REVIEW SNAPSHOT®

by PowerReviews
SonyFDR-AX100 4K Ultra HD Camcorder
 
4.6

(based on 72 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (47)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (22)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (2)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (0)

91%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Great picture quality (46)
  • Easy to use (44)
  • Zoom range/performance (40)
  • Good in low light (33)
  • Large clear LCD (29)

Cons

  • Limited zoom (10)

Best Uses

  • Documentaries (36)
  • HD shooting (34)
  • Travel (33)
  • Movies/short films (28)
  • Low light (27)
    • Reviewer Profile:
    • Pro videographer (22), Semi-pro (15), Enthusiast (11), Casual user (3)
    • Was this a gift?:
    • No (48), Yes (3)

Most Liked Positive Review

 

The Best Handycam Yet.

The Sony FDR-AX100/B is bigger than any other Handycam yet. It's big enough to look professional next to any consumer camcorder, but not so big that it draws unwanted attention when you want...Read complete review

The Sony FDR-AX100/B is bigger than any other Handycam yet. It's big enough to look professional next to any consumer camcorder, but not so big that it draws unwanted attention when you want to shoot without drawing undue attention. Chances are, if you're reading this review, you are an advanced videographer or perhaps considering this model for a low budget film or video production. If so, this camcorder is up to either task. This model is loaded with almost every dedicated button for manual control a professional could want. The only pro features lacking seem to be the full size HDMI, the XLR and SGI connectors along with double card slots. Otherwise, this camera will produce rock solid professional looking image quality in almost any situation.

Straight out of the box the camera is set to shoot in the 4K mode. In the hands of the average user, this camcorder is going to provide excellent video under most lighting conditions. The biggest problem shooting 4K will not be with this camcorder, but with the computer and software used for editing later on. Those who do not have a gaming quality computer power or 4K capable editing software are simply not going to be able to do much with the 4K capabilities of this camcorder until they upgrade their editing capabilities. For those who have the editing capability, this camcorder will knock your socks off, even when viewed on a 2K monitor. 4K video played on a 2K monitor looks much sharper than 2K shot on a 2K camcorder.

The six major functions are independently selectable between manual and automatic modes using a dedicated button for each function. These include focus, iris, gain, shutter speed, ND filter and white balance. There are also dedicated buttons for pre-programmed video modes, night shot, playback and power. Delving into the menu brings finely tuned control of each white balance mode from yellow to blue and magenta to green. You can also dial in the color temperature in 100K increments, then fine tune that to your exact liking. A cinema mode provides a programmed gamma and saturation that closely mimics film and removes the flatness associated with video. Those users familiar with the manual functions in the menu like video peaking and zebra stripes will be able to obtain even greater image control and quality than simply leaving everything up to the camera. It should be noted that once selected, the manual controls do not interfere with each other, and will stay as you set them even when you power down and power up the camera later.

Outdoors, this camcorder produces IMAX quality video in the 4K mode. The Zeiss lens is tack sharp corner to corner with no visible traces of chromatic aberration or falling off of sharpness in the corners. The one inch size image sensor is a beautiful compromise between the flat look of typical 1/3 inch video chips and the overly sensitive, sometimes unusable shallow depth of field of a DSLR. Compose your shots carefully and choose your settings manually, and you can easily obtain that soft focused film-like background. Dynamic range is quite a bit more than most camcorders produce, allowing dark parts of the scene to retain detail while the light parts don't get blown out.

Obviously, most pros shoot with good lighting. But some venues don't allow the use of lights, yet the ambient light is low. The real proof of a camera's value for many users is how well it performs in low light. This one produces clean imaging in extreme low lighting. Even at 24 dB gain, the video is still clean and nearly grain free. With the lens set at F2.8, the shutter at 60 and the gain at 24, the camera produces exceptionally clean images that are practically the same intensity as how your eye sees the subject. At 33 dB gain, the grain isn't objectionable for most users, and the image looks brighter than the eye sees it. Change the shutter to 30 or 24 frames per second, and this thing practically sees in the dark all while producing a usable image without softening the edges or washing out the color. Set at 24P, there is even more light gathering power.

