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Sony adds 4K* consumer camcorder to its Handycam portfolio

Sony unveiled 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 1920×1080 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 (3840×2160) 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 1920×1080 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 [DATE]. 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.

* ‘4K’ refers throughout to 3840 x 2160 pixels resolution.

 

FDR-AX1E 4K camcorder – key specifications

 

Image Sensor 1/2.3-type back-illuminated Exmor R CMOS Sensor
Effective Picture Resolution (movie) Approx. 8.3M pixels
Video recording format XAVC S format: MPEG4-AVC/H264AVCHD format; MPEG4-AVC/H264 AVCHD 2.0*.
Video resolution (4K recording) 3840×2160 60P (150Mbps) / 3840×2160 30P (100 Mbps) / 3840×2160 30P (60 Mbps) / 3840×2160 24P (100 Mbps) / 3840×2160 24P (60 Mbps) / 3840×2160 50P (150 Mbps) / 3840×2160 25P (100 Mbps) / 3840×2160 25P (60 Mbps)
Video resolution (HD recording) 1920×1080 60P (50 Mbps) / 1920×1080 30P (50 Mbps) / 1920×1080 24P (50 Mbps) / 1920×1080 50P (50 Mbps) / 1920×1080 25P (50 Mbps)
Lens type Sony G™ Lens (aperture range F1.6 – F3.4)
Optical zoom range 20x
Focal Length (35mm equivalent)(Movie Mode) F = 31.5-630mm
Focusing system Contrast AF
White Balance Mode Auto/One-push/Outdoor/Indoor/Colour temp
Image stabilisation Optical SteadyShot™
Viewfinder 0.45 type
LCD display 3.5-type Xtra Fine LCD™ display (1229K) Wide (16:9)
Audio record format Linear PCM 2ch (48kHz/16bit)
Microphone/speaker Built-in Stereo Microphone / Monaural speaker
Media card slots XQD Memory Card x2 (for XAVC S)Memory Stick Pro Duo™ and SD/SDHC/SDXC compatible x1 (for AVCHD)*. SD/SDHC/SDXC x1 (utility SD slot)
Interfaces Headphone (stereo minijack); Analogue Line Input (XLR); Mic Input (XLR); DC In; Remote Terminal; HDMI; USB; Composite video out; Accessory shoe
Dimensions (WxHxD) Approx. 189 x 193 x 362 mm (inc. projecting parts)
Weight (main unit only) Approx. 2440 g
Weight (with supplied NP-F970 battery) Approx. 2770 g
Supplied accessories Rechargeable Battery Pack NP-F970; AC Adaptor; Battery Charger; HDMI cable; USB cable; Large eyecup; Lens hood; A/V connecting cable; XQD card; license CD-ROM; AC Cable; Operating Guide

 

*Note: AVCHD format is planned to be updated by mid-2014

 

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