Sony Handycam® FDR-AX1
Professional 4K Ultra HD camcorder
Item #: 158FDRAX1
Your price: $4,499.99
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Item #: 158FDRAX1
Your price: $4,499.99
The Sony FDR-AX1 4K ultra-high-definition camera puts cinema-quality image gathering in your hands.
If you've dreamed of making truly cinematic moving images you should seriously consider this 4K FDR-AX1 Ultra HD video camera from Sony. Sony runs one of the world's foremost motion picture empires and has supplied global broadcasters with some of their highest-end gear for decades, so when they introduce a video camera that lives at the cutting edge of digital imaging, you're well-advised to pay attention.
Why do we say "truly cinematic?" Well, if you're lucky enough to have an up-to-date digital projection theater in your town, the big images up on the screen are likely to be coming from digital files that have a "4K" resolution. And this camera makes 4K video. What is 4K? Think of it this way: It's like you took twice the horizontal and twice the vertical resolution of 1080p high-def video, and packed it all into a single image. So now, imagine you have a camera that features the processing and resolving power to make 60 of these ultra-high-resolution images every second. Bingo. You now have an idea of the kind of image impact the Sony FDR-AX1 brings to the table.
You can go out and take sweeping panoramas of your Hawaiian volcano tour, for example, and then plug the camera back in to your Sony 4K TV back home (note: this may involve a firmware update for HDMI 2.0 functionality — consult your manual). In seconds you'll be looking at scenes so sharp and real that you'll be tempted to walk directly into the picture. We're trusting your camera skills here. Don't let us down.
In addition to making pictures at a whole different standard than the HD camcorders of the past few years, the FDR-AX1 is loaded with tools every professional — or aspiring pro — will appreciate. Two XLR audio inputs await pro-quality microphones or field mixers. Focus peaking, zebra display, center marker, guide frames, three neutral density filters — the things pros depend on to get them the best shots are all easy to find and use on this camera. And if you should desire a degree of personalization, seven customizable buttons can be programmed to call up commonly used or modified settings.
So even if your movies might be more about the life of your family's cat rather than the latest Hollywood action blockbuster, the images you capture will be as detailed and sharp as they can be. Doesn't your cat deserve the star treatment too? You might be onto something here. Prepare for the big screen now.
Professional camcorders have features you won't find on units designed for the casual shooter. This family features high-quality lenses with long zoom reach and great light gathering capability. They use codecs and file formats that are supported throughout the pro editing world. And sometimes, they offer connections that make it easy for them to integrate into a multi-camera broadcast environment. If you're considering a career where you'll generate income with the video you shoot, these cameras are a perfect place to start your journey.
|LCD Screen Size (inches)||3.5|
|Total Pixel Count||18.9 MP|
|Effective Pixel Count for Video||8.3 MP|
|Optical Zoom||20 x|
|Built-in Video Light||No|
|Max Recording Time w/ Included Battery||170 mins|
|Digital Still Camera Features|
|Effective Pixel Count for Stills||N/A|
|Built-in Photo Flash||No|
|Still Image Aspect Ratios||N/A|
|Inputs and Outputs|
USB 2.0 High Speed
|HDMI Output||Full size|
|Mic Input||XLR x 2|
|Weight With Battery (ounces)||98|
|Parts Warranty||1 Year|
|Labor Warranty||90 days|
|Image Sensor Warranty||1 Year|
4K Digital Camcorder: The FDR-AX1 is Sony's first 4K/60p consumer camcorder. With four times the resolution of Full HD, you can record breathtaking video and audio with professional results. Ultra High Definition/4K content can be played back on a 4K TV in full resolution (3840 x 2160), or, by changing the HDMI output setting, in Full High Definition (1920 x 1080) on an HDTV.
3.5" LCD Screen: The FDR-AX1 features a 16:9 wide-screen 3.5" Xtra Fine LCD monitor. The high resolution 1,229,000-dot LCD screen can swing out 180 degrees, and rotate up to 270 degrees for multiple viewing angles. The LCD provides sharp and detailed images for monitoring or playback. The screen automatically switches to Mirror mode when the screen is rotated 180 degrees (for self-recording), but the image will still be normal when recorded.
