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Sony NEX-VG10 / VG20 / VG30 / VG900
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Old November 24th, 2010, 11:13 AM   #16
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A tendency to overexpose seems to be characteristic of all of the high end Sony Handicams.
It's been noted in the SR 12, XR 520, and the CX 550. Many shooters just leave the EC at -1/3 on all of these cams for ENG type shooting.
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Old November 24th, 2010, 08:02 PM   #17
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One caviet- if you get a 67mm variable ND, be certain that it will not vignette when the lens is at full wide angle.
I have the 77mm with a step up ring- definitely not a problem with vignetting.
It would be great if someone with the 67mm filter could report in on this potential issue.
I will know for sure about the vignette with the cheaper 67 ND fader in not too long, as mine has shipped.

When i read up on it, the impression I got was that it already had a built in step to avoid the problem.

Note the stock hoods will not work with any of these NDs.

best, to all

Oh, my lens binge ended today with one last splurge: the sigma 8-16mm for alpha and the LAEA-1, which allows aperture control, though not AF on this lens.

Bought this primarily to use for stills on the nex-5, but should be interesting on the VG10 also.
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Old December 22nd, 2010, 08:04 AM   #18
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the VG-10 is my first "serious" video camera. I've had it for about 5 weeks now, and almost immediately after taking delivery was asked to put it to commercial use filming a short tribute video for an award presentation.

So..........brand new videographer, brand new camera system, with an important project to shoot and no idea of what I'm doing ( I've been a stills photographer for 40 years, so I understand cameras, but still....)

So far, both I and my client have been astounded at the quality of images this camera shoots. I've done outdoor work handheld, tripod shooting, indoor interviews both with proper lighting and with only an LED camera mounted light; recorded audio direct from the onboard mics, with a zoom H1 as a remote mic, also as a hardwired mic to the camera, used a lavalier with it....everything I've asked the camera to do it's done...and done it much better than I would have hoped.

Not knowing any better, I'm sure a "pro" grade camera would capture this footage better...at least I would hope that it would for 5 or 6 times the price. That said, I suspect it will be a while before my skills exceed the cameras abilities.

I'm very pleased with the system overall. The weak tripod mount was frustrating, but a little work with a scredriver and some epoxy putty firmed that up nicely. It certainly has limitations compared to higher end cameras, but at the price point it occupies, I think it gives people a very nice intermediary start point.
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Old December 29th, 2010, 12:44 AM   #19
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agreed on all points. Really enjoying myself with this cam.

Just to add, I've used this on a few jobs where it's been recording continuously for 90 minutes plus in warm conditions without overheating.
Glad you mentioned it. I am thinking about buying this camera but I wanted to make sure that it could record non stop up to full capacity of the SD card. I know the video DSLR will usually shoot no more then 20 minutes, looks like VG10 does not have that issue. Just curious, How big was your SD card for the 90 min footage and were you running it off of an extended battery or was the camera plugged into the power outlet? Sorry this sounds like a newbe but I have been out of video biz for about five years.
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Old December 29th, 2010, 07:10 AM   #20
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I was using a generic version of the larger battery available for the cam. Think the brand version is called the NPV100 off the top of my head, and I used two 16gb class 10 sdhc cards.

If you're thinking of buying the VG10 it'd be remiss of me not to mention that it's also worth looking at the Panasonic GH2, which depending on what you're after might better fit your needs at a lower price point...
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Old December 29th, 2010, 04:49 PM   #21
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That Panasonic actually sounds pretty good, especially if I cought the video bug again. As for the length of clips, these are the specs on it:
AVCHD with picture quality set to [FSH]: Approx. 70 min with H-FS014042 / Approx. 65 min with H-VS014140
Motion JPEG with picture quality set to [HD]: Approx. 75 min with H-FS014042 / Approx. 70 min with H-VS014140

Not really sure what those H-**** are, do you by any chance?
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Old December 29th, 2010, 06:35 PM   #22
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Not sure either I'm afraid. Maybe one of the more tech headed forum members could help?

As far as the choice between the Panasonic GH2 and the Sony VG10 goes, I'm very happy with my VG10 but it wouldn't have been fair of me not to make you aware of your options. What's right for me might not be what's right for you. Most decent specialist retailers will have an area set aside at their store for you to get hands on time with potential purchases and I suggest you take advantage of that to test the cameras side by side.

At the risk of heading away from VG10 related matters, what were you wanting to use the camera for exactly, and what's your level of experience? there might be other more appropriate options than a hybrid/DSLR that you haven't considered yet...
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Old December 31st, 2010, 03:53 PM   #23
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Thanks for your response. At the present moment, my immediate need for a camera is to shoot these seminars that are about two hours long. I do currently have a little Sony handicam which would be fine, except that it's about as bad as cameras can get in low light situation. I contemplated a good old 3CCD cam but I am going off the assumption that the larger the sensor, the better it will be in low light, plus an added benefit of the shallow'er depth of focus.
I am also picking up few clients for whom I will be creating short weekly segments. These will be more of a scripted production. Eventually, I might start experimenting again with short films, etc.

What do you think?
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Old December 31st, 2010, 05:28 PM   #24
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What about a couple CX550V's? Not impressive, unless you're talking low light performance and long record times, then they are pretty slick...
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Old December 31st, 2010, 06:22 PM   #25
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I actually had a chance to try one out and it still ends with a slightly fuzzy image, hence the search :-(
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Old December 31st, 2010, 06:30 PM   #26
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Thanks for your response. At the present moment, my immediate need for a camera is to shoot these seminars that are about two hours long. I do currently have a little Sony handicam which would be fine, except that it's about as bad as cameras can get in low light situation. I contemplated a good old 3CCD cam but I am going off the assumption that the larger the sensor, the better it will be in low light, plus an added benefit of the shallow'er depth of focus.

