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

01.6.14 @ 11:45PM Tags : , , , , , ,

Sony FDR-AX100 SideWith 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:

Sony FDR-AX1 AX100 Comparison

Holding Sony FDR-AX100 4K Handycam

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:

Sony HDR-AS100V POV 4K Action Cam

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.

Holding Sony Alpha A5000 Mirrorless

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

Sony FDR-AX100 Angle Shot

  • 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

Sony Alpha A5000 Front No Lens

  • 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

Sony HDR-AS100V 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

Related Posts

  1. Meet Sony's New Budget Mirrorless Camera, the NEX-3N, and a New SLT, the A58
  2. Sony All but Promises More Full Frame Video Beyond 2012: Mirrorless, or Otherwise
  3. More Sony Announcements: Full-Frame RX1 Camera, Mirrorless NEX-6, and Four New Lenses

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  • The Sony AX100 records 4k at only 60mb/s. The official product description says 130 minutes of 4K can be recorded on a Class 10 card, which equates to 60mb/s for video. Elsewhere, it states Class 10 cards are required for 4k recording, which is a pretty damn low requirement, seeing they top out at 80mb/s. Finally, if you watch the sample video, you’ll notice it is just locked down shots, not to break the weak codec.

    Way to dampen our enthusiasm Sony……

    • The new GH4, allegedly to be sold at the same price – without the lens, however – should record All-I at 200. 60 definitely makes this a consumer camera but, as I speculated with other posts, it appears quite likely to lead to other, higher priced and more feature laden, cameras in the $3K-$5K range with the same 1″ sensor, also with a 200 Mbps XAVC-S. The step up into the $7K-$10K region will be taken with S35 then and probably 600 Mbps (internal) XAVC.

      • Indeed, the GH4 is a way more feasable and realistic option for 4K, although lenses will inevitably push the price up quite a bit. Hope to learn more about this new GH camera soon.

      • I seriously doubt that Sony will start to eat out F5 / F55 segment that soon…

        Basic Sony F5 is full S35 sensor camera with price of about 17 000 dollars. So getting out pro-level S35 sensor camera with 600 MBit/sec bitrate (or similar), for 10 000 dollars would be quite bad business choice.

        On other hand, F65 is slightly older than two years at the moment, so there will be probably update for that segment during late 2014.

        • F5 can still record Raw with the external unit. But VG 900, FS 100 and FS 700 might be headed to the “discontinued” bin. Regardless of what Sony or anyone else might think in terms of the cash cow models, if the market moves south on them due to the technological disruption, the gear manufacturers have to follow along or be priced out of it completely. And this time, it’s not just a small fry like BMD doing the disruption. It’s the big boys themselves – Sony and Panasonic – that are blowing the whole thing up. Besides I think people overestimate the cost of making the 4K cameras. The capable sensors are inherited from the photography market. The processors come from the mobile phone industry. The codecs are shared by the industry at large (H.264 or H.265 based). What kept the market back up till now were the perceived lack of need to shoot in 4K because there was no way to exhibit it, aside of the 4K equipped theaters. Well, now that 4K is heading into people’s homes, the TV’s are moving into the 4K territory and, given the insatiable demand for content, the acquisition needs to be there as well.

    • “The Sony AX100 records 4k at only 60mb/s”

      Lame…my GH3 shoots at a higher bitrate. Sony just refuse to learn anything from consumers.

  • Well it has to be better than the Z-100 that was released far before it was ready. Used the Z-100 for a few weeks and sent it back. The grain and sensor noise was terrible even in bright day light. Then the two very visible “dust bunnies” 1/3 up from bottom and 1/3 in from right side made the Z-100 absolutely unusable commercially. I’m concerned with the data rate on this one but again, compared to the poor quality of the Z-100 it has to be worth every bit of the $2K.

  • Please update the article… you keep referring to the HDR-AS100V as a 4K camera… you’ve crossed out some, but please fix this… It’s confusing a ton of folks who religiously read NFS :)

  • With these 4K cameras coming out, do you think cameras that shoot only in 2K will become much cheaper? I’m specifically thinking of cannon 5D Mark II and III.

  • Richard Jackson on 01.9.14 @ 5:00PM

    Hey, go the New Zealand footage for the AX100 demo reel. Very cool :-)

  • $2K in the States, nearly $3K everywhere else as bloody usual!

    • Yep, and unlike the RX10, the AX100 is NOT a world camera, meaning if you buy the cheaper NTSC version you’ll be stuck at 24p and 30p for 4k. I’m plunging for the CX900 myself, an identical camera lacking 4k but $500 cheaper. Records 1080p at 50mb/s and the video is down scaled from 4k sensor readout, similar to how the C100 and C300 work. If you think about it, the CX900 should be the one making the headlines.

      • Thanks other_guy. After reading your post, I viewed the CX900 online and agree with your argument here. This is one that I would seriously consider. Maybe just add an XLR adaptor and you have quite a nice package.

  • Mark Pirtle on 01.25.14 @ 12:04PM

    I hope you offer a software converter to get this into Avid Media Composer 7.0.3 In the video you said it could be edited in Vegas and “other software”

  • MorePeanutButter on 03.24.14 @ 7:38PM

    i read elsewhere that the a5000 only does 1080 at 60i, unlike the a6000 which manages 60p. Here they just say 60 frames per second, which isn’t not clear. B&H also says something similar.

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