Superproducer Ted Hope on...

January 6, 2014

Sony Goes '4K for $2K' with FDR-AX100, Also Introduces New Action Cam & A5000 Mirrorless

With Sony mentioning 4K more times than I can count at its press event, there was no question that at least a few new devices would be launched capable of shooting or displaying the format. At this year's CES, the Ultra-HD Sony FDR-AX100 Handycam has been announced, and not only is it smaller and lighter than its bigger brothers, it's also cheaper, coming in at $2,000, or "4K for $2K" as stated at the CES show. The company also rolled out a new mirrorless camera, the A5000 -- which is the smallest NEX (now just called Alpha series) mirrorless ever made. Another first for the industry, the HDR-AS100V becomes the first action/sports camera to shoot full-motion 4K video. [Action Cam is 1080 only, this was a B&H listing error.]

Here is some footage Sony has posted shot in 4K on the AX100:

And here's another look at the camera:

The Ax100, the smaller version of the AX1 announced in September of 2013, is tiny, as you can see in the comparison below:

It's not likely to be a hit with narrative filmmakers no matter what Sony playfully tried to say during their live event, but it could be something you use as a doc camera, especially with built-in ND filters -- or in specialized narrative situations. You could use the 4K for stabilization of especially shaky footage, or just shoot 1080 downscaled from 4K right in the camera. Interestingly enough, the roughly Super 16mm-sized sensor is a bit bigger than the higher-end AX1, so low-light won't be as bad as you might think, though the slower lens on the AX100 will mean depth of field won't change too dramatically (but the AX100 should be much less shallow than the 1/3" cameras many have come to know and love -- or hate).

Bit rate is not likely to be great considering the 3840 x 2160 resolution needs to be able to record to standard SD cards, but we do know it can do AVCHD 1080 at 28mbps (it's unclear how high the XAVC can go in any format).

It's not going to be all that stealthy compared to some of the mirrorless cameras, of which Sony makes a few, but it's going to be one of the smallest 4K-capable cameras out there, and will definitely serve a purpose at the lower end as a more affordable 4K option for consumers.

Sony didn't just stop there with the 4K, they also introduced what is the first action cam capable of full-motion 4K, the $300 HDR-AS100V:

While it will be capable of 4K 1080p up to 60fps, you don't get super high frame rates until you go down to 720p, where the camera is capable of 120fps. At standard definition, you can go well over 200fps if you need it. Considering that GoPros are using Sony sensors, it's not too much of a surprise that Sony got there first with full-motion video (not just half-motion like the HERO3). This is going to be an interesting product for mixing with all 4K footage, though I imagine GoPro is right around the corner with their own 30 or 60fps 4K camera.

The other major camera announcement is the Alpha A5000 mirrorless, which marks the first time that Sony has released a mirrorless cam under the Alpha brand. Losing the NEX name, this is the smallest of all of Sony's mirrorless offerings, and still offers 60fps recording, something even Canon doesn't have in many of their higher-priced cams.

You can read more about all of their new products below, and find links for each product at the bottom of the page.

Sony FDR-AX100

  • 1" Exmor R CMOS Sensor
  • 3840 x 2160p XAVC S: 30/24 fps
  • 1920 x 1080p XAVC: 60/30/24 fps
  • 1920 x 1080p AVCHD: 60/24 fps
  • Memory Stick Pro Duo (Mark 2)
  • Memory Stick XC-HG Duo
  • SD/SDHC/SDXC
  • Built-in ND filters: Off, 1/4, 1/16, 1/64
  • High Speed at 120fps (Likely lower quality)
  • 20MP Still Images at 5024 x 2824 (16:9)
  • 15MP Still Images at 4464 x 3352 (4:3)
  • Zeiss Lens f/2.8-f/4.5 9.3mm-111.6mm (29-348mm equiv.)
  • Optical SteadyShot Image Stabilization
  • 0.39" OLED EVF / 3.5" XtraFine LCD
  • Wi-Fi / NFC Connectivity
  • Availability: 2014
  • Price: $2,000

