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Old June 29th, 2016, 04:14 PM   #1
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Noob Ax100 questions

hey guys hopefully you dont mind answering a noobie's questions, ive been looking into the ax100 or ax53 or possibly a differnt camera if you guys know of one, OR waiting for a new sony product that meets what i need like a ax73 or w/e.

Ive waited years to buy a camera because i want to buy once buy right sort of ideal, and even with past consumer cameras being top of the line, that standard of quality isnt what i needed for travel so i just stuck with my phone. Now it looks like cameras around the 1500 price range are good enough possibly.

I want it for travel/roadtrips with friends and such

What my target camera would be able to do:

Good at shooting landscape shots in 4k

Good at shooting Cityscape shots in day/night 4k


Good stablization for the following situations:

1.Shooting shots that dont get bad motion blur-ness when shooting 1080/60p when im just filming my friends and i. So when were in the car during roadtrips, or im holding the camera walking about somewhere.(I dont expect cameras to pull this off if im flailing all about obviously)

2.Shooting shots that dont get bad motion blur-ness when shooting 4k landscape shots when im just slowly panning up/down and left/right while standing still.

Decent zoom

Decent 0 light (infra mode)

Decent still photos

Neat things that arnt important: Slow motion and timelaspe capabilities. (unfortunatley i know the ax100 doesnt have 1080 slow mo, only 720 or a native time laspe mode)




---- AX100 -------

Now i know the ax100 is in 8bit 4:2:0, and ive read up on how this effects the color and image a camera picks up. But I guess is there a huge difference between this and a 10bit 4:2:2?, i dont think i am able to properly tell on my monitor. Most of time i wouldnt really being doing anything past basic editing of film i record.

Would having 4k/60p really make a difference when im just shooting these mainly still scenery shots from the top of mountain hike or filming down on a city from the top of a building and just making slow pans?

Side question about this camera, i know it can film the moon pretty well, but say im camping away from the city and surburban areas, would it be able to pick up stars?






----- AX53 ------

the overall quality of this camera even though it has better stablization, doesnt seem good enough.
If someone can link footage of landscape and cities at night that they know "this person can handle this camera heres what it can actually pull off, look at this video before you write off the ax53" i would deffinatly reconsider the ax53


---- different camera or upcoming new AX__ model? ------

is there a different camera or is the ax100 my correct target.

Or should i wait for a new camera all together? If i did wait do you think they would be able to make a 4k/60p camera within the same size of the ax100? how about if it also had 10bit 4:2:2? are these things that could be possible in a camcorder with the other above requirements im looking for while not getting too much larger in size to the ax100?

considering the ax100 is the quality barrier ive been waiting for i have no problem waiting another year or two to get the extra features i want, if the ax100 isnt exactly what i want. But if the 60p in 4k wont really have an effect on the secenery shots, and the 10bit improvement wont really gather all that much of an improvement, i think id just buy the ax100
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Old June 29th, 2016, 06:14 PM   #2
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Re: Noob Ax100 questions

Ok... well, either of your choices will be better than your cell phone, most likely, my latest cell phone takes pretty decent stills, but the "4K" video.... not so much.

There are practical reasons we aren't seeing 4K/60p "yet"... I'd expect another couple years before that becomes a mainstream consumer feature, though it can be found in some "pro" cameras now... for a price. You have to adjust your shooting technique a bit for 30p, keeping shutter speed down to avoid too much shimmer and judder in high detail scenes, but it's not too traumatic!

Let me sort of break it down - the AX53 has a "small" sensor, and a killer stabilization system - the latter because of the former. The AX100 (and I'll add to your choices in a moment) has a relatively large sensor, and decent stabilization, IF you use good camera technique, but it won't beat the "magic eyeball" of the AX53.

HOWEVER, the smaller sensor, as marvelous a job as Sony did on the AX53 (the AX33 was not so hot), is still just soft when compared to the larger sensor cams - it is NOT "bad", to be honest, and if a smaller dedicated video camera that's great handheld is what you're after, it's not a bad choice. Low light is not bad, stabilization is excellent, and all things considered, a nice little camera. Scroll down in this forum, there's decent "low light" samples shot with the AX53.

Overall, while the AX53 doesn't quite get the same "through a window" image, it's actually quite good, just a bit soft (and that doesn't always make for a negative, as it helps with the aforementioned shimmer and judder).