What do you think?
Shallow depth of field for seminars isn't desirable, in fact it can be a pain when you have speakers who go walkabouts. I see too many people getting "clever" when shooting seminars when actually what is required is clarity of the content.

In addition you'll need a long lens that is fast (because lighting is never what it could be in those situations). By the time you've paid for that you will be spending the kind of money that will buy you a better camera.

Given the cameras I have at my disposal, my VG10 would be the last camera I would take to a seminar or any event that required an ENG style of shooting. It would be like using an axe to hammer in a nail. Wrong tool for the job.
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Old December 31st, 2010, 07:46 PM   #27
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Thanks Marcus. The seminars I shoot are very "generic" and the final output doesn't really need to be ENG quality BUT I do need it better then my current Handycam can deliver. Is it safe to assume that side by side, the from VG10 will be better then from the tiny sensor Handycam?
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Old January 1st, 2011, 07:08 AM   #28
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Shallow depth of field for seminars isn't desirable, in fact it can be a pain when you have speakers who go walkabouts. I see too many people getting "clever" when shooting seminars when actually what is required is clarity of the content.

In addition you'll need a long lens that is fast (because lighting is never what it could be in those situations). By the time you've paid for that you will be spending the kind of money that will buy you a better camera.

Given the cameras I have at my disposal, my VG10 would be the last camera I would take to a seminar or any event that required an ENG style of shooting. It would be like using an axe to hammer in a nail. Wrong tool for the job.
WAIT A MINUTE!

I just did a DOF TABLE for my book and the idea, promoted by Sony, that a big sensor provides a shallow DOF is just plain BS. You have to work hard to get a shallow DOF. In a typical seminar room, say at 12 feet from the speaker, there can be a 17 foot DOF.

The VG10 comes with a 400mm lens. That's long enough to shoot pimples on a speakers face.

You can easily use +24dB gain which is better than what the eye can see in a dark room.

There is only one issue and it applies to all cameras. The speaker is in dim light and a 500 watt projector with a white slide is on the screen next to her. You cannot include both in the same shot! You need an operator to pan. Or, you need to have the speaker run through the slides before or after while you video.

Of course, speakers love to walk up to the screen and point things out. One way to solve this is to : first set exposure comp to -2.0 when you expose for the speaker at the podium. Then when she walks to the screen and goes fully dark, just dial up to +2.0 to bring her into view. That's a 4 stop range.

Why not use aperture priority? Because you are already in shutter priority in order to lock the shutter speed. Why not use Manual? Because now you must constantly ride aperture with the tiny dial to cover minor lighting differences.

Bottom line, the vg10 is second best. The best is the NEX-5 with the 18200. Why? Because it has focus assist that will let confirm you have focus. You can use 7x or 14x magnify right on the background and on the closest point the speaker moves forward. That confirms you have got the DOF range placed correctly over the zone the speaker moves within. TIP, you can't use AF. All NEX use contrast focus and the moment anything of higher contrast enters the frame, your camera will focus on it like a moth to flame.

However, you will want the add-on mic and the PA system must be used for all speakers which means you want the speaker to repeat questions from the audience! And, try to place a speaker near your camera position.
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Old January 1st, 2011, 12:23 PM   #29
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But dosen't the NEX5 have rather rather limited record times? Surely that's less than desirable for one time events work of this nature...

I've used my VG10 for this kind of work with perfectly acceptable results, the 18-200 lens works just fine, but like one of the other posters said a talk or speech isn't something I'd film with one camera. I normally use a little handicam to get a wide shot, my VG10 to get a close shot of the speaker, my XH-A1 to get a correctly exposed shot of the whiteboard and don't even bother trying to capture anything that's being projected at the correct exposure, adding the slides into my timeline in post instead.

as far as I can see, if he wants a good short film camera that can also do events work the logical choices are the GH2 or VG10. If he just wanted to be doing events work he might be better of with a couple of reasonably specced consumer camcorders with good low light and fixed lenses.
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Old January 1st, 2011, 01:23 PM   #30
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Thanks Marcus. The seminars I shoot are very "generic" and the final output doesn't really need to be ENG quality BUT I do need it better then my current Handycam can deliver. Is it safe to assume that side by side, the from VG10 will be better then from the tiny sensor Handycam?
I just finished a short project shot with both VG 10 and CX550.
Viewed as BR on HDTV, it is difficult for me to discern any significant differences in image quality, color, dynamic range, etc. The footage intercuts seamlessly and the quality is quite good.
I have also intercut CX550 footage with the EX1 with good results.
The CX550 is easy to dismiss because it's a small, inexpensive consumer cam, but I have used it a lot and never fail to be surprised at the performance it delivers- particularly in low light.
If you move away from simple point and shoot, learn the various adjustments and clever features available, you can produce some excellent video imagery.
The audio section is strictly consumer grade- the VG10 will excel in this department- but you can use wireless mic/lavalier into the CX, or record audio seperately.
IMO, the CX550 is a highly evolved product as far as image quality is concerned, and is competitive in that regard with any of the cameras in the lower price range, including the VG10.
I'm enjoying my VG10, but I think its target niche is for "cinematic" type application. I've seen no particular advantage in using it for ENG/doco projects.
The VG10 is all about DOF- that's the main feature.
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