Friday, September 06, 2013

The 4K Update

First up in the world of 4K, Blackmagic announces a 3-4 week delay for their Production Camera, though it should still appear before the Sony FDR-AX1...maybe

Blackmagic Design Forum |  Grant Petty | Blackmagic Production Camera 4K Update
Hi,I just want to give you an update on the 4K camera.

As we mentioned a few weeks ago, we received the production sensors much later than we expected. When we built cameras from them we saw some big differences in the images between these production sensors vs the pre production samples we originally received. What this means is that we have been working over the last few weeks to replace a bunch of the software in the camera that handles the sensor calibration and image processing.

It's taking a bit longer than we expected to do this and we think its going to take about 3 to 4 weeks more to get those changes done and to get the QA process completed before we can start shipping.

Meanwhile, 4K is playing at your cinema (which may be the only place it's really needed)
Digital Trends4K is already playing at a theater near you, but you probably didn’t even notice
A simplified supply chain means huge savings for studios, which was used to spending upward of $2 billion a year to release its movies in film. That cost included the production and shipment of 4,000 to 5,000 copies to theaters (replacing them when they were defective), insurance in case any of them were lost and recycling to recover silver and other elements from the film.

Sony has a "cheaper" 4K projector coming, no price yet:
EngadgetSony's next 4K projector will be merely expensive, not outrageous
Before you start re-arranging your theater room, though, the original VPL-VW1000ES cost a cool $25,000, so "cheaper" might be a relative term.

Sony also offers 4K movie service:
DeadlineSony Introduces 4K Ultra HD Video Download Service
It begins with about 70 full length feature films from Sony Pictures Entertainment and “other notable production houses” — with the library expected expand to pass 100 by year end —  the company says. 

And here's a first review/look at the Sony FDR-AX1:
Reviewed.comSony 4K Handycam (FDR-AX1) First Impressions Review
One interesting detail has to do with the 4K Handycam's HDMI implementation. Since this camera was developed by Sony before the HDMI 2.0 standard was ratified, it can only output 4K/60p footage to Sony's Bravia 4K televisions. But, fear not, Sony has plans to issue a firmware update to the 4K Handycam down the road so it can play nicely with all the new HDMI 2.0 4K devices soon to hit the market.

Thursday, September 05, 2013

More on Sony's 4K "consumer" Camcorder, the FDR-AX1

Here's more info on the 4K FDR-AX1; some first impressions and videos that Sony has posted to YouTube. One important note about this beast: the camera uses XQD memory cards, and with a throughput of 150MB/s you'll need the S Series cards, which cost $199.95 for 32GB, or $299.95 for 64GB.

The Phoblographer | First Impressions: Sony FDR AX1–The First 4K Camcorder With an Auto Mode
See that XQD card in my hand in the photo above? It was burning hot when it came out of the camcorder due to all the work that the processor was doing. Since the processor is burning that hot, the system obviously needs a way to cool it. There is a fan in the camera where the intake is around the side hand grip and the vent is toward the back. 

SlashGearSony FDR-AX1 4K Handycam official: top-quality video within reach
The exposure system on this device works with multi-segment metering modes and both AE level and speed compensation. You’ll have noise reduction, white balance modes for a variety of environments, and auto and manual iris control at F1.6 – F11.0. This system works with a minimum illumination at 60P : 4lux (1/30 Shutter Speed) (60P: 59.94P, 30P: 29.97P, 24P: 23.98P), or 50P : 3lux (1/25 Shutter Speed).

C|NetSony Handycam FDR-AX1, a 4K camcorder with $4.5K price tag
In addition to the affluent hobbyist, Sony thinks the camcorder might appeal to wedding and indie videographers. But I can't see it as an optimal wedding-friendly camera. What you gain in resolution you'll probably lose in dynamic range because of that 4:2:0 limitation, which can be a real drawback for all that high-contrast, tonally challenging wedding work.

IFA 2013 FIRST LOOK: 4K Handycam, Sony's first consumer 4K camcorder

Sample Video for 4K Handycam FDR-AX1

Promotion Video for 4K Handycam FDR-AX1

FDR-AX1, 4K camcorder

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Sony's other "inexpensive" 4K Camcorder: the PXW-Z100

In addition to the FDR-AX1 - their just announced $4,499.99 "consumer" camcorder - it seems that Sony has another version, the PXW-Z100, that offers a few more features and looks almost identical to the FDR-AX1. The PXW-Z100 offers: XAVC Intra 422 recording (the same codec found in the PMW-F5), 3G-SDI (for HD output), variable frame rate for HD and a Wi-Fi Remote.