The AX100 is now a couple years "old", but still stands tall, if you know how to use it. The 1" class sensor is "first generation", and there is a new generation available in the RX10M2 and RX10M3, as well as the RX100M4. As with any generational change, the newer sensor is better, it's not "huge", but of course adds the slo-mo, and a few other handy things.

I've wondered whether or if Sony's "Handycam" division will create an AX100M2 with the later sensor - it makes economic and engineering sense, as they don't have to "reinvent" an already well accepted camera, BUT the Handycam group doesn't seem to work the same way as the Cybershot crew (who spits out a new camera every year, or LESS!). It's POSSIBLE, but until we see one, it's sheer speculation!



SO.... I've mentioned the "Cybershot" options... which might also fit your expectations -

The RX100M4 (good pocket cam, limited zoom range, and roughly 5 minute (a little longer with the app hack, I've gotten 8 1/2 before heat indicator) clip length in 4K.... Amazing little beast you can stick in your pocket, with a few limitations! Fairly easy to handhold steady with a little practice, good stills, good low light, great 4K for short clips, 1080/60p also available, Slo-mo features....

The RX10M2, and the newest RX10M3.... definitely not "pocket" cameras, but... since you're considering the AX100... these are "still" cameras with the 1" class sensor, and generally decent VIDEO capability... I'd actually say the video quality is EXCELLENT, with a little technique and a few limitations - the ergonomics are "different" from a dedicated video camera, so you have to get used to that, and I find I like to have a flash bracket attached to help me keep stable shots...

Some have complained about wobble in the RX10M2 lens when zooming (never bothered me), the M3 took out the internal ND filter, so if you want to keep your aperture open and shutter speed down, you may need an external ND filter... so they aren't "perfect" (NO camera produced as of yet IS!!), but I've thought about retiring the AX100 for an RX10M3...

The RX10's have incredible lenses, the latest gen 1" class sensor, and cover a LOT of ground when it comes to the "day to day" shooting requirements you'll mostly run into (both stills and video), plus of course the slo-mo "tricks", decent low light (carry a small dimmable LED if you're needing additional light).


There's one thing on your list (IR/"Nightshot") that is a Handycam ONLY feature, but unless you're shooting bats, sleeping babies, or horror flicks, it "might" be worth going to a Cybershot? I know I HAVE Nightshot, but to me it's a gimmick I have rarely used....



Hopefully I haven't confused you too much, but those are some options you could consider, with a little "hands on" review of the pluses and minuses...

I'm sure someone might pop in and suggest some Panasonic options (FZ1000 for instance) that will be easier on your budget, and might be worth it as a short term economical solution that will still be WAY ahead of your cell phone! I personally prefer the Sony options, having tried Panasonic and they just didn't "do it for me", but bang for the buck is pretty good....
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Old June 29th, 2016, 07:37 PM   #3
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Re: Noob Ax100 questions

Thanks for the reply, out of those new cameras you suggested the rx10 III would be what i consider. now obviously i havnt had nearly enough time to review footage from the rx10 III as i have with the ax100 but it seems like the ax100 is better at recording quality where the rx has better stills, I put recording as the priority for me personally. It does have the better slow mo but that was more a neat thing and the the ax100 still atleast has a 720 slomo.

Also i figured as much about the 4k/60p portion of my question, do you also know enough about my question with the difference between 10bit 4:2:2 vs 8bit 4:2:0? Will i really want to wait for a consumer camcorder with the 10bit quality or will i really not notice much of a important difference.

As a ax100 owner do you happen to know about my star question?
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Old June 30th, 2016, 02:45 AM   #4
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Re: Noob Ax100 questions

The RX10's have been capable video cameras all along, yes, they are very good for stills, but I'm not afraid to use them for video, in fact the RX10M2 has been getting more use for me, and that's mainly been video. Even the original RX10 shot some very nice 1080/60p!

The lens on the RX10M3 has it on my "next camera" list, I did try the AX53 hoping it would be workable, but I still felt the small sensor wasn't a good match for the 1" class sensor cams I already have...

More bits is always "better", but I've always managed OK with the "consumer" 8 bit - I'm sure there are some uses where those extra 2 bits would be useful. I do know that video from all these cameras looks pretty impressive on a big 4K screen, you have to really pixel peep to find things to quibble about.