The image stabilizer is set at the standard mode from the factory. In standard mode, some users may find it isn't enough to provide steady shots at full zoom. The menu can access the hybrid mode which adds quite a bit more stabilizing effect, but trims a bit off the wide angle capability. There is no noticeable loss of image quality. The optical zoom is 12x, and digital zoom goes up to 160x. Naturally, as with all digital zooms, the maximum setting is useless. It works well up to about 24x before the penalization becomes noticeable.

If only to keep the data rate low, or to maintain compatibility with your editing suite, this camcorder also produces excellent video when used in the 2K mode (HD video). Stacked up against the footage from almost any DSLR camera, the AX100 is far superior. There is none of the moire effect, and in any of the 2K modes, there is no rolling shutter effect. The rolling shutter effect some users are noticing is visible only in the 4K mode. At 2K, there is no noticeable rolling shutter effect.
There are three video modes to choose, and a fourth mode that can be added. 4K can be shot in 30 or 24 frames progressive at a fixed data rate of 60 meg a second. Normal AVCHD can be shot in 60i, 60P or 24P at rates from 5, 9, 17, 24 or 28 meg a second. The third selection shoots 2K video in XAVC at a fixed rate of 50 meg a second. This mode provides broadcast quality 2K video.

Audio, even without the XLR input, is quire clean. There is a 1/8 inch stereo mike input, and a 1/8 inch stereo headphone jack. A slight digital delay in the headphones might be difficult to get used to for some users. The input levels are manually selectable to the point where conversations are recorded without the AGC pumping in background noise, yet, the audio limiter prevents loud music from causing distortion or AGC pumping. It's one of the best sound systems I've seen on any consumer camcorder. Adding even one XLR connector to this camera would have made this a nice compact pro camcorder.

Auto focus is rather slow, but it doesn't tend to overshoot the subject. It's almost like a slow rack focus. There is a firmware upgrade on the Sony web site to speed up and smooth out the auto focus feature. Of course, many users will select manual focus. Doing so is drive-by-wire, but the dedicated focus ring remains set for that function all the time once selected, and it is very smooth, linear and well damped so you won't change it accidentally with a quick accidental swipe across the focus ring.
With an optional battery, you can shoot over seven hours at 2K, or nearly six hours in 4K. The included battery shoots about three hours in 2K.

It should be noted that Sony Vegas, even the older version 11, will work with the 4K MP4 file structure of this camera in its native form. A quad core off the shelf PC is capable of editing 4K, albeit with a sluggish preview screen. Version 11 will only render the video out in 2K, however, but shooting 4K allows a great deal of cropping in post with no loss of quality in the 2K render.

Sony has a tendency to put their heart and soul into the first version of a new format, then trim features from it's successive models in years to come. So if you like all the manual controls this camcorder offers at this price point, I'd suggest getting one of these before the newer model is released in a year or so.

VS

Most Liked Negative Review

 

Beware trying to use an external monitor when shooting 4K

Getting ready for my first paid shoot with the AX100, I hooked up my 9" Ikan monitor via HDMI and got a great picture. So I packed up all my gear and...Read complete review

Getting ready for my first paid shoot with the AX100, I hooked up my 9" Ikan monitor via HDMI and got a great picture. So I packed up all my gear and headed for the shoot location which happened to be a live performance. Getting there, I set up the AX100 with my Ikan monitor, again getting a beautiful picture on the monitor, and while in standby mode I dialed everything in for the shoot. As the lights dimmed I hit record and the picture on my monitor disappeared. I didn't know that there was no HDMI output in the record mode when shooting 4K.