The significant difference is the recording format and the support for 4:2:2 (the FDR-AX1 uses 4:2:0 encoding.)

All this will set you back about $6,500 and will be available "by the end of 2013."

StudioDailySony Announces Sub-$6500 Pro 4K Camcorder
Sony demonstrated the Z100 for members of the press in New York City last week, pointing the camera out the window of a midtown high-rise. The 4K image was of remarkably high quality given the camera's small sensor size, fixed lens, and aggressive price point.

Live Production TVSony Launches Professional PXW-Z100 4K Handheld XDCAM Camcorder
As with the F55, 4K (4096 x 2160, 50p or 60p, 4:2:2, Intra-frame, 10-bit recording in MXF file format) is possible at a high-bit rate of 500Mbps or 600Mbps. QFHD (3840x2160) and HD (1920x1080) resolutions can also be selected, both of which are compatible with most 4K TV’s.

CineTechnica | Sony Announces New PXW-Z100 4K Camcorder
In addition to the standard composite and HD-SDI output, the PXW-Z100 will be one of the first devices to support the newly introduced HDMI 2.0 spec, which means you’ll be able to monitor 4K 60fps over a single HDMI cable.

Sony | PMW-Z100
The PXW-Z100 uses Sony's XAVC™* recording format first employed in the PMW-F55 CineAlta® 4K camera. MPEG-4 AVC/ H.264 compression is used for HD (1920x1080), QFHD (3840x2016) and 4K (4096×2160) content. Image sampling is 4:2:2 10-bit, with an intra-frame system that compresses each frame individually at a maximum bit rate of 500Mbps or 600Mbps during 4K 50fps or 60fps recording respectively and 223Mbps during HD 50fps or 60fps recording. The XAVC format is ideal for those looking to implement a high-quality, secure and worry-free workflow.

Canon announces firmware updates for Canon EOS Cinema and XF300 cameras

New Capabilities Include ACESproxy Output, Full RAW 120fps 4096 x 1080 Resolution and DCI-P3+ Color Gamut Support for the EOS C500 Camera, and 80,000 ISO Shooting for All Three Cinema EOS Camera Models

New firmware is scheduled to be available starting in November 2013 for the EOS C300 and EOS C100 camera and December 2013 for the EOS C500. In addition, the XF305 and XF300 series camcorders are scheduled to receive firmware updates in early 2014 that include GPS support and enhanced digital tele-converter capabilities.

Among the updates for the Canon Cinema EOS C500 Cinema Camera are: an ACESproxy (Academy Color Encoding System) output from the camera’s 3G-SDI monitor terminal for immediate on-set color correction (using a compatible ACES monitor with ASC CDL [The American Society of Cinematographers Color Decision List]) while primary footage is being recorded in RAW; support for the DCI-P3+ color gamut (a selectable function providing a wider range of color than DCI-P3); Canon proprietary Cinema Gamut for an even greater color gamut than industry standards ITU-R BT.709 (Rec. 709) and DCI-P3; and greater still than DCI-P3+. The firmware also includes an increase in ISO of up to 80,000 for capturing usable footage in darker conditions (including moonlight). The ISO increase also applies to the Canon EOS C300 Cinema Camera and the Canon EOS C100 Digital Video Camera, both of which also share additional firmware enhancements with the EOS C500 Cinema Camera, including a Peripheral Lens Correction feature to maintain even illumination from corner to corner of the image when using select EF lenses.

Canon EOS C500 Firmware Updates

• ACESproxy output from the camera’s 3G-SDI monitor terminal – Allows filmmakers to grade their footage (which is being recorded in RAW) immediately on-set using a compatible ACES monitor with ASC CDL. This provides an accurate representation of how the footage will look after being color graded in the DI suite when a project uses ACES.

• Support for DCI-P3+ color gamut (Cinema Raw Development) – DCI-P3 is the standard color gamut for digital movie projection. DCI-P3+ is an expanded gamut. This color space shares the same white point as DCI-P3, but encompasses a much greater range of color. By exceeding the DCI-P3 standard, the Canon EOS C500 camera offers filmmakers, in particular the cinematographer, an increase in saturated colors which can be faithfully reproduced, as well as a more accurate representation of the original subject color.

