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Sony NEX-EA50 (all variants)
Including NEX-EA50UH / EA50EH / EA50H / EA50UK / EA50EK / EA50K


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Old February 7th, 2013, 09:42 PM   #1
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Is this the right camera for me?

Apologies in advance for a long, newbie question, but you folks all seems pretty experienced and helpful to each other, so I thought I'd run my dilemma by you.

I've ben looking at what camera to buy, with budget around $3,600. I've been doing lots of reading and investigating and have strongly considered the EA50UH. I'm not very experienced with shooting, as I typically have others shooting for me and I edit the footage myself. But, I'd like to get into shooting myself, as I direct others and now want to better control getting the shots I want. Here's some of what I plan to shoot.

1. Interviews (one and two person shots), with and without shallow DOF, indoor and outdoor.
2. Covering stage performances with no DOF (everything must be in focus)
3. Covering panel discussions (lasting about an hour)
4. Covering sporting events, where everything needs to be in focus. This includes covering the crowd AND the game (which would be a baseball game).

I'm concerned about shooting in low light, as I've received footage from others, in the past, that was too dark (i.e. didn't use additional lighting in outdoor, shaded areas that could have used it).

From what I have read, it seems the stock lens is slow (something I'm learning about) and is rather dark. Also, would not work well for keeping everything in focus (?).

Without having to buy lots of different lenses, is it possible to use this camera for items 1,2,3,4? I don't mind having to buy a lens or two to start out (which ones???), as I think one of the great things with this camera is the ability to changes lenses (as well as it's shallow DOF capability).

My big things I need are items 1-3. If I had to, I could borrow the studio camera for item 4 (if I really had to).

Maybe I just don't know lens enough (well, not maybe, definitely). But am just not sure if I can do all I want with this camera, or am looking in the wrong direction. I haven't received any great answers at the store.
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Old February 7th, 2013, 10:22 PM   #2
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Re: Is this the right camera for me?

Hi David

With the big sensor huge DOF is quite practical with the stock lens even... Play around with this calculator
Online Depth of Field Calculator

At 18mm (full wide) and the iris wide open as long as your subject or more than 12' away and you at 30' from them everything is in focus right to infinity. Shooting at the top end of the zoom needs more care though.

I'm using the 50 for Realty shoots and weddings just with the stock lens..no special primes or super fast lenses and focus is not an issue for me at all.

Just bear in mind that normal video cameras with 1/3" chips are still ultra critical when you get into the big zoom range. But in the situations you describe I reckon the stock lens will handle everything and as long as you don't try to zoom into toenails ...you will have plenty of DOF

Chris
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Old February 7th, 2013, 10:26 PM   #3
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Re: Is this the right camera for me?

Here's my take.

For purpose #1- I think it will do great.
For purpose #2- I think it will be fine but you'll need to be on your toes to follow the action
For Purpose #3-I think it will be great. There is hardly any movement there so that won't be a problem
For Purpose #4-I think with a bit of practice finding the sweet spot it'll be OK. What I mean by that is this; first you'll need to find the right f/stop which I have heard is around f/5.6 to f/8 on the stock lens. Since there are no built in ND filters you can get there with ISO so for day games you should be fine. It's not like I've done in the past doing NASCAR when the cars are running at 180 thru the turns. Baseball is a bit slower than that so I think it'll be good.
I think low light is relative. How low is low? If you're referring to stage productions than yeah it's pretty low but keep in mind you can up the ISO to a pretty high number and keep the footage clean. This camera can do with a pretty high gain and kep the footage clean and for a stage play you could probably get away with a slightly slower shutter speed if you needed to.
All in all I thinks its a great camera and I was one of the first to say I was going to get one but a great deal on an HM700 jumped up at me from a good friend of mine and I had to take it especially since I felt the camera would do what I needed a bit easier than the EA50 but that's strictly a personal thing.
Check some of the stuff posted by others who just got the EA50 especially Chris Harding. He just ordered his 2nd one and was a Panny guy for 20+ years.
As for lens, well I'm not one to say since I am not using the camera but keep in mind the 1.6 crop so a 50mm is really an 80mm etc. If I were you I'd get the stock lens, play with it then decide if another lens is necessary then if it is decide what you need. Short or long.
HTHs
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Old February 7th, 2013, 11:29 PM   #4
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Re: Is this the right camera for me?