Reviewed by 72 customers

Displaying reviews 1-20

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5.0

Very small, very compact, very high quality

By Mary Kingsley

from Iowa

Verified Buyer

Comments about Sony FDR-AX100 4K Ultra HD Camcorder:

I do a lot of video in Africa, and I often give cameras to my African videographers. I need the highest possible quality from the smallest possible package. I need the cameras to be simple and easy to use with a minimum of buttons. The quality of video from this Sony is outstanding, and it is very small and compact, easy to pack and carry, and easy for my friends in Africa to use, and to send me the memory cards. In my opinion it is also quite inexpensive.

 
5.0

Great video camera with still shots while shooting video.

By Michael

from undisclosed

Verified Buyer

Comments about Sony FDR-AX100 4K Ultra HD Camcorder:

Love this camera. Just one problem, the video is so amazing I keep watching and running frame by frame that I forget I am supposed to be editing not entertaining myself. With the SF-64UX2 cards I have had quite a few buffer overloads but I will try the SF-M64 cards this weekend and see if the overloads are less frequent.

 
5.0

Great 4K videocam for the price.

By Don

from undisclosed

Verified Buyer

Comments about Sony FDR-AX100 4K Ultra HD Camcorder:

Great 4K videocam for the price.

 
5.0

GREAT 4K Camera

By Clark

from undisclosed

Verified Buyer

Comments about Sony FDR-AX100 4K Ultra HD Camcorder:

Perfect for the price, great image. Only wish it had a histogram.

(2 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Very durable.

By John

from Undisclosed

Site Member

Comments about Sony FDR-AX100 4K Ultra HD Camcorder:

I have owned this camcorder since 2014.  It has been a great performer as the reviews below will contest too.  This review is about the durability of this camera.  In Disney World I dropped this camera about five feet to the ground.  I didn't know it until I heard a loud "thud" and looked down and saw my camera lying there on the "CONCRETE".  The lense shade and battery came flying off  landing about ten feet away from the camera.  Well you know what I thought, I had really screwed this up.  The battery was scratch up and the lense shade was all mared.  First thing I thought was the lense had to be broke, nope it looked okay.  To make a long story short the camcorder came through with no damage.  It has worked perfectly ever since, no issues what so ever.
Please don't drop this camcorder.  It is a very scary though.

(4 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Still a Great Value

By Mark

from Undisclosed

See all my reviews

Site Member

Comments about Sony FDR-AX100 4K Ultra HD Camcorder:

You can read my lengthy review that was posted in 2015. I bought my first FDR-AX100 in April 2014. It has been a real workhorse for me. I wanted to be able to shoot multiple angles simultaneously and was looking to buy another camera. After lots of research, I ended up buying another AX100. While shooting motorsports, I like to have two cameras mounted on tripods and another two cams available for handheld shooting. The AX100 works best on a tripod. I have not found anything more to gripe about than the few drawbacks I mentioned before. It has been a solid performer, never letting me down, no quirky things going on that might spoil a shoot. I have 256GB cards and the largest batteries on it, so I can shoot about 5 hours straight. Even though some would say it's getting long in the tooth, I obviously think this camera deserves serious consideration. Makes beautiful video.

(0 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Amazing camcorder!

By Christopher

from undisclosed

Verified Buyer

Comments about Sony FDR-AX100 4K Ultra HD Camcorder:

Almost hard to believe how crisp and clear the images are! Great camcorder for the serious amateur or even casual pro. Great manual controls. Only 2 dissapointments; you HAVE to use Sony accessories on the hotshoe and you have to use their software (free) to import and edit footage.

 
5.0

Enjoy simple, beautiful video

By Nick

from Undisclosed

Comments about Sony FDR-AX100 4K Ultra HD Camcorder:

I really enjoy how simple and easy to use this is. Sony lays it in front of you and says - let your filming begin! Very easy to use and good in low light.

 
5.0

Love the little Sony camcorder!!!

