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Sony Handycam® FDR-AX53

4K Ultra HD camcorder with Wi-Fi® and 20X optical zoom

8 Reviews | 3 questions - 3 answers

Overview

Our take on the Sony Handycam® FDR-AX53

The Sony Handycam FDR-AX53 shoots at super-sharp 4K resolution. Not only does it look great, but that means the detail is incredible even when you zoom in on a subject, which this camera can do in a really big way. You'll get 20X optical zoom, plus digital zoom up to 250X. Even if you get the last seat in the house at your kid's violin recital, it'll look like you and your camera were right on stage the whole time.

The Sony Handycam® FDR-AX53 is a 4K camera, packed with features, yet it's small enough to go anywhere.

The Sony Handycam® FDR-AX53 is a 4K camera, packed with features, yet it's small enough to go anywhere.

A compact 4K camera with super zoom

The Sony Handycam FDR-AX53 shoots at super-sharp 4K resolution. Not only does it look great, but that means the detail is incredible even when you zoom in on a subject, which this camera can do in a really big way. You'll get 20X optical zoom, plus digital zoom up to 250X. Even if you get the last seat in the house at your kid's violin recital, it'll look like you and your camera were right on stage the whole time.

Optical SteadyShot® image stabilization

It doesn't matter how sharp your image is if it's shaky and blurry. Sony takes care of that, building in their trademarked SteadyShot technology so your shots have rock-solid framing. The internal BIONZ® X processor can keep up with just about anything. If you're the one that's moving as you follow a streaking toddler, no problem. If you're in a moving car, filming what's outside the window? Also covered. Even when the lens is zoomed out to its full range, SteadyShot helps keep small movements from wrecking the shot.

Loaded with special features

You've got all those pixels, so let's put them to use. Want to record the adorable face of your sleeping child? NightShot mode does an excellent job in low-light situations. If you like to spoil a good walk by knocking a little white ball around the fairway, use Golf Shot mode to make sure you're maximizing your swing. And the 'AX53 generates time code so you can edit your video that much easier once it's done.

Wi-Fi connectivity and live streaming

No need to wait until you get home to share your videos with friends and family. The FDR-AX53 is equipped with internal Wi-Fi so you can go from shooting to sharing in a flash. If you're an Android™ user, just use one-touch Near Field Communication (NFC) to pair your compatible device to the camera, and you're on your way. And if you really don't want to wait, share your video live, as it happens via live streaming apps like UStream®. The wireless path goes both ways, too. Smart Remote Control lets you direct some of the camera's operation from a distance, using your mobile device as the interface. It's the quick and easy way to make sure you can be in the picture, too.

Product Highlights:

  • shoots crystal-clear 4K video
  • Optical SteadyShot image stabilization with Active mode
  • upload and share video via Wi-Fi and pair compatible devices via NFC
  • 1-2/5" Exmor R CMOS sensor for exceptional low light performance
  • Carl Zeiss® Vario-Sonnar® T lens with 20X optical zoom (250X digital)
  • fast BIONZ® X image processor
  • 3" LCD screen (921,600-dot) display
  • multi-interface accessory shoe for optional system accessories
  • high contrast OLED electronic viewfinder for eye-level shot framing
  • ergonomic controls offer easy manual access to settings
  • records directly to SD, SDHC and SDXC memory cards, as well as MemoryStick Duo media
Special Features:
  • NightShot mode uses infrared light to capture stunning low-light images
  • face detection technology with voice enhancement keeps people in focus and easy to hear
  • My Voice technology keeps the voice behind the camera from overwhelming the audio
  • Golf Shot mode lets you capture video and stills of each step of your swing
  • time code feature makes advanced video editing easier
  • in-camera picture effects for more creative video and still photos
  • nine scene modes for common shooting environments (Portrait, Snow, Fireworks, and more)
  • Dual Record mode lets you simultaneously shoot high-res files for editing and compressed files for quick sharing
  • compatible with UStream® and other live-streaming apps for instant sharing
Included Accessories:
  • rechargeable lithium-ion battery (NP-FV70)
  • AC adapter
  • micro HDMI cable
  • micro USB 2.0 cable
  • 2-7/8"W x 3-3/16"H x 6-9/16"D
  • weight: 22.4 oz.
  • warranty: 1 year parts, 90 days labor
  • Our 60-day money-back guarantee

What's in the Box:

