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-   Sony NEX-VG10 / VG20 / VG30 / VG900 (http://www.dvinfo.net/forum/sony-nex-vg10-vg20-vg30-vg900/)
-   -   Why no Focus Assist? (http://www.dvinfo.net/forum/sony-nex-vg10-vg20-vg30-vg900/490070-why-no-focus-assist.html)

Steve Mullen January 12th, 2011 01:45 PM

Why no Focus Assist?
Given Sony has focus assist firmware for the NEX 3 and NEX 5 why would they leave it out of the vg10?

If you look at FA not from a users point of view but from a Sony marketing point of view, it is simply a FEATURE. In fact, in japan there will be an icon for it just like there are icons for most other features.

Now if you were Sony and you were planning a $3500 prosumer version you would look at the list of possible features and distribute them in a way that clearly differentiated the consumer and prosumer products. These features would include VU meters and audio control. And, of course focus assist. The features can be given to the prosumer model at no cost.

A revised GUI with the ability to star/stop recording by pressing the Dial is also a no cost addition.

Also in the no cost list of features is 24p and native recording of progressive.

What's missing?

XLR inputs, true 50i and 60i, and a higher resolution sensor?

XLR jacks on a new handle is a long used way to add this feature.

I believe Sony must have real interlace just as much as it must have 24p. So the question is do they use a faster version of the 14MP chip or move to the 16MP chip? Beyond the technical aspect of this question, would putting the 16MP chip in a prosumer camcorder hurt sales of the NXCAM?

Bottom-line, what's missing from the vg10 provides IMHO a clear picture of why specific features are missing and what will be the features for a higher priced version to come at NAB.

PS: about the same time as NAB, the NEX 7 should be shipping likely with the 16MP chip and VF. If the 16 MP chip can run at 60Hz, to outdo the GH2, Sony could add 1080p60 and even 24p. For about $1200 this would pose a real alternative to both camcorders. This might force an enhanced VG10, but done carefully so it doesn't compete with the prosumer version.

I realize I am assuming that Sony does not see still cameras as being in competition with camcorders -- even though Canon has shown this view not fully valid.

Robert Young January 13th, 2011 01:44 AM

I notice that the Sony CX700, the new version of the CX550, is up for preorder on the Sony site.
It's interesting, given the lack of features on the VG10, that this new $1,300 small handycam will have full raster 1080p60 @ 28mbs, 1080i60, and 1080p24 @ 24mbs.
It also has focus assist, peaking, zebras, histogram, some cine gamma profiles, plus all of the features of the existing CX550- which, IMO, are considerable for such a tiny camera.
The VG 10 will have some catching up to do indeed...

Steve Mullen January 13th, 2011 03:18 AM

So we get 24p, 60i, and 60p. And, curious statement of digital amps amps and stereo speaker plus:

Light Output : 27.4mm - 383mm (16:9)

The downside is 1/3" 6.6MP sensor.

Seems to me that kind of divides the world. A full featured camcorder with a tiny chip and big chip camcorder with relatively few features.

A face-off would be interesting!

Tom Hardwick January 13th, 2011 03:54 AM

I find it odd that Panasonic make no mention of the fact that their HMC151 has focus assist included, certainly not in any of the brochures or advertising. Oh, it'll do the 'zoom into the picture' focus assist, but they make no mention of the far more useful facility of being in auto focus but turning the lens ring to specify which subject at which distance you want sharply (auto) focused.


Lee Mullen January 14th, 2011 11:55 PM

Which frame rate do you prefer Steve for outdoors?

Steve Mullen January 15th, 2011 12:16 AM

p60 which practically means 720p60 with most editing software.

Cliff Totten January 16th, 2011 12:16 PM


Originally Posted by Robert Young (Post 1607071)
I notice that the Sony CX700, the new version of the CX550, is up for preorder on the Sony site.
HDR-CX700V | Full HD 96GB Flash Memory Camcorder | Sony | Sony Style USA
It's interesting, given the lack of features on the VG10, that this new $1,300 small handycam will have full raster 1080p60 @ 28mbs, 1080i60, and 1080p24 @ 24mbs.
It also has focus assist, peaking, zebras, histogram, some cine gamma profiles, plus all of the features of the existing CX550- which, IMO, are considerable for such a tiny camera.
The VG 10 will have some catching up to do indeed...

