Sony HDR-AX2000 Video Camera Review

Sony hdrax2000

If an HD model camcorder is on your list, take a good look at the Sony’s HDR-AX2000. It’s a very impressive prosumer-level AVCHD camcorder.   The Sony HDR-AX2000 is cutting-edge, top of the line.

The camera captures either High Def and Standard Def video in AVCHD and MPEG-2 formats.  This is one of the new tapeless cameras.  It records onto either a Memory Stick PRO duo or SD/SDHC cards.  SDHC stands for Secure Digital High-Capacity.    SDHC cards are flash memory cards with a minimum capacity of 4GB gigabytes.

The Sony HDR-AX2000 shoots full 1920 x 1080 HD video, which can be recorded at 60i, 30p and 24p for a variety of looks.

This camera is ideal for recording on to Blu-ray media since the AVCHD2 codec is highly compatible with the Blu-ray format.

If you are going to edit this footage, be forewarned that many video editing programs still can not adequately handle AVCHD2 or Blu-ray.

Like all the cameras in this category, the HDR-AX2000 is a three chip camera for better color and clarity.  It has three 1/3″ CMOS Exmor sensors, which are a less expensive alternative to CCD chips.   CCD (Charged Coupled Device), a CMOS (Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor).  Each type has its pros and cons.  CCD gets a slightly higher quality picture but CMOS is still good and so much less expensive.

The pros for the CMOS are that they are much less expensive to manufacture and use WAY less battery power.  The cons include more noise, less clarity and less light sensitivity.

The lens on this camera has quite a long telephoto, with a 20x optical zoom and a built in digital extender to increase that to a 30x zoom.  (29.5mm – 590mm).  The lens is not very wide however, so a handy accessory would be a wide angle lens adapter.  This will let you shoot in the smallest of rooms.

From a practical standpoint, most videographers use a wide angle more often than a telephoto.

The lens has an OIS, Optical SteadyShot Image Stabilization w/Active Mode, which Sony swears will drastically reduce camera shake.  (Pssst. You still need to use a tripod whenever possible.  :)

Audio recording is professional quality with dual XLR ports.  This means you can plug in two XLR microphones at the same time.  That’s very handy in pro shooting situations.  For instance you could have a shotgun microphone on for general ambient sound plus a wireless microphone on the main person speaking.

These XLR inputs are phantom powered, which means the microphones run off the camera’s power and do not need their own battery.  This is very handy and basically lets you largely forget about your microphone power needs.

sony hdr-ax 2000

CONTROLS ON THE LENS

Cameras in the prosumer (low-grade professional) camera category like this one have much more complex lenses to allow for greater operator control. Automatic controls are nice for the casual user, but pros get more precise control through manual adjustments.

The Sony HDR-AX 2000 has three control rings around the lens–for iris, focus and zoom.  With experience, a videographer will know intuitively which ring contains the image adjustment he needs.

For additional shooting options and image analysis, the HDR-AX2000 gives you four built-in neutral density filters, SMPTE color bars, a zebra display, and a live histogram.  The zebra and histogram can be real handy tools.

Zebra Display
While you are shooting, you can add a striped pattern to bright areas of the video image, and display it in the LCD and viewfinder. You can use this as a rough guide for adjusting brightness, helping to prevent hot spots.

Histogram Display
When the histogram feature is turned on, a graph of the image’s brightness distribution appears. This gives you an objective determination of whether the video image as a whole is bright or dim. You can adjust the camera’s brightness and AE shift while checking this display.

Sony rates this camera in a low-light reading of 1.5 lux with auto gain kicked in.  That will be a fairly grainy picture, but 1.5 lux is exceedingly low.

The HDR-AX 2000 gives you the ability to manually adjust gain, shutter speed, and white balance if you wish or they can all be set to automatic.

This video camera takes still images too.  Still images are recorded directly onto one of the two dual media slots which you can select between.  (Memory Stick PRO Duo media or SD/SDHC media slots.)

The digital output for this camera is an HDMI Connection.  With an HDMI cable you can transfer your data to a compatible HDTVs.  It has a USB2 to transfer to your computer.  There is no firewire.

