San Diego, CA—Sony Electronics introduced its most advanced 4K Handycam camcorder to date, the flagship FDR-AX53, at CES 2016. It debuted along with the HDR-CX675 and HDR-CX455 HD camcorders and Sony’s HDR-AS50 Action Cam POV camera.
“4K continues to grow in popularity, reaching more households now than ever before. As 4K awareness grows and the benefits become clear, consumers are looking for new ways to create and enjoy their content in 4K UHD,” said Jeff Hiatt, director of the video division at Sony Electronics. “Our new AX53 Handycam brings the wonders of professional-quality 4K video to families and video enthusiasts looking to capture and preserve their memories in the highest possible quality.”
The 4K (3,840×2,160) camcorder employs a newly developed Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* 20x optical zoom lens. The lens uses advanced aspherical and extra-low dispersion elements to produce crisp images. In addition, its T* coating reduces reflections and flare. The AX53’s new image sensor has 1.6x larger pixels than previous models to optimize 4K recording. And enhanced balanced optical SteadyShot image stabilization aids in creating smooth, blur-free video at focal lengths ranging from 26.8mm to the extended 20x zoom. The IS system includes 5-axis intelligent active mode to compensate for vibration in five different axes.
Another upgrade is Sony’s Fast Intelligent AF system, which is said to achieve up to 40% faster autofocus speed and more accurate subject capture. The camcorder is also enhanced with a new microphone structure built for high-quality sound.
The FDR-AX53 also provides Full HD 120-frames-per-sec, high-speed recording, to allow it to create detailed slow-motion movies. It can also capture 4K time-lapse images for high-res time-lapse video.
Features for Advanced Videographers
For more advanced videographers, the camcorder includes an electronic viewfinder for framing plus a customizable manual ring and manual button that can be assigned to key functions, such as zoom, focus and exposure adjustments. The camcorder is also compatible with time code and user-bit functions and can record at a high bit rate of 4K 100 Mbps in the XAVC S format.
Post-shooting, 4K video content can be played back directly on a 4K television through the supplied HDMI cable, or in super-sampled Full HD when connected to an HDTV. The camcorder ‘trims’ a selected portion of a 4K video frame to fill the screen with Full HD quality. In this mode, trimming size can be changed with the zoom lever or on-screen icon. And since the camcorder supports 4K still image capture, users can extract and save 8.3MP photos from 4K footage.
Sony’s FDR-AX53 4K camcorder will be available March 2016 for about $1,000.
New Sony HD Camcorders
Both of the new HD camcorders feature XAVC S high-bit-rate recording, a 5.1-channel microphone and “my voice canceling,” which reduces the sound of the shooter’s voice during recording. They also are equipped with highlight moviemaker and multi-camera control functions. Both will reach retail in February.
The HDR-CX675 features an improved form of balanced optical
SteadyShot with motion analysis. In this 5-axis intelligent active mode of stabilization, the camcorder utilizes a motion analysis system to intelligently optimize the 5-axis IS based on the level of external motion. This is said to help produce stable footage even if the videographer is jogging. $600.
The HDR-CX455 HD camcorder is equipped with optical SteadyShot stabilization and intelligent active mode to compensate for camera shake in 5-axis. $400.
HDR-AS50 Action Cam POV Camera
With a budget-friendly price, this action camera brings Sony’s latest video technologies to more customers—including SteadyShot image stabilization, smooth zoom and field-angle adjustability, high-bit-rate XAVC S recording, and 4K time-lapse capture. The time-lapse capture feature shoots still images in preset intervals. The images can then be turned into a 4K time-lapse movie using the Action Cam Movie Creator software. The Action Cam app can also create time-lapse movies in Full HD.
A smaller, lighter live-view remote is available for the new action cam. The remote acts as an extension of the camera, with the ability to control its capabilities, including start/stop recording and power on/off. The remote can be attached to various accessories using the supplied adapter. These include a shooting grip (model VCT-STG1) and handlebar mount (VCT-HM2). It can also be worn as a wristband.
The HDR-AS50 features an 11.1MP, back-illuminated CMOS sensor paired with a Zeiss Tessar lens. It uses SteadyShot image stabilization to keep footage steady, whether shooting motocross stunts or aerial landscapes. The IS system is also specially tailored to reduce low amplitude vibration caused by radio-controlled helicopters or drones.
For the first time, users can now adjust the field angle of a shot with “wide” and “narrow” options to help ensure the scene is captured properly based on the environment. And an enhanced 3x smooth zoom enables shooters to get closer to the action during recording.
Additional AS50 Features
Based on feedback from athletes, filmmakers and more casual users, Sony gave the HDR-AS50 an improved interface with larger, more intuitive icon and button operability. It also has adjustable beep sounds and three tally lights on the top, front and back to allow greater awareness of recording settings in bright or noisy environments. As with select Action Cams, users can control the AS50 with their smartphones and tablets via the PlayMemories Mobile app.
Sony’s built-in movie creator—highlight moviemaker—is incorporated in the AS50. The feature now utilizes face-detection technology and automatically assembles a video highlight package that can be paired with custom music.
The HDR-AS50 comes bundled with a range of accessories for $200. These include an underwater housing (MPK-UWH1) certified down to 197 feet. The HDR-AS50R kit adds the live-view remote and costs $350. sony.com