on December 6, 2013
I was chosen to participate in a short film contest at the Napa Valley Film Festival designed to work out the Sony 4k camera. Each filmmaker was given a Sony AX1 and had 55 hours to write and produce a short film using Sony gear. None of us had seen the camera before we were given it at the start of the contest.
I absolutely loved this camera. Beautiful footage. Very easy to use, forgiving for us, even in low light. The richness and saturation we achieved was beautiful, and I saw much the same in the other projects.
In my opinion, this is a great Ultra HD starter camera, reality show camera, a film school camera, a documentary camera - anywhere ease of use and set up time is critical, or following quickly unfolding action. With the fixed lens, light weight and simple operation, it can just be grabbed from the bag, turned on, and away you go. Certainly it can be applied to more “cinematic” projects, such as we did, but most experienced filmmakers will like to alter their lenses as part of their aesthetic. I’m sure this is not something SONY doesn’t know. The trade off, you have a camera that is ready to go 'as is' and very, very simple to use.
For the type of camera it is and it’s position in the market, I think it’s excellent. It should do very well, and is a nice compliment to the 4K monitors and projectors.
on February 3, 2014
I love the ergonomics of this camera. I really wanted it to work out and I could have lived with the higher than expected level of noise (even with plenty of light). What I couldn't live with was how buggy it was. The camera was pretty responsive in 4k operation at 24 or 30P but when I tried to shoot at 60P it was so laggy that I couldn't adjust the focus or iris quickly enough. It had nearly a full second of lag (at 60P) which doesn't sound like much but is huge when you are trying to get an important shot. I also had an issue where I was using this camera to get an unattended wide shot and I had the focus, iris and gain set to manual. For some reason it went out of focus for about 75% of the hour long shot and then back in focus for the last part. Very strange. I waited until the last minute to return it hoping for a firmware update but there hasn't been one as of yet. So close yet so far. I ended up ordering a Sony PMW-200. Even though it is only 1/4 of the resolution I suspect it will provide higher quality footage. A very noisy 4k video is no better than a clean 1080P video.