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Sony HDRCX900/B Video Camera with 3.5-Inch LCD (Black)
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- 1" Exmor R CMOS sensor with Direct Pixel Read Out
- 14MP resolution video and 20MP still image capture
- Versatile shooting with XAVC-S, AVCHD and MP4 codecs
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Welcome to broadcast-quality HD video from the palm of your hand. The 1" image sensor is approximately 8x larger than that of typical camcorders for capturing defocused backgrounds and true cinematic depth. It"s flexible, too. Record your vision in XAVCS (up to 50mpbs), AVCHD or MP4 codecs with impressive clarity and color accuracy. There"s nothing else like it in the industry.
From the Manufacturer
Welcome to broadcast-quality HD video from the palm of your hand. The 1” image sensor is approximately 8x larger than that of typical camcorders for capturing defocused backgrounds and true cinematic depth. It’s flexible, too. Record your vision in XAVC S (up to 50mpbs), AVCHD or MP4 codecs with impressive clarity and color accuracy. There’s nothing else like it in the industry.
1” Exmor R CMOS sensor w/ Direct Pixel Read Out
The world’s first 1.0” CMOS sensor featuring an Exmor R CMOS image sensor technology. With this back-illuminated technology, the sensor doubles light sensitivity and combines with Sony’s Column A/D Conversion to reduce noise by half — a great help when photographing in dimly lit environments. Markedly reduced noise is evident even when high-sensitivity settings are used for capturing night landscapes or indoor scenes.
Optical SteadyShot Image Stabilization w/ Active Mode
Optical SteadyShot Image Stabilization with Intelligent Active Mode is an advanced optical image stabilization technology that corrects camera shake to capture scenes with phenomenal smoothness and stability. Intelligent Active Mode analyzes video frames and provides compensation with assistance from the new BIONZ X image processing engine. Whether recording movies while strolling on vacation, shooting while chasing a child, or zooming in to capture faraway subjects, Handycam’s simple solution smoothly reproduces the scene with a higher level of stability.
Versatile shooting w/ XAVC S, AVCHD and MP4 codecs1
The HDR-CX900 records HD movies in the XAVC S format, which uses MPEG-4 AVC/H.2641 for video compression and linear PCM for audio compression, while saving files in a MP42 wrapper. The highly compressed files allow extensive record times. The camcorder also records in AVCHD, ideal for quality video for HDTV and Blu-ray disc burning. Additionally, the camcorder can shoot MP4 HD video, which is ideal for sharing over the internet at up to 28Mbps. Having the ability to switch between all three of three formats makes this camcorder an ideal tool that is versatile for creating content to live in a number of different environments.
Zeiss Vario Sonnar T* lens w/ 12x optical zoom
The HDR-CX900 comes equipped with a newly developed Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* lens that has cleared a series of tough performance tests. Not only is this 29mm wide-angle lens ideal for capturing grand landscapes, but it covers wide-ranging image expression thanks to maximum 12x optical zoom and 24x Clear Image zoom.
Multi-interface Accessory Shoe for system accessories
Users can expand photographic and movie shooting possibilities by attaching optional accessories via the Multi Interface Shoe, including an electronic viewfinder, powerful external flash and stereo microphone. You can also connect with a compatible remote control via Multi Terminal (accessories sold separately).
BIONZ X Processor enables high Speed rec 120fps
The new BIONZ X image processor enables the camcorder to create more naturally vivid and lifelike image quality, and higher resolution imagery.
14MP resolution video and 20MP still image capture
Create cinematic video with 14MP resolution sensor (for video) and high quality 20MP still images.
Large 3.5" Xtra Fine LCD
The 3.5” (16:9) Xtra Fine LCD screen (921K) displays sharp, bright, vivid images, letting you compose a shot more easily -- even outdoors, while enabling you to change settings to best represent the scene.
High contrast 0.39" OLED EVF for eye-level framing
The HDR-CX900 employs high contrast a 0.39” OLED Tru-Finder EVF which reproduces rich color and deep black. A new optical design of the EVF, using four dual-surface aspherical lenses, allows for a 33-degree wide angle view that is amazing clear through the edge of the view finder.
Simple connectivity to smartphones via Wi-Fi/NFC
Connectivity with smartphones for One-touch sharing/One-touch remote has been simplified with Wi-Fi/NFC control. In addition to Wi-Fi support for connecting to smartphones, the HDR-CX900 also supports NFC (near field communication) providing “touch connection” convenience when transferring images to Android smartphones and tablets. Users need only touch devices to connect; no complex set-up is required. Moreover, when using Smart Remote Control — a feature that allows shutter release to be controlled by a smartphone — connection between HDR-CX900 and the smartphone can be established by simply touching devices.
1. Class 10+ SDXC memory card is required for recording in XAVC S
2. Area specific noise reduction swiftly and efficiently analyzes the subject and reduces noise.
2014 Sony Electronics Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited. Sony, Exmor R, BIONZ and the Sony logo are trademarks of Sony Corporation. All other trademarks are trademarks of their respective owners. Features and specifications subject to change without notice.
Seller Warranty DescriptionAll Brand New Items with all Manufacturer supplied Accessories + Full USA Warranties
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So I was very anxious to get the CX900 with a 1" sensor and a Zeiss lens. So far I've been very pleased with the image quality, build quality, and overall performance. The Active SteadiShot is good as well, even though the whole optical block does NOT move on this camera. The 24x Zoom is amazing, and I can see only a little "breakdown" at the extreme 20+ portion of the zoom enlargement. The stills seem to be excellent so far as well.
