Hands on with Sony’s new 4K camcorder

Sony's new 4K camcorder

NAPA, Calif. — You’ve seen those mouth-watering 4K TVs in electronics shops all year, the ones that offer four times the resolution of standard HDTVs.

The hitch: they’re expensive (around $5,000) and there’s not a lot of 4K programming to watch.

So make some 4K TV yourself.

Sony just released its consumer 4K camcorder, the FDR-AX1, at a hefty price of $4,500, and gave USATODAY a hands-on sneak peek during the recent Napa Valley Film Festival here.

The camera looks and feels like Sony’s EX cameras, favored by TV stations. It has a 20X zoom and two XLR inputs for microphones. The AX1 doesn’t record to traditional SD cards, but instead the more expensive XQD memory card. A 32 GB XQD will cost around $100.

The AX1 isn’t the only 4K camcorder out there. JVC recently released the $5,000 HMQ10, and BlackMagic’s model is $4,000.

The obvious question: Does Sony’s video look four times better than standard high def?

Simple answer: no.

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If you play the videos directly to the TV, perhaps you’d see the difference.

But if you’re making online videos, or burn them to DVD, where both are compressed, you’re not likely to see much of a difference.

But don’t take my word for it. Check out the video here, which shows 4K footage back to back with the same shot on the new Canon 70D.

Readers: would you spend $4,500 for a 4K camcorder? Let’s chat about it on Twitter, where I’m @jeffersongraham.

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