferred function. Assigned functions for adjustments on the fly include Marker, Zebra, Peaking, Focus Magnifier, Auto Exposure Level, Steadyshot, Color Bars, and Rec Lamp.



The FDR-AX1camcorder uses an XQD memory card for smooth, high-speed reading and writing of 4K video and features two XQD media slots. As seen on Sony professional camcorders, relay shooting seamlessly switches recording between two media cards so there’s no need to worry about running out of storage mid-scene. Videomakers can even ‘hot swap’ cards, removing a full card from one of the camcorder’s two slots and slipping in fresh storage while shooting continues uninterrupted.



Playing back 4K content captured on the FDR-AX1 camcorder is simple - just connect the camcorder to a compatible 4K TV with the singleHDMI cable. Sony BRAVIA® TVs especially bring out the full quality of 4K/60p recordings, with TRILUMINOS Display to deliver an even more vibrant palette of rich colors that are closer than ever to real life. For those without a 4K TV, the FDR-AX1 camcorder can output 1920x1080 images to a Full HD TV, by simply changing the output settings on the camcorder.


And a growing choice of 4K-capable editing software packages makes it easy to “trim” HD images from original footage with huge amounts of picture detail.



Sony is prepared to support the HDMI 2.0 specification on its 4K Handycam camcorder with an easy firmware update to be available over the Internet. Just released by the HDMI Forum, the HDMI 2.0 industry standard offers an option to transmit 4K/60p signal using a single HDMI cable. 


With this HDMI 2.0 update, FDR-AX1 will be able to output 4K 60p images not only to 4K BRAVIA TVs, but to other HDMI 2.0 compatible TVs and devices.



The Handycam FDR-AX1 will be available in October for a suggested retail price of $4,499.99. In order to ensure the 4K experience, VEGAS™ PRO 12 EDIT software and a 32GB XQD memory card will be included in the box as a free offer. The camcorder and its accessories will be sold at Sony retail stores ( as well as other authorized retailers throughout the Sony dealer network. For images and information, please visit Find out more through and make sure to catch what people are saying about #Sony4K online.