Sony FDR AX100 vs. Panasonic GH4

The battle of digital cameras are still happening until now with the newer releases that improved the former models in various aspects while also proving that our smartphone cameras are actually still not good enough. Beside the option to pick either camcorder or just go with whatever your phone has, digital camera also come into surface. Two among the most popular product from each side are Sony FDR AX100 vs Panasonic GH4 with their own main features that may also can replace each other.

In this article, we are going to give you information about:
– What are Sony FDR AX100 and Panasonic GH4
– What Sony FDR AX100 and Panasonic GH4 Look Like
– What Sony FDR AX100 and Panasonic GH4 can offer to you
– Sony FDR AX100 vs Panasonic GH4

About Sony FDR AX100
Sony has been making handycam or compact video cameras since long time ago and they keep improving their products even when the current market is not very passionate about a new camcorder with the rising popularity or mirrorless cameras. However, it doesn’t mean they lose their consumer because there are a lot of parts that can only be answered by a video camera and this is what Sony FDR AX100 exactly offers to you who want to use the device mainly for taking videos.

Sony FDR AX100 Design
Being in the handycam line makes Sony FDR AX100 a consumer product but the company’s decision to put the “4K” emblem on the unit makes it have a strong sense of professionalism. The unit finish is good and similarly gives of the same vibe while still being comfortable enough when held; it is not small enough that you can put in your pocket but it is still light and compact compared to the company’s professional camcorders. Its built-in strap is comfortable for either taking photos, starting or stopping recording as well as adjusting the magnifier. Read also: Panasonic HC WXF991K vs Sony AX100 here.

Sony FDR AX100 Features
Unlike some lower end camcorders out there that are coming with a small sensor which makes them are not a good option to take still pictures, this one is already equipped with 1-inch Exmor R CMOS sensor with Direct Pixel Read Out combines with the Zeiss lens to create a sharp and full of vibrant color. This lens is supporting 12x optical zoom that you can control using the variable rocker on the grip. This rocker button is small, so you have to handle it delicately to do slow zoom.

Thanks to the big sensor, Sony FDR AX100 is able to perform well under low light condition and you can add gain when there is not enough light source to properly expose an image. However, you have to keep in mind that adding gain will also adding the noise into the picture, but when tested the level is not that annoying until affecting the color level compared to many other similar camcorders in its price range. For sound recording, this camera has a built-in 5.1 channel surround microphone which is usually only available in more expensive units.

Another good point on this camcorder is the amount manual adjustment controls that let the user to control the gain, iris, and shutter speed individually. There is even a button called Manual button which when pressed for an amount of time can be used to assign settings like exposure and white balance. For stabilization, Sony FDR AX100 is equipped with Sony’s Steady Shot image stabilization to help reducing the jitter and vibrations when recording while in motion.

About Panasonic GH4
To record or taking still video, you can use any type of cameras whether it is video or regular camera but since they are made to mainly do different tasks, the features inside are usually also vary from units to another. If your main intention is to also take still pictures but want to have a good enough cameras for a video recording, you may want to take a look at one of Panasonic’s popular mirrorless camera, the Lumix GH4.

Panasonic GH4 Design
Looking at this camera from the outside, you will notice that it has an awfully similar look to its predecessor with its magnesium alloy body wrapping the 16MP 4/3 sensor. It also still carry the GH3’s controls but the company decide to add some improvement on the polishing which is of course not a bad thing. The overall design is good and it clearly well built with a substantial grip, twin dials and a sufficient amount of direct control you can find in a middle level DSLR.

Panasonic GH4 Features
Compared to the older model, what’s clearly improved here is the Panasonic GH4’s ability to capture that eye-stunning 4K footage in both UHD 4K and DCI 4K. For those who use the camera primarily for taking still pictures, they are going to get the benefit from a number of performance and usability improvements but the prominent one is the shutter speed that can work as fast as 1/8000th seconds together with the fast sync at up to 1/250th of seconds.

Continuous shooting is even improved up to 12 frames per seconds with 7.5fps continuous focus while focus tracking is also improved by the company’s DFD technology that will assess how out-of-focus the lens is based on profiles of how the lenses are render out of focus regions. Not only good for still images shooter, Panasonic GH4 is also great for video shooters because it features the focus peaking, two zebra settings and control over master pedestal as well as luminance scale.

This amount of manual is indeed good but despite being able to manually set shutter speed and aperture with the appropriate ISO, the camera unfortunately won’t let you to control the image brightness. This is probably a small issue for still image shooters but for video shooters, it can be such a great missed opportunity.

Now, let’s compare Sony FDR AX100 with Panasonic GH4. As you may already know, these two are built for different purpose, so the main features also differ. AX100 is sporting an already huge sensor but GH4 comes with an even bigger sensor which is clearly improve the amount of dynamic range especially in low ISO settings. Another difference is image stabilization that is not built in the GH4 but on the lens while AX100 already have it to promote less jittery footage.

Sony FDR AX100 vs. Panasonic GH4

- Capture 4k/30p video that far exceeds HD resolution, High-frame-rate shooting at 120p
- 1" Exmor R CMOS sensor with Direct Pixel Read Out
- 14MP resolution video and 20MP still image capture
- Advanced BIONZ X image processing engine for higher speed and peerless quality
- Professional photo performance with exceptional moiré suppression
- Operating temperature:0℃ to 40℃ (32°F to 104°F).4K 24p cinematic video (4096x2160), plus 4K 3840x2160 30p/24p
- High speed 49 area auto focusing in photo or video, perfect for hybrid photography
- Durable magnesium alloy body and exceptional shutter life meets the demands of professional use

All in all, the decision is all yours to make. In our opinion, both of them are good option depend on your preference. However, if you strictly plan on using the camcorder to record footages, we will recommend you Sony FDR AX100 because it has better handling for movies with a good amount of manual settings as well as a built-in image stabilization when shooting while in move.

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