I will be filming a symphony concert this weekend, using two CX900s, my CX760s, my EX-1, and a Hero 3. I will report here what my analysis is of the overall image quality. But so far, I'm very happy with my purchase.
One thing....the Cinema Tone setting (set as a default OFF as delivered) is almost too much! The color was so eye-popping it reminds me of super-saturated Technicolor. Or an episode of PUSHING DAISIES. Everything was SO colorful and almost intense...my lawn had never looked greener, etc. If you want a slightly unnatural, but beautiful vision of the world, it's great. In doing side-by-side tests, I found that the color balance matched EXACTLY when I had the Cinema Tone ON for my CX760s and OFF for the CX900.
I shot with 2 of these cameras yesterday (a friend also bought one and we used his as the 2nd camera) a symphony concert inside a church. I also used my EX-1 and my two CX760s. While I haven't gotten a chance to edit yet, I can tell that the CX900 output SUPERB footage, certainly equal to if not better than the 3 chip 1/2" sensor pro EX-1 camera. The CX760s are visibly "softer"--it's not horrid, by any means, but when you intercut with the CX900's it's obvious the latter camera is superior. I'm really looking forward to editing and getting everything on blu ray. I'm already impressed enough that I ordered a 2nd CX900 and hopefully a third will follow as well.
I did a quick rolling shutter test, as others have commented about it. It's not a deal breaker by any means, at least to my eye. Yes, it's there, but if you're panning that fast (and you have to really whipsaw the camera back and forth!) you're going to have some distortion visually. I panned fast over a brick wall, and at least to my eye the rolling shutter effect reminded me of an old Roadrunner cartoon, where the backgrounds would slant to help infer the feeling of speed. The rolling shutter effect rectified instantly when I returned to a more normal pan speed. The rolling shutter is NOT a serious problem, at least for me. If you were shooting documentaries about skateboarding, car races, or tennis games where you would have a lot of fast panning, then it might be an issue for you....but if you're shooting a wedding, your kids birthday parties, a school play/concert, then there's no problem at all.
Speaking as a film maker, 20 years ago I would have killed to have this kind of resolution and portability in a camera!
But before the review, let me say that some sample 1080 video can be viewed at youtube.com/user/handshakevideo under Sample Video.
Here's the good stuff and then the nitpicks.
I bought the CX900 to replace a Canon HF G20 because I couldn't stand the jaggies and artifacts generated by the G20. I have worked hard to create a jaggy with the CX900 and haven't seen one yet. Artifacts have been extremely rare (with extremely underlined). Importing and editing XAVC-S has been a breeze in FCPX. The files import directly and stand up to some heavy color correction, grading, resizing, filters, transitions and effects. I am sold on this camera and XAVC-S - 50Mpbs. Some of my videos look so good on my computer that they suggest 3D. Most often I shoot in 30p, but 60p is great for slow motion. 24p is there when it's wanted. The 20M stills allow some lovely Ken Burns style, pan and zoom to supplement video.
The CX900 does everything I was looking for, plus it does some things much better than expected. The 1" sensor, fantastic lens, good aperture range and ND filters combine to make attaining shallow DOF easy compared to the other six camcorders that I have owned. The buttons, Manual Dial and controls combine to make quick adjustments to changing conditions fast and easy. I am trying to swear off auto-exposure and auto-focus to eliminate those auto-adjustments in mid-clip. This is the first camcorder that I have owned that makes me feel confident that I can do it. The Focus Magnifier and Peaking make fine manual focusing much easier than anything I've used in the past. The Iris, Gain/ISO and Shutter Speed buttons, used in combination with the Manual Dial and zebra striping provide quick exposure controls to match the intended outcome. The menu and touch screen controls are logical, quick and easy to understand. The build quality seems amazingly solid compared to my HF G20.
The on/off functionality is fantastic. During normal use, just close the LCD (or viewfinder) and the camera turns off. Open one or the other and it turns on, almost instantly. Seems like something designed by Apple. It should just work that way. That on/off thing is going to spoil me for any other on/off functionality. There is a power button under the LCD. I have used it before removing the SD card, but neither the camera nor the card seem to care whether the camera is on or off when the card is inserted or removed.
I do have a few nitpicks and here they are.
It should have two card slots. Sure I can change cards with the camera turned on, but why not two cards with roll-over recording? Plus if you remove a card to transfer files you better not go anywhere to shoot video without putting it back in the camera slot or you aren't going to record anything because there's no internal memory. I don't want internal memory. I want two card slots.
The shoe should support a standard foot. The Multi-interface shoe is recessed and has flanges that prohibit mounting a standard shoe without an adapter. None of Sony's adapters support a standard shoe. I ordered an adapter from The Auction Site. My Videomic Pro foot is going to be modified with a Dremel tool so that it will drop into the recessed shoe without an adapter. Rode is sending a replacement foot for free in case I need it.
Sony should make a clearer statement about what SD cards will work with XAVC-S 50Mpbs. A SanDisk at BB with the correct specs did not work with XAVC-S. The 64GB Sony card SF64UY/TQMN on Amazon Prime works wonderfully at a lower price.
Sony should not have released the camera without a full manual for USA customers. I was told by Sony Support that a full manual will be available on April 15. I downloaded a 190 page Help Manual from Sony Europe. Needless to say it was my guide to learning the camera.
I'll miss the flip-up lens cover built into the Canon HF G20 lens hood. I hate losing lens covers.
This review is based on 14 years of hobby videoing. I am slowly getting better and this camera will help remove excuses (gulp). I've been lucky so far with almost five hundred thousand youtube views of my videos. If I find any problems or more nitpicks with the CX900, I'll add them to this review.