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


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Old December 7th, 2010, 12:31 PM   #1
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looking hard at the VG10

I am now using an old mini tape unit, 17 years old and am looking very hard at the VG10. Many forums out there which ironically were written prior to the release slammed this consumer camera for short comings and some stated for the extra get the Z5 (ALMOST 2 TIMES THE PRICE). These two units are not even in the same class of camera. The main purpose for the purchase will be outdoor filming, dawn to dusk and the video put to DVD's. I am new to post production edit work and this will be my first serious camera. Should I buy this or get an older prosumer i.e.; GH1 or GH2 or XL2 which can be had second hand for less until I know more about what I'm doing. Again I must state that I am new to this and am not at the knowledge level of many of you.

Dino
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Old December 7th, 2010, 03:29 PM   #2
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My advise - if you can wait till CES/NAB - wait, CES is almost here; if you want new camera now - get Panasonic TM700, 'at least untill you know what are you doing', you will not have any regrets and for sure it has better picture than XL2
compare to VG10 you will loose shallow depth of field, (still doable with TM700, just takes some walking :)
and amazing white balance that VG10 has, but you will gain other things like power zoom, autofocus, focus assist and OIS, well VG 10 has them too, except for power zoom and focus assist, but only if you use e-mount lenses, and those are crap for the price;
even if VG10 would cost the same as TM700, I would choose Panasonic any day, and considering 2.5x price difference - well, that's me:)
anyways you need to try it to have a feel of the camera you've been looking hard at, I did, and i just wanted share my experience.
best.
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Old December 7th, 2010, 04:44 PM   #3
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I'd go to a specialist retailer that has decent test facilities and spend some hands on time with the VG10 and some of the high end consumer camcorders in the same price range. The VG10 does seem to have something of a marmite effect on users -people either love it or hate it. Personally, I Iove it :)
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Old December 7th, 2010, 05:16 PM   #4
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I don't recommend the VG10 in this case. It's a fine camera but from what I can tell (I'm not sure tho), not the right one in this case. In the big picture, you are taking a big leap from the old days of shooting and watching on tape to modern day shooting, loading onto a computer, editing and sharing.

Are you ready for it? Is your computer ready? Do you just want to replace your old camera and handle video the same way or go all the way to how video is handled nowadays?

The one thing I do recommend given where you are and what you said: Skip Tape. Go to a solid state camera.
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Old December 7th, 2010, 06:36 PM   #5
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I'd find it pretty hard to recomment the VG10 - it just doesn't seem to fall into any one category of camera with defining strengths.

If you are looking for a camcorder-style camera with power zoom then follow Buba's advice and go for a TM700. If however, you were looking for a larger sensor, interchangeable lens camera, then go for the GH2. If you are going to be filming at dawn & dusk then low-light performance will be an important feature - in this case I'd lean towards the GH2.

Whatever camera you go with, it is going to take some serious horsepower to edit. You'll need to assess whether your current PC will be able to handle the strain of editing (or even transcoding) AVCHD video, and if not, factor an upgrade into your budget.

I don't really understand the VG10's market placement. It doesn't have all the features that regular point and shoot consumers want (power zoom, compact size, etc) but it lacks the features that enthusiasts and professionals want (proper audio inputs with manual control, 24p, multiple frame rates, etc). The new GH2, on the other hand, offers everything the VG10 does but with less aliasing, more frame rates, manual audio control and some sweet looking/kinda gimmicky features like 40fps stills burst mode and 1:1 crop mode to keep the gadget freaks happy. The one thing you do lose though is form factor.
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Old December 7th, 2010, 06:41 PM   #6
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I was reading a review from someone who was using a VG10 for "run and gun work". He slated the camera, and in some ways he was right, but actually it was his fault for buying the camera in the first place. He had assumed the VG10 was a replacement for his trusty old VX2000. It isn't.

If I use my Z1 or EX1, I can set the camera up in seconds and I know I can get good results every time quickly and efficiently. I can take the camera into a wide variety of situations without ever needing to alter the configuration. Full sized controls allow me to adjust the image and of course there is professional audio inputs and control. When you are earning a living from your camera on tight deadlines, that's what you need.

Having now had my VG10 for a week, I can confirm it produces stunning images for the price (usual DSLR caveats apply). But it's fiddly and it lacks lots of niceties that higher end cameras have. Sony have also deliberately hobbled it with a lack of focus assist. In the days of SD you could get away with a lack of this feature but with HD large sensors it means you have to take time to get your shots right. I'd hate to be shooting a one off fast moving/unpredictable event on a VG10 for fear I'd look at the footage on a monitor later and find I was slightly out of focus. With the EX1 that simply wouldn't happen.

I bought my VG10 as a "B "camera, a role which it will perform admirably on the evidence so far. It'll get me those arty shots to drop into a production that will mainly be produced on my EX1. But would I use the VG10 as an "A "camera? No way. Don't get me wrong, for the money its a great camera but there's far better options out there.
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Old December 7th, 2010, 06:49 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Wiley View Post

I don't really understand the VG10's market placement.
It grabbed me. Proper video camera form factor, and DSLR lenses. It doesn't avoid the aliasing and moire issues but you have to live with that.

But what I was looking for was the ability to get certain types of shots my EX1 can't offer. The big wide opener, a nice wide jib shot, the shallow DoF drop in of a product. Probably 10 seconds worth of footage in a 5 minute production. At the price the camera was hard to resist.

