Sony Electronics is expanding its line of solid state camcorders, introducing its first professional camcorder that implements the AVCHD format, the HXR-NX5U.
The professional HXR-NX5U model is part of Sony's NXCAM family of video products for professionals. It features Sony's ExmorTM CMOS sensor with ClearVidTM array, to deliver full high-definition resolution and low light sensitivity with low noise. The camcorder will record AVCHD up to 24Mbps, delivering 1920x1080 high definition images with both interlace and progressive modes along with native 1080/24P, 720/60p and MPEG-2 standard definition recording.
Sony has also introduced a "prosumer" camcorder, the HDR-AX2000 Handycam® camcorder. However, there are key distinctions between each model. Only the professional NX5U camcorder includes both HD-SDI and HDMITM outputs, as well as two-channel linear PCM audio capabilities. Other unique features for the professional NX5U camcorder include 720/60P recording, built-in GPS function, SMPTE Time Code I/O and an upgrade option for 60i/50i switchable.
AVCHD technology has been widely adopted in Sony's consumer camcorder line. In the professional market, Sony has already introduced one AVCHD-based model: the compact point-of-view (POV) camera and solid-state recorder combination, model HXR-MC1.
According to Sony, AVCHD is a highly efficient long-GOP codec based on MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 Long-GOP image compression, a member of the MPEG family of codecs. This approach is consistent with Sony's current line-up of MPEG professional camcorders, including the HDVTM, XDCAM® HD optical and XDCAM EXTM series.
The new NXCAM model also shares the 20x optical zoom G lens used in Sony's HVR-Z5U professional camcorder. The camcorder uses two types of consumer media along with an optional HXR-FMU128 128GB Flash Memory Unit for more than 11 hours of recording time at 24 Mbps. The HXR-FMU128 unit can be easily removed and simply powered through a computer's USB connection, to make file downloading or editing easier and faster. Besides the Memory Stick PRO DuoTM media, users are also able to record HD content on class 4 or higher SDHC cards. Sony is also expanding its industry leading line of consumer media with the addition of five new SD/SDHC memory cards for digital imaging products, including camcorders.
The new HXR-NX5U will be available this month, at a suggested list price of $4,950, which is the same as Sony's highly successful HVR-Z5U. The HXR-FMU128 unit will also be available this month, at a suggested list price of $800. It can only be used with the professional model HXR-NX5U, not with the HDR-AX2000.