Sony's FDR-AX1 Digital 4K Video Camera Recorder Hits Market at $4,499

Sony's FDR-AX1 Digital 4K Video Camera Recorder Hits Market at $4,499

Advertised as the "first consumer 4K camera by Sony," the FDR-AX1 is now available for pre-order at a (consumer friendly?) price of $4,499. It shoots 3840 x 2160p video at 60 fps on a 1/2.3" Exmor R 8.3MP CMOS Image Sensor through a Sony G Lens with 20x optical zoom. Sony says it has packed technology developed for their professional video cameras to create a compact, easy-to-operate 4K consumer model that's designed to make 4K video and professional-quality audio available to the masses.

The FDR-AX1's powerful image processor is identical to the high-performance processors found in Sony's professional video cameras. By incorporating an image processor that can handle 4K video at 60 fps into a consumer camcorder, everyone will be able to document important family moments, get creative with friends, record sporting events and capture the world around them in lifelike detail. The FDR-AX1's native 3840 x 2160 4K resolution enables you to create movies with four times as much detail and quadruple the image quality of a Full HD 1080p camcorder. Plus, this model features a back-illuminated 8.3MP Exmor R CMOS image sensor that works in concert with the processor so you can record at the maximum frame rate - even when shooting 4K video. This means that even your high-speed action shots and sports videos will be clear, sharp and detailed.

  • Record 4K 3840 x 2160p Video at 60 fps
  • 1/2.3" Exmor R 8.3MP CMOS Image Sensor
  • Sony G Lens with 20x Optical Zoom
  • Built-In Microphone & Dual Pro XLR Jacks
  • Dual XQD Card Slots for 4K Recording
  • XAVC-S Format for 150 Mbps 4K Recording
  • Three ND Filters & Five Paint Functions
  • Independent Zoom, Focus & Iris Rings
  • Seven Assignable Buttons & HDMI Output
  • Supports TRILUMINOS Color Technology

FDR-AX1 4K Sony Camera Fstoppers 1

FDR-AX1 4K Sony Camera Fstoppers 2

FDR-AX1 4K Sony Camera Fstoppers 3

FDR-AX1 4K Sony Camera Fstoppers 4


And to think I was going to buy a cell phone to shoot my next 4K movie (joking). Anyone interested in this? Let us know in the comments below.

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Could we expect even more FPS at lower res? 120FPS at 1080p, for example.

^ what Isaac said! This looks great, just hoping that sensor is up to par!

^THIS. Currently looking at Red camera systems to rent for 120FPS, but if this can handle it I imagine it will be a much more affordable rental.

LAME I was hoping for much more options of sizing and FPS. A 3k and 2k option would be nice. I'm sure this is preliminary, hoping it will change.

4K: 3840 x 2160p at 60 fps (150 Mbps)
4K: 3840 x 2160p at 30 fps (100 Mbps)
4K: 3840 x 2160p at 30 fps (60 Mbps)
4K: 3840 x 2160p at 24 fps (100 Mbps)
4K: 3840 x 2160p at 24 fps (60 Mbps)
4K: 3840 x 2160p at 50 fps (150 Mbps)
4K: 3840 x 2160p at 25 fps (100 Mbps)
4K: 3840 x 2160p at 25 fps (60 Mbps)
HD: 1920 x 1080p at 60 fps (50 Mbps)
HD: 1920 x 1080p at 30 fps (50 Mbps)
HD: 1920 x 1080p at 24 fps (50 Mbps)
HD: 1920 x 1080p at 50 fps (50 Mbps)
HD: 1920 x 1080p at 25 fps (50 Mbps)

Better buy a data center for all that 4k file data you will create. Ultimately I'll wait until computer screens and TV are using this resolution on a regular basis before I invest. Yes these devices are out there but not many computer screens and TVs are in the hands of clients enough to create the want for this.

Right! I personally am happy with the resolution of a macbook pro and an average television.

Filming in 4k is not just about having an output for current iterations of displays. With 4k footage, you can crop, pan, and stabilize your 1080p formatted video file in post process. A 4k camera is not here to undermine the 1080p standard or usher in the new era of displays that are yet to be mainstream.

I read you can film at 4k up to 140 minutes of footage at 30fps on a 64gb card with this camera. For reference, the 5D MKII would output about 192 minutes of footage recorded in 1080p at 30fps on the same card.

Not all that unmanageable in this era of 1TB hard drives at their price point and SSD hard disks. A 140 minutes of footage is a lot of footage for the storage space it will take up.

4k also shouldn't be regarded as a "save it in post" tool. If you have to crop, reframe pan/tilt and stabilize your footage that much, maybe you shouldn't be a dop (or you shouldn't keep hiring poor dop's).

Under that logic we shouldn't shoot RAW, just get it right the first time and always shoot jpeg.

Its an insurance policy and especially good for times when messing up isn't an option, this gives a way to fix it.

Besides sometimes stabilizing a shot more via post is a within the budget where as more equipment isn't for a job.

I'm sorry, but regardless of what format you're shooting, you ought aim to do it right, in camera. Modern technology should only help you refine what you already shot, it shouldn't be something that you rely on to fix a crappy shot (ie. just because you can polish a turd into a diamond, doesn't mean you should). If you have any doubts that a shot was poorly exposed and framed, do a safety take. That's what I used to do when shooting on film and I still do it now, shooting on digital.

Secondly, digital image stabilizing is far from perfect. If your project has the money to rent or shoot on a 4k camera, then you probably have the budget to hire a steadicam operator and/or the proper stabilizing equipment like tripods and dollies.