From the evidence so far, it's going to deliver what I want. But anyone wanting to earn a living from one of these as their sole camera would be advised to look elsewhere. This is a B camera for those of us who find the form factor and compromises of a conventional DSLR totally unacceptable.

All IMO naturally.
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Old December 7th, 2010, 08:49 PM   #8
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how do you think this would work Panasonic AG-HMC40PU AVCHD Camcorder. At Vistec Canada. Cant find much reading other than the promotional info.

Dino
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Old December 7th, 2010, 08:54 PM   #9
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I have seen the B role use for the VG 10 on several forums. Like the DOF effect so subject is the impotrant part of frame. came across this Panasonic AG-HMC40PU AVCHD Camcorder at Vistec Canada Panasonic AG-HMC40PU AVCHD Camcorder Pro Camcorders - Vistek Canada Product Detail . You may have to cut and paste this link. It may be more practical.

thank you all for the reply'
Cheers Dino
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Old December 8th, 2010, 03:43 AM   #10
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That's also a very good camera, Dino, but one that's intended for almost the opposite purpose to the VG10!

It might help people to advise you if they knew exactly what you were planning on using the camera for - is it professional or personal - and whether you want something you can just pick up and run on auto or something with a bit more depth.
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Old December 8th, 2010, 07:36 AM   #11
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Dino...at this point, this discussion is no longer about the VG10. Rest assured no matter what camera you come up with, there's information her on DVInfo. Here's the place you can read about the AG-HMC40 and ask questions about it if it hasn't already been asked:
Panasonic AVCCAM Camcorders Forum at DVinfo.net
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Old December 8th, 2010, 08:02 AM   #12
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I do a lot of hunting and fishing that I want to get on video. I am at this point more interested in putting together vidoes of these hunts and fishing trips than participating in the activity. Much of this happens at sunrise and near sunset. The VG10 was in the price range and was a step above the point and shot camera. The flexability of manual control settings would allow for low light shoots, coupled with lens options.

Thanks for the link for the panasonic. I will go there now.

Cheers, Dino
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Old December 8th, 2010, 08:05 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dino Santarossa View Post
how do you think this would work Panasonic AG-HMC40PU AVCHD Camcorder. At Vistec Canada.
Dino
Good camcorder for the price, also gives you some room to grow, but again, image is not 2.5x better than TM700, if better at all in daylight, it has closer to pro level manual controls and sound features that you might need in the future, but XF100 that will be available very shortly could be a far better option if you could stretch you budget for another $1K. Now is the worst time to buy a camcorder unless you buying a Christmas present to film family videos; in less than a month CES will show new 2011 models for the consumer and later at NAB we'll see what pro market will have for the next year, wait and then make your choice, I'm not saying you have to buy newer camcorder, I'm saying knowing all your options will be easier to make a choice and not have any regrets later.
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Old December 8th, 2010, 01:08 PM   #14
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Dino,

The VG10 sounds like a good bet for that kind of use. The lovely looking video below from a VG10 owning fly fishing enthusiast should provide ample demonstration!

YouTube - amphish1's Channel
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Old December 8th, 2010, 05:23 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dino Santarossa View Post
I do a lot of hunting and fishing that I want to get on video. I am at this point more interested in putting together vidoes of these hunts and fishing trips than participating in the activity.
I think the "what will you shoot" question is not they key question.

IMHO the question is do want FILM LEVEL QUALITY and are you willing to invest the time to learn and the time to set up shots correctly. It sounds like you will have the time in field.

I find it interesting that folks think the VG10 won't work as an A camera. How did folks make a living shooting 16mm film? One word answer -- skill. OK, that is harsh, but it is at least partly true.

Moreover, the non-A belief is built on the idea that you have to live with a shallow DOF. The VG10 will shoot like any other camcorder UNLESS you work to get the DOF down. There is a complete misunderstanding of the chips. They offer the potential of a shallow DOF.

Hard to focus? Nonsense. The idea one needs focus assist (FA) comes from where? Use the super hi-rez EVF and you'll have no problem seeing focus. Anyone who has used either kind of FA knows how useless they are in the real world.

IF you think you can use the other still cameras you need to read this:

ProVideo Coalition.com: Camera Log by Adam Wilt | Founder | Pro Cameras, HDV Camera, HD Camera, Sony, Panasonic, JVC, RED, Video Camera Reviews

The VG10 is the ONLY CAMCORDER at $2000 that delivers the quality the others do without dealing with still camera limitations.

PS: Please read about the Panasonic AVCHD codec before even considering any of its still cameras for video. With any motion or fine detail you get "mud." I saw this BEFORE they released the GH1 and it is now well confirmed. Think you can use the firmware patch to fix? Not unless you buy one built before the end of June. Pana locked the camera. And, Nikon -- no VF when shooting. Actually, I think that applies to the Canons as well.

The 700 is the best of the last generation camcorders. These camcorders will be boxed between the VG10 and the several new Sony and Pana big chip cameras--plus the next generation HD-SLRs. Buying one of these is like buying a VX2000 the day before Sony released the Z1.

Once you have seen video from the big-chip cameras on a bigger than 60" screen you will not want to go back to tiny chip camcorders.

The fishing doc shows the potential. But there are at least a dozen shots that are really bad. If this loo is what you want, the 700 isn't going to get you there.
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