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Can the new 4K Sony Handycam save the camcorder industry?

At CES 2014, the company showed its first 4K camcorder under $2,000

Published: January 07, 2014 08:30 AM
The Sony 4K Handycam FDR-AX100
Photo: Sony

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There's been lots of talk here at CES 2014 about 4K video and TVs. You can shoot 4K (3840x2160) video yourself, with the Sony 4K Handycam FDR-AX100, which gives you a completely new level of definition. This isn't Sony's first 4K camcorder (the AX1 was introduced in the summer), but it is the first for only $2,000. Or, as one of the Sony executives joked about on stage at the Sony press conference, it's 4K for $2K! Watch our video of the Sony 4K Handycam FDR-AX100 at CES below.

One question hung uncomfortably in the air after the announcement: Don't most people shoot video with their phones now? You can now capture decent HD video on a mobile device, instead of lugging around a big bulky camcorder. That question remains unanswered for now, mainly because phones don't capture 4K—yet.

Find the right model for you with our buying guide and Ratings for camcorders.

The AX100 is loaded with great  features, including a large 3.5-inch LCD and a high-quality viewfinder. Here are some other features—besides 4K, of course—that you'll find on the AX100 that may persuade you to consider buying a full-sized camcorder.

  • A manual focus ring, for more control when focusing
  • 12x optical zoom
  • Built-in Wi-Fi capabilities, including near-field communication (NFC) for one-touch connection to Android mobile devices
  • A 1-inch Exmor CMOS image sensor, larger than what most camcorders have, which means it should perform superbly in low light.

Unlike the large, pricier 4K camcorders, though, this model captures video at only 30 frames per second, instead of 60 fps. That may adversely affect the smoothness of the video in some action shots. The Sony 4K Handycam FDR-AX100 will be available in March.

—Terry Sullivan

For all the show news, trends, and analysis, visit our insider's guide to CES 2014.

   

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