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Sony NEX-VG10 / VG20 / VG30 / VG900
Interchangeable lens AVCHD camcorders using E-Mount lenses.


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Old September 21st, 2010, 09:48 AM   #421
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focus assist?

Does the VG10 have the focus magnification feature found on the NEX5? Using 3rd party lenses is easy on the NEX5 because you can hit the magnification button and manually focus. Is that available on the VG10?

(By the way, Sony announced that new firmware for the NEX5 would come out in October with some ability to control exposure in video mode.)

There are finally a few real users posting footage on Vimeo and YouTube from the VG10. Some of it looks nice and film-like and some of it looks like crappy cell phone footage. Don't know what to think.
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Old September 21st, 2010, 01:52 PM   #422
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Originally Posted by Chuck Fadely View Post
Does the VG10 have the focus magnification feature found on the NEX5? Using 3rd party lenses is easy on the NEX5 because you can hit the magnification button and manually focus. Is that available on the VG10?
No, there is no any focus assist on VG10, which leaves you HDMI external monitor for focusing as the only option for use with non e-mount lenses;
I'm still waiting for Nikon to NEX adapter to try it with the fast glass, but I already know how it's going to look, roughly the same as 7D, but no IS, which I need for my work;
i still like image from 7D better than VG10, 7D has better brain :) and way better control, but I still want to see how VG10 looks with the f1,4 glass on, before I make any decision;
I like ability to have in camera decent sound, free form LCD, well, almost free form, that piece doesn't go 180°, only 90°, so you can't face the lens and see what's in the frame, what else, no clip length limit - nice, but not very important to me, what's really nice is that I don't have to convert the footage, it goes straight to the Vegas timeline; AF is very nice to have, but not a must, IS I need - it is my C camera and it is hand held all the time, but the most important to me is a picture quality in the limited light environment and so far it is less than satisfying,
overall I can't get rid of the impression that VG10 was designed and released with the only purpose - to say: 'look, we’re the first ones'
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Old September 21st, 2010, 04:09 PM   #423
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Originally Posted by Chuck Fadely View Post
There are finally a few real users posting footage on Vimeo and YouTube from the VG10. Some of it looks nice and film-like and some of it looks like crappy cell phone footage. Don't know what to think.
Some users know what they are doing, and some don't? :)
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Old September 21st, 2010, 06:31 PM   #424
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No, there is no any focus assist on VG10, which leaves you HDMI external monitor for focusing as the only option for use with non e-mount lenses.'
Let's think about this. HD monitoring only arrived in the last decades. So, how did filmmakers focus?

When the lens was a zoom, they zoomed in fully and focused and zoomed back to frame. No focus assist needed!

With a prime lens, you opened the aperture as far as practical to minimize DOF and then focused looking at the image. Then reset aperture.

Focus Assist was needed when LCD/VF had such low res that one couldn't focus. With a 1 megapixels that issue isn't present with the VG10.

Postings on what must/can or must not/cannot be done need to wait until folks actually own a VG10 and use it. So far almost every comment made by those who had only a few minutes of hands-on have been wrong -- or made by those with only video experience.
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Old September 21st, 2010, 07:19 PM   #425
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Well, according to the specs, the lcd on the NEX5 and the VG10 are comparable.... and there's no way to get accurate focus with a Summicron on my NEX 5 without the magnification turned on.

it's hard for me to believe they left the magnification off when the cameras are so similar, and when the VG10 is designed to shoot stills as well as video.
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Old September 22nd, 2010, 01:54 AM   #426
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Originally Posted by Steve Mullen View Post
When the lens was a zoom, they zoomed in fully and focused and zoomed back to frame. No focus assist needed!
That's fine with dedicated video zooms that have constant focus throughout the zoom range, but the majority of stills zooms are varifocals and the focus is not constant through the zoom range. It make the lens simpler and with less glass produces a better image. For still photography focus variations are not an issue as you would normally zoom to frame, focus, then shoot. With video and movies came the desire to zoom during the shot and a different design of lens. So beware that you may run in to issues using the zoom to focus with lenses designed for still photography.
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Old September 22nd, 2010, 04:58 AM   #427
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In AF mode, the PHOTO button forces an AF. in MF mode, the button does nothing!

I hate the "firmware" hope, but it is bizarre this button doesn't force a magnification when in Video mode. It is needed when prime lenses are attached via the adaptor.

On the other hand, I've had no problem because I use the VF and dial the aperture open as far as practical. This is no different than I've done with primes on film cameras and has always worked.

By the way, magnification pulls (about) every 8th pixel from the CMOS chip. Then it interpolates the missing 7 pixels. This does add 2X more information to what you see on the LCD so it does help.
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Old September 22nd, 2010, 09:04 PM   #428
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So beware that you may run in to issues using the zoom to focus with lenses designed for still photography.
Good warning since it's not clear how the E-mount zoom lens were designed. Sony does have a warning "Zoom before focus." Of course, that can apply to either design.

I'll have to test to see if focus is held upon zooming back -- and then in.