Im a huge sony fan but this CX700 thing really has me pissed. Its a blatant slap in the face to all VG10 buyers. Cmon sony....you guys are BETTER than this! Stop the feature crippling games and finally update our damn firmware already!

The vg10 is a great camera but all the simple feature crippling that sony has done to it is just downright silly!

Steve Mullen January 16th, 2011 05:22 PM

Unfortunately, Sony has always been divided into competing divisions. So you see how the consumer camcorder group is fighting the camera group. Remember when BD recorders came out it was promised that we could copy via FireWire from our camcorders. Suddenly, the sony motion picture division forced that feature to be cut.

The pro camcorder group may have made a deal with the camera group to offer two levels of a low-cost big chip camcorder. By definition, the consumer camera must be crippled. That was the point of my first post. And, if I'm right, there will be no firmware update because the pro group will offer the VG10 you want at a much higher price. And, I wouldn't be surprised if the pro group designed and built the VG10.

They then set the price to $2000 so they could justify a $3900 price for the pro version.

The pro group already has a upscale version of the 550. Likely they will do an upscale version of the 770, It will compete with the HMC-40 at $2000.

So there is competition for your $$$ and also cooperation to insure that the competition never harms Sony and insures that you'll always pay more to get what you want.

PS: Pana has the FZ100 that shoots 1080i60 and 720p60 and is under $400. It has full control of everything when shooting video. But, it is a tiny chip camera. So when they give you the features you want, they are careful to do so in a way not to harm there GH business. You'll never win. Which is why I switched to NEX 5 because I got Focus Assist at 1/3 the price of the VG10. And, I'll bet the NEX 7 at $1200 will blow the VG10 out of the water.

Marcus Durham January 16th, 2011 05:28 PM

Sony may have an answer for people who want a zooming focus assist like the EX1.

Sony outs CLM-V55 video monitor for interchangeable lens cameras -- Engadget

No doubt it will end up costing half as much as the camera. And would you want that thing bolted to the top of the camera. Yuck!

Charlie Webster January 16th, 2011 10:12 PM

why no focus assist?

why no strong tripod mount?

why no 100% crop?

why no XLR?

why why why?

Focus assist would be nice, but the LCD is super sharp and big--I don't find it an issue.

The VG10 is what is: an imperfect beast capable of fantastic video through any lens you can get your hands on.

Sony has always been and will always be a giant inscrutable beast which can put out some great products from time to time.

Cliff Totten January 19th, 2011 10:03 AM

Rubbery tripod mount?... I can live with it.

No XLR or audio controll?... I dont expect from a "HandyCam" and I can deal with it.

No Zebras?....OK, that BLOWS!.. but I can survive. ;- (

No focus assist?...nothing at all? No peaking?,...no zoom/crop? That is the SILLIEST crippling stunt I have ever seen in a modern camera like the VG10. Keeping this thing in ultra tight focus with no focusing tools on a tiny screen for me is a HUGE drag.

I would not be supprised if it's actually inside the firmware already but simply flagged off.

I bet the enginners at Sony R&D are still laughing their butts off at this featuire "omission".

I mean seriously, if you were a Sony engineer in the design lab,...wouldn't you be laughing with your coworkers about how you guys released a disabled and crippled camera into the market like that?


Good God. This is such an embarrassing thing for Sony to do.

Disappointed and shocked longtime Sony fan.


Glen Vandermolen January 19th, 2011 11:55 AM

I've never seen a camera so polarizing to its potential users. They either hate it or love it. Sony should have named it "Sarah Palin."

Why no focus assist? Who knows, other than Sony. I'm sure they had their reasons, wrong or right. For those who find this a deal-breaker, then the VG10 isn't for you. And that's too bad, for both Sony but especially the consumer, because they're missing out on a really nice camera. Granted, my experience with the VG10 was limited to a few minutes of handling one in a camera store. But I came away mightily impressed. It's a beautiful little camera. The depth of field you can get from the stock lens was amazing. This is a camera that I would want to take out and explore its potential. No focus assist? Well, I can shoot around that. I have professionally for over 20 years. But it would be a nice feature, for sure.

