Sony has revealed its first-ever 4K capable Handycam camcorder. The Sony Handycam FDR-AX1E records 4K and HD movies in the XAVC S format, using 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. Switching to Full HD recording enables you to store almost 3 hours of 1920x1080 50p footage on a single card. The Sony Handycam FDR-AX1E camcorder features a 1/2.3-type Exmor R CMOS sensor with a resolution of 3840x2160 pixels and a 31.5-630mm equivalent Sony G zoom lens with Optical SteadyShot. Other highlights include three ND filters, five paint functions, two external pro-style XLR connectors, two strategically placed start/stop buttons and dual XQD memory card slots. Dedicated controls are also provided for auto/manual focus, and seven custom buttons can be reassigned to user’s preferred function. Assigned functions for on-the-fly adjustments include Marker, Zebra, Peaking, Focus Magnifier, Auto Exposure Level, SteadyShot, Colour Bars and Rec Lamp.
Sony Press Release
First 4K Handycam from Sony 04 September 2013
- Shoot 4K Ultra HD images with Exmor R™ CMOS sensor, professional image processor and high-quality G Lens™ with 20x optical zoom and SteadyShot
- Stores 4K video in efficient new XAVC S format, with relay recording with dual XQD media card slots
- Enjoy 4K videos with one-cable HDMI connection to your BRAVIA TV
- Extensive manual controls for pro-style operation plus XLR audio connectors
* ‘4K’ refers to 3840 x 2160 pixels resolution throughout this press release
Today Sony unveils its first 4K consumer camcorder, the new Handycam® FDR-AX1E. Now video enthusiasts can capture 4K content for expressive, powerful imaging with incomparable levels of clarity and exquisite colour in every scene.
Four times the detail of Full HD
The FDR-AX1E camcorder records 4K and HD movies in the XAVC S format, using 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 50p footage on a single card. For further compatibility with existing consumer devices, AVCHD format is planned to be updated by the middle of 2014.
The FDR-AX1E 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 50 fps data stream. The powerful 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 50p.
Pristine imagery is also assured by the high quality Sony 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 colour that put this groundbreaking Handycam® camcorder in a class of its own. In addition, the lens offers a broad zoom range from wide-angle to 20x optical (31.5-630mm 35mm equivalent); while Optical SteadyShot keeps footage crisp and stable, even at telephoto mode.
Creative controls and pro-style ergonomics
The FDR-AX1E camcorder offers several functions to enhance users’ creativity, including three ND filters to adjust the amount of light entering the image sensor from the lens. Four settings: Off (Clear), 1/4 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 shooting, the FDR-AX1E is designed with two strategically placed start/stop buttons and a zoom lever on the handle for convenient access from low angles. Dedicated controls are also provided for auto/manual focus, and seven custom buttons can be reassigned to user’s preferred function. Assigned functions for on-the-fly adjustments include Marker, Zebra, Peaking, Focus Magnifier, Auto Exposure Level, SteadyShot, Colour Bars and Rec Lamp.
Equipped with two media card slots, the FDR-AX1E uses XQD™ memory cards for smooth, high-speed reading and writing of 4K video. As featured 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. Video makers 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.
Ultimate 4K viewing experience
Playing back 4K content captured on the FDR-AX1E is simple - just connect the camcorder to a compatible 4K TV with the single HDMI cable. Sony BRAVIA TVs specially brings out the full quality of 4K/50p recordings, with TRILUMINOS Display to deliver an even more vibrant palette of rich colours that are closer than ever to real life.
For those without a 4K TV, the FDR-AX1E can output 1920x1080 images to a Full HD TV, by simply changing the output settings on the camcorder. There’s 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.
HDMI 2.0 – a new industry standard
The FDR-AX1E will offer support for the brand-new HDMI Version 2.0 specification, with an easy firmware update via the Internet.
Newly released by the HDMI Forum, the HDMI 2.0 industry standard offers an option to transmit 4K/50p signal using a single HDMI cable. With this HDMI 2.0 update, the FDR-AX1E will be able to output 4K/50p images not only to 4K BRAVIA, but to other HDMI 2.0 compatible TVs and devices.
New ultra-fast XQD™ N Series memory cards for 4K shooting
Sony also introduces a new range of ultra-fast XQD™ N Series memory cards that are ideal for 4K shooting with the Handycam® FDR-AX1E.
Available from October this year, the new cards offer a read speed of 120 MB/sec and 80 MB/sec write speed on the QD-N64 (64GB version) and 60 MB/sec on the QD-N32 (32GB version). Ultra-fast transfer speeds are enabled by a newly-developed intelligent controller and optimised high-speed flash memory.
The new Handycam® FDR-AX1E 4K consumer camcorder by Sony is available in Europe from £3,800 from September 2013. For a complete 4K experience, the camcorder comes supplied as a special bundle with Vegas™ Pro 12 Edit software and a 32GB XQD™ media card included in the box at no extra cost.