[UPDATE: Official announcement is here.
Back at CES 2013, I took a close look at a new 4K concept camera that Sony had under glass. There were virtually no specs listed for the camera other than that it was a 4K camcorder. Now, it seems we have some specs and a final image for what we now know as the Sony FDR-AX1 4K Handycam camcorder.
Sony FDR-AX1 4K Camcorder Specs
- XQD memory card (likely dual card slots – see image below)
- 4K G lens
- Dual XLR output
- 4K and 2K video capture (I suspect that’s 1080HD instead of 2K)
- XAVC/S 4K HD codec
- 20x Optical zoom (fixed lens)
- 3x ND filter
- Less than $5,000
Probably the most interesting point from the supposedly leaked specs is that the FDR-AX1 will use XQD memory cards to capture 4K XAVC footage. Looking over the concept model back at CES 2013, this is one of the things that I suspected because there was no room for SxS cards and SD cards could not write fast enough for 4K XAVC footage.
The maximum capability of the XAVC codec allows for 4K video at 60p and 4:4:4 12-bit at 960Mbps bit rate. Of course, it’s likely a consumer-grade 4K camera would be substantially lower than the max that XAVC can deliver.
The XAVC codec is used for on-board 4K capture in the Sony F55 cinema camera. While the F55 uses SxS cards, XQD cards and their max 168MB/s write speed could easily be used to capture 4K XAVC footage from the F55, so it is really no surprise based on what we saw at CES 2013 and what current XQD cards are capable of to see it in the Sony FDR-AX1.
Notably, this will be the first Sony camera to use XQD cards since Sony began producing XQD cards nearly 2 years ago.
No word on a specific release date for the FDR-AX1; however, it should be announced soon. Expect more info on this camera as we lead up to launch.