Sony has a new 4K Handycam, the FDR-AX43, a compact model with an in-built gimbal mechanism, developed as a versatile tool for content creators and vloggers.
Sony announced a new 4K Handycam featuring an acclaimed in-built gimbal mechanism, Balanced Optical SteadyShot technology, for capturing smooth, natural and high-quality video footage. The FDR-AX43, says the company, “has been developed for content creators and vloggers who want their footage to demonstrate a refined quality that will stand the test of time.”
The camera is aimed at all those who want to capture their travel or family memories and want the best quality possible in a compact, portable and easy to use model, but is also, claims Sony, “an incredibly efficient and versatile tool for content creators as part of their home studio and product review set-up.”
Key features and technologies
The FDR-AX43implements some of Sony’s most advanced imaging technologies including:
- Balanced Optical SteadyShot with a unique in-built-gimbal mechanism for smooth footage while walking, running or at full zoom
- ZEISS Vario-Sonnar T* zoom lens with wide angle of 26.8mm
- 20x optical zoom and Clear Image Zoom of 30x for 4K / 40x for HD
- 1/2.5-type Exmor R CMOS image sensor and BIONZ X image processing engine delivering excellent image quality, even in low-light conditions
- High-bitrate shooting (100Mbps for XAVC S 4K, 50Mbps for XAVC S HD)[xx]
- Fast Intelligent AF for quick and precise subject capture
- Microphone structure with three mic capsules sound gathering for advanced sound quality[xxi]
- Flip-screen for selfie shooting
- Long battery life (Up to 235 mins continuous recording time with the supplied battery) and power supply from AC adaptor
- New Highlight Movie Maker which creates short movies in-camera in 4K or HD resolution without any need for post-production editing. Easily share MP4 movies on social media sites via smartphone.
The in-built gimbal mechanism
A key feature of the Sony FDR-AX43 is its in-built gimbal mechanism, a system that deserves to be explained. Gimbals inside cameras are not exactly new, but they are an interesting development that shows how technology has evolved. We recently wrote here at ProVideo Coalition about the Fujifilm X-T200 the first digital camera from Fujifilm to feature the Digital Gimbal Mode. It uses gyroscopic sensors installed in the camera body to help it determine how to account for camera shake and apply its digital image stabilization algorithm, which allows for smoother video capture. The new function has two limitations that users must be aware of: the field of view is cropped, and lenses and angles of view that can be used are limited. Follow the link to the article “Fujifilm X-T200: the first X-series camera with a digital gimbal inside” to read the whole story.
Here we look in more detail at Sony’s Balanced Optical SteadyShot, which is a unique stabiliser, with a gimbal mechanism about 13 times more effective than other optical systems, according to Sony’s internal survey. It allows users to capture smooth, professional-looking images, even at full zoom or while running — with no need for bulky external gimbals.
Powerful mechanism, intelligent algorithm
Unlike conventional optical image stabilisation using a single lens element, Sony’s Balanced Optical SteadyShot manipulates the entire lens unit and image sensor together — effective for even high zoom and strong camera shake correction.
To make the system work Sony has developed a powerful, yet quiet, mechanism for Balanced Optical SteadyShot. Two compact, energy-efficient motors manipulate the entire lens unit and image sensor vertically and horizontally — powerfully correcting camera-shake blur of pitch and yaw axes while sophisticated algorithm compensates for blur caused by camera shake in roll axis.
Sony’s software algorithm judges between undesired shake (corrected) and intentional motion (allowed). When the camera’s angular velocity sensor detects camera shake, this system analyses the unique vibration pattern in real time. Unintended shake is then separated from intentional movement, reducing any latency in tracking your intended movement.
Developed and refined for Handycam, Sony’s innovative Balanced Optical SteadyShot is also now available in Action Cam models.
The FDR-AX43 will be available in Europe in July 2020, priced at approximately €700.