  • 4K camcorder
  • NP-FV70 Lithium-Ion rechargeable battery (6.8V 1960 mAh 13Wh)
  • AC-L200D AC adapter with attached 67" DC output cable (DC Output: 8.4V 1.7A)
  • 41" AC cord (C7 unpolarized)
  • 42" HDMI cable (Type A HDMI connector on one end and Type D Micro HDMI connector on other end)
  • 23" USB cable (Type A USB on one end and Micro USB on other end)
  • Operating Guide (Eng)
  • Operating Guide (Fren)
  • Operating Guide (Span)
  • Limited Warranty sheet (US)
  • Consumer Warranty sheet (Canada)
  • Product Registration sheet
  • Accessories sheet
Reviews

Sony Handycam® FDR-AX53 Reviews

Average Customer Review(s):

(8 Reviews)

Amazing picture

Cirilo from Bakersfield, CA on 1/28/2018

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Amazing picture and sound recording, very easy to use

Pros: Greasy quality video, gray sound recording and takes great pictures to

Cons: A tad big,

outstanding video quality

Gene from Closter, NJ on 1/21/2018

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I purchased this camcorder because of its outstanding video quality and BOSS stabilization feature and it did not disappoint. The video quality was just stunning, even in low light. Colors and detail were so lifelike. BOSS kept the videos nice and steady, correcting even when I was filming while walking around. I would say there are 3 downsides to this product though and they manifest themselves because of the way I shoot. - the 0.24" viewfinder is small and since I shoot sports I couldn't make out what was happening on the field very well. I tried shoot by the monitor but it takes getting used to - the camcorder form factor doesn't encourage two-handed shooting. Even with the great BOSS system, I still wanted to use two hands but it takes time to adapt if you're used to a DSLR/mirrorless camera - the display shows some controls on the left in a gray bar super-imposed on the live video view so you can't see everything that is captured Other limitations to be aware off - auto-focus is just average but predictable. Not fast, not slow, not great but not bad in any sense of the word - the "take photo" button is right by the zoom lever and very easy to hit when zooming. I actually wouldn't have minded if it just took a picture but in certain modes it says it can't take a picture and that message box covers up what you are filming

Pros: outstanding video quality great resolution, incredible colors BOSS stabilization keeps your videos steady SmartPhone remote control is very useful articulating screen connections for external microphone

Cons: viewfinder is small camcorder form factor takes getting used to gray bar in live view take photo button build quality doesn't inspire confidence

Sony Handycam® FDR-AX53

Anonymous from San Diego, CA on 10/17/2017

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Excellent image quality in all hd or 4k settings. Also allows you to make a smaller mp4 video simultaneously for easily sharing to smartphone. Image stabilization is the best. Great for shots of kids performances even at a distance.

Pros: excellent picture, stabilization, and wifi

Cons: little to large for fitting in your pocket

Sony Handycam® FDR-AX53

Jacob from Taylor, Michigan on 5/31/2017

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Great beginners camera. Easy controls. Excellent picture quality and easy to use.

Pros: Lightweight, easy controls, easy to use, 4K on a budget

Cons: No light

Great image sensor and features. Major image stabilization issues.

Jeff from Plano, TX on 5/25/2017

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Takes great video, but has some major issues with image stabilization that I can't live with. a) The BOSS stabilization system overshoots when you pan. Pan along and when you stop panning, the lens keeps moving a bit and then comes back a bit. To stop on a subject you have to fight the camera lens movement. Very difficult to keep a subject centered a higher zoom levels when the camera is moving the lens around. b) The image stabilization just turns off when it wants to. Shooting my son's Spring choir performance on a non-fluid tripod. Image stabilization was working as I was panning around the stage. When a solo came up, I zoomed in on a microphone and singer. All of a sudden, on my next pan, the image stabilization had turned off and the video jerked all over the place. Totally unacceptable! Haven't had this camcorder for a week and I'm pretty much done with it already.

Pros: Nice features. Great auto control. Very small. Nice zoom levels. Very low noise in low light.

Cons: Image stabilization issues. Keeps wandering when you stop panning. Must fight the camera to keep the subject centered. Image stabilization turns itself off whenever it wants to.

Crutchfield response on 5/29/2017 Jeff contacted our Customer Support team and exchanged for another camcorder. Purchases from Crutchfield can be returned or exchanged within 60 days.

