The 4K Resolution Revolution

Even though most current DSLR sensors can capture stills at resolutions above 4K, the processing needs for capturing, converting, compressing and outputting such huge files at so many frames per second requires much faster camera mechanics than are available. DSLRs capture in the H.264 codec while its upcoming successor, H.265, is much more compression-friendly when it comes to 4K and other files, so it’s likely that we’ll be seeing DSLRs and mirrorless models capable of 4K video soon. Panasonic, for example, has confirmed that its next GH model will be capable of 4K video resolution.

Sony 4K Handycam FDR-AX100

Sony‘s 4K Handycam FDR-AX100 was announced in January as a more compact 4K camcorder solution over their previously announced 4K-capable model, the FDR-AX1. Notable for its price under $2,000 and offering a brand-new 14.2-megapixel Exmor R CMOS sensor, it captures UHD at 3840×2160 in 24 fps and 30 fps, as well as 120 fps for slow-motion effects. The 12x optical zoom Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* lens starts wide at 29mm, and while the XAVC S file format will play back on Sony 4K Bravia TVs through the camcorder’s HDMI connection, the camera can also work in a Dual Video Recording mode for simultaneously acquiring a high-def copy for HDTVs and Blu-ray discs.

The more expensive FDR-AX1 includes several professional options like Sony Vegas Pro 12 editing software, dual XQD memory card slots and two high-quality XLR jacks for working with advanced microphone systems.

For professional filmmakers, Sony produces the highly capable NEX-FS700R, PMW-F5, PMW-F55 and F65 cameras, which require dedicated (and expensive) SxS memory cards or video recorders to capture 4K. List Price: $1,999 (FDR-AX100); $4,999 (FDR-AX1); $7,699 (NEX-FS700R), $19,400 (PMW-F5); $34,927 (PMW-F55); $65,000 (F65).

As part of the Canon Cinema EOS line of EF lens-mount cameras and camcorders, the Canon EOS-1D C is an 18.1-megapixel, top-of-the-line, full-frame DSLR capable of capturing full 4K video resolution at 24/25 fps with high-definition video capture available at up to 60 fps.

Canon EOS-1D C

The Canon EOS C500, also compatible with EF lenses, is a dedicated camcorder solution capable of both full 4K and Ultra HD resolutions at a frame rate of up to 60 fps.

There are several new Cinema Lenses developed to meet the heightened resolution requirements of 4K video. This line is available in EF mount for Canon cameras as well as PL mount, a common lens mount for cinema lenses and movie cameras. (The C500 is also available with a PL mount.) These solutions are priced for professional users. List Price: $11,999 (Canon EOS-1D C, body only); $19,999 (Canon EOS C500).

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