I've done some moon and eclipse shooting, but trying to capture stars is asking a lot IMO, there's just not enough light there to effectively pick up, even at slow shutter speeds. While the background lighting may not be as bad out of the range of city lights, the stars are still not THAT bright - our eyes still have a bit more ability to adjust than a camera sensor. Still cameras have to be very stable and long exposure times for some of those impressive star shots.
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Old June 30th, 2016, 12:30 PM   #5
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Re: Noob Ax100 questions

Dave - your post #2 was awesome! That really represented my thoughts exactly.

Wesley - Taking a different approach from the technical aspects of Dave
s post, hereís a few more thoughts. Youíre analysis of your needs, wants, and cam capabilities is pretty darn good. In fact, it looks a lot like what Iíve been through the past several years but I couldnít take it any longer and lately Iíve been on a cam buying binge. Last spring it was the AX100 and this spring it was the AX53 for many of the same reasons youíre looking at.

The deal is this: Time goes by and you canít get it back. The videos you take today will be the memories for tomorrow. So what is the most important thing? The quality of the picture? Nope. Itís the story. The video you take is a story and down the road itís the story thatís going to matter. Case in point: Last year I copied some old 8 mm videos from the í50s and í60s and showed them to family and friends. Everyone was glued to the screen (TV). These were with no audio except for some of the clicking sound of the projector I left in, there was flicker, dust spots, etc. and etc. But it was the story that trumped the lack of quality.

Todayís cams have capability that is way ahead of what the old 8mm cams had, not to mention audio. Because itís all a trade-off, if your intent is to document personal experiences for yourself, family, and friends, then going with a cam that would be best at capturing the content vice quality would be the best option. Itís the jack of all trades, master of none kind of choice.

After the story, or storyline, the next most important part of a video is the audio. Youíll want some good mics - cam mounted mic, lavaliere(s), and some kind of omni and maybe a vocal mic. The good thing about audio equipment, unlike cams, is that it holds itís value fairly good, so you arenít wasting your money.

For the cam, the AX100 is a good honest cam with no real gotchas but itís been out for a couple years now and there will be a replacement one of these months. Got mine used and at this point that could be a consideration especially in your market area. The AX53 I got specifically for itís B.O.SS system and it uses the same battery. Even so, Iíve been interested in something like the GoPro type with a gyro or a gyro adapter for my iPhone.

The cam is generally considered the biggest depreciating item in the kit due to technology change so if money is a concern then that should also be a buying consideration. For cams, Dave Blackhurst did an excellent writeup.

What about a couple books on storytelling???
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Old June 30th, 2016, 03:57 PM   #6
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Re: Noob Ax100 questions

thanks for the posts guys, all this extra info and insight really helps.

This is perhaps the most difficult part of the situation that you mention john. Is that the ax100 has already been out for a couple years but sony has taken a sort of different direction with the continuing ax models. and who knows when a different company makes a direct upgrade/same style as the ax100.

Ive been kinda thinking of perhaps trying to buy this used for significantly cheaper and then waiting a few more years and look again for the "perfect" camera based around my needs/wants.
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Old June 30th, 2016, 06:03 PM   #7
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Re: Noob Ax100 questions

Because the AX100 has been around for a while, you can find some good used deals out there if you're patient. The AX53 won't likely come up too cheap until there's a similar, newer better model (some people probably will consider the AX53, or perhaps one of the RX's suited for what one might use the AX100 for, and they are "newer").

John hit it on the head, you're currently using your cell phone, and apparently the quality isn't doing it for you, There ARE better cameras, so it boils down to whether you want to shoot with your existing quality, or break down and capture your memories in BETTER quality, what you're willing to spend, and how long you want to wait (there will ALWAYS be "newer, better", and no "perfect"!).
.

Used is probably a reasonable option, just for the price savings - and you can still RE-sell if or when you find a new "toy" that better suits your wants/needs. Camcorders tend to hold their value a bit better than still/hybrids in my experience (probably because there are a lot more "photographers" than video shooters, so more "inventory/supply"), but as long as they aren't abused, a 1-3 year "old" camera (that probably still can be had "new" in the retail market!) has lots of life left in it.


