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


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Old November 30th, 2010, 03:11 PM   #1
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Lenses to get

Well I've gone and done it. A VG10E has been ordered to arrive tomorrow.

I note that an adaptor for Nikon lenses is available. Worth getting? And if so, what is worth looking out for should I want to have 3 or 4 different lens choices for my camera?

This will be a second camera to my EX1 for specific shots, it is unlikely to be used in an edit entirely on its own. So I'm thinking along the lines of having stuff that can "add" to a production for specific shots to get looks I can't achieve on the EX1.

Also having a lens hanging around that can do a flat video style DoF might be handy just in case I ever end up using it as a B camera at conferences (just as a wide shot).

Any suggestions?
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Old November 30th, 2010, 07:15 PM   #2
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the world is your oyster because the camera will take almost anything.

You will have to MFw/o OIS, so anything above ,say 40mm will need a monopod.

Go as fast as you can for low light and tight dof.

watchout for some modern lenses which cannot be aperture controled. All nikon G can with proper adapter, and there are some fast wide to normal Gs, very pricey, but super sharp and they cover a pretty wide range.

My stuff is almost all older primes, which I love.

I did buy a sigma 8-16mm, but mostly for stills on the nex-5

for 1080p the wicked sharp may not be even needed--I don't think it is, because of the rez compared to stills.

there are some great NEW korean 85mm 1.4s for like 225.00 which many claim are simply fantastic. They have several brand names for same lens. That would be a great low light, tight dof tele. Comes in a bunch of mounts.

There are some sweet little konica 40mm 1.8s for next to nothing that work great.

Bread and butter is 24mm. 2.8s a dime a dozen, but f/2 and less you'll pay. For bargin f/2 look for kiron.

Then there are a bunch of cine lenses--read up on these before you buy--becasue they are SUPER-FAST, and i suspect plenty sharp for video. Some are made new.
http://photography.bhinsights.com/co...nses-dslr.html
now there are old CCTV fast lenses for next to nothing but you have to learn what will work.

See this sample, but the lens may or may not work on VG 10 due to sensor size (it will mount with adapter)
http://www.mikekobal.com/blog/?p=803

If you do your research--i'm talking at least 20 hours of reading on the net--you will save 50% by getting the right stuff.

But if you have a bit more money than time--experiment!

See what DSLR guys are using.
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Old December 1st, 2010, 04:42 PM   #3
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Thanks for the info. My unit arrived today and I'm currently playing with the stock lens. Really need to take it outside tomorrow in the daylight.

Certainly some faster glass wouldn't hurt given my indoor experiments this evening. But I want to get it out in the daylight and see what I can do before i decide my next move.

One thing that is odd, I thought the Sony lenses were also going to be used on their higher end cameras? Not sure I'd be happy with a PDX-10 style focus ring on a higher priced camera. On this camera I can live with it but on a higher camera I'd expect something like the EX1 has (where there is a definite start and end to the focus range and with experience you can feel your way through the range)

Presumably DSLR lenses hold their value so if I buy used I can always sell on?
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Old December 1st, 2010, 06:50 PM   #4
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Agree that the 16mm 2.8 is a good second lens. Much better low light performance (a lot better than the maths would suggest) and a good deal sharper, although a bit less stable than the stock lens.

I'm currently debating whether to wait for an e-mount portrait lens or buy an adaptor and a 50mm a-mount. Think a 50mm, the stock lens and the 16mm would be a good basic kit that could cope with most shooting requirements.
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Old December 1st, 2010, 06:54 PM   #5
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Forgot to add, from the footage I've shot so far the stock lens is really very good indeed - nice and sharp and beautifully shallow DoF plus good OIS if going handheld. But... you have to go down to 30/1 or use supplementary lights to get good results in anything other than good daylight. A little better low light performance than my XH-A1, but not by much.
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Old December 1st, 2010, 07:26 PM   #6
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Low light Portrait:

*Sony NEX-3 NEX-5 55mm F/1.0 Portrait lens - eBay (item 320612694897 end time Dec-03-10 14:13:35 PST)

this lens is custom built to go right on nex without adapter

55mm f/1!
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Old December 4th, 2010, 04:53 PM   #7
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No adaptor must mean they have reverse engineered an e-mount. Or, it is fully manual with no electrical connections.

After multiplying by 1.8 it going to be a bit long.

I've used the Sony 50mm f/1.8 and it worked perfectly, except you could hear the manual focus.

I think the ideal is a 28-35mm f/2 to f/1.4.

There are so many adaptors, but the tricky part is aperture control. If you go back to Minolta MC.MD lenses you get a real aperture control ring. Now the adaptor doesn't need a control but may have one. Essentially OPEN for focusing and CLOSE -- I forget what words they use -- which closes the lens to the point you set it. (I'm not sure why any control is needed since you can dial the lens open and then close it before shooting.)

It takes hours to try to find real information on these adaptive because they are made by shops who seem unable to translate or even shoot a decent pix of their product! And the reviews are not for video folks.

For video I'm not sure Nikon lenses are of much value. Frankly, the higher resolution the lens the more inadequate the OLPF will be. To me the point of choose the Minolta lenses is that they are a way of getting a faster lens. Plus, real focus and aperture rings. But, you are very likely to hear these rings moving parts.

