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.