By MovieShooter

from Undisclosed

Comments about Sony FDR-AX100 4K Ultra HD Camcorder:

It is an amazing product that can internally record with 4K its self. It easy to use. And the best thing of it is I can take it to any place to movie without people stop you.

(5 of 5 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Run and gun workhorse!

By Gregory

from Undisclosed

Site Member

Comments about Sony FDR-AX100 4K Ultra HD Camcorder:

I am not a videography expert. I have a small business videoing high school/junior sports. This camera consistently produces beautiful video with very little adjustments. The automatic functions are awesome. For example, the auto white balance is very accurate. Menus are straightforward and easy to use. The build quality of the camera is excellent. I purchased the "more powerful" Panasonic DVX200 in an effort to get 4k at 60p for $4,000 +. Months later, I struggle to get the Panasonic to perform as reliably and as well as the AX100. I highly recommend this camera!

(2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

I would recommend this product.

By Henry

from undisclosed

Verified Buyer

Comments about Sony FDR-AX100 4K Ultra HD Camcorder:

This camcorder does it pretty much all as a large pro camcorder. The manual functions work great and pretty easy. The view finder menu is easy and quick to adjust to your videoing needs.The format options are easy to adjust. The 4k format does not appear on a mixer monitor, so I switched to the XAVC position and great awesome sharp video with mixer viewing. ACHD is the third option. Great Pro-sumer camcorder.Great service and help from B&H.

(6 of 6 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Stunning on the big screen

By Darryl

from Undisclosed

Site Member

Comments about Sony FDR-AX100 4K Ultra HD Camcorder:

I reviewed this camera earlier and since then I have used it extensively. My short film Wild Sarasota was screened at the Sarasota Film Festival with a 4K DCP. It was amazing to see it shown with films shot with much more expensive cameras. Check out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CJyNVG-O4Ek

(1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Best camcorder EVER!

By t

from Undisclosed

Site Member

Comments about Sony FDR-AX100 4K Ultra HD Camcorder:

I shoot a couple of high school plays every year and rented this machine for the shows.  I've expanded my video work to include volleyball and field hockey.  This is the best low light camcorder I've ever used.  

The sports I pretty much set the camera to auto and it's fine.  The shows I shoot on manual.  Lower the shutter speed, increase the ISO and max out the aperture.

Unloading the video is piece of cake.  Drag and drop.  

If you use a camcorder on a regular basis and need high quality, this is your camera.

(2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Perfection has almost been achieved

By geh123

from Wilmington De

Comments about Sony FDR-AX100 4K Ultra HD Camcorder:

I have used this camcorder to make videos of my hobby/sport mainly radio controlled aircraft building and flying. The overall performance of the camera and the associated SD card and external Stereo mic have exceeded all expectations for clarity, color correctness and zoom ability. The only area where this camera lacks a little is it's speed that is limited (in 4K Ultra HD Video) to 30 fps. This causes some visible hesitation when panning but otherwise the video quality and the still quality is stunning. For everyday users this is an awsome instrument.

(2 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

 
4.0

Great value in a small package

By POPS

from Annapolis MD

Verified Reviewer

Comments about Sony FDR-AX100 4K Ultra HD Camcorder:

I am a professional videographer and have owned ten Canons, a couple of Panasonics and JVCs, but started my business with a Sony Handycam sixteen years ago. I bought the FDR-AX100 to match it up with the 4K coming off of my drone and I bought it merely as a test camera because I really wanted to see the 1" chip performance and dabble in 4K production. It was a great choice overall and while it is short of some professional needs it is stunning in its ability to capture great footage..There are three drawbacks that keeps me from fawning all over the camera and sounding like a Sony ad: 1- The LCD screen and viewfinder don't match up with the reality of what is being captured in low light. The menus are not really that functional (audio in and out) volume control, and no run time. But it is a consumer camera so there's that. Overall a great buy.

