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Old August 18th, 2012, 05:20 PM   #1
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Sony EX1 or AX2000 ?


This is my first post here. I hope I can get som advice from you to which cam I should chose.

First, I'm 100% amateur and have done video recording for the last 20 years. So far I think
I have done some OK recordings but sometimes I hate the quality of my shootings in therms
of wind noise, low light and noise level.
I have now made up my mind, I want to step up from my Sony UX5 HD cam to a prof. series.

I have read tons of reviews but I'm still not sure what is the best.

I want a prof. cam that records in full HD and at least has stereo input mic + external input,
it MUST have SD card slot because I just don't like mini-DV I think thats too old fashion,
It should have 3 seperate rings for adjusting iris, zoom and no PMW100,
I would prefer souround sound recording but that seems to be impossible to find in the pro
series ?
I'm planning to buy a used cam, because a new costs a bit more than I'm ready to pay.
I found some used cam for around 2800 USD.

All I can find that suits my req. is the Sony EX1(R) or Sony AX2000.
I know the EX1 has a bigger CMOS sensor and in therory should have less noise at low
light, but is that the fact in real life?

I have seen a lot of videos from both cams on youtube but OMG how poor quality I have
seen there. It seems to me like the color saturation is too high and way out of natural
color, why is that ?
Worse example I can find is this one
I would say it looks like shotting from a 100 USD cam and not a prof. cam
But also here is something that doesnt look natural to me
I have never seen such green grass in real life....and to me it doesnt look like recordings
from a prof cam.
So my qustions, can a EX1 or AX2000 not record with better color realism than this?

How good is that image stabilizer on the cams ? Well if I look on the recordings on
youtube with handheld shootings, it seems just awfull how much the pictures is
not stabile.OK I could use Adobe Premiere to do some software image stabilisation
but what is the cam able to do?

Maybe I should look for a different cam ?
I hope you can give me some hints in my selection process :-)
I dont mind paying for a good cam, I just want a good quality....and a lot I have seen on
youtubbe from the two cams I have in mind, is just not very good. Maybe its the person
behind the cam? but I mean....if I pay a lot of money on a good cam, I expect it to
record broadcast quality and a LOT better than my UX5 amateur cam.

Thanks for your help
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Old August 18th, 2012, 08:04 PM   #2
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Re: Sony EX1 or AX2000 ?

First of all welcome. If I could only have 1 camera and it had to do everything well, it would be the EX1.
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Old August 19th, 2012, 02:45 AM   #3
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Re: Sony EX1 or AX2000 ?

Originally Posted by Tom Keller Christensen View Post
I'm planning to buy a used cam, because a new costs a bit more than I'm ready to pay. I found some used cam for around 2800 USD.
The EX1R costs almost 2x as much new as the AX2000. If you are comparing a used EX1 at $2800 with a similarly priced AX2000, I would expect the EX1 to have much more wear. If both cameras are in similar condition the EX1 will outperform the AX2000; however, if the EX1 has dirt in the lens and a broken microphone then the AX2000 might be a better choice.

Since you are used to shooting with the UX5, you might prefer a smaller camera. Have you considered something like a Panasonic HMC40 or perhaps the Canon XA10? Either of these produce a significantly better picture than the UX5 and (with the adaptor on the HMC40) both have XLR microphone inputs. If you can wait, the HMC90 is also a small camera that should have excellent performance.

Your You Tube examples show that having a high quality post work flow is more important than the exact camera used. While people with cheap cameras often skimp on the work flow as well, with the proper post processing a $800 GH2 can produce nearly as pleasing a picture as a $70000 ARRI Alexa. This was demonstrated in a recent camera shootout.

Good luck with your decision!

Last edited by Eric Olson; August 19th, 2012 at 05:57 PM.
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Old August 20th, 2012, 06:22 PM   #4
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Re: Sony EX1 or AX2000 ?

