Sony FDR-AX53 4K Camcorder – One Year Review

By December 21, 2017 Reviews, Thoughts, Video

SONY FDR-AX53 – A DECENT CONSUMER CAMCORDER

For a consumer camcorder, the AX53 is at the higher end of the price range. It retails around the £750 mark so you would expect fairly good things from this camera.

However, how is it holding up after a year of use and what do I like best about this camera? What are the most useful features for me personally. That’s what I’m discussing here. These features may not be important to you but if you have any questions on other aspects of this camera feel free to ask. Alternatively, I have a playlist on my channel dedicated to the AX53 which covers quite a lot of the good and bad points.

Below are the 5 points that make the AX53 my choice for shooting so much of the time…not necessarily in the same order as the video. I realise I’ve done this camera to death but while it remains a current device, I feel this type of real experience with a product is useful for those buying.

1. BOSS STABILIZATION

The stabilization on this camera makes it one of the best in class for handheld work. The lens is mounted on a gimbal internally which allows a reasonably steady image, handheld at an equivalent of 1000mm zoom. Crazy really. This is nice but not really often that practical. For filming walk and talk content, this is a perfect device.

2. PORTABILITY & SIZE

This camera is about the size of a can of coke…maybe a little fatter. It’s incredibly lightweight and portable considering the quality. The sheer convenience of being able to put this camera in a pocket or small bag makes it a perfect device for one man operations, filming in small spaces and vlog work…though I would argue that the fact that camcorders are not currently ‘fashionable’ would rule it out of a lot a vlog work.

3. MIC INPUT

The camera has a powered (not phantom) mic input. I use this together with a lav receiver on the hotshoe to dramatically improve the audio. The input is a little noisy but a good hot level in and reducing the levels in camera sorts that out nicely.

4. CLEAN HDMI OUT

Although the camera uses a micro-HDMI connector (not my favourite), the HDMI output is clean as long as you don’t touch the display. Not perfect but totally usable and it allows me to record the output onto my Atomos Shogun Inferno. Of course, it’s still an 8-bit 4:2:0 output but having content directly into an intermediate codec like ProRes is a huge plus point for me.

5. IMAGE QUALITY

I guess this should be first on the list. The image quality from this camera is fantastic. It works well in low light and the colour is very accurate with extremely good skin tones. It really is a run and gun style camera. Full auto will provide superb results with the 50mbps XAVC-S codec at FHD. It’s an OK 4K camera (100mbps at 4K) and a great FHD camera.

Join the discussion 2 Comments

  • parvez says:

    Great article page on the Sony AX53. I haven’t been able to enable 4k HDMI output while recording 4k internally. Have you been able to this? I heard there is a trick to enable this with some menu combination. Sounds like a combination lock riddle on this camera.

  • Verdun Luck says:

    I have two of these cameras that are used to video, among other things, concert bands. They are usually on top of very high tripods running without human interference other than remote on/off and zoom via iPads. They have also been in other odd locations including strapped on to the front of a steam locomotive. With a larger 3rd party battery on them they effectively go on for ever.

    They are brilliant and the only bad footage has been down to me not setting up correctly.

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