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Sony AVCHD NEX-VG10 / NEX-VG20
Interchangeable lens AVCHD camcorders using E-Mount lenses.


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Old September 6th, 2011, 08:46 PM   #1
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A clue regarding HDMI output?

A minor clue regarding the HDMI output from B&H (who just updated their VG20 page to include stats)? Many people have been asking if the HMDI will be clean - here's a possible hint:

"HDMI Output for HD Viewing

Enjoy HD movies and stunning still images on a compatible HDTV or HDMI-enabled field monitor via the camera's HDMI output (mini-HDMI-to-HDMI cable not included). The VG20 continues to show live video on its LCD screen even as video is output via HDMI"

Wouldn't seem to be "stunning" if it wasn't a clean... Also, as some one who's been using Canon's for two years, it will be very nice to still be able to see the image on the LCD screen while outputting to HMDI.

I know I'm grasping at straws a bit here, but there's been very little new info since August 24th...
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Old September 6th, 2011, 08:52 PM   #2
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Re: A clue regarding HDMI output?

"The VG20 continues to show live video on its LCD screen even as video is output via HDMI"

That's a very good sign the hardware is different than the NEX cameras.

The field monitor output indicates that data is sent via the HDMI and the picture is centered. On the VG10, the Display button could turn-off all data.

Wish the VG20 would arrive because I've got a Ninja I'm reviewing.
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Old September 7th, 2011, 03:48 PM   #3
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Re: A clue regarding HDMI output?

Looks like no clean output, and the HDMI port itself broke after one day (according to an outside source) of the IBC.

Yikes.
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Old September 8th, 2011, 08:49 AM   #4
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Re: A clue regarding HDMI output?

John, it might be worth treating some of the contents of that particular negative report with a degree of caution. The author did sound like they had something of an axe to grind. Apart from anything else the NEX-5 and VG-10 were both pretty solidly put together. The only major build quality issue people found was a weak locking plate on the VG10, although I can't say I've had any problems with that myself. The VG20 seems to be pretty much the same body with a few enhancements so I'd be surprised if it was any less robust than it's predecessor.
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Old September 8th, 2011, 10:34 AM   #5
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Re: A clue regarding HDMI output?

Absolutely - the source's veracity has been questioned by others as well. And that model was almost certainly a pre-production unit. But there's been a near total lack of other new information available - an interesting omission on Sony's part given that the camera hits shelves in 2 months (or less). No true reviews, no additional info from Sony. And given the uproar VG10 owners are in over a lack of firmware upgrades, Sony has to be aware of what potential buyers of the VG20 want.

Here's the thing - the VG20 either has a clean HDMI out or not. It either has the same picture profiles as the 5n, or it doesn't (Sony's site does list them as being there in the VG20's specs). I've read contradictory things regarding the VG10's (which I don't own) ability to output a clean signal via HDMI, so not sure if not having that feature would be a step back for the line or not...

Regardless, at $1,600 (body only) I do think that the VG20 aught to have at least the same functionality/picture profiles as a camera in the same line costing a third as much and it should have clean HDMI (given consumer desires and market place conditions).

Now do I expect it to have 20 buttons? No. Do I expect SDI or even a full sized HDMI port? Nope. XLRs? No. Programmable buttons? Well, that's a tougher call, but I can live without them. But IMO the same functionality of a much cheaper camera and clean HDMI isn't too much to ask.

Sony would go far if they addressed issues which virtually every serious shooter is asking about. I'd love to pre-order the camera, but can't until I know what the camera can/can't do.
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Old September 8th, 2011, 12:40 PM   #6
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Re: A clue regarding HDMI output?

Explain "clean" HDMI to me. What does it mean?
I have a VG10 and I regularly connect it to my 55" flatscreen through the HDMI to review my footage.
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Old September 8th, 2011, 01:49 PM   #7
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Re: A clue regarding HDMI output?

I completely understand your concerns John. Sadly, the VG10 release was also rather bungled from a PR perspective - (the only way we figured out that the camera shot it's own particular form of interlaced was by importing the footage and working with it!) so I wouldn't be surprised if we again had to rely on a slow dripfeed of often contradictory info. Which is a shame, as the VG10 was an underrated piece of kit and the VG20 looks to have corrected most of the shortcomings we've highlighted on the forums over the last year. I'll be a day one buyer myself for those reasons, but I can see why many have a lot of questions they still need answered first.
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Old September 8th, 2011, 02:14 PM   #8
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Re: A clue regarding HDMI output?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Glen Vandermolen View Post
Explain "clean" HDMI to me. What does it mean?
I have a VG10 and I regularly connect it to my 55" flatscreen through the HDMI to review my footage.
Someone please correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe "clean" HDMI means (for example) when you use an external recorder for uncompressed recording, you want the HDMI output to be "clean" as in no video information overlay. In other words, you want the video information overlay in your viewfinder or LCD screen but not output via HDMI into your external recorder. At least that's my understanding.
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Old September 8th, 2011, 02:44 PM   #9
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Re: A clue regarding HDMI output?