I don't know that I would trust a used EX1 for $2800 unless I had it fully checked out by a Sony Tech. That seems a bit low even thought the camera is no longer in production. The examples you linked to are both horrible examples no matter what camera they came from. I can get much better results using my Canon HVX20.

As for the EX1 vs. the AX2000, The EX1 will outperform it in every category. The larger sensor will be better in low light. The optics are better. The internal codec is superior to AVCHD and the picture can be tweaked a lot more in the EX1 than the AX2000. The AX2000 is not a bad camera, it's just that the EX1 is in a different class of camera.

But, the added quality comes at a price. The batteries will be much more expensive. Accessories will run about twice as much. And, in order for you to record to SD cards you'll need to purchase adapters to go into the SxS slots. Those run about $50 a piece. The EX1 is not a pull it out of the box and shoot camera. You'll be underwhelmed with the picture out of the box. There is a bit of a learning curve especially if you are coming from a consumer camera. But, the quality you can get out of the camera is worth the work.

Here's a decent example of what you can get out of an EX1.

I just popped into the EX1 Samples section of this forum and pulled the first one that I clicked on. There are better out there too. I took a class with Hiro Narita and got to see some footage he shot for a small Indie move that he used the EX3 to shoot. That blew me away.
Garrett Low

Last edited by Garrett Low; August 21st, 2012 at 11:15 AM.
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Old August 21st, 2012, 10:56 AM   #5
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Re: Sony EX1 or AX2000 ?

You've discovered that it isn't the camera it's the "nut" behind the viewfinder... Yes, there are limits imposed by any camera, but a good operator with good post can get GOOD footage.

Consumer camera output quality isn't going to be "broadcast quality", although it may well be quite good. There are so many variables in "broadcast" footage the end user sees it's hard to use that as a yardstick, and the production end typically starts quite a lot higher up the $$ ladder. And for top quality, you also need to have your editing system set up with calibrated monitors, and calibrated TV's, etc, etc.

Asking "which camera should I buy" (as evidenced by the ginormous thread of the same name) is like asking what car or shirt or lunch should I buy... it varies, depending on budget, use, user preference, etc.

At the end of the day, there isn't a "perfect" camera, and you might even end up with more than one to meet ALL the things you want to do.

FWIW, for the money you might look at the Sony NX30 - it's a "this year's model", so you should get the latest bells and whistles (including state of the art image quality), and it can be reconfigured from "consumer size" to a mini-pro setup. Not bad for the price, and has the new super image stabilization that seems to be getting good reviews It's a "dressed up" PJ760 if you want to save a few bucks (sort of like how the AX2000 is a "dressed down" NX5U if I remember my model designations correctly). Technology changes pretty fast, and looking at cameras even a couple years "out of date", even cams that were the top of the heap when released, may not be the best place to spend the money.
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Old August 22nd, 2012, 01:17 PM   #6
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Re: Sony EX1 or AX2000 ?

Thanks for all your input so far. Much appriciatet.

The reason for having those two cams in mind is, the EX1 seems to be really good, but I can also see the AX2000 has slow motion at 240 fps which is an awesome feature imho. Also has a better optical zoom. Yes I know x20 zoom need a tripod (I got that and use it regularly).

I found some EX1 with 100-1000 h on the counter. Im not so vorried about that since electronics seldom wear in terms of quality. But ok, one day the electronics might quit and a repair might be expensive.

Since Im not going for broardcast, its still not easy to decide. I followed a few auction on ebay, but OMG they are bidding almost the same like new, for the AX2000. The EX1 has a much more fair price tag.

If the AX2000 would have a 1/2 size CMOS I would buy it instantly, but low lights is one of my reasons for upgrading, so I still consider what to buy.

Im not sure if I as amateur can tell the difference between the codecs. To me they all seems good.