If you are seeking a camera that gives you lots of control and options as a photographer, the Sony HDR-AX 2000 won’t disappoint.

Click here to see the Sony HDR-AX2000 AVCHD Camcorder at the B&H Photo website.

Comments

  1. Kiki Ejims says:

    Thank you so much for you ever informative articles. I believe I have written to you before pertaining my quest into opening a photo/video studio out of my home. Services will start off mainly for event coverage (weddings and more) and then move on to side projects such as documentaries. It is getting close to that time and I am very confused as to which video camera to go with and lights as well. SO far I am contemplating between the Sony HVR-Z5U and Z7U as my main camera. They are both very similar and it is hard to make a decision. Do you have any suggestion as to which to go with?

    I am also shopping for a second camera to act as a second cam in multi cam shoots or used in same day shoot in a different location by my partner. I need something similar to the Z5 or Z7 in reference to picture quality to prevent any major variation in picture appearance and so on. Will this HDR AX-2000 work for that? or do you have any other suggestions? The budget for this back-up cam is at a max of $3,500 including insurance if possible. (Quite low I presume?)

    I will also like to get your suggestion on what lighting kit will work for me to use as a basic 3 light set-up with basic accessories such as soft box, etc. Something portable to use in my home studio and also on location. I came across this lowel DV 55 Creator Kit, 83 case set on BHPhoto and will like your input on the brand and kit. http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/285929-REG/Lowel_DV_903Z_DV_Creator_55_Kit.html

    Thank you in advance for your assistance and look forward to hearing from you soon.

    Best Regards,

    kiki Ejims

  2. Hello Kiki

    First lets talk lights. That Lowell kit you picked out is a very good one. Lowell is an EXCELLENT brand, I have used them for years. They are very well made. This kit is also particularly good as it has a softbox plus 3 other lights, all different kinds. This will give you lots of flexibility. The price is good too. I do not think you can beat this light kit. Get some extra color gels and some heavy duty dimmers that can handle that wattage.

    As far as the cameras go, both the Z5 and Z7 are great. The Z7 is $1,300 more. One of the main differences is the Z7′s ability to put on different lenses. Would you use that feature? The lens that comes on it is nice, so my guess is that you would not need that feature. I think you would be better off buying two of the Z5′s. Then you would have two cameras that match exactly. If you are going to be doing lots of two camera shoots, that will be very important.

    I hope this information helps you! Good luck starting your video business!
    Lorraine

  3. Kiki Ejims says:

    Hello Lorraine,

    Thank you so much for your response. It has definitely been helpful and your site has been educational as I am an up and coming self trained videographer and future film/doc maker. I will definitely stick to the lowel light and do as you have said in reference to the accessories to purchase.

    Now on to the camera, I noticed the lens is d diff b/w both Z5 and Z7 with the Z5 d main upgrade for d Z1. Based on research picture quality and sensitivity to light is thesame for both, but the Z5 lense has an upper hand with 20x zoom and wider lens but d Z7 is interchangeable. Another thing is that Z7 already comes with the CF and tape option but the Z5 will be additional purchase. For now I will not be changing lens so Z5 would probably work best. I was looking at the KIT set on BHphoto and was particular about one with the extended warranty as based on research after a few years most would require some form of work done. And I think you have to purchase the extended warranty upon purchase of equipment and cant do it later? but back to the KITs the ones I liked on BHpoto were close to same price for both Z5 and Z7 with a few hundred of dollars difference. Then again, that is still some money to be used for something else. For now, I am leaning towards 2 Z5Us

    I was also wondering if you were familiar with still cameras. Everyone is crazy about the Canon EOS 5D which I can’t afford now. DO you have any cheaper canon body I can work with for now and upgrade later? EOS 50D or 30D maybe or Rebtel?

    Thanks again for your help Lorraine. Hope not asking too many questions.