Thank you!
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Last edited by Steve Mullen; September 23rd, 2010 at 09:12 AM.
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Old September 23rd, 2010, 08:00 PM   #429
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That's fine with dedicated video zooms that have constant focus throughout the zoom range, but the majority of stills zooms are varifocals and the focus is not constant through the zoom range.
Looks like Sony deigned its "video" zooms as varifocals. Focus is not held as one zooms back. Thus, the note in the manual is correct, you must zoom and then focus.

That's the bad news. The good news is:

The 18-55mm zoom is far better for the camcorder!

Not only is it a fraction of the weight of the big zoom, it makes the camera far more balanced. Now it FEELS right!

The zoom is much less stiff -- it only has to pop-out an inch not 5-inches! And focus control is very smooth. Lastly, the zoom scale is marked on the lens.
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Old September 23rd, 2010, 08:39 PM   #430
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Looks like Sony deigned its "video" zooms as varifocals. Focus is not held as one zooms back. Thus, the note in the manual is correct, you must zoom and then focus.
It's too bad, but with that little piece of news, Sony has talked me out of buying this camera. That's the straw that broke the camera's back (pun intended). I am an event shooter (primarily weddings). There are just too many missing features in the VG10 that are needed for event and ENG shooters. As I said earlier in this thread, you can't yell "cut" at a wedding so you can fiddle with your camera's settings. Since there is no peaking, this little varizoom 'feature' means that the only remaining way to get sharp focus (zoom all the way in, focus and then pull back out) is also not possible. IMHO even though Sony changed its shape, this isn't a video camera, at least for event and ENG shooters.

Last edited by Jim Snow; September 23rd, 2010 at 09:16 PM.
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Old September 23rd, 2010, 09:07 PM   #431
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varifocus...

Steve., are you saying in effect that the only way to guarantee sharp focus is with a close-up shot? On medium and long shots you've pretty much got to guess, or hope that the wider -angle shots will bring more into focus anyways?
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Old September 23rd, 2010, 09:55 PM   #432
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Originally Posted by Jim Snow View Post
It's too bad, but with that little piece of news, Sony has talked me out of buying this camera. That's the straw that broke the camera's back. I am an event shooter (primarily weddings). There are just too many missing features in the VG10 that are needed for event and ENG shooters. IMHO even though Sony changed its shape, this isn't a video camera, at least for event and ENG shooters.
I thought it was obvious the VG10 is an inexpensive tool for shooting video that has a low frame-rate with the option of minimum DOF. And, with very high-quality results.

For filmmaking, each shot will be planned, set-up, rehearsed, and shot multiple times. The Full Manual mode is designed to be used with a lightmeter. (And yes, one can use a lightmeter at a wedding or an event. Think "Woodstock.")

So, that doesn't mean docs, events, weddings, and news can't be shot with the VG10. And, that's because your statement "As I said earlier in this thread, you can't yell "cut" at a wedding so you can fiddle with your camera's settings" is false.

Focusing using the VF is hardly "fiddling" since anyone who has shot film has focussed without peaking or magnification. In fact, since primes -- not zooms -- have been used for filmmaking for a 100 years, the zoom-in-zoom-out trick obviously is not necessary for focussing.

If photographers needed these things, how did film get shot during WW2, etc. How was news shot? My first Bolex had a range-finder that one used to measure the distance of the subject. Then one dialed in the distance on the lens. :)

The VG10 is not a "camcorder," it is a motion picture camera that records digitally. It is designed for filmmakers or those who want an inexpensive way to learn the art of filmmaking.

PS: Its not really an HDDSLR either, because they tend to not have separate buttons for each manual function.
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Old September 23rd, 2010, 10:14 PM   #433
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Since I automatically used the VF, I've never had any problem focusing. You can SEE when the image is focus. You move the focus ring from unfocussed to focus to unfocus and back to focus. Just like how I've always focussed cameras. There's nothing new or different here.

The VF inherently displays a BIGGER (to your eye) image than does the LCD which you view from a foot+ away. Unless one buys a VF for the NEX-5 you don't get one -- so you have no choice but Magnify.

PS: you are right, wide is inherently likely to be in focus, which is why colored FA is so annoying. The entire image becomes colored. So, I'm not saying Sony shouldn't have offered the function. :(
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Old September 23rd, 2010, 10:53 PM   #434
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I'm perplexed by your report that the camera does not hold focus throughout the zoom range.
Here is a quote from the VG 10 Handbook:
"Tip on focusing:
Focus on the subject with the telephoto side of zoom first, and then move the zoom toward
the wide side."
Is Sony just giving bad advice here??
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Old September 23rd, 2010, 11:40 PM   #435
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No I'm perplexed!

I assumed the lens should work as you describe. It has been raining so I've been testing indoors. When I zoomed in and focused and zoomed out -- because I went wide everything looked in focus, so I zoomed in a bit to another object and it wasn't in focus.

So maybe the lens can handle a zoom back -- as described -- but not handle a zoom IN after the zoom OUT.

More testing is in order. Thank you!

I've also been trying the AF and it is REALLY SMART!

If you press the FORCE FOCUS button while in AF mode just before starting a shot, your focus is locked on your subject even as it moves around.

PS: I used AF on the V1 and it was great, although I'm well aware that AF is a taboo option to many!
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