ATM im thinking on buying an AX2000 from UK. I can see some1 there who is selling them 20% lower than std. price. I guess its because they are imported from Hong Kong and sold without VAT. Hmm that leave an open question with warranty and if the cam after 1 year will break down, can I send it to Sony in europe for repair or must I send it to Hong Kong.
Not easy to make up my mind :)
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Old August 23rd, 2012, 05:56 AM   #7
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Re: Sony EX1 or AX2000 ?

Both of these cameras will do the job for you. The EX1 is technically superior. That isn't debatable. This is a situation that comes down to what is best for you. The EX1 is better in low light because it's based on 1/2" chips. The EX1 doesn't have as long a zoom because it's based on 1/2" chips. But then again, the image is so good, you can zoom in post.

You will enjoy the 3-rings and solid state recording there is no doubt. Only you can evaluate the trade off with the risk of the used cameras.
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Old August 23rd, 2012, 11:44 AM   #8
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Re: Sony EX1 or AX2000 ?

One important note is that the AX2000 interpolates a ton of pixels. This means if your focus is slightly off, the effect is magnified due to the nature of the pixels placed like "diamonds." The EX1 has zero interpolation. Each pixel is a pixel and WYSIWYG.
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Old August 28th, 2012, 02:57 PM   #9
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Re: Sony EX1 or AX2000 ?

Ok, today I purchased a AX 2000 from
Price ~ 2600 USD or 2100 EUR.
Camera still has ½ year waranty left.

It has really been a hard choise to make, because a EX1 cost only 10% more.

I have gone through a lot a test reports and examples to find out what both camera are able to do.
I do see some clear differences between the EX1 and AX 2000. Low light is better on the EX1 and
in normal light condition I can see a slight better quality on the EX1. So why did I buy the AX 2000.

A EX1 seems to have a terrible lot of hours on the counter. Those I saw for sale had between
1000-2000 hours if the price tag had to be < 2800 USD.
I still think the AX2000 has a better optical zoom and slow motion is way better on the AX 2000.

I have really tried to see any difference in codec from the two cams, but its just not possible
on youtube. I think youtube has it own codec to compress the size, and yourtube is compressing
really hard.
So I looked at my needs. I will never send any video to any TV broadcast station. If I will shoot
video's for someone, it will most likely be put on youtube where you hardly cant tell the difference
I also like the AX 2000 is a bit lighter to carry around, but I do recognice the EX1 can turn the
strap for better handheld shooting.

On all prof. cams im not impressed that they all seems to miss souround sound 5+1. Strange
that they havent passed stereo age. To me the XLR mic input is ok, but sad to see such big old
connectors. Must be a VERY old standard. It does not even support stereo input signals, then
I have to use both XLR inputs. I think in a couple of years some of this might change. Stereo
isnt that awesome IMHO.

What I do like on both cams, is the recording to a solid state flash card. I was kind of surpriced
that prof. cams still used DV tapes. I think the future lies in flash cards, they are handy, cheap
and can store a lot. I backup all my recordings to a NAS server and on BlueRay discs. Never
lost any recordings.

Yes the EX1 has a better video quality, it cost the double of an AX 2000 (new). But up to 2000
hours on a used EX1. Wow I think thats a bit too used for me.

First I need for the new AX 2000, when it arraives will be a stereo shotgun mic with wind niose
protection "dead cat". I just HATE to listen to wind noise, and Mono sounds is also not on my
top 10 list.
I will have to go through a lot of reports, test examples etc. to find the best mic for a reasonable
price. I saw Røde is a prefered mic. but I will not just buy one because others do. I want to
investigate and disguss it.

I will not do an unboxing video, when my AX 2000 arrives. OMG they all do the same reviews.
Why did no one when they talk about ND filters actually make some shootings and make
people see what it does?. Same with Zoom, Iris, Macro, Zebra etc. They just talk and talk
and repeat what everyone can read from the manual. I would like to see an unboxing where
all functions are demonstrated in real.

How long do I plan to keep this AX 2000 ?. I think I will keep it for 10 years. In 10 year there
will be a new generation with even higher resolution, better image stabilization, more sound
channels, less power consumptions, and faster recording speeds.