That's pretty much it - having the option to switch of the overlays so you can record to something like a Ninja (which should result in a 4:2:2 recording vs a 4:2:0) via a HDMI cable.
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Old September 8th, 2011, 03:08 PM   #10
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Re: A clue regarding HDMI output?

As Steve says, this is possible with the VG10 - you can adjust whether information is displayed or not. As the VG20 seems to be adding features it would be strange if they omitted it.
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Old September 8th, 2011, 07:51 PM   #11
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Re: A clue regarding HDMI output?

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...you can record to something like a Ninja (which should result in a 4:2:2 recording vs a 4:2:0) via a HDMI cable.
This is the part that I have never been clear about.
The raw video comes off of the chip, into the DSP, and then out the other side as 4:2:0 AVCHD.
The signal can be recorded to the camera card and/or output via the HDMI.
I don't understand where or how the 4:2:0 signal becomes 4:2:2 for external recording in a Ninja, etc.
How does that work??
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Old September 8th, 2011, 11:04 PM   #12
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Re: A clue regarding HDMI output?

My understanding of the issue is this: For the AF100, FS100, F3, VG10, VG20 to record to a SD memory card, the camera must compress the images as it records them. Apparently, there's just not enough processing power in these cameras to record at a rate higher then 4:2:0 (although this might also be partly due to a limitation of recording to an SD card - even a fast one).

The HDMI output feed is essentially what the camera's sensor is "seeing" as you photograph without any compression being added. My understanding is that the AF100, the VG10/20 can record 4:2:2 to an outboard recording device via the HDMI socket. The FS100 and the F3 can actually output 4:4:4 via the HDMI input (SDI on the F3), although there is no sub $10,000 recorder on the market that is capable of doing so.

I'm no color correction guy, but my understanding is that it's much easier to push around a 4:2:2 image vs a 4:2:0. And it's much easier to pull a key from a 4:2:2 recoding as well.

So as a matter of practicality right here and now, most AF100/FS100/VG10 shooters wanting better quality then 4:2:0 are going to something like the Ninja via the HDMI plug. But that's worthless if you can't selectively turn off the overlays. Thus all the angst.

Hope that clears it up a bit...
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Old September 8th, 2011, 11:40 PM   #13
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Re: A clue regarding HDMI output?

Sensor outputs RGB that is not 4:4:4 because of the Bayer sensor. Half of the Red and half of the Blue information is not present.

RGB is debayered to 4:2:2 YUV or 4:2:0 YUV. There is no reason to create 4:2:2 because AVCHD is 4:2:0 and the LCD resolution is only about 720x480 PER COLOR. There's no reason for 10-bits because AVCHD is 8-bits and the LCD is only 8-bits.

So assuming the HDMI delivers 4:2:2 10-bits is risky as there is no need for such a signal. Connecting a Sony camera-top monitor doesn't require anything but RGB sent over HDMI.

Remember, HDMI can carry RGB or YUV. I strongly suspect that Sony feeds RGB to its tiny monitor.

Thus, the HDMI output hardware must be able to sense that you have connected a recorder that needs YUV. It also must be able to not overlay information when it switches to YUV.

Bottom-line to be able to record 4:2:2 Sony must design a camera to support it. Outputting 10-bits of information, is a separate decision.
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Old September 9th, 2011, 12:13 AM   #14
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Re: A clue regarding HDMI output?

"Bottom-line to be able to record 4:2:2 Sony must design a camera to support it."

They already have in the FS100 and F3. I have no idea about the VG10/20 however.

Beyond better color correction and keying, the use of an outboard recording device also allows for much longer recording times if needed - something event shooters are usually keen to have.

The FS100 allows for simultaneous recording to SD card and outboard recorder - meaning you have the potential for a backup right off the bat. Again, not sure if the 10/20 allow for this.

So, there's 3 potential benefits to being able to record off of the HDMI spigot - better color rendition for post, longer potential recording times (esp as you can't hot swap on the FS100 or VG20), and double redundancy... Assuming it's clean.
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Old September 9th, 2011, 04:13 PM   #15
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Re: A clue regarding HDMI output?

Exactly the same conclusions I had when I compared the two. Panasonic builds a camera for those who need to get real work done. Sony builds a sexy camera for those who want to look like they are going to get work -- someday.

Same conclusion I came to on the VG10 verses NEX-5.

Clearly the VG20 is much better than the VG10. But ergonomics, IMHO, are still bad. No ND filter!!! Not at $1600.

The Samurai now offers both ProRes and DNxHD, but uses HD-SDI. No go with VG20 or FS100.

The F3 is the way to go and one should be able to pay it off with a few jobs. And, it will last years -- if you don't need 3D or 4K2K. Plus PL mount lenses will last years.

I'm curious if Pana and Canon will offer a $2000 camera to compete with the VG20.
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