DSLRs can give the same depth of field, but I've never warmed to them. Not sure why, maybe it's the form factor.

So, no focus assist, no zebras, no XLR, no 24P. But for $2,000, I think Sony still gives you a lot of camera.

Cliff Totten January 19th, 2011 04:45 PM

I also own an, EX1R and FX100. I love peaking and one touch zoom/crop tools. I dont think my eyes are as sharp as they used to be these days so having SOMETHING to help focus on my VG10 would be good.

I mean,...jeesh Sony, you have a nice zoom/crop feature on the "lower" NEX5!! Why did you disable it on the VG10 firmware? What kind of a stunt is that?

I would be happy if you guys AT LEAST flicked the firmware switch to turn that SIMPLE and lowley function back on!

C'mon Sony,..the firmware between the NEX5 and VG10 is very close. All you need to do is turn it on and package the new firmware for us to download. (It'll prolly take 1 day for your firmware/software guys to do)

I love my VG10, yes I do,..but when I picked up a NEX5 at Best Buy and saw that focus assist,...my blood boiled over! I was definetely cursing the Sony name for the next 30 min after that.


Steve Mullen January 19th, 2011 06:06 PM

My blood remained cool, but it was at that moment I decided it made no sense to release a book only on the VG10, so I decided to include a NEX 5 Appendix. Then after having the 5 for a while and finding the controls were SO easy to use on the back of the camera, I asked myself if the "camcorder" shape really made that much difference. Given the number of big names shooting with the Canons, the answer had to be no.

So the VG10 went to an Appendix.

But what about the dedicated button to set shutter speed? In the end, it makes no math difference if you set shutter speed and then add an ND filter or add light to get the aperture value you need for the DOF you want, than if you start by setting the aperture for the DOF you want and then add an ND filter or add light to get to the desired shutter speed. Everything is reciprocal!

In fact, because of the need to avoid diffraction, it makes more sense to set aperture precisely and get an approximate shutter speed. As long as one stays in the range of 1/40th to 1/80th motion looks fine.

And since the video looks the same and the price is about 3X lower, the fact the VG10 is "nice" just doesn't work for me.

I don't know about Sony folks laughing, but think about this. The neat part of these cameras is their ability to use a wide range of old lenses. Of course, these will be manual focus. So while the AF works fine for E-mount, we know it doesn't even for Sony's own A-mount! So one must use MF.

And, as you found, once you use the FA function you are forced to realize that not having it on a camera designed so you can use other lenses, is truly crazy. As you said, it's an omission not in the same class as the other omissions.

And, if there is a camcorder coming from the pro division, while I'll do a book on it, the camcorder will be too expensive for many of us to buy. Which means that in a few months Sony is going to present us with the same decision. Get the new camcorder at 3X more money than the NEX 7 which will have have the features we NEED.

Clearly, like Canon and Panasonic, Sony has decided to let the camera division lead the camcorder divisions in big chip design. They assume video folks are so loyal to a camcorder form factor that they will not cross over.

Jonathan W. Hickman January 20th, 2011 10:48 AM

Gosh, so the NEX-5 is actually as good if not better than the far more costly VG10?

I like the 30p option.

With my Canon T2i, I usually shoot everything in 24p, which has been wonderful. However, I'm limited on clip length and limited at times with heat issues (I'm in Atlanta, you know). And there is that moire thing.

Does the NEX-5 have a microphone input for a shotgun?

And I noticed that the kit lens with the VG-10 is much better (certainly for video). After using the NXR-MC50U for spots on my TV show with excellent results, I was thinking of moving from the Canon (I have 2 T2i's after all, I could part with one) to the VG10. AVCHD in FCP Studio 2 has been very easy to use for me.

Folks who have shot with the DSLRs know that rigging and shooting with them is tricky and labor intensive. The VG10 looks to be a breeze by comparison.

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