I need another camera - maybe the NEX-VG20 at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > Sony XAVC / XDCAM / NXCAM / AVCHD / HDV / DV Camera Systems > Sony Alpha and NEX Camera Systems > Sony NEX-VG10 / VG20 / VG30 / VG900

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


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old September 18th, 2011, 02:59 AM   #1
Major Player
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: South Island, New Zealand
Posts: 541
Images: 2
I need another camera - maybe the NEX-VG20

I need a new camera. Here are my criteria:

1. DOF. I plan to give this a go, so to speak. I know it’s all the rage right now and like all rages it will run its course, and no longer be chick. Nevertheless I also like what can be done with shallow DOF. My current cameras, all Sony brand; an EX1, a CX700v and an HX100v are not good for DOF shooting. To obtain the DOF effect I need a camera with a large sensor, I think.

2. Manual everything. For obvious reasons.

3. Auto everything. I know, but there are times.

4. AVCHD at 28 mbps, or equivalent. I render off AVCHD 28 mbps 60p footage shot with my two toy cameras within an EX1 timeline in Vegas Pro 10 using the XDCAM EX at 29.97 fps 35 mbps template, after grading, and the results are very pleasing when viewed on my 24 inch reasonably high end monitor and projected at the local CineCafe. Footage from the HX100v is especially amazingly good, considering.

5. Image stabilization. I did a walk around test the other day. The two toy cameras, the CX700v and the HX100v, with image stabilization set to ‘Active Mode’ are remarkably good while the common garden variety in the EX1 is quite unsatisfactory (in my hands). My understanding is that the method employed in the CX700v and the HX100v is optical image stabilization, active mode, and is an in the lens rather than in the camera body approach.

6. Light weight for hand held. The EX1 is too heavy (for me).

Candidate cameras I have noted include the Sony NEX 5n, the NEX 7, the A77 and the NEX-VG20, all Sony cameras but I also note the November announcement from Canon. Ya never know! The Sony FS100 is too heavy, unfortunately. I believe the E-mount lenses have built in image stabilization, active mode, but how good it is I don’t know and would be most grateful for input in that regard. And of course suggestions regarding cameras I might have overlooked, or approaches, likewise; most grateful for input.

I’m not a professional (I’m not doing it for the money but for the fun) however I endeavor to deliver professional-looking results. I shoot a variety of subject matter; interviews, fairs, shows, community events, small historical documentaries, wildlife, artsy-fartsy tripy pieces; a mixed bag really. And I’m mostly a one man band.

Many thanks in advance.

John
John McCully is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 18th, 2011, 07:58 AM   #2
Space Hipster
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Jacksonville, FL
Posts: 1,593
Re: I need another camera - maybe the NEX-VG20

Hi John,
I can give some advice, as I own a VG10 and an FS100.
I'm not sure the VG20 will have 28mbps. I know my FS100 does, but all the specs I've seen on the VG20 list up to 24mbps only, even in 60P.

The VG20 adds many features the VG10 sorely lacked - manual audio (with meters), focus assist, more than one frame rate. It' still unclear if the VG20 will have decreased moire and aliasing, compared to the VG10. I can tell you I was satisfied with my VG10 - to a degree. But the problems I had with the camera have now been addressed. I would certainly buy the VG20, if I didn't already have the FS100.

Auto controls - I occasionally used them, but I prefer to go manual. I like to have full control of my camera. Because there's no focus assist on the VG10, I did use the auto focus at times, but i still prefer to go full manual. As far as image stabilization, my style of shooting didn't offer much run and gun. With light movement, the camera worked fine.
The VG10 is very light for handheld. I also have a Canon XF305, which is heavier than the EX1, and I much prefer toting around the VG10.