Personally, I'd choose the AX100 for image quality if you want a video style cam, but if I was going to be handheld most of the time (vs. a monopod/tripod or other stabilizing rig of some sort), the AX53 tips the scales with the BOSS magic eyeball.... this depends to some extent on how good your camera technique is, but I'd say the AX53 would be more "forgiving" of bad technique, in part because it does have a slightly softer image. The AX100 IMO requires you to actually know what you're doing to get best results, where the AX53 is more in the "consumer" idjit proof category, which has its advantages!


I didn't even test the stills from the AX53 when I had it, but if it was "typical" of a Handycam, they would be "OK", but not spectacular.... I've actually used the AX100 in a pinch for stills, and they looked quite good.

I typically have the little RX100 as a "pocket cam", and the RX10 or the AX100 if I'm wanting more capability. I run all of them in shutter priority mode, or full manual for VIDEO most of the time, and manual or one of the auto modes for stills.

When the RX100 first came out (1st generation, contemporary with the AX100, I'm currently using a "mark4" with second generation sensor... the rumors are swirling that a "RX100 mark 5" is coming "soon"), I captured a lot of "moments" just because I had it with me... now I'd say the RX10M2 is getting the most use, but the 100M4 still takes its place in the same camera bag, and gets used quite a lot. I see the RX's as a "system" with a common sensor/processor base, so they work together to give good image/video quality in nearly any shooting situation at a reasonable price. The AX100 still fits in that "system", even if it is getting "old", it still keeps up!
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Old June 30th, 2016, 10:51 PM   #8
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Re: Noob Ax100 questions

The other issue is size. If you are used to shooting with your phone then neither the AX53 or the AX100 are small or light cameras to carry about . I have both the AX53 and the AX100 and they work well together. The AX53 has some nice features not on the FDR-AX1 or the FDR-AX100 like data code and time code recorded in the XAVC-S data stream and of course the BOSS image stabilizer. Feature wise it has more in common with the NX30U which I expect it will replace at some point with a Pro version with XLR's just like the NX30U came from the PJ970 consumer camera.

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Old July 1st, 2016, 01:19 AM   #9
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Re: Noob Ax100 questions

Hereís a thought.

Just checked prices for the AX100, both new and used, and wow! Seems like theyíve firmed up since early last spring, actually increasing, especially for the used ones. eBay had very few used available. Guess summer might have something to do with that.

What about the idea of getting a used DSLR for now until the supply and demand brings the prices down? It wouldnít be a waste, would be more portable than the AX100. Hopefully the image would be easy to belend with a future Sony cam.

Just checked craigs list for LA and thereís a RX100 ďpristineĒ asking $300. Has a case, original box (so hopefully not stolen). Didnít look for any newer models. Used Sony RX100 Pristine Condition

Use the iPhone as a B-cam and maybe get a gyro for it? Money left over for other video essentials like mics, light, monopod, etc., and all could still be used on the future cam.

Sony had a problem with their sensor factory during the earthquake so the short supply of sensors may have driven up camera prices or it could just be a seasonal thing.
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Old July 1st, 2016, 02:31 AM   #10
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Re: Noob Ax100 questions

The Kumamoto quake definitely put a kink in Sony supply lines, and also has firmed up used prices. The scuttlebutt is that they may announce new cameras, but not be delivering until 2017, and that certain of their cameras are in very short supply... Don't know if the RX sensors come out of that facility, but I'm expecting that the RX10M3 I want to add to my fleet will be delayed a few months.... the M2 will have to do for now, and I've thought about grabbing another since they are coming up pretty reasonable....


Even a first gen RX10 would be a big step up over cell phone video, and those are pretty cheap used. Or as I mentioned, the Panasonic FZ1000 is 4K capable, and "not bad", again a camera that's been out for a while...

if the size and weight aren't an issue, the AX's are still both pretty decent options... but Ron is correct that other than an RX100 series, you have to get used to lugging a bit more camera around. Small price to pay for better video and stills, IMO!
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Old July 1st, 2016, 10:01 AM   #11
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Re: Noob Ax100 questions

ya the new found weight is to be expected switching from a phone, im fine with that.