0.45" Color Viewfinder: The FDR-AX1 also features an adjustable 0.45" wide-screen color LCD viewfinder (1,226,880 dots) that lets you record and review video and still images when the LCD display is closed or in Mirror mode. The angle of the viewfinder can be adjusted up to 90 degrees. A large rubber eyecup is included to help shut out excess light from the side and top.
Dual XQD Card Slots: The AX1 features dual slots that will accept XQD memory cards. XQD memory cards have a write speed of up to 125 MB/s, which is approximately 25% faster than top-end Compact Flash cards. You can choose which memory card slot to be used for recording by pressing the A or B button next to the desired slot. A Relay Recording feature allows you to lengthen recording by automatically switching between the two memory cards. The camcorder is compatible with S-series, H-series, and N-series of XQD cards.
Note: The camcorder has a slot for Memory Stick PRO Duo and SD memory cards, however, the slot is not yet functional. According to the Operating Guide, the slot will likely become functional with a future upgrade.
Optics: The FDR-AX1 has a wide-angle G-Lens with a 20x optical zoom with a focal length of 4.1-82mm (35mm equivalent: 31.5-630mm). The maximum aperture range is F1.6-F3.4. The minimum focus distance is approximately 13/32" (1 cm) in wide angle and 31-1/2" (80 cm) in telephoto. A large lens hood with a louvered lens cover is included. The camcorder has a powered zoom mechanism with a zoom lever on the right side and another in the carry handle. The handle zoom switch can be set to one of 8 fixed speeds or variable zoom speed. Manually, you can zoom at the desired speed by turning the zoom ring around the lens. The lens also has a manual focus ring.
Image Sensor: The camcorder has a 1/2.3", back-illuminated Exmor-R CMOS sensor with 18.9-million total pixels and 8.3-million effective pixels for video recording.
Accessory Shoe: The AX1 has a top-mounted standard Accessory Shoe for mounting a self-powered video light or microphone. It does not supply power to the attached accessory.
Video Recording: The Sony FDR-AX1 4K camcorder records Ultra High Definition and High Definition in the MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 XAVC S format. Audio is recorded in 2-channel Linear PCM (48 kHz, 16-bit). You can choose from the following recording format options:
Recording Time: The following table indicates the estimated amount of recording time in minutes for UHD and HD movies on a XQD memory card:
|XQD Memory Card||3840 x 2160||1920 x 1080|
|60P 30P 24P
|32 GB||25 min||35 min||60 min||70 min|
|64 GB||50 min||75 min||125 min||150 min|
Optical SteadyShot Image Stabilization: The camcorder is equipped with SteadyShot image stabilization technology, compensating for camera shake, to give you smoother video when recording in low light or when zoomed in to a distant object. There are four SteadyShot settings: Hard, Standard, Soft, and Wide Conversion.
Auto/Manual Focus: The Sony FDR-AX1 allows you to choose between Auto Focus or Manual Focus. To focus manually, you can set the focus switch to "manual" and rotate the focus ring around the lens. You can temporarily use auto focus temporarily, even in Manual mode, by pressing the Push Auto button. The Focus Magnifier function will magnify the center of the screen by approximately 2 times to allow you to confirm the focus. The minimum focus distance is about 1 cm (13/32 inch) for wide angle, and about 80 cm (2-5/8 feet) for telephoto.
Exposure Modes: The FDR-AX1 gives you the option to set the exposure automatically or manually. When manual exposure is selected, the camcorder lets you adjust the following exposure elements:
Neutral Density Filters: The AX1 has three built-in ND (neutral density) filters for adjusting the amount of light entering the Image Sensor through the lens. Depending on the shooting conditions, you can choose to reduce the amount of light to 1/4 (1), 1/16 (2), or 1/64 (3) filters, or Off (no filter).
White Balance Adjustment: You can adjust and fix the white balance according to the lighting conditions of the recording environment. You can store two white balance settings in Memory A and Memory B for later recall. Other white balance settings include:
Paint Menu: The Paint Menu lets you adjust six functions (White, Offset White, Gamma, Detail, Skin Detail, and Matrix) to create expressive movie styling and cinematic looks.
Assign Buttons: The AX1 lets you assign some functions to 7 designated assignable buttons. Functions such as Marker, Peaking, Focus Magnifier, Auto Exposure Level, SteadyShot, Color Bars, Rec Lamp (Front), Rec Lamp (Rear), and Thumbnail can be moved to one of the easily accessible Assign buttons.
