Sony Interchangeable Lens HD Camcorder With APS Sensor Coming

It was only a matter of time.

With overwhelming success of the Canon 5D Mark II and subsequent video-capable DSLRs, it was only a matter of time before someone broke the mold and put a DSLR-sized sensor in a true camcorder body.  I suspect that Canon and Nikon are both working on a similar concept; however, it looks as if Sony may be the first one out of the gate.

Sony has announced that it is working on a camcorder based on the 14.2MP CMOS sensor found in the newly announced NEX-5 and NEX-3.  The camcorder will allow the new Sony E-mount lenses to be used, as well as existing Alpha-mount lenses.

The camera will be capable of capturing AVCHD video in what I would expect to be a number of frame rate options.  While the Alpha line of DSLRs are still a fresh undertaking for Sony, the electronics giant is hardly a rookie in the camcorder field.

The potential of a true camcorder with an APS-sized sensor is nearly boundless.  The limitations that we cringe about when using a 5D Mark II, 7D, 1D Mark IV or D3s are essentially wiped away and you’re left with a camcorder that captures something that doesn’t look like video.  Having that shallow depth of field along with a camcorder functionality and form-factor brings an all new threat to the table.

Imagine a 7D sensor in something that looks and works like the XH-A1s:

How much easier would that be to operate?  Can I have a slice of timecode pie please?

While Sony hasn’t specified a target audience or price range yet, serious filmmakers should be holding their breath that Sony will deliver something along these lines.

Sony plans to release its new genre-breaking camcorder in Fall 2010.

UPDATE: Sadly, it doesn’t appear to be high-end camcorder I was hoping for.  Sony didn’t include any images or video in its press materials; however, thanks to 1001 Noisy Cameras, I found a couple of images and videos that were on Sony’s electronics blog, which reveal a more consumer-oriented rendering of the in-development camcorder. While I’m sure it will be no slouch in the performance department, Sony does not appear to be aiming quite as high as I initially suspected.

It’s a start though. And make no mistake, that higher-end APS camcorder is in development in someone’s R&D department right now.

Sony Press Release

Sony announced today that it is developing a new type of AVCHD high definition camcorder which features key technologies powering the newly announced interchangeable lens digital camera, “NEX-5” and “NEX-3”.

The new camcorder will be equipped with the same “Exmor” APS HD CMOS sensor to be used in “NEX-5” and “NEX-3.” In addition, the camcorder will be compatible with “E Mount” interchangeable lenses developed for “NEX-5” and “NEX-3”, and also the wealth of “A Mount” interchangeable lenses from the existing “α” DSLR camera lineup via a mount adapter. By combining these features, Sony aims to market a camcorder capable of generating a variety of creative expressions in HD quality.

Sony plans to commercialize the new HD camcorder in fall 2010.



  1. says

    This is an Awesome Idea and I believe they showed the High-end consumer camcorder because that’s what NEX series is targeted for.
    But hey, Let hope we get a Pro camera maybe a new EX cam.
    I love this idea, Go Sony

  2. Alex says

    Eric, don’t feel like you were “wrong” just yet. In the past, we’ve seen Sony do semi-pro versions of consumer cams. That technology works its way in to higher end models too. Look at the VX1000/2000 consumer cam, which eventually morphed its way in to a PD150. TRV900 became the PDX10. FX1 had a semi-pro brother, the Z1. The HC1? was the HVR-A1. Now there is NXCAM, which also shares with a consumer version. The NX5 and the AX2000.
    I honestly believe Sony will release an NXCAM version of this prototype camera. I would expect to see a larger body version also. I would expect balanced audio, and 24mb/s shooting on NXCAM versions with 1080p/24/60 etc. I would bet my lift that we would see it. Also, Sony Pro is not going to sit around being beaten by its consumer department. The only question it raises for me, is what else will we see? Sony Pro also doesn’t sit around waiting for NAB or IBC to unveil anything either.