PS: trying the 18-55 on an NEX-5 I find the zoom control that felt fine on a vg10 now moves the camera when you hold it with one hand. Sony manual zooms are VERY inadequate compared to the zoom LEVERS that we had on 16mm cameras. Sony really doesn't know how to build a 16mm replacement! The kids are way too young to have ever seen a real camera.

Someone should offer a rebuild service. Take the guts out of a vg and put them on a new body with a far better control panel. Plus install a OLPF. Then locate a set of primes to sell with it.
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Old December 4th, 2010, 06:23 PM   #8
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It's just a c-mount or m42 like manual adaptor attached to the lens.

The ONLY adaptor with anything electrical is LAEA1

the crop factor is actually 1.5x

the sony 1.8 you mention is cheap, pretty fast--not sure about AF without pressing photo button.

also will be hard to hold, but it is fast for most uses.

but 1.1 is incredibly fast. DOF would certainly be a challange.
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Old December 5th, 2010, 04:39 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Steve Mullen View Post
For video I'm not sure Nikon lenses are of much value. Frankly, the higher resolution the lens the more inadequate the OLPF will be. To me the point of choose the Minolta lenses is that they are a way of getting a faster lens. Plus, real focus and aperture rings. But, you are very likely to hear these rings moving parts.
Hearing moving parts isn't an issue as I'd never record sound on my VG10. For me it's an insert camera for specific beauty shots or cutaways. I'm liable to stick it on a jib or dolly, or use it for a nice wide opening shot. I shoot mainly with a Sony EX1 which is a brilliant piece of kit, but the fixed lens (as excellent as it is) ensures you have to work within certain parameters. Sure you can buy a wide angle adaptor, but frankly the cost of a good one is 2/3 the cost of the VG10.

So what I'm looking for is an adaptor solution which enables me to acquire a collection of lenses that will do a job. The adaptor I saw was the MTF Nikon adaptor for just over 200. But now I see adaptors on Ebay for a fraction of that. Photographers tell me that a Nikon adaptor would open up the most possibilities. Do I really need to spend 200 and above on an adaptor or is this the usual thing with video kit just being priced up?

I come from a world of fixed video lenses. I've spent my entire career using fixed lens cameras and I've never owned a DSLR. So this is all a little confusing. Using the VG10 or a DSLR is the easy part. It all makes perfect sense and I can happily shoot.

But now it appears that I need to make a decision what adaptor I need before I can even look at the lenses themselves. Colour me confused!
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Old December 5th, 2010, 04:57 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Henry Williams View Post
Forgot to add, from the footage I've shot so far the stock lens is really very good indeed - nice and sharp and beautifully shallow DoF plus good OIS if going handheld. But... you have to go down to 30/1 or use supplementary lights to get good results in anything other than good daylight. A little better low light performance than my XH-A1, but not by much.
It's not a bad lens at all. I did a few experiments in the snow over the last few days and got some good results. The entire thing is a bugger to focus though. The lack of any focus assist combined with Sony's comedy focus ring meant that I needed time to compose shots and be really sure of my focus. When I tried shooting moving targets I often found my focus was marginally out due to the lack of any tactile feel on the focus barrel as well as any indication I was still in focus. You don't even get an indication in the display of what point you are focussed at, a feature I am somewhat used to. On a device where focus is so critical it makes things difficult.

But the images from the lens were excellent. The still images were superb and the video looked good, DSLR video problems aside (I've already found myself wincing at moire and aliasing problems).

The camera itself is what it is. But the ability to stick good glass on it makes up for that. That's something I want to exploit and build a collection I can hold on to for future cameras.
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Old December 6th, 2010, 08:51 AM   #11
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But now I see adaptors on Ebay for a fraction of that.


I picked up two adapters: Canon FD and a Nikon. Both under 40 bucks. Both came from China on Ebay. Both are solid and both work fine. Everything becomes manual with the adapters. Not an an issue if you ever worked with 16mm cameras. Can't see using the stock lens.
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Old December 6th, 2010, 10:19 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Terrance Odette View Post
But now I see adaptors on Ebay for a fraction of that.


I picked up two adapters: Canon FD and a Nikon. Both under 40 bucks. Both came from China on Ebay. Both are solid and both work fine. Everything becomes manual with the adapters. Not an an issue if you ever worked with 16mm cameras.
I have no issue with manual. I never use autofocus and accessing stuff through the cameras menus is a chore. I was out trying the camera at -5c the other day and trying to change the aperture with freezing finger tips was a challenge.

I can see lots of adaptors on Ebay so time to go shopping. Am I right in assuming anything that says Sony NEX is ready to go?

Thanks.
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Old December 10th, 2010, 01:37 PM   #13
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A few more to consider
sony a-mount 35mm f/1.8
sigma, the following amounts
30mm 1.4
28,24,20 1.8
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Old December 10th, 2010, 06:58 PM   #14
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A few more to consider
sony a-mount 35mm f/1.8
sigma, the following amounts
30mm 1.4
28,24,20 1.8
Thanks.

For now I've ordered up the 16mm pancake lens, a Nikon adaptor (from Ebay, not the expensive dedicated VG10 one) and a Nikon 50mm f/2.4 lens.

That should be enough to get be started. The Nikon 50mm was fairly cheap but looks fairly fast and, from the sample images, would be good for a B camera for interviews,
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Old December 10th, 2010, 07:10 PM   #15
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just saw a lovely voigtlander 24mm secondhand for about 400.

*sigh*

I guess short of a lottery win I'll stick with the 16mm and the kit lens for now!
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