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Sony Announces Four New Video Cameras for CES 2016

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January 6, 2016  Getting a jump on CES (Consumer Electronics Show) 2016, Sony has announced two new HD Handycams, one 4K Handycam, and a new Action Cam that will be available at the end of February. The new cameras feature exciting improvements to image and audio quality and camera functionality.

4K Consumer Production and Just a Little Bit More

The FDR-AX53, expected in March, fits in the palm of your hand and proudly performs in the Sony Handycam tradition while adding a few twists that professionals will appreciate. Improvements over the previous model include a new 20x zoom lens and a sensor with larger pixels for less noise and better low-light performance. With a 35mm equivalent zoom range of 26.8 to 536mm, the Zeiss zoom lens lets you capture more, and the T* lens coatings provide flare protection, strong contrast, and lend your footage that clean, well-known “Zeiss look.”


Sony FDR-AX53 4K Ultra HD Handycam Camcorder
 

The new Exmor R sensor features pixels that have been enlarged by 1.6 times, which translates into more light gathering for increased sensitivity. Coupled with the sensor’s back side illuminated technology, this new sensor allows you to shoot with less noise, even in low-light or near-dark situations. The FDR-AX53 also brings improvements to the camera’s built-in microphone, with a new design that results in less noise for cleaner, more distinct two-channel stereo recording that is twice as effective in 4K XAVC S mode. You can now add timecode and user bit information to your recordings as data elements. The time code allows for precise editing, and the user bit information can be used to identify the date, time, scene numbers, or to identify cameras on multi-camera shoots.

Recording 4K at the highest data rate of 100 Mb/s does require that you acquire a UHS-1 U3 SDHC/SDXC media card, but you can still shoot 4K at 60 Mb/s on a Class Ten SDHC/SDXC card. Don’t have a 4K TV yet? No worries there, because the camera can downscale the 4K footage to play on an HD monitor. Or, if you choose, you can shoot 1920 x 1080 Full HD. Built-in Wi-Fi functionality allows you to control the camera, view its image from your smartphone, and stream using USTREAM to share what you are shooting, instantly. Dual recording allows you to record in high Quality XAVC S or AVCHD and simultaneously record in MP4 for fast upload to the Internet. The FDR-AX53 also imports features from the previous model, which is all packed into a camera body that is only slightly larger overall, yet represents a great increase in quality and capability.

HD is not Forgotten

If you are not interested in 4K, then cast your glance upon the HDR-CX455 and HDR-CX675 Handycams. Both cameras record HD video up to 1080 60p and can record to either AVCHD or XAVC S HD to a micro SDHC/SDXC media card or to the camera’s built-in flash memory. Wi-fi and NFC are built into each camera, allowing you to control them remotely from your smartphone or stream via USTREAM. Dual recording allows you to capture in high-quality XAVC S HD or AVCHD while simultaneously recording to web-friendly MP4 files. Both cameras support direct copy, which allows you to copy your files from the camera to an attached HDD, without needing a computer. With 31 steps of microphone level control, you have the kind of manual audio control often lacking in consumer camcorders, and the option to choose between auto and manual iris and shutter speed provides you with more creative control over your video. Outfitted with the same 1/5.8" back illuminated sensor and flip-out LCD touchscreen, the cameras are similar in size, but each offers clear differences that should make choosing between the two a simple task. 

Sony HDR-CX455 Full HD Handycam Camcorder with 8GB Internal Memory Sony HDR-CX75 Handycam Camcorder with 32GB Internal Memory

The HDR-CX455 is a fully capable HD camcorder with 8GB of built-in flash storage, so you can start shooting right out of the box without a memory card. The integrated 30x Zeiss zoom lens has a 35mm equivalent focal length of approximately 26.8 to 804mm, and supports Sony’s Clear Image Zoom that doubles the zoom range. Optical SteadyShot steadies your image when shooting handheld, and engaging the 5-axis Intelligent Active Mode provides further image stabilization for handling difficult handheld shooting situations. The HDR-CX675 packs increased internal memory of 32GB, and incorporates a 30x Sony G zoom lens that supports Balanced Optical Steady Shot—representing the major differences between the two cameras.

