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Pro and consumer versions including PXW-Z150, PXW-Z100, PXW-X70 / FDR-AX100


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Old June 21st, 2014, 07:25 AM   #1426
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Re: Sony FDR-AX100

Any word/rumours on when the FDR-AX3 might show up?
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Old June 21st, 2014, 07:52 AM   #1427
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Re: Sony FDR-AX100

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Originally Posted by Dave Blackhurst View Post
First thing I wanted to "test" was shutter speeds and the ND filters - I got more "pleasant" motion (and seemingly less RS) if I kept the shutter speeds down - nice slight motion blur, instead of stutter from individual sharp frames. 60, 90, 125 seemed to work well, where at first I saw the camera on auto picking 350, and it didn't look as good! Manual control was quite easy to use - I could lock in the shutter speed, and let the camera ride the rest, with exposure compensation on the "wheel" as needed...
Dave, unless there is a special need, I always choose 1/60th, lock it in, and then determine exposure using the zebras. This formula leads to extremely high success rates for almost all types of footage. I never let the camera go auto. I set a gain limit of about 15db or 18db to avoid excess noise.

I also will generally use a -.3 to -.5 exposure bias outdoors since the AX100, like most cameras, leans toward over-exposure. But setting the front multi-dial to either exposure or exposure bias, lets you easily control exposure while using the zebras as a guide.
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Old June 21st, 2014, 02:23 PM   #1428
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Re: Sony FDR-AX100

I also have now found that the slower shutter settings are helpful to getting "good" results - experimented with them a bit, and seemed like 125 was about as far as you should go. The trick is to have it slow enough that there is "a bit" of natural motion blur to each frame with motion - it avoids the somewhat unnatural "30 sharp stills" per second vibe that makes any stutter or "shimmer" more prevalent and/or noticeable.. unless that's what you're after <wink>

Sounds like we are ending up setting the camera up fairly similar - lock shutter much slower than the "auto" would choose (at least in bright conditions), limit gain if appropriate, use exposure to adjust for best results. ND's are helpful, if a bit less convenient. I'll have to fiddle with zebras and peaking next - the VF was excellent, so I felt like I could just use the "Mk1 eyeball" for judging exposure, and it was accurate from the clips I shot.

Interestingly, I'm sure Sony doesn't cover ANY of these sorts of "tricks" to getting good results from the camera, and auto, while usable, may not give the best results. I've felt from the RX100 that Sony really designed these new cameras (RX and now AX) for people who have enough experience to use manual modes effectively, NOT the "average" consumer. As nice as auto modes can be, you get much more satisfying results if you know your "basics"!

I will say this much, once you get to work with the AX100 a bit and sort out the manual functions, it is truly an AMAZING camera. I've already seen a couple go fairly reasonable on ebay, and beginning to contemplate whether a second one would be a worthy addition to the gear collection (thanks Jeff, for putting that silly idea in me head!). I'm guessing that this camera goes WAY over the head of the average "point and shoot" and even some "pros"...

I can say it's been a bit of a learning process for me (tossing in a 4K capable computer in that learning curve!), but I and my eyes are quite happy with the results I'm getting! I still like the results from my RX10, but they do look soft in comparison (video, not the stills...).
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Old June 21st, 2014, 03:20 PM   #1429
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Re: Sony FDR-AX100

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Originally Posted by Dave Blackhurst View Post
ND's are helpful, if a bit less convenient. I'll have to fiddle with zebras and peaking next - the VF was excellent, so I felt like I could just use the "Mk1 eyeball" for judging exposure, and it was accurate from the clips I shot.
Dave, the built-in ND filters are far more convenient than if you had to use screw on ND filters. It's really a very welcome addition to a camera like this. Believe me, GH4 owners wish that Panasonic had done the same!

