Tuesday, July 20, 2010

More on the NEX-VG10

The recent announcement of the Sony NEX-VG10 remains a hot topic in the video community; it even came up briefly at the Philip Bloom workshop this past weekend (Philip has an NEX-5 which he was using quite a bit at the Friday Meetup.)

People are divided on this camera; some think it spells the end of the DSLR moment-in-the-sun, and that we'll all go back to using "real" video cameras...but they'll have larger sensors. Others aren't so sure, and the NEX-VG10 clouds the question even more because of it's limitations, of which it appears to have many:

60i video. A lot of people are moving away from interlaced video and using progressive. And many want 24p (though not all.) So the NEX-VG10 only supporting 1080i video is a bit of a puzzle. However it does appear that the video in the NEX-VG10 is really captured at 30p on the sensor, but encoded as 60i in the video file. If that's the case, then it's at least as useful as the original Canon 5D Mark II, which was 30p up until Canon released a firmware update earlier this year.

Low light performance is a question too. Sony themselves rate the NEX-VG10 at 11 lux, (Shutter speed: 1/30 sec, Iris: F3.5, Gain: Auto) manufacturer satings on their own are somewhat meaningless, but Sony rates the HDR-AX2000 at 1.5 lux, and even the HDR-CX500V will go to 3. Note though that the rating for the NEX-VG10 is based on the f/3.5 lens that comes with the camera. Use the f/2.8 16mm lens (sold separately) and you should do better.

Lack of features. This is a consumer camera, and not only is it lacking things like XLR audio inputs, but it's user controls seems to be a little limited. Angus Farquhar got to play with one for a bit and reports: is a nice bit of kit, but there is no doubt that it is a consumer bit of kit.
It is easy to use but the OS is still the same as the NEX still cameras so not totally suited. [1]

Where does that leave us? The NEX-VG10 looks interesting, but if Sony holds true to form, they will release a consumer version of the camera a little later (probably within a month or two.) There's something else to consider too: at NAB this year Sony showed an "entry-level 35mm" camera [2] which looks nothing like the NEX-VG10 but was supposed to be out prior to NAB 2011. So does Sony have more than one arrow in it's quiver?

[1] Angus takes the Sony NEX-VG10 out for a spin
[2] NoteOnVideo: Without the need for never-ending firmware updates....

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