Video: Sony’s AX100 4K Camcorder & AS100VR Action Cam

dogmount-sony

Among the products announced at Sony’s gaff-free (no movie directors here!) CES press event, a couple of new cameras caught our eye. First up was Sony’s latest 4K Camcorder, the AX100, which is now a far more ‘consumer friendly’ looking device compared to the company’s previous efforts. Producing a lighter and smaller camera is obviously key for Sony as they look to encourage us all to start producing and consuming more 4K content. The FDR-AX100, to give it its full name, is approximately one quarter the size and one third of the weight of the current FDR-AX1 model.

The AX100 comes with a 14.2 effective megapixel back-illuminated 1.0-type Exmor R CMOS sensor and, in addition to recording 4K footage, the camera is also capable of down-converting 4K images to very high quality 2K (Full HD) video. In terms of size, the AX100 is 196.5mm long, 83.5mm high and 81mm wide, weighing in at approx 790g. The camera is available for around £1,800 and more details can be found on the company’s UK web site. Also be sure to check out our video of the AX100 below:

The other new (or should that be significantly improved) camera that we checked out was the company’s latest action camera, the HDR-AS100VR Action Cam. This new model comes with a new image processing engine, new lens and a new image sensor for significantly improved image quality. The AS100VR is being marketed as “splash-proof” which means there’s no need for separate housing.

One interesting new feature is the ability to control up to five cameras with the Live-View Remote and record simultaneously with them all for a multi-view picture. Another, perhaps more quirky, feature of this camera (as well as its predecessor) is the ability to mount it to your dog’s back. Check out our quick hands on, and demonstration of the dog harness, in the video below:

Sony Handycam NEX-VG900E: First full frame flix

Like two titans inching themselves inexorably nearer to each other, the ever diminishing gulf between consumer handycams and 35mm DSLRs takes another giant leap closer with the release of the Sony Handycam NEX-VG900E. DSLRs have had the capability of recording high definition video for some time now, but conversely, the same cannot be said of  handycam stills which have long been sneered at by any half decent photographer.

Sony-Handycam-NEX

It seems though the Sony Handycam NEX-VG900E may well lay that particular ghost to rest as this is a full frame 35 mm handycam with interchangeable lenses capable of shooting full-frame 24.0 effective megapixel still photos, with all the quality you’d expect from a pro-class DSLR camera. It is Sony’s very first 35mm sensor handycam and not unsurprisingly, it’s getting the full star treatment.

Sony has clearly decided that image quality will be the deciding factor between all the various media available and whilst the price tag may be hefty at around £3,000, you are getting a product fully capable of shooting cinematic quality usually reserved for the much more expensive professional camera sector.

This is a camera that can capture 1080p files at 50, 25 or 24 frames per second with a resolution of 24.3 effective megapixels courtesy of the Exmor CMOS sensor which is perhaps some 40 times larger than the sensors found in typical consumer camcorders.  As per Sony’s other VG camcorders in the series, it’s fully compatible with full frame A-mount lenses via the supplied  LA-EA3 adaptor, as well as a growing list of E-mount lenses too. Whilst this is ostensibly a full frame camera, it switches automatically to APS-C mode when an E-mount or A-mount DT lens is attached in order to cater for cameras with a smaller APS-C image sensor.

Too add to the array of built in professional features, there’s a capsule spatial array microphone set into the top featuring four omnidirectional capsules that can be switched for stereo or 5.1 surround sound recording.

The NEX-VG900E is a perfect example of how the lines between high quality still and video photography are becoming ever more blurred.

Sony NEX-VG20E Handycam: Fun for video and audiophiles

Sony has released its best-ever Handycam – the NEX-VG20E. The problem is, it’s so well-designed that all you’ll want to do is record a mirror. In Full HD. At 50p and 25p. With Tru-Black technology and 16MP stills. Cool.

Aside from looking good on the outside, crack it open and you’ll find an Exmor APS HD CMOS sensor that records at 16.1 effective megapixels. The Exmor sensors are famous for their low-light recording (even in the models they put in phones), so expect great night-time performance.

Sony-Handycam-VG20

Video recording comes in the AVCHD format, in a choice of 50p and 25p frame rate options. For 25p, you can chose Cinema Tone Gamma and Cinema Tone Colour to give a more filmatic effect to your recordings.

The NEX-VG20E has a comprehensive range of manual controls to let users really get stuck into the settings, with a redesigned handgrip to offer excellent stability and allows manual adjustment of exposure, iris and other settings

The camcorder also boasts the “E-Mount system” which lets users take advantage of the existing range of seven E-Mount lenses from the older cameras in the range.

The demands of sound enthusiasts often go unheard on video cameras, but the NEX-VG20E has a Quad Capsule Spatial Array mic, which supports stereo and 5.1 channel sound, so it should do quality audio recording right out the box.

It’s also got ports for an external mic and monitoring headphones though, so audiophiles can really get stuck in.

