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Much of the video talk at this year's CES trade show centered around 4K, including 4K displays. But there's little 4K-resolution content currently available. That might change as new, smaller, prosumer and consumer-priced camcorders hit the market. The first such camcorder—no surprise—comes from Sony.
Sony AS100V Action Cam
First up is the small, splash-proof, wearable Sony HDR-AS100V Action Cam, which is designed for 24p HD POV videography. The first Sony Action Cam to produce broadcast-quality HD Video in XAVC S format at up to 50Mbps, the AS100V supports 1080/24p, 720/120p or very slow-motion in 720/240p. The unit can be wirelessly controlled using the optional wristwatch-style Live-View Remote LVR1, which can control up to five AS100V camcorders at once.
- SteadyShot Image Stabilization
- 2MP Time-Lapse photography and 13.5MP still image capture
- Stereo mic
- Splash-proof body
- Ultra-wide lens with 170 degree viewing angle
- 18MP CMOS sensor
- MPR or XAVC S formats
- Wi-Fi, NFC built in
- Android and iOS compatible apps
- Tripod Mount
The Sony AS100V will be available in March for $299 and can be pre-ordered now from Adorama; it will also be available as a bundle as the Sony AS100VR, including a Live View Remote for $399.99. Bargain alert! The camera it is replacing, the Sony HDR-AS30V, is expected to be available at a lower price.
More Sony HD Camcorders!
Sony also introduced some seven new models, all of which feature a new BIONZ X engine, which Sony says improves processing speed over predecessors and improves both image detail and area-specific noise reduction. Audio quality has been improved, and all new models have Picture Effects, that add special effects to images.
Most new models come equipped with Wi-Fi for uploading straight from the camcorder to video sharing sites, or to play wirelessly on a networked TV. Sony offers free cloud-based video storage via their PlayMemories App.
Sony Handycam AX100
On the other end of the spectrum is the Sony Handycam AX100, the electronics giant's first compact 4K camcorder. It is 74 percent smaller and 66 percent lighter than last year's pro-oriented AX1, and at $1,999.99 is about half the price. The camcorder uses a 14MP back-illuminated 1.0-type EXMOR R CMOS sensor, which is larger than the typical consumer camcorder sensor, and records 4K Ultra HD images at 3840x2160 pixels and either 24 or 30 fps. On front is a 12 optical Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T lens that starts at 29mm. The lens has a seven-blade aperture and Sony claims the images it produces have pleasing bokeh.
Other features include:
- XAVC S recording format
- MPEG-4/AVC/H.264 compression
- Dual video recording in both formats possible
- My Voice Cancelling reduces sounds from behind camera
- OLED viewfinder
- 3.5-inch 16:9 LCD monitor with 921k resolution
- Internal ND filters
- Lens focus ring
- Wi-Fi on board, compatible with iOS, Android devices
- 4K Playback on compatible TV via HDMI
- Multi Interface Shoe for External light or Microphone
The Sony Handycam AX100 will be available in March for $1,999.99 at Adorama and can be pre-ordered now. Credit cards will not be charged until orders are shipped.
The new Sony HD Camcorders are:
Entry-Level HD Camcorders
Sony HDR-CX240: Full HD 60p, 9.2-megapixels, Exmor R® CMOS sensor, SteadyShot™ image stabilization, 29.8mm wide angle ZEISS Vario-Sonnar Lens with 54x Clear Image Zoom, Picture Effects, AVCHD + MP4 recording, and 2.7” type LCD™ display. Adorama price: Aproximately $230
Sony HDR-CX330: With Wi-Fi/NFC, Optical SteadyShot™ image stabilization with Intelligent Active mode, wide angle 26.8mm Sony G Lens, and 60x Clear Image Zoom– about $330
Sony HDR-PJ275: With built-in projector (13lm) and external device input, 29.8mm wide angle ZEISS Vario-Sonnar Lens, Wi-Fi/NFC and 8GB flash memory. Adorama price: Aproximately $400
Sony Mid HD Camcorders
Sony HDR-PJ340: With Wifi/NFC, built-in projector (13lm), external device input, 16GB flash memory, 60x Clear Image Zoom, wide angle 26.8mm Sony G Lens, and Optical SteadyShot™ image stabilization with Intelligent Active mode, Wi-Fi/NFC. Adorama price: Aproximately $480
Sony HDR-PJ540: With new sound features, 5.1 channel mic, built-in projector (25lm) and external device input, 32GB flash memory, 3.0” type wide touch screen Clear Photo LCD™ display (460K), Balanced Optical SteadyShot™ image stabilization, Wi-Fi/NFC. Adorama price: Aproximately $700
Sony High End HD Camcorder
Sony HDR-PJ810: With Wifi/NFC, 24.5-megapixel still shot, manual control (iris/shutter/exposure/white balance), wide angle 26.8mm Sony G Lens with hood, advanced controls with expanded focus, zebra, and peaking, touch screen 3.0” type Xtra Fine LCD™ with WhiteMagicTM (921K), color Electronic Viewfinder and built-in projector (50lm) with external device input and Keystone Adjustment. Adorama price: Aproximately $1,100
Sony HDR-CX900: With back-illuminated 1.0 type Exmor R CMOS image sensor, 50Mbps high bit rate XAVC S recording , 29mm wide angle ZEISS Vario Sonnar T* Lens, Wi-Fi/NFC, 20-megapixel still shots, and 3.5” type Xtra Fine LCD™ (921K). Adorama price: Aproximately$1,500