Lastly, raw isn't an acronym, it doesn't need to be capitalized.

That goes without saying. It's a luxury, not a necessity. Technology is trending that way. It's perfectly fine to insist on proper technique, but I don't see why that is a reason to reject where technology is taking us and the advantages it affords us.

Then again this is the internet, where pissing matches thrive.

Agreed. Normally I'm the devil's advocate in these scenarios but sometimes it's amusing to be the challenger too. People get so worked up, especially here on Fstoppers for some reason, hahah

You missed the point completely...Its not to rely on its just another thing to have that could possibly help or aid you.

..and no just because someone has the budget to rent a $5k camera doesn't mean they have funds for a vast array of equipment and operators. Similarly priced cameras are only a few hundred a week to rent, adding more gear and crew exponentially increases cost.

But you did swoop in arbitrarily to show your superiority with swift comment about the need or lack there of to capitalize something. If we are are nitpicking things I never said it was an acronym....perhaps I assumed it fell under one of the other dozen reasons society has decided we should capitalize something. Regardless you were able to read what I was writing and this isn't a school paper so trying to usurp someone by pointing out grammar/spelling/capitalization mistakes seems like both a waste of time and a battle you'd never win on the internet.


Being able to pan your 4k footage within your 1080p composition, is hardly alluding to "save it in post". That's a useful tool in your figurative toolbox.

Also if a film maker unbeknownst to me makes a shaky handed 4k film and the end result is a beautiful 1080p stabilized shot, I have far kinder words than dope to dish out.

I don't get that denial of 4K. It's like saying you don't need D800 because Facebook or MacBook Pro is not 36Mpix-ready. You can stabilize, but you also can downsample to 1080p to denoise, unsharp or remove moire. It's a hell of additional quality.

Lee Christiansen's picture

I love the marketing of video products... (actually it drives me mad...)

One moment we need 2K HD because SD is not good enough (but look at DigiBeta on SD with a grade 1 monitor and tell me that it's better than HD on a domestic telly...)

Then we need to shoot feature film 35mm format - but only at 35Mbps

Then we need to shoot feature film 35 format but only RAW will do.

But then we need to shoot even larger format (5D's etc) but now heavy compression will be fine...

Oh no, high compression won't do after all so let's all buy C300's (ditch those old Sony F3 cameras. they're no good anymore...)

Ah but the 5D is cheaper and less things are in focus so high compression doesn't matter anymore...

No, let's buy the C500 - it has 4K that we can't watch or deliver yet...

Actually the Red has 6K so 4K isn't enough

But the Red has rolling shutter issues (as does the Arri Alexa) and although we've never had an issue with it on top feature films we should only buy cameras with global shutters... Oh no they're too expensive so it's not an issue... Oh they're cheaper now so it's an issue again, (unless you want to shoot on a Red or Arri - when it's not an issue...)

But now we've 4K on a cheap camera - so the large format thing isn't an issue.

Sure we can't deliver in 4K but let's crop everything so we never need to pan again. (Has anyone actually tried to reformat 4K to 2K without artifacts...? Most people can't make SD from HD without expensive hardware unless they're happy with artifacts from the conversion).


How can the industry change it's mind over the image aesthetic so many times or get excited about cameras that only have pixel count as their main sell point.

I find so many times, the same people that will only shoot on a 5D2 because of the shallow depth of field, turn full circle and will shoot on a 1/3" camera if it is cheaper or has more pixels...

The marketing boys are certainly earning their pennies...!

That is exactly what I meant posting my first comment. What is wrong with a global shutter and 6K RAW @ 120FPS?? Especially if the gear is rented and you can earn more for implementing that technology by gaining quality...

Lee Christiansen's picture

Nothing wrong with tech getting better - I'm all for it.

Alas though we seem to suffer prod companies changing their minds as to why certain cameras are a "must."

One moment it's because we "must" have crazy shallow depth of field, and the next moment it is because we "must have more pixels than we can deliver.

Unfortunately it's not often that these requests are considered carefully and more often that they are following the hype. I've asked why when requests for 5K come in, and often the answer is that they don't know... but isn't that the best...? (When the actual delivery is SD projection...!)

And many times requests or demands for 3D, 4K, 5K, 6K large format, RAW recording etc don't come with bigger budgets. If they came with appropriate budgets then I'd be shooting with larger crews and more time to get the results clients "think" they want.

For those of us that do own many £000's of equipment it is frustrating when an "older" piece of kit will do the job better than the latest "must have" toy of the day.

No camera manufacturer would tell me what is good or wrong. I use my own eyes and I tell you, 4K is a one way ticket and there is no way not to fall in love with it :)

Lee Christiansen's picture

But if delivery is 1920x1080 (4K delivery is at best a very niche market for many years to come,) and assuming we're not panning and scanning our framing, is there an advantage to down-resing and re-sampling a 4K image to deliverable HD?

actually, a native 1080 sensor with bigger pixel area, is far better (and even sharper) than downscaled 4k. I dare to say, a 3 layer foveon like 1080 sensor will be sharper than native 4k bayern pattern sensor

Jacob Cornelius's picture

Cropping during Post is the only advantage I can think of, but it is a big one.

Some people need to be marketed to. The rest of us are doing our best to be well informed and well researched consumers :)

It is so unfair that European have to pay so much more for this camcorder.

The price in sony usa is $4,500 (£2812) and the price in sony uk is £3,800.

So much so that it is cheaper to get a plane ticket to NY spend few days there and come back with this beauty.

Jacob Cornelius's picture

Consumer 4K? Perfect for that 4 camera shoot at my daughter's next birthday party!