With this gear, I will use my tripod even more frequently than before. I sometimes hate my
self for not taking the tripod with me. I know the quality is bad without tripod and even software
image stabilisation cant rescue my bad recordings. I think my tripod has to be a fixed part
in my car.

What is my AX 2000 going to be used for. Well cars has always been my pasion, so car shows
drag race, exhibitions all for me and net friends. I will make a lot of recordings with my family.
I might do a few shots for weddings, in beginning for free until I'm able to produce something
that people want to pay for. I might do a few number of shots for some companys. I am web
master for now.
I hope to develope my skills in a way that I can earn a bit extra from recording, but if not thats
also ok. I don't need to make this for living.

I have been using video for a very long time, but I really want to step up in quality. And with
the gear I have now its just not possbile. I hope with the AX 2000 I will be able to do much
better recordings and also improve my skills.

Is the AX 2000 the best choise I could make ?. I think it is for me. I have done the best research
I could and analysed what is my needs. I hope I made the right choise. Its not the best cam
but for the price im ready to pay, it think it will do its job.

Thanks for all your input so far. I have read it all
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Old August 28th, 2012, 05:23 PM   #10
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Re: Sony EX1 or AX2000 ?

Congratulations on your new purchase Tom. I think that either camera would have fulfilled your needs.

A couple of comments on your last posts.

As for professional cameras not having 5.1 surround, it's because in all professional productions surround sound is mixed in post. There is no way to capture truly usable surround sound from one position. I know that Holophone makes surround sound mics but for professional setups having one mic in a single position would not provide acceptable sound for say a three or 4 person dialogue. And, usually in professional situations they are running dual systems (audio and video separately) so there is no need to have multiple channels on the camera.

XLR connectors are the standard professional audio connectors for mics and most other audio devices. This is because they are balanced and can be used in long runs. Having separate cabling for each channel is critical to prevent interference. The XLR connector is the most positive audio connector so you don't have to worry about it getting disconnected.

When you are ready to purchase a microphone there are tons out there to consider. And no one mic will fit all situations. And remember that a $5000 mic sitting on your camera is a huge waste of money. The right place for a mic is close to the sound source. So don't expect a mic to sound good if it isn't properly placed.

I did not think that the AX2000 could shoot at any frame rates above 60i so the slow motion capabilities will be no better than on the EX1.

Finally, if you don't have a good fluid head tripod, that should be high on your list of what to get next. There are two reasons, one is that it is what is holding your camera, make sure that it is solid. I had a camera drop off of a cheap $150 tripod. Never again. Also, especially with the 20x zoom, you will need it to be rock solid. Nothing worse than shaky video and jerky pans when zoomed in 20x. There's are a ton of posts on which tripods to consider so I'd recommend that you check those out. They will give a good primer for what to look for.

Good luck with the new camera.
Garrett Low

Last edited by Garrett Low; August 28th, 2012 at 11:10 PM.
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Old August 28th, 2012, 07:55 PM   #11
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Re: Sony EX1 or AX2000 ?

Originally Posted by Tom Keller Christensen View Post
Is the AX 2000 the best choise I could make ?. I think it is for me. I have done the best research I could and analysed what is my needs.
I also find it odd that none of the professional video cameras record more than 2 tracks of audio. It would be great to have an 8 or 16 track audio recorder built in to the camera. Maybe it could record wireless so there would be no need to mess with 16 XLR connectors.

It sounds like you have carefully researched this. Congratulations and good luck.
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Old August 28th, 2012, 08:39 PM   #12
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Re: Sony EX1 or AX2000 ?

+1 for what Garrett said.

