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SonyFDR-AX1 Digital 4K Video Camera Recorder
 
4.1

(based on 8 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (4)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (3)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (0)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (0)

88%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Professional quality (7)
  • Easy to use (5)
  • Improves performance (3)
  • Lightweight (3)

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Independent films (3)
      • Reviewer Profile:
      • Business owner (4)
      • Was this a gift?:
      • No (5)

    Reviewed by 8 customers

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    (0 of 5 customers found this review helpful)

     
    3.0

    it's ok i guess

    By Beltsasar

    from Austin Tx

    About Me Business Owner

    Pros

    • Easy To Use
    • Highly Compatible
    • Professional Quality

    Cons

      Best Uses

      • Independent Films

      Comments about Sony FDR-AX1 Digital 4K Video Camera Recorder:

      this camera uses the batteries too fast and cards are only 64 gig
      the sdcard slot is useless cuz u need to wait till sony releases some kind of update
      not very good in low light
      however i had no choice i needed a new camera but hdv cameras are on the way out
      i just wish sony made as good cameras as their former dsr-pd170

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      (4 of 8 customers found this review helpful)

       
      4.0

      4K is the Future

      By Videobill

      from Edina MN

      About Me Business Owner

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

      • Easy To Use
      • Highly Compatible
      • Improves Performance
      • Professional Quality

      Cons

        Best Uses

        • Travel Video

        Comments about Sony FDR-AX1 Digital 4K Video Camera Recorder:

        I will use this camera primarily for travel and nature video. I may have some corporate applications as well. The AX1 captures stunning images. Video from the AX1 is easily edited on FCP X just like any 1080p video. I hope to sell stock video and UHD videos produced with the AX1. Stored 4K files will also future proof me for future projects.
        As a deliverable, the 4K video, when downconverter to a Blu-ray disc looks great especially when upscaled on a UHD monitor.
        Obviously, the 4K format requires a lot of data storage and consumes battery power beyond what we are all used too. I am glad the AX1 uses the same Sony batteries I have used for years.

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        • No

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        (4 of 8 customers found this review helpful)

         
        3.0

        4K files

        By Filmtrail

        from Lubbock, TX

        About Me Business Owner, Documentary producer

        Verified Buyer

        Pros

          Cons

            Best Uses

              Comments about Sony FDR-AX1 Digital 4K Video Camera Recorder:

              I was most concerned about being able to save the 4K files for future use, while still being able to use a 2K or Hi-Def file for current editing projects. It turns out that it's as simple as dragging the camera files from the XQD card on to any hard drive for archiving. Once there you can use Borosoft's Video Converter to transcode the files into ProRes 422 for editing, which works in several NLE programs. (I use FCP, where ProRes is almost a necessity.) Once that's done the original 4K files remain as captured. Files are large, so takes a lot of storage. I wish I there was an option to use an external zoom control...my only serious negative at this point. (Currently documenting agricultural practices on the High Plains of Texas.)

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              • No

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              (7 of 11 customers found this review helpful)

               
              5.0

              Sony Does It Again!

              By Jonathan

              from Boston, MA

              Verified Buyer

              Pros

              • Professional Quality

              Cons

                Best Uses

                • Independent Films

                Comments about Sony FDR-AX1 Digital 4K Video Camera Recorder:

                This camera is astonishing for the price! 4K/60p is the most realistic image you will ever get on a monitor...like looking through a window into the world. For nature/documentary work, wow. The 150 Mbps bit rate is more than enough for a beautiful clean image even on challenging subject matter (consider that this is equivalent to a 37.5 Mbps 1080/60p AVC codec, which doesn't exist. They all top out at 28 Mbps). I know a lot of people are thinking of holding out for the Z100 with the 600 Mbps data rate, but consider that a 64 Gig card is only going to hold 12 minutes on that camera. However it runs 48 minutes on this one, with PLENTY of image quality.The lens is sharp. The cards are still a tad expensive, but coming down, and way cheaper than SxS. The camera uses a standard Sony battery type that you might already own and are half as expensive as the batteries in the EX1/PMW.The only thing I don't like is the "spin forever" focus ring with no hard stops. I'll miss that from my PMW-200.Another cool feature...this camera will output 1080/60i or 60p from the HDMI port while at the same time recording 4K/60p to the card slots. You can hook a Ninja or some other HDMI recorder to the output to get uncompressed files in HD for immediate editing, and stash the 4K files for later. Of course the camera also shoots in 24p and 30p, plus very high bit rates in HD for projects that don't require 4K.My tests show it about the same in low light as the HVR-V1 from a few years back. You definitely will have worse low light performance in a 4K camera because it needs 8 megapixels to get the job done, whereas an HD camera only need 2 Mp.It's a great camera with an amazing picture at an astonishing price! I love mine!