• Canon Proprietary Cinema Gamut– Cinema Gamut is the widest color space currently available for the EOS C500 Cinema Camera. Canon’s Cinema Gamut is wider than both Rec. 709 and DCI-P3+, allowing end users to faithfully record highly saturated color while retaining fine variations of both hue and saturation.

Canon Log LUT (look-up-table) available over the HD-SDI monitor port – When the camera is recording in Canon Log format the image that is simultaneously outputted over the HD-SDI port to an external monitor can be viewed in its original color space without the apparent lack of contrast and color saturation, resultant of the Log format.

• 4096 x 1080 RAW resolution – In this new shooting mode, in full RAW recording, the vertically cropped center of the EOS C500 camera’s Super 35mm CMOS sensor can now record in 4096 x 1080 native resolution, up to 120fps.

Canon EOS C500, C300 and C100 Camera Firmware Updates

• Peripheral lens correction feature – This maintains even illumination from corner to corner of the image and virtually eliminates vignetting across the image. There are 14 Canon EF-Series photographic lenses that benefit from this feature including the EF300mm f/2.8L IS II USM, EF400mm f/2.8L IS II USM, the EF500mm and EF600mm f/4L IS II USM. The seven Canon CN-E Series Cinema Lenses[i] that benefit from this feature include the CN-E15.5-47mm and CN-E30-105mm T2.8L S compact Cinema zooms, the CN-E14mm T3.1L F, the CN-E24mm T1.5L F, the CN-E 50mm T1.3L F, the CN-E85mm T1.3L F, and the CN-E135mm T2.2L F Cinema prime lenses.

• ISO increased up to 80,000 – This provides the EOS C500, EOS C300 and EOS C100 cameras with greater light sensitivity than ever before. Great for documentaries and other forms of reality production, this ISO increase can help capture shots that may have been previously impossible to capture.

• Ability to shift the magnification location in the viewfinder – Allows users to manually move the magnification view area to one of 25 different locations using the joystick on the camera. With this feature, the camera operator can easily check focus even on subjects that are not located directly in the center of the frame.

• Record button lock – The lock setting on the Key Lock now makes it possible to lock all operations, including the RECORD button, to prevent accidental operation during takes.

Canon EOS C500 and C300 Camera Firmware Updates

• Multi-person log-in for the Canon Wi-Fi® remote application – This allows two users to log-in to a single camera, allowing for camera operation/control with one log-in and metadata to be inputted by the second log-in simultaneously. This is essential when time is critical and production tasks need to be completed immediately.

• Ability to assign ISO and iris adjustments to the control dial (or, on the EOS C300 camera, the dial on the removable side grip handle) – This gives operators the option to allocate whichever setting they prefer to either dial, allowing for specific changes at a moment’s notice.

Canon EOS C300 Camera; XF305 & X300 Camcorder Firmware Updates

• GPS Support – Provides accurate metadata on the location and time of each clip, including longitude, latitude, and altitude for the EOS C300 camera when used with Canon’s optional GP-E1 or GPS Receiver and for the XF305 and XF300 camcorders when used with Canon’s optional GP-E2 GPS Receiver. This is an especially handy feature for documentaries, ENG (Electronic News Gathering) and reality programming.

Canon EOS C300 Firmware Updates

• Wide DR gamma –With a high dynamic range that maintains highlight detail and preserves perfect gradations of color, this feature is designed to help achieve perfect color without adjustment. Optimized for display monitors, wide DR gamma is well-suited for productions that do not allow for lengthy postproduction processing and color grading, such as budget-conscious indie films, web series, or documentaries.

• 1440 x 1080 35Mbps for broadcast requirements –This highly utilized recording mode (at 60i or 50i) is designed to enable the EOS C300 camera to seamlessly align with the standard workflows used by many major broadcast news networks.

• Push auto iris/one-shot AF –These new additions make the EOS C300 camera increasingly attractive for solo, run-and-gun style cinéma vérité shooting. These features (which are already included in the EOS C100 camera), automatically adjust the exposure and/or focus to the most suitable setting at the push of a button. They also provide support for the Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM standard zoom lens. The new peripheral lens correction feature further benefits the use of this lens by virtually eliminating vignetting and maintaining even illumination across the image.

