Earlier in the year we introduced the Panasonic VX870 & WX970 camcorders – their two top models both with 4K internal recording. Now it’s Sony’s turn and to join the existing AXP35, they’ve just released the much cheaper AX33.
The AX33 and AXP35 look incredibly similar. In fact they share the same optics, sensor, processing capacity and recording codecs, so the image quality is exactly the same. Essentially all you gain by jumping up to the AXP35 is a built-in projector and 64GB built-in solid state memory. And so at nearly two thirds the price of its bigger brother, the AX33 looks like a great deal.
As I said, from the front lens element to the SD card, everything internally is the same as the more expensive model so the image quality is really fantastic. Sony’s Exmor R CMOS sensor (backside illuminated) has proven very reliable in low light over the years and paired with a bright lens (F1.8-3.4), it makes for a very versatile camera.
The zoom range is 10x optical which isn’t huge but definitely useable. If it’s not enough, you can make use of Sony’s Clear Image Zoom up to 15x in 4K or 20x in Full HD. Speaking of 4K, it uses the XAVC S codec and you’ll need an SDXC (U3) card to handle the high data rates.
Sony’s optical image stabilisation has always been excellent and this is certainly the case here. The lens starts at 29.8mm (full frame equivalent) on the wide end and you get lots of manual control. All round it’s a really great option if you’re looking for a fully featured 4K camcorder that won’t break the budget.