Our take on the Sony FDR-AX1
The Sony FDR-AX1 4K ultra-high-definition camera puts cinema-quality image gathering in your hands.
Welcome to the front lines
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.
Storage and Formats:
- full 4K video recording (3840 x 2160) at up to 60p; standard HD (1920 x 1080) at up to 60p also available
- records ultra-high-definition video to dual memory card slots with optional XQD memory cards
- camera will switch recording from one card to another as first card gets full
- compatible with S-, H- and N-Series XQD cards
- features 1/2.3" 8.3-megapixel Exmor R® back-illuminated sensor for exceptional clarity and low light performance
- 3-1/2" LCD display, as well as a separate viewfinder
- seven assignable buttons can be programmed to commonly used functions like zebra, focus peaking, or auto exposure level
- traditional 1920 x 1080 HD recording option @50mbps with the XAVC-S codec
- two XQD slots deliver the high-speed capacity 4K recording needs, plus longer recording times
- also has one traditional SD/SDHC/SDXC or Memory Stick® slot
- 20X Sony G optical zoom lens (31.5-630mm equivalent)
- professional composition and exposure tools like zebra, focus peaking, center marker, and guide frames
- three neutral density filters and five paint functions for expressive cinematic looks
- view 4K 60p video on compatible Sony 4K TVs with supplied HDMI® cable
- may require firmware update for HDMI 2.0, consult manual for details
- three independent rings for zoom, focus, and iris control
Connections and Dimensions:
- high-speed USB 2.0 port
- HDMI connector
- dual XLR professional audio inputs for microphones and field mixers
- 7-7/16"W x 7-5/8"H x 14-1/4"D
- weight: 6.11 with battery
- warranty: 1 year parts, 90 days labor
- Our 60-day money-back guarantee
- AC adapter
- battery charger
- rechargeable lithium ion battery
- remote control
- A/V composite, USB, and HDMI cables
- lens hood
- lens cap
- large eye cup
- operating guide and license CD-ROM
- 32GB XQD memory card