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


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Old September 28th, 2010, 09:58 PM   #466
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In my lifetime of about 20 years in shooting video , I've never been able to manually zoom a video lens, large and small formats, without jiggling the handheld camera and effectively ruining the shot. On a high-end video zoom lens with some costly proper manual focus/zooming aids and supports, this may have been possible. It is just plain bad ergonomics shooting handheld video with a camera having a lens racking 6 inches in and out when zooming and a lens that requires the shooter to grab and manually rotate the zoom ring in a still photography fashion! Not a single cheapo handycam camera I have is burdened that much with such design compromises.

I think the best I could do is forget about zooming the VG10 when recording.
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Old September 28th, 2010, 11:23 PM   #467
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Koehler View Post
What I find sad is Sony using plastic in a lens with a current retail price of $800 USD.
How far we have fallen.

Quick question: Does the camera shoot interlaced or is it really progessive packaged into an interlaced stream?
I just received the VG10 today & have spent about 2 hours exploring it.
I am not as distressed by the 18-200mm E lens as Steve is. I'm comparing it to my Nikon 35mm SLR 18-200mm lens, which also costs about $850, and is also around f 3.5-6.8. The zoom features on the two lenses seem very similar: a little more than a quarter turn to go from 18mm to 200mm, both lenses telescope about 3" at full zoom, both zoom rings require significant (and similar) torque to operate. The focus ring is smooth and easy to operate while recording. I'm wondering if we're not just seeing some sort of industry standard for 18-200mm lenses of this size, rather than any shortfall in Sony's design & execution.

I'm fairly impressed with the fit and finish of both the VG10 and the lens. It does have a finished, professional look and feel to me. It certainly doesn't look cheap.

The camera shoots 30p, recorded as 60i (each frame divided into 2 "fields")
On playback, there is no question that it has the cadence of 30p & requires caution when panning, etc.

The "button and menu" system require a little getting used to, but are servicable. The fact that you can go to Shooting Mode (P,S,A,M), WB, Exp Comp, MF, and Gain with dedicated buttons is quite good on such a small cam. I haven't found a convienient way to lock exposure without going to full manual- that's a bummer for panning shots.

Autofocus seems competant and quick enough. Another nice feature: If you press the "photo" button while in AF, the camera will refocus and show which AF sensors are being used. You can instantly see if the cam is looking at your talking head in the foreground, or focusing on the distant background, providing the clue that you are O.K., or need to go to MF to get what is needed.

My overall impression is that this is a lot of camera in a surprisingly small package, at an excellent price point. Very innovative, and generally user friendly.
Now, let's see what kind of pictures it makes :)
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Last edited by Robert Young; September 29th, 2010 at 01:56 AM.
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Old September 28th, 2010, 11:57 PM   #468
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" I haven't found a convienient way to lock exposure without going to full manual- that's a bummer for panning shots."

Good catch!

It's not just pans. I was shooting passing cars. When a white car went by it was clear AP mode could not react fast enough so the car was over-exposed.

The same fluctuations will occur in SP mode.

In theory, simply switching to M mode should lock the current settings. It does, but the EC changes by itself to -2.0 with a tiny mm indicator. This seems like a bug because why should EC be altered? What is mm???

My tests show if you set your lightmeter to 150ISO (at 0dB gain), the shutter and aperture are correct.

PS: My 18-200 expands by 6-inches! :)
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Old September 29th, 2010, 12:02 AM   #469
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Mullen View Post
PS: My 18-200 expands by 6-inches! :)
Steve
I'm trying to figure that out. I think we've got a semantic thing going on...
The 18-200mm E lens measures about 4" total length at full wide, and about 7" at full zoom.
So, I'm saying that going to full zoom "extends" the lens by 3"
Surely your lens is the same???
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Old September 29th, 2010, 01:23 AM   #470
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Mullen View Post
In theory, simply switching to M mode should lock the current settings. It does, but the EC changes by itself to -2.0 with a tiny mm indicator. This seems like a bug because why should EC be altered? What is mm???
Manual Mode will lock your settings, including gain.
The little mm -2.0 that keeps changing and adjusting as you pan the camera around is simply an indicator of how far (how many f stops) you are from "ideal" exposure. The settings are actually locked down and do not change.
Lets say you are 1/60 shutter, f 5.6, 0 gain. If the exposure is perfect, then mm (manual mode??; manual "meter"??) will show +/-0. If you then pan to a darker area, mm indicator may read -1.7 (etc.). If you roll the center wheel the correct direction, it will open your f stop and the mm will head towards 0. So, now it's set for maybe 1/60, f 4.0, gain 0, and mm shows +/-0.
Anyway, you get the idea.
It's interesting that Manual Mode is a little bit shutter priority. When you switch to MM, you have the opportunity to set shutter first, and it stays the same thereafter. Then you use the mm indicater and the center wheel to refine the exposure by adjusting f-stop. Then, all exposure parameters remain locked down until you change them. But the mm indicator will continue to tell you how far off the money you are when the light changes.
Very clever!!!
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Last edited by Robert Young; September 29th, 2010 at 01:59 AM.
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Old September 29th, 2010, 03:09 PM   #471
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If you have set Shutter using S mode, (AE sets Aperture), press DIAL, select M, press DOWN, and dial to 0.0. You are adjusting Aperture.


