Sony Unveils New 4K 1" Sensor Camcorders with Phase Detection AF


Just in time for IBC, Sony announced three new camcorders, all based on a new 1"-type sensor. The Sony FDR-AX700, HXR-NX80, and PXW-Z90 feature similar compact form factors and some great new features that will satisfy hobbyists and professionals alike. The camera bodies all feature comfortable grips with large zoom rockers, a 12x optical zoom lens, and manual controls for setting your exposure precisely. 4K recording can be done internally to SDXC cards at up to 30 fps in all models. HD recording can be used to achieve slow-motion effects with frame rates up to 120 fps. The AX700 and NX80 record using the XAVC S format, while the Z90 utilizes the professional XAVC L format. Additionally, the Z90 also features broadcast-standard 10-bit 4:2:2 sampling in HD resolutions (MPEG2 is available using the optional CBKZ-SLMP license key). An SDI output is available on the Z90, further enabling integration with broadcast-grade equipment. For filmmakers and videographers who want more control over their image in post-production, grade-friendly S-Log and S-Gamut image options are available on all models.

The 1"-type sensor featured in these camcorders provides a perfect middle ground between the deep focus of 2/3"-type and smaller sensors and the shallower depth of field that larger 35mm sensors are known for. So, whether you’re running-and-gunning and need everything in focus, or you want to create images that incorporate some cinematic flare, these cameras can do it all. Another cool feature that was implemented into these sensors is phase-detection autofocus. Phase-detection, as opposed to contrast-detection (also known as edge-detection) autofocus can recognize how far out of focus the subject is and in which direction the lens needs to be focused to ensure the subject is in sharp focus. Focus points are arranged to cover most of the sensor surface, so your subject can be automatically tracked throughout the frame. Event and sports videographers will appreciate the ability to automatically keep their subjects in focus.

Sony FDR-AX700 4K Camcorder

When it comes to in-camera audio, the NX80 and Z90 really step up their game. Both cameras feature top handles with XLR input jacks and physical manual controls for the preamps and signal routing. The X700 has a consumer-grade 3.5mm input jack compatible with smaller audio solutions.

Sony PXW-Z90V 4K HDR XDCAM with Fast Hybrid AF

Between the manual controls, extensive recording options, fast and reliable autofocus, and compact form factor, these new camcorders from Sony are sure to be popular in many video markets. Preorders are going to start soon, so check out the B&H SuperStore website for up-to-date details on pricing and availability on all three models.

Items discussed in article


They don't disclose that that the phase detection only works in the AVCHD format which won't allow you to go above 60p. Would have loved this feature at 120p which is only in the XAVC format. The camera is awesome as I am coming off the AX-100 (dadcam)

If Sony was smart they better get the 4k at 60p ungrade out asap. Always a Sony fan boy but I'm now looking at the new canon cam mentioned by Allen W's post above. Come on Sony, snap outta vit!

I can't believe Sony didn't include 4K 60P. They really dropped the ball. Such an extreme disappointment. It essentially renders it out of date before its release, and Sony will be the only major manufacturer without a competing consumer or prosumer 4K 60p unit . Panasonic has its GH5 with 4K 60P. Canon has its new Vixia GX10 (along with its pro siblings) with 4K 60P. The iPhone 8, 8 Plus, & X all have 4K60P, the tiny Yi 4K+ action camera has 4K 60p, and the new GoPro Hero6 will have 4K60P as well. I sincerely hope that Sony will consider a 4K 60P free or paid upgrade if at all possible, even if it is one that requires only the fastest SDXC cards. It will be better than not having it at all, as the AX700 sounds amazing besides that. Otherwise, I will make the Canon GX10 a first day purchase instead.