Sony AX100 4K video camera – how much rolling shutter is too much?

The Sony AX100 takes the relatively large 1″ sensor from the RX10 and puts it in camcorder form factor with built in ND filter. However it appears that in reading out all the pixels on a 20MP sensor, Sony have created a skew-monster in rolling shutter teams. What’s remarkable about this video is that the panning and trains aren’t even moving very fast. This is some of the worst rolling shutter I’ve yet to see on any camera available on the market.

The 1″ sensor in the AX100 (slightly larger than Super 16mm) from Sony also featured in their RX100 Mk II and RX10 stills camera but with only 1080p video enabled and 4K not utilised. I very much enjoyed the RX10 for video as well as stills (fantastic lens too). So I know this sensor is capable of nice results.

The cameras this sensor has been paired with so far have been compact, bridge, or Handycam cameras rather than ones with interchangeable lenses… yet it does produce results closer to a DSLR in feel, than a compact or camcorder.

The AX100 could have been quite a compelling option for me but it seems to have one fatal flaw – the rolling shutter really is worse what we’re used to with DSLRs judging from the video above and that is very unusual.

With the Panasonic GH4, the sensor readout has been greatly speeded up to avoid issues like this.

Let’s count this video not as final conclusion but as a warning. If you’re interested in the AX100, try before you buy, wait for me to test it on EOSHD – then consider if your work would suffer from such a severe rolling shutter!

The AX100 remains interesting for those wanting a long zoom lens, very effective stabiliser, camcorder-standard AF and yet more convenience like the built in ND. The sensor is much larger than what you’d typically find in a camcorder and since it is designed for stills too, dynamic range isn’t too shabby either. So what a shame about the rolling shutter!

Of course if you want to eliminate rolling shutter altogether, there is the Digital Bolex and Blackmagic Production Camera 4K, both feature a global shutter sensor.

Check back at EOSHD on Wednesday for my comprehensive Digital Bolex review and music video.