As for reording more than 2 channels of audio, there are lots of pro type camera that will do up to 4 channels (4 seperate XLR inputs). Great if you're doing say a panel discussion without a mixer and have 4 wireless units to use. In almost every case though, there is really very little use for more than 2 with an occassion for 4 but I can say that in my experience of doing 100's of seminars and panel discussions, any more than a fast run and gun job, audio isn't even recorded back to the camera. It's all going thru a mixer to a recorder and sync'd in post. Might run a shotgun on the camera to the #1 XLR input as a scratch track for sync. Consider trying to keep levels correct on 16 track on the camera. There's enough going on running the camera.
Mixers and recorders plus someone that knows how to use them...a cameraops best friend.
What do I know? I'm just a video-O-grafer.
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Old October 18th, 2012, 02:33 PM   #13
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Re: Sony EX1 or AX2000 ?

Just an update:

Have my Sony HDR AX 2000 E for a month now. Ive done some shooting to find out and learn it's basic functions.
Very fast I found out I needed a dead cat wind muff, as my sound recordings was just terrible in even light wind conditions. I search for some good solutions but it seemed like there just wasnt any good wind muff for the internal mic.
I therefor made my own dead cat made of real fur. Inside I used some open foam. Wow this wind muff really works. I can put the cam directly into a stom and not hearing any rumbling noise at all. The sound is still ok, considered it's the internal mic.

I purchased an extra 7000 mAh battery which gives me 8-9 hours recording time. Then I purchased a 32 GB SD card and my wife gave me a 2nd 64 GB SD card for my birthday. So thats enough for a whole days recording.

In the field I soon found out I need a decent bag for carrying the gear. So I searched the web again for a backpack. That was almost impossible to find. Tamrac, Lowepro didn't offer anything that a prof. camcorder fits into, unless you accept to unmount the matte box every time. I even wrote e-mails to them, and they both replied.....but again just terrible solutions.
Saw some interviews with Philip Bloom on youtube and all of a sudden I found what I was lloking for. A backpack from Petrol PC 300. There was only ONE for sale on whole ebay. I placed a bid and actually I won the auction with only 19 Euro ~ 23 USD for an almost new bag.
Kamera Rucksack/Tasche - Petrol Bags PC300 - guter Zustand! | eBay
That was a good deal :-)

Just to confirm my first writing the AX 2000, does indeed shoot 6 sec. at 240 fps slow motion. So at least in slow motion and it's 20 x Zoom is better than the EX1. But EX1 has better low light capabilities ect.

I'm now ready to shoot some better video, but still I need a better mic.

I'm just not a big fan of those shotgun mics. Read tons of reviews and listened to tons of test recordings. The shotgun give a flat sound profile, not much of details and listened with headphones it just sounds like an old TV. OK it's a good mic if you are recording voices in areas with a lot of background noices. But I'm not doing interviews so a shotgun isnt the best solution to my needs.
In my search I found the Røde NT4 stereo microphone, that is not just a bit better, no it's one of the most impressive recordings I have ever listened. What this microphone can do is something extraordinarie. The microhpones are balanced and neutral. The frequenzy range from 20-20 KHz, really low background noice.
They look terrible they way the two microphones are positioned but the sound is just amazing.
I think the microphone is really sensitive to mechanical shock, so it should be mounted in a good shock mount and outside used with a dead cat at even zero wind.
I am really a big fan of this Røde NT4 mic with two XLR outputs. So thats what I have on my wish list.

Most likely I will add another mic for interviews. Not sure if I will get some Røde shotgun or a small mic with radio transmitter to mount onto a shirt.

My first shootings was a big dissapointment. The footage is flat and color saturation is flat. Actualle my Sony UX5 has a sharper image and more life in its color. RTFM convinced me that this is just how a prof. camcorder is set to by default. So you have to make your own picture profiles to give lives to your footage.

The image stabilzer is amazing. My shootings are just way better that I have ever been able to shoot before.

Getting used to manual focus and zoom is very difficuld to me. I still have a lot more to learn.

All what I have shot so far is something that I will never share with anyone. The rumbling wind noise and out of focus is my learning thing.

But I would like your comments on the Røde NT4 microphone
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