Rated 5 out of 5
by RickBennette The BEST Hanycam Made So Far
This camcorder is well beyond the needs of most users as it borders on the realm of a pro camera in a small body. Yes, for a home unit, it's large. For a Pro unit, it's small. For video, this thing outperforms any DSLR on the market, including the new 4K DSLRs from the competition, albeit by only a small margin compared to 4K DSLRs.
Image quality is tack sharp from corner to corner with absolutely no loss of sharpness and no visible chromatic aberation anywhere in the image. The corners look as crisp as the center. There's also no moire effect when shooting intricate patterns. Details are simply stunning. Even the feathers of birds show every bit of detail in the ribbings. It has a 12x optical zoom, which is darn respectible for a one inch sensor. Digital zoom works flawlessly out to 24x with no visible digital distortion. Beyond 24x the artifacts become visible, and by 160x they make the image useless.
The color is rich and lush, but not overly saturated, even in the automatic mode. Skin tones look film like in the correct light. Depth of field is way better than any three chip pro camcorder, but not so shallow that noses look out of focus when the eyes look clear. Everything seems well balanced in the full auto mode.
The pro features really shine on this little gem. Every major function like focus, iris, white balance, shutter speed and gain has its own dedicated button on the camera body and is totally independent in its function. They retain their manual settings even when the camera is powered off and back on. Other pro features include video peaking and zebra stripes. XLR inputs are available through an optional adapter that sits in the hot shoe.
The eyepiece is so crisp you'll swear you're looking through an optical lens and not at an electronic device. The flip out viewfinder is crisp as well.
Low light shots are simply amazing with grain held to a minimum even at 33 dB video gain. At that setting, it sees things brighter than my eyes, and any grain simply is masked when viewing at normal distance from a TV. In good room lighting and obviously outdoors, grain is not even visible in the image. Digital artifacting is barely visible only if you sit too close the TV looking for it. Othewise, you won't see it.
The 4K mode looks tack sharp even downsampled on a 2K monitor. The X-AVC 2K mode looks almost as good on a 2K monitor, but lacks that razor sharpness of downconverted 4K. It goes without saying on a 4K monitor, the image is simply breathtaking. Only reality is sharper, and that's only if you have 20-20 vision. Set this thing in Cinema Mode, 24 frames per second at 4K and you'll have an image that will look as crisp and rich in color as an iMax movie. In fact, iMax is 4K.
Stills are also very good, approaching the quality level of a mid priced DSLR. 14 megapixel gives the most bang for the buck. The 20 meg setting interpolates more pixels with little added sharpness, so stick to 14.
Batteries last a respective 2 hours or more for the small one, four hours for the medium and nearly seven hours for the largest. a 64 GIG card shoots over six hours at the highest AVCHD mode, and over two hours at the 4K mode.
The native 4K files import easily into the Sony Vegas editor, even the older version 11. Vegas only outputs the finished project in 2K, however, unless there is some new plugin for that. A quad core machine is enough to handle the high data rate sufficiently to edit 4K on a PC.
Bottom line - using this in the full auto mode will get you great video in all regards. Use of the manual controls by a capable user will yield incredible results usable in any feature documentary.
July 21, 2014
Rated 4 out of 5 by HorseMoney I'm Very Disappointed in Sony
I've had this camcorder in my hands for 4 days now. First off Sony didn't have the weight of this camcorder listed in their specifications when I first pre ordered the camera several weeks ago. It's way too large and heavy for my small hands. Second I was very disappointed in the image stabilization, I was hoping it would be at least as good as my PJ-650's, it's not, it's about on an equal with my old Panasonic. On active mode it bounces around quite a bit before it settles down. The image quality is wonderful, however they don't tell you that you can't edit 4k video with Play Memories Home. When you first start the camcorder it tells you to go to Sony.net/PM to download the software. After you shoot the video in 4k and can't edit it on PM. I contacted Sony online support and they told me that I have to buy Sony Vegas Pro 12. I like Vegas but it's rendering is too slow for the number of videos I turn out.
March 23, 2014
Rated 2 out of 5
by SonicJ DISAPPOINTED in XAVC-S Card Problems
I like the way the camera feels in my hands, and most operations are fairly easy to change on the fly. But, Why Oh Why sill an 80 MBps EXTREME 1 Type 10 SanDisk 32 Gig Memory Card not work in XAVC mode?? This is the fastest card I have right now.