Ready, Set, Action

Continuing its commitment to the Action Cam line, Sony is unleashing the HDR-AS50 and the HDR-AS50R, which includes the HDR-AS50 and a RM-LVR2 Live-View Bluetooth remote. Equipped with a Zeiss lens that offers a 170- or 120-degree field of view and includes a waterproof housing for shooting underwater, the camera features an Exmor R sensor for shooting in low light, and Steady Shot image stabilization, so even if you are living on the edge, your footage will stay calm and smooth. Built-in microphones allow you to capture the sounds of the natural environment, as well as the exclamations of exultation you may utter. The cameras feature a dual media card slot that accepts either Micro SD/SDHC/SDXC cards or Memory Stick Micro cards, which are not included. The HDR-AS50 enjoys Bluetooth compatibility for control by iOS and Android devices, or an optional Bluetooth remote.

Sony HDR-AS50 Full HD Action Cam Sony HDR-AS50 Full HD Action Cam with RM-LVR2 Live-View Remote

Although it only records HD video, in time-lapse mode you can capture high-resolution stills that can be converted into 4K time-lapse movies. The included underwater housing allows you to shoot with your camera to depths of 197 feet. Integrated tally lights mounted on the front and rear of the camera alert you to the recording status, while loop recording allows you to choose to continue shooting, and have the camera record over previously shot footage so you can capture the moment of truth, without having to worry about running out of recording space. For those classic slow-motion shots, the camera supports HD at 120 fps.

The Compendium

From any angle, Sony is starting off 2016 with a powerful lineup of consumer cameras that should include something for just about everyone.

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It is June 29th ,2016 now. I want to buy a latest Sony 4K camcorder. When is a new camcorder coming out ? Thanks

Hi Todua -

All of the cameras described above are now in stock and available at B&H. Just click on the camera images above.

I will be buying a sony soon, Warning to all others never buy a panasonic, there is no firmware / software updates on their web site so you cannot download updates to your camera, mine had just past warranty and i have to take it into a service centre and pay to have this done, will never touch a Panasonic product again

Nothing here as good as  withdrawn HXR -nx30 Are Sony asleep?

No mention of a hand held Sony wireless remote! No reference to a plug in Sony wired remote for focus, zoom, start stop!

SONY HAVE EVERY THING, SONY TRIPOT BUILT IN REMOTE  WITH WIRE, & SONY HAVE CAMERA REMOTES RM-VPRI WORKS FOR  PHOTO & VIDEO AND CAMERA ZOOM  IN OUT TOO.

As far as I can tell, unlike the weaker AX33 the AX53 has no headphone jack. Why this omission?

Hi Waiting and Waiting, Thanks for reading and pointing this out. It is a balance between getting the news about the cameras out quickly, and including all the information available about a camera. There was no specific information pointing out the lack of a headphone jack, so it isn't possible to point that out. Sony's site does not mention a headphone jack, and our write-up on the FDR-AX53 doesn't indicate one, and at this time there isn't any more information available. However, the camera has yet to be released, so there may be more information coming, which we will use to update our site. Thanks for reading and bringing this question to our attention.

Regarding the AX53, what do you mean by timecode? Is this just the consumer-grade subtitle overlay, or something more professional?

Also, the big question is full exposure control. The AX33 did not have one, it offered only priority modes, or brightness control by means of "Exposure" setting, which would juggle aperture and shutter speed the way it pleases to produce desired brightness. Does the AX53 allow full control of exposure parameters? Can one set and lock aperture and shutter speed simultaneously?

Hi there John, these are two very interesting questions. The available information on timecode and user bits hasn't changed, and it seems that the term data elements is key. Until the camera is released we won't know for sure, but I'm hoping that the timecode function won't just be time of day, but that you can actually set it. It would seem to make sense since the user bit function seems to allow you to set the user bit information. I would be extremely surprised to find either either a dedicated timecode in or out port. Still I believe it may be possible to send timecode info over HDMI, so that may be what is going on, but I thiunk that it is most likely a setting to playback from the camera with the timecode/userbit displayed over the image for logging, while including timecode as metadata in the file. It will be interesting to see how it is implemented once the camera is released. I wonder which NLE will be able to access the metadata, perhaps Vegas Pro, although I haven't used it in years, or perhaps Son'ys Catalyst Studio. That could be exciting for using this as a B camera or perhaps event coverage.