•Automatic Exposure (AE) Shift/ Selecting the Metering Mode/ Flicker Reduction – AE Shift can be used to compensate the automatic exposure set by the camera when using the push auto iris function. Users can engage AE Shift in the camera menu to make slight adjustments to the image brightness helping compensate for scenes that are slightly over or underexposed. The new AE Shift capability provides 15 steps, from -2 to +2. The new firmware also enables three light metering mode options to be selected: Standard, Backlight or Spotlight. By selecting a light-metering mode to match one of three recording conditions, users will help ensure the EOS C300 camera obtains a suitable exposure level when the push auto iris function is used. When recording under artificial light, the camera’s monitor may flicker depending on the shutter speed. By setting Flicker Reduction to “Automatic” the EOS C300 camera will automatically detect and reduce flicker on the camera’s monitor.

Canon EOS C100 Camera Firmware Update

• Menu Navigation now possible through buttons on camera body – Previously menu navigation on the EOS C100 camera was only possible through the removable joystick – when the joystick was detached, menu navigation ceased. Allowing users to easily navigate menu options, even with the removable joystick grip detached, buttons on the rear of the camera body will be able to navigate menu options with this new firmware. The buttons on the rear of the camera under the built-in monitor can be assigned as follows: 1) Set, 2) Up, 3) Left, 4) Down, 5) Right.

XF305 and XF300 Camcorder Firmware Update

• Digital Tele-Converter – This update extends the choice of magnification settings with two great options from the current 1.5X to 3X and 6X.

Updated Nov 13: The entry "Canon Log LUT (look-up-table)" was updated with a change provided by Canon that switched the use of HD-SDI and 3G-SDI.

Canon announces 35mm Cine Prime Lens and firmware updates to C100, C300 & C500

Canon has announced the new CN-E35mm T1.5 L F single-focal-length Cinema prime lens designed for large-format single-sensor digital cinematography cameras employing Super 35mm or full-frame 35mm imagers. The new Canon CN-E35mm T1.5 L F prime lens is the sixth member of Canon’s line of EF-mount Cinema prime lenses, which also includes 14mm, 24mm, 50mm, 85mm and 135mm EF-mount models.

The lenses feature consistent color balance, minimal focus breathing, water-resistant rubber gaskets, and an 11-blade aperture diaphragm to help achieve creative depth-of-field manipulation and pleasing “bokeh” effects.

“As with all Canon Cinema prime lenses, the new Canon CN-E35mm T1.5 L F lens has been crafted to meet the creative requirements of the most discerning cinematographers, directors and producers,” said Yuichi Ishizuka, executive vice president and general manager, Imaging Technologies & Communications Group, Canon U.S.A. “Filmmakers indicated a need for this lens in our lineup and with its launch, we now offer six cinema prime lenses covering some of the most important focal lengths.”

The Canon CN-E35mm T1.5 L F Cinema prime lens is expected to be available in December 2013 for an estimated retail price of $5,200. For a visual representation of the power of Canon’s Cinema optics, please visit:

Lens Feature Firmware Updates
An upcoming firmware announced today for the Canon Cinema EOS C500, EOS C300 and EOS C100 cameras will provide Canon proprietary features, such as the Peripheral Illumination Correction function, for the CN-E14mm, 24mm, 50mm, 85mm and 135mm lenses and is scheduled to be available by the end of 2013. Such features are scheduled to be available for the new CN-E35mm lens in 2014.

For more on the firmware updates: Canon announces firmware updates for Canon EOS Cinema and XF300 cameras

Cinema Optics from Canon Pro on Vimeo.

Name confusion

Anyone who's in sales will tell you that it's important to have memorable names for your product. Companies can get involved in complicated deals just to procure the rights to the ideal name.

I note this because I had a couple of experiences of name confusion the last couple of days.

Sony's Alphabet Soup Problem

Sometimes Sony comes up with easy to remember names for their products. Sometimes not. The NEX-FS100 is a bit of a mouthful, yet shortened down to the FS100 it's easy to say and somewhat memorable. But try to remember the name of their Action Camera? It's the HDR-AS15. And even if you can remember it, there's little point in telling someone the name, because they won't remember it.

I was giving a short talk on the camera and I completely spaced on the name. Not that I've actually had cause to use the name other than when I ordered it.

And then there's the NEX-EA50UH. Now there's a name that rolls off the tongue.

Sony needs to take some tips from Canon. They're C100, C300, and C500 are easy to remember. Of course, they do have the XA20, XF100, etc, but I still think even those are easier to remember than NEX-EA50 (let's just agree to do Sony a solid and drop the UH).