On Page 12 of the so-called manual it says you can do 4k at 60 MBps. I have reformatted the card in the camera and still no go. XAVC-S HD says it works at 50 MBps, but again, no go. Does the camera only like Sony Media??
Prior to owning this, I had tried a Sony RX 10, and the video quality was great. But, there was some lens wobble due to the way Sony has set up the servos on the lens.
If/When I get this working, I will get back. But for now, two Stars and that's about $1000/star........
March 26, 2014
Rated 4 out of 5 by Geneo157 Excellent video
I have owned the camera since March and have produced some stunning videos. However I have a problem with the OLED EVF, its brightness is so low that it is unusable in bright sunshine. Two other EVF cameras I own have at least double the brightness. I also found the complaint on websites dedicated to this camera.
The video certainly rates 5 stars but for the EVF
July 21, 2014
Rated 5 out of 5 by eugene157 Proud owner
Did a few test videos, results better than expected . I edit with Power Director 12. It was awesome to watch the video on a Sony 4K TV. Test pattern I use says 1800 lines resolution PPH.
This reminded me of the HC-1 I bought in 2005, same wow factor!
Good compromise in performance vs cost ratio.
March 21, 2014
Rated 5 out of 5 by arondene First day with the FDR-AX100
So far so good, everything is a go, no problem of sd card.
I got an ADATA Premier Pro sdxc 64gb (95 read/45 write). And it was recognized without problem.
April 2, 2014
Rated 2 out of 5 by pluto1 No Sd cards for this camera
The 4k camera of sonyhandy cam does not accept any sd cards.,even the extreme pro 280 mb per second,the camera does not accept the card.
After spending several hondreds of Euro the camera isb only working in Hd, and i did not see any 4 k on this camera
June 29, 2014
Rated 4 out of 5 by RedRob INCREDIBLE for some apps, falls short for others?
Well -- this camera isn't out yet, but reading the specs and looking at the images, here are my first impressions:
This looks like a promising camera, possibly with some usability limitations that make it *excellent* for some applications, but lesser for others.
- If it's really got a 1" sensor that's pretty huge for this format camera.. I've not seen that before, and it'd be very likely to handle low light VERY well.
- The 120 fps option can be nice for slow-motion capturing which is an increasing trend and can create gorgeous imagery
- I am intrigued by cameras with WiFi controllability; throw this baby onto a remote pan/tilt head and control zoom wirelessly and it's a decent unstaffed B-cam (I wonder if it can send decent video image wirelessly??).
- I have no idea what "golf shot" mode is, but the name is curious indeed!
- Happy to see it has zebra bars
Looking at the images, it seems the controls haven't been well thought out for optimum usability, and I'm left with questions....
- Only one ring which doubles as zoom/focus depending on a toggle switch; I have that on my smaller form-factor JVC and really dislike it. I want to have three control rings (iris/zoom/focus) on my cameras. The thumb-dial MAY be able to control iris, so together with the ring as zoom this could work IF auto-focus works well on this camera (TBD). The ol' PD170 was setup like that (thumb-dial to adjust iris) and it worked very well actually. If the thumb wheel can auto-gain after the iris is all the way open (like the Z5U and FX7's "exposure" mode) then this won't be much of a problem, although it'd still be nice to have dedicated focus and zoom rings
- Putting the HDMI and headphone jacks on the left just behind mission-critical controls to adjust shutter speed and gain seems like a BAD design; if you're sending output to a live switch via the miniHDMI that'll make getting to those controls difficult and increase chances of inadvertently pulling out the cable.. yikes!
- I see the iris/gain/shutter buttons, but no wheel to change values?! Or maybe pressing those buttons toggles auto/manual and whichever one is selected is worked by the thumb-wheel?
- I'm glad to see all the different options for "quality mode"... it'll be good to know the actual bitrate on the CODECs available, to get an idea of how good the saved image will be and how large the files will be (e.g. record time)
- 12x zoom is OK.. 20x would be nicer. With SONY's ability to get 50x zoom on their handheld super-zoom still cams, why aren't they putting that technology into camcorders too?
- Want to know SD card implementation.. is it single card or hot-swappable dual-card implementation? Although it looks like single memory card, it also says "dual video recording" is a feature
- Does the A/V out (via the optional cable) still work when HDMI is being used? On two other cams I tested, when HDMI (digital output) was used, the analog output ports were disabled.
January 14, 2014