What you'll find is that by using the ND filters appropriately, you can get some really nice, shallow, DOF shots. That's the beauty of the ND filters. It lets you get a wider aperture in bright conditions that would otherwise be impossible to attain and would lead to inevitable overexposure. :)
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Old June 22nd, 2014, 02:46 AM   #1430
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Re: Sony FDR-AX100

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That's the beauty of the ND filters. It lets you get a wider aperture in bright conditions that would otherwise be impossible to attain and would lead to inevitable overexposure. :)
It's not impossible, you just have to ramp up your shutterspeed way high, eventhough that will lead to some other unwanted effects mainly on scenes where you have lots of movement but when I shoot talking heads at a wedding during the reception you don't notice if I shoot at very high shutterspeeds and I still can get a shallow dof in bright sunlight. I do however would liket to shoot with a build in ND, like my r10 has, so you can keep your shutter at a level that any scene that involves motion looks natural to the eye.
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Old June 22nd, 2014, 06:37 AM   #1431
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Re: Sony FDR-AX100

IMO, having those ND's available becomes more important with 4K (and I only meant they are a bit trickier, being on the back of the cam, but that's not a really big issue).

As has been noted, it's very easy to get stutter or shimmer when there is motion in these super sharp images - slowing the shutter so as to get some "natural" motion blur seems to substantially improve the situation.

My initial tests were with the camera running "auto"... not "bad" results, but some definite temporal motion "issues" - my latest efforts utilizing manual regulation of the shutter speed look MUCH better.

I suspect there may be some "balance" between 30 "perfect" freeze frames and 30 slightly motion blurred frames that one must achieve for "best" results. This was the sort of thing I wanted to find out about by getting the toes dipped into the 4K pool... I didn't expect it to be "grab and go" with perfect results right out of the gate....
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Old June 22nd, 2014, 10:07 AM   #1432
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Re: Sony FDR-AX100

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Originally Posted by Noa Put View Post
It's not impossible, you just have to ramp up your shutterspeed way high, eventhough that will lead to some other unwanted effects mainly on scenes where you have lots of movement but when I shoot talking heads at a wedding during the reception you don't notice if I shoot at very high shutterspeeds and I still can get a shallow dof in bright sunlight. I do however would liket to shoot with a build in ND, like my r10 has, so you can keep your shutter at a level that any scene that involves motion looks natural to the eye.
True for talking head, but as you say, there are many other times you want to keep the shutter speed at 1/60th. For those numerous instances, ND filters are invaluable and having them built-in is that much more convenient.
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Old June 22nd, 2014, 12:29 PM   #1433
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Re: Sony FDR-AX100

I have (and love) a Canon XF100, but am looking for a higher res companion camera. Also, I'm interested in higher frame rates - the XF100 only does 60fps @ 720p. So, I'm looking at the AX100.

1. Is the 120fps a separate shooting mode, or is it limited to just holding down a button while shooting and it records a few seconds of 120?

2. If using the 120fps, does it revert to 720p?

3. I use autofocus 95% of the time. I've seen widely varying examples of this online. So, how's the AF?

For example, on my XF100 I can get fairly shallow DOF by opening the lens all the way, getting close, and zooming in. If I do this on an object 3 feet away, I get a nice soft background bokeh. Then, when I recompose on something in the background that is 20 feet away, the XF100 locks focus in 2-3 seconds (and that's with the AF speed set to Normal, instead of Medium or Instant.) So, will the AX100 give similar performance?

Thanks
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Old June 23rd, 2014, 09:23 AM   #1434
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Re: Sony FDR-AX100

Quote:
Originally Posted by Noa Put View Post
It's not impossible, you just have to ramp up your shutterspeed way high, eventhough that will lead to some other unwanted effects mainly on scenes where you have lots of movement but when I shoot talking heads at a wedding during the reception you don't notice if I shoot at very high shutterspeeds and I still can get a shallow dof in bright sunlight. I do however would liket to shoot with a build in ND, like my r10 has, so you can keep your shutter at a level that any scene that involves motion looks natural to the eye.
Dave, I haven't used the high speed modes, so I'll defer to those that have.

As for the AF, it's excellent and one of the best I've used from Sony in quite some time. It gets fooled very seldom and it does a nice job of locking on. Since I'm a 'run n gunner', the AF is very important to me.