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                • No

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                (4 of 7 customers found this review helpful)

                 
                5.0

                Worked Well for Us

                By Light Brothers

                from Northern California

                About Me professional

                Verified Reviewer

                Pros

                • Lightweight
                • Professional Quality
                • very easy to use

                Cons

                  Best Uses

                  • Films
                  • NEWS
                  • Reality tv
                  • Run Gun

                  Comments about Sony FDR-AX1 Digital 4K Video Camera Recorder:

                  I was chosen to participate in a short film contest at the Napa Valley Film Festival designed to work out the Sony 4k camera. Each filmmaker was given a Sony AX1 and had 55 hours to write and produce a short film using Sony gear. None of us had seen the camera before we were given it at the start of the contest.

                  I absolutely loved this camera. Beautiful footage. Very easy to use, forgiving for us, even in low light. The richness and saturation we achieved was beautiful, and I saw much the same in the other projects.
                  In my opinion, this is a great Ultra HD starter camera, reality show camera, a film school camera, a documentary camera - anywhere ease of use and set up time is critical, or following quickly unfolding action. With the fixed lens, light weight and simple operation, it can just be grabbed from the bag, turned on, and away you go. Certainly it can be applied to more "cinematic" projects, such as we did, but most experienced filmmakers will like to alter their lenses as part of their aesthetic. I'm sure this is not something SONY doesn't know. The trade off, you have a camera that is ready to go 'as is' and very, very simple to use.
                  For the type of camera it is and it's position in the market, I think it's excellent. It should do very well, and is a nice compliment to the 4K monitors and projectors.

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                  (23 of 32 customers found this review helpful)

                   
                  3.0

                  Low light not good.

                  By Johnny Yang

                  from San Jose, CA

                  About Me Semi-Pro, Semi-professional

                  Verified Reviewer

                  Pros

                  • Good Controls
                  • Good Lcd Screen
                  • Professional Quality

                  Cons

                  • Low light
                  • Low Light Not Good
                  • Memory Card Is Expensive

                  Best Uses

                  • Landscape
                  • Nature

                  Comments about Sony FDR-AX1 Digital 4K Video Camera Recorder:

                  I saw this Sony FDR-AX1 4K camcorder as a demo unit side-by-side with Sony HXR-NX5U in a local Sony store, so that I could play both models and compare. Here are what I found:

                  - FDR-AX1 has a bigger lens hood and lens barrel than HXR-NX5U, about the same weight, with similar controls and buttons.

                  - FDR-AX1 belongs to HandyCam series, marked as "Consumer Camcorder", while HXR-NX5U belongs to NXCAM series, marked as "Professional Camcorder".

                  - FDR-AX1 has 1/2.3" single CMOS sensor with smaller pixels to support 4K resolution, while HXR-NX5U has three 1/3" CMOS sensors, that may be one of the reasons that FDR-AX1 has worse low-light performance. Zooming all the way in (smallest iris/aperture), pointing to a person in a dark area, FDR-AX1 shows obvious video noise on his/her face, while HXR-NX5U doesn't. To support 4K resolution and get decent low-light performance, a bigger sensor is needed.

                  - FDR-AX1 has wider and better LCD design.

                  - FDR-AX1 has two XQD card slots and one SD card slot at back, HXR-NX5U has two SD card slots and a Flash Memory Unit bay. 32GB XQD card is more expensive comparing to SD card, even comparing to HXR-FMU128 Flash Memory Unit, when thinking of their sizes.

                  - FDR-AX1 and HXR-NX5U can use the same NP-F970 or NP-F770 battery.

                  - They have about the same listing price in the store, actually HXR-NX5U has cheaper online price.

