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Old July 20th, 2014, 10:07 AM   #1
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Sony AX100 first experience at a wedding

I"m placing this here hoping Chris will provide a separate forum for the ax100 soon? The current ax100 thread has become too large to be useful when finding info back.

I started using my ax100 yesterday just one day after I received it at a wedding, I actually took a big risk using the camera during the legal part in the town hall (here every wedding starts with that, this is the legal part with the mayor where all legal documents are signed and it usually takes 15 minutes, after that the church or ceremony follows on a separate location) and I used it as a "walk around" camera during a outdoor ceremony and to capture the more important moments up close.

This is something I never would have done with a camera like the new sony a7s one day after I would have received it just to give an example, the ax100 is a lot like my cx730, a practical failsafe camera to use in moments you cannot afford to make mistakes. If you are used to working with Sony camera's in general and with Sony's handicam line this ax100 will feel very familiar in use, that's why I decided after one hour of fiddling with it to take it with me the next day to a wedding.

This camera is like my cx730 on steroids, I does everything better with the exception of stabilization and wideangle, the autofocus speed also is a bit slower. Just like my cx730 Sony got everything right imagewise, colors look very natural and saturation and contrast are also toned down so it's doesn't look too forced. No need for presets, it looks just fine as is.

I started using the camera early in the morning during brideprep just to get the feel of it and to find out how to lock and change all different settings, especially for exposure, which took me a while but once I found out how to lock the shutter and toggle between auto and manual iris/iso I hardly had to think what to do to get my shot well exposed, I just browsed through all shots I made (over 2 hours) and exposure is about spot on in every single shot. Once I was shooting the ceremony (I did use a monopod this time with stabilization on standard so I could quickly move around while getting more stable shots) nailing my exposure was real easy, I had more issues with my gh4 to get it right, even with zebra's and histogram.

The autofocus in general is quite slow to adjust but it was easy to switch from auto to manual, I know many people have been complaining about the position of the magnifying button and I agree it's not where it should be but when shooting handheld I just grabbed the lens barrel with my left-hand which gave me access to the magnifying button and the auto/manual button while being able to turn the focusring as well. I did not use the touch focus yet because I have been looking through the excellent viewfinder all the time, I had attached the eyecup of a sony fx1000 which was a bit too big but secured it with some velcrotape and it worked fine.

Yesterday I used 4 camera's, my gh3 which has a permanent place on a steadicam, one sony cx730, a sony rx10 and a Panasonic gh4.

I see people comparing the ax100 with the GH4, one thing I can say for sure, they are different camera's for different purposes. I can attach a 25mm f1.4 or a 75mm f1.8 les onto my gh4, shoot wide open and get a look I never can achieve with my ax100. The gh4 with those lenses also have that distinct dslr look. The ax100 complements my GH4 but they are used for different purposes, my gh4 is much more for creative work.

The rx10 also comes to mind, it does deliver some very sharp 1080p footage as well, even if it doesn't do 4K. I do prefer the look of my rx10 compared to the ax100, it's the colors in reproduces which have that dslr kind of look and matches my gh4 better, the shallower dof which can be surprisingly "creamy" when you zoom in a lot that constant f2.8 lens also helps a lot + it takes very nice image sin raw.

The ax100 is a very good allround camera, one you can rely on when the going gets tough and it will deliver for you, in any situation. I plan to use this camera during the legal part in the townhall as a a-cam in combination with a cx730 as both images match well and in church I want to use it to cover the lectern and altar in one shot so I can reframe as necessary in post, there the cx730 will be used as wideangle safety cam pointed towards the couple and the guests in church and my rx10 wil be used for talking heads closeups at the lectern, altar and guests. The rx10 absolutely needs manual attention, the sonys could run fully automated if needed (if light conditions would change a lot on cloudy days) and provide excellent results for a continuous recording. This set up should provide me with a much more time to move about to get more creative angles while still being able to rely on the sonys if needed.

