Although primarily a 'consumer' electronics show, Sony showcased two new 4K cameras at CES 2015 that could appeal to prosumers, micro-budget productions and extreme sports videographers.
At Sony's press conference for CES 2015, the electronics giant touted its leadership position across a vast field of consumer product categories, from smart home devices, wearables, home audio and, of course, its display technology and Playstation offerings. Those hoping that the company would unveil a revolutionary camera suited for professional video work may have been disappointed, but there are other conventions, like NAB and IBC, which are more likely venues for such announcements.
Sony did, however, bring two new cameras to the stage, each with the ability to shoot 4K video. The first is the Sony FDR-X1000V Action Camera, which is another shot across the bow of action cam leader GoPro. GoPro's current flagship Hero 4 model can shoot 4K as well, but taps out at 15 fps capture (Correction: The Hero 4 Black can capture 4K at 30 fps). The FDR-X1000V, on the other hand, can shoot 4K at 30 fps at a relatively robust 100Mb/s bitrate and 1080p HD at up to 60 fps. Here's an interview style video by Sony that profiles the FDR-X1000V:
Sony also has the HDR-AS200V on display at its CES booth. This is another new action camera almost identical to the FDR-X1000V in appearance and function, but without 4K capture.
The other camera announcement on the slate was for a camcorder Sony COO Mike Fasulo called "4K for $1K," the FDR-AX33 Handycam. By now, the $1,000 price barrier for a fixed lens 4K camera has already been breached by last year's LX100 from Panasonic, but that model has the form factor of a compact still camera. For those who want the simplicity and ease-of-use of a compact camcorder (and for whom 4K video capture is a requirement), the FDR-AX33 might be a compelling choice, as it is the world's first 4K Handycam with balanced optical SteadyShot. Once again, Sony has prepared a video that introduces the camera and its features:
While these two cameras might not excite those who put a premium on image quality (and have the budget to achieve it), these cameras put 4K squarely into the hands of consumers, prosumers and the GoPro crowd. As 4K video capture penetrates all levels of camera systems, it will be interesting to see what Sony and other companies do on the professional front to further distinguish higher end from starter models.