If you need a further indication that 1080p is on its way to becoming the standard second-highest resolution for consumer video cameras, here you go – at CES 2015 this week, Sony is introducing a 4K version of its Action Cam. The company has also unveiled its smallest 4K Handycam to date.
The new 4K Action Cam is known officially as the FDR-X1000V and like its predecessors, it's made for rugged outdoor use.
It comes packaged with a watertight housing that allows it to be submerged down to 10 meters (33 ft), and features a 170-degree field of view along with electronic image stabilization that's "more effective at suppressing high-frequency motor vibration" – this reportedly means that it will smooth out some of the shakes caused by aerial drones' motors, should it be mounted on one.
Along with its ability to shoot 4K video at 30fps, it can also record slow-motion Full HD 1080p footage at 120fps, or even-slower-motion 720p video at a frame rate of 240fps.
Other features include a back-illuminated Exmor R CMOS sensor, a stereo mic with improved wind noise reduction, GPS-enabled location tagging, live streaming capability via Ustream, and a continuously-overwriting loop recording mode.
It should be available as of March, priced at US$500 (or $600 with an included Live View Remote).
The new 4K Handycam, the FDR-AX33, is about 30 percent smaller and 20 percent lighter than Sony's existing FDR-AX100 4K Handycam. It's also the first 4K camcorder to feature the company's Balanced Optical SteadyShot image stabilization technology, which helps steady up its 26.8-mm 10x optical zoom lens.
The camera records a maximum resolution of 4K/30fps at a bitrate of 100Mbps in the XAVC S format, plus it allows users to extract 8MP stills from that footage (although photos can also be shot while recording video). The camera additionally has a customizable "manual ring," that can be used to manually control parameters such as zoom, focus and iris.
Like the 4K Action Cam and all other 2015 Sony camcorders, it's also equipped with Highlight Movie Maker software. This searches through the user's raw footage and automatically edits together a video (complete with music), based on cues such as movement, scene changes, detected smiles, and tags made by the user while recording.
The FDR-AX33 will be in stores starting in February, with a price tag of $999.