Depth of field control - oh, you'll get that with the VG cameras. And I have to disagree with you as far as it being a passing fad. Motion picture cameras have worked with DoF control since the beginning of film. It's only been recently that this ability has been offered to video cameras. There will always be a place for your typical 3-chip video camera, but the new large sensor cameras offer abilties previous cameras could only dream about. DSLRs and RED proved there was a big market for this style of shooting. I believe that not only is it here to stay, but we're at the beginning of a digital cinema revolution. It's no coincidence that the majority of episodic TV productions have abandoned film and now use digital cinema cameras. They offer the benefits of film cameras, but at a reduced production cost.

But it's also this tight DoF that does NOT make large sensor cameras the best choice for run and gun shooting. It can be done, but you'll find it much easier to keep everything in focus with smaller chips. The positive side of the VG10/20 is, the stock lens is slow, so keeping everything in focus outdoors isn't too much of a problem, and your f-stop will be closed down low in sunlight anyway.

So my final advice? I think you'll really enjoy shooting with the VG20. It is a different style of shooting altogether, but the skills you will learn from operating one - f-stops, lens selections, depth of field control - will help you as a videographer. That's why I bought my VG10 - so I could appreciate and learn how to operate a large sensor camera. And that's why I also ended up buying the FS100.
And picking a DSLR instead of the VG20? Eh, if you want to shoot video, buy a video camera.
Glen Vandermolen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 18th, 2011, 01:33 PM   #3
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Sunny California
Posts: 513
Re: I need another camera - maybe the NEX-VG20

Not that it's a big deal, but according to Sony product specialist Kanta Yamamoto at IBC 2011, the highest framerate for the VG20 is 28mbps at 1080/50p (42 seconds into this video:
).

This is consistent with the technical specs on Sony's UK website: NEX-VG20EH (NEXVG20EH, NEXVG20EHB.CEE) : Overview : Cameras & camcorders : Sony

The 24mbps number originates with the Sony US specs, which omit 28mbps: Interchangeable Lens HD Handycam Camcorder | NEX-VG20 | Sony USA

My guess is that Sony USA screwed up the specs.

Bottom line is that if Sony has addressed the moire problem (and they seem to have done so with the same sensor and Bionz processor in the 5N), this camera will be a very good value for the money.

Bill
Hybrid Camera Revolution
Bill Bruner is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 18th, 2011, 04:05 PM   #4
HDV Cinema
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Las Vegas
Posts: 4,007
Re: I need another camera - maybe the NEX-VG20

Quote:
Originally Posted by Glen Vandermolen View Post
And picking a DSLR instead of the VG20? Eh, if you want to shoot video, buy a video camera.
I'd agree fully were the camcorder an F3 or AF100 or even an FS100. But the VG20 has worse control ergonomics than the nex-5n or nex-7 and delivers no better picture.

The tiny buttons on the left side are a joke. They are the same as the VG10. The DSLR NEX have their buttons on the back.

The touchscreen on the FAR left is far less easy to touch than right in front of you.

The optional OLED VF for the NEX-5N is better than on the NEX-7 because it flips-up.

Audio I/O is the VG20's strong point along with a handle. Are they worth $1000 to you?

PS: 60p/60p is allowed by the AVCHD 2.0 where it is 28Mbps which is a too low. I would rather the 36Mbps provided byJVC, but that's Sony/Pana marketing for you.
__________________
Switcher's Quick Guide to the Avid Media Composer >>> http://home.mindspring.com/~d-v-c
Steve Mullen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 18th, 2011, 05:43 PM   #5
Major Player
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: South Island, New Zealand
Posts: 541
Images: 2
Re: I need another camera - maybe the NEX-VG20

Thanks Glen, for the detailed response; much appreciated. Your point about the DOF thing is taken, I do totally agree. My comment about it being all the rage is based on what appears to me to be overuse in a lot of the stuff out there but as a tool, no doubt about it being a good thing when used judiciously and I admit I have been remiss in not using that aesthetic as I should. I’m about to correct that.

