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 1920×1080 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 1920×1080 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 1920×1080 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.