As far as manual control, I doubt that full and complete manual control of many functions simultaneously is in the cards for any camera aimed at this market, although I'd love to have a separate control for iris, focus and zoom. Three individual lens rings would be sweet, but again, I doubt we will see that at this level of camera. What information has been released is that the camera will have a multi-purpose manual ring, that you can select to adjust zoom, focus, exposure, iris, shutter speed, AE shift, or white balance. I'd imagine that the settings will stay where you put them when you switch from one adjustment to another, but that may also depend on the amount of auto control you choose in the menu system. Multi-purpose ring, I know, it's another compromise, but what we have to remember is that although it is capable or 4K, and has some very cool features, it isn't aimed at the professional market, so we can't expect it to deliver on a professional level.

Thanks for reading and posing these questions. I hope my answers help.

Thanks for taking time to research and reply, appreciated! Anyway, I am less concerned with HOW the settings are made than with WHAT parameters can be set. If I could select and set shutter speed, and then select and set aperture without losing my shutter speed setting, it would be sweet.

I do not agree on "this market" thing. The HDR-HC1 was a consumer camcorder, but allowed selecting one exposure parameter, say shutter speed, explicitly - you would see a number. Then you would adust exposure by adjusting "Exposure" control, which would jiggle other parameters, in this case iris, ND, and gain, but in PREDICTABLE FASHION. Going from the smallest aperture, the camera would always decrease aperture to about F4 (don't remember the exact number now), then would open up the ND, then would continue opening the iris, then would add gain. All these steps were completely predictable, and I even had a strip with numbers attached to the flip-out screen of the camera. This level of control would suffice for me, and it is not too technical for amateur users as well. But Sony had to take this away in later products, which made me switch to Panasonic offerings.

Hi John,

It would indeed be sweet if you could lock in one parameter, and then adjust others without changing the one you set.. Hopefully this is the way things will be with the camera. It might be available in settings, but I don't know as the camera hasn't been released. As far as the market goes, it really is a matter of price point, it seems to me that features are closely tied to the price range of a camera, as if a lower cost camera had the same features as a more expensive camera, that would eat into the "market" for that more expensive camera - even if it had a bigger sensor, or higher quality recording modes. It is a tough time now for camera MFR's who have to continuosly improve on their just released cameras with a new camera.

I'm glad that you are able to find cameras that fit the way you like to shoot. Best.

Sounds like someone is resting on their previous accomplishments.

Maybe it's time to switch

Larger pixels on a smaller surface equals no improvement! Sony, where is the 1" imager?

/hi JJ, thanks for taking the time to read. I also found that confusing at first, but what it seems to be happenening is that instead of increasing sensor size, Sony has made the pixels larger, resulting in a reduction to the maximum resolution in stills from the previous generation, but increasing the size and sensitivity for 4K video capture. So same size sensor, but larger pixels, win win for video, still photos get a little bit smaller. Hope this helps.

I'm interested in 2015s pj410 and 620 but can't see much overall difference apart from £140 pounds. Ideally the 620 is the one to go for but at around £360 pounds its a touch expensive, do you think these will be discounted significantly prior to 2016's camera releases in March..? Any views on the pj620 would be appreciated.

Cheers

Hi Paul, thanks for reading.

I don't have any info on pricing, sorry. I can't guide you here on a choice between the two cameras PJ-620 or PJ410, there are just too many points to go over. I would suggest giving the nice representatives over in B&H chat a try. They are very knowledgeable and experienced. I certain they would be able to help you. Here is a link  https://bhphotovideo.secure.force.com/PrechatBeginPage?wid=BCE5CAA908 , or you can just scroll down to the bottom of this page. Best wishes, and thanks for reading.

Steve, Can you all or someone answer a question for me please? Will there be a replacement for the FDR AX100 4K Sony Handy Cam anytime soon? I found you all's thread and just wondring so I do not buy one and then a new one comes out, heard rumors that maybe 2017, not sure. Think it was released two years ago. Just few tweeks and it would be perfect. Thanks! -Michael, Houston, Texas 

Hi Michael -

Winter CES is just around the corner now.  We may have an answer for you in a few weeks.

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