Yes, I am also about to learn another style of shooting and your encouragement in that regard is appreciated. Nothing like continuous improvement! Up until now I’ve been a tripod no matter what shooter but I have a couple of projects coming up, a restaurant promo for one where a tripod in the kitchen (elephant in a china store) is not possible. Let me ask you this: if the VG20 was available at the time would you have purchased the FS100, or in other words what does the FS100 bring to the party that the VG20 does not promise? Given the size/weight of the FS100 it’s probably a moot point for me; just curious.

Thanks Bill, for the clarification regarding the 28mbps. I have noted that the quality of AVCHD video out there is proportional to the bit rate, or so it seems to me, and while 24 mbps might be just fine most of the time I’m more than happy with the 28mbps coming off my HX100v and the CX700v. I imagine that 36mbps as Steve favors is often better yet but I’ll settle for 28 (as if I have a choice).

Steve, always a pleasure to read your thoughts and digest your input. Couple of questions if I may: do you expect a significant difference in image quality when comparing the cameras mentioned above (other than the F3 which is in another league altogether)? You mention that the VG20 has no better image quality (presumably using the same lens) and would that apply to the FS100 also?

Pro-level audio as in XLR is not an issue and certainly not worth anywhere close to $1000.00. In fact I have a BeachTec stored away with my ancient FX1 that I could dig out if necessary but wireless into the mini-jack has not been problematic for me, and where perfect audio is critical I have the EX1.

The question of ergonomics is interesting. I also shoot a lot of stills and up until the HX100v I would not think even in my wildest dreams of shooting video with my older still cameras. The HX100v has changed my thinking in that regard and for certain applications I much prefer that camera however let me hasten to add that the EX1 on a tripod, where that is practical, is hard to beat. Horses for courses as they say and the more the merrier.

Appreciate your input; most helpful.
John McCully is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 18th, 2011, 06:32 PM   #6
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Apple Valley CA
Posts: 4,866
Re: I need another camera - maybe the NEX-VG20

John -
I am somewhat in the same boat as you, and you've gotten some good advise.

I think it's safe to say that the 28Mbps/60p spec will be seen in the VG20 - erroneous website info aside.

Sony has traditionally put the stabilization in the "A"/Alpha mount in the camera body (so A33/55/65/77, where it seems to add a heating element to the equation, shortening clip times significantly.).

The "E" mount was designed around video, so the stabilization was to be in the lenses... haven't actually shot with one yet to judge the stabilization, but it's going to be tough to compete with the CX700, IMO.

Keep in mind the 18-200 lens that ships with the VG series is pretty hefty. Ask yourself what lens range you will be needing/using. The NEX5N or NEX7 with a smaller lens might be the ticket for size/features/quality if you can get by with a smaller lens range, or use adapters to the E mount.

I see the audio in the VG's as probably far better than the "still" cameras, which so far in my experience have ranged from mediocre to HORRIBLE for sound, but can you dual audio, or use a sound track - if that's an option, that would tend to negate the advantage. I personally don't see the video camera form factor as being significantly "better" to shoot with, as I can put together a lightweight rig for ANY image acquisition device, and I am used to shooting with small cameras.

Which camera is "right"... <shrug>? Hard to say really, the developments in the E mount have caught my attention (1st generation cameras didn't catch my eye - this generation, with full manual and higher bitrates HAVE)!

Personally I'm waiting to see the NEX7 reviews and see whether they get the bugs (clicks) ironed out of the NEX5n before I put my toes into the water - I've got the A55 and A580 for stills, and for short clips they will do the fancy DoF tricks to mix in with MY "toy cameras" (I like that, they LOOK like toys, but OH BOY can they shoot some good clips!!) - I've got CX550's, and some TX's, and an HX100 on the way (TX's are great and pocketable, but have little lens range!). BUT so far the controls and overall layout on the NEX7 sure look like they might be about the best arrangement in a small package, plus there's a mic input TOO... Hmmm. And in theory I could leverage my investment in Alpha lenses/accessories, although putting old solid Minolta glass on the A55 is something less than balanced already!!


