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Sony 4K Ultra HD Handhelds
Pro and consumer versions including PXW-Z150, PXW-Z100, PXW-X70 / FDR-AX100


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Old May 12th, 2015, 09:30 AM   #1
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Which setup is better

I am looking to step up my "game" big time. I was looking at the x70 but was wondering if I would be just as good with the ax100 along with the beachtek DXA-HDV microphone adapter.
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Old May 12th, 2015, 03:05 PM   #2
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Re: Which setup is better

You'll need to provide some extra info. e.g. how important is 4K to you? Or HD recording at 4:2:2? etc.

I recently purchased the X70 as it fit my needs the best. I had created a spreadsheet to list attributes in priority order (e.g. 4:2:2, cost, weight, native editing, etc.) and then scored each cam. That really helped me make my decision.
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Old May 12th, 2015, 03:33 PM   #3
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Re: Which setup is better

My biggest requirement right now is low light quality and then the ability to record in 4k in the near future.
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Old May 13th, 2015, 05:02 AM   #4
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Re: Which setup is better

In terms of low light there's no difference between the two as they are essentially the same camera. Personally, I find having to bolt on an audio solution a bit of a pain. The less gear to fiddle around with the better when it comes to weddings for me.

I have the X70 and CX900 (2k version of the AX100). The X70 is easier to use for me. Quite a few buttons to assign functions to and easier to grip for handheld work. Also you have XLR audio inputs for you out of the box. Menu is easier to navigate as well.

If you need 4k right now then AX100 would probably be your best bet. Not sure if the 4k upgrade for the X70 is out yet? If 4k isn't urgent I would go for the X70.
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Old May 13th, 2015, 10:07 AM   #5
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Re: Which setup is better

I agree with Jon. If you can afford the X70 go for it. I have the 2 AX100s and regret not going for the X70.
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Old May 14th, 2015, 12:11 AM   #6
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Re: Which setup is better

I sold my AX-100 to buy an X70. There are enough extra features on the camera to make it much better for production in the field. The audio handle is a huge improvement and it records in 24 bit. Menus are more professional and many features accessible via programmable buttons that require digging into menus on the AX100.

That said I do miss the 4k feature and the XAVC-L codec is a real pain right now as many programs (Adobe CS6 and Sony Vegas) do not support it.

Last edited by Marc Salvatore; May 14th, 2015 at 02:26 PM.
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Old May 14th, 2015, 10:11 AM   #7
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Re: Which setup is better

I am definitely leaning more toward the x70. I am by no means a videographer. I got roped into videoing special services at church and youth programs. I have been using a VERY amateur videocamera which I would think most on this board may not recognize as a video camera. The Sony HDR-CX160. Not to say that in a snobbish way it's just that camera was not meant to do what everyone here does and that is doing professional work. So I am trying to step up my "game" when it comes to my videoing. I have a blast with photography still a hobby though. But anyway I appreciate the input and I was looking to pull the perverbial trigger but wanted to know what mic you guys thought would work well with it. I was chatting with B&H and they recommended any of the following:

Sony ECM-VG1 Electret Condenser Microphone ECM-VG1 B&H Photo

Audio-Technica AT875R Short Condenser Shotgun Microphone AT875R

Rode NTG-1 Condenser Shotgun Microphone NTG-1 B&H Photo Video


They, B&H, have been great to talk to. They are the ones that got me looking into the X70. I was originally looking at the Canon AX20 & AX 25. But I thought that I would get advise from actual users of the X70 and not just take a salesperson's word for it.
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Old May 14th, 2015, 06:33 PM   #8
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Re: Which setup is better

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Originally Posted by Kevin Clark View Post
They, B&H, have been great to talk to. They are the ones that got me looking into the X70. I was originally looking at the Canon AX20 & AX 25. But I thought that I would get advise from actual users of the X70 and not just take a salesperson's word for it.
There are huge differences between the Sony X70 and Canon's AX20. The X70's sensor provides very crisp HD footage with virtually no aliasing. Whereas the AX20 will have a decent amount of interpolation and aliasing (sensor is labeled as 'native' 1920x1080, but that doesn't appropriately describe things due to its bayer pattern). Also, the X70 can record in-camera 10-bit 4:2:2 vs I believe the Canon's 8-bit 4:2:0.

I can't speak to your microphone question as I'm looking at getting a stereo mic rather than a shotgun (fits my needs better).

One other thing to consider in your budget are storage requirements of your footage. I have roughly estimated 150 GB per hour of footage for projects with my X70 (XAVC-L 50Mbps typically at 1080p 29.97). This includes the original footage plus a backup, ProRes 422 transcoded footage (not backed up), Blu-ray output plus a backup and web output plus a backup.

Another nice thing about the X70 is it can record in lower bit-rates and also at 8-bit. So that gives you more options if file size is an issue.

Finally, the price of the X70 is really nice. I picked mine up soon after it dropped to its current USD 1,999 price. The XA25 from Canon is USD 500 more than that and basically adds an HD-SDI connector to the XA20. As you probably already know, the X70 has that connector.
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Old May 15th, 2015, 08:43 AM   #9
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Re: Which setup is better

One more thing to remember about the AX100 is that there are no picture controls besides the normal picture profile and some other presets like retro or toy camera. The standard profile looks good, but if you want something flatter or need to match some other cameras, you're going to have some issues doing that in camera.
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Old May 15th, 2015, 11:42 AM   #10
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Re: Which setup is better

Question regarding the audio recording on the X70. How do you monitor the volume on it? Is there an audio meter like a have on my Beachtek?
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Old May 15th, 2015, 01:39 PM   #11
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Re: Which setup is better

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Originally Posted by Kevin Clark View Post
Question regarding the audio recording on the X70. How do you monitor the volume on it? Is there an audio meter like a have on my Beachtek?
There are audio levels on the LCD screen. Though they are simplified and don't include any indicators on them to indicate dB levels. I still have to conduct a mini project to find out what point is the -12dB level (how many dots of the meter will be filled at that level).

I've heard/read a review where if using built-in audio, the meters are obscured while you adjust the level up/down. I don't think that happens at all though with using an external mic (don't know yet as my mic is still on order).
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Old May 15th, 2015, 01:45 PM   #12
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Re: Which setup is better

Ricky, the meters are not obscured when adjusting audio manually no matter what your audio source, at least not on the AX100. I have a quick access button set for audio and adjust it all the time whilst recording, works like a charm.
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Old May 15th, 2015, 02:07 PM   #13
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Re: Which setup is better

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Ricky, the meters are not obscured when adjusting audio manually no matter what your audio source, at least not on the AX100. I have a quick access button set for audio and adjust it all the time whilst recording, works like a charm.
Should have actually tried that before I wrote :) On the X70, the level adjustment box (at least for internal audio) does obscure the level meters a bit. The bottom edge of the channel 1 meter can still be seen though it's right up against the yellow level value). And the outer edge of the level meter box cuts right through the middle of channel 2. I could see that as being annoyinging difficult at times.

Perhaps Sony can move up the audio adjustment box. Or, make it not as tall.

Edit: I also had audio levels assigned to a custom button.
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Old May 15th, 2015, 07:32 PM   #14
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Re: Which setup is better

Can the XLR inputs be set for line in?

When I am recording church programs, I usually take the audio straight from the soundboard so I don't get idle chatter new the camera and candy wrapper noises and such.
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Old May 15th, 2015, 08:18 PM   #15
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Re: Which setup is better

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Can the XLR inputs be set for line in?
Yes. You can set each channel independently to line, mic or mic +48V.
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