Sony's HDR AX-33

Sony unveils new 4K camcorders

Sony's HDR AX-33 Handycam Image: Sony

6 January 2015

Sony will soon launch the cheapest camcorder yet that can capture images at four times the resolution of high-definition video.

The HDR-AX33 Handycam is the latest in a line of cameras from the company that can shoot in a resolution of 3,840×2,160 pixels.

Each iteration of the technology has brought a reduction in price and that will happen again when the HDR-AX33 goes on sale for €1,000 – better than half the price of Sony’s current cheapest 4K camcorder, which costs around €2,200.

The camera will be available in February and has the latest version of Sony’s optical image stabilisation and to match its high resolution has a wide 26.8mm lens. It packs Wi-Fi to allow for remote control and supports livestreaming to Ustream.

A second 4K camera, the FDR-X100V, is a GoPro-style action camera intended to stand up to knocks and drops. Such cameras have fewer features than conventional camcorders and are usually missing things like a zoom lens.

The device can also shoot in conventional 1080p high definition. The camera includes image stabilisation in HD mode but not 4K mode and has audio processing to reduce wind noise.

The camera has a GPS receiver so video can be geo-tagged and is equipped with Highlight Movie Maker that will automatically analyse captured footage and create highlight movies that include smiles, big stunts or jumps.

Sony has a good reason to offer cheaper 4K camcorders beyond competition with other companies. It’s investing heavily in 4K television research and development and attempting to lead the high end of the TV market, but consumers will only buy the sets if they have something to watch. Sony has offered some of its own movies in 4K format to customers, but is also hoping consumers will create their own content.

In other Sony news, the Walkman is due to make a comeback. The NW-ZX2 is designed for Hi-Res Audio, a group of digital audio formats that go beyond CD and MP3 in terms of quality. While MP3 or MP4-based formats still rule the consumer market, Sony and other audio makers have been pushing Hi-Res Audio to those serious about their music.

To be considered Hi-Res, audio quality must be 96kHz/24bit or higher. Regular CDs offer 44.1kHz/16bit quality.

The new Sony audio player shares the same large screen on its front as its predecessor, the ZX1, and is based on Android 4.2, which means users can download and install video, apps and games from Google Play.

It has Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and NFC connectivity, 128Gb of storage, which is enough for about 60 hours of Hi-Res Audio music, and a microSD slot.

IDG News Service

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