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Old June 4th, 2016, 09:07 AM   #1
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Real world low light ax-53

HI ALL
video to demonstrate the low light capabilities of the AX-53
Watch in 4K
Thanks
Luis
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Old June 4th, 2016, 05:06 PM   #2
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Re: Real world low light ax-53

Nice video but hard to judge without a comparison.

I also have the AX53 and had the AX33 before beside a X70. Didnīt compare to the X70 yet, but in contrast to the AX33 the new kid has much less noise in low light, is absolutely useable and clearly the better camera!!
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Old June 7th, 2016, 06:02 PM   #3
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Re: Real world low light ax-53

Thanks for your comments Roland it is a great camera indeed and easy to use for my needs, the video definitely more intended to bring out the low light capabilities, perhaps more in comparing the AX-33 that I also have with the AX-53 which is well above in PQ, and light sensitivity without the noise of the AX-33.
Contrary to your comments I cannot agree with you about the comments relation to the focusing issues and post firmware upgrade that you experienced and that I did to the camera after this video, I don't experience the difficulty you express, I must admit that I use AF focus most of the time or the touch focus that Ron uses which is very convenient and accurate.

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Old June 7th, 2016, 07:30 PM   #4
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Re: Real world low light ax-53

I don't know if it's just YouTube but the darker tones seem to fade off fast. Dark grays get crushed down into the blacks pretty strong. Is it like that on your original file or is that just YouTube doing what it sometimes does?

Last edited by Cliff Totten; June 7th, 2016 at 09:50 PM.
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Old June 8th, 2016, 09:11 PM   #5
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Re: Real world low light ax-53

Hi Cliff:
You made look again at the movie in my 4K monitor and I can tell you it is very clean and free of any crushing blacks, I don't know if it is Youtube or the other thing is that if you are referring to the JPEG stills these usually for some reason unknown to me are more contrasty and they tend to exhibit darker blacks that the video clips, maybe you can be more specific and describe the area of the movie that you can see the more noticeable anomaly, I also can tell you that when I view it in my 4K monitor rather than the Apple Cinema display everything looks more cleaner.

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Luis
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Old June 9th, 2016, 12:34 AM   #6
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Re: Real world low light ax-53

Also have no idea what Cliff is referring to, this video is shot in near dark at high iso's and for a small handicam I'd say the image looks very good.
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Old June 9th, 2016, 07:23 AM   #7
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Re: Real world low light ax-53

Hi Noa:
And with NO NOISE I might add, as I can prove when I was editing I cropped some clips to 200% and I saw no noise whatsoever I am able to use some for freeze frames

Thank You,
Luis
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Old June 9th, 2016, 09:21 AM   #8
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Re: Real world low light ax-53

I'm just noticing that the blacks are "very" black. People's clothes have little in them and there is very little shadow detail. The police uniforms, peoples pants. Y'know all the darker areas of the scenes. For my preference, I'd rather see a bit more shadow detail. I don't mind letting some noise back in if it means seeing better into the shadows and getting detail in there. It's a simple trade off and just a preference of mine. I'm not knocking the AX53.

Maybe Sony was going after an extremely clean image look. So, they maybe turned they increased the noise reduction and lowed the bottom of curve in the shadows to tuck that noise in even further. This might explain why it's so clean. (almost too clean for my taste) The side affect of noise reduction is always the lose off detail. So, generally speaking, the more you add the more detail you lose.

It's not "bad" at all. It's fine. Everybody has their own preferences.

Luis, just out of curiosity, when you drop that file into your scopes, what does the bottom look like?

CT
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Old June 9th, 2016, 02:20 PM   #9
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Re: Real world low light ax-53

One thing that may be part of what you interpret as "lost detail" is that these small chip cameras are labelled 4K, but in reality are producing a softer less detailed image when compared to say the 1" class Sonys...

The 33 was really bad, the 53 is significantly better, but it's still a small sensor cam. I connected via HDMI directly to my 42" TV/monitor, and as good as the AX53 looks on smaller screens, there was noticeable softness on the "big" screen. I did a bit of low light testing, and it held up fairly well considering (much better than the 33). In the end, I decided that an RX10M3 would better suit me, and the AX went back. It was actually "good enough" that it was a tough decision.... Sony made a lot of improvement in one model year.


My cell phone CAN shoot 4K video, but in limited testing, I wouldn't use it if an RX100M4 was anywhere handy (or even a M3 at 1080/60p) - I guess one could say 4K may or may not be 4K... that's nothing new really, so one has to be somewhat subjective, and consider what a given camera costs....