Just some ramblings from someone mulling the same questions! AND waiting for the reviews!
Dave Blackhurst is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 18th, 2011, 08:28 PM   #7
Major Player
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: South Island, New Zealand
Posts: 541
Images: 2
Re: I need another camera - maybe the NEX-VG20

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Blackhurst View Post
OH BOY can they shoot some good clips!!
Isn't that the truth. Thanks Dave for your input. The image quality and stabilization on the HX100v at 30x is nothing short of miraculous for $449.99 at B&H (temporarily unavailable, no surprise). Of course for DOF shooting it doesn't really cut it. I have a 'notify me' regarding the NEX 7 at B&H but I haven't made a decision by any means. Lots of options unfolding and it might well be that the image quality is the least of our concerns. I love it...
John McCully is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 18th, 2011, 08:42 PM   #8
HDV Cinema
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Las Vegas
Posts: 4,007
Re: I need another camera - maybe the NEX-VG20

Quote:
Originally Posted by John McCully View Post
Steve, always a pleasure to read your thoughts and digest your input. Couple of questions if I may: do you expect a significant difference in image quality when comparing the cameras mentioned above (other than the F3 which is in another league altogether)? You mention that the VG20 has no better image quality (presumably using the same lens) and would that apply to the FS100 also?

Pro-level audio as in XLR is not an issue and certainly not worth anywhere close to $1000.00. In fact I have a BeachTec stored away with my ancient FX1 that I could dig out if necessary but wireless into the mini-jack has not been problematic for me, and where perfect audio is critical I have the EX1.
Alas, The NEX-5N has NO audio input. So, for many the $1000 has to be spent if one want's a Sony big chipper. IF the NEX-7 has a mic input, it could be great except for the fact the OLED VF doesn't swivel-up. So spending $300 for the VG20 may be worth it.

To me Sony has made a VG20 that IMHO is not a great camcorder yet crippled it's DSLRs so many have no choice but to buy the VG20. And, it IS much better than the VG10.

I really dislike this kind of marketing, but as long as Sony is king of sensors folks are stuck.

But, if I were going to buy a new camera I would take a hard look at the GH2 with the 60Mbps firmware or look for a discounted AF100.

An idea, get an NEX-5N with the 18-55 then buy a lens adaptor for old manual lenses -- I like MC/MD Minolta lenses. Then learn this system. You'll have a blast hunting and trying primo glass from the `70s. In a few years Canon or Pana is going to offer something really cool. Frankly, I can'r see how Pana can avoid an AF50 for $2500.

I think the real fun is shooting like we did 40 years ago. Frankly, I liked the challange more than I cared about absolute image quality. Frankly, all thse camera's shoot really good video.
__________________
Switcher's Quick Guide to the Avid Media Composer >>> http://home.mindspring.com/~d-v-c
Steve Mullen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 19th, 2011, 07:59 AM   #9
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Sunny California
Posts: 513
Re: I need another camera - maybe the NEX-VG20

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Mullen View Post
...Alas, The NEX-5N has NO audio input...
Steve, I'm not a big fan of the NEX-5N, but, according to reviews at Imaging Resource and elsewhere it does have audio input via the proprietary Sony Smart Accessory Terminal:

Quote:
...audio is captured by default with a built-in stereo microphone. As an alternative, Sony's ECM-SST1 external microphone accessory mounts on the Smart Accessory Terminal 2, and can provide directional audio coverage at either 90 or 120...
Here is an audio test with the external mic:

Sony Nex 5N Audio Test. Stereo Microphone ECM-SST1 Wide Open Camera - YouTube

That said, audio is still a weak point for this camera due to the lack of manual audio gain control.