Sony Alpha A5000 Mirrorless

  • 20.1 Mp Exmor APS HD APS-C CMOS Sensor
  • 1920 x 1080p: 60 fps, 50 fps, 25 fps, 24 fps
  • 3.0" 460.8k-Dot Tilting LCD Monitor
  • Built-In Wi-Fi Connectivity with NFC
  • Hand-held Twilight Mode and ISO 16000
  • 25-Point Contrast Detection Autofocus
  • Continuous Shooting up to 3.5 fps
  • Superior Auto Mode & Auto Object Framing
  • Availability: March 2014
  • Price: $600 with 16-50mm lens, Possibly $500 Body Only

Sony HDR-AS100V POV Action Cam

  • 18.9 Megapixel 1/2.3"  CMOS Sensor
  • 1080p: 60/50/30/25/24 fps
  • 1280 x 720p: 120/100/30/25 fps
  • 800 x 480p: 240 fps
  • Capture 13.5MP Stills with Photo Mode
  • Back-Illuminated Exmor R CMOS Sensor
  • Built-In GPS & Wi-Fi Connectivity
  • One-Touch NFC Smartphone Pairing
  • Included Housing is Waterproof to 16.4'
  • Wide-Angle Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar Lens
  • SteadyShot Image Stabilization
  • HDMI Output & Stereo Microphone Input
  • Memory Stick Micro & MicroSD/SDHC Slot
  • Availability: March 2014
  • Price: $300

Links:

  • Sony FDR-AX100 -- B&H
  • Sony Alpha A5000 -- B&H
  • Sony HDR-AS100V -- B&H

Your Comment

98 Comments

Sony FDR-AX100 = meh. A5000 - is it me, or is a smaller NEX something we even asked for?

January 6, 2014

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THAT Guy

Meh? Sony finally releases a product at a reasonable price. This is a great product!

January 7, 2014

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MovieBuff

I haven't been keeping up with consumer cameras for the past 7 years - is that tiny handheld form factor still around/relevant? I thought it died out with miniDV.

January 6, 2014

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I wonder the same thing, but Sony keeps making them... I just wonder if anyone buys them. Like the point-and-shoot, I just assume handheld camcorders have been replaced by smartphone cameras. They killed the Flip camera and several similar devices.

January 7, 2014

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One of the things that some people have been wishing for is precisely this camcorder shape on the new cameras. For example, the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera is a really great camera but its shape is not so comfortable for certain types of shooting. If you're doing a documentary and don't have control over the situation, something like this Sony would be an easier camera to hold an run after the subjects with.

Too bad it doesn't record in ProRes.

January 7, 2014

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Clark Nikolai

Canon XA20 one of the top sellers at B&H. Obviously still relevant.

January 7, 2014

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Kevin

no everyone is making movies.. most people want a no fuss video camera.

January 8, 2014

1
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Brenton

Sony HDR-AS100V POV Action Cam got 4K XAVC-S Video at 60 fps (50 Mbps)? where to find the information on this? i try look at the website it do not have 4k?

January 7, 2014

1
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Alan TJ

It's a new camera just being announced at CES conference. It probably hasn't been detailed on their web site yet. But it soon will be I'm sure. The 4k video camera announced is coming out for sale in March they said. The CES conference is where manufacturers tell about what is coming out soon but might not be out yet.

January 7, 2014

1
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Gene

I'm sorry but wasn't the Alpha NEX-5 also a mirrorless camera? I use it, and it was marketed as the world's smallest interchangeable lens camera with mirrorless technology!

January 7, 2014

3
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Chimichanga

The NEX series (now just Alpha) have been getting smaller and smaller, and this is the smallest yet.

January 7, 2014

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avatar
Joe Marine
Editor-at-Large
Shooter/Writer/Director

Nex5 is also the top mirrorless seller in Japan, where the type has a huge share of the overall camera market (the US market still heavily favors DSLR's).

