Welcome to the second part of the Sony FDR-AX100 review series – The below article serves as the above review in written form and is a continuation from my review on the Sony AX100
Those like me, either new to this field or upgrading much older hardware will be faced with a challenge when first purchasing Sony’s AX100.
What’s in the box will not get you fully up and running and you’ll need to obtain a couple of additional accessories.
I highly recommend you do not purchase this camera with an accessory kit. These kits may provide you with what you need, but at the absolute basic level. I made this mistake and was given 16GB SD card compatible with AVCDH format only, and a cheap bag that after one look I threw away.
So let’s take a closer look at my recommended accessories in more detail.
First off, while not 100% needed, I like to do this with all my camera equipment and that is to add a filter on the lens. While on most occasions it doesn’t make much of a difference, it does add an extra layer of protection. The UV filter can simply be screwed on to the lens and still remain compatible with the lens cap.
LCD Screen Protector
In addition to this I do also like to add a film protector on the LCD screen also. You’re still going for quality here, so ensure you buy a decent UV filter that fits a 62mm lens.
SDXC High Capacity, High Speed Card
For a quality product you need quality accessories to match. The two essentials being an SDXC card capable of speeds over 70mb/s, the one I have here is a scandisk 64GB 280 MB/s and will last me a least a couple of hours 4k recording at 25 frames per second. While not the cheapest card, I can at least be sure I’ll receive the highest quality and fastest transfer speeds.
Video Camera Bag
And Lowepro 160 litre should bag, which is large enough to fit all accessories, convenient to use, built with quality in mind, and also looks great. I will go through this bag in more detail in a different video.
Moving on, Accessories that are not immediately required, but are a must have at some point are:
An external charger. Sony’s BC-QM1 will quickly charge a range of different batteries including the NV70, the one used in the AX100, the NV50, used in Sony’s cameras, and many other formats. For me, there is nothing worse than having to charge the battery via the camera especially if you own two batteries and wish to swap one if the other runs out. Having this quick charger handy completely solves this problem, making the whole process a lot more convenient.
A Second Battery
A 2nd battery, the provided battery has a 1960 mAh capacity, which is good for 60 minutes continuous recording and after taking this camcorder out for the day, I had no issues. To be safe however, you really want to purchase a battery that has a larger capacity, allowing for 2-4+ hours recording time like this one which comes with a capacity of 3800 mAh.
USB 3.0 Card Reader
A USB 3.0 card reader compatible with SDXC cards. The provided USB 2.0 cable will have you waiting a lot longer for data transfers, plus a whole lot less convenient than simply plugging the card into the USB.3.0 card reader for transfer speed of up to 130 MB/s. For those that want to go wireless, you can also transfer your files via Wi-Fi or NFC also. Both The FDR-AX100 and Card Reader work seamlessly with Sony’s Playmemories App, which is a similar product to Apples iPhoto. Here you can import your videos, add them to timelines, and organize them for playback. While the AX-100 does store all metadata information, I am currently struggling to work out why Playmemories only imports the file size, video format and length of video. I am still trying to work out how to import the detailed meta data such as focal length, shutter speed, f value etc. If any of you know, please add this to the comments. Until then I will continue to try and work this out.
Sony ECM-AW4 Wireless Microphone System
The next accessory is important only if you intend on focusing your video recordings on one person for commentary, or dialogue, then you will need a wireless microphone system. Here I have Sony’s new ECM-AW4 wireless microphone that offers 2 way communication topped off with a Sony’s ECM-CS10 LAV Mic. I will be reviewing this in more detail in a separate video.
Sony HVL-LEIR 1 LED / IR External Battery Powered Light
For low light or night time shooting, you’ll need a powered LED / IR light connected to the Hot Shoe. Here I have Sony’s HVL-LEIR1 that does just that. Currently this is the only compatible device able to offer these features since Sony has not made their Hot Shoe universal. I will be covering this in a different review in more detail also.
Sony GP-VPT1 Remote Tripod / Monopod
And finally a great little device to assist with camera shooting. Sony’s GP-VPT1 Remote Hand Tripod. This device serves as a shooting assist, or mini tripod that can help steady your shot further out and about.
Some of these accessories do come at a small cost, but a small price to pay to help you achieve the convenience, quality and look you’d expect from a camera like this.