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.
- 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
- 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