And then there's Blackmagic. They only have three cameras, but they managed to name two of them almost the same thing:

And it' not like the cameras are that similar.

Throw in the fact that the word Design sometimes gets added (Blackmagic Design Cinema Camera), and you have a long string of words that the eye - and the mouth - can be tempted to jump over and just assume what's there. This resulted in some confusion today when I was reading Red Shark News "The Original Blackmagic Cinema camera - RedShark's long-awaited full review!"

The first line of the article reads: "We were first with the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera" and I'd already read their previous "first hands on" piece about the Pocket Cinema Camera, so ... well you can probably guess where this is going.

Reading the piece - okay, 'Read' is a strong word, I was skimming through it for the highlights - I started getting a bit confused, because a) I hadn't read the headline closely, and b) I didn't read the rest of the first line, which read: "but until now we haven't reviewed the original Blackmagic Cinema Camera."

So yeah, stupid me. It was a review of the original Cinema Camera, and not the Pocket Cinema Camera.

In my defense, often my eyes are going faster than my brain is absorbing...

And I will add that this piece is an interesting take on the Original Blackmagic Cinema Camera; if you haven't already read up about them.

All I can say is, I'm glad they didn't name the forthcoming camera the Blackmagic UltraHD Cinema Camera.

A couple of other Sony announcements

Sony is supposed to be announcing several things today, including the sensor/lens combination for smartphones, or QX lens cameras.

I think the most interesting thing is the 4K camcorder, (not that I'm planning to buy one...)

They've also announced a new version of the Action Camcorder, the HDR-AS30V, which adds 1080p 60fps video capture to the range. It's expected to be available by the middle of the month for $298.

They've also announced the HDR-MV1 Music Camcorder (no price and no delivery date.) It's an interesting looking duck, but I think I'd rather get the mic away from the camera, no matter how good the mic might be.
LPCM & AAC Audio Formats for Recording Versatility
Records in uncompressed Linear PCM (LPCM) and versatile AAC audio formats. With LPCM recording you'll be able to capture high-resolution CD-quality 44.1kHz/16-bit sound. With AAC recording you'll be able to capture 48kHz/128kbps audio files for easy uploading to the Internet.
Capture Wide-Angle Stereo Sound with 120° X/Y Microphone
The HDR-MV1's 120° stereo microphone array captures full stereo sound. Plus, unlike smartphones and conventional camcorders, its wide-angle recording field allows you to easily capture every note and lyric from the entire band - even at close distances.
Capture Full HD 1080/30p Video with Low Grain in Low Light
Record Full HD 1920 x 1080p video at 30 fps with low grain - even in low lighting situations. You can record using the web-friendly MP4 format, which is ideal for sharing your Full HD movies on the Internet using your smartphone, PC or Mac computer.
Exmor R CMOS Sensor with Enhanced Sensitivity
Experience enhanced low-light sensitivity with improved image clarity and reduced grain thanks to Sony's back-illuminated Exmor R CMOS image sensor. Designed for compact cameras and camcorders, the Exmor R CMOS sensor relocates the photo diodes above the support circuitry, maximizing the light gathering area per pixel so you can shoot with better results in lower lighting conditions. The camcorder also features a BIONZ image processor and Triluminous color technology.
Wide-Angle 120° Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar Lens
The 120° wide-angle Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar lens captures high-quality video with Full HD 1080p or HD 720p resolution, high contrast and accurate color reproduction. Plus, its wide viewing angle allows you to easily capture the entire band and stage from close distances.
Multi Terminal USB Port for Charging & Data Transfer
The unit's integrated Multi Terminal USB port provides convenient charging and data transfer connectivity. The HDR-MV1's USB port will even charge the battery and access content on a computer simultaneously. Plus, with the supplied battery and optional AC-UD10 power adapter, users can operate and record video while the device is charging.
Audio Lip Sync Functionality
The Audio Lip Sync functionality ensures synchronicity for postproduction between the audio track and the video
Capture Stereo Sound via an External Microphone
You can use your favorite microphone when recording by simply attaching it using the camera's microphone input jack.
Manually Control & Monitor Input Levels via a 2.7" LCD Screen
The HDR-MV1's 2.7" widescreen LCD monitor allows users to quickly frame their shots and make adjustments. You can use the LCD screen to manually or automatically adjust audio level control in 31 steps. There's also an on-screen meter that allows users to monitor the audio input levels and adjust to diverse environments.
Built-In Wi-Fi & One Touch NFC
The HDR-MV1 employs built-in Wi-Fi and One Touch NFC (Near Field Communication) to link the camera to a compatible smartphone or tablet. This allows you to instantly upload recorded videos to the Internet. The Wi-Fi/NFC function also turns your mobile device into a remote control and a remote monitor for the HDR-MV1, which is especially useful for framing the scene to achieve your desired shot

