Sony packed serious phase detect AF into these new 4K palm-style camcorders
If you've used a palm-style camcorder to try and film action at any point over the past several years, you've probably noticed an issue: most of these camcorders are god awful at finding and holding focus, usually relying exclusively on contrast detect AF or simply the deep depth-of-field their small sensors made requisite. Well, not anymore.
Sony has just debuted three new 4K camcorders with advanced, relatively large sensors aimed at three different tiers of users. But all of them have one thing in common: blazing fast, 273-point phase detect autofocus systems similar to (and, in fact, a bit more advanced than) the system found in Sony's new RX10 IV. More advanced because the camera allows you to further customize features like AF Drive Speed, Tracking Depth Range and Subject Switching Sensitivity to make sure you nail every shot. We're also told the focus ramping is more sophisticated, if you ask the autofocus to rack between two subjects. The hi-res touchscreen LCD should make focus easy and intuitive as well.
All three palm-style camcorders feature this same autofocus system, a 1-inch type stacked Exmor RS CMOS image sensor, and support 4K 'Instant HDR' recording using Hybrid Log Gamma (HLG) technology. However, not all three are meant for the same user. The AX700 is for serious amateurs, the NX80 for semi-pro video shooters, and the Z90V packs in some interesting broadcast capabilities such as XAVC L format recording, 3G SDI connectivity, and other features the support news reporting.
Of course, at $1,900 for the 'cheapest' model, it was obvious from the get-go that Sony wan't aiming for the entry-level crowd with this release.
The most beginner-friendly model, the FDR-AX700, arrives in October for the aforementioned price of $1,900. The two higher-end models, the HXR-NX80 and PXW-Z90V, both arrive in December for $2,300 and $2,800 respectively. To find out more about any of these camcorders, read the press release below or visit the Sony 4K Palm website.
Sony Unveils First Camcorders with Phase-detection AF
Sony’s newest camcorders are its first to feature phase detection Auto Focus (AF), and expand its line of 4K and HDR-capable tools for shooting applications ranging from video enthusiasts to corporate and events to broadcast news and TV production.
The three new palm-style models are the XDCAM PXW-Z90, the NXCAM HXR-NX80 and the Handycam FDR-AX700. The camcorders’ Fast Hybrid AF system ensures highly accurate focusing and tracking — especially useful during 4K shooting — delivered by 273 phase-detection AF points that cover approximately 84% of the shooting area, high-density placement of autofocus points and a newly developed AF algorithm. In movie recording mode, the appearance of phase-detection AF frames indicates the focused area and easily allows users to monitor a subject that is in focus.
Each camcorder combines fast and reliable AF adapted for video shooting with a 1.0-type stacked Exmor RS CMOS image sensor. The new camcorders support 4K HDR recording with Hybrid Log-Gamma (HLG) offering an Instant HDR workflow to produce high-quality HDR content smoothly. The Instant HDR Workflow enables simple shooting, editing and viewing of HDR content in HLG, without the need for color grading during post production.
The new camcorders feature a high-resolution OLED viewfinder (0.39-type OLED, 2,359k dots) and advanced touch screen operation, on the 3.5-type large LCD screen (1,555k dots), to allow users to quickly switch focus from one subject to another, while the AF Drive Speed, Tracking Depth Range and Subject Switching Sensitivity can all be configured as required for different subjects and content styles.
Simple, multi-camera live production
The PXW-Z90, HXR-NX80 and FDR-AX700 camcorders all work seamlessly with Sony’s MCX-500 live producer, a compact, cost-effective switcher that makes it easy for one operator to run a multi-camera live event. With the switcher and Sony’s RM-30BP controller, a Tally icon appears on each camera’s LCD panel and viewfinder. A red icon indicates when the shot is live (PGM) while Green indicates preview mode (NEXT).