The Handycam NEX-VG20EH comes with the SEL18200 F3.5-6.3 E-mount lens. With a wide 11x optical zoom range and built-in Optical SteadyShot.
Get it November 2011.

Samsung gets to grips with the latest camcorder technology.

The annual January Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas is always a good litmus test for the industry. It’s a time when manufacturers showpiece their upcoming models and for me, there is every chance that 2011 is set to be another year when electronic imaging takes a further giant leap forward.

Samsung-Q10

Samsung has been quick off the blocks with the announcement of the HMX-Q10 camcorder, an SDHC/SD card HD video camera that promises to make filming easier and more affordable than ever before. Let’s face it, the last thing we want when we’re out and about is to have to fiddle around with exposure settings, we just want to grab that moment in the best possible way. Thankfully, Samsung who has been known for a tidy camera or two has produced a model that offers intuitive 1920×1080/60i HD quality no nonsense recording straight out of the box, with many features more normally associated with higher end cameras.

The HMX-Q10’s range of features are all easily accessed via the 2.7’’ LCD touch screen for a start, so there’s no searching for those little switches often hidden away in places you can never find, whilst the list itself is impressive. It has the world’s fist ‘Switch Grip’ for example, a G-magnetic sensor that recognises the angle you are holding the camera and adjusts the LCD display accordingly. So whether you are left or right handed or shooting in unusual positions, you’ll be able to see the screen easily. You’ll also be able to pause recording too, a very handy addition which will cut down on all those clips that need merging later. A very welcome addition.There’s an improved stability system to compensate for a shaky hand (particularly useful in cold weather or when you’re on the move) and the new CMOS audio sensor dramatically reduces distortion and ambient noise.

Samsung has been a pioneer in scene recognition technology, where key elements of your footage such as motion, colour and brightness are all adjusted automatically and the HMX –Q10 features a new improved version which promises to make full use the HD quality available. For those of you looking for photos too, the 5MP Schneider-Kreuznach lens will provide decent enough stills, although lovers of an SLR may choose to scoff at the very thought.

The Samsung HMX-Q10 Camcorder will be available from March 2010.

By Andy Mossack

New year, new lineup from Canon

Well, while we’ve all been busy stuffing our faces with mince pies and drinking up the national beer lake, the folk at Canon have been busy with other things.

That must be why they are greeting the new year not with a hangover but with a new lineup of five new cameras and 10 – yes 10 – new camcorders. Surely with such a raft of products coming on to the market, there must be something for everyone, from the snapper to the professional? Well, let’s take a look and find out.

Canon-CES

Moving images first, and Canon’s collection of 10 camcorders. The professional videographer is catered for with the XA10, which promises full manual control and professional audio features, along with a price tag of just a smidge under two grand. But you’ve time to save up as it isn’t released until April. For enthusiasts with time and money (around £1,400) to spare, and who can wait for its release in March, the LEGRIA HF G10 has been created to offer features and technologies taken from the professional range of camcorders. All of these feature the Canon HD CMOS Pro sensor, offering better performance in low light and a wide dynamic range.

For anyone wanting to take video of friends and family, Canon has introduced the LEGRIA HF M41, M46 and M406 (from around £750-£600), which takes high-definition movies using a compact chassis. And you can get creative with the Cinema-Look Filters, Story Creator mode and Touch Decoration, which allows for in-camera manipulation. Story Creator suggests scenes for you to shoot under a number of subjects, such as travel or kids and pets. If you want to take HD movies but are on a budget, look out for the LEGRIA HF R28, R26 and R206 (with prices ranging from around £350-£480 and due February) , which are aimed at those just starting out in the world of HD video. And finally if you’re on a really tight budget, standard definition comes from the LEGRIA FS46 and FS406 (around £230-250 and due February).

For stills photography, meanwhile, Canon is plugging its PowerShot A-series as offering a compact camera for everyone. There are five new models just released, most of them powered by Canon’s DIGIC 4 image processor.

If you want to get creative, look for the A1200 and A2200, which both offer six creative filters for some fun experimentation. You can also benefit from Live View Control, which allows you to see how changing settings will alter the final picture before you actually take it. Tracking Auto-Focus ensures your subject remains sharp.

Looking for a first digital camera? Then set your sights on the affordable PowerShot A800, which keeps the button layout simple, offers intuitive shooting modes and Smart Auto technology. For a little more versatility, including a wide-angle lens, Blur Reduction and an optical viewfinder, which is great for more traditional photographers, check out the A1200.

The lithum-ion powered A2200 has a 4x optical zoom and a number of shooting functions, while coming in at the top of the range are the A3200 IS with its wide-angle 5x zoom lens, and the A3300, which boasts a 16Mp sensor (the highest-resolution sensor ever to be included in a Canon compact camera) and chic metal chassis.

The A3200 IS (£129), A3300 IS (£149), A1200 and A2200 all now offer 720p high-definition (HD) video capture.
The A2200 is released this month, the A800, A3200 IS, A3300 IS in February and the A1200 in March.