Im still looking into the RX's but i dont mind waiting since my next trip wont be for a little while so i have time to sit on this and watch prices of ax100s. I have alot id want to film around here but since i live here its not going anywhere and can wait.

can i ask what the prices you were expecting were? before you said they firmed up the prices so i have a general idea?
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Old July 1st, 2016, 11:53 AM   #12
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Re: Noob Ax100 questions

Last August 15, 2015, a good price for the AX100 on eBay would be ~ $900 without ďissuesĒ and with most of the accessories. Looking at ďSoldsĒ there would be lower prices but with increased issues or serious lack of accessories like cables, lens shade, etc.

New prices were running ~ $1,200; however, one has to watch out for the retailers with less than a stellar track record. The ones who have a low price but where there are reports of open box vice new, slow delivery, and things of that nature. With some investigative research one can find out who are the troublesome ones fairly quick.

I enjoy doing day trading so following prices comes naturally.
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Old July 1st, 2016, 01:07 PM   #13
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Re: Noob Ax100 questions

You may want to check your local Best Buy. I typically never buy from a box store like that, but they do have open box items, and as I noted somewhere else on here, I picked up an open box CX900 (the AX100 1080p brother) for $730.00 in great condition. A friend of mine got one in Nashville at Best Buy for $760.00... which is why I tried my local one and sure enough.

I know they had an open box AX100 for $1000 in the past, but it was gone.

Here's the deal though, Best Buy will negotiate on the price if you can talk to a manager. I told them (and showed my friends box/receipt) on my phone and they changed the coding in their sales kiosk to make it lower priced. No issues at all. They originally had it listed for $947 sitting on the shelf.

So... anyways, that's something to consider as well.
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Old July 1st, 2016, 04:07 PM   #14
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Re: Noob Ax100 questions

So how does this look to you guys? Im not to used to buying from ebay. but it seems like all that is missing is the hdmi cable. Comes with an additional sony battery as well.

Sony FDR AX100 4K Camcorder Black 021859573538 | eBay
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Old July 1st, 2016, 07:15 PM   #15
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Re: Noob Ax100 questions

Hi Wesley,

I've had the AX100 for a little over a year now and absolutely love it. I have traveled extensively with it including a 3 week trip to Amazon region in Peru from which I just returned a few days ago doing both fun stuff and some documentary work for a humanitarian group.

While it's a little larger than the usual Handycam type video camera -- the quality is more than worth it. It basically shoots everything in 4K great. Unless you put everything in complete auto mode, you have to be a little conscious settings, but that's no different from any camera. The control flexibility has been absolutely wonderful.

I'll try to address some of your questions with regard to this particular camera:

- As I wrote before, I've been incredibly pleased with the quality of the video. In the daytime, it's phenomenal. I was very surprised with the quality of the low light video. As long as you don't let the gain get above 12-15, then the picture is very good with little little noticeable degradation.

- While it has infrared capability, no camera is going to be worth much in the dark without an powerful external infrared light. The internal light is okay and using the IF setting in near dark isn't awful, but the colors are, at least for me, not really worth it. I shot some people playing volleyball down a very dark street in the rain last week and it wasn't too bad -- just not the quality I usually prefer. If I was just shooting nighttime stuff with friends, it would be fine.

- Even if you don't have a 4K screen to view the footage, it looks absolutely spectacular on regular 1080p televisions as well -- a lot better than any 1080p camera that I've owned.

- Stabilization is typical for the other Sony cameras I own. While I took a tripod last week, I rarely used it (except for interviews). By really concentrating on my hand holding technique, I came out with a much higher percentage of usuable shots than I expected. Now I feel pretty confident in using it in most situations.

- Panning is going to cause motion blurring in most situations with any camera. Use slow pans (preferable) or a higher shutter speed.

- I would love to have slo-mo and timelapse capabilities, but I don't miss them as much as I thought.

- I definitely wouldn't worry about not having 4K 60p or 10-bit color. If you're doing simple editing as I do most of the time, you won't notice it. I don't even shoot at 100mps much of the time depending on the subject. 60mps isn't a noticeable difference unless I it is a very "busy" scene such as water. Even the, the difference is minimal.

Seeing 4K video on YouTube is good, but still not representative of what it really looks like after YouTube compression. I'd recommend downloading some files and looking at the original 4K video. Even on a 1080p TV, I was blown away when I did this. That's what sold me on the camera in the first place. It was, and has continued to be, every bit as good as I'd heard.

Hope that helps a little.

Phil
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