It was only a matter of time.
With overwhelming success of the Canon 5D Mark II and subsequent video-capable DSLRs, it was only a matter of time before someone broke the mold and put a DSLR-sized sensor in a true camcorder body. I suspect that Canon and Nikon are both working on a similar concept; however, it looks as if Sony may be the first one out of the gate.
Sony has announced that it is working on a camcorder based on the 14.2MP CMOS sensor found in the newly announced NEX-5 and NEX-3. The camcorder will allow the new Sony E-mount lenses to be used, as well as existing Alpha-mount lenses.
The camera will be capable of capturing AVCHD video in what I would expect to be a number of frame rate options. While the Alpha line of DSLRs are still a fresh undertaking for Sony, the electronics giant is hardly a rookie in the camcorder field.
The potential of a true camcorder with an APS-sized sensor is nearly boundless. The limitations that we cringe about when using a 5D Mark II, 7D, 1D Mark IV or D3s are essentially wiped away and you’re left with a camcorder that captures something that doesn’t look like video. Having that shallow depth of field along with a camcorder functionality and form-factor brings an all new threat to the table.
How much easier would that be to operate? Can I have a slice of timecode pie please?
While Sony hasn’t specified a target audience or price range yet, serious filmmakers should be holding their breath that Sony will deliver something along these lines.
Sony plans to release its new genre-breaking camcorder in Fall 2010.
UPDATE: Sadly, it doesn’t appear to be high-end camcorder I was hoping for. Sony didn’t include any images or video in its press materials; however, thanks to 1001 Noisy Cameras, I found a couple of images and videos that were on Sony’s electronics blog, which reveal a more consumer-oriented rendering of the in-development camcorder. While I’m sure it will be no slouch in the performance department, Sony does not appear to be aiming quite as high as I initially suspected.
It’s a start though. And make no mistake, that higher-end APS camcorder is in development in someone’s R&D department right now.
Sony Press Release
Sony announced today that it is developing a new type of AVCHD high definition camcorder which features key technologies powering the newly announced interchangeable lens digital camera, “NEX-5” and “NEX-3”.
The new camcorder will be equipped with the same “Exmor” APS HD CMOS sensor to be used in “NEX-5” and “NEX-3.” In addition, the camcorder will be compatible with “E Mount” interchangeable lenses developed for “NEX-5” and “NEX-3”, and also the wealth of “A Mount” interchangeable lenses from the existing “?” DSLR camera lineup via a mount adapter. By combining these features, Sony aims to market a camcorder capable of generating a variety of creative expressions in HD quality.
Sony plans to commercialize the new HD camcorder in fall 2010.