Nice up grade

Clayton from Kennett Square, PA on 2/15/2017

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

This camera is a very nice step up from my entry level camcorder. I was not sure I wanted to spring for the cost but now I have used it I feel the step up in quality of image makes the price fair. The image stabilization makes for much better hand held shots but it is not a replacement for a tripod. If you are a Mac user be aware that Mac does not support the AVCHD shooting mode. Is there a problem between Sony, Panasonic and Apple? All camcorders should have eye viewers like this as screens are mostly impossible to view outdoors. Zoom in and out worked much smoother than my old camcorder.

Pros: image quality simplicity of touch screen control

Cons: still are better off using a tripod Mac does not support the AVCHD shooting mode.

Sony Handycam® FDR-AX53

Terry from Owasso, OK on 2/3/2017

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Love the camera! I hadn't seen one in person before ordering it and was worried that it might be to large. When it arrived, I was pleasantly surprised by it's size which is just about perfect. Top quality and easy to use. Crutchfield's rep led me to the right camera and provided awesome service.

Pros: Size, ease of use and awesome picture quality. The camera has several features that are closer to pro cameras.

Cons: A bit expensive.

very sweet

Diana from Stanardsville,VA on 6/27/2016

Just return from Yellowstone NP love filming Wildlife,so zooming was great, video looked fantastic on my 4K TV.Had other Sony cams ,this one has a eyepiece 20 optical zoom and Great Steady shot.Surprised a little by the weight slightly noisy when turned on.

Pros:

Cons:

Details

Hands-on research

Product Research

General Features
Recording Features
Battery Information
Inputs and Outputs Notes
Software

General Features

4K Digital Camcorder: The FDR-AX53 is the latest 4K Handycam camcorder from Sony. With four times the resolution of Full HD, you can record breathtaking video and audio with professional results. Ultra High Definition/4K content can be played back on a 4K TV in full resolution (3840 x 2160), or, by changing the HDMI output setting, in Full High Definition (1920 x 1080) on an HDTV.

3.0" LCD Screen: The FDR-AX53 features a 16:9 wide-screen 3.0" Xtra Fine LCD display. The high resolution 921,600-dot LCD screen can swing out 180 degrees, and rotate up to 270 degrees for multiple viewing angles. The LCD provides sharp and detailed images for monitoring or playback. The screen automatically switches to Mirror mode when the screen is rotated 180 degrees (for self-recording), but the image will still be normal when recorded.

0.24" Color Viewfinder: The FDR-AX53 also features an adjustable 0.24" wide-screen color viewfinder (1,555,200 dots) that lets you record and review video and still images when the LCD display is closed or in Mirror mode. The viewfinder can be pulled out to turn the camcorder on, and angled up to 45° if desired. The camcorder turns off when the viewfinder is pushed back in.

Multi-channel Microphone: The camcorder has a new microphone structure that lets you capture high-quality sound from five directions with approximately 40% less noise. You can record in 2-channel stereo for XAVC S shooting, and 5.1-channel surround for AVCHD shooting.

Recording Media: The AX53 records video in the XAVC S format onto SDXC or SDHC memory cards only (SD Speed Class 10 or faster, or UHS Speed Class 1 or faster). When recording at 100 Mbps or faster, UHS Speed Class 3 is required. If recording images in formats other than XAVC S, you can use SD, SDHC, and SDXC memory cards (Class 4 or faster), as well as Memory Stick PRO Duo (Mark 2) or Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo media. It is recommended that the memory card be formatted inside the camcorder prior to use.

Optics: The FDR-AX53 has a Carl Zeiss Vario Sonnar T* (T-star) wide-angle lens with a 20x optical zoom and a focal length of 4.4-88mm (35mm equivalent: 26.8 - 536mm for 16:9 photos and movies). The maximum aperture range is F2.0-F3.8. The minimum focus distance is approximately 0.39" (1 cm) in wide angle and 31.5" (80 cm) in telephoto.

Fast Intelligent AF: The AX53's Fast Intelligent AF minimizes lens motion, and uses accurate contrast detection to achieve fast auto focusing. The lens predicts the auto focus range and accelerates the lens drive to focus with exceptional speed and precision so you won't miss a moment.

Image Sensor: The camcorder has a newly developed 1/2.5" (7.2mm) back-illuminated Exmor-R CMOS image sensor with 8.57-million total recording pixels and 8.29-million effective pixels for 16:9 video and still image recording. The sensor is made especially for 4K recording, and has 1.6x bigger pixels.

