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
|double eagles by summicron|
|Stormy Night by aarif|
from Ultra Wide
|Mont Blanc by cjf2|
from Alphabet soup II. Letter N for using “Negative Space"
|Tree by Cutka|
from Minimalist landscapes
The new gimbal can hold most full-frame mirrorless cameras with mid-sized lenses and some smaller DSLRs with mid-sized lenses.
The latest study follows Wang's previous work, including a camera that can record at 70 trillion frames per second.
Ricoh Imaging's new APS-C DSLR will feature a 26MP CMOS sensor, 5-axis IBIS, dual SD card slots and is set for a late-February 2021 release.
For the 13th edition of AAP Magazine, 25 winners from 11 different countries were selected for their unconventional takes on shapes.
BCN Retail's latest numbers covering the Japanese domestic market show Canon is hot on the heels of Sony in terms of market share, while Nikon is averaging less than half the market share of both Canon and Sony.
Using infrared imaging, NASA's Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) has made a significant discovery of water molecules on the sunlit surface of the Moon. This discovery raises new questions and may provide critical support for future deep space exploration.
Three weeks ago B&H listed the Zeiss ZX1 as available to pre-order. While the option to pre-order has been removed, Nokishita is reporting the ZX1 will be available on October 29 for an MSRP of $6,000.
The Nikon Z 14-24mm F2.8 S completes the 'holy trinity' of traditional F2.8 zooms for Z-mount. It's more practical than its AF-S predecessor, but is the higher price reflected in its performance? Take a look at our sample gallery to find out.
Self-proclaimed 'weird lens' guru, Mathieu Stern, has shared his latest video, wherein he shows imagery captured with two $20 projector lenses he adapted to fit his Sony mirrorless camera.
Lens geek and founder of Lensrentals Roger Cicala explains why even with a world-class testing lab at his disposal he doesn't use it to assess his own personal lenses.
What's the best entry-level full frame mirrorless camera? We compare the Nikon Z5 to the Canon EOS RP to find out.
Canon's ME20F-SH camera has been used frequently to record incredible footage since its release in 2015. The camera can record in light as low as 0.0005 lux, after all. For a mixed-reality documentary, Awavena, director of photography Greg Downing took the ME20F-SH into the Amazon and pushed the camera to its limits.
Repair site iFixit is hosting a live iPhone 12 teardown on its YouTube channel to see what tech Apple has managed to pack inside one of its latest smartphones.
The lens, which doesn't have a release date or price at this point, has autofocus, a customizable function button and a USB-C port for updating firmware.
How does one elevate the pinhole camera from DIY beginner project to serious creative tool? With a little bit of technical know-how and a whole lot of trial-and-error.
NASA creates amazing timelapse of the moment the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft touches down on the Bennu Asteroid to collect rock samples - lifting off just six seconds later.
Fancy tea-filtered panoramics with the sprocket holes showing? If so, Lomography's new 35mm liquid-filled panoramic camera might be just what you're looking for.
A new but already familiar range of batteries for Canon and Nikon cameras, and a fast double charger to go with them kicks off Manfrotto's first steps in the third-party energy market
The manual camera app for iOS brings a redesigned interface with innovative new features including XDR Analysis, 'Coverage' capture mode, 'Instant Raw' and more than 40 other updates.
Joe Biden's official campaign photographer Adam Schultz is a busy man. We spoke to him recently about what it means to shoot for a presidential campaign, how 2020 is different, and why he can't wait for the day we can take our masks off.
With four new devices and six different camera modules used in various combinations, decoding which cameras are on which of Apple's new iPhone 12 series phones is a little confusing. So we broke it down for you.
In a busy week of software announcements, DxO has launched PhotoLab 4. The photo editing software includes DeepPRIME, a new demosaicing and noise reduction algorithm which promises to breathe new life into your images.
The lineup includes two new DreamColor displays that compete with the UltraSharp monitors Dell launched earlier this month.
Winners and special mentions were recently announced for the 1st annual Aerial Photography Awards. we've rounded them up into a gallery for you to peruse.
The October 2020 release of Premiere Pro adds, amongst other things, the ability to natively edit ProRes Raw video files, something that was previously limited to Windows computers running Nvidia GPUs.
Loupedeck, makers of the popular Loupedeck CT and Loupedeck Live editing devices, has announced a collaboration with Adobe. Loupedeck has released a new free plugin using Adobe's UXP plugin platform introduced in today's Photoshop update.
Canon's EOS R5 is one of the best mirrorless cameras on the market today. But even with its 45MP sensor, 20fps bursts and 8K video, its not without its flaws. Find out all the ups and downs of Canon's latest mirrorless flagship right here.
Jordan takes a closer look at what's new on DJI's RS 2 and RSC 2 gimbals, and how they function in the field, both as tools for videographers and fitness buffs alike. You read that right – get ready for some Tonin' with the Ronin.