                  Since I'm looking at a camcorder with decent low-light performance, I'll skip FDR-AX1. But if you don't care low-light that much and would like 4K resolution for landscape or other similar subjects, FDR-AX1 is not bad.

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                  (8 of 10 customers found this review helpful)

                   
                  5.0

                  Excellent Successor to NX5/AX2000

                  By Nick

                  from Omaha, NE

                  About Me Business Owner

                  Verified Reviewer

                  Pros

                  • Easy To Use
                  • Improves Performance
                  • Lightweight
                  • Professional Quality

                  Cons

                  • Limited Compatibility

                  Best Uses

                  • Complex Projects
                  • In The Studio

                  Comments about Sony FDR-AX1 Digital 4K Video Camera Recorder:

                  We just got one of these in a few days ago as a replacement for a Sony NX5. If you're familiar with the NX5/AX2000, this camera is a natural upgrade to 4K. While we aren't shooting in 4K yet, we went with the AX1 as a more future-proof option than purchasing another NX5.

                  Physically, it is a bit larger, around 15-25%, than the NX5. The weight seems about the same, but the camera is wider throughout and the lens hood is significantly bigger. I'm not sure why Sony made the lens hood so much larger - the lens hood from the NX5 fit perfectly on the AX1 and didn't vignette or cause any noticeable differences.

                  The buttons are better laid out than on the NX5/AX2000 - Sony moved some of the buttons up to a new row, so there are less buttons per row, which makes it easier to remember where things are. One nice addition - you can now set both audio channels to Input 2. Before, you could only set both channels to Input 1 or one to Input 1 and one to Input 2.

                  The biggest change is the LCD - it is larger, and sharper than that of the NX5. This is a nice improvement. This one isn't a touchscreen - but we never used the touchscreen on the NX5 as it was easier to control through the buttons. The on-screen stats have been nicely re-arranged to the corners of the LCD, so they are no longer in the way of seeing the shot. The new LCD does seem to be a bit more reflective than the older models, though this may not be an issue as the older models weren't great with that either.

                  The low-light on this camera is the sacrifice of a 4K chip - it is about the same sensitivity as the older Sony V1u, while the NX5 has better low-light capabilities. For our purposes, this wasn't an issue, but it may be for your scenario. Consider the NX5 or PMW160/200 if low-light is important for your work.

                  A few other changes are the addition of a fan - it is exceptionally quiet and should not pick up even with an on-board mic. Also, the new XQD cards are very nice to use - they are the best cards I've used that aren't SXS/P2 cost level. Much nicer than SD and even Compact Flash, though for the time being, they are more expensive. I hope to see these cards make their way into more cameras in the future.

                  Overall, I think this is a very nice camera that accomplishes what it intends to be. There are some sacrifices going to a 4K sensor, but if those don't interfere with your work, this is a good future-proof option to consider.

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                  • No

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                  (13 of 17 customers found this review helpful)

                   
                  5.0

                  awesome camera

                  By johnmont250

                  from petaluma ca

                  About Me Professional Artist

                  Verified Reviewer

                  Pros

                  • Easy To Use
                  • Improves Performance
                  • Lightweight
                  • Professional Quality

                  Cons

                    Best Uses

                    • Complex Projects
                    • Independent Films
                    • In The Studio

                    Comments about Sony FDR-AX1 Digital 4K Video Camera Recorder:

                    I am a one man band freelancer. I have been wanting a "real" video camera for a few months now, I have a c100 and 5dmk3, but wanted something to grab and go, for jobs where i cant spend time setting up gear, and clients dont care about dof. I was having a hard time spending money on 3yr old technology that seemed available.
                    the files dropped right into pprocs6, win7pro without a hicup. the files worked right away, and i could see amazing detail.
                    It is very well balanced, when you load it up with shotgun mic and lav box, it is perfectly balanced. its way easier to hold than a shoulder rig with dslr. my small hd monitor worked right away, with no overlays. i dont use an outboard recorder, so i dont know about the output compression.
                    Great lcd, nice sound, and everything you would expect from a sony camcorder.
                    I was not expecting great leaps in low light performance, and I think its about like most other sony cams like it. decent, but not stellar in low light. lots of recording formats, like 60p in all of them. i love it all, the picture looks awesome even downscaled to 1080. Im keeping mine.

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