For what the AX53 does, it does fairly well, especially at it's price point, it's not a bad camera. If one is updating older CX/PJ small sensor cameras, it's definitely worth a look. If shooting handheld, the stabilization is very helpful, and the slightly softer image doesn't "hurt" in that respect. The output still looks quite good, but put it up against the 1" class Sonys.... and it's not quite there (nor should one expect it to be, IMO).

Whenever you soften an image, the first thing to go is "detail", as contrast often turns to mush. Of course this also will reduce "shimmer" and other judder/stutter effects, probably making the overall image more palatable for the consumer market (where you KNOW the UTube postings would complain about those things!).

For what it is, and what it does, it's actually a pretty good little camera - I'd probably recommend one of the 1" class sensor cams for a serious shooter, but for many people the size and convenience and features of the AX53 are hitting the right spots.
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Old June 9th, 2016, 02:57 PM   #10
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Re: Real world low light ax-53

Hi Dave:
Thanks for your comments, I have the RX-10II which is also a 1 inch sensor like the RX-10III and I am hard press to find in the video side of the equation too much difference between the AX-53 and the RX-10II in the Photo side of the story things are definitely better with RX's, likewise I am hard press to find too much difference in the AX-53 and AX-100.
I think that for 4K video the way that I use it Handheld because I hate tripods, a better than good stabilization system is a must i.e. the BOSS system and remember that Sony has offset the advantage of the 1 inch sensor to a degree by designing a 16:9 format rather than a 4:3 format sensor of the 1 inch giving you bigger pixels for higher resolution and light sensitivity which by their claims, it is 60% better.
Don't get me wrong I love to shoot with the RX-10II and if it was the RX-10III even better with that big 600 mm that is a beauty, but for video in 4K I wish it would have the BOSS.

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Luis
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Old June 9th, 2016, 03:01 PM   #11
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Re: Real world low light ax-53

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cliff Totten View Post
I'm just noticing that the blacks are "very" black. People's clothes have little in them and there is very little shadow detail. The police uniforms, peoples pants. Y'know all the darker areas of the scenes. For my preference, I'd rather see a bit more shadow detail. I don't mind letting some noise back in if it means seeing better into the shadows and getting detail in there. It's a simple trade off and just a preference of mine. I'm not knocking the AX53.

Maybe Sony was going after an extremely clean image look. So, they maybe turned they increased the noise reduction and lowed the bottom of curve in the shadows to tuck that noise in even further. This might explain why it's so clean. (almost too clean for my taste) The side affect of noise reduction is always the lose off detail. So, generally speaking, the more you add the more detail you lose.

It's not "bad" at all. It's fine. Everybody has their own preferences.

Luis, just out of curiosity, when you drop that file into your scopes, what does the bottom look like?

CT
Cliff in my effort to not interfere with the clips and do as little or no postproduction I did not use the scopes in FCPX but now that you mention it, I am going to play around with it and try them to see what I get and if it can be improved to the point that difference is notable

Thanks,
Luis
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Old June 9th, 2016, 03:04 PM   #12
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Re: Real world low light ax-53

For me it's less about "resolution" than it is about "tonal" detail. Again, I gotta say this fist,...I'm NOT knocking the AX53. I dont want anybody thinking I'm putting it down. However, I'm talking about dark greys and other subtle dark tones getting crushed to pure black.

I have deliberately done this myself on a couple of rare occasions to mask the noise floor of an image. On these clips, sometimes what I see are the mid tones get dark,...darker.......a litlle darker,....then "bang" it cuts straight to pure black like it fell off a cliff. Its a space were allot of the sensor noise and grit operates, so doing noise reduction there is where you can really clean up an image.

But truthfully, YouTube is never a way to judge the quality that ANY camera can produce so I suspect that the original AX53 files look a little different.

And that's just my preference. Everybody is different. Some people might prefer deep, strong blacks tones in scenes like these. It's also possible that it's not really anything unusual about the camera processing. Instead, it's just the way these particular scenes looked with those particular exposure / gain settings. I dont really know.

CT

Last edited by Cliff Totten; June 9th, 2016 at 06:03 PM.
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Old June 9th, 2016, 07:15 PM   #13
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Re: Real world low light ax-53

@Luiz - The mechanical design of the BOSS gimbal system means it won't ever come to the larger sensor. The sensor block would be huge, and of course a completely different lens design.... so it is what it is.

I didn't notice the difference in sharpness right away, but as I was doing the last bit of testing, direct HDMI to a 42" screen in daylight conditions, I started noticing that in some of the lens range the AX53 looked really good, and in other parts of the range it wasn't keeping up with the 1" sensor cams (RX100M4, RX10M2, AX100). It never quite nailed that "through a window" quality, even though it looked quite good.

