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Sony FDR-AX1 Handycam just lowered the cost of entry for filming 4K

Tom Morgan
7 Sep 2013
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Professional 4K video recording just got a whole lot more portable thanks to Sony's Ultra High Definition FDR-AX1 Handycam

With several 4K TVs already on sale, and plenty more being announced this week at IFA, there's a growing demand for Ultra high definition content. Sony wants to put 4K into the hands of more than just big budget film-makers with the FDR-AX1, the company's first 4K handycam.

Sony FDR-AX1

The fixed lens camcorder uses the same body as the professional HDR-AX200 camera and films in Sony's XAVC S file format. By recording video in MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 Long GOP and audio in linear PCM, then saving in an MP4 wrapper, it should be better compressed than existing 4K cameras - ideal for anyone shooting home movies or short films on a tight budget that can't afford multiple memory cards.

Sony FDR-AX1

Capturing 4K video creates an obscene amount of data, so Sony has added twin QXD memory card slots to the FDR-AX1. These are relatively obscure, having only appeared in Nikon's professional grade DSLR cameras, but should let you save two hours of video to a 64GB card. There's also an SD card slot on-board for recording regular High Definition.

Sony FDR-AX1

The fixed Sony G lens has a 10x optical zoom and multiple neutral density (ND) filters built into the mechanism, behind which sits a 1/2.3-type Exmor R CMOS sensor. There are plenty of manual controls, along with a 3.2in flip-out display and traditional viewfinder.

At release, the FDR-AX1 won't be HDMI 2.0 compliant, but Sony says a firmware update will add support for the new standard at a later date.

Sony FDR-AX1

The FDR-AX1 should be available to buy around October, complete with a 32GB QXD memory card and a copy of the full version of Sony Vegas Pro 12 - however, it will still set you back a cool $4,500.

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