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Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...


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Old May 16th, 2015, 04:33 PM   #46
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Re: Getting Back into the game...need advice

Thought I'd mention I have an AX33 (no projectors here in the US... kinda miss it... or not) in hand....

First impressions, it's a bit beefier than the older PJ/CX cams, but not much, definitely smaller than the AX100. Mainly the length lens to battery is shorter, and it's shorter than the CX/PJ when the older cams have the lens hood attached.

The Video/Flash of the CX/PJ is gone, for what little it was worth.

No AV jack, replaced by the "MULTI" (enhanced USB port), will have to test compatibility with adapters...

The MI/hot/cold shoe is much more traditional than the "keyed" one on the AX100, pretty much any regular shoe should fit with ease, though unless you thin the front edge (of the accessory shoe) to clear the contacts, it won't go "all the way" into the shoe, and therefore may be slightly less stout. Still an improvement.

Tripod mount is much better centered side to side, and more towards the front of the camera when compared to PJ760. Not a big deal, but I personally never liked the tripod being offset to one side.

VF pulls out and tilts up (nice), but can't be turned on/off independent from the LCD (OK, so that's pretty standard now), and doesn't pop on when the LCD is flipped around 180 (some cams used to do this, so the cameraman AND the "talent" could see what was being shot).

Yet ANOTHER thread size on the front lens... not the same as any other Sony I've got, so more filters, if needed... liked how the RX10 and AX100 shared threading... and how you used to be able to use a 37mm on most any Handycam!

2.7" (touchscreen) LCD is OK, but somehow looks a little washed out, gotten spoiled by the 3.5 on the AX100!

Manual control feels a bit limited (just a button and the ring), so far I'm thinking set the shutter at 30 or 60 for motion blur in 30p, set the ring (full size around the lens, not the little wheelie thingy!) for AE shift... You can set a setting, then hold the manual button and choose another to alter - clunky, and it seems like only some things can be set at the same time, but seems workable so far...

Image quality so far is honestly a bit disappointing. Just playing around in the office with bad to awful lighting, the AX33 is definitely "slower" and worse in low light than the AX100 - stops down VERY aggressively at the long end of the zoom. There is a price being paid for the small sensor...
Hooked directly into the HDMI of my cheap-o 4K screen, the AX100 looks every bit the part of 4K in sharpness and detail... holds up decently as it zooms and in the worse light conditions. The AX33 looks more like 3-3.5K... not sure yet if it's just gained up and noisy, or really that soft (also need to test against the RX10 @ 1080), but it's pretty obvious again that the small sensor/lens/camera is paying a price... I'm not seeing the "pop" and "through a window" effect that the AX100 images (and some of the other 4K cameras out there) have.

It's nice to have the "magic eyeball" BOSS system back (that's actually the main reason I am evaluating the camera... for handheld use), it's working as you would expect.

Focusing seems a tad sluggish, but this may relate to the above noted low light "performance". Once it locks, it's good, but a couple times already it's just sat there not even looking for focus... may be a need for better firmware?



I hope to have some time to get some more experience with the AX33 - like the size, it could be "handy" just because of that, and I think it's better image wise than the older PJ760, though not by as much as I expected (and low light might break that "better" completely). At the moment, I'd have to say the AX100 is a LOT more camera if one had to make a choice.

Wanted to offer a bit of a "review" since the AX33 came up in discussion... hope it's of some help.
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Old May 17th, 2015, 05:29 AM   #47
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Re: Getting Back into the game...need advice

Great info Dave, I was planning to replace my cx730's when a better option would come available but since I won't be doing any weddings anymore in a year I just will ride those last months out with my little trusty handicams. I might be shooting some stage performances but then probably a second ax100 would be a better option, I really like that camera, a bit noisy at high iso's but a good all round performer and once you get used to the detail that camera resolves all other camera's appear soft.
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Old May 17th, 2015, 06:39 PM   #48
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Re: Getting Back into the game...need advice

I've got to shoot some samples, but direct to HDMI on my 4K TV, the AX33 is smoked by the AX100 and RX10 for clarity and relative noise... Not really sure the added stabilization makes up for the lack of sharpness and noise signature... like the size, but thinking a "backup" AX100 would be better - it's been a very good little cam for me.

I'm trying to find the "right" HDMI for the PJ760 to A/B it as well (dang different sizes of connectors!), but the GW77 I tested against was not bad (again a small chipper) vs. the AX33. For 3 yr old or so "HD", it held up OK, I suspect the same would hold true for the CX/PJ 7xx series, which should even be a tad better.

I guess we've been spoilt by the 1" class sensor cameras, maybe that's it! I still wish for a 4K firmware update (and maybe a little better tuned stabilization) for the RX10, that would really be my "best" second camera option - even with the current FW update (need to test recorded samples w/ high bitrate), it looked FAR better on the screen than the AX33 using the HDMI.

Trying to keep in mind the AX33 is a consumer camera, but having used "consumer" cams with good image quality, I am not as excited about this iteration as I'd like to be...
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Old May 17th, 2015, 06:54 PM   #49
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Re: Getting Back into the game...need advice

Thanks for the info, Dave.