If you have set Aperture using A mode, (AE sets Shutter), press DIAL, select M, and dial to 0.0. You are adjusting Shutter.


In both cases the AE is locked, but you have full exposure control.

The MM shows the exposure error and can be ignored.
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Last edited by Steve Mullen; September 29th, 2010 at 05:24 PM.
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Old October 1st, 2010, 09:11 AM   #472
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Can owners please share some pics??
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Old October 3rd, 2010, 08:59 AM   #473
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And in the end....

Now that we've torn the camera apart from one end to another, is anyone who's actually got one willing to step back and give us the big picture again?
Is the VG10 a "keeper" or is it an "interim" camera? Should we wait for NAB or does this camera have the longevity to keep us happy and productive for the next 5 years? Are there too many aspects of this camera that would cause us to tear our hair out or is it overall as good as it gets for that price point?

I just don't like being served "experimental" models that are meant to test the marketplace and I don't feel like being a guinea pig in the world of video. The cameras I buy I end up using for many many years. Is the VG10 a keeper?
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Old October 3rd, 2010, 12:38 PM   #474
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Originally Posted by Lynne Whelden View Post
Is the VG10 a "keeper" or is it an "interim" camera? Should we wait for NAB or does this camera have the longevity to keep us happy and productive for the next 5 years? Are there too many aspects of this camera that would cause us to tear our hair out or is it overall as good as it gets for that price point?
I've had the camera for only a week, but my impression is that this is just the beginning.
If it is successful in the marketplace, I would expect to see important improvements as they release new models over the next couple of years.
Some observations:
1) In general the image quality is excellent
2) Moire is a serious problem with this camera. Sony will need to consider possibly making this a dedicated video only camera with filters on the sensor to eliminate moire. An Exmor R sensor upgrade might be in the cards as well.
3) It certainly delivers shallow DOF, but proper manual focusing is difficult. Adding focusing aids would help a lot.
4) More, better, faster E lenses will be important, but that's another issue & apparently there are already plans for that in 2011, 2012.
5) Active OIS is not nearly as good as in the little CX550. I'm finding it difficult to get stable hand held shots. Maybe that is an engineering problem related to the large size of the chip & can't be easily solved, but it is a big disappointment.
6) The audio is quite good for an on camera mic. No problems there.
7) There are some nusiance issues with the menu/button operations that will surely change with time.
8) ND filters are a must for proper control of shutter, iris, etc. I'm using the VariND for daylight shooting and am very pleased with that solution. There is probably no way they can add internal ND 1 and 2 as we are used to on larger cams, because of the huge chip size.
9) IMO the form factor, size, price point, etc. are all winners.
I am enjoying the camera. It is certainly very functional, a great concept, and produces beautiful images. I'm still figuring out exactly when I would use the VG10 rather than my other cams. But, I would not at all be surprised to find myself trading my VG10 body in for the VG12, or whatever, in a year or so.
I think we are far from the endpoint with this camera, and I think we will see the line expand to larger, more expensive pro featured versions in the next 12 months or so.
Bottom line, IMO if you are looking for something to use for 5 years, you might want to wait for the next version of the VG :)
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Last edited by Robert Young; October 4th, 2010 at 01:42 AM.
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Old October 3rd, 2010, 01:37 PM   #475
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I appreciate your honest assessment. Thanks!
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Old October 3rd, 2010, 04:48 PM   #476
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Bob's is right on. I agree with everything he said -- especially that Sony MAY have shot themselves in the foot by including a still camera function that prevents the use of a LPOF

I say MAY because the still camera uses a mechanical shutter that slides into place. It's possible that as it slides in, a LPOF slides out. Why the artifacts then? Because when shooting video, 9MP are used which is reduced to 2MP. IF the anti-aliasing is set for the 9MP -- to provide better rez. specs. -- there will be aliasing. Sony has a long history of getting great numbers at the expense of aliasing. Is there such a thing as screw-in anti-alias filter?