    Best Regards,

    Kiki

  4. Hi Kiki.
    I am happy to answer all of your questions! I did not see the kits on B&H, guess I missed those. It is always all about the money, so if you can afford the Z7 with the kit, it is indeed a better camera but the Z5 is more than good enough for the kinds of videos you will be doing. In practical terms, a wide angle lens is generally going to get used more often as you need it any time you shoot inside. Long lenses are nice, and of course come in handy for many things, but a wide angle is MUCH more practical for most of us. Wild life photographers need long, but most everybody else shoots inside so much the wide is more useful. An interchangable lens is only necessary if you are really going to change it all the time and for the kind of videos you will be making that really is not necessary.
    You do indeed need to buy the extended warranty at time of purchase. For a video camera, it is probably a good idea.
    I do not really know enough about the still camera models to comment.
    I hope this helps!
    Lorraine

  5. Hi there.

    I have the HDR-AX2000 – and Final cut Pro 6- having trouble importing files (no data). Any idea why?

  6. Hi Faithy.
    This appears to be one of those instances where an incompatibility exists even when it shouldn’t! FCP 6, does, in theory, accept the files produced by the HDR-AX2000. So this means there is a tiny corruption or some other anomaly. The problem could be either with the files themselves or within the program. This makes it a bit hard to decipher but certainly not impossible.

    Try importing the files into some conversion software and converting them. Even if you “convert” them into the exact same kind of files, sometimes the process will correct the corruption if it indeed exists within the file. I have had to do these multiple times with .mov files, which I use a lot. They were .mov files when I started and .mov when I finished, and all the parameters are the same, but something, somewhere was altered ever so slightly in order to make it work. This is not an uncommon scenario, regardless of the precise file type. That’s one of those instances where you just shake your head and wonder about the rhyme and reason of things!

    If, on the other hand, the problem lies within the program of Final Cut, my best suggestion is to ask on the Apple forums. I have turned to the Apple forums a lot as they are stocked with incredibly knowledgable people. They know every little quirk of every version of the program and I, unfortunately, don’t. I know it well, but not like they do!
    I hope this helps you. Let me know!
    Lorraine Grula

  7. I love this sony. I am waiting for our old one to break, so I can buy this one for my company.

    does anyone know how much it weights?

    thanks,

  8. Hi Vancouver Video Production!
    The Sony HDR-AX2000 weighs 5 pounds. It indeed is a great video camera.
    Lorraine

  9. I have a Sony AX2000 digital camera and it is driving me nuts! When I try to take footage of an object in front of a bright backdrop (say like a talking head with a bright sky behind) I try to blow out the back drop to properly expose the subject. Even though I do this in complete manual settings, the camera will always resists the over exposure of the back drop and compensates to the overall lighting, thus underexposing the main subject. I have sent the camera back to SONY and all they say is that everything checks out??? I can by a $500 camera that will allow total manual control why will this camera not?? Is there something wrong with the camera?? Am I missing something in the settings? Please, can anyone help me solve this?
    Bob A

  10. Hi Bob.
    I feel your pain! This is why I am not a fan of automatic settings. If you truly have it on MANUAL this should not happen. Are you 110% sure you have it completely on the manual settings? If you truly have it set right and it is still doing this, I would say that it is a flaw of the camera. Not the kind of thing that can be fixed, but an inherent flaw. Especially since the Sony techs checked it out. I am assuming they had a clear idea of your issue. If not, take it back. I have worked with some cameras where the manual control was just flimsy.
    Having said all that, your shot would probably look better if you added some light to the foreground and did not try to just to blow out the background. sometimes that can look good, especially if you are going for some kind of surreal effect, but often it just looks like a mistake.
    I hope this helps. Probably not the answer you were seeking, but that’s the best I can do!
    Lorraine

  11. Erik says:

    just bought the AX-2000 and am wondering what video editing software is recommended to use with a MAC. I do not make videos for a living, but would like some “decent” software to work with

    Thanks for any input!

  12. Hi Erik.
    Your Mac should be preloaded with iMovie, which IMHO is a wonderful video editing program for people who do not want to spend months learning a program. If I were you, I’d start with iMovie. If you want to dive into video editing deeper, you might want to consider the new version of Final Cut Pro. FCPX.
    I hope this helps you.
    Lorraine

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