NightShot: The NightShot feature lets you capture images in total darkness by using infrared light. With NightShot, parents can record sleeping children without worrying about waking them with a video light. In addition, the Low Lux setting lets you record bright color images, even in dim light.

Built-in Wi-Fi: The AX53 has built-in Wi-Fi, enabling you to connect the camcorder wirelessly to your smartphone or tablet, computer, or TV. You can load the PlayMemories Mobile app (available for Android on Google Play or for iOS devices from the App Store) on your smartphone or tablet and turn your device into a remote control/viewing device. You can also transfer your MP4 movies and photos to your mobile device wirelessly for instant sharing, and stream live video to others. When the camcorder is connected to your network, you can back up your files to your computer, or watch your videos and photos on your connected TV.

Near-Field Communication (NFC): For Android devices that support NFC, you can wirelessly connect the camcorder via NFC One-Touch Connection. By touching the camcorder to the device at the "N" logo near the hand strap, the wireless connection is made. The PlayMemories Mobile app will start up on the device within a second or two.

Multi Interface Shoe: The AX53 has a top-mounted Multi Interface Shoe for mounting a variety of optional accessories, such as video lights (HVL-LEIR1) or external microphones (ECM-XYST1M).

Recording Features

Video Recording: The Sony FDR-AX53 4K camcorder records Ultra High Definition and High Definition movies in the MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 XAVC S format. Audio is recorded in 2-channel Linear PCM (48 kHz, 16-bit). High Definition movies can also be recorded in AVCHD format with Dolby Digital 2ch/5.1ch or MP4 with AAC audio. You can choose from the following recording format options:

  • XAVC S:
    • 3840 x 2160 / 30p, 24p / 100 Mbps, 60 Mbps
    • 1920 x 1080 / 60p, 30p, 24p / 50 Mbps
  • AVCHD:
    • 1920 x 1080 / 60p, 30p, 24p, 60i / 28 Mbps, 24 Mbps, 17 Mbps
    • 1440 x 1080 / 60i / 9 Mbps, 5 Mbps
  • MP4: 1280 x 720 / 30p

Dual Video Recording Mode: This mode allows you to record an XAVC S movie and an MP4 movie simultaneously, or record an AVCHD movie and an MP4 movie simultaneously. The MP4 movie can easily be transferred to a smartphone or tablet for sharing or uploading to social media websites.

Time Lapse Capture: The Time Lapse Capture feature lets you shoot a series of still images over a period of time with a chosen interval between each shot. Each image is captured at 3840 x 2160 resolution for 4K, or 1920 x 1080 for HD, and are combined into a time-lapse movie (using downloadable PlayMemories Home software). The interval can be set to 1, 2, 5, 10, 30, and 60 seconds, and the number of photos to be recorded can be set between 1 and 999.

Still Image Recording: In addition to video, you can record Large, Medium or Small JPEG still images on the camcorder in 16:9 or 4:3 aspect ratio. You can set the unit to the Still Image mode or capture a still image while still in Movie mode. The still image recording options include:

  • Still Image Mode:
    • 16:9: L 16.6MP (5440 x 3056), M 8.3MP (3840 x 2160), S 2.1M (1920 x 1080)
    • 4:3: L 12.5MP (4080 x 3056), M 6.2MP (2880 x 2160), S 0.3MP (640 x 480)
  • Movie Mode: M 8.3MP (3840 x 2160), S 2.1M (1920 x 1080)

Balanced Optical SteadyShot: The camcorder is equipped with Balanced Optical SteadyShot image stabilization technology, to give you smoother video or blur-free still images when recording in low light or when zoomed in to a distant object. When shooting in HD mode, the 5-axis Intelligent Active mode compensates for vibration in five different directions. In all other modes, you can choose Active SteadyShot or Standard SteadyShot.

Auto/Manual Focus: The Sony FDR-AX53 allows you to choose between Auto Focus or Manual Focus. To focus manually, you can set the focus switch to "manual" and rotate the focus ring around the lens. You can temporarily use auto focus temporarily, even in Manual mode, by pressing the Push Auto button. The Focus Magnifier function will magnify the center of the screen by approximately 2 times to allow you to confirm the focus.

Manual Adjustment Dial: The camcorder offers manual adjustment to exposure parameters using the programmable manual dial, located under the lens. By default, the Iris (aperture), gain (ISO), shutter speed, and exposure are set automatically. You can, however, adjust each manually by selecting the respective setting and turn the manual dial. While one setting is being adjusted, the others remain under automatic control.