Thanks Don

Stage productions are actually another animal completely and it depends where they allow you to shoot from...I did a dance recital with the Panasonics from right at the top of the theatre so we were sorta 100' +++ away from the stage and focus even on 1/4" chips was tricky ....bear in mind that was because I was 50% zoomed JUST to get a wide shot of the stage .... if you get a front and centre spot then the DOF will be no problem and by being full wide too you get maximum iris but still have a fairly large DOF. Right up at the back with 500 people in front of you you just have to get a tighter shot and as you zoom your iris gets smaller and DOF becomes a lot tighter.

I will admit so far I haven't had a situation the Sony didn't handle so provided you can secure a reasonable position it will handle theatre etc etc with no issues!!

Shucks with a ball game unless you have special connections you will be at least 30' away from the action anyway!! Play with different scenarios using the DOF link David and bear in mind the stock zoom runs from F3.5 at wide to F6.8 I think at the top end (someone correct me if I'm wrong!)

Chris

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Old February 8th, 2013, 04:00 AM   #5
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Re: Is this the right camera for me?

Biggest issue with this camera is that it doesn't hold focus if you do stage shows and zoom in, lock focus and zoom in and out again during the show. A trick might be to often use the autofocus again to let the camera refocus if necessary and then switch back to manual to prevent the focus from hunting.
Stage performances are also tricky as they often start pitch black and then they slowly turn on a spot light, your camera needs to be in manual focus when that happens or otherwise the autofocus can go berserk.
I have a gymnastics stage performance in 2 weeks and will be taking the ea50 with me, I"ll also let my 2 cx730 run unattended with focus locked but exposure on auto with probably a -2 ev adjustment to prevent blow outs but that I need to check during the rehearsals.

I honestly think the new panasonic ag ac90 will serve you better for what you are after.
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Old February 8th, 2013, 05:33 AM   #6
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Re: Is this the right camera for me?

Hi Noa

The AC-90 lens isn't parafocal either !! Zoom in tight, focus and zoom out and it loses the plot totally!! My AC-130's weren't either!! I have never tested the 50 as yet but whenever I have a static scene I would be in manual focus anyway....I know with dance recitals I ran two cameras ..the first on wide locked focus to give a nice overview of the dancing..the second was zoomed into and I stuggled to focus quite often and believe it or not, when I presented the wide shot mixed beautifully with the closeups they didn't like it at all..all they wanted and expected was a wide so they could watch/assess all the dancers as a group.

Next time I will know to frame the shot ..lock down the focus and watch the show and let the camera do it's thing!!

There is a current post on DVX actually about the fact that the AC-90 AF tends to prefer to focus on objects in the background not your subject!! For theatre it would also need to be in manual!!

Chris
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Old February 8th, 2013, 05:48 AM   #7
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Re: Is this the right camera for me?

really? My xh-a1 and my father's fx1000 do keep focus once locked as long as you don't change your distance to the stage. Weird the ac90 and specifically the 130/160 are not able to do that.
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Old February 8th, 2013, 06:48 AM   #8
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Re: Is this the right camera for me?

Thanks for all the quick replies. I will have the ability to be wherever I want for the stage performances and the ballgame, as I am part of the production team running both. The other uses seem to not be an issue, based on the responses. Also, the stage performances will start out lit. Very good info about the light playing tricks on the focus. I guess my concern is that if I want everything in focus, on any shoot, is that possible? If I use manual focus, I would have to open the iris and use an nd filter maybe outside (or set the iso). Am I correct? If so, it sounds like there will still be a DOF, but I'm not clear how much. Also sounds like a focus issue. If the DOF is very deep or infinity, then that's not a problem. I can be as close or as far away as I want. For the ballgame, however, I am typically along the first baseline. Maybe that will be too close? It's hard to move further away, as the large crowd gets in the way (and I don't have a raised platform to be above the crowd). Chris, you mention details on being at least 12' away and something abut 30'. Can you explain that a little more? I get opening the Iris is critical, but sounds like nothing closer than 12' will be in focus, but can go out to infinity? Not sure I understand the 30' part.

For the game, sounds like I want a parafocal lens and the stock lens isn't one. If I'm understanding the terms correctly. For the times I want to shoot in autofocus, will the camera be ale to shoot everything in focus? Is that an option for the ballgame?

Thanks again guys. All your feedback means a lot, and is better than the camera store.
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Old February 8th, 2013, 07:12 AM   #9
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Re: Is this the right camera for me?