Sony's 4K Camcorder, the FDR-AX1 is $4,499.99

Sony has announced a new 4K camcorder. It has a single 1/2.3" CMOS sensor with approximately 18,900,000 pixels, (though it has an "effective" 8,300,000 pixels.) It also has a 31.5mm - 630mm f/1.6 - f/3.4 lens and built-in ND. It will shoot at up to 3840 x 2160p at 60 fps (150 Mbps).

While the price of $4,499.99 is quoted, currently there's no delivery date at B&H.

With 4K resolution and recording for $4.5K it's pretty impressive. And it has a nice lens and built-in ND. But, it's a fixed lens and a small sensor. For documentary work it would be great, but probably not for most narrative work.

Capture 4K 3840 x 2160p Video at 60 fps
This model supports 4K 3840 x 2160 resolution. With four times better than Full HD 1080p image quality, you'll be able to capture the finest details at high resolution and produce vibrant, realistic images. Plus, the fast image processor is the same one employed in professional Sony models, making it possible to record 60p movies at the camera's full resolution for smooth playback with no loss in realism - even when panning the camera and shooting moving subjects.
Sony G Lens with 20x Zoom
The Sony G Lens is an aspheric lens with special low-dispersion glass. It's specially tuned to capture subtle qualities of definition and color. In addition, the lens offers a broad 20x optical zooming range with a 31.5 - 630mm (35mm equivalent) focal length that enables an expansive range of video expression.
1/2.3" Back-Illuminated 8.3MP Exmor R CMOS Image Sensor
Sony's unique Exmor R CMOS sensor has a back-illuminated structure with wiring layers on the back of a photodiode (light receiving element) that dramatically boosts low-light sensitivity for shooting more lifelike images - even in dim lighting. This Sony technology also makes the camera nimble, so it can read massive 4K data at 60 fps.
Professional Image Processor for Real-Time 4K / 60 fps Recording
The FDR-AX1's image processor is identical to those in 4K camcorders used by professionals. It rapidly processes signals transmitted from the CMOS sensor and finalizes images. In processing the vast 4K data in real-time at 60p, the processor achieves four times the resolution of the Full HD 1080p format. This processor also features high-performance noise reduction for truer images, while image quality adjustment functions support greater freedom of expression. It is also specially tuned for the FDR-AX1 to deliver accelerated image processing performance.
XAVC-S Consumer-Use 4K/HD Recording Format
The FDR-AX1 records 4K/HD movies in the XAVC-S codec, which was developed for consumer usage based on the professional XAVC 4K/HD codec. XAVC-S uses MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 long GOP for video and LPCM for audio compression, while saving files in MP4 format. The XAVC-S codec also allows longer recording times within a given media capacity than XAVC, making 4K recording easier and more convenient.
XAVC-S 150 Mbps 4K Video & 50 Mbps HD Video
With the FDR-AX1, high-quality XAVC-S video can be recorded at up to 150 Mbps. Additionally, there is also an option to record high-quality Full HD 1080p video at 50 Mbps.
Dual XQD Media Card Slots for High-Speed 4K Recording & Playback
The FDR-AX1 features two XQD media card slots. XQD media cards provide smooth, high-speed reading and writing of 4K/HD video. Plus, a relay recording feature makes it possible to lengthen recording by automatically switching between two or more media options. You can quickly transfer data to a PC as well, by using an XQD reader/writer with a USB 3.0 connection. The FDR-AX1 is compatible with S-Series, H-Series and N-Series XQD media card types.
View 4K/60p Video on Compatible BRAVIA TVs with Supplied HDMI Cable
The FDR-AX1 supports playback of your recorded 4K content on a 4K TV by simply connecting the two devices using the supplied HDMI cable. Thanks to the camera's original function, you'll be able to transmit 4K/60p (4:2:0, 8-bit) signals to a Sony BRAVIA 4K TV, which is specially tuned to bring out the full quality of your 4K/60p video recordings. Even fast-moving sports and action footage will be clear and smooth. To enjoy this content on a Full HD monitor, simply change the menu HDMI output settings to 1920 x 1080. If you have a 4K monitor, you can use the supplied HDMI cable to transmit 4K/30p signals from the camera to the monitor.
TRILUMINOS Color Technology
The FDR-AX1 supports Sony's TRILUMINOS Color technology, which allows you to view photos and movies in rich, natural colors on any TRILUMINOS-equipped television. The expanded color gamut ensures lifelike, vivid colors when you playback your recorded video and still shots.
Save 4K Video Content to Your PC
The FDR-AX1 provides two methods for connecting and transferring footage to a PC. You can use a USB cable or insert your XQD memory card into an XQD reader/writer that is connected to your PC. You can also save data from the camera to other media sources like external HDDs. Once you've download data onto your PC, you can use Sony's PlayMemories Home software to manage and play your videos. You can edit video with the XAVC-S-compatible non-linear editing software as well. After your footage is edited, you'll be able to upload and share your 4K movies on social media sites like YouTube.

