SONY FDR AX53 - A Keeper?

frederick-wise wrote on 5/17/2016, 8:44 PM
Just bought an AX53 and it's very nice. The 4K videos seem to edit just as smoothly as the regular HD files (in dual mode recording) using VP13. I have a few weeks to return it if I don't like it, but so far, it's about a nice as it gets for the money. Does anyone know of any concerns with this camcorder?

Thanx, JV1


OldSmoke wrote on 5/17/2016, 10:54 PM
For me it has to few buttons, all is menu or on screen button driven. The image quality should be ok but the AX100 is a much better camera, or the CX900 if you are not into 4K yet.

Proud owner of Sony Vegas Pro 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 & 13 and now Magix VP15&16.

System Spec.:
Motherboard: ASUS X299 Prime-A

Ram: G.Skill 4x8GB DDR4 2666 XMP

CPU: i7-9800x @ 4.6GHz (custom water cooling system)
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Hard drives: System Samsung 970Pro NVME, AV-Projects 1TB (4x Intel P7600 512GB VROC), 4x 2.5" Hotswap bays, 1x 3.5" Hotswap Bay, 1x LG BluRay Burner

PSU: Corsair 1200W
Monitor: 2x Dell Ultrasharp U2713HM (2560x1440)

VidMus wrote on 5/18/2016, 12:02 AM
That depends on what types of videos you want to shoot with it. For me, it is 100% a keeper!

It is a HUGE improvement over the AX33 in every way!!!

It does not have the buttons of the AX100 but that is to be expected at the price point. It does have superior auto-focus compared to my CX-900 in that it is much faster and it does not wander off like the CX-900 does. Note: The shallow depth of field of the CX900 causes it to 'guess' what is to be in focus and what is not to be in focus when using auto-focus.

It does not have the shallow depth of field as the AX100 but when it comes to run and gun with auto-focus, it is extremely fast and mostly accurate. No auto-focus is perfect but this camera excels with its auto-focus from my experience.

It is not as good in low light as my CX-900 but it is only 3db less in my tests when it comes to noise and brightness.

The huge difference is the 16x9 sensor instead of the usual 4x3 one.

If Sony were to come out with a new version of the AX100 with a 16x9 sensor with even larger photo diodes then it would be the best camera ever in its price range.

A lot of the videos I do are of Church services and the AX53 is the best camera I have ever used for this purpose! I can finally zoom in the amount I need and still have all of the quality. None of that so-called 'clear zoom' nonsense which is actually nothing more than a digital zoom that causes a loss of detail and quality. It does have the 'clear zoom' feature if I want it but I no longer need it to get the zoom I want at Church.

If you want to shoot videos with an extra narrow depth of field and have full manual control then the AX100 is the camera for you. If you want non-4k with the same features as the AX100 then the CX900 is the camera for you. But if you want a camera for run and gun with excellent auto-focus and excellent auto for other things then the AX53 is the camera for you.

Sorry about the goofy paragraph above but the point is the best camera for your needs depends on what your needs are.

For Church videos, the AX53 is the best I have ever used. And I have been doing Church videos for 25 years now.

A special note about the AX53 in low light. If you shoot using AVCHD, there will be more noise in the video because the gain will go higher in auto mode. Using XAVC S, the noise will be much less.

Before I got the AX53, I really had my doubts that it would be much better than the AX33. I briefly had the AX33 and it was a terrible camera! It had too much noise at zero db. The AX53 has less noise at 24 db and looks clean at 18 db.

Anyway, those are my thoughts on it from a little more than a month of using it.

Note: If you want a wired remote for it then get the Sony VCT-VPR1 tripod. Separate the controller from the tripod and use it with a good tripod. Use the cheap tripod to hold a monitor or a recording device such as the zoom h2n or H6.

If you need a longer cable, you can order one from Studio 1

I ordered one and will get it later on today, 05-18-2016 so I will reply again and let you know how it is.

I hope all of this helps.
PeterDuke wrote on 5/18/2016, 12:13 AM
... and the AX100 is nearly twice the price.
frederick-wise wrote on 5/18/2016, 8:01 AM
Thanx for all the responses. I really like it's zoom ability. I just shot my daughter's college graduation at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia and we were seated way back up high from the stage about 200 feet away from the stage and I was able to zoom-in to the point where she filled the frame while standing (she's about 5 foot tall). The video was incredibly sharp, smooth and colorful. On our way out, I shot a zoom-in down Broad Street about 5 blocks from the William Penn statue a-top the City Hall building. Again, the zoom went from a little ant-like image of William zoomed out to William filling up about half of the frame zoomed-in. You can even see the curls in his hair!

I wish it had a few more buttons but other than that, I plan on keeping it.

PS I do own a 4K TV (Samsung) and the remote for the Samsung seems to be able to control the camera by default - great! FYI - the 4K videos play very well on my Windows 10 desktop (i7 16GB RAM) but are choppy on my laptop (i7 4GB RAM).
VidMus wrote on 5/18/2016, 8:28 PM
I got the cable from Studio 1. It is very good quality. It is heavy but not too heavy. It has good flexibility. It connects well and kind-of locks in place in that it should not inadvertently come out.