With a large sensor camera, the further you open up the iris, the shallower the dof will become, that's why I think a small sensor camera like the ac90 will be better as it will have a very deep dof so keeping it all sharp front to end with that camera will be a lot easier. Since it does not appear to hold focus once locked and then zoomed out you have to rely more on the manual focus with occasional autofocussing if you have any doubts.
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Old February 8th, 2013, 07:28 AM   #10
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Re: Is this the right camera for me?

Hi David

If you use the DOF calculator my example means simply that if you are say 30' away from a player with the crowd in the background with the lens at full wide (18mm) and the iris full open F3.5 then everything from 12' in front of the player to infinity will be in focus which is more than adequate...the calculator for any given distance/aperture/focal length will tell you how much in front of your subject is in focus and also how much behind is in focus ..Your depth of field is then 12' to infinity .... the closer you are and the more you zoom will make the DOF smaller ... If you dial in F1.8 and stand 4' away from a subject at say 50mm you will see the DOF is very small indeed..just a few inches in front and a few inches behind which is used to make the subject pop with no distracting background or foregound but focus needs to be spot on!!

The EA-50 uses an APS-C sensor so you can choose a camera like the Canon 7D or 60D in the calculator.

Noa? the AC-90 apparently tends to AF more readily on subjects behind what it's supposed to ...I haven't ever used one so I don't know ...I find the EA-50 pretty good on auto but my AC-130's I had last year were awful..they would lock onto something and then "get bored" and focus on the background and I have a wedding where after 10 minutes the couple simply became blurry and the trees 100' behind them were razor sharp ... It wasn't a good wedding ...after that I used manual only for the remaining 2 months I had them. My old Panny HMC82's were brilliant ...you could leave them in auto during a 20 minute ceremony and the focus never changed (I did it once by mistake) I haven't seem the stock lens hunt at all in auto but my Sigma 19mm often hunts if it comes across white objects with no contrast and simply pumps back and forth. It makes sense to lock focus on a static scene anyway!

Chris
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Old February 8th, 2013, 11:07 PM   #11
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Re: Is this the right camera for me?

Thanks, Chris for the further explanation and calculator. Noa, interesting camera, but I really want good DOF and the ballgame is the only thing that seems to be an issue. But, you're right in the AC90 being the answer to easier 'all in focus' concerns. Seems that having oth cameras would solve all the issues, and gives me the right equipment for either situation. Of course, I can't afford to buy both, but worth thinking about for future consideration. Don, thanks for the explanation and thoughts about the game coverage. Thank you everyone.

Still a little unsure about the concern about the things I read about the lens shooting somewhat dark images. But, as Don points out, I can use gain without much image noise.

Seems like I should probably look to get this, with the stock lens and see how that will work. I will need to determine what Additional kens may help/be needed. I'll have to see if it will hold up for the game, or else see about a second camera, like the one Noa is suggesting. Maybe find it used.

Than,s again for all the help. I'll continue to watch the forum.

-David
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Old February 10th, 2013, 10:10 PM   #12
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Re: Is this the right camera for me?

DOF in a large sensor camera works like a 35mm still camera. i.e. For a 50mm lens on a Sony NEX camera,

Subject distance 10 ft

Depth of field
Near limit 7.23 ft
Far limit 16.2 ft
Total 9 ft

In front of subject 2.77 ft (31%)
Behind subject 6.23 ft (69%)

Hyperfocal distance 25.8 ft
Circle of confusion 0.02 mm

Online Depth of Field Calculator A terrific online DOF calculator without question.
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Old February 10th, 2013, 10:54 PM   #13
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Re: Is this the right camera for me?

Hi Rob

I already gave David that link...however it is important to choose a camera profile that uses an APS-C sensor and not a full frame as our 50's have a crop factor of 1.5.

When you use the calculator however you need the put in the actual focal length of the camera lens and not the 35mm equivalent ..the calculator takes the crop factor into account automatically for you.

Chris
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Old February 11th, 2013, 07:48 AM   #14
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Re: Is this the right camera for me?

You're right. Thanks for the info.
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Old February 25th, 2013, 11:15 PM   #15
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Re: Is this the right camera for me?

If I'm understanding this right, using the kit lens, low light is an issue and also affects auto focus. Will using other lens produce much better low light shots? The low light and focus sounds troubling (to me). But if using better lens help to overcome this, and it's just the stock lens, then that's not so bad. Just want to make sure I'm understanding this right.
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