Does anyone know how quickly Sony update their camcorders?

The AX100 has been out a while, and if by next wedding season a successor is expected, I might hold off on getting a second one for the two weddings I have left this year.

I realise that this is somewhat subjective, but if people think it could be two years, then I'll get a second. Thanks.
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Old May 17th, 2015, 10:08 PM   #50
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Re: Getting Back into the game...need advice

Dave, I really appreciate the AX33 review and comparison to the AX100. thanks for the effort.
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Old May 20th, 2015, 04:51 PM   #51
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Re: Getting Back into the game...need advice

@Craig -
"Normal" refresh cycle for "consumer" cameras has been about "every year"... BUT the "new economy" and Sony's financial struggles have stretched that significantly. CES used to mean a half a dozen or more "new" cameras announced in various "flavors"... now it means maybe a couple... They are even mostly "abandoning" certain market niches/segments (like consumer P&S cameras). Pro lines for video cameras have multi-year product cycles...

They have been updating the RX100 (now on M3) about once a year, but the RX10 has been out for quite some time, with only a firmware bump (and I still swear it can do 4K with firmware, which would extend the market viability for another year or two, IMO). The AX100 is another "long market cycle" cam. Both got so many things "right" that there isn't really a lot of competitive push to do something newer/better/different.

I'm all for "newer better faster", but honestly it's hard to find "better" that would replace the AX100 and RX10 for my needs - testing the AX33 for the BOSS system and as a backup, so far I don't see it as a replacement and I'm on the fence as a "backup/second cam". It's definitely not "bad", but on a 4K monitor you start to see "soft" in an entirely different way...
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Old July 10th, 2015, 06:02 AM   #52
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Re: Getting Back into the game...need advice

Dave, any further thoughts on the AX33 versus AX100? I am looking for a small camcorder mainly for my wife to do some travelogue & vacation shooting. I am attracted to the point & shoot simplicity of the AX33 especially with the BOSS for handheld. However being used to 'proper' camcorders I am wondering whether the limitations in manual control will be too limiting.

Is the BOSS on the AX33 that much better than OSS on the AX100? Is the AX100 image that much better? How does the AX33 image compare to other camcorders when down sampled to regular HD?

The AX100 is almost double the price of the AX33 but it might be worth paying the premium if it's significantly better as we will hopefully be using the camcorder for several years to come
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Old July 10th, 2015, 06:11 AM   #53
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Re: Getting Back into the game...need advice

I"m also interested how the ax33 performs compared to the cx730 type of handicams, stabilisation wise both should perform the same but I would be interested to see how it compares in lowlight and the IQ in general.
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Old July 10th, 2015, 07:48 AM   #54
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Re: Getting Back into the game...need advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Harding View Post
Hey Adrian

Depends on the head hours .. unlike card cameras DV tape camera head do wear and I doubt whether Panny would have spares now ... plus there is wear and tear on the capstan and the rubbers go hard after a while ... cards makes weddings a lot cheaper too .. I used to go thru 4 tapes at a wedding at $8.00 a pop ... in 6 months you have used up nearly 100 tapes and spent $800 ..probably more now!! I toss out 4 cards every 6 months only so it's a big saving on media. Then you can only transfer tape in real time so that also means more hours for editing to cost in ... a 60 minute tape takes 60 minutes to capture .. an hour of video on card takes only minutes to download.

Chris
Yeesh, I've gone through as much as 12 plus tapes at a wedding. Ofcourse now they occupy like 4 boxes in my house. lol.
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Old July 15th, 2015, 11:59 AM   #55
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Re: Getting Back into the game...need advice

I decided that the only way I could really decide between the AX33 & AX100 was to compare them for myself so I bought both from Amazon with the intention of returning the loser & keeping the winner.

Here in the UK Sony currently has a mail-in rebate promotion. From Amazon the AX33 is 719 (1000 / $1100)after 80 rebate). The AX100 is 1239 (1750 / $1900) after 150 rebate.

Despite the difference in price the choice was pretty easy to make as soon as I compared footage from the two cameras. The AX33 is nice enough & impressive if you haven't seen 4K images before but the AX100 footage is clearly better - it's more detailed, better in low light & has better dynamic range. As Dave mentioned earlier there is the 'looking through a window' quality. I guess that the obvious difference in quality is unsurprising given the difference in sensor size.

There are some plus points to the AX33. The BOSS is very good but the OSS in the AX100 is pretty good too. It's a while since I used a proper camcorder rather than a DSLR to shoot video but I had forgotten how much easier it is with the former. Some people might find the smaller size better but with my large hands I didn't. The weight is barely different despite the difference in length.

Controlling the AX100 manually is far easier than all the button presses & delving into menus on the AX33. The viewfinder & especially the screen are far better.

The AX100 may be 75% more expensive than the AX33 but for me the extra is worth paying especially as I will be keeping the camera for a few years.
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