Sony Handycam AX100 Camcorder Review
The Sony consumer 4K camcorder sets the bar high
By The Numbers
As the first 4K camcorder we've put through our labs, the Sony Handycam AX100 is certainly a unique product. It outscored most other, regular HD camcorders we've tested. Even in HD tests, we came away very impressed with the AX100's video prowess.
As our first scored 4K camcorder, the AX100 has the obvious distinction of being our sharpest camcorder. All those extra pixels go a long way to help footage recorded with this camcorder. When we tested this camcorder in its XAVC S mode shooting 4K/30p, we saw some staggeringly great numbers. Like with the GH4, the AX100 nearly outresolved our HD-designed sharpness chart. If it weren't for some detail loss in fine details due to moiré when the chart is in motion, there's little doubt that 4K, even in its relatively primordial state today, gives you way more than HD ever could.
In bright light, we measured 1100 lp/ph horizontal and 1150 lw/ph vertical. 1080/60p footage looked great, too, resolving 775 lp/ph on both the horizontal and the vertical axes. Check out our sample video below for an idea of how 1080/60p motion looks.
The AX100 performed fairly well in our low light test. We saw results between 6 and 4 lux to reach 50 IRE, which all seems to be up to wherever you are in the zoom range. Since the lens isn't a constant-aperture zoom, you'll need more light to create an acceptable picture. Even though you might get f/2.8 on the wide end, that shrinks quickly to f/4 as you zoom in. We run this test without the benefit of Sony's auto low lux feature, so your results may vary.
We'd like to congratulate Sony for getting one very important area right in the AX100—battery life. We can understand how design constraints might have necessitated cutting 4K battery life short, but that is happily not the case. Recording 4K footage, we were able to get more than two and a half hours out of the AX100. Color us impressed.
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