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Camera Lens Bags

Bags are something that's often overlooked. They can cost an incredible amount of money - hundreds of dollars - and spending that sort of money on something that doesn't actually capture an image can seem ...pointless?

But I'm a great believer in having a good bag to store your stuff in; it really makes a difference for both storage and transportation. The problem is finding a good compromise on protection, quality and price. Part of the equation is your usage; if you're taking the gear out everyday shooting, you'll need something much stronger and sturdier than something used to store equipment in a studio or that is only occasionally transported.

I have a couple of inexpensive bags for lenses and SLR cameras which are almost identical in capacity and price. I would recommend these for storage and light transportation/use.

The AmazonBasics Backpack for SLR Cameras and Accessories-Black is currently $35.96 while the Canon Deluxe Photo Backpack 200EG for Canon EOS SLR Cameras (Black with Green Accent) costs $39.95. There's practically no difference in terms of size and construction. They aren't exactly the same, but they're certainly very similar.

Amazon Basics (left) and Canon Bag (right)

For storing lenses (and an SLR camera) they are a great options, and for transporting, they are good too. I wouldn't rate them for heavy use; if you're a pro moving gear around every day, you'll want to get something sturdier and they certainly don't provide enough protection for checking on a flight or anything like that. But for the casual, careful user, they should do the job just fine.

Note that these bags aren't huge, but I'd prefer two medium sized bags, than one really large bag. These I can easily carry one in each hand, whereas a large bag would require two hands, or would need to be put on a cart.

Amazon Basics (left) and Canon Bag (right)

If I was buying another, I'd actually get the Canon one, as it's withstood my use more than the Amazon Basics one. One of the plastic clips on the shoulder strap of the Amazon bag broke. I never carry the bag by the shoulder straps which means A) it's not much of a problem, but B) it broke after practically no use.

For the serious traveller

As I've said, if you're doing a lot of traveling, I wouldn't recommend these bags. If you're a back-pack journalist there's another bag that I saw this weekend which looks much better.

The Think Tank Photo Airport Accelerator Backpack is expensive ($294.75) but for the serious traveler, this bag is recommended (not really by me, but by a journalist I know who has one.) It will hold a camera, a large lens, lots of bits and piece or a couple of other lenses (at least), and also has a space for a laptop computer.

The picture below is how one backpack journalist has his bag set up:
Think Tank Airport Accelerator

Another advantage; it doesn't really look like a camera bag. It looks like an expensive bag, but not a camera bag, and it can be hand carried on the plane.

However, you could buy 7 of the other bags for the same price...

Monday, September 02, 2013

A good way to waste money

It seems that Acer is prepping to release a smartphone that can record at 4K: EngadgetAcer announces 6-inch Liquid S2, 'first 4K-recording smartphone'


I can understand the attraction of 4K; if the image is actually a good one. But like the early days of inexpensive 1080p cameras that didn't produce a picture any better than 720p cameras, resolution for resolution's sake is pointless.

ARRI believes that contrast and image quality is more important than resolution. I think that's a good rule. Seriously, how much better would a 4K image be through a smartphone lens?

Which leaves the last concern: storage. Either this thing is going to compress the image so heavily, it really won't be worth recording in 4K, or it will create files so large you'll be spending all your money on hard drives to back up your footage.

It all seems a bit pointless for a smartphone.