I decided to upgrade my camera gear a bit with some 4K videos. For that, I chose the latest Sony FDR-AX33, which is Sony’s latest 4K camera just released at end of Febuary in 2015. Sony did release a larger FDR-AX100 (which has larger sensor) but the newer FDR-AX33 is a lot more portable plus it has BOSS (Balanced Optical Steady Shot) along with 100Mbps bitrate. Now, for those of you looking for a good 4K camcorder to make 4K videos, this may be one of the best 4K camcorders out right nowt that’s under $1000.
With a price tag of $999, the Sony FDR-AX33 isn’t cheap by any means but it does a lot of things right and why I bought one. First, I really like the optical stabilization that allows you to make full use of the zoom on the camcorder. Many consumer camcorders do a lot of zoom but at the price of noise and shaking. With the Sony FDR-AX33 BOSS technology, you can really get stable shots even at its maximum 15X zoom. That may not sound like a lot but if you make a lot of videos, you know how useful that is especially when you are traveling and don’t want to carry a tripod everywhere you go.
I also wanted a 4K camcorder that wasn’t too heavy to carry around with me everywhere. I will be traveling to Thailand and South Korea in the summer soon and want to have a good camcorder that will allow me to make videos on the go without carrying all my DSLR gear. For that, the FDR-AX33 fit the bill and it comes with nifty features you can’t live without.
Some of my favorite features on the Sony FDR-AX33 include its permanent USB plug (that you can use to recharge) along with a AC adapter (if you want to recharge faster), manual focus ring (which you can also use for other things like aperture, exposure, etc…etc…), headphone/microphone jacks, hot shoe mount (for mounting microphone, LED lights, etc…etc…), MP4 format for 4K recording, and fast F1.8 wide-angle lens (when zoomed all the way out).
Now, this camera isn’t perfect by any means (in comparison to my DSLR), low-light performance isn’t stellar but with average or better lighting I found this camera can perform just as good as my DSLR cameras. It’s definitely a camera that I can recommend to those who are looking for one camcorder that will do everything 4K. Also the audio quality is decent (nothing out of the world) but I will probably be using my Sennheiser wireless microphone anyways but it’s a good stereo microphone for general everyday stuff.
Overall, I am pretty darn satisfied with my purchase. The F1.8 lens, 4K 100Mbps recording, and BOSS stabilization are just what a videographer needs to make some decent 4K videos. If you are looking for a good 4K camcorder, I think you cannot go wrong this so definitely check it out.
UPDATE: I am actually not satisfied with my purchase anymore. Although I did love this camera when I got it, I find the quality of videos not comparable to the ones took with my DSLR. So, for now, I do still recommend this camcorder for home videos but if you want to make high quality videos, this isn’t it. I will have an update on this soon.
YouTube sometimes doesn’t render 4K videos well, you can also download a RAW 4K MP4 sample file of the beach scene in my YouTube video here. (It’s 1.6GB so make sure you are on WiFi!)
Of course, if you need better low-light performance, definitely look into the last year’s Sony FDR-AX100.
You can get the Sony FDR-AX33 on Amazon.
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