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Sony AX100 4K video camera hands on review

by | Jul 1, 2014 | Blog, MAARTECH

Earlier this year I reviewed Sony’s first 4K consumer video camera. Even before I’d finished the review, Sony announced the AX100 – with a larger sensor, and a lower price.

The review was shot in Toronto in June, 2013 – there is always a lot going on in Toronto in June. The equestrian events were recorded at Blue Star farm in Mount Albert. The aquarium scenes at Ripley’s, a new attraction in Toronto. There are two coffee shops (Nespresso on Cumberland and Dineen on Yonge) recorded as part of a video about coffee shops I produced with Paul Marshman. The deer and chipmunks are in my backyard. I revisited Toronto Island in the summer, to contrast the winter scenes shot on the AX1. John Powell took me for a ride on his Harley along Bloor Street and in High Park. Chloe Charles appeared at Yonge Dundas Square, Jesse Cook with Amanda Martinez at Luminato at David Pecaut Square, Calla sang at Adam Sakiyama’s Cabaret at the Lower Ossington Theatre, The Arkells at the Ontario Science Centre’s launch event for their Science of Rock and Roll exhibit. Other scenes were recorded at Distillery District, along the western end of the Martin Goodman Trail, and at water fountains at Nathan Philips Square (featuring Toronto’s “new” City Hall).

Steady shot makes zooms and pans slightly jumpy – which I didn’t notice until after I’d been shooting for a while. On a tripod, I advise turning steady shot off. The remote control does (often) work inside – the IR signal seems to bounce off the wall back into the IR receiver. When I recorded both AVCHD and XAVC-S files on the same card, Final Cut recognized only the files in the AVCHD package. In order to import the XAVC-S files on the card I needed to copy the M4Root folder so that Final Cut could see it outside the Private folder on the card. The dual record MPEG4 files are stored in the MP_ROOT/100ANV1 folder.

My scarf? It’s an Anke.

The conclusion I should have put in the video: I love the quality of 4K – even on a 27inch 1440 res display, it looks so clear and detailed. If I owned one, obviously I’d start shooting my reviews using 4K. However, interchangeable lenses make the NEX VG20 I’m using a slightly better experience. The zoom and focus by wire functionality really compromise the AX100 for me.

Production notes: the HDMI output doesn’t include the data display – so those scenes were recorded using the A6000, with the SEL1670Z, and an ND filter. Unfortunately, there’s still some moire, but it is better than my previous attempts to shoot the screen, thanks to the guys at DV Shop. However, once you switch to the menu, it is output on HDMI – so those are captured using the elgato game capture HD.

There are two green screen composites, both shots are taken with the AX100, using the Westcott Xdrop – works well, recommended. Lit using one lowel toga light, and an easy key in Final Cut 10.1

Edited in Final Cut on an iMac. The 4K output from Final Cut runs at a data rate of 62.39 Mbits/sec. Sadly, the youtube version is considerably less. The menu screens are either edited/condensed or speeded up.

If there’s a detail I’ve overlooked, please ask. I welcome and respond to all comments and questions.

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