New top-spec Handycam from Sony

Alongside its headline-grabbing announcement of a consumer-ish 4K camcorder (the AX100), Sony has also released a slew of updates to its more conventional consumer line up within which the top-spec model deserves a lot of attention in its own right.

The disarmingly named CX900 is pretty much exactly the same as the aforementioned AX100 except that it doesn’t shoot 4K, remaining firmly in normal HD territory. Everything else is carried across though including the gigantic one-inch 20-megapixel sensor and the collection of real – yes, physical! – manual controls.

Sony CX900

Sony CX900

So it gets a big focus ring which can be switched to control zoom. There’s a separate dial next to the lens for controlling exposure. A button on the strap side of the camcorder near the lens enables a magnified view for better focusing. ND filters are switched in from a toggle at the back.

Sony CX900 from strap side

Sony CX900 from strap side

The Carl Zeiss lens has 12x optical zoom, at f2.8 to f4.5. Recording is in various formats, the novelty being XAVC-S. This uses the H.264 codec, the as AVCHD but at 50Mbps for greater detail in the recorded 1080/50p files. Conventional 50p AVCHD at 28Mbps is also an option as is 25p 3Mbps MP4 recording for files that are quicker to share online.

Sony CX900 from side

Sony CX900 from side

Given its manual controls, large sensor, headphone and microphone jacks and array of standard Handycam features such as well-regarded optical stabilisation, for anyone who’s not yet bothered by the 4K tsunami coming our way this year, this could be the enthusiast camcorder of choice for 2014.

Sony CX900 from back

Sony CX900 from back

There’s lots more info at www.sony.co.uk/product/cam-high-definition-on-memory-stick/hdr-cx900e and pre-orders are now being taken at £1,509 GBP inc VAT

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