Audio Recording: The FDR-AX1 compliments the professional quality video recording with professional quality audio. A high-quality stereo microphone is built-in, however, you can add one or two external microphones if you desire. Dual XLR 3-pin audio jacks are provided for connecting external microphones. A built-in microphone holder allows you to mount an external microphone to the camcorder. Rubber isolators help prevent the pickup of mechanical noise from the camcorder.
Audio Controls: The camcorder gives you numerous settings for recording audio. You can independently set the source of each audio channel to internal microphone or external input (the two XLR inputs). If external input is selected, you can set the input source to Line, Mic, or Mic+48V (with phantom power). The level of each input can be automatically or manually set (using rotary controls). If the internal microphone is selected, you can set the incoming audio signal to mono or stereo.
Thumbnail Screens: The Sony FDR-AX1 displays thumbnail images for all recorded movies on the LCD monitor. The buttons for playback are conveniently located on top of the camcorder. You can select Memory Card A or B, and the playback type (UHD, HD). Each recording of the selected type are displayed with the date and time of the recording. Once the video begins playback, you can use the playback buttons to select the next/previous file, pause/play, stop, and fast reverse/fast forward.
InfoLithium Battery: This unit comes with an NP-F970 InfoLithium (Lithium-ion) battery (7.2V / 6300mAh minimum / 6600 mAh typical). The InfoLithium system exchanges data about its actual power consumption with the camcorder for a more accurate estimate of recording time available.
Battery Life: The approximate recording and playback times for the supplied NP-F970 battery is as follows:
|Continuous Recording||Typical Recording||Playback Time|
|4K (30P)||HD (60P)||4K (30P)||HD (60P)||4K (30P)||HD (60P)|
|LCD Screen||165 min||155 min||75 min||70 min||230 min||230 min|
|Viewfinder||170 min||160 min||80 min||75 min||240 min||240 min|
Note: Typical recording time shows the time when you repeat recording start/stop, turning the power on/off and zooming.
Charging: You can charge the NP-F970 battery using the supplied AC-VL1 battery charger. The charge lamp turns off when the battery has reached a Normal Charge (at approximately 6 hours and 5 minutes). To reach a full charge, you can continue charging the battery for another hour after the lamp turns off (7 hours and 5 minutes). This allows you to use the battery a little longer.
Video Outputs: The Sony FDR-AX1 has the following video outputs:
USB Port: The camcorder has a mini-B Version 2.0 Hi-Speed USB port for connecting to a PC via the supplied USB cable. Connecting the camcorder to a PC via USB allows you to download videos and still images from the inserted memory cards.
Note: There is a Type A USB port that is not yet functional. According to the Operating Guide, the port will likely become functional with a future upgrade.
Dual Microphone Inputs: The camcorder features two XLR microphone inputs for adding external microphone for advanced audio recording. These can also be used for line level audio signals if the input type is changed in the menu.
Headphone Output: The camcorder features a 3.5mm minijack headphone output for connecting a pair of headphones for listening to audio/video playback. You can select the headphone audio source with a 3-way switch: Channel 1, Stereo Mix, Channel 2.
DC In Jack: The DC In Jack is for use with the supplied AC-NB12A AC adapter and charger.
PlayMemories Home: The Sony FDR-AX1 has no built-in software for importing images and video from the camcorder to your computer. Instead, the PlayMemories Home software can be downloaded directly to your computer via the Internet (URLs for Windows and Mac are provided in the supplied Operating Guide). With PlayMemories Home, you can:
Compatible Operating Systems: PlayMemories Home is compatible with the following Windows Operating Systems: Windows 8/8.1, Windows 7 (SP1), Windows Vista (SP2), Windows XP (SP3)(32-bit version), and Mac OS X 10.6-10.9.
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The AX1 features dual slots that will accept XQD memory cards. XQD memory cards have a write speed of up to 125 MB/s, which is approximately 25% faster than top-end Compact Flash cards. You can choose which memory card slot to be used for recording by pressing the A or B button next to the desired slot. A Relay Recording feature allows you to lengthen recording by automatically switching between the two memory cards. The camcorder is compatible with S-series, H-series, and N-series of XQD cards. [ Jeff Dec 04, 2014 ] Staff