With the National Association of Broadcasters convention coming to Las Vegas later this month, Sony went ahead and announced two new camcorders directed for the professional market: the interchangeable lens model NEX-FS700U and the ultra-portable HXR-NX30U.
The NEX-FS700U is the larger—and much more expensive—of the two new camcorders, and is compatible with Sony's line of interchangeable E-mount lenses (as well as countless 35mm camera lenses with the purchase of a lens adapter). The camcorder, which is set to retail for less than $10,000, is capable of shooting at a variety of high-speed frame rates for recording ultra-slow-motion video, and comes equipped with a 4K Exmor Super 35 CMOS sensor with a total pixel count of 11.6 megapixels.
The top frame rates available on the NEX-FS700U 960 and 480fps, which both capture video at reduced resolutions (not Full HD). If you want Full HD slow motion video, you must set the frame rates to 120 or 240fps and record at 8 or 16-second burst. Additionally, the camcorder offers the following frame rates for recording Full HD video: 60p, 50p, 60i, 24p, 25p, and 30p.
The 3G HD-SDI output terminal on the NEX-FS700U is sure to intrigue professional videographers. The terminal allows for native progressive output, and Sony plans to offer a firmware upgrade to allow the camcorder to output a 4K bitstream via the terminal (when used with an optional Sony 4K recorder). Video may also be recorded to SD or Memory Stick cards, or you can use Sony's HXR-FMU128 flash memory unit with the camcorder.
If shelling out $10,000 for a pro camcorder isn't your kind of thing, then the new HXR-NX30U may be more up your alley. The camcorder is set to retail for under $2500, and is essentially a prosumer model that shares many of the same features as Sony's top-of-the-line Handycam camcorders. The NX30U's detachable XLR unit and professional audio control options are its main features that place the camcorder into the prosumer category.
In addition to some minor upgrades, Sony unveiled a new "balanced image stabilization" system on the HXR-NX30U, that, according to Sony, "combines the entire lens and image sensor assembly into one floating element that moves as a unit" in order to offer an enhanced image stabilization function.
The NX30U includes a 1/2.88-inch CMOS sensor and can shoot 1920 x 1080 video using 60p, 30p, 24p or 60i frame rates (there's also a 720/60p recording option). Video is recorded using AVCHD compression—the same compression Sony uses on its consumer models—and the camcorder comes with 96GB of internal flash memory as well as a memory card slot.
Like Sony's HDR-PJ series of Handycam camcorders, the HXR-NX30U comes with a built-in pico projector that allows you to playback your video on a wall or screen (without attaching the camcorder to a television). The NX30 also comes with a 10x optical zoom lens much like Sony's high-end consumer models.
Sony plans for both the HXR-NX30U and the NEX-FS700U to be available for purchase this June. The FS700U is set to retail for less than $10,000, but it is unclear if this price is with or without the 18-200mm kit lens. The HXR-NX30U, which does not offer an interchangeable lens system, has a suggested list price of around $2500.