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


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Old November 15th, 2010, 09:34 PM   #1
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First impressions

I hope everyone will chime in with their impression

Well I took the vg10 out today and did a bit of filming my daughter taking a dressage lesson. Really the first time I have used it in an "event-like" scenario. I used the standard 18-200, and a monopod.

I'll just pass over the fact it does not have a strong tripod screw--it's fine on the monopod--you just wonder when it's going to break.

Bottom line: it was much nicer than I feared.

On a monopod the manual zoom is totally usable.
AF is generally very good, though once in awhile it gets lost. It is easy to switch to MF on the fly--well not as easy as it should be, two clicks instead of one, but it's fine.

DOF control is great in A mode while recording.

Exposure comp works fine.

Mic as you know is outstanding, I mean REALLY outstanding.

Fun to switch to photo mode where the motor drive is fast and continous.

It is very light which makes everything easier.

Stabilization: I had both systems on and it was also quite good.

I'm coming from years of event work with a PD 170 and VX2K, and I have to say I already like it WAY better, though battlefield conditions might change my mind, hehe.

I have a Nex-5 and my idea is to eventally use both at events, with various lenses: fast primes for low light.

Oh yeah the LCD is spectacular, I don't use EVFs ever, but that seems OK.

In fact as this point the only things I would really scream about to sony are the tripod mount (inexcusable) and the slightly loose emounting system for the 18200.

Watching the images afterwards: very crisp and gorgeous DOF. I never did try the DSLRs, so it's a real revelation to me.

I'm not sending it back, hehe
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Old November 17th, 2010, 04:19 PM   #2
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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.
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Old November 18th, 2010, 06:21 PM   #3
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How well do you find it handles highlights?
I'm thinking about getting the camera tomorrow at B&H and have been pouring over online footage (YouTube-yuck) and there's a video called "Sony Handycam NEX-VG1 lens demo" and it shows the Sony 70-400 lens on some sort of crested bird (30 seconds into video) that shows some serious highlight blowouts and was wondering if this is typical of highlight handling?

Thanks~
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Old November 18th, 2010, 06:40 PM   #4
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Honestly, i have not noticed that, but you're prolly more picky than me. Exposure comp is easy, as is manual gain.

Today I shot some video with the nex-5 and a soligar 135mm f/2 on a 501 manfrutto head, totally watchable following dogs at play (as I struggled with the focus). I did not think I could use such a long unstabilised lens for video, but it's plenty steady for event work.

I hope to use that lens to film dancing in natural light.

Also a ND filter might help with highlight issues in the sun, I still need to get one.
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Old November 18th, 2010, 07:23 PM   #5
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It looks like a lot of the youtube videos are running on "aperture priority mode" because they want to maximise depth of field without having the hassle of using full manual settings - from having a quick tinker with the various auto modes that does seem to blow out the highlights a bit. But as long as you stick to full manual settings the camera is just fine. Agree that an ND filter might be a good idea to allow the iris to stay as open as possible in bright light, but at the same time I'm a bit reticent to put more glass between the camera and the image than absolutely necessary.
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Old November 18th, 2010, 08:37 PM   #6
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Thanks guys- I'm fairly certain I'll get one tomorrow........hopefully I can keep the highlights in check.....looks to be an interesting camera with fantastic imagery.
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Old November 19th, 2010, 12:33 AM   #7
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IMO, the big problem with the VG10, exposure wise, is that it works just like a consumer handicam:
It has no internal ND filters like the prosumer & pro cams, so it can only trade off shutter and aperture.
If you shoot wide aperture in bright daylight, your shutter can be running @ 1/1000- not a problem for stills, but certainly less than desireable for video.
My compromise solution is to use a variable ND filter for all daylight shooting. I set the shutter at the desired speed (typically 1/60 for me), and use the variable ND to dial in the desired aperture.
It's a work around, but it enables the camera to handle exposure more as the bigger pro cams do.
I haven't seen myself, or heard about any real downside re image quality. And why should there be- ND filters are constantly being slipped in and out of the optical path of all of the pro cams. It's rather SOP.
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Old November 19th, 2010, 04:06 PM   #8
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I purchased one at B&H but haven't had the chance to shoot with it yet.....but I'm excited by the possibilities.

I've ordered a Nikon (G) to NEX adapter to use a Sigma 50-500 lens I happen to have and would like to know how does one go about tripod mounting the setup......I assume as with a dslr- you hang the VG10 off the rear of the lens as this lens is huge?

I'm not too comfortable letting the camcorder body just hang in the air like this- any other methods for support of the long lens and cam body?

Thanks
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Old November 20th, 2010, 01:00 AM   #9
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You could use a rail setup, but I think the body is quite light, small, and very firmly attached to the lens.
I doubt there would be a problem with the lens/tripod mount- just like a DSLR.
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Old November 22nd, 2010, 03:34 AM   #10
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My apologies, Robert. This is my first interchangeable lens camera. Out of interest what ND filter are you using?
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Old November 22nd, 2010, 12:01 PM   #11
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The Singh Ray VariND.
There are less expensive variable NDs, I don't know how they compare quality wise, etc.
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Old November 22nd, 2010, 01:40 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Henry Williams View Post
My apologies, Robert. This is my first interchangeable lens camera. Out of interest what ND filter are you using?
96USD 67mm so it goes right on.

Light Craft Workshop Fader ND filter

supposedly works well, have not tried it yet.
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Old November 22nd, 2010, 01:52 PM   #13
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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.
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Old November 22nd, 2010, 02:44 PM   #14
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Many thanks for the info. Very helpful and much appreciated. Hopefully the dismal beige British weather should save me from needing to choose an ND filter until I can find out whether there are any vignetting issues with the 67mm ;)
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Old November 24th, 2010, 03:34 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Nunez View Post
Thanks guys- I'm fairly certain I'll get one tomorrow........hopefully I can keep the highlights in check.....looks to be an interesting camera with fantastic imagery.
Sony has biased all the NEX series brighter than other cameras. WhY? Who knows?

When I use MY lightmeter -- an ISO of 150 matches the VG10 settings exactly.

Therefore, to prevent overexposure, I use an ISO of 200 (-1/3) to 300 (-1) relative to 150.

Remember that all meters AVERAGE -- so if there is only a small white face in front of a dark wall -- it will be overexposed. That's why I use a RANGE of 200 to 300.

Actually, I use two ranges: 200 to 250 (-1/3 to -2/3) for a video look and 250 to 300 (-2/3 to -1) for a film look. The latter crushes the blacks a bit.

If I don't want to hassle, I use ISO 250. Which on the camera is either -1/3 (video look) or -2/3 (film look).

Bottom-line, you MUST use EC and if you are trying to get a perfect exposure you have to think about what you see in the scene before you set it. It really is like shooting film!

PS: using the proper ISO increases the dynamic range.
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