The HXR-NX5U had been expected, as it had already been previewed in November. Given Sony’s proclivity for having a high-end and low-end model based on the same basic camera, the HDR-AX2000 isn’t a shock - though it is a surprise that it was announced at the same time. I was expecting it to appear in a few months, though I got it half right; it will be available two months after the NX5U!
It seems that the NXCAM name is being reserved for the professional cameras. Both cameras share the same basic case, lens and use AVCHD to record at up to 24Mbps. Where they differ is that the NX5U includes both HD-SDI and HDMI outputs as well as two-channel linear PCM audio capabilities, 720/60P recording, built in GPS, SMPTE Time Code I/O and an upgrade option for 60i/50i switchable. The add-on Flash Memory unit (the HXR-FMU128 $800), can only be used with the NX5U.
And the surprises keep coming; the NX5U can record to SDHC cards, as well as Memory Stick Pro cards (but the AX2000 is limited to Memory Stick, which is kind of odd.) I couldn’t figure out from the site how the SDHC cards are used; I’m guessing they go in the same slots as the Memory Stick pro cards?
One more surprise, both cameras have dual XLR 3-pin audio jacks for +48V phantom power to external microphones (in previous generations, the prosumer version of the camera lacks the XLR inputs, so that’s a big plus!)
Sony’s electronics site doesn’t have much up other than the announcement, but Sony’s professional unit’s site has sample video and a brochure for the NX5U!
The HXR-NX5U will be available this month, at a suggested list price of $4,950, the same list price as the existing HDV-based HVR-Z5U. The HDR-AX2000 camcorder is scheduled to be available in March for about $3,500.