Michael Reichmann of Luminous-landscape.com has tested the Sony AX1 4K camcorder and has written an extensive review of the same:
When it comes to 4K TVs, even regular HD material seems sharper, and if you can watch 4K material it’s really quite a thrilling experience. Sony’s first 4K TVs last year were $25,000, but now, in late 2013, you can buy a Sony 55″ 4K TV for under $3,500, and sets from some of the Korean makes are even less expensive. In 2014 we can of course expect prices to drop even further. Indeed, Seiki has a 50″ set currently for under $1,000, so downward price pressure has already started in earnest and therefore price is not likely to be much of an impediment to uptake.
But, there are the pundits, who, citing math and optics, will tell you that unless you have a really huge screen in a very large room, and an optimal viewing distance, you won’t see the difference between 4K and HD. Nonsense. These are the same people who tell you that bumble bees can’t fly. Ask any bumble bee if this is true, and while you’re at it ask anyone who’s watched a 4K screen with 4K content. Case closed. Back to your slide rules guys.
Priced at $4,500 the AX1 is an affordable alternative for pros and creative amateur film makers who want a camcorder-style all-in-one solution. The specs can be read on the Sony web site, but here are the main bullet points…
– Native 3840 x 2160 4K resolution from an 8MP 1/2.3″ back-illuminated Exmor R CMOS sensor.
That the sensor is “native” sized means that there’s no line skipping, sampling, ressing down, or interpolation needed. Sensor and output pixels are 1:1
– Recording is possible at 60P, 50P, 30P, 25P, 24P in either 4K UHD or regular 1920 X 1080 HD
– 20X zoom lens with 31.5 – 630mm equivalent coverage; f/1.6 – f/3.4
– Uses the XAVC / S codec at up to 150 Mbps
– Regular HD can also be recorded at 50 Mbps, which is broadcast spec
– Uses QXD cards for 4K recording, with two slots and auto-switching, and also an SD card slot for regular HD recording
– Ships with a 32GB XQD card and also a full copy of Sony Vegas (Windows only). Curiously, no card reader is included.
– Uses standard Sony video batteries and lens accessories
– Available early November, 2013
I have no reservation in saying that this is the most exciting video camera that I’ve yet seen. It raises the bar in terms of image quality, at least when it comes to resolution, by a significant increment – even when displayed in HD format.
Let’s start with handling. If you’re familiar with current Sony Prosumer camcorders it’s a case of déja vu. There are small differences between the AX1 and preceding models, but controls are where you are used to them being located, menu structure is similar, and overall the fact that you’re using a high performance 4K camera really isn’t apparent while you’re shooting – (other than the use of QXD cards). It’s only once you load files into your NLE that this changes.
Read the entire detailed review here.