Further, you can do a kind of pull focus with the touch screen by touching anything within the frame you want to camera to focus on. Focus shifts are nice and smooth rather than a 'boom boom' kind of thing, which I find distracting.
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Old June 23rd, 2014, 11:02 AM   #1435
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Re: Sony FDR-AX100

Having ND filter switches on the body of the camera is invaluable, love it. Missed it terribly while using GH2s and Canon XA10s.

Unlike Ken, I am not thrilled with the autofocus. It's just ok (to me). Saturday during introduction of the bridal party, in plenty of light the autofocus went haywire and I got a total blur as it hunted. I have not seen this behavior before. Ruined the shot. Generally it's ok but there is a tendency for it to hunt at times.

Overall I find the autofocus less capable than my $500 FZ200, but slightly better than the XA10, but not by much.

I am trying to figure out why the touch focus works sometime but not others. When it does work it's pretty good.

Footage from wedding Saturday is great, love it!

Does anyone know if there is a way to stop the camera from turning off when you close the LCD?
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Old June 23rd, 2014, 11:07 AM   #1436
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Re: Sony FDR-AX100

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Originally Posted by Jeff Harper View Post
Does anyone know if there is a way to stop the camera from turning off when you close the LCD?
I do not own the AX100 (yet) but I understand that when you close the LCD monitor and leave the Viewfinder pulled out, the camcorder will stay turned on.
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Old June 23rd, 2014, 11:46 AM   #1437
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Re: Sony FDR-AX100

Jeff, if you keep the VF pulled out, closing the LCD will not shut off the power to the camera, but will merely divert the monitoring to the VF. I'm not sure if that's what you meant.

As far as touch focus, tapping the LCD screen twice always brings up the touch focus box (at least on my unit).
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Old June 23rd, 2014, 12:49 PM   #1438
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Re: Sony FDR-AX100

Thanks much Ken and C.C., pulling out the viewfinder works!

Touch focus just doesn't seem to work at all no matter how many times I tap it sometimes, but other times it's fine, must be I'm trying it a mode it doesn't work, I don't know. I'm always in autofocus when I use it, but otherwise cant think of why it doesn't work on occasion.
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Last edited by Jeff Harper; June 23rd, 2014 at 04:06 PM.
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Old June 23rd, 2014, 05:47 PM   #1439
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Re: Sony FDR-AX100

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Dixon View Post
I have (and love) a Canon XF100, but am looking for a higher res companion camera. Also, I'm interested in higher frame rates - the XF100 only does 60fps @ 720p. So, I'm looking at the AX100.

1. Is the 120fps a separate shooting mode, or is it limited to just holding down a button while shooting and it records a few seconds of 120?

2. If using the 120fps, does it revert to 720p?

3. I use autofocus 95% of the time. I've seen widely varying examples of this online. So, how's the AF?

For example, on my XF100 I can get fairly shallow DOF by opening the lens all the way, getting close, and zooming in. If I do this on an object 3 feet away, I get a nice soft background bokeh. Then, when I recompose on something in the background that is 20 feet away, the XF100 locks focus in 2-3 seconds (and that's with the AF speed set to Normal, instead of Medium or Instant.) So, will the AX100 give similar performance?

Thanks
Here is a video showing how the autofocus does precisely in shifting from close-ups to far-away objects. It also shows you get perfectly nice bokeh with the lens. You can judge yourself:

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Old June 23rd, 2014, 08:13 PM   #1440
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Re: Sony FDR-AX100

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Harper View Post
Unlike Ken, I am not thrilled with the autofocus. It's just ok (to me). Saturday during introduction of the bridal party, in plenty of light the autofocus went haywire and I got a total blur as it hunted. I have not seen this behavior before. Ruined the shot. Generally it's ok but there is a tendency for it to hunt at times.
I actually noticed that as well on my most recent shoot. So far it's been ok but it had some trouble on the last shoot. When you have the subject just off center and the center area has high contrast items, then the focus gets confused alas especially if the face detection doesn't work which can happen when only one eye on a person is visible. That's with version 1.00 of the firmware though, I've since updated the camera to version 2.00 firmware although I haven't tested it on a shoot yet. But the new firmware does claim to have auto focus improvements.
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