More at www.canon.co.uk

Hands on: Panasonic HM-TA1 pocket-size camcorder

Panasonic-TA-1

LatestGadgets had the chance to test out the Panasonic HM-TA1. This will be Panasonic’s first pocket camcorder and goes toe to toe with the Flip Ultra HD. Let’s see how it compares.

The HM-TA1 is very easy to use and I was up and running within minutes. All the software is preloaded on to the camcorder so no CD required here. There are a few more buttons than on the Flip but there are more settings allowing you to tailor the video or picture to how you want it. Video is Full HD and pictures are in average 8MP. Unfortunately, there is no HDMI with the HM-TA1 so connecting to your TV might be a bit tricky. There is an in-built USB arm so connecting to your PC is simply plug and play.

The arm can be a bit awkward to get out but once you get the hang of it, you will be fine. A major plus for the TA1 is the SD slot so you can put a 16GB memory card in and record hours upon hours of video, unlike the Flip in-built storage. Why not go bigger if you like?

Sample footage (by a 3rd party):

The camcorder has a 4x zoom so you can video from a distance. For those action shots, the Electrical Image Stabilizer system will minimise blurring and hand-shake. It doubles as a webcam as it is Skype compatible. To upload video you have transfer to your PC first then upload to YouTube using the software which is similar to Flip. You can customise the TA1 from a choice of 40 skins

For Panasonic’s first outing into the pocket side of things, it is a good little camera for people who take a lot of video as you can get a memory card to suit you. Available from £99.99 at Currys. You will need to buy a memory card to go with it which brings it close the Flip Mino HD and Ultra HD in price.

Hands on with Flip UltraHD and MinoHD

Cisco has announced its third generation of the popular Flip camcorders, Flip UltraHD and Flip MinoHD. They improved from the second generation with enhanced HD video quality and image stabilisation. It is now easier to upload videos and share.

Flip-Video

The Flip UltraHD is 25% slimmer than its predecessor, which felt a little like a brick. The video is now 720p resolution at 50 fps. The in-built camera allows you to shoot 2 hours of video. Along with the all-new image stabilisation feature video is now clear and steady.  The camcorders now feature an HDMI port so you can watch videos directly from your Flip on your TV.  The new Flips can conveniently be connected to your PC using the in-built USB arms. The software, Flipshare, also gets an upgrade with the ability to share videos privately by email or share on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. You can now take still images from videos make a compilation of movies from multiple video clips.

The Flip MinoHD is smaller than the Ultra HD and has all the features to go with it. The Flip MinoHD comes in two sizes to shoot enough video for one hour or two hours. The Flips are easy to use and you can be filming in seconds, which is important to ensure you do not miss those special moments. If you have a camera which shoots video in HD or an iPhone 4, I am not entirely convinced a dedicated camcorder is necessary. Although, I can see this making an amazing Christmas present for budding movie directors and keen holiday makers. Personally, the slimmer the better so I like the Flip MinoHD.

In comparison, a lot of camcorders are going the 3D route like the Aiptek 3D HD Camcorder but do you really need 3D? There will be accessories available including a pocket projector allowing you to project your video directly from your Flip to any flat surface. You can also have the Overtime Battery Extender which doubles the battery life to keep you filming on the go.

The new Flips are available from November. The Flip UltraHD will be £159.99, available in black and white. The Flip MinoHD one hour will be £149.99 and The Flip MinoHD two hour will be £179.99. How do you Flip?

Quick look: Kodak Playtouch 1080p Camcorder


Kodak-Playtouch

If you’ve got a smartphone, you’re probably already addicted to touchscreen technology. So if I tell you that Kodak’s latest camcorder also has touch screen controls, you might get just a little bit excited. The Playtouch is the latest in the line of ‘Play’ cameras from Kodak, the last being the PlaySport, which was pretty well received.

The Kodak Playtouch is obviously relying on its touchscreen facility to attract new users – and it’s pretty nifty. The 3.2in LCD screen is of the capacitive type – that means it’s along the same lines as the high-end smartphones, rather than the cheaper resistive type, which requires hard pressing to get a reaction. The screen allows you to do some on-screen editing of your HD video, before popping it on the web. This is simple – press the Share button, decide where you want your film to go, pop out the USB arm and your video is ready for the world to see on the web.

The screen is also anti-glare so that you can see what you’re shooting in bright light, and your HD clips (maximum quality 1080p) can be recorded to the 128Mb internal memory or removable SD or SDHC cards.

It is also possible to add voiceover to your footage, add pictures and music to videos and get your friends’ best sides with smart face tracking technology. But it’s not all good news; reviewers who have managed to get their hands on the PlayTouch have reported disappointing quality in footage – and audio – although the still image quality (the camera takes stills at 5mp) has got the thumbs up.

The good news for Mac owners is that the camera is both PC and Mac compatible. Its lithium-ion battery can be charged via USB, and an HDMI cable is included so that you can hook it up to your TV to watch your movies on the big screen.

The question is whether the £179.99 price tag is worth paying for the privilege of that touchscreen facility. That’s up to you…The Kodak Playtouch is available now from Firebox.com.