January 7, 2014

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DLD

Note that the LCD screen in this a5000 has half the dots of the NEX-5N. Probably not enough for manual focus pulling, even with Sony's very nice focus peaking.

January 7, 2014

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Looks pretty huge compared to a Pentax Q

Note the wording - "which is the smallest NEX (now just called Alpha series) mirrorless ever made."

So, it's the smallest NEX/Alpha, not "the smallest mirrorless"

From B&H,..
Sony - Dimensions (WxHxD) 4.3 x 2.5 x 1.4" / 109.6 x 62.8 x 35.7 mm excluding protrusions
Weight 9.49 oz / 269 g with battery and memory card
Pentax Q7/Q10 - Dimensions (WxHxD) 4.0 x 2.3 x 1.3" / 10.2 x 5.8 x 3.3 cm
Weight 6.35 oz / 180 g camera only

January 7, 2014

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PiDicus Rex

The Micro Four Thirds camera which is the Panasonic GM1 would surely be even smaller.

So yes, this would just be the smallest APS-C sized camera.

January 7, 2014

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Dayum!...Sony can make a small 4K cam that shoots 50mbps at 60fps ...BUT Canon cant give us 1080p 60fps?...just absolutely ridiculous.

January 7, 2014

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Alex

Plain normal, Canon dont want to give you anything. Only when they are forced to it.

January 7, 2014

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Kuk

Love the fact that it can do 720p 120fps - when is it in stores?

January 7, 2014

0
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Older POV AS30V does right now. I have one ;)

January 7, 2014

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Santiago

GoPro Hero 3 and 3+ have been doing this for the past year, and the case can go much deeper U/W, and there are far more accessories available, and it fits the Phantom UAV, etc, etc, etc. Why go with a Sony adv cam when there is a proven, established platform already in place?

January 7, 2014

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Better form factor. I use both the gopro and a contour. I like the video in the gopro but the form of the contour is awesome. This seems like the best of both.
Im preordering that thing :)

January 7, 2014

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M

This has a much bigger sensor, audio in, different focal lengths and proper frame rates (24p and more). Who records 4k video with the go pro? It can only record 10 frames per seconds at 4k

January 7, 2014

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So for eight grand my record label can do four camera music videos? This might be worth investing in.

January 7, 2014

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Zeiss lenses have worked well with Sony in the past. The little Sony RX100 with a Zeiss lens makes very nice video, considering its cost. The sample video for this AX100 looks gorgeous. It looks better than anything you would have seen on tv, and probably 90% of what you would have seen in theaters, just 5 years ago. It's not just resolution that makes 4k look so nice. It's also the iridescent color. I wouldn't be sure that Indy movie/music video/commercial makers wouldn't use/own this camera.

I am working with a church right now, helping them set up video for weekly live streaming and recording conferences. Because of high cost there was no 4k camera I could recommend to them in good conscience. But this one definitely is the one I will try to convince them to get. I am excited about this!

May this be the first of many lower cost 4k cameras!

January 7, 2014

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Gene

Don't convince them to get 4K!! It really isn't needed by a church I'm sure, and you'd just be wasting the church's money.

January 7, 2014

1
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Lots of churches upload to YouTube, and burn their conference videos to DVD. 4k is not a waste. Read my comment 3 comments down for more of what I mean.

January 7, 2014

2
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Gene

Lol. Church 4k streaming, great idea gene! You're for sure this camera's target audience, church has tobe future proof too right? Good luck

January 7, 2014

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Marcus

I never said 4k streaming. 4K streaming is not available.

Like grandma said, If you can't find something good to say don't say anything at all.

January 7, 2014

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Gene

So why the heck would you suggest them to buy a 4k camera? don't waste your priest's money gene, you may not go to heaven.

January 7, 2014

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Marcus

There is no priest at the church. It's not Catholic. It's probably not like what you're thinking. (And it's not my church. I have helped churches with video equipment.) The price of this camera makes the highest quality video available to places like churches. There's lots of churches/ministries that have YouTube channels. They can upload to those channels in 4k. They also burn conference videos to DVD's. I've seen money wasted by churches on equipment that is more than what they need and provides lower quality than this camera. I hate waste.

