Sony FDR-AX100 is perhaps the first 4K video camera overlooking the amateur world, or at least to the semi-professional, you’re going to see throughout the article. This is due to its price of around 1600 euro, a figure potentially accessible to the real video enthusiasts who do not want to miss the world of 4K. It allows you to shoot video with a resolution of 3840 × 2160 at 25 fps in progressive in PAL.

On what points the Sony FDR-AX100
CMOS sensor Exmor R® 1 “- the same sensor 20Mpx that we find on the SLR RX10. We think that the magnitude of the current sensor is measured in fractions of an inch, 1/2 “, 1 / 2.8”, 3.1, sensor FDR-AX100 is therefore large enough to acquire an impressive number of details to satisfy 4K resolution and does not suffer from major disturbances in low light situations.

ZEISS Vario-Sonnar T * – a wide-angle 29mm optimized video 4K Ultra HD. It incorporates a 12x optical zoom and an optical image stabilizer. Zoom can get to 18x with the option Clear Image Zoom. Opening unfortunately is not constant and varies from 2.8 in wide-angle to tele in 4.

BIONZ image processing engine X – processes in a fast and accurate information from the CMOS sensor. The image processor also provides a wide ISO range up to ISO 25600, guaranteeing an incredible wealth of details even with the most-sensitive setting selected.

Field results
4K – Sensor 1 “inch doing his job capturing a multitude of details to the resolution of 3840 × 2160, moreover, there you could expect from a CMOS 20Mpx. Under this aspect the Sony FDR-AX100 you can really look like a camera that captures the spirit full of a video in 4K. But as we will see not only just a myriad of details to be convinced to choose her as a camera for video UltraHD.

Low light – the issue of a sensor 20Mpx crammed into one square inch is exactly the pixel size and their behavior in low light situations. On the Sony A100 sensitivity is expressed in dB and not in ISO, which is quite common for equipment that cater to the world of the consumer. We must say, that although the characteristics of the sensor, the camera is highly resistant to increased sensitivity, you can get to quaota 33dB and get acceptable images, of course we do not expect to have a clear detail of the landscape, but perhaps using some zoom in on the subject we could get a good quality.

Moving objects – the discordant note comes out just when it comes to moving objects, the problem is related to Rolling Shutter, which is the method which is recorded by the image sensor. Premise that the problem is detected when shooting with relatively slow, that is, from when you order the subject to move during the opening time of the ‘down’, and in low-light situations or when using diaphragms and times to be very closed to below of ‘1/100 sec. The effect you get is a subject distorted diagonally on individual frames, which played as a video giving a yield rather unpleasant. Please note that many video editing programs solve this problem with excellent results, but we expected that the stabilizer lens and the image processor could already largely solve this defect.

Image Control – do not understand why, but the Sony AX100 does not have full control of the image, in practice, during the recovery, we can not set contrast saturation and brightness, this must be done in post-production. Fortunately, the image produced is neutral enough and is well suited to processing. We do not understand this choice of Sony, but I think this feature is a step in the category of consumer and a major departure from that of the prosumer.

Objective and stabilizer – as already anticipated the lens aperture Zeiss 12x is not constant, but varies from f / 2.8 to f / 4, even if they have noticed a difference in brightness between wide and tele which would seem to be below the diaphragm, then or f / 4 tele end is underestimated or the f / 2.8 wide-angle lens is the overestimated. The focal length is 35mm in wide angle, maybe not so exaggerated that for a 4K given the infinity of details of the image produced could be used to shoot landscapes, the obstacle can be overcome by fitting an ultra-wide-angle adapter to the filter holder 62mm. The optical zoom can reach 18x if you use the option Clear Image Zoom, the digital rather not give good results giving images a little too pixelated. The digital camera also has a stabilizer that although active does not create obvious problems the imaging performance, will be missing a few pixels on the edges of the system will reserve for that function.

Dual recording – at this point, one of the most useful features for the world of the consumer is the dual-recording that lets you record video in MP4 is that XAVC S 4K. A capture at full resolution and the other with a format more easily shared. Clip MP4 is only 720p, but is good enough to share it on YouTube or on a tablet or smartphone. Although the codec XAVC S is only supported by some editing programs, it can be converted into other formats quite easily. And ‘the closest thing to a standard codec for shooting 4K we have now, and will become more common over time.

Slow-motion – no forget that AX100 can record at a rate of 120fps in forpato 1920 × 1080. The edited video is slowed down and really good quality. This feature could bring many film makers in this camcorder.

Menus and functions – the menu is only available via the touch screen LCD, the absence of a pad is not a comfortable thing but negligible for most users. Some features to be highlighted are:
Face recognition – the camera takes as its focus the subject’s face and following him while shooting keep it in focus. This function does so egregious his work.
Touch focus – through the touch-screen is the tip portion of the image that you want to focus. The same feature is found on many smartphones.
Remote shooting – now we can confirm that Sony FDR-AX100 turns to the world of the consumer, this feature allows the camera control via tablet / smartphone using the wifi with a minimum of delay. Possible operations are based, zoom in / out, rec / pause and take a picture.
Beside the lens we find a small button that allow to decide what to check with the ring on the lens, we can move the focus from control to zoom and vice versa.

Quality materials – the quality of the materials used by Sony is satisfactory for the end to which it relates, there are metal parts but the plastic making up this camera is very solid and the rubber parts resistant. Many users have complained about the weight during the long filming could become a problem, then maybe Equip a monopod if you tire easily.

The FDR-AX100 is currently a cost of two of the latest generation Apple smartphone, then from this point of view the price of 1,600 euro would not seem so exaggerated. The defects we have mentioned, the rolling shutter can be managed with a good video editing program, the lack of control of the image being shot is not a big deal if you are going to shoot the movie in post-production. So there is to recommend this camera to all fans videomaker and maybe even some semi-professional who knows how to best manage the weaknesses of this camcorder. The spectacular images taken will repay in full the expense.