Battery Information

InfoLithium Battery: This unit comes with an NP-FV70 InfoLithium (Lithium-ion) battery (6.8V, 1960mAh, 13Wh). The InfoLithium system exchanges data about its actual power consumption with the camcorder for a more accurate estimate of recording time available. With a fully-charged battery, you can expect approximately 150 minutes of continuous recording time, and 75 minutes of typical recording time. Playback time is estimated at 250 minutes.

Charging: You can charge the NP-FV70 battery in the camcorder using the supplied AC-L200D AC adapter. The battery charges in approximately 3 hours 15 minutes using the AC adapter, or 9 hours 15 minutes via USB on your computer.

Inputs and Outputs Notes

Micro HDMI: The camcorder has a Micro HDMI (Type D) output jack for connecting to a HDTV. The HDMI resolution can be set to Auto, 2160p/1080p, 1080p, 1080i, and 720p. With CTRL for HDMI activated, you can control some functions of the camcorder with the connected TV's remote control. A 42" Micro HDMI-to-HDMI cable is included.

Multi/Micro USB Terminal: The camcorder has a Micro USB terminal (marked "Multi") that can be used for connecting the camera to a PC for downloading still images and video files from the memory card or charging the battery. You can edit and save your video files onto your computer, then make DVDs of them using the downloadable PlayMemories Home software. You can also charge the camcorder via USB when connected to a computer. This Micro USB connector can be used to connect an optional AV cable (VMC-UAM2) to play movies on a non-HDMI-equipped TV.

Microphone Input: The camcorder features a 3.5mm microphone input for adding an external microphone.

Headphone Output: The camcorder features a 3.5mm minijack headphone output for connecting a pair of headphones for listening to audio/video playback.

DC In Jack: The DC In Jack is for use with the supplied AC-L200D AC adapter and charger.

Software

PlayMemories Home: The Sony FDR-AX53 does not come with software in the box. Instead, the PlayMemories Home software can be downloaded directly to your computer via the Internet (URLs for Windows and Mac are provided in the supplied Operating Guide). With PlayMemories Home, you can:

  • Easily organize your videos and play them back instantly
  • Manage and play back content easily using Calendar View
  • Upload to online services simply and easily, including Facebook and YouTube

Compatible Operating Systems: PlayMemories Home is compatible with the following Windows Operating Systems: Windows 10, Windows 8/8.1, Windows 7 (SP1), Windows Vista (SP2), and Mac OS X v10.8-10.11.

Our Product Research Team

At Crutchfield, you'll get detailed, accurate information that's hard to find elsewhere. That's because we have our own in-house Product Research team. They verify what’s in the box, check the owner's manual, and record dimensions, features and specs. We stay on top of new products and technologies to help people make informed choices.

Accessories
Q & A

Customer Q&A

Crutchfield asked  
Why did you buy this?

The reviews for this 4k camcorder were all very positive [ ROBERT  Apr 09, 2018 ]
great reveiws [ joe  Oct 24, 2017 ]
I like Sony products, reviews were good for this camcorder. [ Richard  Sep 09, 2017 ]
Researched carefully and made an informed decision. [ Frank  Jun 17, 2017 ]
Based on owners reviews and specifications [ O  Mar 05, 2017 ]
excelent camcorder...resolution, focus system and sharpness....you can't ask more... [ JUAN  Feb 23, 2017 ]
For their "BOSS" optical stabilization, and improved video, with a differennt zoom value. [ Norman  Jun 22, 2016 ]

3 questions already asked

For assistance and personalized recommendations, feel free to contact us directly by phone or through our online chat service: https://www.crutchfield.com/support/ContactUs.aspx [ Ryan  Apr 04, 2018 ]  Staff
The Sony has it's own built-in multi-channel (5.1) microphone but also features a 3.5mm input for connecting external microphones. You will find this information, and more, by clicking the "Details" tab on the camcorder's main webpage and scrolling down below the "Features & Specs" table. I hope that helps! My Bio: http://www.crutchfield.com/Support/Bio.aspx?bio=5 [ Ryan  May 06, 2016 ]  Staff
We do not ship internationally; only to the United States and it's territories. I hope that helps! My Bio: http://www.crutchfield.com/Support/Bio.aspx?bio=5 [ Ryan  Apr 15, 2016 ]  Staff
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