Today I was shooting a bee and ants on a flower and used the long lens. Will post pix. Great shots but I couldn't wait to get back to the shorter lens with its silky rings. I would use the long ONLY as a Zoom-Tele: 100mm to 200mm. Wish I had brought my 500mm along.

Using Sony's 50 (90) f1.8 was mind blowing. Not only the VERY shallow DOF, but there is a wonderful metalilc sound as one turns the focus ring.

PS: I would not count on a rapid move to a "better" unit. Sony kept its HC1 for years. I would look for something from Canon.
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Old October 3rd, 2010, 09:44 PM   #477
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Mullen View Post
Is there such a thing as screw-in anti-alias filter?
Check it out- an anti-moire screw-on filter:
Nex-VG10 moire reduction and 50/1.4 ND tests - Sony NEX-VG10 User Group on Vimeo
I haven't tried it, but the video looks promising
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Old October 4th, 2010, 12:02 AM   #478
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If Sony considers this a "consumer" camera, it could see a refresh fairly quickly, as soon as a year, IIRC the HC1 only had a 1-2 year model life (I think it remained in the line with the HC3?). Of course the A1U "pro" version is only now fading out...

Sony progresses pretty quickly on the "consumer" side of the equation, like the Exmor R that went from lab/press release to full retail availability in the XR series in just about a year... replacing the SR's which had a one model year "run". Honestly they hit the mark with the XR/CX550, not sure where they can or will go from these cameras... so they are probbly looking for new new directions.

The one challenge I see with the VG10 (admittedly without having actual "hands on" one) is that it's an odd duck - it's not "pro" enough (no XLRs, frame rates, zebras, peaking, etc, etc.), and yet I suspect the average consumer will either return this within a week, or just simply pack it away in frustration. A pro will see the stuff that's missing, and a consumer will just realize what's not there (in "user friendly, point and shoot" operation)...


Sony definitely realizes there's a market for "large sensor" cameras with video, look at the number of completely "unique" concept cameras that have hit this year - the NEX mirrorless still cams (which have been a HUGE hit). the VG10 (it's own "animal"), and the recent unveiling of the SLT, as opposed to SLR, Alphas with video (the A55 looks to be a HUGE seller, judging from advance interest/demand - I may pull the trigger on one myself).

Sony also appears to be watching very carefully what "sticks", having already made alterations to the release dates of the comparable SLR models to the a33/a55, and indicated the replacement for their long overdue a700 may well be an SLT.

I have no doubt they sense a sea change, but aren't sure where the tide is flowing!

About the only things I think we can safely say is that Sony decided to join the interchangeable lens/large sensor party, in a big way.

As for ANY camera being a 5 year proposition with the current speed of technolgy shifts... well, a camera may remain viable and relatively effective for that lenght of time, but...

I suspect 3D is coming faster and bigger than most of us (myself included) are anticipating. It's already a certainty that Sony will be putting a good amount of resources in that direction.

Just what I've observed with how the Sony corporation does their thing...
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Old October 4th, 2010, 02:07 AM   #479
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I think Dave's observations are very perceptive.
I too have wondered where Sony will go with the CX550 line- it is such a phenomonal little masterpiece, they've hardly left any room for improvement.
So, maybe they'll let it sit for a while and concentrate on the VG line, where there is lots of room for improvement. I do think the VG can make it as a consumer cam if they start dialing in the upgrades that worked so well with the CX550. Even in its present state, I can run it full auto and get striking images.
Here's an interesting short- shot by an experienced videographer- but deliberately shot "tourist style" just to see what he could get letting the cam call all the shots:


I've shot with it just enough now that I'm beginning to see that the DOF even at mid iris (f-5/6), focused on a foreground subject, really contributes more value to the image than I had expected. I can get a bit of this with the EX1, but it is not as striking.
It's going to take me a while to really explore this new toy, but I definitely think there's something very, very interesting going on here. If Sony can get this puppy up to the level of the CX550 over the next couple of years, it could be a real home run across a very broad range of shooters. From grandma to aspiring film makers.
Well, maybe not grandma, but at least uncle Ted...
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Old October 4th, 2010, 02:09 AM   #480
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Pretty good observations Dave.

Unfortunately for Sony, Panasonic hasn't been standing still either, and judging by the phenomenal interest in the AF100, I think Sony has REALLY missed the boat on this one.

Only time will tell, but by the end of the year, I think Sony will definitely be on the back foot for quite a while.

Cheers,

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