I was able to buy it with a 15% pricereduction which is the main reason why I jumped on it now, it went from 2000 to 1700 euro (21% tax included) in one Belgian store last week and for 1700 euro it's about the best videocamera with a larger sensor money can buy.
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Old July 20th, 2014, 08:28 PM   #2
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Re: Sony AX100 first experience at a wedding

Thanks for the review Noa.
Have a question for you.
Did you shoot 4K with the AX100 or 1080?
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Old July 21st, 2014, 02:10 AM   #3
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Re: Sony AX100 first experience at a wedding

4K all the way, I only would shoot 1080p if I needed 50p for slowmotion, there is also that 96fps thing but it looks too soft to be matched with other 4K shots on a 1080p timeline. This particular wedding I had about 100gb of footage while I normally have around 60gb, this includes footage from two 4K camera and two 1080p camera's so the storage impact is not that much of an issue.
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Old July 27th, 2014, 04:11 AM   #4
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Re: Sony AX100 first experience at a wedding

Did another wedding with the ax100 where I primarily used it as a run and gun camera during brideprep, I had the gh4 with a 25mm f1.4 for beauty shots but I had the ax100 attached to my belt all the time ready to be used when family entered the room or just to capture any ongoing stuff with bridesmaids having fun etc. and I also used it the entire ceremony.

I probably am repeating myself but this is an awesome camera, I had a wide shot at the ceremony with my cx730 and my ax100 side by side and especially then it almost looks as if my cx730 is out of focus. I now also used the 4K mode more to my advantage during the ceremony and for all you non 4K believers out there, you don't know what you are missing, seriously. :) The freedom I have in post to move around in my frame without any visual loss in detail (pixelpeepers might notice some degradation but I don't see any from a normal viewing distance) is an advantage I won't be giving away soon.

Eventhough I don't have much in the field experience with the camera yet it starts to feel like I used it much longer, I was able to capture any unpredictable situation with ease, not having to think about my camerasettings as adjusting them just comes naturally and just concentrate on content. It's such a joy to finally use a real videocamera again after these years of dslr use. I used the camera again without any rig, I only attached a eyecup from a sony fx1000, no perfect fit but there is a huge difference keeping the sun out of the viewfinder.

When I look at what I shot my exposure is spot on (I toggled between manual expsoure control when I was with the camera and auto when I let it run unmanned and used the "ev" setting to control any overexpsoure. My colours are accurate looking and I had the camera in auto whitebalance all day, skin tones look very natural with this camera, Dynamic range is very decent, not bmc raw like but usable. It's fun to use a camera that you don't have to grade anymore in post as the image is good as it is. Onboard sound is great, not like a external shotgun mike but very good at capturing clear ambient sound and voices.

Ok, I"ll stop now before I get called a fanboy again. :)
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Old July 29th, 2014, 02:56 AM   #5
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Re: Sony AX100 first experience at a wedding

Hi, when you say the AX100 Auto Focus is slow, how slow is it, because i am after a new Cam and i need fast AF and the best OIS i can get from a camera.

I currently shoot all my video in 1080/50p avchd @ 28Mbps using 2 Panasonic cams, both mounted on a couple of my own custom made hand held rigs, and a custom made monopod for stationary work.

My panasonics have the 5 axis point Stabilization with super fast Auto Focus systems, and i want my next cam to have something equal to, or better than these cams have.

I also want the cam to shoot 4k, but i would still shoot all my roaming video in 1080/50p because it is far better suited to my style of videography.

I am also after something with a really good sensor that can get me decent low light video as well.

Lastly, i really want to keep using a dedicated fixed lens video camcorder that has the Image Stabilization and Auto Focus built into the camera.

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Old July 29th, 2014, 02:05 PM   #6
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Re: Sony AX100 first experience at a wedding

The autofocus is not bad and in general it works pretty well as it does refocus in a smooth way, only in low contrast areas or when there is less light it takes longer, sometimes up to 5 seconds before it snaps on. The touch focus does seem to work well but I will know for sure once I have shot with the camera in a church. My sony xr520 had a very good, fast and reliable touch focus, my cx730 otoh was much worse and often refused to focus right if there was some bright background. Therefore I"m curious how the ax100 will perform.

Ois is decent but don't expect miracles from it, for me it's good enough for all my handheld work.

Also remember that 4K is 25p only, if you want to shoot 50p you have to choose 1080p.

Low light performance is very good on this camera.
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