I normally film using a Sony FS5 or a brace of Sony A7 cameras, which is a very flexible combination, using the same lenses, with cinematic quality. I was looking for a small camera with broadcast quality video, without the weight and bulk of my go-to cameras. The Sony HDR-AX700 struck me as a good choice, with due consideration for my lower back.

The AX700 shares the same lens and sensor (1" Exemor) with the FDR-AX100. The lens is a fixed, Zeiss Vario-Tessar f/2.8-4 Zoom, 29-305 mm equivalent. The menu is nearly identical to that of the FS5, and much friendlier than in the A7 cameras. There are several enhancements over the AX100 which push it near the top in the pro-sumer handicam category.

  • Full-sized HDMI connector
  • S-Log2/3 picture profiles with a dedicated access button on the side
  • Cine and Log color gamut
  • Full Auto/Manual selector, with flexible auto selection in the manual mode (e.g., S priority with Auto f/stop and ISO).
  • Auto Focus with push-to-focus in Manual mode
  • Manual focus with 5x, 12x magnification (independent of recording format)
  • Dual SD card slots, with parallel or sequential option and hot-swap (in sequential only)
  • Records in XAVC internally, but only 4,2,0 8-bit with GOP-L codec
  • Records externally in 4,2,2 10-bit, GOP-I to a ProRes or DNxHD codec (e.g., an Atomos Ninja V)
  • LANC and micro USB MultiPort connections for handle operation.
  • Recording battery life (NP-V70) of about 190 minutes (NP-V100 battery has 50% more life)

Power turns on when the 3.5" finder is opened or the EVF is pulled away from the body. If the EVF is left in, the automatic eye detector doesn't black out the screen when you approach it. The power turns off in a few seconds if both are closed, unless you're recording.

On the down side, the touch screen is limited to selecting the focus area. The menu is accessed using an on/off button and the 4-way toggle on the grip. There is no lock on the record button, but it is recesses inside a bezel. The DC power port is proprietary rather than a barrel type, and only available with a line-lump AC adapter. I'm looking for a D-Tap adapter or dummy battery, but so far without luck. There is only an unbalanced 3.5 mm TRS for a microphone, but I don't use the XLR connectors on other cameras either. I record separately and sync in post.

The image quality is compatible with my FS5, and the color and rendition are easily matched in Premiere Pro.