The MCX-500 supports mixing between eight video sources, four stereo embedded audio channels plus two XLR Inputs, and a dedicated Title Input, up to nine video inputs, and five stereo inputs including XLR. Internal recording and live streaming is also possible via Ustream, Facebook Live and YouTube Live.
Users can also synchronize timecode among multiple camcorders using Sony’s free Content Browser Mobile 3.0 app with optional CBKZ-WTCL upgrade and devices running iOS® (9.0 – 10.3) or Android® (4.4 – 7.1) operating systems.
Versatile Shooting Capabilities
The new camcorders enable the following key technology and features to support versatile shooting, including:
- 4K full-pixel readout without pixel binning using an enhanced BIONZ X™ image processing engine
- Super Slow Motion recording up to 960fps, which is industry leading among palm categories and Slow & Quick Motion Full HD recording up to 120fps.
- S-Log3/S-Gamut3 capabilities for users to create and work with images as they desire.
- 29mm wide-angle ZEISS® Vario-Sonnar T* 12x optical zoom lens and 18x Clear Image Zoom
- Less image distortion (rolling shutter phenomenon), in comparison to conventional models, when shooting moving subjects in motion
Workflow efficiency benefits such as proxy recording, relay recording and simultaneous backup recording are also delivered thanks to the new camcorders’ dual memory card slots and multi-camera operation capabilities supported by TC (time code)/UB (user bit). The new camcorders also have REMOTE terminals, Multi-Interface Shoe™, and HDMI Type A for enhanced operability.
The new models also feature dual XLR audio input, a detachable handle, and access to Content Browser Mobile a supporting smartphone application to enable Wi-Fi® monitoring, Camcorder remote control and wireless timecode sync between multiple cameras.
The PXW-Z90 also includes several features to suit broadcast-specific production requirements: XAVC L format recording, which provides high-quality images at 4:2:2 10 bit (HD) and 4:2:0 8 bit (QFHD) in addition to conventional broadcasting MPEG2HD format recording; 3G SDI connectivity for compatibility with existing broadcasting equipment; and networking functions to support news reporting, such as compatibility with XDCAM® air, Sony’s cloud-based ENG subscription service. The HXR-NX80 and FDR-AX700 adopt XAVC S, an extended format of XAVC for consumer use.
The following is planned availability and suggested list pricing for the new models:
- FDR-AX700 – October 2017, $1,899 USD
- HXR-NX80 – December 2017, $2,299 USD
- PXW-Z90V – December 2017, $2,799 USD
Canon's mirrorless EOS R5 comes with a ton of features and capability stemming from its design inside and out. Come along with us on a guided tour of Canon's new high-end, high-megapixel camera and check it out for yourself.
Announced alongside the EOS R5, the R6 offers a lot of the same technology but in a more affordable, slightly more enthusiast-focused model. Take a closer look.
Alongside the EOS R5 and R6, Canon has announced a brace of lenses, all in the short to long telephoto range. Filling out the 'long' end are one L-series zoom, and two innovative primes.
Alongside a trio of telephoto lenses, Canon also announced a new 85mm this week. The RF 85mm F2 Macro IS STM is a compact, affordable alternative to the pro-oriented 85mm F1.2L.
The EOS R5 has been a long time coming – we knew it had 8K and we knew it had an AF joystick. But now that's it's here, what is it really like to use? Find out in our initial review based on hands-on time with the camera.
The R6 doesn't promise quite such headline-grabbing specs as its big brother, but it still packs a punch, whether you shoot stills, video or both.
Think you've read everything there is to know about the new Canon cameras? Chris and Jordan share eight important things you may have missed from today's Canon EOS R5 and R6 announcements.
We've been shooting around with the new Canon EOS R6. Initial impressions of image quality are positive, and out-of-camera JPEGs appear similar to that of the gold award-winning Canon EOS-1D X III. Have a look for yourself.
