Vaxis ATOM 500 SDI

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About 4 months ago I had purchased a Vaxis ATOM 500 SDI wireless transceiver system - which allows you to transmit either a HDMI or SDI signal wirelessly; receiving it as either HDMI or SDI. Here I’ll share my experiences with it

The Product

There’s not too much in the box, a TX and RX unit, an instruction booklet and a USB-A to USB-C cable. On the TX unit, there is an SDI input and HDMI input, likewise with the RX unit but with outputs. On the HDMI only version, the SDI port is replaced with a HDMI loopout on both TX and RX units.

The units are built.. decently. One of the buttons on my RX unit was a bit wonky - albeit functionality wasn’t affected at all. Vaxis had decided NOT to include a 1/4” thread in the unit - instead deciding to upsell that ability with a separate accessory ($30 adhesive coldshoe). That being said, there are two other 1/4” threads, located at the base and side of the unit.

To power the units, they can take either a USB-C power supply, or a Sony NP-F type battery.

Usability

Image Quality

It was probably my settings, but the image didn’t feel very sharp - the colours also seemed slightly duller and flatter than expected.

Range

These units worked decently well; however during production use - I was receiving some interference when I was too close to some metal objects - so I would recommend trying to establish a line of sight connection between the TX and RX units.
Supposedly the unit claims to have 500 ft (150m) of range - but whilst testing this claim out I wasn’t able to get much further than 70 metres - perhaps there was a lot of radio activity around my area during that time…

Latency

The unit claims to have at most 80ms of delay - which held true for the majority of my use.
Once you lose LOS connectivity or start experiencing interference - the frames might start to stutter and delay.

Firmware

It seems that there is no way to upgrade the firmware on these SDI-version units; which is weird considering that the HDMI models are on major version 2..? At times I feel like I should have bought the HDMI version instead - cheaper with perhaps better functionality??

Initial Verdict

For around AU$600, despite being rather cheap for a wireless video transmitter - I had hoped that the product wouldn’t stinge on accessibility - however you need to buy additional accessories in order to mount the device on the front… The unit does have two other 1/4” threads, so it’s not entirely a dealbreaker.

In terms of performance, I wasn’t entirely amazed at its ability. For sure I’ll leave it in my toolkit and use in a pinch, but it’s not something I’d really want to invest in again. Back to the Teradek I guess.

Rating: 5/10. Right in the middle

At least not until I test it out again. It might have been a bad RF environment, or my camera operator / live stream engineer wasn’t paying attention to detail during the day we used it

Update: 5th February 2022

I used the Vaxis again today for a wedding livestream with a relatively small audience (since COVID-19 space restrictions). On the most part, it seemed to hold up perfectly fine even without a perfect LOS at a distance of around 25 metres. The latency was pretty consistent, and I only saw some tearing occur once.

Maybe I’ll give it a 6/10 now.

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