As you can see in the city at dusk in the demo video above 4k has more detail in low light. That means money saved on lighting inside buildings. That could equate to the camera paying for itself with money left over. Going for lower quality for something, just because it's a church, can actually be more costly than just getting good quality---and that sounds worse than going to a 4k camera, doesn't it?

Here's some "church" music I wish had been shot in 4k so there would have been more detail in the low light, less blow out from the lighting, and especially because it would have had richer colors:

[ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-dziczpYl94 ]

Here's preaching at a church done in low resolution. It would have made a world of difference if it had been done with this gorgeous little 4k camera:

[ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=socou8JTnjM ]

I don't think I should feel shame and/or risk God's disfavor because I want 4k for churches. On the contrary, it's what they should have.

January 7, 2014

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Gene

apparently that second video isn't available. Try this one:

[ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fYKrqUJyFYY ]

January 7, 2014

1
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Gene

Gene, you're making my day, thanks! Now I understand why you love so much 4K, you're disinformed. There are a lot of blasphemes in what you just said.
1- Shooting in 4K won't give you better low light performance, in fact some hd cameras have way better low light images than most of the 4K cameras out there. And that's the same for the blown outs you mention and color fidelity. Research.

2- Your quote "The price of this camera makes the highest quality video available to places like churches." makes no sense whatsoever, actually it's a funny quote, made me grin.

3- The links you sent, is just a clear example of badly compressed footage, and the other was probably shot in SD. Just shoot in HD do your homework in post and you'll end up with some sharp looking material, just look at 99.9% of stuff out there. You don't need 4k to improve that crap you sent.

Anyway, you're funny, that's why I'm wasting time here with you, can't wait to read what you write next. Peace!

January 7, 2014

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Marcus

Blasphemies? Like you say, exchanging comments about 4k is a waste of time for you. So you should just scroll past them when you see them. You'll have more time for the things you think are productive. There was no need for you to reply to me. You'll always find the same dead ends you see in 4k. Stick with talk about 1080p. You'll probably be happier then. But really, I should have not replied to you. There's people that don't like 4k no matter how much success it is finding.

January 7, 2014

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Gene

Nothing about dynamic range?

January 7, 2014

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Hi Alex,
I hear ya, I'm crying because I want 4K internal recording on my $8000 FS-700 which if I went the full Sony route I could get to 4K (albeit Raw), for an additional $10000 and a $400 required upgrade. I don't need raw 90% of the time. I could definitely use 4K and having it internal to the camera using XAVC-S would be fine by me. I would have switched back to a Canon system if, as you are stating, they at least offered 1080p at 60fps. I use all Canon glass on my FS-700 so I'm have way there. Unfortunately we will both be hard pressed to find a marketing executive at either Sony or Canon that will say "let's allow our customers to use their cameras to their fullest potential". Thus entities like the Magic Lantern group are born that take the time to develop and demonstrate what a given camera body is truly capable of if given the chance. So all we can do is whine away to no avail. The only time our opinion counted was up to and just before we hit "Submit Order" after that we didn't matter any more.
Cheers, or was it Tears,

January 7, 2014

1
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mark

FS 700 never promised internal 4K recording. The cheapest means of getting 4K footage out of FS 700 is probably to wait a month or two for the Odyssey 7Q upgrade. Convergent Design is four-five months late with its codec release but should offer a compressed 4K recording (XAVC? ProRes?) off FS 700 at some point. Of course, by then, you might have other options. Having a 1" sensor inside AX 100 - and for $2K, no less! ... I mean, no more - makes AX1 and Z100 almost instantly obsolete. I assume, once this new model is out, prices for the other units in that price range will tumble until they are replaced by the interchangeable lens 4K camcorders. As to the pro units, they may have to drop prices on F5 too, if Canon or Panasonic show up with something impressive in the $10K-$15K category. I wonder if the new 4K Varicam is it.