I bought the longer cable because it was only approx two dollars more and who knows when in the future I may need the extra length.

The grey connector connects to the controller and the black connector connects to the camera.

I hope this helps.
frederick-wise wrote on 5/19/2016, 7:31 AM
There are 2 recent reviews from users on Amazon who complain about the steady-shot not being so great when using a tripod. Sounds odd, but I haven't even tried it on a tripod yet. Has anyone else experienced non-steadiness on something that should be steady?
Peter Siamidis wrote on 5/19/2016, 12:50 PM
I had the AX33 briefly and had got rid of it because it was kinda terrible. The AX100 (and A7S) has been my bread and butter camera for about 2 years now and I recently added the AX53 to my kit. It's much better than the AX33, but still not close to the AX100 alas in picture quality in 4k. I'm keeping it this time though because it has some uses for my style of filming. For example sometimes I hand the camera to the models to film themselves, in that case the steadyshot on the AX53 is extremely useful as is the fact that it's field of view is slightly wider than the AX100's which is also extremely useful when the girls film. Also it's much smaller and lighter than the AX100 which is also useful when they are filming. Outside of that though I stick to my AX100 which still provides far better picture quality when filming indoors.

On a side note I really wish they would update the AX100 already!
frederick-wise wrote on 5/20/2016, 4:43 PM
Finally the sun is out and I did some pan tests outside with my new budget Manfrotto fluid head. In wide-view, there really isn't much noticeable shaki-ness but as I zoomed-in it became increasingly noticable but not much more than my other prosumer cameras (Canon HS100, Canon 60D). For me, I don't do much tripod panning as my budget only allows for a prosumer tripod/heads and panning has always been very shaky (i bought Mercalli to greatly smooth things out afterwards). I also looked through all of the youtube videos I could find and couldn't find any highlighting the "tripod" panning problem. I'll do some head-to-head tests with my old cameras and see if there are any major differences.
frederick-wise wrote on 5/30/2016, 12:08 AM
Did a little comparison of the panning performance of the FDR AX53 vs my old Canon HF100 and they both have issues that are mostly due, I believe, to my inability to pan smoothly even when I use the rubber band method. When zoomed out and panning slowly, there isn't much shake but as the zoom-in increases, the shake does too. Not a real deal-killer for me so I think I'm gonna keep it unless another major issue comes up.

Also downloaded a firmware update that is supposed to improve auto-focus speed and accuracy. Haven't had time to try it but hopefully it will improve things as sometimes the camera won't focus on single, fairly small objects (1/4 of the screen) images in the foreground. I also see one can buy an affordable motorized pan head and remote control for smooth zooming. Maybe I'll get something like those devices if there is too much shake. There are so many options, my head is spinning...but it's great to have so many choices.
arianistas wrote on 9/23/2016, 4:20 PM

Hi guys

I bought this camera about 2 months ago but i still can't resolve a problem with it.I'll post the following videos from youtube to show you what i mean.....


Take a close look at the picture when the camera is moving.It seems like....blur or something like that.I tried many many combinations of different configurations at the end.Any ideas????

VidMus wrote on 9/23/2016, 9:33 PM

Update: The camera has become excessively shaky when used on a tripod and while zoomed in. Much more than any other camera I have ever owned! It is like the mechanism that holds the lens assembly is no longer strong enough to hold it securely enough to prevent it from excessive shaking when contact is made with the camera. My older PJ-710 with the B.O.S.S. does not have this problem at all!

I will be selling this camera and my CX-900 and get me an ax100 or put the money back, save a bit more and get a Sony HXR-NX100. It is not 4k but it does have the pro features I would love to have including being able to select profiles so I can quickly go from needs of low light to medium light to spot light. I wish I could afford the Sony PXW-Z150 instead but that one is priced way out of my budget range.

HA! If you all want to donate and pay-off my credit cards, then I could combine them and get me the Sony PXW-Z150.

The AX53 was great for a while, but no longer for me. :( Maybe for someone else?


SphinxRa40 wrote on 9/24/2016, 6:26 AM

Hi guys

I bought this camera about 2 months ago but i still can't resolve a problem with it.I'll post the following videos from youtube to show you what i mean.....


Take a close look at the picture when the camera is moving.It seems like....blur or something like that.I tried many many combinations of different configurations at the end.Any ideas????

I had the same problem well... still, the "blur"  comes not only when moving, it will happen in steady modes to in low light especially (every few seconds), this is because of the AF (auto-focus), when i turn it off on my CX410 its gone in steady modes (still a bit), problem out side is that you must manual focus then and that is drama on that camera as the slider is in the menu after clicking 4 times...i am looking for an other camera, no more Sony i think, had many handy cams, not one filmed right in low right and always a drama with AF, maybe it's time for a semi-pro camera like before written by other users? any advice people (no 4k i am not that far, have to be very good in low-light:))