(4 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

 
4.0

i would by it again

By trainee

from ireland

Verified Buyer

Comments about Sony FDR-AX100 4K Ultra HD Camcorder:

Very easy to use. no problems so farbut i only have it for three weeks. rekord and take pictures all the time to get used to it.

(3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

 
4.0

A Top-Flight Camcorder!

By Chuck

from Appleton, Wisconsin

Comments about Sony FDR-AX100 4K Ultra HD Camcorder:

Everything about the FDRAX100 says quality. I haven't ventured into the 4K world yet, but the second highest 1080p setting(called FH) yielded a brilliant picture. Even the low-light environs of the Green Bay Packer Hall of Fame showed a detailed, noise-free picture in the low-lux setting. I'm still learning all the capabilities of this Sony Handycam. One star was deleted over the sketchy owner's manual. You need to access their website to expand your knowledge base. Highly recommended!

(7 of 8 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Great Camcorder

By FAZ

from Easton PA

Verified Buyer

Comments about Sony FDR-AX100 4K Ultra HD Camcorder:

Do not listen to the equipment reviewers from YouTube, this camera rocks. It is light and easy to use also great image quality, at all codecs.

(11 of 11 customers found this review helpful)

 
4.0

4k with just the right amount of "Pro-ness"

By rp

from guilford, ct

About Me Pro Videographer

Verified Buyer

Pros

  • Easy to Use
  • Good in Low Light
  • Great Picture Quality
  • Large Clear LCD

Cons

  • Limited Zoom

Best Uses

  • Documentaries
  • HD Shooting
  • Indoors/Low Light
  • Movies/Short Films
  • Weddings/Events

Comments about Sony FDR-AX100 4K Ultra HD Camcorder:

We just jumped back into shooting video after a 2 year hiatus. While DSLRs provide a variety of lens choices and are the "in thing" to shoot with these days they are a PITA to shoot video and they aren't ideal for dynamic, fast paced "one off" event shooting (yea that faux "rack focus" is really played out).

We wanted something which would provide great automated exposure and also allow us the key manual adjustments via external buttons to control exposure, DOF and be "future ready"... at a price which wouldn't "break the bank". The picture is sharp and the dynamic range is mind blowing. In initial testing the low light performance looks very, very nice without the need for any fill light.

We looked at every single Pro and "Prosumer" camera on the market and this one was the very best option for what we need it for. We've only used it for about two weeks of test shooting to familiarize ourselves with the "layout" but so far so good! Oh yea I almost forgot: you can record pretty amazing still images even while recording. That is a major plus.

Pros: Awesome picture, auto and manual controls. low light recording, still capture is great, ND filter built in

Cons: zoom could be a bit longer, proprietary hot shoe, no dual sd slots

Can't comment on stabilization yet because we haven't gotten into that part.

  • Was this a gift?:
  • No

(4 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

 
4.0

Great features in a small package!

By Sun Ridge

from Seattle, WA

About Me Pro Videographer

Verified Buyer

Pros

  • Easy to Use
  • Good in Low Light
  • Great Picture Quality

Cons

  • Limited Zoom

Best Uses

  • HD Shooting
  • Indoors/Low Light
  • Weddings/Events

Comments about Sony FDR-AX100 4K Ultra HD Camcorder:

Use the Ax100 to compliment my HXR-NX100's.

Love this little baby. It replaced my Canon DSLR and three Rokinon lenses for my hand held shots where I need close in's and "beauty" shots at weddings.

The viewfinder is great for sunny days and the built in ND filter is a blessing.

This camera has it all - love the little dial in front that can change setting - gain is great.

Use the 4K for distant shots where I want to zoom in during editing for that "two" lens look and also for some of the before mentioned "beauty" shots where the 4K adds a little more pop, even when converted to 1080P 2k.

Most of the work is done in the 1080P where is literally shines in low light (much better than in 4K mode).

This is my personal carry around camera next two the bigger units on tripods.

  • Was this a gift?:
  • No

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