Otherwise, I agree with your recommendations above -- I have a GH2 and love it, but regret the lack of full manual audio gain and headphone jack. If I could find a severely discounted AF100, I would get it -- but about $2000 is all I can afford, so the AF100 and FS100 are out of the question. Looks like I'll have to wait for the VG20.

Cheers,

Bill
Hybrid Camera Revolution

Last edited by Bill Bruner; September 20th, 2011 at 07:39 AM.
Bill Bruner is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 19th, 2011, 08:27 AM   #10
Space Hipster
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Jacksonville, FL
Posts: 1,593
Re: I need another camera - maybe the NEX-VG20

John,
Why did I pick the FS100 over the VG20? Good question!
The FS100 is a different beast. While both have a large sensor, they're not the same sensor. The FS's sensor is bigger. Sony calls it a Super 35, but that's a little marketing hype. It is very close in size to a true 35mm film frame. Supposedly, it's the same sensor as the one in the F3, but that leads to a whole lot of arguing, so let's just say they're darn close. It's in the processing of the video signal that really differentiates the two cameras. The FS is optimized for video capture only. The VG20 isn't quite as good, and allows for good still shooting. The FS should be far better as far as decreasing aliasing and moire effects, and better latitude. Maybe the VG20 is better in that regard compared to the VG10, but we'll have to wait and see.
I've looked at the video from my FS100 and VG10, and the FS is far cleaner and crisper. It just looks a lot better to my eye. No surprise there, considering the features and all.

The FS has XLR inputs, very important for a true professional video camera. It has a lot more controls and settings, allowing you greater flexibility in manipulating the image.
The FS100 is simply a better, more professional camera. That doesn't take away from the VG10/20 line, and I have used my VG10 on many professional shoots, with good success.

Of course, the FS100 costs a lot more. We'll see in the end if my decision to go the more expensive route pays off. But if I didn't buy the FS100, I would jump on the VG20, no question.

And that's good news regarding 28mbps in the VG20. That makes the VG20 a very good camera, in my opinion.
Glen Vandermolen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 19th, 2011, 08:42 AM   #11
Space Hipster
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Jacksonville, FL
Posts: 1,593
Re: I need another camera - maybe the NEX-VG20

I have to add -

About shallow depth of field:
John, I absolutely agree. The effect has been way over-used. It's good to have when you need it, but please! Don't go nuts on rack-focusing just because you can.

Here's a scenario where I know I can use a shallower DoF to good effect:
I shoot commercials with a knick-knack store. This store is crammed with tiny trinkets. I've used 2/3" and 1/3" cameas on the shoot before. The hard part is trying to key on one particualr item, while it's surrounded by dozens of others. They all blend together in a mish-mash of colors and shapes.
Now, I can better single out one particular item with tighter DoF.
The woman who owns the store also likes to do a closing stand-up. I've always had trouble separating her from the cluttered background of her store, but now I can really make her stand out.

Pkus, I shoot short films for fun. I like the abilities the FS100 now gives me, as far as being able to better separate our actors from the general background. This will guide the viewers' eye to the actors, not what's behind them. Shallow DoF works great in telling a narrative story.
Glen Vandermolen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 19th, 2011, 08:46 AM   #12
Major Player
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: US & THEM
Posts: 827
Re: I need another camera - maybe the NEX-VG20

@John;

There is a post comparing Sony 5N versus Canon 5D2 at iso 3200. and believe it that the 5N trounces the 5D2 for s/n, which really surprised me.

As for 5N versus VG20 I would spend the price differential on shoulder grip, external audio capture, glass etc., ie things you can keep using long after the camera is history - remember QFHD is not far away now.
__________________
John Jay

Beware ***PLUGGER-BYTES***
John Jay is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 19th, 2011, 11:31 AM   #13
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Apple Valley CA
Posts: 4,866
Re: I need another camera - maybe the NEX-VG20

One really has to consider price points and features carefully...

NEX5n at $599 for the body, $699 w/18-55 lens - relatively inexpensive, 16Mpix sensor, limited audio options. And for another $349 you can add the VF...