January 7, 2014

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DLD

Check out the upcoming Micro Four Thirds 4K camera from Panasonic:

http://www.43rumors.com/hot-first-picture-of-the-panasonic-gh-4k-camera/

January 7, 2014

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There are other 4K news too :

A new photo of the GH4 is out -
http://i1266.photobucket.com/albums/jj524/picrumors/picrumors001/gh4k_pa...
'
And a subtle announcement of the 4K Varicam (the same body as previously shown; might be ready in time for the NAB; according to Panasonic, "priced to be affordable").
.
BTW, AX 100 also has XAVC-S "consumer format" codec that is only capable of Quad HD rather than full 4K. But it does have a superior sensor to AX1 or Z100. This makes me think that there'll be a bunch of pro models in between Z 100 and FS 700 with a 1" sensor and internal 4K recording via XAVC.

January 7, 2014

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DLD

hmm that shot of the "GH4" looks like a used GH3

January 7, 2014

1
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I'm not certain that photo is real either. I am acquainted (acquainted I say, not friends, at least not yet) with a very successful photographer who has contact with Panasonic. He says the GH4 will likely not have 4K because it's too much work for the average GH user to deal with. And Panasonic wants to keep the GH a simple to use camera. He said the average GH user is just now getting a handle on dealing with 1080p @ 60fps. He knows because he has contact with lots of GH users. But he did say he has not been told the GH4 will definitely not have 4k. Just that it's likely it won't.

January 7, 2014

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Gene

There are two cameras the rumor mills are talking about: GH4K and the GH5.

These are two very different beasts.

The GH4K is a new pro video camera above the GH3 (it will NOT be a successor to the GH3) which will compete against Canon's EOS Cinema range. I bet people who loved the old Panasonic AF100 will also like the GH4K

The GH5, which is what the actual successor to the GH3 will be when it arrives.

January 7, 2014

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This has been a very impressive - at least, according to specs and demo videos - 4K salvo by Sony. Three 4K camcorders under $6K while no else has any (OK, BMD announced its 4K production camera as well). Surely, Panasonic, Canon and JVC can't just sit idly and yield the market to Sony and Red. Nikon is in a precarious spot because it is not a camcorder producer per se. Samsung might be able to wait it out until 4K comes down in price more. But Panasonic, Canon and JVC have to react now and with more than a single model.
.
PS. As does Arri. Netflix says that all of its shows will be shot in 4K from now on. And, responding to competition, I don't see the major OTA networks lagging far behind if for no other reasons than the desire to protect their image, And, if Arri can't fill that niche by this summer, when the 2014-15 TV schedule goes into action, the networks will find someone who can. It won't have to be Raw. It won't have to be 10-bit. But it will have to be 4K.

January 7, 2014

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DLD

Heri, apparently, that was legit.

January 7, 2014

2
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DLD

“4K for $2K” has got to be a dig at Red.

January 7, 2014

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Saied

haha, this is no where near in the same ballpark as a red camera.

January 7, 2014

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david

Sure, but I mean in response to the catchphrase 3K for $3K, which was supposed to be the cheap option but didn't materialise; I think Sony are gloating a little bit.

January 7, 2014

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Saied

There are companies that brag and talk crap... And then there are companies that get things done.

How is the incredible RED 4K laser projector doing ? One that was going to "destroy the competition".

If there were not thousands of Sony 4K cinema projectors, sunglasses salesmen did not have anything to view their 4K material with.

January 7, 2014

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Juhan-i

i know..and now what to do with all my expensive 4k gear…this is big news

January 7, 2014

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DIO

Looks like there might be a format war approaching, and I see UltraHD winning over true 4K. Why do we NEED two 4K formats anyway? The math say UltraHD is the format that TV manufacturers will want.

January 7, 2014

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Derek McCabe

Perhaps it's to retain an artificial distinction for "profess-essionals" so they can pay more.

January 7, 2014

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Saied

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