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