NEX7 at $1199 for the body, $1349 w/ 18-55 lens (leading to the question as to why the "extra" $50?!?). You get more effective controls, alpha shoe, built in flash, external mic 1/8" input, and that 24Mpxel sensor... plus (admittedly not angle adjustable) the VF. IMO if the image quality stands up, this might be the most intrigueing of the lot.

VG20,,, not seeing a price on the Sony US site... but IIRC I've heard $2200 tossed about, or 10% over the VG10 - I'd be shocked to see the price not drop to the same as the VG10 as the 10 phases out. For that you get the 18-200 lens (an $800 piece by itself, putting the body at around the same price point as the NEX7, roughly $1200), and a "video" form factor with better/high end built in audio/mics. BUT, you're back with the 16Mpixel sensor of the 5n...



That's a pretty WIDE price/feature spread... and I think illustrates why the NEX7 is getting massive pre-orders.

5n looks like a bargain in "basic" form at $700... BUT
5N with VF = $1049 vs. 7 = $1349 - the 7 starts to look like a pretty good bargain, especially if Sony drops that $50 premium for the black lens!

That leaves the VG20 a BIG jump up in price from the $700 price to play for the 5n... if you don't need the 18-200 you can spend a chunk of that on one or more adapters to play with assorted glass, OR go to the 7, add adapters and a mic... hmmm.


My thoughts lean towards the NEX7 being the real "bargain/sleeper hit". If Sony got smart and tossed a "NEX6" with 7 body/5n sensor into the mix at around $900-1000, and the logical "VG30" with the 24Mpixel sensor at $2200-2400 they'd pretty much cover every price point, and have a tough to beat lineup.


We need to wait to see what the performance of the 24Mpixel sensor will turn out to be...
Dave Blackhurst is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 19th, 2011, 12:39 PM   #14
Major Player
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Lewisham, London, United Kingdom
Posts: 386
Re: I need another camera - maybe the NEX-VG20

Although I have enjoyed using it, the big problems with the NEX5 for me were overheat and poor battery life, particularly in comparison to my VG10. Can anyone provide any info on how the NEX5n and NEX7 function by comparison in events scenarios? And do we now have direct full manual control over the shutter speed on the 5n in video mode?
Henry Williams is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 19th, 2011, 03:16 PM   #15
HDV Cinema
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Las Vegas
Posts: 4,007
Re: I need another camera - maybe the NEX-VG20

I think the body-only VG20 is $1600.

The NEX-5 has a connector that has leads for audio. But, the connector plug as never been built by anyone to connect a mic jack. It seems Sony may have a chip in its external flash and mic. So the NEX-5 has no mic input .

I think Sony has created a "you can't there from here" NEX design. If you really want a camcorder, you kind of are forced into the VG20. But, the NEX-7 does look interesting. And, one wonders -- what will 24MP bring to video?

The FS100 has big pixels giving it great sensitivity. And, since it doesn't shoot photos the AA filter can be appropriate for video. But, for less money, I would go with the AF100 because it has everything a camcorder needs and is cheaper. And, we now know DOF and video are essentially the same as the FS100. IMHO the FS100 should only be $3200 -- 2X the VG20. And, the F3 at $10K. Sony is trying to avoid yet another year of no profit. Sony camera buyers are paying for their failure in HDTVs. Vizeo is cheaper and Samsung better. Perhaps they shouldn't have wasted money on 3D. :)
__________________
Switcher's Quick Guide to the Avid Media Composer >>> http://home.mindspring.com/~d-v-c
Steve Mullen is offline   Reply
Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Z.G.C.
(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > Sony XAVC / XDCAM / NXCAM / AVCHD / HDV / DV Camera Systems > Sony Alpha and NEX Camera Systems > Sony NEX-VG10 / VG20 / VG30 / VG900

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 03:25 AM.


DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2017 The Digital Video Information Network