It was a tough decision to return it, there are definitely times I'll probably wish for the BOSS system, even if the image is a little bit softer... I've got a few other cameras that are being retired, and I may yet pick up another AX53 if the need arises. Overall, it's a nice little camera, and the image quality is good for the price.



@Cliff - there are a few things that affect the perception of detail - some of it is dynamic range (whether the camera can resolve the extremes of the brightness range), some of it has to do with how contrast is handled, and then of course there's "noise", being variation in pixels that is not "really" there. There's only so much one can expect from a small sensor, and in that respect, Sony did pretty good overall with the AX53.... I would expect by the time we see an AX73, they might well be approaching "pretty close" to what the bigger sensors can do. Not terribly far off as it is, unless you're really pixel peeping!
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Old June 9th, 2016, 08:57 PM   #14
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Re: Real world low light ax-53

I think we have to look at the AX53 as next in the sequence of this price point in the Sony range. At 1/3" it hits the spot for good depth of field for most application intended for the consumer. I still have a lot of the small Sony cameras in the progression so can really compare at much this price point . SR11 ( gave the SR7 to my daughter ), XR500, CX700, NX30U and now the AX53. When compared there is a very clear improvement in this range of camera. The closest is of course the NX30U but other than the XLR attachment the AX53 is clearly superior in all respects at half the initial purchase price, even has data code and timecode in XAVC-S something my AX100 or my AX1 do not have and I would like. I use EDIUS to edit and nearly always fine tune the levels in post so that the image matches the other cameras anyway. I would like a more pro version with picture profiles but not sure we will see one. My normal set of cameras for shoots is NX5U, NX30U, AX100 and now the AX53 with sometimes the FDR-AX1 in UHD. Of these the week link is the NX5U showing its age in resolution and noise level. There is a big change in 6 or 7 years of technology.

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Old June 9th, 2016, 09:19 PM   #15
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Re: Real world low light ax-53

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Blackhurst View Post
@Luiz - The mechanical design of the BOSS gimbal system means it won't ever come to the larger sensor. The sensor block would be huge, and of course a completely different lens design.... so it is what it is.

I didn't notice the difference in sharpness right away, but as I was doing the last bit of testing, direct HDMI to a 42" screen in daylight conditions, I started noticing that in some of the lens range the AX53 looked really good, and in other parts of the range it wasn't keeping up with the 1" sensor cams (RX100M4, RX10M2, AX100). It never quite nailed that "through a window" quality, even though it looked quite good.

It was a tough decision to return it, there are definitely times I'll probably wish for the BOSS system, even if the image is a little bit softer... I've got a few other cameras that are being retired, and I may yet pick up another AX53 if the need arises. Overall, it's a nice little camera, and the image quality is good for the price.



@Cliff - there are a few things that affect the perception of detail - some of it is dynamic range (whether the camera can resolve the extremes of the brightness range), some of it has to do with how contrast is handled, and then of course there's "noise", being variation in pixels that is not "really" there. There's only so much one can expect from a small sensor, and in that respect, Sony did pretty good overall with the AX53.... I would expect by the time we see an AX73, they might well be approaching "pretty close" to what the bigger sensors can do. Not terribly far off as it is, unless you're really pixel peeping!
I'm a huge Sony buyer (Sony freak) and it would take me forever to list all the Sony cameras I have owned. Yes, I know this is asking too much, especially on a Handycam but I wish Sony would just place a very simple option for:

"Noise Reduction - Low, Med, High"

I'd love for them to put that on EVERY camera they make.

NR is a destructive process when it's done in camera and it's something I can do in post if I feel like it. (and it can be done very accurately I might add) So, in some cases, I'd rather turn it down and KEEP what the NR is throwing out. For consumer models, Sony can be heavy handed with NR too because they feel that market demands "squeaky clean" over anything else.

Yes, I know that Sony will never do it. Not on Handycams and not on XDCAMs either. [sigh] But, that would be useful sometimes.

I'm expecting an XDCAM version of this AX53 with an XLR top handle at IBC this fall. I wonder how that model will perform with the typical XDCAM (X70 style) picture profiles with black stretch/lift and a bit less contrast.

I expect Sony to leave some room on the current AX53 for them to add some image quality improvements to justify the increased cost of this future XDCAM AX53 "big brother" price tag.

We'll see.......

CT

Last edited by Cliff Totten; June 10th, 2016 at 10:49 AM.
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