In Tokyo today at the InterBEE show, Sony unveiled a new series of tidy 1/3-inch pro camcorders, called NXCAM, which it hopes will bring the compressed benefits of AVCHDâ€”similar quality to HDV in less space or better looking video in the same spaceâ€”to the pro market. A few of us got a sneak peek at a prototype back in October. Said Bob Ott, VP of the broadcast and professional audio/video products group, during that preview, the â€œNâ€ and â€œXâ€ in the name stand for nonlinear and multi-purpose, and thatâ€™s what this camera will deliver when it ships next year. You can record up to 24 Mbps on AVCHD for full-res 1920x1080p images (Sony officially refers to it as 21 Mbps, says Ott, as thatâ€™s the actual payload), as well as 720/50p and MPEG-2 for SD.
Ott and group marketing manager Tatsuro Kurachi said the 1/3-inch ClearVid sensor, enhanced with Exmor CMOS technology, brings much more light sensitivity, and less noise, to images than most other 1/3-inch chips can. The Exmor special sauce, added Ott, even brings 3D LUT processing into the mix, giving you on-the-fly rotoscoping and some very powerful color adjusts in camera (i.e., fix only the color you want and leave the others intact).
On the media side, the NXCAM will let you record to Sonyâ€™s own Memory Stick Pro (there are two slots), or to a 128GB Flash drive, a likely popular option that will go from your camera directly into your laptop or desktopâ€™s USB slot (bye-bye breakout cables). Thereâ€™s also a 20x zoom lens (the same one used on Sonyâ€™s HDV camcorder, the Z5U), an active optical stabilizer, 10-bit HD-SDI as well as HDMI out, and timecode in and out. Ott and Kurachi told us that the NXCAM line will â€œlive concurrentlyâ€ with Sonyâ€™s existing HDV lineup.
And what about price? Exact model numbers and prices wonâ€™t be announced until January 6. The ship date for the first in the series is scheduled for early 2010.