Canon has officially released the long-awaited EOS R5, the company's top-end full-frame mirrorless camera. Featuring a new 45MP CMOS sensor, Dual Pixel AF II system, 8K video capture and 20 fps bursts, this is the RF-mount camera we've been waiting for.
Although the Canon EOS R6 doesn't have the 45MP sensor and 8K video capture of the higher-end R5, it's still an incredibly capable camera with specs that outshine similarly priced peers.
The Canon RF 100-500mm F4.5-7.1L IS USM is the company's first super-zoom lens for RF-mount. Despite a relatively slow aperture range, it's very versatile, offering five stops of stabilization, weather-sealing and compatibility with Canon's new teleconverters.
Canon's RF 85mm F2 Macro IS STM is an inexpensive telephoto prime lens with a minimum focus distance of just 0.35m (14") and a 0.5x magnification. When attached to the new R5 and R6, it offers a whopping eight stops of shake reduction.
Canon has announced a pair of super-telephoto fixed-aperture primes. The 600mm and 800mm use diffractive optics to keep their size and weight down. They'll also be compatible with new 1.4x and 2x RF teleconverters.
Canon has announced a new small-footprint inkjet photo printer, the imageProGraf Pro-300. it will produce prints up to 13 x 19" and it goes on sale later this month for $900. A new textured photo paper will also arrive in July.
The new compression standard is set to reduce video file sizes by half to save space and speed-up transmission, paving the way for more portable 8K footage.
Sony recently confirmed plans to launch a successor to the video-centric a7S II. We don't even know the name of the camera, but Jordan already has a feature wish list for the new 'a7S III' – and it doesn't include 8K.
The Profot B10 is the first studio flash system that can be used when shooting with an iPhone camera.
The Pixii camera is an interesting little rangefinder camera that features a 12MP APS-C sensor and lacks a rear LCD display, opting instead to pair with your mobile device, which can be used to view and transfer images.
Sirui is launching an Indiegogo campaign for a wide-angle answer to its existing 50mm F1.8 anamorphic lens. The 35mm APS-C lens will come in a Micro Four Thirds mount with adapters for other systems.
Sony has added a 12-24mm F2.8 to its top-shelf 'G Master' series of lenses. It's the widest constant F2.8 zoom currently offered for full-frame, with a hefty price tag to match: it will sell for $3000 when it ships in mid-August.
Take a look at the view from Sony's new ultra-wide F2.8 zoom – we paired it with the a7R IV for some initial shooting.
Canon's EOS-1D X Mark III is one of the best DSLRs ever made. With fast burst speeds, great video quality and impressive autofocus, the 1D X III is equal parts cinema rig and sports shooter. Find out how it fares against steep competition in our full review.
Nikon Rumors is reporting that Nikon will announce successors to its Z6 and Z7 camera systems by the end of the calendar year.
Canon says the event, set to take place at 14:00 CEST in two days on July 9, will be its 'biggest product launch yet.'
The Verge Video Director, Becca Farsace, shows how she built a custom Raspberry Pi camera with effectively zero coding knowledge over the course of just three days.
The EOS R5 has been in the works for some time, and Canon has published a handful of specifications, but there's still plenty we don't know. What are you hoping to see from Canon's forthcoming flagship camera?
Canon's CE-SAT-IB satellite camera was destroyed alongside six other satellites during Rocket Lab's ironically-named 'Pics or It Didn't Happen Mission.'
This sample gallery includes images from our recent review of the Tamron 28-200mm F2.8-5.6 Di III RXD zoom lens. Check out these photos to see how it performs, from wide-angle to telephoto and everything in between.
The Tamron 28-200mm F2.8-5.6 Di III RXD provides a wide zoom range in compact, weather-sealed design. Find out why it's Chris and Jordan's new favorite travel lens.
Kodak Portra 800 is a wonderful and versatile color film. And any rumors of it being discontinued, we're pleased to report, are simply untrue. That's a good thing, because it's capable of producing lovely results in all sorts of conditions.